Last modified on 2 November 2014, at 04:04

John Greenleaf Whittier

The windows of my soul I throw
Wide open to the sun.

John Greenleaf Whittier (17 December 18077 September 1892) was an American Quaker poet and abolitionist.

QuotesEdit

Shoot, if you must, this old gray head,
But spare your country's flag…
Where pity dwells, the peace of God is there.
When faith is lost, when honor dies
The man is dead!
  • Shoot, if you must, this old gray head,
    But spare your country's flag," she said.
    • Barbara Frietchie (1863); reported in Diane Ravitch, The American Reader: words that moved a nation (2000), p. 259. The lines are based on an folkloric account of the real Barbara Fritchie, said to have made a similar challenge to Confederate invaders of Maryland during the American Civil War.
  • The windows of my soul I throw
    Wide open to the sun.
    • My Psalm, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • What is good looking, as Horace Smith remarks, but looking good? Be good, be womanly, be gentle,—generous in your sympathies, heedful of the well-being of all around you; and, my word for it, you will not lack kind words of admiration.
    • The Beautiful, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • O, brother man! fold to thy heart thy brother;
    where pity dwells, the peace of God is there.
    • Worship, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • Press bravely onward! — not in vain
    Your generous trust in human kind;
    The good which bloodshed could not gain
    Your peaceful zeal shall find.
    • To the Reformers of England, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • So fallen! so lost! the light withdrawn
    Which once he wore;
    The glory from his gray hairs gone
    For evermore!
    • Ichabod, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • When faith is lost, when honor dies
    The man is dead!
    • Ichabod, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • Making their lives a prayer.
    • To A. K. On receiving a Basket of Sea-Mosses, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • Give lettered pomp to teeth of Time,
    So "Bonnie Doon" but tarry;
    Blot out the epic’s stately rhyme,
    But spare his "Highland Mary!"
    • Line on Burns, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • Perish with him the folly that seeks through evil good.
    • Brown of Ossawatomie, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • The hope of all who suffer,
    The dread of all who wrong.
    • The Mantle of St. John de Matha, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • I know not where His islands lift
    Their fronded palms in air;
    I only know I cannot drift
    Beyond His love and care.
    • The eternal Goodness, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • Again the shadow moveth o'er
    The dial-plate of time.
    • The New Year, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • Yet sometimes glimpses on my sight,
    Through present wrong the eternal right;
    And, step by step, since time began,
    I see the steady gain of man;
    • The Chapel of the Hermits, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • We lack but open eye and ear
    To find the Orient's marvels here;
    The still small voice in autumn's hush,
    Yon maple wood the burning bush.
    • The Chapel of the Hermits. Compare Mrs. Browningm, Aurora Leigh, Book vii. See page 659.
  • Better heresy of doctrine than heresy of heart.
    • Mary Garvin, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • Tradition wears a snowy beard, romance is always young.
    • Mary Garvin, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • The Night is Mother of the Day,
    The Winter of the Spring,
    And ever upon old Decay
    The greenest mosses cling.
    • A Dream of Summer, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • Beauty seen is never lost.
    • Sunset on the Bearcamp, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • God blesses still the generous thought,
    And still the fitting word He speeds,
    And Truth, at His requiring taught,
    He quickens into deeds.
    • Channing, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • Each crisis brings its word and deed.
    • The lost Occasion, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • The Beauty which old Greece or Rome
    Sung, painted, wrought, lies close at home.
    • To ———, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • We seemed to see our flag unfurled,
    Our champion waiting in his place
    For the last battle of the world,
    The Armageddon of the race.
    • Rantoul, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • Nature speaks in symbols and in signs.
    • To Charles Sumner, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • Who never wins can rarely lose,
    Who never climbs as rarely falls.
    • To James T. Fields, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • To eat the lotus of the Nile
    And drink the poppies of Cathay.
    • The Tent on the Beach, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • The harp at Nature's advent strung
    Has never ceased to play;
    The song the stars of morning sung
    Has never died away.
    • The Worship of Nature, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • Falsehoods which we spurn to-day
    Were the truths of long ago.
    • Calef in Boston, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • Low stir of leaves and dip of oars
    And lapsing waves on quiet shores.
    • Snow Bound, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • All hearts confess the saints elect,
    Who, twain in faith, in love agree,
    And melt not in an acid sect
    The Christian pearl of charity!
    • Snow Bound, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • Life is ever lord of Death
    And Love can never lose its own.
    • Snow Bound, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • Let the thick curtain fall;
    I better know than all
    How little I have gained,
    How vast the unattained.
    • My Triumph, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • Sweeter than any sung
    My songs that found no tongue
    ;
    Nobler than any fact
    My wish that failed of act.

    Others shall sing the song,
    Others shall right the wrong,—
    Finish what I begin,
    And all I fail of win.
    • My Triumph, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • God is and all is well.
    • My Birthday'', reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919). Compare Browning, Pippa Passes.

Maud Muller (1856)Edit

The best of a book is not the thought which it contains, but the thought which it suggests; just as the charm of music dwells not in the tones but in the echoes of our hearts.
  • Maud Muller, on a summer's day,
    Raked the meadows sweet with hay.
    Beneath her torn hat glowed the wealth
    Of simple beauty and rustic health.
  • So, closing his heart, the Judge rode on,
    And Maud was left in the field alone.
    But the lawyers smiled that afternoon,
    When he hummed in court an old love-tune
  • He wedded a wife of richest dower,
    Who lived for fashion, as he for power.
    Yet oft, in his marble hearth's bright glow,
    He watched a picture come and go:
    And sweet Maud Muller's hazel eyes
    Looked out in their innocent surprise.
  • A manly form at her side she saw,
    And joy was duty and love was law.
    Then she took up her burden of life again,
    Saying only, "It might have been".
  • Weary lawyers with endless tongues.
  • Alas for maiden, alas for Judge,
    For rich repiner and household drudge!
    God pity them both! and pity us all,
    Who vainly the dreams of youth recall;
    For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
    The saddest are these: "It might have been!"
    • Bret Harte wrote a famous parody of this famous poem, "Mrs. Judge Jenkins" in which the Judge marries Maud, and which he ends with the lines:
      Maud soon thought the Judge a bore,
      With all his learning and all his lore;
      And the Judge would have bartered Maud's fair face
      For more refinement and social grace.
      If, of all words of tongue and pen,
      The saddest are, "It might have been,"
      More sad are these we daily see:
      "It is, but hadn't ought to be".

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)Edit

Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).
  • God's ways seem dark, but, soon or late,
    They touch the shining hills of day;
    The evil cannot brook delay,
    The good can well afford to wait.
    • P. 282.
  • As yonder tower outstretches to the earth
    The dark triangle of its shade alone
    When the clear day is shining on its top;
    So, darkness in the pathway of man's life
    Is but the shadow of God's providence,
    By the great Sun of wisdom cast thereon;
    And what is dark below is light in heaven.
    • P. 282.
  • For they the mind of Christ discern
    Who lean, like John, upon His breast.
    • P. 399.
  • Strike! Thou the Master, we Thy keys,
    The anthem of the destinies!
    The minor of Thy loftier strain,
    Our hearts shall breathe the old refrain —
    "Thy will be done!"
    • P. 513.

AttributedEdit

  • Somehow not only for Christmas
    But all the long year through,
    The joy that you give to others
    Is the joy that comes back to you.

    And the more you spend in blessing
    The poor and lonely and sad,
    The more of your heart's possessing
    Returns to make you glad.
    • First published in The Educational Monthly of Canada, Volume 24‎ (1901), p. 29.

External linksEdit

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:
Wikisource has original works written by or about: