Archibald Macleish Quotes

Archibald MacLeish (May 7, 1892 – April 20, 1982) was an American poet and writer who was associated with the Modernist school of poetry. MacLeish studied English at Yale University and law at Harvard University. He enlisted in and saw action during World War One, and lived in Paris in the 1920s. On returning to the US, he contributed to Henry Luce's magazine Fortune from 1929 to 1938. For five years MacLeish was Librarian of Congress, a post he accepted at the urging of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. From 1949 to 1962, MacLeish was Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory at Harvard University. MacLeish was awarded three Pulitzer Prizes for his work

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Archibald Macleish


Spring has many American faces. There are cities where it will come and go in a day and counties where it hangs around and never quite gets there. Summer is drawn blinds in Louisiana, long winds in Wyoming, shade of elms and maples in New England.

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There is only one thing more painful than learning from experience and that is not learning from experience.

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Conventional wisdom notwithstanding, there is no reason either in football or in poetry why the two should not meet in a man's life if he has the weight and cares about the words.

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What is more important to a library than anything else -- than everything else -- is the fact that it exists."[The Premise Of Meaning, American Scholar; Washington, DC, June 5, 1972]

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There are those, I know, who will reply that the liberation of humanity, the freedom of man and mind, is nothing but a dream. They are right. It is. It is the American Dream.

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As things are now going the peace we make, what peace we seem to be making, will be a peace of oil, a peace of gold, a peace of shipping, a peace in brief.without moral purpose or human interest.

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They also live Who swerve and vanish in the river.

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Democracy is never a thing done. Democracy is always something that a nation must be doing. What is necessary now is one thing and one thing only that democracy become again democracy in action, not democracy accomplished and piled up in goods and gold.

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To see the earth as it truly is, small and blue in that eternal silence where it floats, is to see riders on the earth together, brothers on that bright loveliness in the eternal cold - brothers who know now they are truly brothers.

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Autumn is the American season. In Europe the leaves turn yellow or brown, and fall. Here they take fire on the trees and hang there flaming. We think this frost-fire is a portent somehow: a promise that the continent has given us. Life, too, we think, is capable of taking fire in this country; of creating beauty never seen.

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A man who lives, not by what he loves but what he hates, is a sick man.

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Beauty is that Medusa's head which men go armed to seek and sever, and dead will starve and sting forever.

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The American mood, perhaps even the American character, has changed. There are few manifestations any longer of the old American self-assurance which so irritated Dickens. Instead, there is a sense of frustration so perceptible that even our politicians have attempted to exploit it.

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To see the earth as we now see it, small and beautiful in that eternal silence where it floats, is to see ourselves as riders on the earth together, brothers on that bright loveliness in the unending night ~ brothers who see now they are truly brothers.

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Around, around the sun we go: The moon goes round the earth. We do not die of death: We die of vertigo.

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