John Greenleaf Whittier

United States poet best known for his nostalgic poems about New England (1807-1892)

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No longer forward nor behindI look in hope or fearBut, grateful, take the good I findThe best of now and here.
For of all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these 'It might have been'
Clothe with life the weak intent, let me be the thing I meant.
For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
the saddest are these, "It might have been!"
Give fools their gold, and knaves their power; let fortune's bubbles rise and fall; who sows a field, or trains a flower, or plants a tree, is more than all.
Here Greek and Roman find themselves alive along these crowded shelves; and Shakespeare treads again his stage, and Chaucer paints anew his age.
In any man who dies there dies with him, his first snow and kiss and fight... Not people die but worlds die in them.
O Time and change! -- with hair as gray as was my sire's that winter day, how strange it seems, with so much gone of life and love, to still live on!
Of all sad words of tongue and pen the saddest are these, what might have been.
Of all that Orient lands can vaunt, of marvels with our own competing, the strangest is the Haschish plant, and what will follow on its eating.
Peace hath higher tests of manhood than battle ever knew.
Speak out in acts; the time for words has passed, and only deeds will suffice.
The dreariest spot in all the land to Death they set apart; with scanty grace from Nature's hand, and none from that of Art.
The saddest thing of word or pen, To know the things that might have been.
Through this broad street, restless ever, ebbs and flows a human tide, wave on wave a living river; wealth and fashion side by side; Toiler, idler, slave and master, in the same quick current glide.

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