Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

American Poet, Translator

"Deeds are mightier than words are, actions mightier than boastings."

"Believe me, every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and oftentimes we call a man cold when he is only sad."

"Give what you have. To some one it may be better than you dare to think."

"In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity."

"Do not delay; the golden moments fly!"

"Doubtless criticism was originally benignant, pointing out the beauties of a work rather than its defects. The passions of men have made it malignant, as the bad heart of Procrustes turned the bed, the symbol of repose, into an instrument of torture."

"If we could read the secret history of our enemies we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility."

"Joy, temperance, and repose, slam the door on the doctor’s nose."

"It is a very indiscreet and troublesome ambition which cares so much about fame; about what the world says of us; to be always looking in the faces of others for approval; to be always anxious about the effect of what we do or say; to be always shouting, to hear the echoes of our own voices."

"Let us be merciful as well as just."

"It takes less time to do a thing right than it does to explain why you did it wrong."

"Look not mournfully into the past; it comes not back again. Wisely improve the present; it is thine. Go forth to meet the shadowy future without fear, and with a manly heart."

"Lives of great men all remind us we can make our lives sublime, And, departing, leave behind us footprints on the sands of time."

"Men should soon make up their minds to be forgotten, and look about them, or within them, for some higher motive in what they do than the approbation of men, which is fame, namely, their duty; that they should be constantly and quietly at work, each in his sphere, regardless of effects, and leaving their fame to take care of itself."

"Mercy more becomes a magistrate than the vindictive wrath which men call justice."

"Many men do not allow their principles to take root, but pull them up every now and then, as children do the flowers they have planted, to see if they are growing."

"Make not thyself the judge of any man."

"Morality without religion is only a kind of dead reckoning, an endeavor to find our place on a cloudy sea by measuring the distance we have run, but without any observation of the heavenly bodies."

"Nature is a revelation of God. Art is a revelation of man."

"Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat."

"My own thoughts are my companions."

"None but yourself who are your greatest foe."

"Silence and solitude, the soul’s best friends."

"Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody."

"Sometimes we may learn more from a man’s errors than from his virtues."

"Simplicity is the character of the spring of life, costliness becomes its autumn; but a neatness and purity, like that of the snow-drop or lily of the valley, is the peculiar fascination of beauty, to which it lends enchantment, and gives what amiability is to the mind."

"Some must follow, and some command, though all are made of clay!"

"The little I have seen of the world, teaches me to look upon the errors of others in sorrow, not in anger. When I take the history of one poor heart that has sinned and suffered, and represent to myself the struggles and temptations it has passed through, the brief pulsations of joy, the feverish inquietude of hope and fear, the pressure of want, the desertion of friends, I would fain leave the erring soul of my fellowman with Him from whose hand it came."

"The motives and purposes of authors are not always so pure and high, as, in the enthusiasm of youth, we sometimes imagine. To many the trumpet of fame is nothing but a tin horn to call them home, like laborers from the field, at dinner-time, and they think themselves lucky to get the dinner."

"The shadows of the mind are like those of the body. In the morning of life they lie behind us; at noon, we trample them under foot; and in the evening they stretch long, broad and deepening before us."

"We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done."

"Weak minds make treaties with the passions they cannot overcome, and try to purchase happiness at the expense of principle; but the resolute will of a strong man scorns such means, and struggles nobly with his foe to achieve great deeds."

"A single conversation across the table with a wise man is better than ten years' mere study of books."

"All that is best in the great poets of all countries is not what is national in them, but what is universal."

"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."

"All things come round to him who will but wait."

"‘Tis the cessation of our breath. Silent and motionless we lie; and no one knoweth more than this."

"Ambition’s cradle oftenest is its grave."

"All things much change to something new, to something strange."

"All your strength is in your union, all your danger in discord."

"Art is power."

"Art is the gift of God, and must be used in His Glory."

"As to the pure mind all things are pure, so to the poetic mind all things are poetical."

"Be still, sad heart, and cease repining, behind the clouds the sun is shining; thy fate is the common fate of all; into each life some rain must fall, - some days must be dark and dreary."

"Believe me, every man has his secret sorrows, which the world knows not; and oftentimes we call a man cold when he is only sad."

"Every human heart is human."

"Every heart has its secret sorrows which the world knows not, and oftentimes we call a man cold, when he is only sad."

"Dust thou art, to dust returnest, was not spoken of the soul."

"Books are sepulchers of thought."

"For next to being a great poet is the power of understanding one."