Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
To be seventy years old is like climbing the Alps. You reach a snow-crowned summit, and see behind you the deep valley stretching miles and miles away, and before you other summits higher and whiter, which you may have strength to climb, or may not. Then you sit down and meditate and wonder which it will be.
The secret anniversaries of the heart.
I feel a kind of reverence for the first books of young authors. There is so much aspiration in them, so much audacious hope and trembling fear, so much of the heart's history, that all errors and shortcomings are for a while lost sight of in the amiable self assertion of youth.
In this world a man must either be anvil or hammer.
Critics are sentinels in the grand army of letters, stationed at the corners of newspapers and reviews, to challenge every new author.
We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.
Morality without religion is only a kind of dead reckoning--an endeavor to find our place on a cloudy sea by measuring the distance we have run, but without any observation of the heavenly bodies.
The Laws of Nature are just, but terrible. There is no weak mercy in them. Cause and consequence are inseparable and inevitable. The elements have no forbearance. The fire burns, the water drowns, the air consumes, the earth buries. And perhaps it would be well for our race if the punishment of crimes against the Laws of Man were as inevitable as the punishment of crimes against the Laws of Nature--were Man as unerring in his judgments as Nature.
And so we plough along, as the fly said to the ox.
The Helicon of too many poets is not a hill crowned with sunshine and visited by the Muses and the Graces, but an old, mouldering house, full of gloom and haunted by ghosts.
Many readers judge of the power of a book by the shock it gives their feelings--as some savage tribes determine the power of muskets by their recoil; that being considered best which fairly prostrates the purchaser.
The Mormons make the marriage ring, like the ring of Saturn, fluid, not solid, and keep it in its place by numerous satellites.
Men of genius are often dull and inert in society; as the blazing meteor, when it descends to earth, is only a stone.
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