Poets & Poetry Quotations

 

This spending of the best part of one’s life earning money in order to enjoy a questionable liberty during the least valuable part of it reminds me of the Englishman who went to India to make a fortune first, in order that he might return to England and live the life of a poet. He should have gone up garret at once.—Walden
Though the speech of the poet goes to the heart of things, yet he is that one especially who speaks civilly to Nature as a second person and in some sense is the patron of the world. — Journal, 30 November 1841—Journal, 30 November 1841
We could get no further into the Aeneid than—atque altae moenia Romae,—and the wall of high Rome, before we were constrained to reflect by what myriad tests a work of genius has to be tried; that Virgil, away in Rome, two thousand years off, should have to unfold his meaning, the inspiration of Italian vales, to the pilgrim on New England hills. — "A Walk to Wachusett""A Walk to Wachusett"
We should live in all the ages of the world in an hour; ay, in all the worlds of the ages. History, Poetry, Mythology!—I know of no reading of another's experience so startling and informing as this would be. — WaldenWalden
What I have learned is mine; I’ve had my thought, And me the Muses noble truths have taught. —  A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
What is a course of history or philosophy, or poetry, no matter how well selected, or the best society, or the most admirable routine of life, compared with the discipline of looking always at what is to be seen? Will you be a reader, a student merely, or a seer? — WaldenWalden
What poem is this of spring, so often repeated! I am thrilled when I hear it spoken of,—as the spring of such a year, that fytte of the glorious epic.—Journal, 18 February 1857
What would we not give for some great poem to read now, which would be in harmony with the scenery,—for if men read aright, methinks they would never read anything but poems. No history nor philosophy can supply their place. — A Week on the Concord and Merrimack RiversA Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
Where is the literature which gives expression to Nature? He would be a poet who could impress the winds and streams into his service, to speak for him; who nailed words to their primitive senses, as farmers drive down stakes in the spring, which the frost has heaved; who derived his words as often as he used them,—transplanted them to his page with earth adhering to their roots; whose words were so true and fresh and natural that they would appear to expand like the buds at the approach of spring, though they lay half smothered between two musty leaves in a library,—aye, to bloom and bear fruit there, after their kind, annually, for the faithful reader, in sympathy with surrounding Nature. — Cape CodCape Cod
Yet I doubt not through the ages one increasing purpose runs, And the thoughts of men are widened with the process of the Suns. — A Week on the Concord and Merrimack RiversA Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
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