Go Tell It on the Mountain Quotes

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Go Tell It on the Mountain Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin
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Go Tell It on the Mountain Quotes (showing 1-30 of 38)
“There are people in the world for whom "coming along" is a perpetual process, people who are destined never to arrive.”
James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain
“But to look back from the stony plain along the road which led one to that place is not at all the same thing as walking on the road; the perspective to say the very least, changes only with the journey; only when the road has, all abruptly and treacherously, and with an absoluteness that permits no argument, turned or dropped or risen is one able to see all that one could not have seen from any other place.”
James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain
“The morning of that day, as Gabriel rose and started out to work, the sky was low and nearly black and the air too thick to breath. Late in the afternoon the wind rose, the skies opened, and the rain came. The rain came down as though once more in Heaven the Lord had been persuaded of the good uses of a flood. It drove before it the bowed wanderer, clapped children into houses, licked with fearful anger against the high, strong wall, and the wall of the lean-to, and the wall of the cabin, beat against the bark and the leaves of trees, trampled the broad grass, and broke the neck of the flower. The world turned dark, forever, everywhere, and windows ran as though their glass panes bore all the tears of eternity, threatening at every instant to shatter inward against this force, uncontrollable, so abruptly visited on the earth.”
James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain
“She was in a terrible state, for she found that she could neither take her eyes off him nor look at him.”
James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain
“The rebirth of the soul is perpetual; only rebirth every hour could stay the hand of Satan.”
James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain
“It’s a long way,” John said slowly, “ain’t it? It’s a hard way. It’s uphill all the way.”
James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain
“His mind was like the sea itself: troubled, and too deep for the bravest man's descent, throwing up now and again, for the naked eye to wonder at, treasure and debris long forgotten on the bottom—bones and jewels, fantastic shells, jelly that had once been flesh, pearls that had once been eyes. And he was at the mercy of this sea, hanging there with darkness all around him.”
James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain
“Looking at his face, it sometimes came to her that all women had been cursed from the cradle; all, in one fashion or another, being given the same cruel destiny, born to suffer the weight of men. Frank claimed that she got it all wrong side up: it was men who suffered because they had to put up with the ways of women—and this from the time that they were born until the day they died.”
James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain
“And he knew again that she was not saying everything she meant; in a kind of secret language she was telling him today something that he must remember and understand tomorrow. He watched her face, his heart swollen with love for her and with an anguish, not yet his own, that he did not understand and that frightened him.”
James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain
“And the darkness of John's sin was like the darkness of the church on Saturday evenings[...] It was like his thoughts as he moved about the tabernacle in which his life had been spent; the tabernacle that he hated, yet loved and feared[...] The darkness of his sin was in the hardheartedness with which he resisted God's power; in the scorn that was often his while he listened to the crying, breaking voices, and watched the black skin glisten while they lifted up their arms and fell on their faces before the Lord. For he had made his decision. He would not be like his father, or his father's fathers. He would have another life.”
James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain
“Yes, he had heard it all his life, but it was only now that his ears were opened to this sound that came from darkness, that could only come from darkness, that yet bore such sure witness to the glory of the light. And now in his moaning, and so far from any help, he heard it in himself--it rose from his bleeding, his cracked-open heart. It was a sound of rage and weeping which filled the grave, rage and weeping from time set free, but bound now in eternity; rage that had no language, weeping with no voice--which yet spoke now, to John's startled soul, of boundless melancholy, of the bitterest patience, and the longest night; of the deepest water, the strongest chains, the most cruel lash; of humility most wretched, the dungeon most absolute, of love's bed defiled, and birth dishonored, and most bloody, unspeakable, sudden death. Yes, the darkness hummed with murder: the body in the water, the body in the fire, the body on the tree. John looked down the line of these armies of darkness, army upon army, and his soul whispered: Who are these? Who are they? And wondered: Where shall I go?
James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain
“John’s heart was hardened against the Lord. His father was God’s minister, the ambassador of the King of Heaven, and John could not bow before the throne of grace without first kneeling to his father.”
James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain
“all that befell: in her joys, her pipe in the evening, her man at night, the children she suckled, and guided on their first short steps; and in her tribulations, death, and parting, and the lash, she did not forget that deliverance was promised and would surely come. She had only to endure and trust in God.”
James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain
“She, who had descended with such joy and pain, had begun her upward climb—upward, with her baby, on the steep, steep side of the mountain.”
James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain
“He stood for a moment on the melting snow, distracted, and then began to run down the hill, feeling himself fly as the descent became more rapid, and thinking: “I can climb back up. If it’s wrong, I can always climb back up.”
James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain
“The woman on the bed was old, her life was fading as the mist rose. She thought of her mother as already in the grave; and she would not let herself be strangled by the hands of the dead. “I’m going, Ma,” she said. “I got to go.”
James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain
“And his mind could not contain the terrible stretch of time that united twelve men fishing by the shores of Galilee, and black men weeping on their knees tonight, and he, a witness.”
James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain
“Nothing tamed or broke her, nothing touched her, neither kindness, nor scorn, nor hatred, nor love. She had never thought of prayer. It was unimaginable that she would ever bend her knees and come crawling along a dusty floor to anybody’s altar, weeping for forgiveness. Perhaps her sin was so extreme that it could not be forgiven; perhaps her pride was so great that she did not need forgiveness. She had fallen from that high estate which God had intended for men and women, and she made her fall glorious because it was so complete.”
James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain
“For the rebirth of the soul was perpetual; only rebirth every hour could stay the hand of Satan.”
James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain
“Elisha,' he said, 'no matter what happens to me, where I go, what folks say about me, no matter what anybody says, you remember - please remember - I was saved. I was there.”
James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain
“Their singing caused him to believe in the presence of the Lord; indeed, it was no longer a question of belief, because they made that presence real.”
James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain
“She did not know why he so adored things that were so long dead; what sustenance they gave him, what secrets he hoped to wrest from them. But she understood, at least, that they did give him a kind of bitter nourishment, and that the secrets they held for him were a matter of his life and death. It frightened her because she felt that he was reaching for the moon and that he would, therefore, be dashed down against the rocks; but she did not say any of this.”
James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain
“Suddenly, sitting at the window, and with a violence unprecedented, there arose in John a flood of fury and tears, and he bowed his head, fists clenched against the windowpane, crying, with teeth on edge: "What shall I do? What shall I do?”
James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain
“The menfolk, they die, all right. And it's us women who walk around, like the Bible says, and mourn. The menfolk, they die, and it's over for them, but we women, we have to keep on living and try to forget what they done to us.”
James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain
“Yes, Mama. I’m going to try to love the Lord.” At this there sprang into his mother’s face something startling, beautiful, unspeakably sad—as though she were looking far beyond him at a long, dark road, and seeing on that road a traveler in perpetual danger. Was it he, the traveler? or herself? or was she thinking of the cross of Jesus?”
James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain
“John looked with a child’s impenetrable gravity into the preacher’s face, as though he were turning this question over in his mind and would answer when he had thought it”
James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain
“It was not only colored people who praised John, since they could not, John felt, in any case really know; but white people also said it, in fact had said it first and said it still. It was when John was five years old and in the first grade that he was first noticed; and since he was noticed by an eye altogether alien and impersonal, he began to perceive, in wild uneasiness, his individual existence.”
James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain
“She thought of herself as his strength; in a world of shadows, the indisputable reality to which he could always repair. And, again, for all that had come, she could not regret this. She had tried, but she had never been and was not now, even tonight, truly sorry. Where, then, was her repentance? And how could God hear her cry?”
James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain
“Out of joy strength came, strength that was fashioned to bear sorrow: sorrow brought forth joy. Forever? This was Ezekiel's wheel, in the middle of the burning air forever -- and the little wheel ran by faith, and the big wheel ran by the grace of God.”
James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain
“It was his hatred and his intelligence that he cherished, the one feeding the other.”
James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain

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