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NATHANIEL PARKER WILLIS
American poet, essayist, journalist and dramatist
(1806 - 1867)
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The starlight of the brain.
      - [Intellect]

The taste forever refines in the study of women.
      - [Women]

The value of life deepens incalculably with the privileges of travel.
      - [Travel]

There is a gentle element, and man may breathe it with a calm, unruffled soul, and drink its living waters, till his heart is pure; and this is human happiness.
      - [Happiness]

There is no divining-rod whose dip shall tell us at twenty what we shall most relish at thirty.
      - [Future]

There is to me a daintiness about early flowers that touches me like poetry. They blow out with such a simple loveliness among the common herbs of pastures, and breathe their lives so unobtrusively, like hearts whose beatings are too gentle for the world.
      - [Flowers]

Vulgarity is more obvious in satin than in homespun.
      - [Vulgarity]

We may believe that we shall know each other's forms hereafter; and in the bright fields of the better land call the lost dead to us.
      - [Future]

What is ambition? It is a glorious cheat! Angels of light walk not so dazzlingly the sapphire walls of heaven.
      - [Ambition]

Wisdom, sits alone, topmost in heaven: she is its light, its God; and in the heart of man she sits as high, though groveling minds forget her oftentimes, seeing but this world's idols.
      - [Wisdom]

Woe for my vine-clad home, that it should ever be so dark to me, with its bright threshold and its whispering tree!
      - [Woe]

The dust is old upon my "sandal-shoon,"
  And still I am a pilgrim; I have roved
    From wild America to Bosphor's waters,
      And worshipp'd at innumerable shrines
        Of beauty; and the painter's art, to me,
          And sculpture, speak as with a living tongue,
            And of dead kingdoms, I recall the soul,
              Sitting amid their ruins.
      - Florence Gray [Traveling]

Press on!--"For in the grave there is no work
  And no device"--Press on! while yet ye may!
      - From a Poem Delivered at Yale College
         (l. 45) [Progress]

The world well tried--the sweetest thing in life
  Is the unclouded welcome of a wife.
      - Lady Jane (canto II, st. 11) [Wives]

Your love in a cottage is hungry,
  Your vine is a nest for flies--
    Your milkmaid shocks the Graces,
      And simplicity talks of pies!
        You lie down to your shady slumber
          And wake with a bug in your ear,
            Any your damsel that walks in the morning
              Is shod like a mountaineer.
      - Love in a Cottage (st. 3) [Love]

At present there is no distinction among the upper ten thousand of the city.
      - Necessity for a Promenade Drive [Society]

How beautiful it is for a man to die
  Upon the walls of Zion! to be called
    Like a watch-worn and weary sentinel,
      To put his armour off, and rest in heaven!
      - On the Death of a Missionary [Death]

And mad ambition trumpeteth to all.
      - Parrhasius [Ambition]

How like a mounting devil in the heart
  Rules the unreined ambition!
      - Parrhasius [Ambition]

For it stirs the blood in an old man's heart;
  And makes his pulses fly,
    To catch the thrill of a happy voice,
      And the light of a pleasant eye.
      - Saturday Afternoon (st. 1) [Happiness]

The Spring is here--the delicate footed May,
  With its slight fingers full of leaves and flowers,
    And with it comes a thirst to be away.
      In lovelier scenes to pass these sweeter hours.
      - Spring [Spring]

'Tis a bird I love, with its brooding note,
  And the trembling throb in its mottled throat;
    There's a human look in its swelling breast,
      And the gentle curve of its lowly crest;
        And I often stop with the fear I feel--
          He runs so close to the rapid wheel.
      - The Belfry Pigeon [Pigeons]

Let us weep in our darkness--but weep not for him!
  Not for him--who, departing, leaves millions in tears!
    Not for him--who has died full of honor and years!
      Not for him--who ascended Fame's ladder so high.
        From the round at the top he has stepped to the sky.
      - The Death of Harrison (st. 6) [Mourning]

But he who never sins can little boast
  Compared to him who goes and sins no more!
      - The Lady Jane (canto II, st. 44) [Sin]

It is the month of June,
  The month of leaves and roses,
    When pleasant sights salute the eyes
      And pleasant scents the noses.
      - The Month of June [June]


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