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Welcome to our collection of quotes (with shareable picture quotes) by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. We hope you enjoy pondering them and that you will share them widely.

Wikipedia Summary for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (February 27, 1807 – March 24, 1882) was an American poet and educator whose works include "Paul Revere's Ride", The Song of Hiawatha, and Evangeline. He was the first American to translate Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy and was one of the Fireside Poets from New England.

Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine, which was then still part of Massachusetts. He studied at Bowdoin College and became a professor at Bowdoin and later at Harvard College after spending time in Europe. His first major poetry collections were Voices of the Night (1839) and Ballads and Other Poems (1841). He retired from teaching in 1854 to focus on his writing, and he lived the remainder of his life in the Revolutionary War headquarters of George Washington in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

His first wife Mary Potter died in 1835 after a miscarriage. His second wife Frances Appleton died in 1861 after sustaining burns when her dress caught fire. After her death, Longfellow had difficulty writing poetry for a time and focused on translating works from foreign languages. He died in 1882.

Longfellow wrote many lyric poems known for their musicality and often presenting stories of mythology and legend. He became the most popular American poet of his day and had success overseas. He has been criticized by some, however, for imitating European styles and writing specifically for the masses.

'Twas Easter-Sunday. The full-blossomed trees; Filled all the air with fragrance and with joy.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The evening came.--The setting sun stretched his celestial rods of light across the level landscape, and like the miracle in Egypt, smote the rivers, the brooks, and the ponds, and they became as blood.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

A word that has been said may be unsaid -- it is but air. But when a deed is done, it cannot be undone, nor can our thoughts reach out to all the mischiefs that may follow.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

No endeavour is in vain; Its reward is in the doing.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

A feeling of sadness and longing, that is not akin to pain, and resembles sorrow only as the mist resembles the rain.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

It is difficult to know at what moment love begins; it is less difficult to know it has begun.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The gentle wind, a sweet and passionate wooer,
Kisses the blushing leaf.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

So nature deals with us, and takes away our play things one by one, and by the hand leads us to rest.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

He speaketh not; and yet there lies a conversation in his eyes.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

God's illumined promise.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Silently one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven, Blossomed the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The rocky ledge runs far into the sea, And on its outer point, some miles away, The Lighthouse lifts its massive masonry, A pillar of fire by night, of cloud by day.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Commissioned by high-thundering Zeus, to lead a maiden to Prometheus, in his tower.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

If you would hit the mark at long range, you must aim a little above it: Every arrow that flies feels the pull of the earth.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

There are no birds in last year's nest.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

While the brown ale he quaffed, loud then the champion laughed.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

My soul is full of longing for the secrets of the sea, and the heart of the great ocean sends a thrilling pulse through me.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Trouble is the next best thing to enjoyment. There is no fate in the world so horrible as to have no share in either its joys or sorrows.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

T is a stairway, not a street, That ascends the deep ravine, Where the torrent leaps between Rocky walls that almost meet.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Turn, turn, my wheel! Turn round and round Without a pause, without a sound: So spins the flying world away! This clay, well mixed with marl and sand, Follows the motion of my hand; For some must follow, and some command, Though all are made of clay!

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Multitudinous echoes awoke and died in the distance... . And, when the echoes had ceased, like a sense of pain was the silence.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Age is opportunity no less,
Than youth itself, through in another dress.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

These, and far more than these, The Poet sees! He can behold Aquarius old Walking the fenceless fields of air; And from each ample fold Of the clouds about him rolled Scattering everywhere The showery rain, As the farmer scatters his grain.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

From the waterfall he named her, Minnehaha, Laughing Water.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The holiest of all holidays are those kept by ourselves in silence and apart; the secret anniversaries of the heart.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The grave is but a covered bridge, leading from light to light, through a brief darkness.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

And in the wreck of noble lives Something immortal still survives.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Hope has as many lives as a cat or a king.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Authors must not, like Chinese soldiers, expect to win victories by turning somersets in the air.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The greatest grace of a gift, perhaps, is that it anticipates and admits of no return.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The atmosphere breathes rest and comfort, and the many chambers seem full of welcomes.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Let him not boast who puts his armor on as he who puts it off, the battle done.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I will be a man among men; and no longer a dreamer among shadows.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

How can I tell the signals and the signs
By which one heart another heart divines?
How can I tell the many thousand ways
By which it keeps the secret it betrays?

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Today is the blocks with which we build.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Dreams or illusions, call them what you will, they lift us from the commonplace of life to better things.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tis always morning somewhere.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Unasked, Unsought, Love gives itself but is not bought.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Into a world unknown,-the corner-stone of a nation!

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Dead he is not, but departed, for the artist never dies.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The things that have been and shall be no more, The things that are, and that hereafter shall be, The things that might have been, and yet were not, The fading twilight of joys departed.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I am more afraid of deserving criticism than of receiving it. I stand in awe of my own opinion. The secret demerits of which we alone, perhaps, are conscious, are often more difficult to bear than those which have been publicly censured in us, and thus in some degree atoned for.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow, Is our destined end or way; But to act, that each tomorrow Find us farther than today.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Fame grows like a tree if it have the principle of growth in it; the accumulated dews of ages freshen its leaves.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Perseverance is a great element of success.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Longer Version:

Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.


Each new epoch in life seems an encounter. There is a tussle and a cloud of dust, and we come out of it triumphant or crest-fallen, according as we have borne ourselves.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Write on your doors the saying wise and old,
Be bold! be bold! and everywhere -- Be bold;
Be not too bold! Yet better the excess
Than the defect; better the more than less;
Better like Hector in the field to die,
Than like a perfumed Paris turn and fly,.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Great is the art of beginning, but even greater is the art of ending.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Everyone says that forgiveness is a lovely idea until he has something to forgive.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Give what you have. To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

No action, whether foul or fair, Is ever done, but it leaves somewhere A record, written by fingers ghostly, As a blessing or a curse, and mostly In the greater weakness or greater strength Of the acts which follow it.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

A sermon is no sermon in which I cannot hear the heartbeat.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Noble souls, through dust and heat, rise from disaster and defeat the stronger.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Were half the power that fills the world with terror, Were half the wealth bestowed on camps and courts Given to redeem the human mind from error, There were no need of arsenals or forts.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Sweet April! many a thought Is wedded unto thee, as hearts are wed; Nor shall they fail, till, to its autumn brought, Life's golden fruit is shed.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Therefore trust to thy heart, and to what the world calls illusions.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

In youth all doors open outward; in old age all open inward.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

From labor there shall come forth rest.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Kind messages, that pass from land to land; Kind letters, that betray the heart's deep history, In which we feel the pressure of a hand, -- One touch of fire, -- and all the rest is mystery!

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Let us be merciful as well as just.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

O, never from the memory of my heart
Your dear, paternal image shall depart,
Who while on earth, ere yet by death surprised,
Taught me how mortals are immortalized;
How grateful am I for that patient care
All my life long my language shall declare.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The air is full of farewells to the dying. And mournings for the dead.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Be noble in every thought And in every deed!

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

My Book and Heart Shall never part.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The country is not priest-ridded, but press-ridden.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Nature is a revelation of God; Art a revelation of man.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Thus departed Hiawatha, Hiawatha the Beloved, In the glory of the sunset, In the purple mists of evening, To the regions of the home-wind, Of the Northwest-Wind, Keewaydin, To the Islands of the Blessed, To the Kingdom of Ponemah, To the Land of the Hereafter!

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Resolve, and thou art free.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Longer Version:

Resolve, and thou art free. But breathe the air
Of mountains, and their unapproachable summits
Will lift thee to the level of themselves.


Work is my recreation,
The play of faculty; a delight like that
Which a bird feels in flying, or a fish
In darting through the water, -- Nothing more.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Two ways the rivers Leap down to different seas, and as they roll Grow deep and still, and their majestic presence Becomes a benefaction to the towns They visit, wandering silently among them, Like patriarchs old among their shining tents.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

So Nature deals with us, and takes away Our playthings one by one, and by the hand Leads us to rest so gently, that we go, Scarce knowing if we wish to go or stay, Being too full of sleep to understand How far the unknown transcends the what we know.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Sculpture is more than painting. It is greater To raise the dead to life than to create Phantoms that seem to live.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

A handful of red sand from the hot clime
Of Arab deserts brought,
Within this glass becomes the spy of Time,
The minister of Thought.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Where should the scholar live? In solitude, or in society? in the green stillness of the country, where he can hear the heart of Nature beat, or in the dark, gray town where he can hear and feel the throbbing heart of man?

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Know how sublime a thing it is to suffer and be strong.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

There's nothing in this world so sweet as love. And next to love the sweetest thing is hate.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

There's nothing fair nor beautiful, but takes Something from thee, that makes it beautiful.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

How in the turmoil of life can love stand,
Where there is not one heart, and one mouth and one hand.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Nothing useless is, or low; Each thing in its place is best; And what seems but idle show Strengthens and supports the rest.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The poor too often turn away unheard, From hearts that shut against them with a sound That will be heard in heaven.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

We are all architects of faith, ever living in these walls of time.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

More hearts are breaking in this world of ours Than one would say. In distant villages And solitudes remote, where winds have wafted The barbed seeds of love, or birds of passage Scattered them in their flight, do they take root, And grow in silence, and in silence perish.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The soul...is audible, not visible.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I do not love thee less for what is done,

And cannot be undone. Thy very weakness

Hath brought thee nearer to me, and henceforth

My love will have a sense of pity in it,

Making it less a worship than before.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

We have not wings we cannot soar; but, we have feet to scale and climb, by slow degrees, by more and more, the cloudy summits of our time.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Then read from the treasured volume the poem of thy choice, and lend to the rhyme of the poet the beauty of thy voice.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Races, better than we, have leaned on her wavering promise,
Having naught else but Hope.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

As Unto the bow the the cord is ,
So unto the man is woman;
Though she bends him, she obeys him,
Though she draws him , yet she follows:
Useless each without the other.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

A noble type of good. Heroic womanhood.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Wreck of the Hesperus But the father answered never a word, A frozen corpse was he.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

One if by land, two if by sea.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

No one is so accursed by fate, no one so utterly desolate, but some heart though unknown responds unto his own.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The gentle wind, a sweet and passionate wooer, Kisses the blushing leaf.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I like that ancient Saxon phrase, which calls The burial-ground God's-Acre! It is just; It consecrates each grave within its walls, And breathes a benison o'er the sleeping dust.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

If you once understand an author's character, the comprehension of his writings becomes easy.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

How wonderful is the human voice! It is indeed the organ of the soul. The intellect of man is enthroned visibly on his forehead and in his eye, and the heart of man is written on his countenance, but the soul, the soul reveals itself in the voice only.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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