Thomas Bailey Aldrich

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There's night and day, brother, both sweet things; sun, moon, and stars, brother, all sweet things; there's likewise a wind on the heath. Life is very sweet, brother; who would wish to die?
George Borrow
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Thomas Bailey Aldrich (1836-11-11 - 1907-03-19) was a poet and novelist born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA.


  • All the best sands of my life are somehow getting into the wrong end of the hourglass. If I could only reverse it! Were it in my power to do so, would I?
    • Leaves From a Notebook, Ponkapog Papers (1903)
  • Somewhere—in desolate wind-swept space—
    In Twilight-land—in No-man’s land—
    Two hurrying Shapes met face to face,
    And bade each other stand.

    “And who are you?” cried one, agape,
    Shuddering in the gloaming light.
    “I know not,” said the second Shape,
    “I only died last night.”
    • Identity.
  • So precious life is! Even to the old
    The hours are as a miser’s coins!
    • Broken Music.
  • Wide open and unguarded stand our gates,
    Named of the four winds, North, South, East and West;
    Portals that lead to an enchanted land…
    Here, it is written, Toil shall have its wage
    And Honor honor, and the humblest man
    Stand level with the highest in the law.
    Of such a land have men in dungeons dreamed
    And with the vision brightening in their eyes
    Gone smiling to the fagot and the sword.

    O Liberty, white Goddess! is it well
    To leave the gates unguarded? On thy breast
    Fold Sorrow’s children, soothe the hurts of Fate,
    Lift the down-trodden, but with hand of steel
    Stay those who to thy sacred portals come
    To waste the gifts of Freedom.
    • Unguarded Gates.
  • Here is woe, a self and not the mask of woe.
    • Andromeda.
  • That was indeed to live—
    At one bold swoop to wrest
    From darkling death the best
    That Death to Life can give!
    • Shaw. Memorial Ode.
  • What is more cheerful, now, in the fall of the year, than an open-wood-fire? Do you hear those little chirps and twitters coming out of that piece of apple-wood? Those are the ghosts of the robins and blue-birds that sang upon the bough when it was in blossom last Spring. In Summer whole flocks of them come fluttering about the fruit-trees under the window: so I have singing birds all the year round.
    • Miss Mehitabel’s Son.

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