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JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER
American poet, reformer and author
(1807 - 1892)
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Tradition wears a snowy beard.
      - [Tradition]

Truth is one;
  And, in all lands beneath the sun,
    Whoso hath eyes to see may see
      The tokens of its unity.
      - [Truth]

Truth should be the first lesson of the child and the last aspiration of manhood; for it has been well said that the inquiry of truth, which is the love-making of it, the knowledge of truth, which is the presence of it, and the belief of truth, which is the enjoying of it, is the sovereign good of human nature.
      - [Truth]

We shape ourselves the joy or fear
  Of which the coming life is made,
    And fill our Future's atmosphere
      With sunshine or with shade.
      - [Results]

We wait for thy coming, sweet wind of the south!
  For the touch of thy light wings, the kiss of thy mouth;
    For the yearly evangel thou bearest from God,
      Resurrection and life to the graves of the sod!
      - [Wind]

What is good-looking, as Horace Smith remarks, but looking good? Be good, be womanly, be gentle, generous in your sympathies, heedful of the well-being of all around you; and, my word for it, you will not lack kind words of admiration.
      - [Goodness]

What is really momentous and all-important with us is the present, by which the future is shaped and colored.
      - [Present]

What, my soul, was thy errand here?
  Was it mirth or ease,
    Or heaping up dust from year to year?
      "Nay, none of these!"
        Speak, soul, aright in His holy sight,
          Whose eye looks still
            And steadily on thee through the night;
              "To do His will!"
      - [Soul]

When freedom, on her natal day,
  Within her war-rock'd cradle lay,
    An iron race around her stood,
      Baptiz'd her infant brow in blood,
        And through the storm that round her swept,
          Their constant ward and watching kept.
      - [Freedom]

When the breaking day is flushing
  All the East, and light is gushing
    Upward through the horizon's haze,
      Sheaf-like, with its thousand rays
        Spreading, until all above
          Overflows with joy and love,
            And below, on earth's green bosom,
              All is chang'd to light and blossom;
                Then, O Father!--Thou alone,
                  From the shadow of Thy throne,
                    To the sighing of my breast,
                      And its rapture answerest;
                        All my thoughts, with upward winging,
                          Bathe where Thy own light is springing!
      - [Sunrise]

White clouds, whose shadows haunt the deep,
  Light mists, whose soft embraces keep
    The sunshine on the hills asleep!
      - [Summer]

With our sympathy for the wrongdoer we need the old Puritan and Quaker hatred of wrongdoing; with our just tolerance of men and opinions a righteous abhorrence of sin. * * * The true life of a nation is in its personal morality, and no excellence of constitution and laws can avail much if the people lack, purity and integrity. Culture, art, refinement, care for our own comfort and that of others are well, but truth, honor, reverence, and fidelity to duty are indispensable. * * * It is well for us if we have learned to listen to the sweet persuasion of the Beatitudes, but there are crises in all lives which require also the emphatic "Thou shalt not" of the decalogue which the founders wrote on the gateposts of their commonwealth. * * * The great struggle through which we have passed (the Civil war) has taught us how much we owe to the men and women of the Plymouth colony--the noblest ancestry that ever a people looked back to with love and reverence.
      - [Forefathers Day]

With warning hand I mark Time's rapid flight,
  From Life's glad morning to its solemn night;
    Yet, through the dear Lord's love, I also show
      There's light above me by the shade I throw.
      - an inscription on a sun dial for the Rev. Henry T. Bowditch
        [Sun Dial Mottoes]

O, rank is good, and gold is fair,
  And high and low mate ill;
    But love has never known a law
      Beyond its own sweet will!
      - Amy Wentworth (st. 18) [Love]

And light is mingled with gloom,
  And joy with grief;
    Divinest compensations come,
      Through thorns of judgment mercies bloom
        In sweet relief.
      - Anniversary Poem (st. 15) [Compensation]

And with a secret pain,
  And smiles that seem akin to tears,
    We hear the wild refrain.
      - At Port Royal [Music]

"Shoot, if you must, this old gray head,
  But spare your country's flag," she said.
      - Barbara Frietchie [Flags]

Happy he whose inward ear
  Angel comfortings can hear,
    O'er the rabble's laughter;
      And, while Hatred's fagots burn,
        Glimpses through the smoke discern
          Of the good hereafter.
      - Barclay of Ury [Immortality]

Through this dark and stormy night
  Faith beholds a feeble light
    Up the blackness streaking;
      Knowing God's own time is best,
        In a patient hope I rest
          For the full day-breaking!
      - Barclay of Ury (st. 16) [Faith]

Give lettered pomp to teeth of Time,
  So "Bonnie Doon" but tarry:
    Blot our the epic's stately rhyme,
      But square his Highland Mary!
      - Burns (last stanza) [Poetry]

We lack but open eye and ear
  To find the Orient's marvels here;
    The still small voice in autumn's hush,
      Yon maple wood the burning bush.
      - Chapel of the Hermits [Autumn]

Blow, bugles of battle, the marches of peace;
  East, west, north, and south let the long quarrel cease;
    Sing the song of great joy that the angels began,
      Sing the glory to God and of good-will to man!
      - Christmas Carmen (st. 3) [Christmas]

And beautiful maidens moved down in the dance,
  With the magic of motion and sunshine of glance;
    And white arms wreathed lightly, and tresses fell free
      As plumage of birds in some tropical tree.
      - Cities of the Plain (st. 4) [Dancing]

Formed on the good old plan,
  A true and brave and downright honest man!
    He blew no trumpet in the market-place,
      Nor in the church with hypocritic face
        Supplied with cant the lack of Christian grace;
          Loathing pretence, he did with cheerful will
            What others talked of while their hands were still.
      - Daniel Neall (II) [Character]

Behind the cloud the starlight lurks,
  Through showers the sunbeams fall;
    For God, who loveth all his works,
      Has left his Hope with all.
      - Dream of Summer [Hope]


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