History Quotes

I am the people – the mob – the crowd – the mass. Do you know that all the great work of the world is done through me?

Friday, January 6th, 2012

I am the workingman, the inventor, the maker of the world’s food and clothes.
I am the audience that witnesses history. The Napoleons come from me and the Lincolns.
I am the seed ground. I am a prairie that will stand for much plowing. Terrible storms pass over me.

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I am a part of all that I have met

Thursday, September 29th, 2011
high altitude sky

Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’
Gleams that untravell’d world, whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end…

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New occasions teach new duties

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

They don’t make ‘em like they used to. Lowell’s poem “The Present Crisis” is an 18 stanza argument against slavery. This is poetic editorial, crammed with passionate pleading, laced with two-dollar words and high-minded symbolism. Can you imagine Khrushchev writing a poem instead of…

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History, with all her volumes vast, hath but one page

Monday, June 28th, 2010
faces of children

Admire, exult, despise, laugh, weep, – for here
There is such matter for all feeling: – Man!
Thou pendulum betwixt a smile and tear,
Ages and realms are crowded in this span…

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Books continue each other, in spite of our habit of judging them separately

Monday, May 3rd, 2010
books forever

I took down one of them at random. It stood at the very end of the shelf, was called LIFE’S ADVENTURE, or some such title, by Mary Carmichael, and was published in this very month of October. It seems to be her first book, I said to myself, but one must…

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All that is and has been is but the twilight of the dawn

Thursday, March 25th, 2010
foggy Spring dawn

We are in the beginning of the greatest change that humanity has ever undergone. There is no shock, no epoch-making incident – but then there is no shock at a cloudy daybreak. At no point can we say, “Here it…”

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The past is not dead, but is living in us, and will be alive in the future which we are now helping to make

Sunday, March 21st, 2010
Heidelberg Castle

To my mind, therefore, no excuse is needful for the attempt made in the following pages to familiarise the reading public with what was once a famous knowledge-book of the Middle Ages. But the reader…

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My dirt is my legacy

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

Peaches are as old as China,

reserved for the first emperors

This one will be gone in a day

the pit a prize fit only for compost…

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Herds of reindeer move across miles and miles of golden moss, silently and very fast.

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

Caesar’s double-bed is warm
As an unimportant clerk
On a pink official form…

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I am the grass; I cover all.

Sunday, June 7th, 2009
grassy hillside

Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo,
Shovel them under and let me work–
I am the grass; I cover all.

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Language is fossil poetry

Sunday, March 29th, 2009
flowering tree

The poets made all the words, and therefore language is the archives of history, and, if we must say it, a sort of tomb of the muses. For though the origin of most of our words is forgotten, each word was at first a stroke of genius, and obtained currency because for the moment it symbolized the world to the first speaker and to the hearer. The etymologist…

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