John Townsend Trowbridge

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John Townsend Trowbridge
John Townsend Trowbridge in 1904.

John Townsend Trowbridge (September 18, 1827 – February 12, 1916) was a popular American author born in Ogden, New York to Windsor Stone Trowbridge and Rebecca Willey. His papers are located at the Houghton Library at Harvard University.


  • For me the diamond dawns are set
    In rings of beauty,
    And all my ways are dewy wet
    With pleasant duty.
    • Service.
  • Darius was clearly of the opinion
    That the air is also man’s dominion,
    And that, with paddle or fin or pinion,
    We soon or late
    Shall navigate
    The azure, as now we sail the sea.
    • Darius Green and his Flying-Machine.
  • Of nothing comes nothing: springs rise not above
    Their source in the far-hidden heart of the mountains:
    Whence then have descended the Wisdom and Love
    That in man leap to light in intelligent fountains?
    • The missing Leaf.
  • If you will observe, it doesn’t take
    A man of giant mould to make
    A giant shadow on the wall;
    And he who in our daily sight
    Seems but a figure mean and small,
    Outlined in Fame’s illusive light,
    May stalk, a silhouette sublime,
    Across the canvas of his time.
    • Authors’ Night.
  • Men are polished, through act and speech,
    Each by each,
    As pebbles are smoothed on the rolling beach.
    • A Home Idyl.
  • Our days, our deeds, all we achieve or are,
    Lay folded in our infancy; the things
    Of good or ill we choose while yet unborn.
    • Sonnet. Nativity.
  • Not in rewards, but in the strength to strive,
    The blessing lies.
    • Twoscore and Ten.
  • I keep some portion of my early gleam;
    Brokenly bright, like moonbeams on a river,
    It lights my life, a far illusive dream,
    Moves as I move, and leads me on forever.
    • Twoscore and Ten.
  • With years a richer life begins,
    The spirit mellows:
    Ripe age gives tone to violins,
    Wine, and good fellows.
    • Three Worlds.
  • The all-enclosing freehold of Content.
    • Guy Vernon.

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