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C.N. Douglas, comp.  Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical.  1917.
 
Whittier
 
                    A Christian! going, gone!
Who bids for God’s own image?—for His grace,
Which that poor victim of the market-place
            Hath in her suffering won?
  1
                    A felon’s cell—
The fittest earthly type of hell!
  2
        Again the blackbirds sing; the streams
Wake, laughing, from their winter dreams,
And tremble in the April showers
The tassels of the maple flowers.
  3
        Ah! memories of sweet summer eves,
  Of moonlit wave and willowy way,
Of stars and flowers, and dewy leaves,
  And smiles and tones more dear than they!
  4
        Ah! on Thanksgiving day, when from East and from West,
From North and South, come the pilgrim and guest,
When the gray-haired New Englander sees round his board
The old broken links of affection restored,
When the care wearied man seeks his mother once more,
And the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before.
What moistens the lips and what brightens the eye?
What calls back the past, like the rich pumpkin pie?
  5
        Alas for him who never sees
The stars shine through his cypress-trees!
Who, hopeless, lays his dead away,
Nor looks to see the breaking day
Across the mournful marbles play!
  6
        All day the darkness and the cold
Upon my heart have lain,
Like shadows on the winter sky,
Like frost upon the pane.
  7
        All which is real now remaineth,
And fadeth never:
The hand which upholds it now sustaineth
The soul forever.
  8
        An inborn grace that nothing lacked
Of culture or appliance—
The warmth of genial courtesy,
The calm of self-reliance.
  9
        And beautiful maidens moved down in the dance,
With the magic of motion and sunshine of glance;
And white arms wreathed lightly, and tresses fell free
As the plumage of birds in some tropical tree.
  10
        And I will trust that He who heeds
  The life that hides in mead and wold,
Who hangs yon alder’s crimson beads,
  And stains these mosses green and gold,
Will still, as He hath done, incline
His gracious care to me and mine.
  11
        And light is mingled with the gloom,
  And joy with grief;
Divinest compensations come,
Through thorns of judgment mercies bloom
  In sweet relief.
  12
        And lo! the fullness of the time has come,
And over all the exile’s western home,
From sea to sea the flowers of freedom bloom!
  13
        Around the mighty master came
  The marvels which his pencil wrought,
Those miracles of power whose fame
  Is wide as human thought.
  14
        As pure and sweet, her fair brow seemed
Eternal as the sky:
And like the brook’s low song, her voice,—
A sound which could not die.
  15
        Autumn’s earliest frost had given
  To the woods below
Hues of beauty, such as heaven
  Lendeth to its bow;
And the soft breeze from the west
Scarcely broke their dreamy rest.
  16
        Behind the cloud the starlight lurks,
  Through showers the sunbeams fall;
For God, who loveth all His works,
  Has left His Hope with all.
  17
        Blow, bugles of battle, the marches of peace;
East, west, north, and south let the long quarrel cease;
Sing the song of great joy that the angels began,
Sing of glory to God and of good-will to man!
  18
        But dream not helm and harness
  The sign of valor true;
Peace hath higher tests of manhood
  Than battle ever knew.
  19
        But let the good old corn adorn
  The hills our fathers trod;
Still let us, for His golden corn,
  Send up our thanks to God!
  20
 
 
                    By his life alone,
Gracious and sweet, the better way was shown.
  21
        Earnest toil and strong endeavour
  Of a spirit which within
Wrestles with familiar evil
  And besetting sin.
  22
        For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: “It might have been!”
  23
                Formed on the good old plan,
A true and brave and downright honest man!
He blew no trumpet in the market-place,
Nor in the church with hypocritic face
Supplied with cant the lack of Christian grace;
Loathing pretense, he did with cheerful will
What others talked of while their hands were still.
  24
        Freedom’s soil hath only place
For a free and fearless race!
  25
        God blesses still the generous thought
  And still the fitting word He speeds,
And truth, at His requiring taught,
  He quickens into deeds.
  26
        He comes,—he comes,—the Frost Spirit comes!—from the frozen Labrador,—
From the icy bridge of the Northern seas, which the white bear wanders o’er,—
Where the fisherman’s sail is stiff with ice, and the luckless forms below
In the sunless cold of the lingering night into marble statues grow!
  27
        Heap high the farmer’s wintry hoard!
  Heap high the golden corn!
No richer gift has Autumn poured
  From out her lavish horn!
  28
        I have friends in Spirit Land—
Not shadows in a shadowy band,
Not others but themselves are they,
And still I think of them the same
As when the Master’s summons came.
  29
        I hear the tread of pioneers
  Of nations yet to be,
The first low wash of waves where soon
  Shall roll a human sea.
  30
        I know not where His islands lift
  Their fronded palms in air;
I only know I cannot drift
  Beyond His love and care.
  31
        In kindly showers and sunshine bud
The branches of the dull gray wood;
Out from its sunned and sheltered nooks
The blue eye of the violet looks.
  32
        Know’st thou not all germs of evil
  In thy heart await their time?
Not thyself, but God’s restraining,
  Stays their growth of crime.
  33
        Life’s sunniest hours are not without
The shadow of some lingering doubt—
Amid its brightest joys will steal
Spectres of evil yet to feel—
  Its warmest love is blent with fears,
Its confidence a trembling one—
  Its smile the harbinger of tears—
Its hope—the change of April’s sun!
A weary lot—in mercy given,
To fit the chastened soul for heaven.
  34
        Like warp and woof all destinies
  Are woven fast,
Link’d in sympathy like the keys
  Of an organ vast;
Pluck one thread, and the web ye mar;
  Break but one
Of a thousand keys, and the paining jar
  Through all will run.
  35
        Maud Muller looked and sighed: “Ah me!
That I the Judge’s bride might be!
He would dress me up in silks so fine,
And praise and toast me at his wine.”
  36
        O,—fruit loved of boyhood!—the old days recalling,
When wood-grapes were purpling and brown nuts were falling!
When wild, ugly faces were carved in its skin,
Glaring out through the dark with a candle within!
When we laughed round the corn-heap, with hearts all in tune,
Our chair a broad pumpkin,—our lantern the moon,
Telling tales of the fairy who travelled like steam
In a pumpkin-shell coach, with two rats for her team!
  37
        Oh, for boyhood’s time of June,
Crowding years in one brief moon,
When all things I heard or saw,
Me, their master, waited for.
  38
        Our fellow-countrymen in chains!
  Slaves—in a land of light and law!
Slaves—crouching on the very plains
  Where rolled the storm of Freedom’s war!
  39
        Our lives are albums written through
With good or ill, with false or true;
And as the blessed angels turn
  The pages of our years,
God grant they read the good with smiles,
  And blot the ill with tears!
  40
        “Shoot, if you must, this old gray head,
But spare your country’s flag,” she said.
  41
        So let it be in God’s own might
We gird us for the coming fight,
And, strong in Him whose cause is ours
In conflict with unholy powers,
We grasp the weapons He has given,—
The Light, and Truth, and Love of Heaven.
  42
        Somewhat of goodness, something true
From sun and spirit shining through
All faiths, all worlds, as through the dark
Of ocean shines the lighthouse spark,
Attests the presence everywhere
Of love and providential care.
  43
        Speed on the ship;—But let her bear
  No merchandise of sin,
No groaning cargo of despair
  Her roomy hold within;
No Lethean, drug for Eastern lands,
  Nor poison-draught for ours;
But honest fruits of toiling hands
  And Nature’s sun and showers.
  44
        Sweet promptings unto kindest deeds
Were in her very look;
We read her face, as one who reads
A true and holy book.
  45
        The hope of all who suffer,
The dread of all who wrong.
  46
        The Present, the Present is all thou hast
For thy sure possessing;
Like the patriarch’s angel hold it fast
Till it gives its blessing.
  47
        The wave is breaking on the shore,—
The echo fading from the chime—
Again the shadow moveth o’er
The dial-plate of time!
  48
        The winds with hymns of praise are loud,
Or low with sobs of pain,—
The thunder-organ of the cloud,
The dropping tears of rain.
  49
        These children of the meadows, born
Of sunshine and of showers!
  50
        Thine to work as well to pray,
Clearing thorny wrongs away;
Plucking up the weeds of sin,
Letting heaven’s warm sunshine in.
  51
                    Through the open door
A drowsy smell of flowers—gay heliotrope,
And white sweet clover, and shy mignonette—
Comes faintly in, and silent chorus lends
To the pervading symphony of peace.
  52
        Through this dark and stormy night
Faith beholds a feeble light
  Up the blackness streaking;
Knowing God’s own time is best,
In a patient hope I rest
  For the full day-breaking!
  53
        Time is hastening on, and we
What our fathers are shall be,—
Shadow-shapes of memory!
Joined to that vast multitude
Where the great are but the good.
  54
        ’Tis spring-time on the eastern hills!
Like torrents gush the summer rills;
Through winter’s moss and dry dead leaves
The bladed grass revives and lives,
Pushes the mouldering waste away,
And glimpses to the April day.
  55
        Touched by a light that hath no name,
A glory never sung,
Aloft on sky and mountain wall
Are God’s great pictures hung.
How changed the summits vast and old!
No longer granite-browed,
They melt in rosy mist; the rock
Is softer than the cloud;
The valley holds its breath; no leaf
Of all its elms is twirled:
The silence of eternity
Seems falling on the world.
  56
                  Truth is one;
And, in all lands beneath the sun,
Whoso hath eyes to see may see
The token of its unity.
  57
        We shape ourselves the joy or fear
Of which the coming life is made,
And fill our Future’s atmosphere
With sunshine or with shade.
  58
        We wait for thy coming, sweet wind of the south!
For the touch of thy light wings, the kiss of thy mouth;
For the yearly evangel thou bearest from God,
Resurrection and life to the graves of the sod!
  59
        What miracle of weird transforming
Is this wild work of frost and light,
This glimpse of glory infinite!
  60
        What! mothers from their children riven!
  What! God’s own image bought and sold!
Americans to market driven,
  And bartered as the brute for gold!
  61
        What, my soul, was thy errand here?
  Was it mirth or ease,
Or heaping up dust from year to year?
  “Nay, none of these!”
Speak, soul, aright in His holy sight,
  Whose eye looks still
And steadily on thee through the night;
  “To do His will!”
  62
        When freedom, on her natal day,
Within her war-rock’d cradle lay,
An iron race around her stood,
Baptiz’d her infant brow in blood,
And through the storm that round her swept,
Their constant ward and watching kept.
  63
        When the breaking day is flushing
All the East, and light is gushing
Upward through the horizon’s haze,
Sheaf-like, with its thousand rays
Spreading, until all above
Overflows with joy and love,
And below, on earth’s green bosom,
All is chang’d to light and blossom;
Then, O Father!—Thou alone,
From the shadow of Thy throne,
To the sighing of my breast,
And its rapture answerest:
All my thoughts, with upward winging,
Bathe where Thy own light is springing!
  64
        White clouds, whose shadows haunt the deep,
Light mists, whose soft embraces keep
The sunshine on the hills asleep!
  65
        With silence only as their benediction,
  God’s angels come
Where in the shadow of a great affliction,
  The soul sits dumb!
  66
  A charmed life old goodness hath; the tares may perish, but the grain is not for death.  67
  A faint blush melting through the light of thy transparent cheek like a rose-leaf bathed in dew.  68
  A loving heart carries with it, under every parallel of latitude, the warmth and light of the tropics. It plants its Eden in the wilderness and solitary place, and sows with flowers the gray desolation of rock and mosses.  69
  A true life is at once interpreter and proof of the gospel.  70
  And Autumn in his leafless bowers is waiting for the winter’s snow.  71
  As on the sea of Galilee the Christ is whispering “Peace!”  72
  As thus into the quiet night the twilight lapsed away.  73
  Autumn, in his leafless bowers, is waiting for the winter’s snow.  74
  Beautiful to Ledyard, stiffening in the cold of a northern winter, seemed the diminutive, smoke-stained women of Lapland, who wrapped him in their furs, and ministered to his necessities with kindness and gentle words.  75
  Beneath the winter’s snow lie germs of summer flowers.  76
  Deeds alone suffice.  77
  Despair is infidelity and death.  78
  Falsehoods which we spurn to-day were the truths of long ago.  79
  Few have borne unconsciously the spell of loveliness.  80
  God giveth quietness at last.  81
  Grant but memory to us, and we can lose nothing by death.  82
  Green calm below, blue quietness above.  83
  His daily prayer, far better understood in acts than words, was simply doing good.  84
  I dimly guess, from blessings known, of greater out of sight.  85
  If woman lost us Eden, such as she alone restore it!  86
  Leaning on Him, make with reverent meekness His own thy will.  87
  Like a star glancing out from the blue of the sky!  88
  Love hath never known a law beyond its own sweet will.  89
  Making their lives a prayer.  90
  Man is more than constitutions.  91
  Nature eschews regular lines; she does not shape her lines by a common model. Not one of Eve’s numerous progeny in all respects resembles her who first culled the flowers of Eden. To the infinite variety and picturesque inequality of nature we owe the great charm of her uncloying beauty.  92
  O, brother man! fold to thy heart thy brother, where pity dwells, the peace of God is there.  93
  Oh, talk as we may of beauty as a thing to be chiselled from marble or wrought out on canvas, speculate as we may upon its colors and outlines, what is it but an intellectual abstraction, after all? The heart feels a beauty of another kind; looking through the outward environment, it discovers a deeper and more real loveliness.  94
  Quite the ugliest face I ever saw was that of a woman whom the world called beautiful. Through its silver veil the evil and ungentle passions looked out, hideous and hateful. On the other hand, there are faces which the multitude, at first glance, pronounce homely, unattractive, and such as “Nature fashions by the gross,” which I always recognize with a warm heart-thrill. Not for the world would I have one feature changed; they please me as they are; they are hallowed by kind memories, and are beautiful through their associations.  95
  Romance is always young.  96
  Shrines to burn earth’s incense on, the altar-fires of heaven!  97
  Simple duty hath no place for fear.  98
  Speak out in acts; the time for words has passed, and deeds alone suffice.  99
  The craven’s fear is but selfishness, like his merriment.  100
  The good is always beautiful, the beautiful is good!  101
  The good which bloodshed could not gain your peaceful zeal shall find.  102
  The harvest song of inward peace.  103
  The hope of all earnest souls must be realized.  104
  The Pilgrims were right in affirming the paramount authority of the law of God. If they erred in seeking that authoritative law, and passed over the Sermon on the Mount for the stern Hebraisms of Moses; if they hesitated in view of the largeness of Christian liberty; if they seemed unwilling to accept the sweetness and light of the good tidings—let us not forget that it was the mistake of men who feared more than they dared to hope, whose estimate of the exceeding awfulness of sin caused them to dwell upon God’s vengeance rather than His compassion; and whose dread of evil was so great that, in shutting their hearts against it, they sometimes shut out the good.  105
  The simple heart that freely asks in love, obtains.  106
  The slave will be free. Democracy in America will yet be a glorious reality; and when the top-stone of that temple of freedom which our fathers left unfinished shall be brought forth with shoutings and cries of grace unto it, when our now drooping Liberty lifts up her head and prospers, happy will he be who can say, with John Milton, “Among those who have something more than wished her welfare, I, too, have my charter and freehold of rejoicing to me and my heirs.”  107
  The smile of God is victory.  108
  The steps of faith fall on the seeming void, and find the rock beneath.  109
  The tints of autumn—a mighty flower garden, blossoming under the spell of the enchanter, Frost.  110
  Thine to work as well as pray.  111
  This day we fashion destiny, our web of fate we spin.  112
  To be saved is only this,—salvation from our own selfishness.  113
  To worship rightly is to love each other, each smile a hymn, each kindly deed a prayer.  114
  Tradition wears a snowy beard.  115
  Truth should be the first lesson of the child and the last aspiration of manhood; for it has been well said that the inquiry of truth, which is the love-making of it, the knowledge of truth, which is the presence of it, and the belief of truth, which is the enjoying of it, is the sovereign good of human nature.  116
  What is good-looking, as Horace Smith remarks, but looking good? Be good, be womanly, be gentle, generous in your sympathies, heedful of the well-being of all around you; and, my word for it, you will not lack kind words of admiration.  117
  What is really momentous and all-important with us is the present, by which the future is shaped and colored.  118
  When faith is lost, when honor dies, the man is dead!  119
 
 
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