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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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.