Great Throughts Treasury

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

Robert Browning

English Poet and Playwright

"'Tis not what man Does which exalts him, but what man Would do!"

"Good, to forgive; Best, to forget."

"Ignorance is not innocence, but sin."

"Imperfection means perfection hid."

"Love, hope, fear, faith - these make humanity; these are its sign, and note, and character."

"Man seeks his own good at the whole world's cost."

"Progress is the law of life, man is not man as yet."

"That low man seeks a little thing to do Sees it and does it: This high man with a great thing to pursue Dies ere he knows it. That low man goes on adding one to one His hundred's soon hit: This high man aiming at a million Misses an unit. That has the world hereshould he need the next Let the world mind him! This throws himself on God and unperplext Seeking shall find Him. "

"There are times when patience proves at fault."

"Truth never hurts the teller."

"When is man strong until he feels alone?"

"Why comes temptation, but for man to meet and master make couch beneath his foot, and so be pedestaled in triumph?"

"When the fight begins within himself, a man's worth something."

"A minute's success pays the failure of years."

"Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?"

"How good is man's life, the mere living! how fit to employ all the heart and the soul and the sense for ever in joy!"

"The only fault's with time; all men become good creatures: but so slow!"

"Make us happy and you make us good."

"Thought is the soul of act."

"Less is more."

"Progress is the real cure for an overestimation of ourselves."

"We find great things are made of little things, and little things go lessening till at last comes God behind them."

"Who hears music, feels his solitude peopled at once."

"How good is man’s life, the mere living! how fit to employ all the heart and soul and the senses forever in joy!"

"Would you have your songs endure? Build on the human heart."

"Our aspirations are our possibilities."

"All June I bound the rose in sheaves, Now, rose by rose, I strip the leaves."

"All we have willed or hoped or dreamed of good shall exist."

"Ambition is not what man does... But what man would do."

"All service ranks the same with God With God whose puppets best and worst Are we: there is no last nor first."

"All we have gained then by our unbelief is a life of doubt diversified by faith, for one of faith diversified by doubt: we called the chess-board white -- we call it black."

"All will be gay when noontide wakes anew the buttercups, the little children's dower."

"And gain is gain however small."

"And the muttering grew to a grumbling; and the grumbling grew to a mighty rumbling; and out of the houses the rats came tumbling."

"Any nose may ravage with impunity a rose."

"Autumn wins you best by this its mute appeal to sympathy for its decay."

"And I have written three books on the soul Proving absurd all written hitherto And putting us to ignorance again."

"But facts are facts and flinch not."

"Better have failed in the high aim as I Than vulgarly in the low aim succeed As God be thanked! I do not."

"But what if I fail of my purpose here? It is but to keep the nerves at strain, to dry one's eyes and laugh at a fall, and baffled, get up and begin again."

"But there are times when patience proves at fault."

"But how carve way i' the life that lies before, If bent on groaning ever for the past?"

"Earth changes, but thy soul and God stand sure."

"Fail I alone, in words and deeds? Why, all men strive and who succeeds?"

"Faultless to a fault."

"Ever judge of men by their professions. For though the bright moment of promising is but a moment and cannot be prolonged yet if sincere in its moments extravagant goodness why trust it and know the man by it I say not by his performance; which is half the worlds work interfere as the world needs must with its accidents and circumstances: the profession was purely the mans own. I judge people by what they might be not are nor will be."

"Finds progress, man's distinctive mark alone, Not God's, and not the beast's; God is, they are, Man partly is, and wholly hopes to be."

"For life, with all it yields of joy and woe, and hope and fear, -- believe the aged friend -- Is just a chance o' the prize of learning love."

"For the preacher's merit or demerit, It were to be wished that the flaws were fewer In the earthen vessel, holding treasure, But the main thing is, does it hold good measure Heaven soon sets right all other matters!"

"Genius has somewhat of the infantine; But of the childish not a touch or taint."