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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - Quotes

Great is the art of beginning, but greater the art is of ending;
Many a poem is marred by a superfluous verse.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Elegiac Verse. 1879.

Turn, turn, my wheel! All things must change
To something new, to something strange;
Nothing that is can pause or stay;
The moon will wax, the moon will wane,
The mist and cloud will turn to rain,
The rain to mist and cloud again,
To-morrow be to-day.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Kéramos. 1878.

Art is the child of Nature; yes,
Her darling child, in whom we trace
The features of the mother's face,
Her aspect and her attitude,
All her majestic loveliness
Chastened and softened and subdued
Into a more attractive grace,
And with a human sense imbued.
He is the greatest artist, then,
Whether of pencil or of pen,
Who follows Nature.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Kéramos. 1878.

Three Silences there are: the first of speech,
The second of desire, the third of thought;
This is the lore a Spanish monk, distraught
With dreams and visions, was the first to teach.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. The Three Silences of Molinos. 1878.

The holiest of all holidays are those
Kept by ourselves in silence and apart;
The secret anniversaries of the heart,
When the full river of feeling overflows.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Holidays. 1878.

Time has laid his hand
Upon my heart, gently, not smiting it,
But as a harper lays his open palm
Upon his harp, to deaden its vibrations.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. The Golden Legend. 1872.

The grave itself is but a covered bridge,
Leading from light to light, through a brief darkness!

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. The Golden Legend. 1872.

All nature, he holds, is a respiration
Of the Spirit of God, who, in breathing hereafter
Will inhale it into his bosom again,
So that nothing but God alone will remain.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. The Golden Legend. 1872.

The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. The Ladder of St. Augustine. 1858.

A boy's will is the wind's will,
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. My Lost Youth. 1858.

Ye are better than all the ballads
That ever were sung or said;
For ye are living poems,
And all the rest are dead.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Children. 1858.

If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Driftwood. 1857.

There is no flock, however watched and tended,
But one dead lamb is there!
There is no fireside, howsoe'er defended,
But has one vacant chair!

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Resignation. 1849.

There is no Death! What seems so is transition;
This life of mortal breath
Is but a suburb of the life elysian,
Whose portal we call Death.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Resignation. 1849.

Nothing useless is, or low;
Each thing in its place is best;
And what seems but idle show
Strengthens and supports the rest.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. The Builders. 1849.

God sent his Singers upon earth
With songs of sadness and of mirth,
That they might touch the hearts of men,
And bring them back to heaven again.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. The Singers. 1849.

Alike were they free from
Fear, that reigns with the tyrant, and envy, the vice of republics.
Neither locks had they to their doors, nor bars to their windows;
But their dwellings were open as day and the hearts of their owners;
There the richest was poor, and the poorest lived in abundance.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie. 1849.

Talk not of wasted affection, affection never was wasted;
If it enrich not the heart of another, its waters, returning
Back to their springs, like the rain, shall fill them full of refreshment;
That which the fountain sends forth returns again to the fountain.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie. 1849.

We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Kavanagh : A Tale. 1849.

If spring came but once in a century, instead of once a year, or burst forth with the sound of an earthquake, and not in silence, what wonder and expectation there would be in all hearts to behold the miraculous change!
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Kavanagh : A Tale. 1849.

Give what you have. To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Kavanagh : A Tale. 1849.

For his heart was in his work, and the heart
Giveth grace unto every Art.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. The Building of the Ship. 1849.

And see! she stirs!
She starts,—she moves,—she seems to feel
The thrill of life along her keel,
And, spurning with her foot the ground,
With one exulting, joyous bound,
She leaps into the ocean's arms!

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. The Building of the Ship. 1849.

And in the wreck of noble lives
Something immortal still survives.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. The Building of the Ship. 1849.

Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State!
Sail on, O Union, strong and great!
Humanity with all its fears,
With all the hopes of future years,
Is hanging breathless on thy fate!

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. The Building of the Ship. 1849.

Come, read to me some poem,
Some simple and heartfelt lay,
That shall soothe this restless feeling,
And banish the thoughts of day.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. The Day is Done. 1845.

Read from some humbler poet,
Whose songs gushed from his heart,
As showers from the clouds of summer,
Or tears from the eyelids start.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. The Day is Done. 1845.

Never here, forever there,
Where all parting, pain, and care,
And death, and time shall disappear,—
Forever there, but never here!

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. The Old Clock on the Stairs. 1845.

No one is so accursed by fate,
No one so utterly desolate,
But some heart, though unknown,
Responds unto his own.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Endymion. 1842.

Look not mournfully into the Past. It comes not back again. Wisely improve the Present. It is thine. Go forth to meet the shadowy Future, without fear, and with a manly heart.
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Hyperion. 1839.

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
"Life is but an empty dream!"
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. A Psalm of Life. 1839.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. A Psalm of Life. 1839.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. A Psalm of Life. 1839.

Trust no future, howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act, act in the living present!
Heart within, and God o'erhead!

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. A Psalm of Life. 1839.

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. A Psalm of Life. 1839.

Let us, then, be up and doing.
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. A Psalm of Life. 1839.

Music is the universal language of mankind — poetry their universal pastime and delight.
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Outre-Mer. 1835.

The warriors that fought for their country, and bled,
Have sunk to their rest; the damp earth is their bed;
No stone tells the place where their ashes repose,
Nor points out the spot from the graves of their foes.

They died in their glory, surrounded by fame,
And Victory's loud trump their death did proclaim;
They are dead; but they live in each Patriot's breast,
And their names are engraven on honor's bright crest.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. The Battle of Lovell's Pond. 1820.