Jean Ingelow

British writer

Jean Ingelow (March 17, 1820July 20, 1897) was an English poet and novelist.

Man dwells apart, though not alone,
He walks among his peers unread;
The best of thoughts which he hath known
For lack of listeners are not said.

Quotes edit

Poems (1863) edit

London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, & Green, 1863

  • Crowds of bees are giddy with clover
    Crowds of grasshoppers skip at our feet,
    Crowds of larks at their matins hang over,
    Thanking the Lord for a life so sweet.
    • "Divided", line 5, p. 1.
  • But two are walking apart forever
    And wave their hands for a mute farewell.
    • "Divided", line 59, p. 6.
  • Let me be only sure; for sooth to tell
    The sorest dole is doubt.
    • "Honours—Part II", line 83, p. 21.
  • Is there never a chink in the world above
    Where they listen for words from below?
    • "Supper at the Mill", Mother sings, line 11, p. 48.
  • The while He sits whose name is Love,
    And waits, as Noah did, for the dove,
    To wit if she would fly to him.

    He waits for us, while, houseless things,
    We beat about with bruised wings
    On the dark floods and water-springs,
    The ruined world, the desolate sea;
    With open windows from the prime
    All night, all day, He waits sublime,
    Until the fulness of the time
    Decreed from His eternity.

    • "Scholar and Carpenter", line 54, p. 52.
  • And sweeter woman ne'er drew breath
    Than my sonne's wife, Elizabeth.
    • "The High Tide on the Coast of Lincolnshire, 1571", stanza 20, line 6, p. 148.
  • Man dwells apart, though not alone,
    He walks among his peers unread;
    The best of thoughts which he hath known,
    For lack of listeners are not said.
    • "Afternoon at a Parsonage", Afterthought, line 1, p. 159.
  • To bear, to nurse, to rear,
    To watch and then to lose:
    To see my bright ones disappear,
    Drawn up like morning dews.
    • "Songs of Seven", Seven Times Six. Giving in Marriage, line 1, p. 167.

A Story of Doom (1867) edit

A Story of Doom and Other Poems (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1867)

  • Man is the miracle in nature. God
    Is the One Miracle to man. Behold,
    "There is a God," thou sayest. Thou sayest well:
    In that thou sayest all. To Be is more
    Of wonderful, than being, to have wrought,
    Or reigned, or rested.
    • "A Story of Doom", Book VII, p. 191.
  • Learn that to love is the one way to know,
    Or God or man: it is not love received
    That maketh man to know the inner life
    Of them that love him; his own love bestowed
    Shall do it.
    • "A Story of Doom", Book VII, p. 191.
  • When our thoughts are born,
    Though they be good and humble, one should mind
    How they are reared, or some will go astray
    And shame their mother.
    • "Gladys and Her Island", p. 238.
  • It is a comely fashion to be glad,—
    Joy is the grace we say to God.
    • "Songs with Preludes: Dominion", p. 269.

The Monitions of the Unseen (1871) edit

The Monitions of the Unseen and Poems of Love and Childhood (Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1871)

  • I am glad to think
    I am not bound to make the wrong go right;
    But only to discover, and to do
    With cheerful heart, the work that God appoints.
    • "The Monitions of the Unseen", p. 31.
  • Like coral insects multitudinous
    The minutes are whereof our life is made.
    They build it up as in the deep's blue shade
    It grows, it comes to light, and then, and thus
    For both there is an end.
    • "Work", line 1, p. 54.
  • Work is its own best earthly need,
    Else have we none more than the sea-born throng
    Who wrought these marvellous isles that bloom afar.
    • "Work", line 12, p. 54.
  • How short our happy days appear!
    How long the sorrowful!
    • "The Mariner's Cave", line 223, p. 70.
  • Reign, and keep life in this our deep desire—
    Our only greatness is that we aspire.
    • "A Snow Mountain", line 13, p. 97.
  • O sleep, we are beholden to thee, sleep,
    Thou bearest angels to us in the night,
    Saints out of heaven with palms. Seen by thy light
    Sorrow is some old tale that goeth not deep;
    Love is a pouting child.
    • "Sleep (A Woman Speaks)", line 1, p. 98.

Off the Skelligs: A Novel (1872) edit

Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1872

  • I do not know why a girl should be expected to talk well till she is at least twenty. There cannot be much in her, she may be prettily exacting, or charmingly modest, but her attractions must be personal, not intellectual.
    • Ch. 12, p. 188.
  • A great many people think of religion as if it was a game that they had to play with an August Opponent—a game at which both could not win, and yet they actually think they can play it unfairly. They want to cheat. But in that grand and awful game, it cannot be said that either wins unless both do.
    • Ch. 12, p. 193.
  • What a bore it is […] that the dull and uneducated and unimaginative should possess a dogged contempt for danger, and a kind of stupid fearlessness that we are never to have. I do not see how a highly imaginative man can have much animal courage.
    • Ch. 13, pp. 202–203
  • [W]e wish for more in life, rather than for more of it.
    • Ch. 13, p. 203.
  • [U]gliness of the right sort is a kind of beauty. It has some of the best qualities of beauty—it attracts observation and fixes the memory.
    • Ch. 18, p. 278.
  • [T]his is a woman-ridden age. Yet it is but fair to confess that all the former ones were man-ridden ages. What we want is a happy proportion.
    • Ch. 21, p. 351.
  • [O]ne must have a certain amount of both intelligence and knowledge to be amazed even at the most extraordinary things.
    • Ch. 21, p. 356.
  • Our own faces, seen suddenly, will sometimes tell us things concerning ourselves that we did not suspect before.
    • Ch. 30, p. 560.
  • I have lived to thank God that all my prayers have not been answered.
    • Ch. 31, p. 571.

Fated to Be Free: A Novel (1875) edit

Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1875

  • It seemed proper indeed to crowd the pages with children, for in real life they run all over; the world is covered thickly with the prints of their little footsteps, though, as a rule, books written for grown-up people are kept almost clear of them.
    • Author's Preface to the American edition, p. iv.
  • Nature, before it has been touched by man, is almost always beautiful, strong, and cheerful in man's eyes; but nature, when he has once given it his culture and then forsaken it, has usually an air of sorrow and helplessness. He has made it live the more by laying his hand upon it, and touching it with his life. It has come to relish of his humanity, and it is so flavoured with his thoughts, and ordered and permeated by his spirit, that if the stimulus of his presence is withdrawn it cannot for a long while do without him, and live for itself as fully and as well as it did before.
    • Ch. 1, pp. 1–2.
  • A thing that is very unexpected and moderately strange, we meet with wide-opened eyes, with a start and perhaps exclamations; but a thing more than strange, utterly unaccounted for, quite unreasonable, and the last thing one could have supposed possible as coming from the person who demanded it, is met in far quieter fashion.
    • Ch. 9, p. 107.
  • It would be hard to say of any man that he is never right. If he is always thinking that he has forgotten a certain lady, surely he is right sometimes.
    • Ch. 9, p. 113.
  • The most joyous and gladsome natures are often most keenly alive to impressions of reverence, and wonder, and awe. Emily's mind longed and craved to annex itself to all things fervent, deep, and real. As she walked on the common grass, she thought the better of it because the feet of Christ had trodden it also.
    • Ch. 17, p. 203.
  • "I'm like a good clock," said Crayshaw, "I neither gain nor lose. I can strike, too."
    • Ch. 19, p. 229.
  • Is it what we impart, or impute to nature from ourselves, that we chiefly lean upon? or does she truly impart of what is really in her to us?
    • Ch. 25, p. 315.
  • Emily had not one of those poverty-stricken natures which are never glad excepting for some special reason drawing them above themselves. She was naturally joyous and happy, unless under the pressure of an active sorrow that shaded her sky and quenched her sunshine. She lived in an elevated region full of love and wonder, taking kindly alike to reverence and to hope; but she was seldom excited, her feelings were not shallow enough to be easily troubled with excitement, or made fitful with agitation.
    • Ch. 29, p. 372.
  • There is nothing so unreasonable as infancy, excepting the maturer stages of life.
    • Ch. 35, p. 461.

Sarah de Berenger: A Novel (1879) edit

Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1879

  • She was not one of those poets who write verses—very few are; none but such as are poets through and through should ever do that. Verse is only words, the garment that makes the spirit of poetry visible to others; and poets who have but little of the spirit often fritter that little away in the effort to have it seen. But she was a poet in this, that the elemental passions of our nature were strong in her, and she bowed to them with childlike singleness of soul.
    • Ch. 1, pp. 10–11.
  • Divine Love came down to take on itself our sins, but there is no Saviour to do the like for our mistakes.
    • Ch. 1, p. 15.
  • The human mind is always inexorable in demanding a motive for all human actions. It is only himself that each man permits to act without one, and avails himself of the privilege with astonishing frequency.
    • Ch. 11, p. 134.
  • There is nothing like action to show a man what he really is.[…] Till the decisive moment came he had not perhaps the remotest suspicion that he cared for human life in the abstract; and here he stands dripping, having risked his own to save that of an absolute stranger. He perceives the awful and mysterious oneness of humanity, how it draws the units to the whole. He is not independent, as he may have thought; he is part of all.
    • Ch. 14, p. 164.
  • Every right and natural responsibility of which you relieve a man, taking it on yourself, makes him less able to bear those responsibilities that nothing can relieve him of. If you could take all his duties from him, as we sometimes do, it would only make it certain that he would not then even do his duty by himself.
    • Ch. 15, p. 183.
  • [H]e was a graduate in nature's university. Nature is wiser than the schoolmaster; she educates but she never crams. Her scholars do not go up to take their degrees; their degrees come to them.
    • Ch. 16, p. 198.
  • [H]e could not escape thinking of her, being the slave for the moment of every pretty girl. Good young men generally are.
    • Ch. 19, p. 224.
  • The first feeling drew him to her side; all nature seemed to smile so on her sweetness. She reminded him, in that secluded spot, of a fair lily shaded by its own green leaf. And then the second feeling came like a smart box on the ear. He did not like to be so suddenly overcome.[…] So […] he went on and made the circuit of the garden. But that caused no difference, of course. Amabel, not being present, was only the more there. She was everywhere. The young growing things about him were lovely, for they were like her. The old steadfast trees were interesting, as in contrast to her. And here was the donkey! The very donkey was interesting, because she often tried in vain to make him go.
    • Ch. 20, pp. 230–231.
  • There can be little doubt that it is the fools, and not the wise, who govern the world. While the wise are considering, the fools act; while the wise investigate, the fools have made up their minds; by the time the wise have discovered, the fools have made arrangements, and the wise, for the sake of law and order, or, if not, for the sake of peace and quietness, are obliged to give way.
    • Ch. 35, p. 395.

Don John (1881) edit

Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1881

  • In general, the woman bears the small misfortunes and continued disappointments of life best, and the man bears best the great ones.
    • Ch. 6, p. 74.
  • If we consider women whose lot it is to inspire deep affection, we shall sometimes find them, not those who can most generously bestow, but those who can most generously receive.
    • Ch. 6, p. 74.
  • It would be very unlucky for cats if people in a body should discover how much more jolly it was to be out in the warm golden mist of moonlight, when all was so fresh and sweet, than tucked up in their heated bedrooms under the low ceiling that shuts out the stars.
    • Ch. 9, p. 108.
  • We often think we are of great importance to certain people; that they must be thinking of us and our affairs, that they watch our actions and shape their course accordingly. In general it is not so; we are quite mistaken.
    • Ch. 12, p. 140.
  • I am always finding out more reasons for loving you. If you send me out to walk among the rose-trees I shall find them in the shadows at their roots, and in the rain-drops that they shake from their buds. All the reading in the book of my life is about you, and the world outside tells me of you. Things fair and young and good I must needs love, because they are like you; there is pity in me, and I find a pathos in what is unlovely and old, because it is unlike.
    • Ch. 33, p. 356.
  • And we do want poetry for its beauty […] Yes, only for its beauty; for its moral power over us—its teaching, comforting, and elevating power all depend on its beauty.
    • Ch. 36, p. 382.

John Jerome: His Thoughts and Ways (1886) edit

Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1886

  • If one cannot have success, the next most agreeable thing is failure.
    • Ch. 3, p. 34.
  • A man's world, but woman bides her time.
    • Ch. 7, p. 107.
  • A man can sometimes hold his own with one woman, but never with two.
    • Ch. 12, p. 207.

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