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The making one object, in outward or inward nature, more holy to a single heart, is reward enough for a life; for the more sympathies we gain or awaken for what is beautiful, by so much deeper will be our sympathy for that which is most beautiful, the human soul.
The material of thought re-acts upon the thought itself.
The New World's sons from England's breast we drew
Such milk as bids remember whence we came,
Proud of her past wherefrom our future grew,
This window we inscribe with Raleigh's fame.
- inscription on the window given St. Margaret's Church, Westminster, London by Americans
The nunneries of silent nooks, the murmured longing of the wood.
The only conclusive evidence of a man's sincerity is that he gives himself for a principle. Words, money, all things else, are comparatively easy to give away; but when a man makes a gift of his daily life and practice, it is plain that the truth, whatever it may be, has taken possession of him.
The opening of the first grammar school was the opening of the first trench against monopoly in Church and State.
The path of nature is, indeed, a narrow one, and it is only the immortals that seek it, and, when they find it, do not find themselves cramped therein.
The plump swain at evening bringing home four months' sunshine bound in sheaves.
The pressure of public opinion is like the pressure of the atmosphere; you can't see it--but, all the same it is sixteen pounds to the square inch.
- in an interview, in the "New York Times"
The quiet tenderness of Chaucer, where you almost seem to hear the hot tears falling, and the simple choking words sobbed out.
The realm of death seems an enemy's country to most men, on whose shores they are loathly driven by stress of weather; to the wise man it is the desired port where he moors his bark gladly, as in some quiet haven of the Fortunate Isles; it is the golden west into which his sun sinks, and, sinking, casts back a glory upon the leaden cloud-tack which had darkly besieged his day.
The riches of scholarship, the benignities of literature, defy fortune and outlive calamity. They are beyond the reach of thief or moth or rust. As they cannot be inherited, so they cannot, be alienated.
The right of individual property is no doubt the very corner-stone of civilization, as hitherto understood; but I am a little impatient of being told that property is entitled to exceptional consideration because it bears all the burdens of the state. It bears those, indeed, which can be most easily borne, but poverty pays with its person the chief expenses of war, pestilence, and famine.
The secret of force in writing lies not so much in the pedigree of nouns and adjectives and verbs, as in having something that you believe in to say, and making the parts of speech vividly conscious of it.
The stiff rails were softened to swan's-down, and still fluttered down the snow.
The true historical genius, to our thinking, is that which can see the nobler meaning of events that are near him, as the true poet is he who detects the divine in the casual; and we somewhat suspect the depth of his insight into the past who cannot recognize the godlike of to-day under that disguise in which it always visits us.
The true ideal is not opposed to the real, nor is it any artificial heightening thereof, but lies in it; and blessed are the eyes that find it.
The very gnarliest and hardest of hearts has some musical strings in it; but they are tuned differently in every one of us.
There are two kinds of genius. The first and highest may be said to speak out of the eternal to the present, and must compel its age to understand it; the second understands its age, and tells it what it wishes to be told.
There are two kinds of weakness, that which breaks and that which bends.
There is a law of neutralization of forces, which hinders bodies from sinking beyond a certain depth in the sea; but in the ocean of baseness, the deeper we get, the easier the sinking.
There is no self-delusion more fatal than that which makes the conscience dreamy with the anodyne of lofty sentiments, while the life is groveling and sensual.
There is only one thing better than tradition and that is the original and eternal life out of which all tradition takes its rise.
There is something solid and doughty in the man that can rise from defeat, the stuff of which victories are made in due time, when we are able to choose our position better, and the sun is at our back.
Through aisles of long-drawn centuries my spirit walks in thought.
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