LOWELL, James Russell Quotes
(1819-1891), American poet and essayist
Not failure, but low aim, is crime.
Let us be of good cheer, remembering that the misfortunes hardest to bear are those which never come.
There is no good in arguing with the inevitable. The only argument available with an east wind is to put on your greatcoat.
He who is firmly seated in authority soon learns to think security, and not progress, the highest lesson of statecraft.
There is a law 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.
Children are God's apostles, sent forth, day by day, to preach of love, and hope and peace.
Fashion must be forever new, or she becomes insipid.
Fastidiousness is only another form of egotism; and all men who know not where to look for truth, save in the narrow well of self, will find their own image at the bottom, and mistake it for what they are seeking.
Fortune is the rod of the weak, and the staff of the brave.
There is no work of genius which has not been the delight of mankind; no word of genius to which the human heart and soul have not, sooner or later, responded.
All free governments, whatever their name, are in reality governments by public opinion; and it is on the quality of this public opinion that their prosperity depends.
It is heaven only that is given away—only God may be had for the asking.
Humbleness is always grace; always dignity.
Imagination, where it is truly creative, is a faculty, not a quality; its seat is in the higher reason, and it is efficient only as the servant of the will.—Imagination, as too often understood, is mere fantasy —the image-making power, common to all who have the gift of dreams.
Solitude is as needful to the imagination as society is wholesome for the character.
Incredulity robs us of many pleasures, and gives us nothing in return.
The intellect has only one failing, which, to be sure, is a very considerable one.—It has no conscience. Napoleon is the readiest instance of this. If his heart had borne any proportion to his brain, he had been one of the greatest men in all history.
The devil loves nothing better than the intolerance of reformers, and dreads nothing so much as their charity and patience.
A sneer is the weapon of the weak.—Like other weapons of the devil, it is always cunningly ready to our hand, and there is more poison in the handle than in the point.
Light is the symbol of truth.
Oh, wild and wondrous midnight, there is a might in thee to make the charmed body almost like spirit, and give it some faint glimpses of immortality.
Let us be of good cheer, remembering that the misfortunes hardest to bear are those which never happen.
When will poets learn that a grass-blade of their own raising is worth a barrow-load of flowers from their neighbor's garden?
Endurance is the crowning quality, and patience all the passion of great hearts.
Borrowed garments never keep one warm. A curse goes with them, as with Harry Gill's blankets. Nor can one get smuggled goods safely into kingdom come. How lank and pitiful does one of these gentry look, after posterity's customs-officers have had the plucking of him!
A poet must needs be before his own age, to be even with posterity.
Poetry is not made out of the understanding. The question of common sense is always: "What is it good for?" a question which would abolish the rose, and be triumphantly answered by the cabbage.
Some scrap of a childish song hath often been a truer alms than all the benevolent societies could give. This is the best missionary, knowing when she may knock at the door of the most curmudgeonly hearts, without being turned away unheard. For poesy is love's chosen apostle, and the very almoner of God. She is the home of the outcast, and the wealth of the needy.
Poetry is something to make us wiser and better, by continually revealing those types of beauty and truth which God has set in all men's souls.
Praise follows truth afar off, and only overtakes her at the grave; plausibility clings to her skirts and holds her back till then.
'Tis heaven alone that is given away; it is only God may be had for the asking.
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.
He who ordained the Sabbath loves the poor.
A sneer is the weapon of the weak. Like other devil's weapons, it is always cunningly ready to our hand, and there is more poison in the handle than in the point.
All men who know not where to look for truth save in the narrow well of self, will find their own image at the bottom and mistake it for what they are seeking.
Sentiment is intellectualized emotion; emotion precipitated, as it were, in pretty crystals by the fancy.
The code of society is stronger with some persons than that of Sinai; and many a man who would not scruple to thrust his fingers in his neighbor's pocket, would forego peas rather than use his knife as a shovel.
Stories now, to suit a public taste, must be half epigram, half pleasant vice.
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.
I would hardly change the sorrowful words of the poets for their glad ones.—Tears dampen the strings of the lyre, but they grow the more tender for it, and ring even the clearer and more ravishingly for it.
The quiet tenderness of Chaucer—Where you almost seem to hear the hot tears falling, and the simple choking words sobbed out.
A stray hair, by its continued irritation, may give more annoyance than a smart blow.
Tyranny is always weakness.
Wealth may be an excellent thing, for it means power, leisure, and liberty.