C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


  • A globe of dew
  • Filling, in the morning new,
  • Some eyed flower, whose young leaves waken
  • On an unimagined world;
  • Constellated suns unshaken,
  • Orbits measureless are furl’d
  • In that frail and fading sphere,
  • With ten millions gathered there
  • To tremble, gleam and disappear.
  • A sensitive plant in a garden grew,
  • And the young winds fed it with silver dew,
  • And it opened its fan-like leaves to the light,
  • And closed them beneath the kisses of night.
  • A thought by thought is piled, till some great truth
  • Is loosened, and the nations echo round,
  • Shaken to their roots, as do the mountains now.
  • Alas! I have nor hope nor health,
  • Nor peace within nor calm around,
  • Nor that content surpassing wealth
  • The sage in meditation found.
  • And on their lids***
  • The baby Sleep is pillowed.
  • And the rose like a nymph to the bath addrest,
  • Which unveiled the depth of her glowing breast,
  • Till, fold after fold, to the fainting air,
  • The soul of her beauty and love lay bare.
  • And the violet lay dead while the odor flew
  • On the wings or the wind o’er the waters blue.
  • Around, around, in ceaseless circles wheeling,
  • With clangs of wings and scream, the Eagle sailed
  • Incessantly.
  • Come near me! I do weave
  • A chain I cannot break—I am possest
  • With thoughts too swift and strong for one lone human breast.
  • Commerce has set the mark of selfishness,
  • The signet of its all-enslaving power
  • Upon a shining ore, and called it gold;
  • Before whose image bow the vulgar great,
  • The vainly rich, the miserable proud,
  • The mob of peasants, nobles, priests, and kings,
  • And with blind feelings reverence the power
  • That grinds them to the dust of misery.
  • But in the temple of their hireling hearts
  • Gold is a living god, and rules in scorn
  • All earthly things but virtue.
  • First our pleasures die—and then
  • Our hopes, and then our fears—and when
  • These are dead, the debt is due,
  • Dust claims dust—and we die too.
  • For there are deeds
  • Which have no form, sufferings which have no tongue.
  • Heaven’s ebon vault,
  • Studded with stars unutterably bright,
  • Thro’ which the moon’s unclouded grandeur rolls,
  • Seems like a canopy which love has spread
  • To curtain her sleeping world.
  • Hell is a city much like London—
  • A populous and a smoky city;
  • There are all sorts of people undone,
  • And there is little or no fun done;
  • Small justice shown, and still less pity.
  • *****
  • Lawyers—judges—old hobnobbers
  • Are there—bailiffs—chancellors
  • Bishops—great and little robbers—
  • Rhymesters—pamphleteers—stock-jobbers—
  • Men of glory in the wars.
  • How wonderful is Death, Death and his brother Sleep!
  • I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,
  • From the seas and the streams;
  • I bear light shade for the leaves when laid
  • In their noonday dreams.
  • From my wings are shaken the dews that waken
  • The sweet buds every one,
  • When rocked to rest on their mother’s breast,
  • As she dances about the sun.
  • I wield the flail of the lashing hail,
  • And whiten the green plains under,
  • And then again I dissolve it in rain,
  • And laugh as I pass in thunder.
  • I could lie down like a tired child,
  • And weep away the life of care
  • Which I have borne, and yet must bear.
  • I know
  • The past and thence I will essay to glean
  • A warning for the future, so that man
  • May profit by his errors, and derive
  • Experience from his folly;
  • For, when the power of imparting joy
  • Is equal to the will, the human soul
  • Requires no other heaven.
  • I love tranquil solitude
  • And such society
  • As is quiet, wise, and good.
  • January grey is here,
  • Like a sexton by her grave;
  • February bears the bier,
  • March with grief doth howl and rave,
  • And April weeps—but, O ye hours!
  • Follow with May’s fairest flowers.
  • Kings are like stars—they rise and set—they have
  • The worship of the world, but no repose.
  • Like the young moon,
  • When on the sunlit limits of the night
  • Her white shell trembles amid crimson air,
  • And whilst the sleeping tempest gathers might,
  • Doth, as the herald of its coming, bear
  • The ghost of its dead mother, whose dim form
  • Bends in dark ether from her infant’s chair.
  • Lost Echo sits amid the voiceless mountains,
  • And feeds her grief.
  • Most wretched men
  • Are cradled into poetry by wrong.
  • They learn in suffering what they teach in song.
  • Music, where soft voices die,
  • Vibrates in the memory.
  • O heart, and mind, and thoughts! what thing do you
  • Hope to inherit in the grave below?
  • O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being,
  • Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
  • Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,
  • Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
  • Pestilence-stricken multitudes.
  • O wind,
  • If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?
  • Peter was dull; he was at first
  • Dull,—Oh, so dull—so very dull!
  • Whether he talked, wrote, or rehearsed—
  • Still with this dullness was he cursed—
  • Dull—beyond all conception—dull.
  • Power, like a desolating pestilence,
  • Pollutes whate’er it touches; and obedience,
  • Bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth,
  • Makes slaves of men, and of the human frame,
  • A mechanized automaton.
  • Silence! Oh, well are Death and Sleep and Thou
  • Three brethren named, the guardians gloomy-winged,
  • Of one abyss, where life and truth and joy
  • Are swallowed up.
  • Sing again, with your dear voice revealing
  • A tone
  • Of some world far from ours,
  • Where music and moonlight and feeling
  • Are one.
  • Sleep, the fresh dew of languid love, the rain
  • Whose drops quench kisses till they burn again.
  • So is Hope
  • Changed for Despair—one laid upon the shelf,
  • We take the other. Under heaven’s high cope
  • Fortune is god—all you endure and do
  • Depends on circumstance as much as you.
  • That orbed maiden, with white fire laden,
  • Whom mortals call the moon.
  • The awful shadow of some unseen Power
  • Floats, tho’ unseen, amongst us.
  • The cold chaste Moon, the Queen of Heaven’s bright isles,
  • Who makes all beautiful on which she smiles!
  • That wandering shrine of soft, yet icy flame,
  • Which ever is transform’d yet still the same,
  • And warms, but not illumines.
  • The desire of the moth for the star—
  • Of the night for the morrow—
  • The devotion to something afar
  • From the sphere of our sorrow.
  • The feast is such as earth, the general mother,
  • Pours from her fairest bosom, when she smiles,
  • In the embrace of autumn.
  • The seed ye sow, another reaps;
  • The wealth ye find, another keeps;
  • The robes ye weave, another wears;
  • The arms ye forge, another bears.
  • The sun is set; the swallows are asleep;
  • The bats are flitting fast in the gray air;
  • The slow soft toads out of damp corners creep;
  • And evening’s breath, wandering here and there
  • Over the quivering surface of the stream,
  • Wakes not one ripple from its silent dream.
  • The world’s great age begins anew,
  • The golden years return,
  • The earth doth like a snake renew
  • Her winter weeds outworn.
  • The young moon has fed
  • Her exhausted horn
  • With the sunset’s fire.
  • ***then black despair,
  • The shadow of a starless night, was thrown
  • Over the world in which I moved alone.
  • These are two friends whose lives were undivided;
  • So let their memory be, now they have glided
  • Under the grave; let not their bones be parted,
  • For their two hearts in life were single-hearted.
  • Thine eyes are like the deep, blue, boundless heaven
  • Contracted to two circles underneath
  • Their long, fine lashes; dark, far, measureless,
  • Orb within orb, and line through line inwoven.
  • Those who inflict must suffer, for they see
  • The work of their own hearts, and that must be
  • Our chastisement or recompense.
  • Through the sunset of hope,
  • Like the shapes of a dream,
  • What paradise islands of glory gleam!
  • Twilight, ascending slowly from the east,
  • Entwined in duskier wreaths her braided locks
  • O’er the fair front and radiant eyes of day;
  • Night followed, clad with stars.
  • We look before and after,
  • And sigh for what is not,
  • Our sincerest laughter
  • With some pain is fraught:
  • Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.
  • We know not what we do
  • When we speak words.
  • What art thou Freedom? Oh, could slaves
  • Answer from their living graves
  • This demand, tyrants would flee
  • Like a dim dream’s imagery!
  • Thou art Justice—ne’er for gold
  • May thy righteous laws be sold,
  • As laws are in England: thou
  • Shield’st alike high and low.
  • Thou art Peace—never by thee
  • Would blood and treasure wasted be
  • As tyrants wasted them when all
  • Leagued to quench thy flame in Gaul!
  • Thou art love: the rich have kist
  • Thy feet and like him following Christ
  • Given their substance to be free
  • And through the world have followed thee.
  • Winter is come and gone,
  • But grief returns with the revolving year.
  • You must come home with me and be my guest;
  • You will give joy to me, and I will do
  • All that is in my power to honor you.
  • A lovely lady, garmented in light.

    A poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds. His auditors are as men entranced by the melody of an unseen musician, who feel that they are moved and softened, yet know not whence or why.

    Ah! what a divine religion might be found out if charity were really made the principle of it instead of faith!

    All of us who are worth anything spend our manhood in unlearning the follies, or expiating the mistakes of our youth.

    All the tree-tops lay asleep, like green waves on the sea.

    And the spring arose on the garden fair like the spirit of Love felt everywhere.

    As in the soft and sweet eclipse, when soul meets soul on lovers’ lips.

    Commerce has set the mark of selfishness, the signet of its all-enslaving power, upon a shining ore and called it gold.

    Earth, ocean, air, beloved brotherhood.

    Gold is a living god, and rules in scorn all earthly things but virtue.

    Hope will make thee young; for Hope and Youth are children of one mother.

    How wonderful is Death, Death and his brother Sleep!

    In the warm shadow of her loveliness he kissed her with his beams.

    Man is of soul and body, formed for deeds of high resolve, on fancy’s boldest wing.

    Most wretched men are cradled into poetry by wrong; they learn in suffering what they teach in song.

    Necessity, thou mother of the world!

    No change, no pause, no hope! Yet I endure.

    Nought may endure but mutability.

    O wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?

    Oh that simplicity and innocence its own unvalued work so seldom knows!

    Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thoughts.

    Poetry is the record of the best and happiest moments of the happiest and best minds.

    Poets are the hierophants of an unapprehended inspiration; the mirrors of the gigantic shadows which futurity casts upon the present.

    Revenge is the naked idol of the worship of a semi-barbarous age.

    See the mountains kiss high heavens, and the waves clasp one another.

    Songs consecrate to truth and liberty.

    Strange thoughts beget strange deeds.

    Such affection and unbroken faith as temper life’s worst bitterness.

    The flood of time is setting on; we stand upon its brink.

    The jealous keys of truth’s eternal doors.

    The lone couch of his everlasting sleep.

    The more we study, we the more discover our ignorance.

    They learn in suffering what they teach in song.

    Thou comest as the memory of a dream, which now is sad because it hath been sweet.

    Thou shoreless flood, which in thy ebb and flow claspest the limits of mortality.

    To the pure all things are pure.

    When the power of imparting joy is equal to the will, the human soul requires no other heaven.

    Where musing Solitude might love to lift her soul above this sphere of earthliness.

    Words are but holy as the deeds they cover.

    Worse than a bloody hand is a hard heart.