Great Throughts Treasury

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

R. H. Stoddard, fully Richard Henry Stoddard

American Critic and Poet

"Children are the keys of Paradise; they alone are good and wise,because their thoughts, their very lives, are prayer."

"There are gains for all our losses, there are balms for all our pains, but when youth the dream departs it takes some thing from our hearts and never comes again. We are stronger and are better under manhood’s sterner reign, still we feel that some thing sweet followed youth with flying feet and will never come again. Some thing beautiful has vanished and we sigh for it in vain. We behold it every where---- on the earth and in the air---- But it never comes again."

"Day is the Child of Time, and Day must cease to be: but Night is without a sire, and cannot expire, One with Eternity."

"If there is anything that will endure The eye of God because it still is pure, It is the spirit of a little child, Fresh from His hand, and therefore undefiled. Nearer the gate of Paradise than we, Our children breathe its airs, its angels see; And when they pray God hears their simple prayer, Yea, even sheathes His sword, in judgment bare"

"Heaven is not gone, but we are blind with tears, Groping our way along the downward slope of years! I am not alone, For solitude like this is populous, And its abundant life of sky and sun, High-floating clouds, low mists, and wheeling birds, And waves that ripple shoreward all day long, Whether the tide is setting in or out, Forever rippling shoreward, dark and bright, As lights and shadows, and the shifting winds Pursue each other in their endless play, Is more than the companionship of man."

"We love in others what we lack ourselves, and would be everything but what we are."

"There is no death. The thing that we call death is but another, sadder name for life. There is no hope—the future will but turn the old sand in the falling glass of time. We grow like flowers, and bear desire, the odor of the human flowers. Given the books of a man, it is not difficult, I think, to detect therein the personality of the man, and the station in life to which he was born. We love in others what we lack ourselves, and would be everything but what we are."

"Let me silent be; For silence is the speech of love, The music of the spheres above. Men can be great when great occasions call: In little duties women find their spheres, The narrow cares that cluster round the hearth. Not that the heavens the little can make great, But many a man has lived an age too late."

"Thou wert before the Continents, before The hollow heavens, which like another sea Encircles them and thee; but whence thou wert, And when thou wast created, is not known, Antiquity was young when thou wast old. [Hymn to the Sea]"

"Adsum - The Angel came by night (Such angels still come down), And like a winter cloud Passed over London town; Along its lonesome streets, Where Want had ceased to weep, Until it reached a house Where a great man lay asleep; The man of all his time Who knew the most of men, The soundest head and heart, The sharpest, kindest pen. It paused beside his bed, And whispered in his ear; He never turned his head, But answered, “I am here.” Into the night they went. At morning, side by side, They gained the sacred Place Where the greatest Dead abide. Where grand old Homer sits In godlike state benign; Where broods in endless thought The awful Florentine; Where sweet Cervantes walks, A smile on his grave face; Where gossips quaint Montaigne, The wisest of his race; Where Goethe looks through all With that calm eye of his; Where—little seen but Light— The only Shakespeare is! When the new Spirit came, They asked him, drawing near, “Art thou become like us?” He answered, “I am here.” "

"The life of man Is an arrow’s flight, Out of darkness Into light, And out of light Into darkness again; Perhaps to pleasure, Perhaps to pain! There must be Something, Above, or below; Somewhere unseen A mighty Bow, A Hand that tires not, A sleepless Eye That sees the arrows Fly, and fly; One who knows Why we live—and die. "

"Abraham Lincoln: An Horatian Ode - Confusion now hath made his masterpiece! Most sacrilegious murder hath broke ope The Lord's anointed temple, and stole thence The life o' the building. 'Approach the chamber, and destroy your sight With a new Gorgon:--Do not bid me speak; See, and then speak yourselves.--Awake! awake! Ring the alarum-bell:--Murder! and treason! 'Shake off this downy sleep, death's counterfeit, And look on death itself!--up, up, and see The great doom's image! 'Our royal master's murdered! 'Had I but died an hour before this chance, I had lived a blessed time; for from this instant There's nothing serious in mortality: All is but toys: renown and grace is dead; The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees Is left this vault to brag of. 'After life's fitful fever, he sleeps well; Treason has done his worst: nor steel, nor poison, Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing, Can touch him further.' Macbeth Not as when some great Captain falls In battle, where his Country calls, Beyond the struggling lines That push his dread designs To doom, by some stray ball struck dead: Or, in the last charge, at the head Of his determined men, Who _must_ be victors then! Nor as when sink the civic Great, The safer pillars of the State, Whose calm, mature, wise words Suppress the need of swords-- With no such tears as e'er were shed Above the noblest of our Dead Do we to-day deplore The Man that is no more! Our sorrow hath a wider scope, Too strange for fear, too vast for hope,-- A Wonder, blind and dumb, That waits--what is to come! Not more astounded had we been If Madness, that dark night, unseen, Had in our chambers crept, And murdered while we slept! We woke to find a mourning Earth-- Our Lares shivered on the hearth,-- The roof-tree fallen,--all That could affright, appall! Such thunderbolts, in other lands, Have smitten the rod from royal hands, But spared, with us, till now, Each laurelled Cesar's brow! No Cesar he, whom we lament, A Man without a precedent, Sent, it would see, to do His work--and perish too! Not by the weary cares of State, The endless tasks, which will not wait, Which, often done in vain, Must yet be done again: Not in the dark, wild tide of War, Which rose so high, and rolled so far, Sweeping from sea to sea In awful anarchy:-- Four fateful years of mortal strife, Which slowly drained the Nation's life, (Yet, for each drop that ran There sprang an armed man!) Not then;--but when by measures meet,-- By victory, and by defeat,-- By courage, patience, skill, The People's fixed _'We will!'_ Had pierced, had crushed Rebellion dead,-- Without a Hand, without a Head:-- At last, when all was well, He fell--O, _how_ he fell! The time,--the place,--the stealing Shape,-- The coward shot,--the swift escape,-- The wife--the widow's scream,-- It is a hideous Dream! A Dream?--what means this pageant, then? These multitudes of solemn men, Who speak not when they meet, But throng the silent street? The flags half-mast, that late so high Flaunted at each new victory? (The stars no brightness shed, But bloody looks the red!) The black festoons that stretch for miles, And turn the streets to funeral aisles? (No house too poor to show The Nation's badge of woe!) The cannon's sudden, sullen boom,-- The bells that toll of death and doom,-- The rolling of the drums,-- The dreadful Car that comes? Cursed be the hand that fired the shot! The frenzied brain that hatched the plot! Thy Country's Father slain By thee, thou worse than Cain! Tyrants have fallen by such as thou, And Good hath followed--May it now! (God lets bad instruments Produce the best events.) But he, the Man we mourn to-day, No tyrant was: so mild a sway In one such weight who bore Was never known before! Cool should he be, of balanced powers, The Ruler of a Race like ours, Impatient, headstrong, wild,-- The Man to guide the Child! And this _he_ was, who most unfit (So hard the sense of God to hit!) Did seem to fill his Place. With such a homely face,-- Such rustic manners,--speech uncouth,-- (That somehow blundered out the Truth!) Untried, untrained to bear The more than kingly Care? Ay! And his genius put to scorn The proudest in the purple born, Whose wisdom never grew To what, untaught, he knew-- The People, of whom he was one. No gentleman like Washington,-- (Whose bones, methinks, make room, To have him in their tomb!) A laboring man, with horny hands, Who swung the axe, who tilled his lands, Who shrank from nothing new, But did as poor men do! One of the People! Born to be Their curious Epitome; To share, yet rise above Their shifting hate and love. Common his mind (it seemed so then), His thoughts the thoughts of other men: Plain were his words, and poor-- But now they will endure! No hasty fool, of stubborn will, But prudent, cautious, pliant, still; Who, since his work was good, Would do it, as he could. Doubting, was not ashamed to doubt, And, lacking prescience, went without: Often appeared to halt, And was, of course, at fault: Heard all opinions, nothing loth, And loving both sides, angered both: Was--_not_ like Justice, blind, But watchful, clement, kind. No hero, this, of Roman mould; Nor like our stately sires of old: Perhaps he was not Great-- But he preserved the State! O honest face, which all men knew! O tender heart, but known to few! O Wonder of the Age, Cut off by tragic Rage! Peace! Let the long procession come, For hark!--the mournful, muffled drum-- The trumpet's wail afar,-- And see! the awful Car! Peace! Let the sad procession go, While cannon boom, and bells toll slow: And go, thou sacred Car, Bearing our Woe afar! Go, darkly borne, from State to State, Whose loyal, sorrowing Cities wait To honor all they can The dust of that Good Man! Go, grandly borne, with such a train As greatest kings might die to gain: The Just, the Wise, the Brave Attend thee to the grave! And you, the soldiers of our wars, Bronzed veterans, grim with noble scars, Salute him once again, Your late Commander--slain! Yes, let your tears, indignant, fall, But leave your muskets on the wall: Your Country needs you now Beside the forge, the plough! (When Justice shall unsheathe her brand,-- If Mercy may not stay her hand, Nor would we have it so-- She must direct the blow! And you, amid the Master-Race, Who seem so strangely out of place, Know ye who cometh? He Who hath declared ye Free! Bow while the Body passes--Nay, Fall on your knees, and weep, and pray! Weep, weep--I would ye might-- Your poor, black faces white! And, Children, you must come in bands, With garlands in your little hands, Of blue, and white, and red, To strew before the Dead! So, sweetly, sadly, sternly goes The Fallen to his last repose: Beneath no mighty dome, But in his modest Home; The churchyard where his children rest, The quiet spot that suits him best: There shall his grave be made, And there his bones be laid! And there his countrymen shall come, With memory proud, with pity dumb, And strangers far and near, For many and many a year! For many a year, and many an Age, While History on her ample page The virtues shall enroll Of that Paternal Soul! "

"A face at the window, a tap on the pane; who is it that wants me to-night in the rain?"

"But let me silent be: for silence is the speech of love, the music of the spheres above."

"A voice of greeting from the wind was sent; The mists enfolded me with soft white arms; The birds did sing to lap me in content, The rivers wove their charms, ? And every little daisy in the grass Did look up in my face, and smile to see me pass!"

"Around our pillows golden ladders rise, And up and down the skies, With winged sandals shod, The angels come, and go, the Messengers of God! Nor, though they fade from us, do they depart ? It is the childly heart We walk as heretofore, Adown their shining ranks, but see them nevermore."

"Given the books of a man, it is not difficult, I think, to detect therein the personality of the man, and the station in life to which he was born."

"I am not alone, for solitude like this is populous. Its abundant life of sky and sun, high-floating clouds, low mists, and wheeling birds, and waves that ripple shoreward all day long, whether the tide is setting in or out, forever rippling shoreward, dark and bright, as lights and shadows, and the shifting winds pursue each other in their endless play, is more than the companionship of man."

"Day and night my thoughts incline To the blandishments of wine, Jars were made to drain, I think; Wine, I know, was made to drink."

"Divinest Autumn! who may paint thee best, Forever changeful o'er the changeful globe? Who guess thy certain crown, thy favorite crest, The fashion of thy many-colored robe?"

"I loved the Sea. Whether in calm it glassed the gracious day With all its light, the night with all its fires; Whether in storm it lashed its sullen spray, Wild as the heart when passionate youth expires; Or lay, as now, a torture to my mind, In yonder land-locked bay, unwrinkled by the wind."

"England, our mother's mother! Come, and see a greater England here! O come and be at home with us, your children, for there runs the same blood in our veins as in your sons; the same deep-seated love of liberty Beats in our hearts. We speak the same good tongue; familiar with all songs your bards have sung, those large men, Milton, Shakespeare, both are ours."

"I loved the wind. Whether it kissed my hair and pallid brow; whether with sweets my sense it fed, as now; whether it blew across the scudding main; whether it shrieked above a stretch of plain; whether, on autumn days, in solemn woods, and barren solitudes, along the waste it whirled the withered leaves; whether it hummed around my cottage eaves, shook the rattling doors, died with long-drawn sighs, on bleak and dreary moors; in winter, when its trump did blow desolate gorges dirges of despair, drove the snow-flakes slantly down the air, piled the drifts of snow; whether it breathed soft in vernal hours, filled the trees with sap, and filled the grass with flowers."

"I said to sorrow's awful storm, that beat against my breast, rage on--thou may'st destroy this form, and lay it low at rest; but still the spirit that now brooks thy tempest raging high, undaunted on its fury looks with steadfast eye."

"It beckons, I follow. Good-by to the light, I am going, O whither? Out into the night."

"Joy may be a miser, but Sorrow?s purse is free."

"No Caesar he whom we lament a Man without a precedent, sent, it would seem to do His work, and perish, too."

"Not that the heavens the little can make great, But many a man has lived an age too late."

"Not what we would, but what we must makes up the sum of living; Heaven is both more and less than just in taking and in giving."

"O wretched state of kings! Doleful fate! Greatness misnamed, in misery only great! Could men but know the endless woe it brings wise would die before they would be kings. That what a king must do! It tasks the best to rule the little world within his breast, yet must he rule it, and the world beside, or king is none, undone by power and pride think what a king must be! What burdens bear from birth to death! His life is one long care. It wears away in tasks that never end. He has ten thousand foes, but not one friend."

"Men can be great when great occasions call: In little duties women find their spheres, The narrow cares that cluster round the hearth."

"Once, when the days were ages, And the old Earth was young, The high gods and the sages From Nature's golden pages Her open secrets wrung."

"She wears a rose in her hair, at the twilight's dreamy close: Her face is fair, ? how fair under the rose!"

"There is no hope--the future will but turn the old sand in the falling glass of time."

"We grow like flowers, and bear desire, the odor of the human flowers."

"We have two lives about us, two worlds in which we dwell, within us and without us, alternate Heaven and Hell:?without, the somber Real, within, our hearts of hearts, the beautiful Ideal."

"Summer or winter, day or night, the woods are an ever-new delight; they give us peace, and they make us strong, such wonderful balms to them belong: so, living or dying, I'll take mine ease under the trees, under the trees."

"Silence is the speech of love, the music of the spheres above."

"Pale in her fading bowers the Summer stands, like a new Niobe with claspŠd hands, silent above the flowers, her children lost, slain by the arrows of the early Frost."

"Tell me what is sorrow? It is a garden-bed. And what is joy? It is a little rose, which in that garden grows."

"The misty earth below is wan and drear, The baying winds chase all the leaves away, As cruel hounds pursue the trembling deer; It is a solemn time, the sunset of the year."

"The wild November come at last beneath a veil of rain; the night winds blows its folds aside, her face is full of pain. The latest of her race, she takes the autumn's vacant throne: she has but one short moon to live, and she must live alone."

"The trumpet winds have sounded a retreat, blowing o'er land and sea a sullen strain; usurping March, defeated, flies again, and lays his trophies at the Winter's feet. And lo! where April, coming in his turn, in changeful motleys, half of light and shade, leads his belated charge, a delicate maid, a nymph with dripping urn."

"With no companion but the constant Muse, Who sought me when I needed her ? ah, when did I not need her, solitary else?"