Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Margaret Fuller, fully Sara Margaret Fuller, Marchese Ossoli

American Editor, Essayist, Poet, Teacher, Journalist, Critic and Women's Rights Advocate

"It is astonishing what force, purity, and wisdom it requires for a human being to keep clear of falsehoods."

"A house is no home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as for the body. For human beings are not so constituted that they can live without expansion. If they do not get it in one way, they must in another, or perish."

"I am suffocated and lost when I have not the bright feeling of progression."

"Only the dreamer shall understand realities, though in truth his dreaming must be not out of proportion to his waking."

"The shrine is vowed to freedom, but, my friend, Freedom is but a means to gain an end. Freedom should build the temple, but the shrine Be consecrate to thought still more divine. The human bliss which angel hopes foresaw Is liberty to comprehend the law. Give, then, thy book a larger scope and frame, Comprising means and end in Truth's great name."

"Mercury has cast aside The signs of intellectual pride, Freely offers thee the soul: Art thou noble to receive? Canst thou give or take the whole, Nobly promise and believe? Then thou wholly human art, A spotless, radiant, ruby heart, And the golden chain of love Has bound thee to the realm above. Guard thee from the power of evil; Who cannot trust, vows to the devil."

"In times of old, as we are told, When men more child-like at the feet Of Jesus sat, than now, A chivalry was known more bold Than ours, and yet of stricter vow, Of worship more complete. Be to the best thou knowest ever true, Is all the creed... Knights of the Rosy Cross, they bore Its weight within the heart, but wore Without, devotion's sign in glistening ruby bright; The gall and vinegar they drank alone, But to the world at large would only own The wine of faith, sparkling with rosy light. The pass-word now is lost To that initiation full and free; Daily we pay the cost Of our slow schooling for divine degree. We know no means to feed an undying lamp; Our lights go out in every wind or damp. Though deepest dark our efforts should enfold, Unwearied mine to find the vein of gold; Forget not oft to lift the hope on high; The rosy dawn again shall fill the sky. And by that lovely light, all truth-revealed, The cherished forms which sad distrust concealed, Transfigured, yet the same, will round us stand, The kindred angels of a faithful band; Ruby and ebon cross both cast aside, No lamp is needed, for the night has died. Be to the best thou knowest ever true, Is all the creed; Then, by thy talisman of rosy hue, Or fenced with thorns that wearing thou must bleed, Or gentle pledge of Love's prophetic view, The faithful steps it will securely lead. Happy are all who reach that shore, And bathe in heavenly day, Happiest are those who high the banner bore, To marshal others on the way; Or waited for them, fainting and way-worn, By burdens overborne."

"We deemed the secret lost, the spirit gone, Which spake in Greek simplicity of thought, And in the forms of gods and heroes wrought Eternal beauty from the sculptured stone — A higher charm than modern culture won, With all the wealth of metaphysic lore, Gifted to analyze, dissect explore. A many-colored light flows from our sun; Art, 'neath its beams a motley thread has spun; The prison modifies the perfect day; But thou hast known such mediums to shun, And cast once more on life a pure white ray. Absorbed in the creations of thy mind, Forgetting daily self, my truest friend I find."

"On the boundless plain careering By an unseen compass steering, Wildly flying, reappearing, — With untamed fire their broad eyes glowing In every step a grand pride showing, Of no servile moment knowing, — Happy as the trees and flowers, In their instinct cradled hours, Happier in fuller powers, — See the wild herd nobly ranging, Nature varying, not changing, Lawful in their lawless ranging. Wouldst have the princely spirit bowed? Whisper only, speak not loud, Mark and leave him in the crowd. Thou need'st not spies nor jailers have; The free will serve thee like the slave, Coward shrinking from the brave."

"The pencil moved prophetic: together now men read In the fair book of nature, and find the hope they need. The wreath woven by the river is by the seaside worn, And one of fate's best arrows to its due mark is borne."

"There are who separate the eternal light In forms of man and woman, day and night; They cannot bear that God be essence quite. Existence is as deep a verity: Without the dual, where is unity? And the "I am"" cannot forbear to be; But from its primal nature forced to frame Mysteries, destinies of various name, Is forced to give that it has taught to claim. And dost thou seek to find the one in two? Only upon the old can build the new; The symbol which you seek is found in you. There are to whom each symbol is a mask; The life of love is a mysterious task; They want no answer, for they would not ask. A single thought transfuses every form; The sunny day is changed into the storm, For light is dark, hard soft, and cold is warm. One presence fill and floods the whole serene; Nothing can be, nothing has ever been, Except the one truth that creates the scene. You ask a faith, — they are content with faith; You ask to have, — but they reply "IT hath." There is no end, there need be no path. The day wears heavily, — why, then, ignore it; Peace is the soul's desire, — such thoughts restore it; The truth thou art, — it needs not implore it. The Presence all thy fancies supersedes, All that is done which thou wouldst seek in deeds, The wealth obliterates all seeming needs. To me, our destinies seem flower and fruit Born of an ever-generating root... I do not think we are deceived to grow, But that the crudest fancy, slightest show, Covers some separate truth that we may know. In the one Truth, each separate fact is true; Eternally in one I many view, And destinies through destiny pursue. This is my tendency; but can I say That this my thought leads the true, only way? I only know it constant leads, and I obey. I only know one prayer — "Give me the truth, Give me that colored whiteness, ancient youth, Complex and simple, seen in joy and ruth. Let me not by vain wishes bar my claim, Nor soothe my hunger by an empty name, Nor crucify the Son of man by hasty blame. But in the earth and fire, water and air, Live earnestly by turns without despair, Nor seek a home till home be every where!"

"With equal sweetness the commissioned hours Shed light and dew upon both weeds and flowers. The weeds unthankful raise their vile heads high, Flaunting back insult to the gracious sky; While the dear flowers, wht fond humility, Uplift the eyelids of a starry eye In speechless homage, and, from grateful hearts, Perfume that homage all around imparts."

"I am immortal! I know it! I feel it! Hope floods my heart with delight! Running on air mad with life dizzy, reeling, Upward I mount, — faith is sight, life is feeling, Hope is the day-star of might! It was thy kiss, Love, that made me immortal. Probably derived from "Make me immortal with a kiss" in Faustus by Christopher Marlowe. Come, let us mount on the wings of the morning, Flying for joy of the flight, Wild with all longing, now soaring, now staying, Mingling like day and dawn, swinging and swaying, Hung like a cloud in the light: I am immortal! I feel it! I feel it! Love bears me up, love is might! Chance cannot touch me! Time cannot hush me! Fear, Hope, and Longing, at strife, Sink as I rise, on, on, upward forever, Gathering strength, gaining breath, — naught can sever Me from the Spirit of Life!"

"Thoughts which come at a call Are no better than if they came not at all Neither flower nor fruit, Yielding no root For plant, shrub, or tree. I prize thy gentle heart, Free from ambition, falsehood, or art, And thy good mind, Daily refined, By pure desire To fan the heaven-seeking fire."

"Triune, shaping, restless power, Life-flow from life's natal hour, No music chords are in thy sound; By some thou'rt but a rattle found; Yet, without thy ceaseless motion, To ice would turn their dead devotion. Life-flow of my natal hour, I will not weary of thy power, Till in the changes of thy sound A chord's three parts distinct are found. I will faithful move with thee, God-ordered, self-fed energy, Nature in eternity."

"Next to invention is the owner of interpreting invention; next to beauty, the power of appreciating beauty."

"Reverence the highest; have patience with the lowest. Let this day’s performance of the meanest duty be thy religion."

"A many-colored light flows from our sun; Art, 'neath its beams a motley thread has spun; The prison modifies the perfect day; But thou hast known such mediums to shun, And cast once more on life a pure white ray. Absorbed in the creations of thy mind, Forgetting daily self, my truest friend I find."

"A model was before us in the great Latins of simple masculine minds seizing upon life with unbroken power. The stamp both of nationality and individuality was very strong upon them; their lives and thoughts stood out in clear and bold relief."

"A single thought transfuses every form; the sunny day is changed into the storm, for light is dark, hard soft, and cold is warm. One presence fill and floods the whole serene; nothing can be, nothing has ever been, except the one truth that creates the scene."

"All around us lies what we neither understand nor use. Our capacities, our instincts for this our present sphere are but half developed. Let us confine ourselves to that till the lesson be learned; let us be completely natural; before we trouble ourselves with the supernatural. I never see any of these things but I long to get away and lie under a green tree and let the wind blow on me. There is marvel and charm enough in that for me."

"An essay on Criticism were a serious matter; for, though this age be emphatically critical, the writer would still find it necessary to investigate the laws of criticism as a science, to settle its conditions as an art. Essays, entitled critical, are epistles addressed to the public, through which the mind of the recluse relieves itself of its impressions."

"And dost thou seek to find the one in two? Only upon the old can build the new; the symbol which you seek is found in you."

"And, if men are deaf, the angels hear. But men cannot be deaf. It is inevitable that an external freedom, an independence of the encroachments of other men, such as has been achieved for the nation, should be so also for every member of it. That which has once been clearly conceived in the intelligence cannot fail, sooner or later, to be acted out."

"Another symptom is the need felt by individuals of being even sternly sincere. This is the one great means by which alone progress can be essentially furthered."

"Art can only be truly Art by presenting an adequate outward symbol of some fact in the interior life."

"A great work of Art demands a great thought or a thought of beauty adequately expressed. - Neither in Art nor Literature more than in Life can an ordinary thought be made interesting because well-dressed."

"As men become aware that few men have had a fair chance, they are inclined to say that no women have had a fair chance. The French Revolution, that strangely disguised angel, bore witness in favor of Woman, but interpreted her claims no less ignorantly than those of Man."

"At Chicago I read again 'Philip Van Artevelde,' and certain passages in it will always be in my mind associated with the deep sound of the lake, as heard in the night. I used to read a short time at night, and then open the blind to look out. The moon would be full upon the lake, and the calm breath, pure light, and the deep voice, harmonized well with the thought of the Flemish hero. When will this country have such a man ? It is what she needs ? no thin Idealist, no coarse Realist, but a man whose eye reads the heavens while his feet step firmly on the ground and his hands are strong and dextrous in the use of human instruments. A man, religious, virtuous and ? sagacious; a man of universal sympathies, but self-possessed; a man who knows the region of emotion, though he is not its slave; a man to whom this world is no mere spectacle or fleeting shadow, but a great, solemn game, to be played with good heed, for its stakes are of eternal value, yet who, if his own play be true, heeds not what he loses by the falsehood of others. A man who lives from the past, yet knows that its honey can but moderately avail him; whose comprehensive eye scans the present, neither infatuated by its golden lures nor chilled by its many ventures; who possesses prescience, as the wise man must, but not so far as to be driven mad to-day by the gift which discerns to-morrow. When there is such a man for America, the thought which urges her on will be expressed."

"At such times both eye and voice called on a remote future to give a worthy reply,-- a future which shall manifest more largely the universal soul as it was then manifest to this soul."

"Be to the best thou knowest ever true, is all the creed; then, by thy talisman of rosy hue, or fenced with thorns that wearing thou must bleed, or gentle pledge of love's prophetic view, the faithful steps it will securely lead. Happy are all who reach that shore, and bathe in heavenly day, happiest are those who high the banner bore, to marshal others on the way; or waited for them, fainting and way-worn,"

"Be what you would seem to be - or, if you'd like it put more simply - a house is no home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body."

"Besides there is a peculiar pleasure in a true response; it is the assurance of equipoise in the universe."

"Beware of over-great pleasure in being popular or even beloved. As far as an amiable disposition and powers of entertainment make you so, it is a happiness; but if there is one grain of plausibility, it is poison."

"But the golden-rod is one of the fairy, magical flowers; it grows not up to seek human love amid the light of day, but to mark to the discerning what wealth lies hid in the secret caves of earth."

"Chance cannot touch me! Time cannot hush me! Fear, hope, and longing, at strife, sink as i rise, on, on, upward forever, gathering strength, gaining breath, ? naught can sever me from the spirit of life!"

"Come, let us mount on the wings of the morning, flying for joy of the flight, wild with all longing, now soaring, now staying, mingling like day and dawn, swinging and swaying, hung like a cloud in the light: I am immortal! I feel it! I feel it! Love bears me up, love is might!"

"Critics are poets cut down, says someone--by way of jeer; but, in truth, they are men with the poetical temperament to apprehend, with the philosophical tendency to investigate."

"Drudgery is as necessary to call out the treasures of the mind, as harrowing and planting those of the earth."

"Essays, entitled critical, are epistles addressed to the public, through which the mind of the recluse relieves itself of its impressions."

"Every relation, every gradation of nature is incalculably precious, but only to the soul which is poised upon itself, and to whom no loss, no change, can bring dull discord, for it is in harmony with the central soul. If any individual live too much in relations, so that he becomes a stranger to the resources of his own nature, he falls, after a while, into a distraction, or imbecility, from which he can only becured by a time of isolation, which gives the renovating fountains time to rise up. With a society it is the same."

"Existence is as deep a verity: Without the dual, where is unity? And the "I am"" cannot forbear to be; But from its primal nature forced to frame Mysteries, destinies of various name, Is forced to give that it has taught to claim."

"For human beings are not so constituted, that they can live without expansion; and if they do not get it one way, must another, or perish."

"For precocity some great price is always demanded sooner or later in life."

"For, though the thought has become familiar, its beautiful garb is always fresh and bright in hue."

"Genius will live and thrive without training, but it does not the less reward the watering pot and the pruning knife."

"Guard thee from the power of evil; who cannot trust, vows to the devil."

"Harmony exists no less in difference than in likeness, if only the same key-note govern both parts. Woman the poem, man the poet; woman the heart, man the head; such divisions are only important when they are never to be transcended. If nature is never bound down, nor the voice of inspiration stifled, that is enough."

"Here in civic Boston was such a man -- one who could see man in his original grandeur and his original childishness, rooted in simple nature, raising to the heavens the brow and eyes of a poet."

"Heroes have filled the zodiac of beneficent labors, and then given up their mortal part to the fire without a murmur. Sages and lawgivers have bent their whole nature to the search for truth, and thought themselves happy if they could buy, with the sacrifice of all temporal ease and pleasure, one seed for the future Eden. Poets and priests have strung the lyre with heart-strings, poured out their best blood upon the altar which, reare'd anew from age to age, shall at last sustain the flame which rises to highest heaven. What shall we say of those who, if not so directly, or so consciously, in connection with the central truth, yet, led and fashioned by a divine instinct, serve no less to develop and interpret the open secret of love passing into life, the divine energy creating for the purpose of happiness; ? of the artist, whose hand, drawn by a preexistent harmony to a certain medium, moulds it to expressions of life more highly and completely organized than are seen elsewhere, and, by carrying out the intention of nature, reveals her meaning to those who are not yet sufficiently matured to divine it; of the philosopher, who listens steadily for causes, and, from those obvious, infers those yet unknown; of the historian, who, in faith that all events must have their reason and their aim, records them, and lays up archives from which the youth of prophets may be fed. The man of science dissects the statement, verifies the facts, and demonstrates connection even where he cannot its purpose?"