Frases de James Russell Lowell

James Russell Lowell Foto
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James Russell Lowell

Fecha de nacimiento: 22. Febrero 1819
Fecha de muerte: 12. Agosto 1891

James Russell Lowell fue un poeta, crítico, editor y diplomático estadounidense, del movimiento romántico. Se le asocia con los llamados Fireside Poets. En 1877 fue nombrado embajador en España.

Lowell se graduó en el Harvard College de la Universidad de Harvard, en 1838, pese a su reputación problemática. Posteriormente cursó estudios de Derecho en la Harvard Law School. Publicó su primera colección de poesía en 1841 y contrajo matrimonio con Maria White en 1844. Ambos se involucraron pronto en la causa abolicionista; el escritor expresó sus pensamientos sobre el particular en su poesía y trabajó como editor en un periódico abolicionista de Filadelfia, Pennsylvania. El matrimonio tuvo varios hijos, aunque sólo uno sobrevivió a la niñez. Tras regresar a Cambridge, fue uno de los fundadores del periódido llamado The Pioneer, del que sólo salieron tres números. Lowell alcanzó notoriedad en 1848 con la publicación de A Fable for Critics, largo poema satírico contra escritores y poetas contemporáneos. Ese mismo año publicó The Biglow Papers, que incrementó su fama. Posteriormente publicaría más ensayos y libros poéticos.

Maria White murió en 1853 y Lowell, un año después, entró a trabajar como profesor de lenguas en Harvard, aunque efectuó un largo viaje por Europa antes de ocupar su puesto, que conservó durante veinte años. Contrajo segundas nupcias con Frances Dunlap en 1857. Ese año se convirtió en editor del The Atlantic Monthly. Veinte años más tarde recibió su primer cargo político, el de embajador en España. Luego lo sería del Reino Unido. Pasó sus últimos años en Cambridge, Massachusetts, el mismo estado donde había nacido. Allí murió en 1891.

Frases James Russell Lowell

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

—  James Russell Lowell

On Democracy (6 October 1884)
Contexto: 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.

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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)
Contexto: 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.

„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.“

—  James Russell Lowell

On Democracy (6 October 1884)
Contexto: 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.

„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

St. 18
The Present Crisis (1844)
Contexto: 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.

„Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of Truth with Falsehood, for the good or evil side;“

—  James Russell Lowell, The Present Crisis

St. 5
The Present Crisis (1844)
Contexto: Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of Truth with Falsehood, for the good or evil side;
Some great cause, God's new Messiah, offering each the bloom or blight,
Parts the goats upon the left hand, and the sheep upon the right,
And the choice goes by forever 'twixt that darkness and that light.

„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)
Contexto: 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.

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

—  James Russell Lowell

On Democracy (6 October 1884)
Contexto: 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.

„Not only around our infancy
Doth heaven with all its splendors lie“

—  James Russell Lowell

Prelude to Pt. I, st. 2
The Vision of Sir Launfal (1848)
Contexto: Not only around our infancy
Doth heaven with all its splendors lie;
Daily, with souls that cringe and plot,
We Sinais climb and know it not.

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

—  James Russell Lowell

Prelude to Pt. I, st. 7
The Vision of Sir Launfal (1848)
Contexto: 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.

„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

St. 6
The Present Crisis (1844)
Contexto: 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.

„What men call treasure, and the gods call dross,
Life seems a jest of Fate's contriving,
Only secure in every one's conniving,
A long account of nothings paid with loss.“

—  James Russell Lowell

St. 3.
Ode Recited at the Harvard Commemoration http://www.readbookonline.net/readOnLine/1169/ (July 21, 1865)
Contexto: The little that we do
Is but half-nobly true;
With our laborious hiving
What men call treasure, and the gods call dross,
Life seems a jest of Fate's contriving,
Only secure in every one's conniving,
A long account of nothings paid with loss.

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

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