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Every man, like Narcissus, becomes enamored of the reflection of himself, only choosing a substance instead of a shadow. This love for any particular woman is self-love at second hand, vanity reflected, compound egotism.
Floral apostles! that in dewy splendor weep without woe, and blush without a crime.
God's lidless eye!
Reader, now I send thee, like a bee, to gather honey out of flowers and weeds; every garden is furnished with either, and so is ours. Read and meditate.
Speech is a laggard and a sloth; but the eyes shoot out electric fluid that condenses all the elements of sentiment and passion in one single emanation.
The invisible and loquacious maiden of the mountain passes.
What laborious days, what watchings by the midnight lamp, what rackings of the brain, what hopes and fears, what long lives of laborious study, are here sublimized into print, and condensed into the narrow compass of these surrounding shelves!
When a proud man thinks best of himself, then God and man think worst of him.
Your voiceless lips, O flowers, are living preachers--each cup a pulpit, and each leaf a book.
Perhaps thou wert a priest,--if so, my struggles
Are vain, for priestcraft never owns its juggles.
- Address to a Mummy (st. 4) [Preaching]
I need not ask thee if that hand, now calmed,
Has any Roman soldier mauled and knuckled,
For thou wert dead, and buried and embalmed,
Ere Romulus and Remus had been suckled:
Antiquity appears to have begun
Long after that primeval race was run.
- Address to the Mummy in Belzoni's Exhibition
Our charity begins at home,
And mostly ends where it begins.
- Horace in London (bk. II, ode 15)
Day stars! that ope your frownless eyes to twinkle
From rainbow galaxies of earth's creation,
And dew-drops on her lonely altars sprinkle
As a libation.
- Hymn to the Flowers [Flowers]
Ye bright Mosaics! That with storied beauty,
The floor of Nature's temple tesselate,
What numerous emblems of instructive duty
Your forms create!
- Hymn to the Flowers [Flowers]
"Thou wert not, Solomon! in all thy glory
Array'd," the lilies cry, "in robes like ours;
How vain your grandeur! Ah, how transitory
Are human flowers!"
- Hymn to the Flowers (st. 10) [Lilies]
In losing fortune, many a lucky elf
Has found himself.
- Moral Alchemy (st. 12) [Fortune]
Scatter thy drowsiest poppies from above;
And in new dreams not soon to vanish, bless
My senses with the sight of her I love.
- Poppies and Sleep [Poppies]
"But," quoth his neighbor, "when the sun
From East to West his course has run,
How comes it that he shows his face
Next morning in his former place?"
"Ho! there's a pretty question, truly!"
Replied our wight, with an unruly
Burst of laughter and delight,
So much his triumph seemed to please him.
"Why, blockhead! he goes back at night,
And that's the reason no one sees him!"
- The Astronomical Alderman (st. 5) [Sun]
"Thy royal will be done--'tis just."
Replied the wretch, and kissed the dust;
"Since, my last moments to assuage,
Your majesty's humane decree
Has deigned to leave the choice to me,
I'll die, so please you, of old age."
- The Jester Condemned to Death [Choice]
Inconsistency is the only thing in which men are consistent.
- Tin Trumpet (vol. I, p. 273)