182 match(es) found in quotations

Henry David Thoreau :
It appears that in a forest like this the great majority of flowers, shrubs, and grasses are confined to the banks of the rivers and lakes, and to the meadows, more open swamps, burnt lands, and mountain-tops; comparatively very few indeed penetrate the woods. There is no such dispersion even of wild-flowers as is commonly supposed, or as exists in a cleared and settled country. Most of our wild-flowers, so called, may be considered as naturalized in the localities where they grow. Rivers and lakes are the great protectors of such plants against the aggressions of the forest, by their annual rise and fall keeping open a narrow strip where these more delicate plants have light and space in which to grow. They are the protégés of the rivers. These narrow and straggling bands and isolated groups are, in a sense, the pioneers of civilization. Birds, quadrupeds, insects, and man also, in the main, follow the flowers, and the latter in his turn makes more room for them and for berry-bearing shrubs, birds, and small quadrupeds. One settler told me that not only blackberries and raspberries but mountain maples came in, in the clearing and burning.
[Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "Appendix" (1864) in The Maine Woods (1864), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 3, pp. 330-331, Houghton Mifflin (1906).]
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Henry David Thoreau :
One would like to know more of that race, now extinct, whose seines lie rotting in the garrets of their children, who openly professed the trade of fishermen, and even fed their townsmen creditably, not skulking through the meadows to a rainy afternoon sport. Dim visions we still get of miraculous draughts of fishes, and heaps uncountable by the riverside, from the tales of our seniors sent on horseback in their childhood from the neighboring towns, perched on saddle-bags, with instructions to get the one bag filled with shad, the other with alewives. At least one memento of those days may still exist in the memory of this generation, in the familiar appellation of a celebrated train-band of this town, whose untrained ancestors stood creditably at Concord North Bridge. Their captain, a man of piscatory tastes, having duly warned his company to turn out on a certain day, they, like obedient soldiers, appeared promptly on parade at the appointed time, but, unfortunately, they went undrilled, except in the manvres of a soldier's wit and unlicensed jesting, that May day; for their captain, forgetting his own appointment, and warned only by the favorable aspect of the heavens, as he had often done before, went a-fishing that afternoon, and his company thenceforth was known to old and young, grave and gay, as "The Shad."
[Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 1, pp. 32-33, Houghton Mifflin (1906).]
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Louis Kronenberger :
America's two most important intellectual forebears are conceivably Franklin and Emerson. Franklin, however, makes us a little uneasy. Poor Richard is at once too goody-goody and too worldly. He argues the prudential approach to life almost too well: he blends copybook morality with eighteenth-century realism; his is the philosophy of the main chance without the cushioning of the noble motive. The special quality in Franklin is that he foreshadowed, with his philistine counsel, what America was to become, while indicating, through his unflinching worldliness, what it would cease to be. The better, the more central, the more congenial spokesman was Emerson, whose gift for giving a special emphasis and elevation to words has offered us a method for sliding over or circumventing things; whose fine aphorisms are the ancestors, at times even the blood brothers, of our trademarks and slogans; whose own transcendental visions coagulated or curdled into a great variety of mystical con-games; and whose deep concern for ideas could be made a kind of evasion of realities. Unlike Poor Richard, Emerson doesn't show us up—nor for that matter, pin us down. He is genuinely great without being uncomfortably specific.
[Louis Kronenberger (1904-1980), U.S. critic, editor. "Last Thoughts," Company Manners, Bobbs-Merrill (1954).]
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Arthur M Schlesinger, Jr. :
Alike in so many ways, united by so many indestructible bonds, the two brothers were still different men. John Kennedy remained, as Paul Dever had said, the Brahmin; Robert, the Puritan. In English terms one was a Whig, the other, a Radical. John Kennedy was urbane, objective, analytical, controlled, contained, masterful, a man of perspective; Robert, while very bright and increasingly reflective, was more open, exposed, emotional, subjective, intense, a man of commitment. One was a man for whom everything seemed easy; the other a man for whom everything had been difficult. One was always graceful, the other often graceless. Meeting Robert for the first time in 1963, Roy Jenkins of England thought him "staccato, inarticulate ... much less rounded, much less widely informed, much less at ease with the world of power than his brother." John Kennedy, while taking part in things, seemed, as Tom Wicker observed, almost to watch himself take part and to criticize his own performance; Robert "lost himself in the event."
[Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. (b. 1917), U.S. historian. "The Brothers: II," Robert Kennedy and His Times, Houghton Mifflin (1978).]
Joseph Epstein :
Although there have been witty big men—Oscar Wilde comes first to mind—wit and humor seem more in the province of the smaller man. Chaplin, Keaton, the Marx Brothers were all small men. We expect a comedian to be small. He may also be fat. W.C. Fields was fat; so was Oliver Hardy. Fat is funny, small is funny. Lou Costello, of Abbot & Costello, was small and fat—a winning comic combination. Tall isn't funny, perhaps owing to its being too imposing, even slightly menacing. Tall and handsome conjoined are especially unfunny. One can always fall back on being the tall and silent type, of whom, in the movies, Gary Cooper was the apotheosis. But if one is small and silent, one is likely merely to be counted shy. Small men are under an obligation to do more talking; perhaps this is why so many of them are always joking.
[Joseph Epstein (b. 1937), U.S. author, editor. "ShortSubject," American Scholar (Autumn 1988). Pen name, Aristides.]
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Phyllis McGinley :
The system—the American one, at least—is a vast and noble experiment. It has been polestar and exemplar for other nations. But from kindergarten until she graduates from college the girl is treated in it exactly like her brothers. She studies the same subjects, becomes proficient at the same sports. Oh, it is a magnificent lore she learns, education for the mind beyond anything Jane Austen or Saint Theresa or even Mrs. Pankhurst ever dreamed. It is truly Utopian. But Utopia was never meant to exist on this disheveled planet.
[Phyllis McGinley (1905-1978), U.S. poet, author. "The Honor of Being a Woman," The Province of the Heart (1959).]
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Ralph Waldo Emerson :
Language must be raked, the secrets of slaughter-houses and infamous hole that cannot front the day, must be ransacked, to tell what negro slavery has been. These men, our benefactors, as they are producers of corn and wine, of coffee, of tobacco, of cotton, of sugar, of rum and brandy; gentle and joyous themselves, and producers of comfort and luxury for the civilized world,—there seated in the finest climates of the globe, children of the sun,—I am heart-sick when I read how they came there, and how they are kept there. Their case was left out of the mind and out of the heart of their brothers.
[Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Address Delivered in Concord on the Anniversary of the Emancipation of the Negroes in the British West Indies, August 1, 1884," Miscellanies (1883, repr. 1903).]
Read more quotations about / on: sugar, heart, sick, sun, children, world
Ralph Waldo Emerson :
The Gothic church plainly originated in a rude adaptation of the forest trees with all their boughs to a festal or solemn arcade, as the bands about the cleft pillars still indicate the green withes that tied them. No one can walk in a road cut through pine woods without being struck by the architectural appearance of the grove, especially in winter when the bareness of the trees shows the low arch of the Saxons. In the woods in a winter afternoon one will see as readily the origin of the stained glass window with which the Gothic cathedrals are adorned, in the colors of the western sky seen through the bare and crossing branches of the forest.
[Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "History," Essays, First Series (1841).]
Read more quotations about / on: forest, winter, cut, green, sky
Henry David Thoreau :
On gala days the town fires its great guns, which echo like popguns to these woods, and some waifs of martial music occasionally penetrate thus far. To me, away there in my bean-field at the other end of the town, the big guns sounded as if a puffball had burst; and when there was a military turnout of which I was ignorant, I have sometimes had a vague sense all the day of some sort of itching and disease in the horizon, as if some eruption would break out there soon.... When there were several bands of musicians, it sounded as if all the village was a vast bellows, and all the buildings expanded and collapsed alternately with a din. But sometimes it was a really noble and inspiring strain that reached these woods, and the trumpet that sings of fame, and I felt as if I could spit a Mexican with a good relish,—for why should we always stand for trifles?—and looked round for a woodchuck or a skunk to exercise my chivalry upon.
[Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden (1854), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 2, pp. 176-177, Houghton Mifflin (1906).]
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Henry David Thoreau :
At length, on Saturday, the last day of August, 1839, we two, brothers, and natives of Concord, weighed anchor in this river port; for Concord, too, lies under the sun, a port of entry and departure for the bodies as well as the souls of men; one shore at least exempted from all duties but such as an honest man will gladly discharge. A warm, drizzling rain had obscured the morning, and threatened to delay our voyage, but at length the leaves and grass were dried, and it came out a mild afternoon, as serene and fresh as if Nature were maturing some greater scheme of her own. After this long dripping and oozing from every pore, she began to respire again more healthily than ever. So with a vigorous shove we launched our boat from the bank, while the flags and bulrushes courtesied a God-speed, and dropped silently down the stream.
[Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 1, p. 12, Houghton Mifflin (1906).]
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