Wide sea, that one continuous murmur breeds along the pebbled shore of memory!
Who would wish to be among the commonplace crowd of the little famous—who are each individually lost in a throng made up of themselves?
My imagination is a monastery and I am its monk.
My passions are all asleep from my having slumbered till nearly eleven and weakened the animal fiber all over me to a delightful sensation about three degrees on this sight of faintness—if I had teeth of pearl and the breath of lilies I should call it languor—but as I am I must call it laziness. In this state of effeminacy the fibers of the brain are relaxed in common with the rest of the body, and to such a happy degree that pleasure has no show of enticement and pain no unbearable frown. Neither poetry, nor ambition, nor love have any alertness of countenance as they pass by me.
Are there not thousands in the world who love their fellows even to the death, who feel the giant agony of the world, and more, like slaves to poor humanity, labor for mortal good?
I would jump down Etna for any public good—but I hate a mawkish popularity.
Much have I travell’d in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
That deep-brow’d Homer ruled as his demesne;
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He star’d at the Pacific—and all his men
Look’d at each other with a wild surmise—
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.
Topics: Travel, Tourism, Reading
To one who has been long in city pent,
‘Tis very sweet to look into the fair
And open face of heaven, – to breathe a prayer
Full in the smile of the blue firmament.
There is nothing stable in the world; uproar’s your only music.
I am in that temper that if I were under water I would scarcely kick to come to the top.
The imagination of a boy is healthy, and the mature imagination of a man is healthy; but there is a space of life between, in which the soul is in ferment, the character undecided, the way of life uncertain, the ambition thick-sighted: thence proceeds mawkishness.
Topics: Imagination, Thrift
Though the most beautiful creature were waiting for me at the end of a journey or a walk; though the carpet were of silk, the curtains of the morning clouds; the chairs and sofa stuffed with cygnet’s down; the food manna, the wine beyond claret, the window opening on Winander Mere, I should not feel—or rather my happiness would not be so fine, as my solitude is sublime.
O fret not after knowledge—I have none, and yet my song comes native with the warmth. O fret not after knowledge—I have none, and yet the Evening listens.
There is not a fiercer hell than the failure in a great object.
What wreath for Lamia? What for Lycius?
What for the sage, old Apollonius?
Upon her aching forehead be there hung
The leaves of willow and of adder’s tongue;
And for the youth, quick, let us strip for him
The thyrsus, that his watching eyes may swim
Into forgetfulness; and, for the sage,
Let spear-grass and the spiteful thistle wage
War on his temples. Do not all charms fly
At the mere touch of cold philosophy?
There was an awful rainbow once in heaven:
We know her woof, her texture; she is given
In the dull catalogue of common things.
Philosophy will clip an Angel’s wings,
Conquer all mysteries by rule and line,
Empty the haunted air, and gnomed mine –
Unweave a rainbow, as it erewhile made
The tender-person’d Lamia melt into a shade.
Topics: Science, Philosophy, Philosophers
What the imagination seizes as beauty must be the truth.
Souls of Poets dead and gone, What Elysium have ye known, Happy field or mossy cavern, Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern? Have ye tippled drink more fine Than mine hosts Canary wine?
Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter.
The excellency of every art is its intensity, capable of making all disagreeable evaporate.
Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced—even a proverb is no proverb to you till your life has illustrated it.
Even if I was well – I must make myself as good a Philosopher as possible. Now I have had opportunities of passing nights anxious and awake I have found other thoughts intrude upon me. If I should die, said I to myself, I have left no immortal work behind me – nothing to make my friends proud of my memory – but I have lov’d the principle of beauty in all things, and if I had had time I would have made myself remember’d.
The Public is a thing I cannot help looking upon as an enemy, and which I cannot address without feelings of hostility.
Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say’st,
‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty,’—that is all
Ye know on Earth, and all ye need to know.
I equally dislike the favor of the public with the love of a woman—they are both a cloying treacle to the wings of independence.
I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart’s affections, and the truth of imagination.
Love is my religion – I could die for it.
There is an electric fire in human nature tending to purify—so that among these human creatures there is continually some birth of new heroism. The pity is that we must wonder at it, as we should at finding a pearl in rubbish.
Topics: Humanity, Human Nature
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Arthur Henry Hallam English Essayist, Poet
- Dante Gabriel Rossetti British Poet, Artist
- Edward Lear English Humorist, Illustrator
- Matthew Arnold English Poet, Critic
- Lord Byron (George Gordon Byron) English Romantic Poet
- A. E. Housman English Scholar, Poet
- Leigh Hunt British Author
- John Donne English Poet, Cleric
- John Milton English Poet
- Thomas Hood British Poet, Humorist