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American essayist and poet
(1803 - 1882)
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Our high respect for a well-read man is praise enough for literature.
      - Letters and Social Aims--Quotation and Originality

Our knowledge is the amassed thought and experience of innumerable minds.
      - Letters and Social Aims--Quotation and Originality

The nobler the truth or sentiment, the less imports the question of authorship.
      - Letters and Social Aims--Quotation and Originality

The passages of Shakespeare that we most prize were never quoted until within this century.
      - Letters and Social Aims--Quotation and Originality

We are as much informed of a writer's genius by what he selects as by what he originates.
      - Letters and Social Aims--Quotation and Originality

We prize books, and they prize them most who are themselves wise.
      - Letters and Social Aims--Quotation and Originality

When Shakespeare is charges with debts to his authors, Landor replies, "Yet he was more original than his originals. He breathed upon dead bodies and brought them into life."
      - Letters and Social Aims--Quotation and Originality

If we encountered a man or rare intellect, we should ask him what books he read.
      - Letters and Social Aims--Quotations and Originality

All men are poets at heart.
      - Literary Ethics [Poets]

Nothing is more simple than greatness; indeed, to be simple is to be great.
      - Literary Ethics [Simplicity]

Works of the intellect are great only by comparison with each other.
      - Literary Ethics [Intellect]

Daughter of heaven and earth, coy Spring,
  With sudden passion languishing,
    Teaching barren moors to smile,
      Painting pictures mile on mile,
        Holds a cup of cowslip wreaths
          Whence a smokeless incense breathes.
      - May Day (st. 1) [Spring]

Nor sequent centuries could hit
  Orbit and sum of Shakespeare's wit.
      - May Day and Other Pieces--Solution (l. 39)

Echo waits with art and care
  And will the faults of song repair.
      - May-day (l. 439) [Echo]

And striving to be Man, the worm
  Mounts through all the spires of form.
      - Mayday [Progress]

Nor count compartments of the floors,
  But mount to paradise
    By the stairway of surprise.
      - Merlin [Paradise]

When Nature has work to be done, she create a genius to do it.
      - Method of Nature [Genius]

For the world was built in order
  Around the atoms march in tune;
    Rhyme the pipe, and Time the warder,
      The sun obeys them, and the moon.
      - Monadnock (st. 12) [Order]

Belief consists in accepting the affirmations of the soul; unbelief, in denying them.
      - Montaigne [Belief]

My garden is a forest ledge
  Which older forest s bound;
    The banks slope down to the blue lake-edge,
      Then plunge to depths profound!
      - My Garden (st. 3) [Gardens]

Light is the first of painters. There is no object so foul that intense light will not make it beautiful.
      - Nature (ch. III) [Light]

Ants never sleep.
      - Nature (ch. IV) [Ants]

Who gave thee, O Beauty,
  The keys of this breast,--
    Too credulous lover
      Of blest and unblest?
        Say, when in lapsed ages
          Thee knew I of old?
            Or what was the service
              For which I was sold?
      - Ode to Beauty (st. 1) [Beauty]

Go put your creed into your deed,
  Not speak with double tongue.
      - Ode--Concord [Deeds]

If the single man plant himself indomitably on his instincts, and there abide, the huge world will come round to him.
      - Of the American Scholar,
        in "Nature Addresses and Lectures"

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