Great Throughts Treasury

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

Nathaniel Parker Willis

American Poet, Journalist, and Editor who worked with Edgar Allan Poe and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"The value of life deepens incalculably with the privileges of travel."

"The world well tried - the sweetest thing in life is the unclouded welcome of a wife."

"Wisdom sits alone, topmost in heaven: she is its light, its God; and in the heart of man she sits as high, though groveling minds forget her oftentimes, seeing but this world’s idols."

"Gratitude is not only the memory but the homage of the heart rendered to God for his goodness."

"Let us weep in our darkness, but weep not for him! Not for him who, departing, leaves millions in tears! Not for him who has died full of honor and years! Not for him who ascended Fame's ladder so high: From the round at the top he has stepped to the sky."

"The innocence that feels no risk and is taught no caution, is more vulnerable than guilt, and oftener assailed."

"He who binds his soul to knowledge, steals the key of heaven."

"If there is anything that keeps the mind open to angel visits, and repels the ministry of ill, it is human love."

"Press on! for in the grave there is no work and no device. Press on! while yet you may."

"Such is the force of envy and ill-nature, that the failings of good men are more published to the world than their good deeds; and one fault of a well-deserving man shall meet with more reproaches than all his virtues will with praise."

"There aid so few that resist the allurements and luxuries of the table, that the usual civilities at a meal are very like being politely assisted to the grave."

"How like a mounting devil in the heart rules the unreined ambition."

"I have unlearned contempt.—It is a sin that is engendered earliest in the soul, and doth beset it like a poison-worm, feeding on all its beauty."

"At present there is no distinction among the upper ten thousand of the city."

"And mad ambition trumpeteth to all."

"For it stirs the blood in an old man?s heart, and makes his pulses fly, to catch the thrill of a happy voice and the light of a pleasant eye."

"But he who never sins can little boast compared to him who goes and sins no more!"

"Blessed are the joymakers."

"It is the month of June, the month of leaves and roses, when pleasant sights salute the eyes and pleasant scents the noses."

"How beautiful it is for a man to die upon the walls of Zion! to be called like a watch-worn and weary sentinel, to put his armor off, and rest in heaven!"

"Nature has thrown a veil of modest beauty over maidenhood and moss-roses."

"Nature's noblemen are everywhere,--in town and out of town, gloved and rough-handed, rich and poor. Prejudice against a lord, because he is a lord, is losing the chance of finding a good fellow, as much as prejudice against a ploughman because he is a ploughman."

"O, when the heart is, full, when bitter thoughts come crowding thickly up for utterance, and the poor common words of courtesy are such a very mockery, how much the bursting heart may pour itself in prayer!"

"Night comes, with love upon the breeze, and the calm clock strikes, stilly, "ten!" I start to hear it beat, or then I know that thou art on thy knees--and at that hour, where'er thou be, ascends to heaven a prayer for me!"

"Pitch a lucky man into the Nile, says the Arabian proverb, and he will come up with a fish in his mouth!"

"One lamp, thy mother's love, amid the stars shall lift its pure flame changeless, and before the throne of God burn through eternity."

"One gets, sensitive about losing mornings after getting a little used to them with living in a country. Each one of these endlessly varied daybreaks is an opera but once performed."

"She was the pride of her familiar sphere--the daily joy of all who on her gracefulness might gaze, and in the light and music of her way have a companion's portion."

"'T is the work of many a dark hour, many a prayer, to bring the heart back from an infant gone."

"Spring is a beautiful piece of work; and not to be in the country to see it done is the not realizing what glorious masters we are, and how cheerfully, minutely, and unflaggingly the fair fingers of the season broider the world for us."

"The children of the poor are so apt to look as if the rich would have been over-blest with such! Alas for the angel capabilities, interrupted so soon with care, and with after life so sadly unfulfilled."

"Some noble spirits mistake despair for content."

"Temptation hath a music for all ears."

"The dust is old upon my "sandal-shoon," and still I am a pilgrim; I have roved from wild America to Bosphor's waters, and worshipp'd at innumerable shrines of beauty; and the painter's art, to me, and sculpture, speak as with a living tongue, and of dead kingdoms, I recall the soul, sitting amid their ruins."

"The ear in man and beast is an evidence of blood and high breeding."

"The innumerable stars shining in order, like a living hymn written in light."

"The expressive word "quiet" defines the dress, manners, bow, and even physiognomy of every true denizen of St. James and Bond street."

"The Italians say that a beautiful woman by her smiles draws tears from our purse."

"The lily and the rose in her fair face striving for precedence."

"The night is made for tenderness,--so still that the low whisper, scarcely audible, is heard like music,--and so deeply pure that the fond thought is chastened as it springs and on the lip made holy."

"The perfect world, by Adam trod, was the first temple--built by God-- His fiat laid the corner stone, and heaved its pillars, one by one."

"The soul of man createth its own destiny of power; and as the trial is intenser here, his being hath a nobler strength in heaven."

"The smallest pebble in the well of truth has its peculiar meaning, and will stand when man's best monuments have passed away."

"The rain is playing its soft pleasant tune fitfully on the skylight, and the shade of the fast-flying clouds across my book passed with delicate change."

"The Spring is here--the delicate footed May, with its slight fingers full of leaves and flowers, and with it comes a thirst to be away. in lovelier scenes to pass these sweeter hours."

"The starlight of the brain."

"The taste forever refines in the study of women."

"There is a gentle element, and man may breathe it with a calm, unruffled soul, and drink its living waters, till his heart is pure; and this is human happiness."

"There is no divining-rod whose dip shall tell us at twenty what we shall most relish at thirty."

"There is to me a daintiness about early flowers that touches me like poetry. They blow out with such a simple loveliness among the common herbs of pastures, and breathe their lives so unobtrusively, like hearts whose beatings are too gentle for the world."