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JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL
American poet
(1819 - 1891)
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A terrible thing to be pestered with poets!
  But, alas, she is dumb, and the proverb holds good,
    She never will cry till she's out of the wood!
      - Fable for Critics (l. 73) [Poets]

His Nature's a glass of champagne with the foam on 't,
  As tender as Fletcher, as witty as Beaumont;
    So his best things are done in the flash of the moment.
      - Fable for Critics (l. 834) [Character]

They believed--faith, I'm puzzled--I think I may call
  Their belief a believing in nothing at all,
    Or something of that sort; I know they all went
      For a general union of total dissent.
      - Fable for Critics (l. 851) [Belief]

From lower to the higher next,
  Not to the top, is Nature's text;
    And embryo good, to reach full stature,
      Absorbs the evil in its nature.
      - Festina Lente--Moral [Progress]

Not caring, so that sumpter-horse, the back
  Be hung with gaudy trappings, in what course
    Yea, rags most beggarly, they clothe the soul.
      - Fireside Travels [Apparel]

Greatly begin! Though thou have time
  But for a line, be that sublime--
    Not failure, but low aim is crime.
      - For an Autograph [Failure]

Though old the thought and oft exprest,
  'Tis his at last who says it best.
      - For an Autograph (st. 1) [Quotations]

O chime of sweet Saint Charity,
  Peal soon that Easter morn
    When Christ for all shall risen be,
      And in all hearts new-born!
        That Pentecost when utterance clear
          To all men shall be given,
            When all shall say My Brother here,
              And hear My Son in heaven!
      - Godminster Chimes (st. 7) [Easter]

These pearls of thought in Persian gulfs were bred,
  Each softly lucent as a rounded moon;
    The diver Omar plucked them from their bed,
      FitzGerald strung them on an English thread.
      - In a Copy of Omar Khayyam [Poetry]

Never did Poesy appear
  So full of heaven to me, as when
    I saw how it would pierce through pride and fear
      To the lives of coarsest men.
      - Incident in a Railroad Car (st. 18)
        [Poetry]

The chestnuts, lavish of their long-hid gold,
  To the faint Summer, beggared now and old,
    Pour back the sunshine hoarded 'neath her favoring eye.
      - Indian-Summer Reverie (st. 10) [Chestnut]

His heart kep' goin' pity-pat,
  But hern went pity-Zekle.
      - Introduction to The Biglow Papers
         (second series, The Courtin', st. 15)
        [Wooing]

Earth's noblest thing, a Woman perfected.
      - Irene (l. 62) [Women]

It is good
  To lengthen to the last a sunny mood.
      - Legend of Brittany (pt. I, st. 35)
        [Cheerfulness]

A woman's love
  Is mighty, but a mother's heart is weak,
    And by its weakness overcomes.
      - Legend of Brittany (pt. II, st. 43)
        [Motherhood]

The thing we long for, that we are
  For one transcendent moment.
      - Longing [Desire]

True love is but a humble, low born thing,
  And hath its food served up in earthenware;
    It is a thing to walk with, hand in hand,
      Through the every-dayness of this workday world.
      - Love (l. 1) [Love]

Freedom needs all her poets; it is they
  Who give her aspirations wings,
    And to the wiser law of music sway
      Her wild imaginings.
      - Memorial Verses--To the Memory of Hood
         (st. 4) [Freedom]

O wild and wondrous midnight,
  There is a might in thee
    To make the charmed body
      Almost like spirit be,
        And give it some faint glimpses
          Of immortality.
      - Midnight [Midnight]

The fireflies o'er the meadow
  In pulses come and go.
      - Midnight (st. 3) [Fireflies]

Not as all other women are
  Is she that to my soul is dear;
    Her glorious fancies come from far,
      Beneath the silver evening star,
        And yet her heart is ever near.
      - My Love (st. 1) [Love]

It is by presence of mind in untried emergencies that the native metal of a man is tested.
      - My Study Windows--Abraham Lincoln
        [Character]

The only faith that wears well and holds its color in all weathers is that which is woven of conviction and set with the sharp mordant of experience.
      - My Study Windows--Abraham Lincoln [Faith]

He gives us the very quintessence of perception.
      - My Study Windows--Coleridge [Perception]

A great man is made up of qualities that meet or make great occasions.
      - My Study Windows--Garfield [Greatness]


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