Quotes by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (February 27, 1807 March 24, 1882) was an American poet who wrote many works that are still famous today, including The Song of Hiawatha, Paul Revere's Ride and Evangeline. He also wrote the first ... more

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How beautiful is youth! how bright it gleams with its illusions, aspirations, dreams! Book of Beginnings, Story without End, Each maid a heroine, and each man a friend!

Let us, then, be up and doing, with a heart for any fate; still achieving, still pursuing, learn to labor and to wait.
Into each life some rain must fall, some days be dark and dreary.
We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.
Talk not of wasted affection; affection never was wasted.
If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we would find in each person's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.
Thy fate is the common fate of all; Into each life some rain must fall.
Love gives itself; it is not bought.
However things may seem, no evil thing is success and no good thing is failure.
It is foolish to pretend that one is fully recovered from a disappointed passion. Such wounds always leave a scar.
Know how sublime a thing it is to suffer and be strong.
Most people would succeed in small things if they were not troubled with great ambitions.
It is difficult to know at what moment love begins; it is less difficult to know that it has begun.
For age is opportunity no less than youth itself, though in another dress, and as the evening twilight fades away, the sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.
It is a beautiful trait in the lovers character, that they think no evil of the object loved.
It takes less time to do a thing right than to explain why you did it wrong.
Men of genius are often dull and inert in society; as the blazing meteor, when it descends to earth, is only a stone.
I shot an arrow into the air, It fell to earth, I knew not where; For so swiftly it flew, the sight Could not follow it in its flight. I breathed a song into the air, It fell to earth, I knew not where; For, who has sight so keen and strong That it can follow the flight of song? Long, long afterward, in an oak I found the arrow, still unbroken; And the song, from beginning to end, I found again in the heart of a friend.
Trouble is the next best thing to enjoyment. There is no fate in the world so horrible as to have no share in either its joys or sorrows.
A feeling of sadness and longing that is not akin to pain, and resembles sorrow only as the mist resembles the rain.
The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.
Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing, only a signal shown, and a distant voice in the darkness; So on the ocean of life, we pass and speak one another, only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence.
Therefore trust to thy heart, and to what the world calls illusions.
There is not grief that does not speak.
Well has it been said that there is no grief like the grief which does not speak.
And the night shall be filled with music, and the cares, that infest the day, shall fold their tents, like the Arabs, and as silently steal away.
I heard the bells on Christmas Day. Their old familiar carols play. And wild and sweet the words repeat. Of peace on earth goodwill to men.
Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake somebody.
He that respects himself is safe from others; He wears a coat of mail that none can pierce.
Simplicity in character, in manners, in style; in all things the supreme excellence is simplicity.
You know I say just what I think, and nothing more and less. I cannot say one thing and mean another.
The greatest firmness is the greatest mercy.
THOU, too, sail on, O Ship of State! Sail on, O Union, strong and great! Humanity with all its fears, With all the hopes of future years, Is hanging breathless on thy fate!
When a great man dies, for years the light he leaves behind him, lies on the paths of men.
Intelligence and courtesy not always are combined; Often in a wooden house a golden room we find.
Whenever nature leaves a hole in a person's mind, she generally plasters it over with a thick coat of self-conceit.
Nature is a revelation of God; Art a revelation of man.
If you would hit the mark, you must aim a little above it; Every arrow that flies feels the attraction of earth.
Look not mournfully into the Past. It comes not back again. Wisely improve the Present. In is thine. Go forth to meet the shadowy Future, without fear, and a manly heart.
Thought takes man out of servitude, into freedom.
Life is real! Life is earnest! And death is not its goal. Dust thou art, to dust returneth, was not spoken of the soul.
Sometimes we may learn more from a man's errors, than from his virtues.
The Laws of Nature are just, but terrible. There is no weak mercy in them. Cause and consequence are inseparable and inevitable. The elements have no forbearance. The fire burns, the water drowns, the air consumes, the earth buries. And perhaps it would be well for our race if the punishment of crimes against the Laws of Man were as inevitable as the punishment of crimes against the Laws of Nature --were Man as unerring in his judgments as Nature.
All things come round to him who will but wait.
If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.
Trust no future, however pleasant! Let the dead past bury its dead! Act -- act in the living Present! Heart within and God overhead.
We have not wings we cannot soar; but, we have feet to scale and climb, by slow degrees, by more and more, the cloudy summits of our time.
It is curious to note the old sea-margins of human thought! Each subsiding century reveals some new mystery; we build where monsters used to hide themselves.
Sit in reverie and watch the changing color of the waves that break upon the idle seashore of the mind.
Give what you have to somebody, it may be better than you think.
No literature is complete until the language it was written in is dead.
Joy, temperance, and repose, slam the door on the doctor's nose.
Yes, we must ever be friends; and of all who offer you friendship Let me be ever the first, the truest, the nearest and dearest!
One half the world must sweat and groan that the other half may dream.
The lowest ebb is the turn of the tide.
A torn jacket is soon mended; but hard words bruise the heart of a child.
Whatever poet, orator, or sage may say of it, old age is still old age.
To be seventy years old is like climbing the Alps. You reach a snow-crowned summit, and see behind you the deep valley stretching miles and miles away, and before you other summits higher and whiter, which you may have strength to climb, or may not. Then you sit down and meditate and wonder which it will be.
Each morning sees some task begun, each evening sees it close; Something attempted, something done, has earned a night's repose.
Silently, one by one,in the infinite meadows of heaven, Blossomed the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels
Youth comes but once in a lifetime.
In ourselves are triumph and defeat.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow is our destined way, but to act that each tomorrow may find us further than today.
Like a French poem is life; being only perfect in structure when with the masculine rhymes mingled the feminine are.
Morality without religion is only a kind of dead reckoning -- an endeavor to find our place on a cloudy sea by measuring the distance we have run, but without any observation of the heavenly bodies.
Every man must patiently bide his time. He must wait -- not in listless idleness but in constant, steady, cheerful endeavors, always willing and fulfilling and accomplishing his task, that when the occasion comes he may be equal to the occasion.
The rapture of pursuing is the prize the vanquished gain.
To be left alone, and face to face with my own crime, had been just retribution.
The mind of the scholar, if he would leave it large and liberal, should come in contact with other minds.
The talent of success is nothing more than doing what you can do well, and doing well whatever you do.
Oh, fear not in a world like this, and thou shalt know erelong, know how sublime a thing it is to suffer and be strong.
Some men must follow, and some command, though all are made of clay.
All the means of action -- the shapeless masses -- the materials -- lie everywhere about us. What we need is the celestial fire to change the flint into the transparent crystal, bright and clear. That fire is genius.
Lives of great men all remind us we can make our lives sublime. And, departing, leave behind us footprints on the sands of time.
Fame comes only when deserved, and then is as inevitable as destiny, for it is destiny.
Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.
I stay a little longer, as one stays, to cover up the embers that still burn.
The course of my long life hath reached at last in fragile bark over a tempestuous sea the common harbor, where must rendered be account for all the actions of the past.
Would you learn the secret of the sea? Only those who brave its dangers, comprehend its mystery!
That which the fountain sends forth returns again to the fountain.
The strength of criticism lies in the weakness of the thing criticized.
Doubtless criticism was originally benignant, pointing out the beauties of a work rather that its defects. The passions of men have made it malignant, as a bad heart of Procreates turned the bed, the symbol of repose, into an instrument of torture.
Critics are sentinels in the grand army of letters, stationed at the corners of newspapers and reviews, to challenge every new author.
Write on your doors the saying wise and old. Be bold! and everywhere -- Be bold; Be not too bold! Yet better the excess Than the defect; better the more than less sustaineth him and the steadiness of his mind beareth him out.
Resolve and thou art free.
Ah! what would the world be to us If the children were no more? We should dread the desert behind us Worse than the dark before.
In this world a man must either be anvil or hammer.
All things must change to something new, to something strange.
Many readers judge of the power of a book by the shock it gives their feelings --as some savage tribes determine the power of muskets by their recoil; that being considered best which fairly prostrates the purchaser.
I feel a kind of reverence for the first books of young authors. There is so much aspiration in them, so much audacious hope and trembling fear, so much of the heart's history, that all errors and shortcomings are for a while lost sight of in the amiable self assertion of youth.
Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending.
Art is the child of Nature; yes, her darling child, in whom we trace the features of the mother's face, her aspect and her attitude.
Ah, to build, to build! That is the noblest art of all the arts. Painting and sculpture are but images, are merely shadows cast by outward things on stone or canvas, having in themselves no separate existence. Architecture, existing in itself, and not in seeming a something it is not, surpasses them as substance shadow.
The secret anniversaries of the heart.
I venerate old age; and I love not the man who can look without emotion upon the sunset of life, when the dusk of evening begins to gather over the watery eye, and the shadows of twilight grow broader and deeper upon the understanding.
Build today, then strong and sure, With a firm and ample base; And ascending and secure. Shall tomorrow find its place.
Then read from the treasured volume the poem of thy choice, and lend to the rhyme of the poet the beauty of thy voice.
The human voice is the organ of the soul.
The world loves a spice of wickedness.
Believe me, every heart has its secret sorrow which the world knows not; and oftentimes we call a man cold, when he is only sad.
Three Silences there are: the first of speech, / The second of desire, the third of thought.
There is no Death! What seems so is transition; / This life of mortal breath / Is but a suburb of the life Elysian, / Whose portal we call Death.
Between the dark and the daylight, / When the night is beginning to lower, / Comes a pause in the day’s occupation, / That is known as the Children’s Hour.
There was a little girl, / Who had a little curl, / Right in the middle of her forehead. / When she was good, / She was very, very good, / But when she was bad she was horrid.
Enjoy the Spring of Love and Youth, to some good angel leave the rest; For Time will teach thee soon the truth, there are no birds in last year's nest!
Were a star quenched on high,For ages would its light,Still travelling downward from the sky,Shine on our mortal sight. So when a great man dies,For years beyond our ken,The light he leaves behind him liesUpon the paths of men.
Your silent tents of green We deck with fragrant flowers; Yours has the suffering been, The memory shall be ours.
Toiling,--rejoicing,--sorrowing, Onward through life he goes; Each morning sees some task begin, Each evening sees it close; Something attempted, something done, Has earned a night's repose.
He goes on Sunday to the church, And sits among his boys; He hears the parson pray and preach, He hears his daughter's voice, Singing in the village choir, And it makes his heart rejoice.
Sweet April! many a thought Is wedded unto thee, as hearts are wed; Nor shall they fail, till, to its autumn brought, Life's golden fruit is shed.
The gentle wind, a sweet and passionate wooer, Kisses the blushing leaf, and stirs up life Within the solemn woods of ash deep-crimsoned, And silver beech, and maple yellow-leaved, Where Autumn, like a faint old man, sits down By the wayside a-weary.