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The Complete Poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Top 10 Best Quotes

“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 too late! Ah, nothing is too late Till the tired heart shall cease to palpitate. Cato learned Greek at eighty; Sophocles Wrote his grand Oedipus, and Simonides Bore off the prize of verse from his compeers, When each had numbered more than fourscore years, And Theophrastus, at fourscore and ten, Had but begun his Characters of Men. Chaucer, at Woodstock with the nightingales, At sixty wrote the Canterbury Tales; Goethe at Weimar, toiling to the last, Completed Faust when eighty years were past, These are indeed exceptions; but they show How far the gulf-stream of our youth may flow Into the arctic regions of our lives. Where little else than life itself survives.”

“The holiest of all holidays are those Kept by ourselves in silence and apart; The secret anniversaries of the heart.”

“Write on your doors the saying wise and old, "Be bold! be bold!" and everywhere-- "Be bold; Be not too bold!" Yet better the excess Than the defect; better the more than less; Better like Hector in the field to die, Than like a perfumed Paris turn and fly,”

“Lull me to sleep, ye winds, whose fitful sound Seems from some faint Aeolian harp-string caught; Seal up the hundred wakeful eyes of thought As Hermes with his lyre in sleep profound The hundred wakeful eyes of Argus bound; For I am weary, and am overwrought With too much toil, with too much care distraught, And with the iron crown of anguish crowned. Lay thy soft hand upon my brow and cheek, O peaceful Sleep! until from pain released I breathe again uninterrupted breath! Ah, with what subtile meaning did the Greek Call thee the lesser mystery at the feast Whereof the greater mystery is death!”

“Death takes us by surprise, And stays our hurrying feet; The great design unfinished lies, Our lives are incomplete But in the dark unknown, Perfect their circles seem, Even as a bridge's arch of stone Is rounded in the stream. Alike are life and death, When life in death survives, And the uninterrupted breath Inspires a thousand lives. Were a star quenched on high, For ages would its light, Still traveling 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 lies Upon the paths of men.”

“The ceaseless rain is falling fast, And yonder gilded vane, Immovable for three days past, Points to the misty main, It drives me in upon myself And to the fireside gleams, To pleasant books that crowd my shelf, And still more pleasant dreams, I read whatever bards have sung Of lands beyond the sea, And the bright days when I was young Come thronging back to me. In fancy I can hear again The Alpine torrent's roar, The mule-bells on the hills of Spain, The sea at Elsinore. I see the convent's gleaming wall Rise from its groves of pine, And towers of old cathedrals tall, And castles by the Rhine. I journey on by park and spire, Beneath centennial trees, Through fields with poppies all on fire, And gleams of distant seas. I fear no more the dust and heat, No more I feel fatigue, While journeying with another's feet O'er many a lengthening league. Let others traverse sea and land, And toil through various climes, I turn the world round with my hand Reading these poets' rhymes. From them I learn whatever lies Beneath each changing zone, And see, when looking with their eyes, Better than with mine own.”

“Midnight! the outpost of advancing day! The frontier town and citadel of night! The watershed of Time, from which the streams Of Yesterday and To-morrow take their way, One to the land of promise and of light, One to the land of darkness and of dreams!”

“It is the mystery of the unknown That fascinates us; we are children still Wayward and wistful; with one hand we cling To the familiar things we call our own, And with the other, resolute of will, Grope in the dark for what the day will bring”

“Awake! arise! the hour is late! Angels are knocking at thy door! They are in haste and cannot wait, And once departed come no more. Awake! arise! the athlete's arm Loses its strength by too much rest; The fallow land, the untilled farm Produces only weeds at best.”

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