James Russell Lowell

United States
22 Feb 1819 // 12 Aug 1891
Poet, Diplomat

Quotes

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And what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days;
Then Heaven tries the earth if it be in tune,
And over it softly her warm ear lays.

The Vision of Sir Launfal

Wut 's words to them whose faith an' truth
On war's red techstone rang true metal;
Who ventered life an' love an' youth
For the gret prize o' death in battle?

Second Series. The Courtin

It was in making education not only common to all, but in some sense compulsory on all, that the destiny of the free republics of America was practically settled.

New England Two Centuries ago

Not what we give, but what we share,—
For the gift without the giver is bare;
Who gives himself with his alms feeds three,—
Himself, his hungering neighbor, and Me.

Vision of Sir Launfal
It was in masking education not only common to all, but in some sense compulsory on all, that the destiny of the free republics of America was practically settled.
Reputation is in itself only a farthing candle, of a wavering and uncertain flame, and easily blown out, but it is the light by which the world looks for and finds merit.

In all literary history there is no such figure as Dante, no such homogeneousness of life and works, such loyalty to ideas, such sublime irrecognition of the unessential.

Second Series. Dante
I love her with a love as still
As a broad river's peaceful might,
Which by high tower and lowly mill,
Goes wandering at its own will,
And yet does ever flow aright.
No man is born into the world whose work
Is not born with him. There is always work,
And tools to work withal, for those who will;
And blessed are the horny hands of toil.

A Glance behind the Curtain

These pearls of thought in Persian gulfs were bred,
Each softly lucent as a rounded moon;
The diver Omar plucked them from their bed,
Fitzgerald strung them on an English thread.

In a copy of Omar Khayyam
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On Anger: "For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind."
Essays
On Destiny: "Our destiny exercises its influence over us even when, as yet, we have not learned its nature: it is our future that lays down the law of our today."
Human, All Too Human
On Friendship: "A crowd is not company; and faces are but a gallery of pictures; and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love."
Essays