James Russell Lowell

James Russell

American Poet, Critic, Editor, Diplomat

Author Quotes

The future works out great men's destinies; the present is enough for common souls, who, never looking forward, are indeed mere clay wherein the footprints of their age are petrified forever.

Whom the heart of man shuts out, sometimes the heart of God takes in, and fences them all round about with silence 'mid the world's loud din.

While tenderness of feeling and susceptibility to generous emotions are accidents of temperament, goodness is an achievement of the will and a quality of the life.

Truth, after all, wears a different face to everybody, and it would be too tedious to wait till all are agreed. She is said to lie at the bottom of a well, for the very reason, perhaps, that whoever looks down in search of her sees his own image at the bottom, and is persuaded not only that he has seen the goddess, but that she is far better-looking than he had imagined.

To have greatly dreamed precludes low ends.

There is no self-delusion more fatal than that which makes the conscience dreamy with the anodyne of lofty sentiments, while the life is groveling and sensual.

The intellect has only one failing, which, to be sure, is a very considerable one. It has no conscience.

The idol is the measure of the worshiper.

Men's thoughts and opinions are in a great degree vassals of him who invents a new phrase or re-applies an old epithet. The thought or feeling a thousand times repeated becomes his at last who utters it best.

Humbleness is always grace, always dignity.

Fastidiousness is only another word for egotism; and all men who know not where to look for truth save in the narrow well of self will find their own image at the bottom, and mistake it for what they are seeking.

All thoughtful men are solitary and original in themselves.

A word once vulgarized can never be rehabilitated.

Where one person shapes their life by precept and example, there are a thousand who have shaped it by impulse and circumstances.

What men prize most is a privilege, even if it be that of chief mourner at a funeral.

Toward no crimes have men shown themselves so cold- bloodedly cruel as in punishing differences of belief.

There are two kinds of weakness, that which breaks and that which bends.

The mind can weave itself warmly in the cocoon of its own thoughts, and dwell a hermit anywhere.

The greatest homage we can pay to truth, is to use it.

Reputation is only a candle, of wavering and uncertain flame, and easily blown out, but it is the light by which the world looks for and finds merit.

Greatly begin. Though thou have time, but for a line, be that sublime. Not failure, but low aim is crime.

Good luck is the willing handmaid of a upright and energetic character, and conscientious observance of duty.

Folks never understand the folks they hate.

Fate loves the fearless.

Creativity is not the finding of a thing, but the making something out of it after it is found.

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James Russell
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American Poet, Critic, Editor, Diplomat