The World's Best Poetry, Volume 10 Poetical Quotations online

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The charities that soothe, and heal, and bless,
Are scattered at the feet of man, like flowers.
_The Excursion, Bk. IX_. W. WORDSWORTH.

'Tis hers to pluck the amaranthine flower
Of Faith, and round the sufferer's temples bind
Wreaths that endure affliction's heaviest shower,
And do not shrink from sorrow's keenest wind.

Who will not mercie unto others show,
How can he mercie ever hope to have?
_Faërie Queene, Bk. VI_. E. SPENSER.

Whene'er I take my walks abroad,
How many poor I see!
What shall I render to my God
For all his gifts to me?
_Divine Songs_. DR. T. WATTS.

In Faith and Hope the world will disagree,
But all mankind's concern is charity.
_Essays on Man, Epistle III_. A. POPE.

Do good by stealth, and blush to find it fame.
_Epilogue to Satires, Dial. I_. A. POPE.

True charity makes others' wants their own.
_Poor Man's Comfort_. R. DABORNE.

He hath a tear for pity, and a hand
Open as day for melting charity.
_King Henry IV., Pt. II. Act_ iv. _Sc_. 4. SHAKESPEARE.

O chime of sweet Saint Charity,
Peal soon that Easter morn
When Christ for all shall risen be,
And in all hearts new-born!
That Pentecost when utterance clear
To all men shall be given.
When all shall say _My Brother_ here,
And hear _My Son_ in heaven!
_Godminster Chimes_. J.R. LOWELL.

Charity itself fulfils the law,
And who can sever love from charity?
_Love's Labor's Lost_. SHAKESPEARE.

That man may last, but never lives,
Who much receives but nothing gives;
Whom none can love, whom none can thank,
Creation's blot, creation's blank.
_When Jesus Dwelt_. T. GIBBONS.


A babe in a house is a well-spring of pleasure.
_Of Education_. M.F. TUPPER.

Behold the child, by Nature's kindly law,
Pleased with a rattle, tickled with a straw.
_Essay on Man, Epistle II_. A. POPE.

In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candlelight,
In summer, quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.
_Bed in Summer_. R.L. STEVENSON.

Sweet childish days, that were as long
As twenty days are now.
_To a Butterfly_. W. WORDSWORTH.

When they are young, they
Are like bells rung backwards, nothing but noise
And giddiness.
_Wit without Money_. BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER.

A truthful page is childhood's lovely face,
Whereon sweet Innocence has record made, -
An outward semblance of the young heart's grace,
Where truth, and love, and trust are all portrayed.
_On a Picture of Lillie_. B.P. SHILLABER.

And the King with his golden sceptre,
The Pope with Saint Peter's key,
Can never unlock the one little heart
That is opened only to me.
For I am the Lord of a Realm,
And I am Pope of a See;
Indeed I'm supreme in the kingdom
That is sitting, just now, on my knee.
_The King and The Pope_. C.H. WEBB.

Now I lay me down to take my sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep:
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
_New England Primer_.

And children know,
Instinctive taught, the friend and foe.
_Lady of the Lake, Canto II_. SIR W. SCOTT.

Sweet childish days, that were as long
As twenty days are now.
_To a Butterfly_. W. WORDSWORTH.

Oh, Mirth and Innocence! Oh, Milk and Water!
Ye happy mixtures of more happy days!
_Beppo_. LORD BYRON.

They are as gentle
As zephyrs blowing below the violet.
_Cymbeline, Act iv. Sc. 2_. SHAKESPEARE.

Men are but children of a larger growth.
_All for Love, Act iv. Sc. 1_. J. DRYDEN.

The childhood shows the man
As morning shows the day.
_Paradise Regained, Bk. IV_. MILTON.


O most illustrious of the days of time!
Day full of joy and benison to earth
When Thou wast born, sweet Babe of Bethlehem!
With dazzling pomp descending angels sung
Good-will and peace to men, to God due praise.
_The Microcosm and Other Poems_. A. COLES.

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!
_A Christmas Carmen_. J.G. WHITTIER.

Oh, come, all ye faithful!
Triumphantly sing!
Come, see in the manger
The angels' dread King!
To Bethlehem hasten
With joyful accord;
Oh, hasten, oh, hasten,
To worship the Lord!
_Christmas Day. Unknown Latin Author_.
_Trans. of_ E. CASWELL.

God rest ye, merry gentlemen; let nothing you dismay,
For Jesus Christ, our Saviour, was born on Christmas-day.
The dawn rose red o'er Bethlehem, the stars shone through the gray,
When Jesus Christ, our Saviour, was born on Christmas-day.
_A Christmas Carol_. D.M. MULOCK CRAIK.

Now thrice-welcome Christmas, which brings us good cheer.
Minced pies and plum porridge, good ale and strong beer,
With pig, goose, and capon, the best that may be, -
So well doth the weather and our stomachs agree....
But those on whose tables no victuals appear,
O, may they keep Lent all the rest of the year!
_Poor Robin's Almanack_, 1695.


Lord of the worlds above,
How pleasant and how fair
The dwellings of thy love.
Thine earthly temples, are!
To thine abode
My heart aspires,
With warm desires
To see my God.
_The House of God_. W. COWPER.

"What is a church?" Let Truth and Reason speak,
They would reply, "The faithful, pure and meek,
From Christian folds, the one selected race,
Of all professions, and in every place."
_The Borough, Letter II_. G. CRABBE.

Spires whose "silent fingers point to heaven."
_The Excursion, Bk. VI_, W. Wordsworth.

I love thy church, O God:
Her walls before thee stand,
Dear as the apple of thine eye,
And graven on thy hand.

* * * * *

For her my tears shall fall,
For her my prayers ascend;
To her my cares and toils be given,
Till toils and cares shall end.
_Love to the Church_. T. Dwight.

As some to Church repair,
Not for the doctrine, but the music there.
_Essay on Criticism_. A. Pope.

Who builds a church to God, and not to fame,
Will never mark the marble with his name.
_Moral Essays, Epistle III_. A. Pope.


God the first garden made, and the first city Cain.
_The Garden, Essay V_. A. Cowley.

I live not in myself, but I become
Portion of that around me; and to me
High mountains are a feeling, but the hum
Of human cities torture.
_Childe Harold, Canto III_. Lord Byron.

The people are the city.
_Coriolanus, Act iii. Sc. 1_. Shakespeare.

Ah, what can ever be more stately and admirable to me
than mast-hemmed Manhattan?
River and sunset and scallop-edged waves of flood-tide?
The sea-gulls oscillating their bodies, the hay-boat in the
twilight, and the belated lighter?
_Crossing Brooklyn Ferry_. W. Whitman.

A mighty mass of brick, and smoke, and shipping,
Dirty and dusty, but as wide as eye
Could reach, with here and there a sail just skipping
In sight, then lost amidst the forestry
Of masts; a wilderness of steeples peeping
On tiptoe through their sea-coal canopy;
A huge, dun cupola, like a foolscap crown
On a fool's head - and there is London Town,
_Don Juan, Canto X_. Lord Byron.

On the Ægean shore a city stands,
Built nobly, pure the air, and light the soil,
Athens, the eye of Greece, mother of arts
And eloquence, native to famous wits,
Or hospitable, in her sweet recess,
City or suburban, studious walks and shades;
See there the olive grove of Academe,
Plato's retirement, where the Attic bird
Trills her thick-warbled notes the summer long.
_Paradise Regained, Bk. IV_. MILTON.

I stood in Venice, on the Bridge of Sighs;
A palace and a prison on each hand:
I saw from out the wave her structures rise
As from the stroke of the enchanter's wand;
A thousand years their cloudy wings expand
Around me, and a dying glory smiles
O'er the far times, when many a subject land
Looked to the wingèd Lion's marble piles.
Where Venice sate in state, throned on her hundred isles!
_Childe Harold, Canto IV_. LORD BYRON.

In Venice, Tasso's echoes are no more.
And silent rows the songless gondolier;
Her palaces are crumbling to the shore,
And music meets not always now the ear.
_Childe Harold, Canto IV_. LORD BYRON.

O Rome! my country! city of the soul!
The orphans of the heart must turn to thee,
Lone mother of dead empires!

* * * * *

The Niobe of nations! there she stands,
Childless and crownless, in her voiceless woe;
An empty urn within her withered hands,
Whose holy dust was scattered long ago.
_Childe Harold, Canto IV_. LORD BYRON.


He 'stablishes the strong, restores the weak,
Reclaims the wanderer, binds the broken heart.
_The Timepiece: The Task, Bk. II_. W. COWPER.

Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to Heaven,
Whilst, like a puffed and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,
And recks not his own rede.
_Hamlet, Act i. Sc. 3_. SHAKESPEARE.

Wel ought a prest ensample for to yive,
By his clennesse, how that his sheep shulde lyve.

* * * * *

To draw folk to heven by fairnesse
By good ensample, this was his busynesse.
_Canterbury Tales: Prologue_. CHAUCER.

Of right and wrong he taught
Truths as refined as ever Athens heard;
And (strange to tell!) he practised what he preached.
_Art of Preserving Health_ J. ARMSTRONG.


By unseen hands uplifted in the light
Of sunset, yonder solitary cloud
Floats, with its white apparel blown abroad,
And wafted up to heaven.
_Michael Angelo, Pt. II_. H.W. LONGFELLOW.

Yonder cloud
That rises upward always higher,
And onward drags a laboring breast.
And topples round the dreary west,
A looming bastion fringed with fire.
_In Memoriam, XV_. A. TENNYSON.

The Clouds consign their treasures to the fields,
And, softly shaking on the dimpled pool,
Prelusive drops, let all their moisture flow
In large effusion, o'er the freshened world.
_The Seasons: Spring_. J. THOMSON.

A step,
A single step, that freed me from the skirts
Of the blind vapor, opened to my view
Glory beyond all glory ever seen
By waking sense or by the dreaming soul!
The appearance, instantaneously disclosed
Was of a mighty city, - boldly say
A wilderness of building, sinking far
And self-withdrawn into a boundless depth,
Far sinking into splendor, - without end!
Fabric it seemed of diamond and of gold,
With alabaster domes, and silver spires,
And blazing terrace upon terrace, high
Uplifted; here, serene pavilions bright,
In avenues disposed; there, towers begirt
With battlements that on their restless fronts
Bore stars, - illumination of all gems!
_The Excursion, Bk. II_. W. WORDSWORTH.

See yonder little cloud, that, borne aloft
So tenderly by the wind, floats fast away
Over the snowy peaks!
_Christus: The Golden Legend_. H.W. LONGFELLOW.


Dear little head, that lies in calm content
Within the gracious hollow that God made
In every human shoulder, where He meant
Some tired head for comfort should be laid.
_Song_. C. THAXTER.

Can counsel and speak comfort to that grief
Which they themselves not feel.
_Much Ado About Nothing, Act v. Sc. 1_. SHAKESPEARE.

"What is good for a bootless bene?"
With these dark words begins my tale;
And their meaning is, Whence can comfort spring
When Prayer is of no avail?
_Force of Prayer_. W. WORDSWORTH.

And He that doth the ravens feed,
Yea, providently caters for the sparrow,
Be comfort to my age!
_As You, Like It, Act ii. Sc. 3_. SHAKESPEARE.

Lord, dismiss us with thy blessing,
Hope, and comfort from above;
Let us each, thy peace possessing,
Triumph in redeeming love.
_Benediction_. R.S. HAWKER.


Current among men,
Like coin, the tinsel clink of compliment.
_The Princess, Pt. II_. A. TENNYSON.

That man that hath a tongue, I say, is no man,
If with his tongue he cannot win a woman.
_Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act iii. Sc. 1_. SHAKESPEARE.

O, thou art fairer than the evening air,
Clad in the beauty of a thousand stars.
_Faustus_. C. MARLOWE.

The sweetest garland to the sweetest maid.
_To a Lady; with a Present of Flowers_. T. TICKELL.

When he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine,
That all the world will be in love with night,
And pay no worship to the garish sun.
_Romeo and Juliet, Act iii. Sc. 2_. SHAKESPEARE.

But thy eternal summer shall not fade.

Be thou the rainbow to the storms of life!
The evening beam that smiles the clouds away,
And tints to-morrow with prophetic ray!
_The Bride of Abydos, Canto II_. LORD BYRON.

Those curious locks so aptly twined
Whose every hair a soul doth bind.
_Think not 'cause men flattering say_. T. CAREW.

And beauty draws us with a single hair.
_Rape of the Lock, Canto II_. A. POPE.

When you do dance, I wish you
A wave o' th' sea, that you might ever do
Nothing but that.
_Winter's Tale, Act iv. Sc. 4_. SHAKESPEARE.

Some asked me where the Rubies grew,
And nothing I did say,
But with my finger pointed to
The lips of Julia.
_The Rock of Rubies, and the Quarrie of Pearls_. R. HERRICK.

Cherry ripe, ripe, ripe, I cry,
Full and fair ones, - Come and buy;
If so be you ask me where
They do grow, I answer, there,
Where my Julia's lips do smile,
There's the land, or cherry-isle.
_Cherry Ripe_. R. HERRICK.

Where none admire, 'tis useless to excel;
Where none are beaux, 'tis vain to be a belle.
_Soliloquy on a Beauty in the Country_. LORD LYTTLETON.

Banish all compliments but single truth.
_Faithful Shepherdess_. BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER.

What honor that,
But tedious waste of time, to sit and hear
So many hollow compliments and lies.
_Paradise Regained_. MILTON.

'Twas never merry world
Since lowly feigning was called compliment.
_Twelfth Night, Act iii. Sc. 1_. SHAKESPEARE.


'Tis with our judgments as our watches, none
Go just alike, yet each believes his own.
_Essay on Criticism, Pt. I_. A. POPE.

To observations which ourselves we make,
We grow more partial for the observer's sake.
_Moral Essays, Epistle I_. A. POPE.

In men this blunder still you find,
All think their little set mankind.
_Florio, Pt. I_. HANNAH MORE.

Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works.
_Hamlet, Act_ iii. _Sc_. 1. SHAKESPEARE.


Whatever creed be taught or land be trod,
Man's conscience is the oracle of God.
_The Island, Canto I_. LORD BYRON.

Oh, Conscience! Conscience! man's most faithful friend,
Him canst thou comfort, ease, relieve, defend;
But if he will thy friendly checks forego,
Thou art, oh! woe for me, his deadliest foe!
_Struggles of Conscience_. G. CRABBE.

Conscience is harder than our enemies,
Knows more, accuses with more nicety.
_Spanish Gypsy_. GEORGE ELIOT.

Of a' the ills that flesh can fear,
The loss o' frien's, the lack o' gear,
A yowlin' tyke, a glandered mear,
A lassie's nonsense -
There's just ae thing I cannae bear,
An' that's my conscience.
_My Conscience_. R.L. STEVENSON.

My conscience hath a thousand several tongues,
And every tongue brings in a several tale,
And every tale condemns me for a villain.
_K. Richard III., Act v. Sc. 3_. SHAKESPEARE.

Why should not Conscience have vacation
As well as other courts o' th' nation?
Have equal power to adjourn,
Appoint appearance and return?
_Hudibras, Pt. II. Canto II_. S. BUTLER.

Soft, I did but dream.
O coward conscience, how dost thou afflict me!
_K. Richard III., Act v. Sc. 3_. SHAKESPEARE.

Let his tormentor conscience find him out.
_Paradise Regained, Bk. IV_. MILTON.

Speak no more:
Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul;
And there I see such black and grainèd spots
As will not leave their tinct.
_Hamlet, Act iii. Sc. 4_. SHAKESPEARE.

Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind:
The thief doth fear each bush an officer.
_K. Richard II., Act v. Sc. 6_. SHAKESPEARE.

Leave her to Heaven,
And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge,
To prick and sting her.
_Hamlet, Act i. Sc. 5_. SHAKESPEARE.

Consideration, like an angel, came
And whipped the offending Adam out of him.
_K. Henry V., Act i. Sc. 1_. SHAKESPEARE.

True, conscious Honor is to feel no sin,
He's armed without that's innocent within;
Be this thy screen, and this thy wall of Brass.
_First Book of Horace, Epistle I_. A. POPE.

I know myself now; and I feel within me
A peace above all earthly dignities;
A still and quiet conscience.
_K. Henry VIII., Act iii. Sc. 2_. SHAKESPEARE.

A quiet conscience makes one so serene!
Christians have burnt each other, quite persuaded
That all the Apostles would have done as they did.
_Don Juan, Canto I_. LORD BYRON.

All is, if I have grace to use it so,
As ever in my Great Task-Master's eye.
_On being arrived at his Three-and-Twentieth Year_. MILTON.

And sure the eternal Master found
His single talent well employed.
_Verses on Robert Levet_. DR. S. JOHNSON.


With silence only as their benediction,
God's angels come
Where in the shadow of a great affliction,
The soul sits dumb!
_To my Friend on the Death of his Sister_.

And, as she looked around, she saw how Death the consoler,
Laying his hand upon many a heart, had healed it forever.
_Evangeline_. H.W. LONGFELLOW.

Sprinkled along the waste of years
Full many a soft green isle appears:
Pause where we may upon the desert road,
Some shelter is in sight, some sacred safe abode.
_The Christian Year. The First Sunday in Advent_.

O weary hearts! O slumbering eyes!
O drooping souls, whose destinies
Are fraught with fear and pain,
Ye shall be loved again.
_Endymion_. H.W. LONGFELLOW.

Love is indestructible:
Its holy flame forever burneth:
From Heaven it came, to Heaven returneth;

* * * * *

It soweth here with toil and care,
But the harvest-time of Love is there.
_Curse of Kehama, Canto X_. R. SOUTHEY.


O heaven! were man
But constant, he were perfect. That one error
Fills him with faults; makes him run through all the sins:
Inconstancy falls off ere it begins.
_Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act v. Sc. 4_. SHAKESPEARE.

They sin who tell us Love can die:
With Life all other passions fly,
All others are but vanity.
_Curse of Kehama, Canto X_. R. SOUTHEY.

Doubt thou the stars are fire,
Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar.
But never doubt I love.
_Hamlet, Act ii. Sc. 2_. SHAKESPEARE.

When love begins to sicken and decay,
It useth an enforcèd ceremony.
There are no tricks in plain and simple faith.
_Julius Cæsar, Act iv. Sc. 2_. SHAKESPEARE.

You say to me-wards your affection's strong;
Pray love me little, so you love me long.
_Love me little, love me long_. R. HERRICK.

When change itself can give no more,
'Tis easy to be true.
_Reasons for Constancy_. SIR C. SEDLEY.

If ever thou shalt love,
In the sweet pangs of it remember me;
For such as I am all true lovers are,
Unstaid and skittish in all motions else.
Save in the constant image of the creature
That is beloved.
_Twelfth Night, Act ii. Sc. 4_. SHAKESPEARE.

I could be well moved if I were as you;
If I could pray to move, prayers would move me;
But I am constant as the northern star,
Of whose true fixed and resting quality
There is no fellow in the firmament.
_Julius Cæsar, Act iii. Sc. 1_. SHAKESPEARE.


Happy the man, of mortals happiest he,
Whose quiet mind from vain desires is free;
Whom neither hopes deceive, nor fears torment,
But lives at peace, within himself content;
In thought, or act, accountable to none
But to himself, and to the gods alone.
_Epistle to Mrs. Higgons_. LORD LANSDOWNE.

Yes! in the poor man's garden grow,
Far more than herbs and flowers,
Kind thoughts, contentment, peace of mind,
And joy for weary hours.
_The Poor Man's Garden_. M. HOWITT.

Whate'er the passion, knowledge, fame, or pelf,
Not one will change his neighbor with himself.
_Essay on Man, Epistle II_. A. POPE.

Poor and content is rich and rich enough,
But riches, fineless, is as poor as winter
To him that ever fears he shall be poor.
_Othello, Act iii. Sc. 3_. SHAKESPEARE.

From labor health, from health contentment spring;
Contentment opes the source of every joy.
_The Minstrel, Bk. I_. J. BEATTIE.

What happiness the rural maid attends,
In cheerful labor while each day she spends!
She gratefully receives what Heaven has sent,
And, rich in poverty, enjoys content.
_Rural Sports, Canto II_. J. GAY.

My crown is in my heart, not on my head;
Not decked with diamonds and Indian stones,
Nor to be seen: my crown is called content;
A crown it is that seldom kings enjoy.
_K. Henry VI., Pt. III. Act iii. Sc. 1_. SHAKESPEARE.

Shut up
In measureless content.
_Macbeth, Act ii. Sc. 1_. SHAKESPEARE.


Discourse, the sweeter banquet of the mind.
_The Odyssey, Bk. XV_. HOMER. _Trans. of_ POPE.

With good and gentle-humored hearts
I choose to chat where'er I come,
Whate'er the subject be that starts.
But if I get among the glum
I hold my tongue to tell the truth
And keep my breath to cool my broth.
_Careless Content_. LORD BYRON.

But conversation, choose what theme we may,
And chiefly when religion leads the way,
Should flow, like waters after summer show'rs,
Not as if raised by mere mechanic powers.
_Conversation_. W. COWPER.

In general those who nothing have to say
Contrive to spend the longest time in doing it.
_An Oriental Apologue_. J.R. LOWELL.

There's nothing in this world can make me joy.
Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale,
Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man.
_King John, Act iii. Sc. 4_. SHAKESPEARE.

Think all you speak; but speak not all you think:
Thoughts are your own; your words are so no more.
_Epigram_. H. DELAUNE.

Words learned by rote a parrot may rehearse,
But talking is not always to converse,
Not more distinct from harmony divine
The constant creaking of a country sign.
_Conversation_. W. COWPER.

Just at the age 'twixt boy and youth,
When thought is speech, and speech is truth.
_Marmion, Canto II_. SIR W. SCOTT.

They never taste who always drink;
They always talk who never think.
_Upon a Passage in the Scaligerana_. M. PRIOR.

And, when you stick on conversation's burrs,
Don't strew your pathway with those dreadful _urs_.
_Urania_. O.W. HOLMES.

KING RICHARD. Be eloquent in my behalf to her.
QUEEN ELIZABETH. An honest tale speeds best, being plainly told.
_King Richard III., Act iv. Sc. 4_. SHAKESPEARE.

O, many a shaft, at random sent,
Finds mark the archer little meant!
And many a word, at random spoken,
May soothe, or wound, a heart that's broken!
_Lord of the Isles, Canto V_. SIR W. SCOTT.

A man in all the world's new fashion planted,
That hath a mint of phrases in his brain.
_Love's Labor's Lost, Act i. Sc. 1_. SHAKESPEARE.

In his brain -
Which is as dry as the remainder biscuit
After a voyage - he hath strange places crammed
With observation, the which he vents
In mangled forms.
_As You Like it, Act ii. Sc. 7_. SHAKESPEARE.

Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief.
_Hamlet, Act ii. Sc. 2_. SHAKESPEARE.

And I oft have heard defended,
Little said is soonest mended.

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