Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Motivational Quotes


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) was an American poet and educator famous for his authorship of Paul Revere’s Ride, The Song of Hiawatha, and Evangeline. His stirring words at the beginning of the first - Listen, my children and you shall hear of the midnight ride of Paul Revere - are familiar to virtually every American school child.

His poems were a publishing phenomena and by 1874, he was earning $3000 per poem.

Born in Portland, Maine, Longfellow taught at Bowdoin College and Harvard College. He toured and held professorships in Europe. Late in his life he focused on translating foreign works into English for American audiences.

Here are some of his most inspiring quotes. Like all great poets, Longfellow’s words have both a common and a deeply mystical meaning. You may find benefit in each.

  1. If we could read the secret history of our enemies we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.

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

  3. Thought takes man out of servitude, into freedom.

  4. Enjoy the Spring of Love and Youth, to some good angel leave the rest; For Time will teach thee soon the truth, there are no birds in last year's nest!

  5. Look not mournfully into the Past. It comes not back again. Wisely improve the Present. In is thine. Go forth to meet the shadowy Future, without fear, and a manly heart.

  6. Oh, fear not in a world like this, and thou shalt know erelong, know how sublime a thing it is to suffer and be strong.

  7. Simplicity in character, in manners, in style; in all things the supreme excellence is simplicity.

  8. 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.

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

  10. All things come round to him who will but wait.

  11. Sit in reverie, and watch the changing color of the waves that break upon the idle seashore of the mind.

  12. Heights by great men reached and kept were not obtained by sudden flight but, while their companions slept, they were toiling upward in the night.

  13. We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.

  14. If you would hit the mark, you must aim a little above it; every arrow that flies feels the attraction of earth.

  15. If we could read the secret history of our enemies we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.

  16. Let us then be up and doing, with a heart for any fate.

  17. All are architects of fate, working within these walls of time.

  18. However things may seem, no evil thing is success and no good thing is failure.

  19. Thy fate is the common fate of all; Into each life some rain must fall.

  20. In ourselves, are triumph and defeat.

  21. When a great man dies, for years the light he leaves behind him, lies on the paths of men.

  22. Would you learn the secret of the sea? Only those who brave its dangers, comprehend its mystery!