Robert Southey


English Poet Laureate of the Romantic school tradition

Author Quotes

If you would be pungent, be brief; for it is with words as with sunbeams - the more they are condensed, the deeper they burn.

Live as long as you may, the first twenty years are the longest half of your life. They appear so while they are passing; they seem to have been so when we look back on them; and they take up more room in our memory than all the years that succeed them.

So I told them in rhyme, for of rhymes I had store.

There are some readers who have never read an essay on taste; and if they take my advice they never will, for they can no more improve their taste by so doing than they could improve their appetite or digestion by studying a cookery-book.

Twas a light that made Darkness itself appear A thing of comfort.

Ye who dwell at home, Ye do not know the terrors of the main.

In his will [John Wesley] directed that six poor men should have twenty shillings each for carrying his body to the grave; ?for I particularly desire,? said he, ?that there may be no hearse, no coach, no escutcheon, no pomp except the tears of them that loved me and are following me to Abraham?s bosom. I solemnly adjure my executors, in the name of God, punctually to observe this.? At the desire of many of his friends, his body was carried into the chapel the day preceding the interment, and there lay in a kind of state becoming the person, dressed in his clerical habit, with gown, cassock, and band; the old clerical cap on his head; a Bible in one hand, and a white handkerchief in the other. The face was placid, and the expression which death had fixed upon his venerable features was that of a serene and heavenly smile. The crowds who flocked to see him were so great that it was thought prudent, for fear of accidents, to accelerate the funeral and perform it between five and six in the morning. The intelligence, however, could not be kept entirely secret, and several hundred persons attended at that unusual hour. Mr. Richardson, who performed the service, had been one of his preachers almost thirty years. When he came to that part of the service, ?Forasmuch as it hath pleased Almighty God to take unto himself the soul of our dear brother,? his voice changed, and he substituted the word father; and the feeling with which he did this was such that the congregation, who were shedding silent tears, burst at once into loud weeping.

Love is indestructible. It's holy flame forever burneth; from Heaven it came, to Heaven returneth.

Some voluntary castaways there will always be, whom no fostering kindness and no parental care can preserve from self-destruction; but if any are lost for want of care and culture, there is a sin of omission in the society to which they belong.

There are three things that ought to be considered before some things are spoken: the manner, the place, and the time.

Unbelievers have not always been honest enough thus to express their real feelings; but this we know concerning them, that when they have renounced their birthright of hope, they have not been able to divest themselves of fear. From the nature of the human mind this might be presumed, and in fact it is so. They may deaden the heart and stupefy the conscience, but they cannot destroy the imaginative faculty.

Yet leaving here a name, I trust, that will not perish in the dust.

In the days of my youth I remembered my God! And He hath not forgotten my age.

Make the abhorrent eye Roll back and close.

Somebody has been at my porridge, and has eaten it all up!' said the Little, Small, Wee Bear, in his little, small, wee voice.

There is a magic in that little word, ? it is a mystic circle that surrounds comforts and virtues never known beyond its hallowed limits.

Voltaire and Wesley were ? of the same generation; they were contemporaries through a longer course of time [than Luther and Loyola]; and the influences which they exercised upon their age and upon posterity have not been less remarkably opposed. While the one was scattering, with pestilent activity, the seeds of immorality and unbelief, the other, with equally unweariable zeal, laboured in the cause of religious enthusiasm. The works of Voltaire have found their way wherever the French language is read; the disciples of Wesley, wherever the English is spoken. The principles of the archinfidel were more rapid in their operation: he who aimed at no such evil as that which he contributed so greatly to bring about, was himself startled at their progress: in his latter days he trembled at the consequences which he then foresaw; and indeed his remains had scarcely mouldered in the grave before those consequences brought down the whole fabric of government in France, overturned her altars, subverted her throne, carried guilt, devastation, and misery into every part of his own country, and shook the rest of Europe like an earthquake. Wesley?s doctrines, meantime, were slowly and gradually winning their way; but they advanced every succeeding year with accelerated force, and their effect must ultimately be more extensive, more powerful, and more permanent; for he has set mightier principles at work?. The Emperor Charles V. and his rival of France appear at this day infinitely insignificant, if we compare them with Luther and Loyola; and there may come a time when the name of Wesley will be more generally known, and in remoter regions of the globe, than that of Frederic or of Catherine. For the works of such men survive them, and continue to operate when nothing remains of worldly ambition but the memory of its vanity and its guilt.

You once remarked to me how time strengthened family affections, and, indeed, all early ones: one?s feelings seem to be weary of travelling, and like to rest at home. They who tell me that men grow hard-hearted as they grow older have a very limited view of this world of ours. It is true with those whose views and hopes are merely and vulgarly worldly; but when human nature is not perverted, time strengthens our kindly feelings, and abates our angry ones.

It behooves us always to bear in mind, that while actions are always to be judged by the immutable standard of right and wrong, the judgments which we pass upon men must be qualified by considerations of age, country, station, and other accidental circumstances; and it will then be found that he who is most charitable in his judgment is generally the least unjust.

Midnight, and yet no eye Through all the Imperial City closed in sleep.

Somebody has been lying in my bed!' said the Great, Huge Bear, in his great, rough, gruff voice.

There is healing in the bitter cup.

What a world were this, How unendurable its weight, if they Whom Death hath sundered did not meet again!

It has been more wittily than charitably said that hell is paved with good intentions; they have their place in heaven also.

Mild arch of promise! on the evening sky Thou shinest fair with many a lovely ray, Each in the other melting.

Author Picture
First Name
Last Name
Birth Date
Death Date

English Poet Laureate of the Romantic school tradition