Robert Southey


English Poet Laureate of the Romantic school tradition

Author Quotes

It is with words as with sunbeams - the more they are condensed, the deeper they burn.

My notions of life are much the same as they are about traveling; there is a good deal of amusement on the road; but, after all, one wants to be at rest.

The laws are with us, and God on our side.

This is the first heavy loss which you have ever experienced; hereafter the bitterness of the cup will have passed away, and you will then perceive its wholesomeness. This world is all to us till we suffer some such loss, and every such loss is a transfer of so much of our hearts and hopes to the next; and they who live long enough to see most of their friends go before them feel that they have more to recover by death than to lose by it. This is not the mere speculation of a mind at ease. Almost all who were about me in my childhood have been removed. I have brothers, sisters, friends, father, mother, and child, in another state of existence; and assuredly I regard death with very different feelings from what I should have done if none of my affections were fixed beyond the grave. To dwell upon the circumstances which, in this case, lessen the evil of separation would be idle; at present you acknowledge, and in time you will feel them.

Whatever strengthens our local attachments is favorable both to individual and national character. Our home, our birth-place, our native land,?think for awhile what the virtues are which arise out of the feelings connected with these words, and if you have any intellectual eyes you will then perceive the connection between topography and patriotism. Show me a man who cares no more for one place than another, and I will show you in that same person one who loves nothing but himself. Beware of those who are homeless by choice: you have no hold on a human being whose affections are without a tap-root. The laws recognize this truth in the privileges they confer upon freeholders; and public opinion acknowledges it also in the confidence which it reposes upon those who have what is called a stake in the country. Vagabond and rogue are convertible terms; and with how much propriety may any one understand who knows what are the habits of the wandering classes, such as gipsies, tinkers, and potters.

It runs through the reeds, and away it proceeds, through meadow and glade, in sun and in shade, and through the wood-shelter, among crags in its flurry, helter-skelter, hurry-skurry.

Nor let it be supposed that terrors of imagination belong to childhood alone. The reprobate heart, which has discarded all love of God, cannot so easily rid itself of the fear of the devil; and even when it succeeds in that also, it will then create a hell for itself. We have heard of unbelievers who thought it probable that they should be awake in their graves: and this was the opinion for which they had exchanged a Christian?s hope of immortality!

The march of intellect is proceeding at quick time; and if its progress be not accompanied by a corresponding improvement in morals and religion, the faster it proceeds, with the more violence will you be hurried down the road to ruin.

Thou hast been called, O sleep! the friend of woe; but 'tis the happy that have called thee so.

Where Washington hath left his awful memory a light for after times!

It was a goodly sight to see the embattled pomp, as with the step of stateliness the barbed steeds came on, to see the pennons rolling their long waves before the gale, and banners, broad and bright, tossing their blazonry.

Not where I breathe, but where I love, I live Not where I love, but where I am, I die.

The moon arose: she shone upon the lake, Which lay one smooth expanse of silver light; She shone upon the hills and rocks, and cast Upon their hollows and their hidden glens A blacker depth of shade.

Thou hast confessions to listen, and bells to christen, and altars and dolls to dress; and fools to coax, and sinners to hoax, and beads and bones to bless; and great pardons to sell for those who pay well, and small ones for those who pay less.

Whoever has tasted the breath of morning, knows that the most invigorating and most delightful hours of the day are commonly spent in bed; though it is the evident intention of nature that we should enjoy and profit by them. Children awake early, and would be up and stirring long before the arrangements of the family permit them to use their limbs. We are thus broken in from childhood to an injurious habit: that habit might be shaken off with more ease than it was first imposed. We rise with the sun at Christmas; it were continuing so to do till the middle of April, and without any perceptible change we should find ourselves then rising at five o?clock, till which hour we might continue till September, and then accommodate ourselves again to the change of season.

It was a summer evening, old Kaspar's work was done, and he before his cottage door was sitting in the sun, and by him sported on the green his little grandchild Wilhelmine.

Now, motionless and dark, eluded search Self-shrouded: and anon, starring the sky, Rose like a shower of fire.

The pulpit is a clergyman's parade; the parish is his field of active service.

Though looks and words, by the strong mastery of his practiced will, are overruled, the mounting blood betrays an impulse in its secret spring too deep for his control.

Wild dreams! but such as Plato lov'd; such as with holy zeal our Milton worshipp'd. Blessed hopes! Awhile from man with-held, even to the latter days? and all things be fulfill'd.

It would please you to see such a display of literary wealth which is at once the pride of my eye, and the joy of my heart, and the food of my mind; indeed, more than metaphorically meat, drink, and clothing, to me and mine. I believe that no one in my station was ever so rich before, and I am sure that no one in my station had ever a more thorough enjoyment of riches of any kind, or in any way. It is more delightful for me to live with books than with men, even with all the relish which I have for such society as is worth having.

O Reader! hast thou ever stood to see The Holly-tree? The eye that contemplates it well perceives Its glossy leaves Ordered by an Intelligence so wise As might confound the Atheist's sophistries.

The solitary Bee Whose buzzing was the only sound of life, Flew there on restless wing, Seeking in vain one blossom where to fix.

Three things a wise man will not trust, The wind, the sunshine of an April day, And woman's plighted faith.

Will ye believe the wonders of the ocean? how its shoals sprang from the wave, like flashing light; .. took wing, and, twinkling with a silver glitterance, flew through the air and sunshine? yet were they to sight less wondrous than the tribe who swam, following like fowlers, with uplifted eye, their falling quarry... language cannot paint their splendid tints! though in blue ocean seen, blue, darkly, deeply, beautifully blue, in all its rich variety of shades, suffus'd with glowing gold.

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English Poet Laureate of the Romantic school tradition