Quotes by John Greenleaf Whittier

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For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: It might have been!

Give fools their gold, and knaves their power; let fortune's bubbles rise and fall; who sows a field, or trains a flower, or plants a tree, is more than all.
When faith is lost, when honor dies, the man is dead.
Here Greek and Roman find themselves alive along these crowded shelves; and Shakespeare treads again his stage, and Chaucer paints anew his age.
Speak out in acts; the time for words has passed, and only deeds will suffice.
On leaf of palm, on sedge-wrought roll; on plastic clay and leather scroll, man wrote his thoughts; the ages passed, and lo! the Press was found at last!
How dwarfed against his manliness she sees the poor pretension, the wants, the aims, the follies, born of fashion and convention!
Oh, for boyhood's painless play, sleep that wakes in laughing day, health that mocks the doctor's rules, knowledge never learned of schools.
Peace hath higher tests of manhood than battle ever knew.
Clothe with life the weak intent, let me be the thing I meant.
Of all that Orient lands can vaunt, of marvels with our own competing, the strangest is the Haschish plant, and what will follow on its eating.
Through this broad street, restless ever, ebbs and flows a human tide, wave on wave a living river; wealth and fashion side by side; Toiler, idler, slave and master, in the same quick current glide.
The dreariest spot in all the land to Death they set apart; with scanty grace from Nature's hand, and none from that of Art.
They tell me, Lucy, thou art dead, that all of thee we loved and cherished has with thy summer roses perished; and left, as its young beauty fled, an ashen memory in its stead.
Beauty seen is never lost, God's colors all are fast.
O Time and change! -- with hair as gray as was my sire's that winter day, how strange it seems, with so much gone of life and love, to still live on!
We give thy natal day to hope, O Country of our love and prayer! Thy way is down no fatal slope, But up to freer sun and air. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A refuge for the wronged and poor, Thy generous heart has borne the blame That, with them, through thy open door, The old world's evil outcasts came.
Ah! on Thanksgiving day, when from East and from West, From North and from South come the pilgrim and guest, When the gray-haired New Englander sees round his board The old broken links of affection restored, When the care-wearied man seeks his mother once more, And the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before, What moistens the lip and what brightens the eye? What calls back the past, like the rich Pumpkin pie?
In calm and cool and silence, once again I find my old accustomed place among My brethren, where, perchance, no human tongue Shall utter words; where never hymn is sung, Nor deep-toned organ blown, nor censer swung, Nor dim light falling through the pictured pane!
Oh for boyhood's time of June, Crowding years in one brief moon, When all things I heard or saw, Me, their master, waited for.
The end has come, as come it must To all things; in these sweet June days The teacher and the scholar trust Their parting feet to separate ways.
Up from the meadows rich with corn, Clear in the cool September morn, The clustered spires of Frederick stand Green-walled by the hills of Maryland. Round about them orchards sweep, Apple and peach tree fruited deep, Fair as the garden of the Lord To the eyes of the famished rebel horde.
Talk not of sad November, when a day Of warm, glad sunshine fills the sky of noon, And a wind, borrowed from some morn of June, Stirs the brown grasses and the leafless spray.
The sun that brief December day Rose cheerless over hills of gray, And, darkly circled, gave at noon A sadder light than waning moon.
Gone hath the Spring, with all its flowers, And gone the Summer's pomp and show, And Autumn, in his leafless bowers, Is waiting for the Winter's snow.
He comes,--he comes,--the Frost Spirit comes! Let us meet him as we may, And turn with the light of the parlor-fire his evil power away; And gather closer the circle round, when that firelight dances high, And laugh at the shriek of the baffled Fiend as his sounding wing goes by!
For the hands that cannot clasp thee, For the voices that are dumb, For each and all I bid thee A grateful welcome home!
I,--the man of middle years, In whose sable locks appears Many a warning fleck of gray,--Looking back to that far day, And thy primal lessons, feel Grateful smiles my lips unseal, As, remembering thee, I blend Olden teacher, present friend.
We are older: our footsteps, so light in the play Of the far-away school-time, move slower to-day;--Here a beard touched with frost, there a bald, shining crown, And beneath the cap's border gray mingles with brown. But faith should be cheerful, and trust should be glad, And our follies and sins, not our years, make us sad.

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