Quotes by James Russell Lowell

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James Russell Lowell (February 22, 1819 - August 12, 1891) was an American Romantic poet, critic, editor, and diplomat. He is associated with the Fireside Poets, a group of New England writers who were among the first American poets who rivaled the popularity of British poets. These poets usually used conventional forms and meters in their poetry, making them suitable for families entertaining at their fireside. more

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Mishaps are like knives, that either serve us or cut us, as we grasp them by the blade or by the handle.

The foolish and the dead never change their opinions.
Every man feels instinctively that all the beautiful sentiments in the world weigh less than a single lovely action.
Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide; In the strife of Truth with Falsehood, for the good or evil side.
The brain can be easy to buy, but the heart never comes to market.
Where one person shapes their life by precept and example, there are a thousand who have shaped it by impulse and circumstances.
To educate the intelligence is to expand the horizon of its wants and desires.
Democracy give every man the right to be his own oppressor.
The misfortunes hardest to bear are these which never came.
Endurance is the crowning quality...
The surest plan to make a man is, think him so.
Solitude is as needed to the imagination as society is wholesome to the character.
The idol is the measure of the worshipper.
Thank God every morning when you get up that you have something to do that day, which must be done, whether you like it or not.
It is the privilege of genius that life never grows common place, as it does for the rest of us.
Freedom is the only law which genius knows.
The question of common sense is what is it good for? A question which would abolish the rose and be answered triumphantly by the cabbage.
There are two kinds of weakness, that which breaks and that which bends.
He mastered whatever was not worth the knowing.
It is the rooted instinct in men to admire what is better and more beautiful than themselves.
The only faith that wears well and holds its color in all weathers is that which is woven of conviction and set with the sharp mordant of experience.
But life is sweet, though all that makes it sweet. Lessen like sound of friends departing feet; And death is beautiful as feet of friend. Coming with welcome at our journey's end.
Reputation is only a candle, of wavering and uncertain flame, and easily blown out, but it is the light by which the world looks for and finds merit.
There is no good in arguing with the inevitable. The only argument available with an east wind is to put on your overcoat.
Be NOBLE! and the nobleness that liesIn other men, sleeping, but never dead,Will rise in majesty to meet thine own.
Maiden, when such a soul as thine is born, The morning-stars their ancient music make.
Folks never understand the folks they hate.
Truth, after all, wears a different face to everybody, and it would be too tedious to wait till all were agreed.
Truth forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne.
Those who know the truth are not equal to those who love it Confucius All truth is safe and nothing else is safe, but he who keeps back truth, or withholds it from men, from motives of expediency, is either a coward or a criminal.
Good luck is the willing handmaid of a upright and energetic character, and conscientious observance of duty.
I have always been of the mind that in a democracy manners are the only effective weapons against the bowie-knife.
It is mediocrity which makes laws and sets mantraps and spring-guns in the realm of free song, saying thus far shalt thou go and no further.
Let us be of good cheer, remembering that the misfortunes hardest to bear are those which never happen.
In the ocean of baseness, the deeper we get, the easier the sinking.
What men prize most is a privilege, even if it be that of chief mourner at a funeral.
An appeal to the reason of the people has never been known to fail in the long run.
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.
A reading machine, always wound up and going, he mastered whatever was not worth the knowing.
There is nothing so desperately monotonous as the sea, and I no longer wonder at the cruelty of pirates.
Such power there is in clear-eyed self-restraint.
Sentiment is intellectualized emotion; emotion precipitated, as it were, in pretty crystals by the fancy.
Sincerity is impossible, unless it pervade the whole being, and the pretence of it saps the very foundation of character.
True scholarship consists in knowing not what things exist, but what they mean; it is not memory but judgment.
The mind can weave itself warmly in the cocoon of its own thoughts, and dwell a hermit anywhere.
I don't believe in principle, but I do in interest.
It is not the insurrections of ignorance that are dangerous, but the revolts of the intelligence.
Incredulity robs us of many pleasures, and gives us nothing in return.
The true ideal is not opposed to the real but lies in it; and blessed are the eyes that find it.
Some day the soft Ideal that we wooed confronts us fiercely, foe-beset, pursued, and cries reproachful: Was it then my praise, and not myself was loved? Prove now thy truth; I claim of thee the promise of thy youth.
Fortune is the rod of the weak, and the staff of the brave.
One thorn of experience is worth a whole wilderness of warning.
Life is the jailer, death the angel sent to draw the unwilling bolts and set us free.
A sneer is the weapon of the weak.
A wise skepticism is the first attribute of a good critic.
Compromise makes a good umbrella, but a poor roof; it is temporary expedient, often wise in party politics, almost sure to be unwise ;in statesmanship.

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