William Gilmore Simms

William Gilmore

American Author

Author Quotes

I believe that economists put decimal points in their forecasts to show they have a sense of humor.

Tears are the natural penalties of pleasure. It is a law that we should pay for all that we enjoy.

What we call vice in our neighbor may be nothing less than a crude virtue. To him who knows nothing more of precious stones than he can learn from a daily contemplation of his breastpin, a diamond in the mine must be a very uncompromising sort of stone.

I know not that there is anything in nature more soothing to the mind than the contemplation of the moon, sailing, like some planetary bark, amidst a sea of bright azure. The subject is certainly hackneyed; the moon has been sung by poet and poetaster. Is there any marvel that it should be so?

The amiable is a duty most certainly, but must not be exercised at expense of any of the virtues. He seeks to do the amiable always, can only be successful at the frequent expense of his manhood.

Who is it that called time the avenger, yet failed to see that death was the consoler. What mortal afflictions are there to which death does not bring full remedy? What hurts of hope and body does it not repair? "This is a sharp medicine," said Raleigh, speaking of the axe, "but it cures all disorders."

It is a bird-flight of the soul, when the heart declares itself in song. The affections that clothe themselves with wings are passions that have been subdued to virtues.

The birth of a child is the imprisonment of a soul.

It should console us for the fact that sin has not totally disappeared from the world, that the saints are not wholly deprived of employment.

The conditions of conquest are always easy. We have but to toil awhile, endure awhile, believe always, and never turn back.

Let us escape! This is our holiday-- God's day, devote to rest; and through the wood. We'll wander, and perchance find heavenly food, so, profitless it shall not pass away.

The fool is willing to pay for anything but wisdom. No man buys that of which he supposes himself to have an abundance already.

Love is but another name for that inscrutable presence by which the soul is connected with humanity.

The only rational liberty is that which is born of subjection, reared in the fear of God and the love of man.

Modesty is policy, no less than virtue.

The only true source of politeness is consideration.

Neither praise nor blame is the object of true criticism. Justly to discriminate, firmly to establish, wisely to prescribe and honestly to award--these are the true aims and duties of criticism.

The proverb answers where the sermon fails, as a well-charged pistol will do more execution than a whole barrel of gunpowder idly exploded.

No errors of opinion can possibly be dangerous in a country where opinion is left free to grapple with them.

The true law of the race is progress and development. Whenever civilization pauses in the march of conquest, it is overthrown by the barbarian.

Ambition is frequently the only refuge which life has left to the denied or mortified affections. We chide at the grasping eye, the daring wing, the soul that seems to thirst for sovereignty only, and know not that the flight of this ambitious bird has been from a bosom or home that is filled with ashes.

Not in sorrow freely is never to open the bosom to the sweets of the sunshine.

The wonder is not that the world is so easily governed, but that so small a number of persons will suffice for the purpose. There are dead weights in political and legislative bodies as in clocks, and hundreds answer as pulleys who would never do for politicians.

Aye, strike with sacrilegious aim the temple of the living God; hurl iron bolt and seething flame through aisles which holiest feet have trod; tear up the altar, spoil the tomb, and, raging with demoniac ire, send down, in sudden crash of doom, that grand, old, sky-sustaining spire. That spire, for full a hundred years, hath been a people's point of sight; that shrine hath warmed their souls to tears, with strains well worthy Salem's height; the sweet, clear music of its bells, made liquid soft in southern air, Still through the heart of memory swells, And wakes the hopeful soul to prayer. Along the shores for many a mile, Long ere they owned a beacon-mark, It caught arid kept the Day-God's smile, the guide for every wandering bark; averting from our homes the scaith of fiery bolt, in storm-cloud driven, the pharos to the wandering faith, it pointed every prayer to heaven! Well may ye, felons of the time, still loathing all that's pure and free, add this to many a thousand crime 'gainst peace and sweet humanity: ye, who have wrapped our towns in flame, defiled our shrines, befouled our homes, but fitly turn your murderous aim against Jehovah's ancient domes. Yet, though the grand old temple falls, and downward sinks the lofty spire, our faith is stronger than our walls, and soars above the storm and fire. Ye shake no faith in souls made free to tread the paths their fathers trod; to fight and die for liberty, believing in the avenging god! Think not, though long his anger stays, His justice sleeps--His wrath is spent; The arm of vengeance but delays, To make more dread the punishment! Each impious hand that lights the torch shall wither ere the bolt shall fall; And the bright Angel of the Church, With seraph shield avert the ball! For still we deem, as taught of old, That where the faith the altar builds, God sends an angel from his fold, Whose sleepless watch the temple shields, And to his flock, with sweet accord, Yields their fond choice, from THRONES and POWERS; Thus, Michael, with his fiery sword And golden shield, still champions ours! And he who smote the dragon down, and chained him thousand years of time, Need never fear the boa's frown, though loathsome in his spite and slime. He, from the topmost height, surveys and guards the shrines our fathers gave; And we, who sleep beneath his gaze, May well believe his power to save! Yet, if it be that for our sin Our angel's term of watch is o'er, with proper prayer, true faith must win The guardian watcher back once more Faith, brethren of the Church, and prayer-- In blood and sackcloth, if it need; And still our spire shall rise in air, our temple, though our people bleed!

Not in the sky, where it was seen so long in eminence of light serene,? nor on the white tops of the glistering wave, nor down in mansions of the hidden deep, though beautiful in green and crystal, its great caves of mystery,? shall the bright watcher have her place, and, as of old, high station keep! Gone! Gone! Oh! Nevermore, to cheer the mariner, who holds his course alone on the Atlantic, through the weary night, when the stars turn to watchers, and do sleep, shall it again appear, with the sweet-loving certainty of light, down shining on the shut eyes of the deep! The upward-looking shepherd on the hills of Chaldea, night-returning with his flocks, he wonders why his beauty doth not blaze, gladding his gaze,? and, from his dreary watch along the rocks, guiding him homeward o?er the perilous ways! How stands he waiting still, in a sad maze, much wondering, while the drowsy silence fills the sorrowful vault!?how lingers, in the hope that night may yet renew the expected and sweet light, so natural to his sight! And lone, where, at the first, in smiling love she shone, brood the once happy circle of bright stars: how should they dream, until her fate was known, that they were ever confiscate to death? That dark oblivion the pure beauty mars, and, like the earth, its common bloom and breath, that they should fall from high; their lights grow blasted by a touch, and die, all their concerted springs of harmony snapt rudely, and the generous music gone! Ah! Still the strain of wailing sweetness fills the saddening sky; the sister stars, lamenting in their pain that one of the selectest ones must die,? must vanish, when most lovely, from the rest! Alas! ?T is ever thus the destiny. Even rapture?s song hath evermore a tone of wailing, as for bliss too quickly gone. The hope most precious is the soonest lost, the flower most sweet is first to feel the frost. Are not all short-lived things the loveliest? And, like the pale star, shooting down the sky, look they not ever brightest, as they fly from the lone sphere they blest!

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William Gilmore
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American Author