C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


No grief reaches the dead.


Grief has its time.


Grief alone can teach us what is man.


Grief, like a tree, has tears for its fruit.


The only cure for grief is action.

George Henry Lewes.

Griefs assured are felt before they come.


There is a solemn luxury in grief.

Wm. Mason.

My grief lies onward and my joy behind.


Grief knits two hearts in closer bonds.


None can cure their harms by wailing them.


The indulgence in grief is a blunder.


Every one can master a grief but he that has it.


I will instruct my sorrow to be proud.


She grieves sincerely who grieves unseen.


Grief still treads upon the heels of pleasure.


No grief is so acute but time ameliorates it.


He who is resolute conquers grief.


Trembling lips, tuned to such grief that they say bright words sadly.

Sydney Dobell.

Grief is a stone that bears one down but two bear it lightly.

W. Hauff.

Grief is crowned with consolation.


Great griefs medicine the less.


Grief is a species of idleness.


Grief best is pleased with grief’s society.


When remedies are past, the griefs are ended.


The flood of grief decreaseth when it can swell no longer.


Honest plain words best pierce the ear of grief.


In rising sighs and falling tears.


That eating canker grief, with wasteful spite, preys on the rosy bloom of youth and beauty.


Well has it been said that there is no grief like the grief which does not speak.


  • ’Tis long ere time can mitigate your grief;
  • To wisdom fly, she quickly brings relief.
  • Grotius.

  • No future hour can rend my heart like this,
  • Save that which breaks it.
  • Maturin.

  • You may my glories and my state depose,
  • But not my griefs; still am I king of those.
  • Shakespeare.

    He gave a deep sigh; I saw the iron enter into his soul.


  • A malady
  • Preys on my heart that med’cine cannot reach.
  • Maturin.

    He grieves more than is necessary who grieves before it is necessary.


  • Some Grief shows much of Love;
  • But much of Grief shows still some want of Wit.
  • Shakespeare.

    Never morning wore to evening but some heart did break.


    It is dangerous to abandon one’s self to the luxury of grief: it deprives one of courage, and even of the wish for recovery.


  • Half of the ills we hoard within our hearts,
  • Are ills because we hoard them.
  • Proctor.

  • Some weep in perfect justice to the dead,
  • As conscious all their love is in arrear.
  • Young.

  • What’s gone, and what’s past help,
  • Should be past grief.
  • Shakespeare.

    Light griefs are plaintive, but great ones are dumb.


  • What need a man forestall his date of grief,
  • And run to meet what he would most avoid?
  • Milton.

  • Weep I cannot;
  • But my heart bleeds.
  • Shakespeare.

    We hear the rain fall, but not the snow. Bitter grief is loud, calm grief is silent.


    They truly mourn that mourn without a witness.


    It is folly to tear one’s hair in sorrow, as if grief could be assuaged by baldness.


    Dr. Holmes says, both wittily and truly, that crying widows are easiest consoled.

    H. W. Shaw.

    Why must we first weep before we can love so deep that our hearts ache.


    It will appear how impertinent that grief was which served no end of life.

    Jeremy Taylor.

    Grief has been compared to a hydra; for every one that dies, two are born.


    No greater grief than to remember days of joy when misery is at hand.


    A little bitter mingled in our cup leaves no relish of the sweet.


    Whose lenient sorrows find relief, whose joys are chastened by their grief.

    Sir Walter Scott.

    What’s the newest grief? Each minute tunes a new one.


    Heavy hearts, like heavy clouds in the sky, are best relieved by the letting of water.


    Cease to lament for that thou canst not help; and study help for that which thou lamentest.


    Woman’s grief is like a summer’s shower—short as it is violent.


    Alas! the breast that inly bleeds has nought to fear from outward blow.


    The violence of either grief or joy, their own enactures with themselves destroy.


    The only thing that grief has taught me is to know how shallow it is.


    A plague of sighing and grief! it blows a man up like a bladder.


    The sickness of the heart is most easily got rid of by complaining and soothing confidence.


    I grieve that grief can teach me nothing, nor carry me one step into real nature.


    The grief that does not speak whispers the overfraught heart and bids it break.


    Grief hallows hearts, even while it ages heads.


  • I am not mad; I would to heaven I were!
  • For then, ’tis like I should forget myself:
  • Of, if I could, what grief should I forget!
  • Shakespeare.

    Grief is the culture of the soul, it is the true fertilizer.

    Mme. de Girardin.

    Grief is the agony of an instant: the indulgence of grief the blunder of a life.


  • A heavier task could not have been impos’d,
  • Than I to speak my griefs unspeakable.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Grief hath two tongues; and never woman yet
  • Could rule them both without ten women’s wit.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Winter is come and gone,
  • But grief returns with the revolving year.
  • Shelley.

  • Oft have I heard that grief softens the mind
  • And makes it fearful and degenerate.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Grief is a tattered tent
  • Where through God’s light doth shine.
  • Lucy Larcom.

  • Who fails to grieve when just occasion calls,
  • Or grieves too much, deserves not to be blest:
  • Inhuman, or effeminate, his heart.
  • Young.

  • Like the lily,
  • That once was mistress of the field, and flourished,
  • I’ll hang my head, and perish.
  • Shakespeare.

    Nothing speaks our grief so well as to speak nothing.


    That grief is the most durable which flows inward, and buries its streams with its fountain, in the depths of the heart.

    Jane Porter.

    If our inward griefs were seen written on our brow, how many would be pitied who are now envied!


    Excess of grief for the deceased is madness; for it is an injury to the living, and the dead know it not.


    O the things unseen, untold, undreamt of, which like shadows pass hourly over that mysterious world, a mind to ruin struck by grief!

    Mrs. Hemans.

    Heaven deprives me of a wife who never caused me any other grief than that of her death.

    Louis XIV.

    How beautiful is sorrow when it is dressed by virgin innocence! it makes felicity in others seem deformed.

    Sir W. Davenant.

    Grief knits two hearts in closer bonds than happiness ever can; and common sufferings are far stronger links than common joys.


    Great grief makes sacred those upon whom its hand is laid. Joy may elevate, ambition glorify, but sorrow alone can consecrate.

    Horace Greeley.

    Grief, which disposes gentle natures to retirement, to inaction, and to meditation, only makes restless spirits more restless.


    While grief is fresh, every attempt to divert only irritates. You must wait till grief be digested, and then amusement will dissipate the remains of it.


    The more tender our spirits are made by religion, the more ready we are to let in grief.

    Jeremy Taylor.

    Grief is so far from retrieving a loss that it makes it greater; but the way to lessen it is by a comparison with others’ losses.


    The truth is, we pamper little griefs into great ones, and bear great ones as well as we can.


    In the loss of an object we do not proportion our grief to its real value, but to the value our fancies set upon it.


    Give to a wounded heart seclusion; consolation nor reason ever effected anything in such a case.


    Sorrow, like a heavy ringing bell, once set on ringing, with its own weight goes; then little strength rings out the doleful knell.


    Grief is only the memory of widowed affection. The more intense the delight in the presence of the object, the more poignant must be the impression of the absence.

    James Martineau.

  • Each substance of a grief hath twenty shadows,
  • Which show like grief itself, but are not so:
  • For sorrow’s eye glazed with blinding tears,
  • Divides one thing entire to many objects.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Why, let the stricken deer go weep,
  • The heart ungalled play;
  • For some must watch, while some must sleep;
  • Thus runs the world away.
  • Shakespeare.

  • The wither’d frame, the ruin’d mind,
  • The wreck by passion left behind,
  • A shrivell’d scroll, a scatter’d leaf,
  • Sear’d by the autumn blast of grief!
  • Byron.

  • Good is that darkening of our lives,
  • Which only God can brighten;
  • But better still that hopeless load,
  • Which none but God can lighten.
  • Frederick William Faber.

  • Upon her face there was the tint of grief,
  • The settled shadow of an inward strife,
  • And an unquiet drooping of the eye,
  • As if its lid were charged with unshed tears.
  • Byron.

    We know there oft is found an avarice in grief; and the wan eye of sorrow loves to gaze upon its secret hoard of treasured woes, and pine in solitude.

    William Mason.

    All the joys of earth will not assuage our thirst for happiness; while a single grief suffices to shroud life in a sombre veil, and smite it with nothingness at all points.

    Mme. Swetchine.

    The man who has learned to triumph over sorrow wears his miseries as though they were sacred fillets upon his brow; and nothing is so entirely admirable as a man bravely wretched.


    O, grief hath changed me since you saw me last; and careful hours, with Time’s deformed hand, have written strange defeatures in my face!


  • O brothers! let us leave the shame and sin
  • Of taking vainly, in a plaintive mood,
  • The holy name of grief!—holy herein,
  • That, by the grief of One, came all our good.
  • Mrs. Browning.

    The business of life summons us away from useless grief, and calls us to the exercise of those virtues of which we are lamenting our deprivation.

    Dr. Johnson.

  • ’Tis better to be lowly born,
  • And range with humble livers in content,
  • Than to be perk’d up in a glistering grief,
  • And wear a golden sorrow.
  • Shakespeare.

    What an argument in favor of social connections is the observation that by communicating our grief we have less, and by communicating our pleasure we have more.


  • Alas! I have not words to tell my grief;
  • To vent my sorrow would be some relief;
  • Light sufferings give us leisure to complain;
  • We groan, we cannot speak, in greater pain.
  • Dryden.

    Be free from grief not through insensibility like the irrational animals, nor through want of thought like the foolish, but like a man of virtue by having reason as the consolation of grief.


    In youth, grief comes with a rush and overflow, but it dries up, too, like the torrent. In the winter of life it remains a miserable pool, resisting all evaporation.

    Madame Swetchine.

  • Oh! call my brother back to me!
  • I cannot play alone;
  • The summer comes with flower and bee—
  • Where is my brother gone?
  • Mrs. Hemans.

    Of permanent griefs there are none, for they are but clouds. The swifter move through the sky, the more follow after them; and even the immovable ones are absorbed by the other, and become smaller till they vanish.


    Grief or misfortune seems to be indispensable to the development of intelligence, energy, and virtue. The proofs to which the people are submitted, as with individuals, are necessary then to draw them from their lethargy, to disclose their character.


    Grief is a flower as delicate and prompt to fade as happiness. Still, it does not wholly die. Like the magic rose, dried and unrecognizable, a warm air breathed on it will suffice to renew its bloom.

    Mme. de Gasparin.

    What is grief? It is an obscure labyrinth into which God leads man, that he may be experienced in life, that he may remember his faults and abjure them, that he may appreciate the calm which virtue gives.

    Leopold Scheffer.

    The person who grieves suffers his passion to grow upon him; he indulges it, he loves it; but this never happens in the case of actual pain, which no man ever willingly endured for any considerable time.


    Grief, like night, is salutary. It cools down the soul by putting out its feverish fires; and if it oppresses her, it also compresses her energies. The load once gone, she will go forth with greater buoyancy to new pleasures.

    Dr. Pulsford.

    We may deserve grief; but why should women be unhappy?—except we know heaven chastens those it loves best, being pleased by repeated trials to make these pure spirits more pure.


    Why destroy present happiness by a distant misery, which may never come at all, or you may never live to see it? For every substantial grief has twenty shadows, and most of them shadows of your own making.

    Sydney Smith.

    Griefs are like the beings that endure them—the little ones are the most clamorous and noisy; those of older growth and greater magnitude are generally tranquil, and sometimes silent.


    He that hath so many causes of joy, and so great, is very much in love with sorrow and peevishness, who loses all these pleasures, and chooses to sit down on his little handful of thorns.

    Jeremy Taylor.

  • Grief fills the room up of my absent child,
  • Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me;
  • Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words,
  • Remembers me of all his gracious parts,
  • Stuffs out his vacant garment with his form.
  • Shakespeare.

    Grief! thou art classed amongst the depressing passions. And true it is that thou humblest to the dust, but also thou exaltest to the clouds. Thou shakest us with ague, but also thou steadiest like frost. Thou sickenest the heart, but also thou healest its infirmities.

    De Quincey.

  • Sweet source of virtue,
  • O sacred sorrow! he who knows not thee,
  • Knows not the best emotions of the heart,
  • Those tender tears that harmonize the soul,
  • The sigh that charms, the pang that gives delight.
  • Thomson.

  • Long thus he chew’d the cud of inward griefe,
  • And did consume his gall with anguish sore;
  • Still when he mused on his late mischiefe,
  • Then still the smart thereof increased more,
  • And seemed more grievous than it was before.
  • Spenser.

    As warmth makes even glaciers trickle, and opens streams in the ribs of frozen mountains, So the heart knows the full flow and life of its grief only when it begins to melt and pass away.


    I am not prone to weeping as our sex commonly are; the want of which vain dew perchance shall dry your pities; but I have that honorable grief lodged here which burns worse than tears drown.


    As a fresh wound shrinks from the hand of the surgeon, then gradually submits to and even calls for it; so a mind under the first impression of a misfortune shuns and rejects all comfort, but at length, if touched with tenderness, calmly and willingly resigns itself.

    Pliny the Younger.

  • Oppress’d with grief, oppress’d with care,
  • A burden more than I can bear,
  • I sit me down and sigh;
  • O, life! thou art a galling load,
  • Along a rough, a weary road,
  • To wretches such as I.
  • Burns.

    There is yet a silent agony in which the mind appears to disdain all external help, and broods over its distresses with gloomy reserve. This is the most dangerous state of mind; accidents or friendships may lessen the louder kinds of grief, but all remedies for this must be had from within, and there despair too often finds the most deadly enemy.


    There are moods in which we court suffering, in the hope that here, at least, we shall find reality, sharp peaks and edges of truth. But it turns out to be scene-painting and counterfeit. The only thing grief has taught me is to know how shallow it is.


    Those great and stormy passions do so spend the whole stock of grief that they presently admit a comfort and contrary affection; while a sorrow that is even and temperate goes on to its period with expectation and the distance of a just time.

    Jeremy Taylor.