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English poet and critic
(1772 - 1834)
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Pedantry consists in the use of words unsuitable to the time, place, and company.
      - Biographia Literaria (ch. X) [Language]

Our myriad-minded Shakespeare.
      - Biographia Literaria (ch. XV),
        borrowed from a Greek monk who had applied it to a Patriarch of Constantinople

God grant me grace my prayers to say:
  O God! preserve my mother dear,
    In strength and health for many a year;
      And O! preserve my father too,
        And may I pay him reverence due;
          And may I my best thoughts employ
            To be my parents' hope and joy;
              And O! preserve my brothers both
                From evil doings, and from sloth,
                  And may we always love each other,
                    Our friends, our father, and our mother,
                      And still, O Lord, to me impart
                        An innocent and grateful heart,
                          That after my last sleep I may
                            Awake to thy eternal day! Amen.
      - Child's Evening Prayer [Prayer]

The saints will aid if men will call:
  For the blue sky bends over all.
      - Christabel (conclusion to pt. I) [Prayer]

And the spring comes slowly up this way.
      - Christabel (pt. I) [Spring]

Carved with figures strange and sweet,
  All made out of the carver's brain.
      - Christabel (pt. I) [Furniture]

Her gentle limbs did she undress,
  And lay down in her loveliness.
      - Christabel (pt. I, st. 24) [Beauty]

Alas! they had been friends in youth;
  But whispering tongues can poison truth,
    And constancy lives in realms above;
      And life is thorny, and youth is vain;
        And to be wrothe with one we love
          Doth work like madness in the brain.
      - Christabel (pt. II) [Anger : Love]

In Koln, a town of monks and bones,
  And pavement fang'd with murderous stones,
    And rags and hags, and hideous wenches,
      I counted two-and-seventy stenches,
        All well defined, and several stinks!
          Ye nymphs that reign o'er sewers and sinks,
            The River Rhine, it is well known,
              Doth wash your city of Cologne;
                But tell me, nymphs! what power divine
                  Shall henceforth whash the river Rhine.
      - Cologne [Cologne]

It sounds like stories from the land of spirits,
  If any man obtain that which he merits,
    Or any merit that which he obtains.
      - Complaint [Merit]

. . . So often do the spirits
  Of great events stride on before the events,
    And in to-day already walks to-morrow.
      - Death of Wallenstein (act V, sc. 1)

O! lady, we receive but what we give,
  And in our life alone doth nature live;
    Ours is her wedding garment, ours her shroud!
      - Dejection--An Ode (IV) [Results]

Visit her, gentle Sleep! with wings of healing,
  And may this storm be but a mountain-birth,
    May all the stars hang bright above her dwelling,
      Silent as though they watched the sleeping Earth!
      - Dejection--An Ode (st. 8) [Sleep]

He saw a cottage with a double coach-house,
  A cottage of gentility!
    And the Devil did grin, for his darling sin
      Is pride that apes humility.
      - Devil's Walk [Humility]

Ere sin could blight or sorrow fade,
  Death came with friendly care;
    The opening bud to Heaven conveyed,
      And bade it blossom there.
      - Epitaph on an Infant [Epitaphs]

Ignorance seldom vaults into knowledge, but passes into it through an intermediate state of obscurity, even as night into day through twilight.
      - Essay (XVI) [Ignorance]

O, it is pleasant, with a heart at ease,
  Just after sunset, or by moonlight skies,
    To make the shifting clouds be what you please,
      Or let the easily persuaded eyes
        Own each quaint likeness issuing from the mould
          Of a friend's fancy.
      - Fancy in Nubibus [Clouds]

And so, his senses gradually wrapt
  In a half sleep, he dreams of better worlds,
    And dreaming hears thee still, O singing lark;
      That singest like an angel in the clouds.
      - Fears in Solitude [Dreams]

Forth from his dark and lonely hiding place,
  (Portentous sight!) the owlet atheism,
    Sailing on obscene wings athwart the noon,
      Drops his blue-fring'd lids, and holds them close,
        And hooting at the glorious sun in Heaven,
          Cries out, "Where is it?"
      - Fears in Solitude [Religion]

Yes, while I stood and gazed, my temples bare,
  And shot my being through earth, sea, and air,
    Possessing all things with intensest love,
      O liberty! my spirit felt thee there.
      - France--An Ode (V) [Liberty]

Silent icicles,
  Quietly shining to the quiet moon.
      - Frost at Midnight [Icicles]

Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
  Whether the summer clothe the general earth
    With greenness, or the redbreast sit and sing
      Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
        Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
          Smokes in the sunthaw; whether the eve-drops fall,
            Heard only in the trances of the blast,
              Of if the secret ministry of frost
                Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
                  Quietly shining to the quiet moon.
      - Frost at Midnight [Seasons]

The frost performs its secret ministry,
  Unhelped by any wind.
      - Frost at Midnight (l. 1) [Winter]

God! sing, ye meadow-streams, with gladsome voice!
  Ye pine-groves, with your soft and soul-like sounds!
    And they too have a voice, you piles of snow,
      And in their perilous fall shall thunder, God!
      - Hymn before Sunrise in the Vale of Chamouni

Riseth from forth thy silent sea of pines.
      - Hymn Before Sunrise in the Vale of Chamouni

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