Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

W. J. Dawson. fully William James Dawson

English Author, Clergyman, Evangelist, Poet and Father of Coningsby Dawson

"If you would live a high life, you must begin by encouraging the growth of high thoughts. If you would voyage Godward, you must see to it that the rudder of thought is right."

"A Child's Portrait - Her face is hushed in perfect calm, Her lips half-open hint the psalm The angels sing, who wear God’s palm: And in her eyes a liquid light, With somewhat of a starry sheen, Comes welling upward from the white And vestal soul that throbs within. A golden tangle is her hair That holds the sunlight in its snare; And one pure lily she doth wear In her white robe: and she doth seem A flower-like creature, who will fade If suns strike down too rude a beam, Or winds blow roughly on her shade. The golden ladders of the Dawn Meet at her feet, where on the lawn She stands, in tender thought withdrawn: And little wonder would it be, If on those slanting stairs she trod, And, with one farewell smile toward me, Were caught into the smile of God."

"Inspirations - Sometimes, I know not why, nor how, nor whence, A change comes over me, and then the task Of common life slips from me. Would you ask What power is this which bids the world go hence? Who knows? I only feel a faint perfume Steal through the rooms of life; a saddened sense Of something lost; a music as of brooks That babble to the sea; pathetic looks Of closing eyes that in a darkened room Once dwelt on mine: I feel the general doom Creep nearer, and with God I stand alone. O mystic sense of sudden quickening! Hope’s lark-song rings, or life’s deep undertone Wails through my heart--and then I needs must sing."

"The Angel at the Ford - I sought to hold her, but within her eyes I read a new strange meaning; faint they prayed, “Oh, let me pass and taste the great surprise; Behold me not reluctant nor afraid!” “Nay, I will strive with God for this!” I cried, “As man with man, like Jacob at the brook, Only be thou, dear heart, upon my side!” “Be still,” she answered, “very still, and look!” And straightway I discerned with inward dread The multitudinous passing of white souls, Who paused, each one with sad averted head, And flashing of indignant aureoles."

"The true gain is always in the struggle, not the prize. What we become must always rank as a far higher question than what we get."

"It is for such a movement that I wait. Free and glad as my life among the mountains has been, yet I am sensible that I am deprived of many elements of human intercourse, which are efficacious in the growth of thought and the widening of the mind. I count my deprivation light compared with the higher gains that are mine in the composure of my mind, the joy of animal vitality, the tranquil days that leave no bitterness and bring no discord, each joined to each in 'natural piety,' each inwoven into the calm rhythm of fulfilled desire and duty. But my pleasure is too little shared to be entirely satisfactory. I see that there are terms on which my happiness might be communicated; that there is a mode of life that should combine all the delight of human intercourse with the tranquillity of natural existence; that the choice does not lie, and ought not to lie, between the city and the desert; that it is only by the folly of man, only by his greed, and haste, and carelessness, and contempt for the communal principle, that such a choice is forced upon me. The Regenerated City will come in time, too late perhaps for me to enjoy it; but the City Colony or Commune may come at any time; and when it comes I will gladly be its conscript, I will earnestly labor for its welfare, I will humbly seek to promote its success, believing that in the degree that society exchanges individualism for co-operation, personal gain for common good, man will enter on the widening evolution of a real progress, and find the path that leads him to a truly Golden Age."

"To a Desolate Friend - O friend, like some cold wind to-day Your message came, and chilled the light; Your house so dark, and mine so bright,— I could not weep, I could not pray! My wife and I had kissed at morn, My children’s lips were full of song; O friend, it seemed such cruel wrong, My life so full, and yours forlorn! We slept last night clasped hand in hand, Secure and calm—and never knew How fared the lonely hours with you, What time those dying lips you fanned. We dreamed of love, and did not see The shadow pass across our dream; We heard the murmur of a stream, Not death’s for it ran bright and free. And in the dark her gentle soul Passed out, but oh! we knew it not! My babe slept fast within her cot, While yours woke to the slow bell’s toll. She paused a moment,—who can tell?— Before our windows, but we lay So deep in sleep she went away, And only smiled a sad farewell! It would be like her; well we know How oft she waked while others slept— She never woke us when she wept, It would be like her thus to go! Ah, friend! you let her stray too far Within the shadow-haunted wood, Where deep thoughts never understood Breathe on us and like anguish are. One day within that gloom there shone A heavenly dawn, and with wide eyes She saw God’s city crown the skies, Since when she hasted to be gone. Too much you yielded to her grace; Renouncing self, she thus became An angel with a human name, And angels coveted her face. Earth’s door you set so wide, alack She saw God’s gardens, and she went A moment forth to look; she meant No wrong, but oh! she came not back! Dear friend, what can I say or sing, But this, that she is happy there? We will not grudge those gardens fair Where her light feet are wandering. The child at play is ignorant Of tedious hours; the years for you To her are moments: and you too Will join her ere she feels your want. The path she wends we cannot track: And yet some instinct makes us know Hers is the joy, and ours the woe,— We dare not wish her to come back!"

"Love is an emotion without limit."

"When a man grumbles about the drudgery of his lot, then I am entitled to conclude that he has not learned the discipline of work, and that it is native indolence rather than suppressed genius which chafes against the limitations of his environment. Browning, in his poem of The Statue and the Bust, has laid down the doctrine that it is a man’s wisdom to contend to the uttermost even for the meanest prize that may be within his reach, because by such strenuous contention manhood grows, and by the lack of it manhood decays."