C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.
A breeze came wandering from the sky,Light as the whispers of a dream;He put the o’erhanging grasses by,And softly stooped to kiss the stream,The pretty stream, the flattered stream,The shy, yet unreluctant stream.
A melancholy sound is in the air,A deep sigh in the distance, a shrill wailAround my dwelling. ’Tis the Wind of night.
A sculptor wieldsThe chisel, and the stricken marble growsTo beauty.
A silence, the brief sabbath of an hour,Reigns o’er the fields; the laborer sits withinHis dwelling; he has left his steers awhile,Unyoked, to bite the herbage, and his dogSleeps stretched beside the door-stone in the shade.Now the gray marmot, with uplifted paws,No more sits listening by his den, but stealsAbroad, in safety, to the clover-field,And crops its juicy blossoms.
Ah, never shall the land forgetHow gush’d the life-blood of the brave,Gush’d warm with hope and courage yet,Upon the soil they fought to save!
Ah, passing few are they who speak,Wild, stormy month! in praise of thee;Yet though thy winds are loud and bleak,Thou art a welcome month to me.For thou, to northern lands, againThe glad and glorious sun dost bring,And thou hast joined the gentle trainAnd wear’st the gentle name of Spring.
Alas! to seize the momentWhen heart inclines to heart,And press a suit with passion,Is not a woman’s part.If man come not to gatherThe roses where they stand,They fade among their foliage,They cannot seek his hand.
All that treadThe globe are but a handful to the tribesThat slumber in its bosom. Take the wingsOf morning, and the Barcan desert pierce,Or lose thyself in the continuous woodsWhere rolls the Oregon, and hears no soundSave his own dashings,—yet the dead are there;And millions in those solitudes, since firstThe flight of years began, have laid them downIn their last sleep: the dead reign there alone.
All things that are on earth shall wholly pass away,Except the love of God, which shall live and last for aye.
And kind the voice and glad the eyesThat welcome my return at night.
And suns grow meek, and the meek suns grow brief,And the year smiles as it draws near its death.
Autumn is here; we cull his lingering flowers.
*****The sweet calm sunshine of October, nowWarms the low spot; upon its grassy mouldThe purple oak-leaf falls; the birchen boughDrops its bright spoil like arrow-heads of gold.
But ’neath yon crimson tree,Lover to listening maid might breathe his flame,Nor mark, within its roseate canopy,Her blush of maiden shame.
But Winter has yet brighter scenes—he boastsSplendors beyond what gorgeous Summer knows,Or Autumn with his many fruits, and woodsAll flushed with many hues. Come when the rainsHave glazed the snow and clothed the trees with ice,While the slant sun of February poursInto the bowers a flood of light. Approach!The incrusted surface shall upbear thy steps,And the broad arching portals of the groveWelcome thy entering.
Death should comeGently to one of gentle mould, like thee,As light winds, wandering through groves of bloom,Detach the delicate blossoms from the tree,Close thy sweet eyes calmly, and without pain,And we will trust in God to see thee yet again.
Do not the bright June roses blowTo meet thy kiss at morning hours?
Error’s monstrous shapes from earth are drivenThey fade, they fly—but truth survives the flight.
Fairest of all that earth beholds, the huesThat live among the clouds, and flush the air,Lingering and deepening at the hour of dews.
Father, thy handHath reared these venerable columns, thouDidst weave this verdant roof. Thou didst look downUpon the naked earth, and, forthwith, roseAll these fair ranks of trees. They, in thy sun,Budded, and shook their green leaves in thy breeze,And shot towards heaven.
Full fast the leaves are droppingBefore that wandering breath.
Hark to that shrill, sudden shout,The cry of an applauding multitude,Swayed by some loud-voiced orator who wieldsThe living mass as if he were its soul!
Here the free spirit of mankind, at length,Throws its last fetters off; and who shall placeA limit to the giant’s unchained strength,Or curb his swiftness in the forward race?
I hear the howl of the wind that bringsThe long drear storm on its heavy wings.
Lay down the axe; fling by the spade;Leave in its track the toiling plough;The rifle and the bayonet-bladeFor arms like yours were fitter now;And let the hands that ply the penQuit the light task, and learn to wieldThe horseman’s crooked brand, and reinThe charger on the battle-field.
Lo! while we are gazing, in swifter hasteStream down the snows, till the air is white,As, myriads by myriads madly chased,They fling themselves from their shadowy height.The fair, frail creatures of middle sky,What speed they make, with their grave so nigh;Flake after flake,To lie in the dark and silent lake!
Look! the massy trunksAre cased in the pure crystal; each light spray,Nodding and tinkling in the breath of heaven,Is studded with its trembling water-drops,That glimmer with an amethystine light.
Modest and shy as a nun is she;One weak chirp is her only note;Braggarts and prince of braggarts is he,Pouring boasts from his little throat.
No trumpet-blast profanedThe hour in which the Prince of Peace was born;No bloody streamlet stainedEarth’s silver rivers on that sacred morn.
Oh, Constellations of the early nightThat sparkled brighter as the twilight died,And made the darkness glorious! I have seenYour rays grow dim upon the horizon’s edge,And sink behind the mountains. I have seenThe great Orion, with his jewelled belt,That large-limbed warrior of the skies, go downInto the gloom. Beside him sank a crowdOf shining ones.
Oh, Freedom! thou art not, as poets dream,A fair young girl, with light and delicate limbs,And wavy tresses gushing from the capWith which the Roman master crowned his slaveWhen he took off the gyves. A bearded manArmed to the teeth, art thou; one mailèd handGrasps the broad shield, and one the sword; thy brow,Glorious in beauty though it be, is scarredWith tokens of old wars.
Oh; not yetMay’st thou unbrace thy corslet, nor lay byThy sword, nor yet, O Freedom! close thy lidsIn slumber; for thine enemy never sleeps.And thou must watch and combat, till the dayOf the new earth and heaven.
Oh, river, gentle river! gliding onIn silence underneath this starless sky!Thine is a ministry that never restsEven while the living slumber.
*****Thou pausest not in thine allotted task,Oh, darkling river!
Oh, river! darkling river! what a voiceIs that thou utterest while all else is still—The ancient voice that, centuries ago,Sounded between thy hills, while Rome was yetA weedy solitude by Tiber’s stream!
On my cornice linger the ripe black grapes ungathered;Children fill the groves with the echoes of their glee,Gathering tawny chestnuts, and shouting when beside themDrops the heavy fruit of the tall black-walnut tree.
*****Dreary is the time when the flowers of earth are withered.
On rolls the stream with a perpetual sigh;The rocks moan wildly as it passes by;Hyssop and wormwood border all the strand,And not a flower adorns the dreary land.
Robert of Lincoln’s Quaker wife,Pretty and quiet, with plain brown wings,Passing at home a patient life,Broods in the grass white her husband sings.
Showers and sunshine bring,Slowly, the deepening verdure o’er the earth;To put their foliage out, the woods are slack,And one by one the ringing-birds come back.
So live that when thy summons comes to joinThe innumerable caravan which movesTo that mysterious realm where each shall takeHis chamber in the silent halls of death.Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothedBy an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave,Like one that wraps the drapery of his couchAbout him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.
Stand here by my side and turn, I pray,On the lake below thy gentle eyes;The clouds hang over it, heavy and gray,And dark and silent the water lies;And out of that frozen mist the snowIn wavering flakes begins to flow;Flake after flake,They sink in the dark and silent lake.
Still this great solitude is quick with life.Myriads of insects, gaudy as the flowersThey flutter over, gentle quadrupeds,And birds, that scarce have learned the fear of man,Are here, and sliding reptiles of the ground,Startlingly beautiful. The graceful deerBounds to the wood at my approach. The bee
*****Fills the savannas with his murmurings.
Sustained and soothedBy an unfaltering trust, approach thy graveLike one that wraps the drapery of his couchAbout him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.
The breath of springtime at this twilight hourComes through the gathering glooms,And bears the stolen sweets of many a flowerInto my silent rooms.
The country ever has a lagging Spring,Waiting for May to call its violets forth.
The faint old man shall lean his silver headTo feel thee; thou shalt kiss the child asleep,And dry the moistened curls that overspreadHis temples, while his breathing grows more deep.
The fiercest agonies have shortest reign;And after dreams of horror, comes againThe welcome morning with its rays of peace.
The gentle race of flowersAre lying in their lowly beds.
The groves were God’s first temples. Ere man learnedTo hew the shaft, and lay the architrave,And spread the roof above them—ere he framedThe lofty vault, to gather and roll backThe sound of anthems; in the darkling wood,Amidst the cool and silence, he knelt down,And offered to the Mightiest solemn thanksAnd supplication.
The linden, in the fervors of July,Hums with a louder concert. When the windSweeps the broad forest in its summer prime,As when some master-hand exulting sweepsThe keys of some great organ, ye give forthThe music of the woodland depths, a hymnOf gladness and of thanks.
The melancholy days are come, the saddest of the year,Of wailing winds, and naked woods, and meadows brown and sere.Heaped in the hollows of the grove, the autumn leaves lie dead;They rustle to the eddying gust, and to the rabbit’s tread;The robin and the wren are flown, and from the shrubs the jay,And from the wood-top calls the crow through all the gloomy day.
The mighty RainHolds the vast empire of the sky alone.
The sad and solemn nightHath yet her multitude of cheerful fires;The glorious host of lightWalk the dark hemisphere till she retires;All through her silent watches, gliding slow,Her constellations come, and climb the heavens, and go.
The stormy March is come at last,With wind, and cloud, and changing skies;I hear the rushing of the blast,That through the snowy valley flies.
The summer day has clos’d—the sun is set;Well have they done their office, those bright hours,The latest of whose train goes softly outIn the red west.
The sun has drunkThe dew that lay upon the morning grass;There is no rustling in the lofty elmThat canopies my dwelling, and its shadeScarce cools me. All is silent save the faintAnd interrupted murmur of the bee,Settling on the sick flowers, and then againInstantly on the wing.
The windflower and the violet, they perished long ago,And the brier-rose and the orchis died amid the summer glow;But on the hills the golden-rod, and the aster in the wood,And the yellow sunflower by the brook, in autumn beauty stood,Till fell the frost from the clear cold heaven, as falls the plague on men,And the brightness of their smile was gone, from upland glade and glen.
There is a Power whose careTeaches thy way.
There is no glory in star or blossomTill looked upon by a loving eye;There is no fragrance in April breezesTill breathed with joy as they wander by.
These shadesAre still the abodes of gladness; the thick roofOf green and stirring branches is aliveAnd musical with birds, that sing and sportIn wantonness of spirit; while belowThe squirrel, with raised paws and form erect,Chirps merrily.
They talk of short-lived pleasures—be it so—Pain dies as quickly; stern, hard-featur’d painExpires, and lets her weary prisoner go.The fiercest agonies have shortest reign.
Thine eyes are springs in whose sereneAnd silent waters heaven is seen.
Thou who wouldst see the lovely and the wildMingled in harmony on Nature’s face,Ascend our rocky mountains. Let thy footFail not with weariness, for on their topsThe beauty and the majesty of earth,Spread wide beneath, shall make thee to forgetThe steep and toilsome way.
To him who in the love of nature holdsCommunion with her visible forms, she speaksA various language; for his gayer hoursShe has a voice of gladness, and a smileAnd eloquence of beauty, and she glidesInto his darker musings, with a mildAnd healing sympathy, that steals awayTheir sharpness, ere he is aware.
Truth crushed to earth shall rise again:The eternal years of God are hers;But Error, wounded, writhes with pain,And dies among his worshippers.
Weep not that the world changes—did it keepA stable, changeless state, it were cause indeed to weep.
What plant we in this apple tree?Sweets for a hundred flowery springsTo load the May-wind’s restless wings,When, from the orchard-row, he poursIts fragrance though our open doors;A world of blossoms for the bee,Flowers for the sick girl’s silent room,For the glad infant sprigs of bloom,We plant with the apple tree.
When April windsGrew soft, the maple burst into a flushOf scarlet flowers. The tulip tree, high up,Opened in airs of June her multitudeOf golden chalices to humming birdsAnd silken-wing’d insects of the sky.
When beechen buds begin to swell,And woods the blue-bird’s warble know,The yellow violet’s modest bellPeeps from the last year’s leaves below.
Where hast thou wandered, gentle gale, to findThe perfumes thou dost bring?
Who shall faceThe blast that wakes the fury of the sea?
*****The vast hulksAre whirled like chaff upon the waves; the sailsFly, rent like webs of gossamer; the mastsAre snapped asunder.
Wind of the sunny south! oh, still delayIn the gay woods and in the golden air,Like to a good old age released from care,Journeying, in long serenity, away.In such a bright, late quiet, would that IMight wear out life like thee, mid bowers and brooks,And, dearer yet, the sunshine of kind looks,And music of kind voices ever nigh;And when my last sand twinkled in the glass,Pass silently from men as thou dost pass.
Within the woods,Whose young and half transparent leaves scarce castA shade, gray circles of anemonesDanced on their stalks.
Ye winds ye unseen currents of the air,Softly ye played a few brief hours ago;Ye bore the murmuring bee; ye tossed the airO’er maiden cheeks, that took a fresher glow;Ye rolled the round white cloud through depths of blue;Ye shook from shaded flowers the lingering dew;Before you the catalpa’s blossoms flew,Light blossoms, dropping on the grass like snow.
Your peaks are beautiful, ye Apennines!In the soft light of these serenest skies;From the broad highland region, black with pines,Fair as the hills of Paradise they rise,Bathed in the tint Peruvian slaves beholdIn rosy flushes on the virgin gold.
All great poets have been men of great knowledge.
All that tread the globe are but a handful to the tribes that slumber in its bosom.
And the yellow sunflower by the brook, in autumn beauty stood.
Approach thy grave like one that wraps the drapery of his couch about him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.
Beautiful isles! beneath the sunset skies tall, silver-shafted palm-trees rise, between full orange-trees that shade the living colonade.
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave, like one that wraps the drapery of his couch about him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.
By eloquence I understand those appeals to our moral perceptions that produce emotion as soon as they are uttered.***This is the very enthusiasm that is the parent of poetry. Let the same man go to his closet and clothe in numbers conceptions full of the same fire and spirit, and they will be poetry.
Eloquence is the poetry of prose.
Features—the great soul’s apparent seat.
Flowers spring up unsown and dip ungathered.
Follow thou thy choice.
Genius, with all its pride in its own strength, is but a dependent quality, and cannot put forth its whole powers nor claim all its honors without an amount of aid from the talents and labors of others which it is difficult to calculate.
Go forth under the open sky, and list to nature’s teaching.
God hath yoked to guilt her pale tormentor,—misery.
Hateful to me as are the gates of hell is he who, hiding one thing in his heart, utters another.
Is not thy home among the flowers?
Much has been said of the wisdom of old age. Old age is wise, I grant, for itself, but not wise for the community. It is wise in declining new enterprises, for it has not the power nor the time to execute them; wise in shrinking from difficulty, for it has not the strength to overcome it; wise in avoiding danger, for it lacks the faculty of ready and swift action, by which dangers are parried and converted into advantages. But this is not wisdom for mankind at large, by whom new enterprises must be undertaken, dangers met, and difficulties surmounted.
Music is not merely a study, it is an entertainment: wherever there is music there is a throng of listeners.
Na man of woman born, coward or brave, can shun his destiny.
Old ocean’s gray and melancholy waste.
Pleasantly, between the pelting showers, the sunshine gushes down.
Poetry is the eloquence of verse.
Remorse is virtue’s root; its fair increase are fruits of innocence and blessedness.
Self-interest is the most ingenious and persuasive of all the agents that deceive our consciences, while by means of it our unhappy and stubborn prejudices operate in their greatest force.
Still sweet with blossoms is the year’s fresh prime.
Sustained and soothed by an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave like one that wraps the drapery of his couch about him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.
The daffodil is our door-side queen; she pushes up the sward already, to spot with sunshine the early green.
The groves were God’s first temples.
The hills, rock-ribbed, and ancient as the sun.
The hushed winds their Sabbath keep.
The journalist should be on his guard against publishing what is false in taste or exceptionable in morals.
The keenest of political weapons.
The press, important as is its office, is but the servant of the human intellect, and its ministry is for good or for evil, according to the character of those who direct it. The press is a mill which grinds all that is put into its hopper. Fill the hopper with poisoned grain, and it will grind it to meal, but there is death in the bread.
The rose that lives its little hour is prized beyond the sculptured flower.
The year’s last, loveliest smile.
Violets spring in the soft May shower.
War, like all other situations of danger and of change, calls forth the exertion of admirable intellectual qualities and great virtues, and it is only by dwelling on these, and keeping out of sight the sufferings and sorrows, and all the crimes and evils that follow in its train, that it has its glory in the eyes of men.