Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Walter Savage Landor

English Poet and Prose Writer

"Nothing is pleasanter to me than exploring in a library."

"O Music! how it grieves me that imprudence, intemperance, gluttony, should open their channels into thy sacred stream."

"O what a thing is age! Death without death's quiet."

"Of all failures, to fail in a witticism is the worst, and the mishap is the more calamitous in a drawn-out and detailed one."

"Of all studies, the most delightful and the most useful is biography. The seeds of great events lie near the surface; historians delve too deep for them. No history was ever true. Lives I have read which, if they were not, had the appearance, the interest, and the utility of truth."

"Old trees in their living state are the only things that money cannot command."

"On An Eclipse Of The Moon - Struggling, and faint, and fainter didst thou wane, O Moon! and round thee all thy starry train came forth to help thee, with half-open eyes, and trembled every one with still surprise, that the black Spectre should have dared assail their beauteous queen and seize her sacred veil."

"One lovely name adorns my song, and, dwelling in the heart, forever falters at the tongue, and trembles to depart."

"Past are three summers since she first beheld the ocean; all around the child await some exclamation of amazement here. She coldly said, her long-lasht eyes abased, is this the mighty ocean? is this all? That wondrous soul Charoba once possest,— capacious, then, as earth or heaven could hold, soul discontented with capacity,— is gone (I fear) forever. Need I say she was enchanted by the wicked spells of Gebir, whom with lust of power inflamed the western winds have landed on our coast? I since have watcht her in lone retreat, have heard her sigh and soften out the name."

"Past ruined Ilion Helen lives, Alcestis rises from the shades. Verse calls them forth; 'tis verse that gives immortal youth to mortal maids. Soon shall oblivion's deepening veil hide all the peopled hills you see, the gay, the proud, while lovers hail these many summers you and me."

"Political men, like goats, usually thrive best among inequalities."

"Prose on certain occasions can bear a great deal of poetry: on the other hand, poetry sinks and swoons under a moderate weight of prose; and neither fan nor burned feather can bring her to herself again."

"Proud word you never spoke, but you will speak four not exempt from pride some future day. Resting on one white hand a warm wet cheek, over my open volume you will say, 'this man loved me'—then rise and trip away."

"Religion is the eldest sister of philosophy: on whatever subjects they may differ, it is unbecoming in either to quarrel, and most so about their inheritance."

"Remain, ah not in youth alone! --Tho' youth, where you are, long will stay-- but when my summer days are gone, and my autumnal haste away. 'Can I be always by your side?' No; but the hours you can, you must, nor rise at Death's approaching stride, nor go when dust is gone to dust."

"Resignation - Why, why repine, my pensive friend, at pleasures slipp'd away? Some the stern Fates will never lend, and all refuse to stay. I see the rainbow in the sky, the dew upon the grass; I see them, and I ask not why they glimmer or they pass. With folded arms I linger not to call them back; 'twere vain: in this, or in some other spot, I know they'll shine again."

"Ridicule has followed the vestiges of Truth, but never usurped her place."

"Rose Aylmer, whom these wakeful eyes may weep, but never see, a night of memories and of sighs I consecrate to thee."

"Smiles soon abate; the boisterous throes of anger long burst forth; inconstantly the south-wind blows, but steadily the north. Thy star, O Venus! often changes its radiant seat above, the chilling pole-star never ranges -- 'tis thus with Hate and Love."

"Solicitude is the audience-chamber of God."

"Something of the severe hath always been appertaining to order and to grace; and the beauty that is not too liberal is sought the most ardently, and loved the longest."

"Soon, O Lanthe! life is o'er, and sooner beauty's heavenly smile: grant only (and I ask no more), let love remain that little while."

"Stand close around, ye Stygian set, with Dirce in one boat conveyed, or Charon, seeing, may forget that he is old and she a shade."

"Study is the bane of boyhood, the aliment of youth, the indulgence of manhood, and the restorative of age."

"Such is our impatience, our hatred of procrastination in everything but the amendment of our practices and the adornment of our nature, one would imagine we were dragging time along by force, and not he us."

"Such is our impatience, such our hatred of procrastination, to everything but the amendment of our practices and the adornment of our nature, one would imagine we were dragging Time along by force, and not he us."

"Tanagra! think not I forget thy beautifully-storey’d streets; be sure my memory bathes yet in clear Thermodon, and yet greets the blythe and liberal shepherd boy, whose sunny bosom swells with joy when we accept his matted rushes upheaved with sylvan fruit; away he bounds, and blushes. I promise to bring back with me what thou with transport wilt receive, the only proper gift for thee, of which no mortal shall bereave in later times thy mouldering walls, until the last old turret falls; a crown, a crown from Athens won! A crown no god can wear, beside Latona’s son. There may be cities who refuse to their own child the honours due, and look ungently on the Muse; but ever shall those cities rue the dry, unyielding, niggard breast, offering no nourishment, no rest, to that young head which soon shall rise disdainfully, in might and glory, to the skies. Sweetly where cavern’d Dirce flows do white-arm’d maidens chaunt my lay, flapping the while with laurel-rose the honey-gathering tribes away; and sweetly, sweetly, Attick tongues lisp your Corinna’s early songs; to her with feet more graceful come the verses that have dwelt in kindred breasts at home. O let thy children lean aslant against the tender mother’s knee, and gaze into her face, and want to know what magic there can be in words that urge some eyes to dance, while others as in holy trance look up to heaven; be such my praise! Why linger? I must haste, or lose the Delphick bays."

"Teach him to live unto God and unto thee; and he will discover that women, like the plants in woods, derive their softness and tenderness from the shade."

"Tears, O Aspasia, do not dwell long upon the cheeks of youth. Rain drops easily from the bud, rests on the bosom of the maturer flower, and breaks down that one which hath lived its day."

"Tell me not what too well I know about the bard of Sirmio. Yes, in Thalia’s son such stains there are—as when a Grace sprinkles another’s laughing face with nectar, and runs on."

"Than that the largest heart is soonest broken."

"That which moveth the heart most is the best poetry; it comes nearest unto God, the source of all power."

"The chrysolites and rubies Bacchus brings to crown the feast where swells the broad-vein'd brow, where maidens blush at what the minstrel sings, they who have coveted may covet now. Bring me, in cool alcove, the grape uncrush'd, the peach of pulpy cheek and down mature, where every voice (but bird's or child's) is hush'd, and every thought, like the brook nigh, runs pure."

"The compliments of a king are of themselves sufficient to pervert your intellect."

"The damps of autumn sink into the leaves and prepare them for the necessity of their fall; and thus insensibly are we, as years close around us, detached from our tenacity of life by the gentle pressure of recorded sorrow."

"The eyes of critics, whether in commending or carping, are both on one side, like those of a turbot."

"The flame of anger, bright and brief, sharpens the barb of love."

"The Frenchmen are the most delicate people in the world on points of honour, and the least delicate on points of justice."

"The habitude of pleasing by flattery makes a language soft; the fear of offending by truth makes it circuitous and conventional"

"The happiest of pillows is not that which love first presses! it is that which death has frowned on and passed over."

"The happy man is he who distinguishes the boundary between desire and delight, and stands firmly on the higher ground,—he who knows that pleasure is not only not possession, but is often to be lost, and always to be endangered by it."

"The happy never say, and never hear said, farewell."

"The heart that has once been bathed in love's pure fountain retains the pulse of youth forever."

"The hypallage, of which Virgil is fonder than any other writer, is much the gravest fault in language."

"The laws are at present, both in form and essence, the greatest curse that society labours under."

"The leaves are falling; so am I; the few late flowers have moisture in the eye; so have I too. Scarcely on any bough is heard joyous, or even unjoyous, bird the whole wood through. Winter may come: he brings but nigher his circle (yearly narrowing) to the fire where old friends meet. Let him; now heaven is overcast, and spring and summer both are past, and all things sweet."

"The Maid's Lament - I loved him not; and yet, now he is gone, I feel I am alone. I check'd him while he spoke; yet, could he speak, alas! I would not check. For reasons not to love him once I sought, and wearied all my thought to vex myself and him: I now would give my love could he but live who lately lived for me, and, when he found 'twas vain, in holy ground he hid his face amid the shades of death! I waste for him my breath who wasted his for me! but mine returns, and this torn bosom burns with stifling heat, heaving it up in sleep, and waking me to weep tears that had melted his soft heart: for years wept he as bitter tears! Merciful God! such was his latest prayer, these may she never share. Quieter is his breath, his breast more cold, than daisies in the mold, where children spell, athwart the churchyard gate, his name and life's brief date. Pray for him, gentle souls, whoe'er you be, and oh! pray too for me!"

"The monument of the greatest man should be only a bust and a name. - If the name alone is insufficient to illustrate the bust, let them both perish."

"The religion of Christ is peace and good-will,--the religion of Christendom is war and ill-will."

"The Siren waits thee, singing song for song."