Wednesday, February 26, 2020 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Julia Ward Howe (1819 – 1910)

American writer, poet, and social activist.
Julia Ward Howe
Weave no more silks, ye Lyons looms,
To deck our girls for gay delights!
The crimson flower of battle blooms,
And solemn marches fill the nights.
Howe quotes
The promise of a future life is held to have such prominence in Christ's teaching as to lead Paul to say that the Master "brought life and immortality to light." How did he do this? By filling the life of to-day with the consciousness of eternal things, of truths and principles which would not change if the whole visible universe were to pass away.
No one to-day, I think, will maintain that Christ created the hope which he aroused to an activity before undreamed of. The majority of the Jews believed in a life after death, as is shown by the segregation of the Sadducees from the orthodox of the synagogue. The new teaching vindicated the spiritual rights and interests of man. From the depths of his own heart was evolved the consciousness of a good that could not die. Man, the creature of a day, has a vested interest in things eternal.
From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: "Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe our dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace...

Howe Julia Ward quotes
Life passes, but the conditions of life do not. Air, food, water, the moral sense, the mathematical problem and its solution. These things wait upon one generation much as they did upon its predecessor. What, too, is this wonderful residuum which refuses to disappear when the very features of time seem to succumb to the law of change, and we recognize our world no more ? Whence comes this system in which man walks as in an artificial frame, every weight and lever of which must correspond with the outlines of an eternal pattern?
Our spiritual life appears to include three terms in one. They are ever with us, this Past which does not pass, this Future which never arrives. They are part and parcel of this conscious existence which we call Present. While Past and Future have each their seasons of predominance, both are contained in the moment which is gone while we say, "It is here."
So the Eternal is with us, whether we will or not, and the idea of God is inseparable from the persuasion of immortality; the Being which, perfect in itself, can neither grow nor decline, nor indeed undergo any change whatever. The great Static of the universe, the rationale of the steadfast faith of believing souls, the sense of beauty which justifies our high enjoyments, the sense of proportion which upholds all that we can think about ourselves and our world, the sense of permanence which makes the child in very truth parent to the man, able to solve the deepest riddle, the profoundest problem in all that is. Let us then willingly take the Eternal with us in our flight among the suns and stars.
Experience is our great teacher, and on this point it is wholly wanting. No one on the farther side of the great Divide has been able to inform those on the hither side of what lies beyond.
Howe Julia Ward
It has been extremely edifying to hear of the good theories of duty and morality and piety which the various religions advocate. I will put them all on one basis, Christian and Jewish and ethnic, which they all promulgate to mankind. But what I think we want now to do is to inquire why the practice of all nations, our own as well as any other, is so much at variance with these noble precepts? These great founders of religion have made the true sacrifice. They have taken a noble human life, full of every human longing and passion and power and aspiration, and they have taken it all to try and find out something about this question of what God meant man to be and does mean him to be. But while they have made this great sacrifice, how is it with the multitude of us? Are we making any sacrifice at all? We think it was very well that those heroic spirits should study, should agonize and bled for us. But what do we do?
Julia Ward Howe quotes
What is it that passes for religion? In some countries magic passes for religion, and that is one thing I wish, in view particularly of the ethnic faiths, could be made very prominent— that religion is not magic. I am very sure that in many countries it is supposed to be so. You do something that will bring you good luck. It is for the interests of the priesthood to cherish that idea. Of course the idea of advantage in this life and in another life is very strong, and rightly very strong in all human breasts. Therefore, it is for the advantage of the priesthoods to make it to be supposed that they have in their possession certain tricks, certain charms, which will give you either some particular prosperity in this world or possibly the privilege of immortal happiness. Now, this is not religion. This is most mischievous irreligion, and I think this Parliament should say, once for all, that the name of God and the names of his saints are not things to conjure with.
Julia Ward Howe
He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave,
He is wisdom to the mighty, he is succour to the brave,
So the world shall be his footstool, and the soul of Time his slave,
Our God is marching on.
Howe Julia Ward quotes
Here I am, in Quaker surroundings, whose restful simplicity is most congenial to me. I feel here the earnest desire for genuine growth and culture which founds a slow but sure success. I am confirmed in my division of human energies. Ambitious people climb, but faithful people build.
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me:
As he died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
While God is marching on.
Howe Julia Ward
The flag of our stately battles, not struggles of wrath and greed,
Its stripes were a holy lesson, its spangles a deathless creed:
'T was red with the blood of freemen and white with the fear of the foe;
And the stars that fight in their courses 'gainst tyrants its symbols know.
Julia Ward Howe
"We can teach no virtues we do not practice," occurred to me this afternoon; for without learning by experience how a virtue is acquired, how can we teach any one to acquire it? I thought of this in connection with the experience of undutiful children. By the working of this natural cause, they will not make their own children dutiful. Read in Luke of the angel which appeared to Christ in Gethsemane, strengthening Him. We all see this angel when we say truly, "Thy will, not mine, be done."

Julia Ward Howe quotes
The strokes of the pen need deliberation as much as the sword needs swiftness.
Julia Ward Howe
I think nothing is religion which puts one individual absolutely above others, and surely nothing is religion which puts one sex above another. Religion is primarily our relation to the Supreme, to God himself. It is for him to judge; it is for him to say where we belong, who is highest and who is not; of that we know nothing. And any religion which will sacrifice a certain set of human beings for the enjoyment or aggrandizement or advantage of another is no religion. It is a thing which may be allowed, but it is against true religion. Any religion which sacrifices women to the brutality of men is no religion.
Howe quotes
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.
Howe Julia Ward
I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel:
"As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal;
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,
Since God is marching on."
Howe Julia Ward quotes
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.
Julia Ward Howe
Charity is an unending self-discipline which always looks and leads towards the eternal affection. Therefore, its triumph shall be lasting and everlasting.
Julia Ward Howe quotes
We returned to the city very slowly, of necessity, for the troops nearly filled the road. My dear minister was in the carriage with me, as were several other friends. To beguile the rather tedious drive, we sang from time to time snatches of the army songs so popular at that time, concluding, I think, with
  John Brown's body lies a-mouldering in the ground;
  His soul is marching on.
The soldiers seemed to like this, and answered back, "Good for you!" Mr. Clarke said, "Mrs. Howe, why do you not write some good words for that stirring tune?" I replied that I had often wished to do this, but had not as yet found in my mind any leading toward it.
I went to bed that night as usual, and slept, according to my wont, quite soundly. I awoke in the gray of the morning twilight; and as I lay waiting for the dawn, the long lines of the desired poem began to twine themselves in my mind. Having thought out all the stanzas, I said to myself, "I must get up and write these verses down, lest I fall asleep again and forget them." So, with a sudden effort, I sprang out of bed, and found in the dimness an old stump of a pen which I remembered to have used the day before. I scrawled the verses almost without looking at the paper. I had learned to do this when, on previous occasions, attacks of versification had visited me in the night, and I feared to have recourse to a light lest I should wake the baby, who slept near me. I was always obliged to decipher my scrawl before another night should intervene, as it was only legible while the matter was fresh in my mind. At this time, having completed the writing, I returned to bed and fell asleep, saying to myself, "I like this better than most things that I have written."
Julia Ward Howe
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.
Howe Julia Ward
The reason which placed the stars, the sense of proportion which we recognize in the planetary system, finds its correspondence in this brain of ours. We question every feature of what we see, think, and feel. We try every link of the chain and find it sound if we ourselves are sound. This power of remotest question and assent is not of to-day nor yesterday.
It transcends all bounds of time and space. It weighs the sun, explores the pathway of the stars, and writes, having first carefully read, the history of earth and heaven. It moves in company with the immortals. How much of it is mortal? Only so much as a small strip of earth can cover. These remains are laid away with reverence, having served their time. But what has become of the wonderful power which made them alive ? It belongs to that in nature which cannot die.

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