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„New occasions teach new duties; Time makes ancient good uncouth;
They must upward still, and onward, who would keep abreast of Truth“

—  James Russell Lowell, The Present Crisis
The Present Crisis (1844), Context: New occasions teach new duties; Time makes ancient good uncouth; They must upward still, and onward, who would keep abreast of Truth Lo, before us gleam her camp-fires! we ourselves must Pilgrims be, Launch our Mayflower, and steer boldly through the desperate winter sea, Nor attempt the Future’s portal with the Past’s blood-rusted key. St. 18

„God, give us Peace! not such as lulls to sleep,
But sword on thigh and brow with purpose knit!“

—  James Russell Lowell
Context: God, give us Peace! not such as lulls to sleep, But sword on thigh and brow with purpose knit! And let our Ship of State to harbor sweep, Her ports all up, her battle lanterns lit, And her leashed thunders gathering for their leap. The Washers of the Shroud, st. 20

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„They were not seduced by the French fallacy that a new system of government could be ordered like a new suit of clothes. They would as soon have thought of ordering a new suit of flesh and skin. It is only on the roaring loom of time that the stuff is woven for such a vesture of their thought and experience as they were meditating.“

—  James Russell Lowell
On Democracy (6 October 1884), Context: The framers of the American Constitution were far from wishing or intending to found a democracy in the strict sense of the word, though, as was inevitable, every expansion of the scheme of government they elaborated has been in a democratical direction. But this has been generally the slow result of growth, and not the sudden innovation of theory; in fact, they had a profound disbelief in theory, and knew better than to commit the folly of breaking with the past. They were not seduced by the French fallacy that a new system of government could be ordered like a new suit of clothes. They would as soon have thought of ordering a new suit of flesh and skin. It is only on the roaring loom of time that the stuff is woven for such a vesture of their thought and experience as they were meditating. They recognized fully the value of tradition and habit as the great allies of permanence and stability. They all had that distaste for innovation which belonged to their race, and many of them a distrust of human nature derived from their creed.

„Democracy in its best sense is merely the letting in of light and air.“

—  James Russell Lowell
On Democracy (6 October 1884), Context: All free governments, whatever their name, are in reality governments by public opinion, and it is on the quality of this public opinion that their prosperity depends. It is, therefore, their first duty to purify the element from which they draw the breath of life. With the growth of democracy grows also the fear, if not the danger, that this atmosphere may be corrupted with poisonous exhalations from lower and more malarious levels, and the question of sanitation becomes more instant and pressing. Democracy in its best sense is merely the letting in of light and air.

„Democracy is nothing more than an experiment in government, more likely to succeed in a new soil, but likely to be tried in all soils, which must stand or fall on its own merits as others have done before it. For there is no trick of perpetual motion in politics any more than in mechanics.“

—  James Russell Lowell
On Democracy (6 October 1884), Context: Few people take the trouble of trying to find out what democracy really is. Yet this would be a great help, for it is our lawless and uncertain thoughts, it is the indefiniteness of our impressions, that fill darkness, whether mental or physical, with spectres and hobgoblins. Democracy is nothing more than an experiment in government, more likely to succeed in a new soil, but likely to be tried in all soils, which must stand or fall on its own merits as others have done before it. For there is no trick of perpetual motion in politics any more than in mechanics.

„I do not believe in violent changes, nor do I expect them.“

—  James Russell Lowell
On Democracy (6 October 1884), Context: I do not believe in violent changes, nor do I expect them. Things in possession have a very firm grip. One of the strongest cements of society is the conviction of mankind that the state of things into which they are born is a part of the order of the universe, as natural, let us say, as that the sun should go round the earth. It is a conviction that they will not surrender except on compulsion, and a wise society should look to it that this compulsion be not put upon them. For the individual man there is no radical cure, outside of human nature itself, for the evils to which human nature is heir.

„The Holy Supper is kept, indeed,
In whatso we share with another's need,—“

—  James Russell Lowell
The Vision of Sir Launfal (1848), Context: The Holy Supper is kept, indeed, In whatso we share with another's need,— Not that which we give, but what we share,— For the gift without the giver is bare; Who bestows himself with his alms feeds three,— Himself, his hungering neighbor, and me. Pt. II, st. 8

„Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne,—
Yet that scaffold sways the future, and, behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own.“

—  James Russell Lowell, The Present Crisis
The Present Crisis (1844), Context: Careless seems the great Avenger; history's pages but record One death-grapple in the darkness 'twixt old systems and the Word; Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne,— Yet that scaffold sways the future, and, behind the dim unknown, Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own. St. 8

„Though the cause of Evil prosper, yet ’tis Truth alone is strong,
And, albeit she wander outcast now, I see around her throng
Troops of beautiful, tall angels, to enshield her from all wrong.“

—  James Russell Lowell, The Present Crisis
The Present Crisis (1844), Context: Hast thou chosen, O my people, on whose party thou shalt stand, Ere the Doom from its worn sandals shakes the dust against our land? Though the cause of Evil prosper, yet ’tis Truth alone is strong, And, albeit she wander outcast now, I see around her throng Troops of beautiful, tall angels, to enshield her from all wrong. St. 6

„Joy comes, grief goes, we know not how;
Everything is happy now,
Everything is upward striving“

—  James Russell Lowell
The Vision of Sir Launfal (1848), Context: Joy comes, grief goes, we know not how; Everything is happy now, Everything is upward striving; 'Tis as easy now for the heart to be true As for grass to be green or skies to be blue,— 'Tis the natural way of living: Who knows whither the clouds have fled? In the unscarred heaven they leave no wake; And the eyes forget the tears they have shed, The heart forgets its sorrow and ache; The soul partakes the season's youth, And the sulphurous rifts of passion and woe Lie deep 'neath a silence pure and smooth, Like burnt-out craters healed with snow. Prelude to Pt. I, st. 7

„Is true Freedom but to break
Fetters for our own dear sake,
And, with leathern hearts, forget
That we owe mankind a debt?“

—  James Russell Lowell
"Stanzas on Freedom" (1843), Context: p>Is true Freedom but to break Fetters for our own dear sake, And, with leathern hearts, forget That we owe mankind a debt? No! true freedom is to share All the chains our brothers wear, And, with heart and hand, to be Earnest to make others free!<p St. 3

„I have hinted that what people are afraid of in democracy is less the thing itself than what they conceive to be its necessary adjuncts and consequences.“

—  James Russell Lowell
On Democracy (6 October 1884), Context: I have hinted that what people are afraid of in democracy is less the thing itself than what they conceive to be its necessary adjuncts and consequences. It is supposed to reduce all mankind to a dead level of mediocrity in character and culture, to vulgarize men's conceptions of life, and therefore their code of morals, manners, and conduct — to endanger the rights of property and possession. But I believe that the real gravamen of the charges lies in the habit it has of making itself generally disagreeable by asking the Powers that Be at the most inconvenient moment whether they are the powers that ought to be. If the powers that be are in a condition to give a satisfactory answer to this inevitable question, they need feel in no way discomfited by it.

„If ye do not feel the chain,
When it works a brother's pain,
Are ye not base slaves indeed,
Slaves unworthy to be freed?“

—  James Russell Lowell
"Stanzas on Freedom" (1843), Context: If there breathe on earth a slave, Are ye truly free and brave? If ye do not feel the chain, When it works a brother's pain, Are ye not base slaves indeed, Slaves unworthy to be freed? St. 1

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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