Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Joanna Baillie

Scottish Poet and Dramatist

"A willing heart adds feather to the heel, and makes the clown a winged Mercury."

"Pampered vanity is a better thing perhaps than starved pride."

"Though duller thoughts succeed, the bliss e’en of a moment still is bliss."

"The brave man is not he who feels no fear, for that would be stupid and irrational; but he whose noble soul subdues its fear, and bravely dares the danger nature shrinks from."

"Half-uttered praise is to the curious mind, as to the eye half-veiled beauty is, more precious than the whole."

"She who only finds her self-esteem in others' admiration, begs an alms; Depends on others for her daily food, and is the very servant of her slaves; Tho' oftentimes, in a fantastic hour, o'er men she may a childish pow'r exert, Which not ennobles but degrades her state."

"The mind doth shape itself to its own wants, and can bear all things."

"Words of affection, howsoe'er express'd, the latest spoken still are deem'd the best."

"Amongst the many trials to which the human mind is subjected, that of holding intercourse, real or imaginary, with the world of spirits: of finding itself alone with a being terrific and awful, whose nature and power are unknown, has been justly considered the most severe."

"A good man's prayers will from the deepest dungeon climb heaven's height, and bring a blessing down."

"A woman is seldom roused to great and courageous exertion but when something most dear to hear is in immediate danger."

"But dreams full oft are found of real events the form and shadows."

"Busy work brings after ease; Ease brings sport and sport brings rest; For young and old, of all degrees, The mingled lot is best."

"Dreams full oft are found of real events the forms and shadows."

"From the sad years of life we sometimes do short hours, yea, minutes strike, keen, blissful, bright, never to be forgotten; which, through the dreary gloom of time o'erpast, shine like fair sunny spots on a wild waste."

"He is so full of pleasant anecdote; so rich, so gay, so poignant in his wit, time vanishes before him as he speaks, and ruddy morning through the lattice peeps ere night seems well begun."

"But woman's grief is like a summer storm, short as it violent is."

"He that will not give some portion of his ease, his blood, his wealth, for other's good, is a poor, frozen churl."

"Heaven oft in mercy smites, even when the blow severest is."

"Heaven often smites in mercy, even when the blow is severest."

"I am as one who doth attempt some lofty mountain?s height, and having gained what to the upcast eye the summit?s point appear?d, astonish?d sees its cloudy top, majestic and enlarged, towering aloft, as distant as before."

"I believe the earth on which we stand is but the vestibule to glorious mansions, to which a moving crowd is forever pressing."

"I can bear scorpion?s stings, tread fields of fire, in frozen gulfs of cold eternal lie, be tossed aloft through tracts of endless void, but cannot live in shame."

"I have seen the day, when, if a man made himself ridiculous, the world would laugh at him. But now, everything that is mean, disgusting, and absurd, pleases them but so much the better!"

"I wish I were with some of the wild people that run in the woods, and know nothing about accomplishments!"

"I would, God knows, in a poor woodman?s hut have spent my peaceful days, and shared my crust with her who would have cheer?d me, rather far than on this throne; but being what I am, I?ll be it nobly."

"If my heart were not light, I would die."

"It ever is the marked propensity of restless and aspiring minds to look into the stretch of dark futurity."

"Men?s actions to futurity appear but as the events to which they are conjoined do give them consequence."

"My day is closed! the gloom of night is come! a hopeless darkness settles over my fate."

"O lovely Sisters! is it true That they are all inspired by you, And write by inward magic charm'd, And high enthusiasm warm'd?"

"O mysterious Night! thou art not silent; many tongues hast thou."

"Oh swiftly glides the bonnie boat, Just parted from the shore, And to the fisher's chorus-note Soft moves the dipping oar."

"Some men are born to feast, and not to fight; whose sluggish minds, e?en in fair honor?s field, still on their dinner turn?Let such pot-boiling varlets stay at home, and wield a flesh-hook rather than a sword."

"Stand there, damn?d meddling villain, and be silent; for if thou utt?rest but a single word, a cough or hem, to cross me in my speech, I?ll send thy cursed spirit from the earth, to bellow with the damn?d!"

"Still on it creeps, Each little moment at another's heels, Till hours, days, years, and ages are made up of such small parts as these, and men look back worn and bewilder'd, wondering how it is."

"Sweet sleep be with us, one and all! And if upon its stillness fall the visions of a busy brain, we?ll have our pleasure o?er again, to warm the heart, to charm the sight. Gay dreams to all! good night, good night."

"That looked as though an angel, in his upward flight, had left his mantle floating in mid-air."

"The bliss e'en of a moment still is bliss."

"The hushed winds wail with feeble moan like infant charity."

"The inward sighs of humble penitence rise to the ear of Heaven, when peal?d hymns are scatter?d with the sounds of common air."

"The strength of man sinks in the hour of trial: but there doth live a power that to the battle girdeth the weak."

"The tyrant now Trusts not to men: nightly within his chamber The watch-dog guards his couch, the only friend He now dare trust."

"The visions of a busy brain."

"Think?st thou there are no serpents in the world but those who slide along the grassy sod, and sting the luckless foot that presses them? There are who in the path of social life do bask their spotted skins in Fortune?s sun, and sting the soul."

"This pure air braces the listless nerves, and warms the blood: I feel in freedom here."

"This will be triumph! This will be happiness! Yea, that very thing, happiness, which I have been pursuing all my life, and have never yet overtaken."

"Time never bears such moments on his wing as when he flies too swiftly to be marked."

"Tis ever thus when favours are denied; all had been granted but the thing we beg: and still some great unlikely substitute?Your life, your soul, your all of earthly good?Is proffer?d, in the room of one small boon."

"Tis ever thus: indulgence spoils the base; raising up pride, and lawless turbulence, like noxious vapors from the fulsome marsh when morning shines upon it."