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


The soul’s calm sunshine.


Happiness is an exotic of celestial birth.


Happiness is the natural flower of duty.

Phillips Brooks.

Happiness is reflective, like the light of heaven.

Washington Irving.

There is no man but may make his paradise.

Beaumont and Fletcher.

Happiness is a rare cosmetic.

G. J. W. Melville.

Every one speaks of it, few know it.

Mme. Roland.

The saddest birds a season find to sing.


He who is good is happy.


There are no rules for felicity.

Victor Hugo.

True wisdom is the price of happiness.


Happiness is unrepented pleasure.


Happiness is a good that Nature sells us.


Happiness is not perfected until it is shared.

Jane Porter.

Happiness is no laughing matter.


They live too long who happiness outlive.


The best happiness will be to escape the worst misery.

George Eliot.

Man is the artificer of his own happiness.

Henry D. Thoreau.

Happiness is an equivalent for all troublesome things.


Be happy, but be so by piety.

Mme. de Staël.

Happiness seems made to be shared.


Happiness may have but one night, as glory but one day.

Alfred de Musset.

The rays of happiness, like those of light, are colorless when unbroken.


None are happy but by anticipation of change.

Dr. Johnson.

Happiness lies, first of all, in health.

George William Curtis.

There is in man a higher than love of happiness; he can do without happiness, and instead thereof find blessedness.


What happiness is there which is not purchased with more or less of pain?

Mrs. Oliphant.

Happiness is where we find it, but very rarely where we seek it.

J. Petit-Senn.

That happiness does still the longest thrive where joys and griefs have turns alternative.


There comes forever something between us and what we deem our happiness.


  • All who joy would win
  • Must share it—happiness was born a twin.
  • Byron.

  • True happiness ne’er entered at an eye;
  • True happiness resides in things unseen.
  • Young.

    Happiness—a good bank account, a good cook, and a good digestion.


    One cannot be fully happy until after his sixtieth year.


    Fortitude, justice, and candor are very necessary instruments of happiness, but they require time and exertion.

    Sydney Smith.

    Those who seek for something more than happiness in this world must not complain if happiness is not their portion.


    Happiness without peace is temporal; peace along with happiness is eternal.


    We are never happy: we can only remember that we were so once.

    Alexander Smith.

    So long as you do not quarrel with sin, you will never be a truly happy man.

    J. C. Ryle.

    Happiness does away with ugliness, and even makes the beauty of beauty.


    The happiest women, like the happiest nations, have no history.

    George Eliot.

    To be happy is not the purpose for which you are placed in this world.


  • To be strong
  • Is to be happy!
  • Longfellow.

    We are no longer happy so soon as we wish to be happier.


    Nothing is more idle than to inquire after happiness, which nature has kindly placed within our reach.


    Happiness never lays its finger on its pulse. If we attempt to steal a glimpse of its features it disappears.

    Alexander Smith.

    Beware what earth calls happiness; beware all joys but joys that never can expire.


    The happiness or unhappiness of men depends no less upon their dispositions than their fortunes.

    La Rochefoucauld.

    When we reflect on the shortness and uncertainty of life, how despicable seem all our pursuits of happiness.


    It is no happiness to live long, nor unhappiness to die soon; happy is he that hath lived long enough, to die well.


    How bitter a thing it is to look into happiness through another man’s eyes!


    Happiness is not the end of duty, it is a constituent of it. It is in it and of it; not an equivalent, but an element.

    Henry Giles.

    Happiness is always the inaccessible castle which sinks in ruin when we set foot on it.

    Arsène Houssaye.

    Our happiness in this world depends on the affections we are enabled to inspire.

    Duchesse de Praslin.

    Human happiness depends mainly upon the improvement of small opportunities.

    J. L. Basford.

    No one can be said to be happy until he is dead.


    Happiness is neither within us nor without us, it is the union of ourselves with God.


    To be happy is not the purpose of our being, but to deserve happiness.


    Real happiness is cheap enough, yet how dearly we pay for its counterfeit!

    Hosea Ballou.

    The sunshine of life is made up of very little beams, that are bright all the time.


    If we cannot live so as to be happy, let us at least live so as to deserve happiness.


    We are never so happy, nor so unhappy, as we suppose ourselves to be.

    La Rochefoucauld.

    Happiness grows at our own firesides, and is not to be picked in strangers’ gardens.

    Douglas Jerrold.

    He who has no wish to be happier is the happiest of men.

    W. R. Alger.

    There must be some mixture of happiness in everything but sin.

    Mrs. Sigourney.

    The highest happiness, the purest joys of life, wear out at last.


    Happiness is no other than soundness and perfection of mind.


  • I have I have enjoyed earthly happiness,
  • I have lived and loved.
  • Schiller.

  • Domestic happiness, thou only bliss
  • Of paradise that hast survived the fall!
  • Cowper.

    He that upon a true principle lives, without any disquiet of thought, may be said to be happy.


    Nature has granted to all to be happy, if we did but know how to use her benefits.


  • True happiness (if understood)
  • Consists alone in doing good.
  • Thomson.

    Beware what earth calls happiness; beware all joys but joys that never can expire.


    In my opinion it is the happy living, and not, as Antisthenes said, the happy dying, in which human happiness consists.


    Happiness is a sunbeam, which may pass through a thousand bosoms without losing a particle of its original ray.

    Sir P. Sidney.

    The happiness of the tender heart is increased by what it can take away from the wretchedness of others.

    J. Petit-Senn.

    Happiness and virtue react upon each other—the best are not only the happiest, but the happiest are usually the best.


    The happiness of the human race in this world does not consist in our being devoid of passions, but in our learning to command them.

    From the French.

    I earn that I eat, get that I wear; owe no man hate, envy no man’s happiness; glad of other men’s good, content with my harm.


    Happiness and misery are the names of two extremes, the utmost bounds whereof we know not.


    Hunting after happiness is like hunting after a lost sheep in the wilderness—when you find it, the chances are that it is a skeleton.

    H. W. Shaw.

    Happiness is that single and glorious thing which is the very light and sun of the whole animated universe; and where she is not it were better that nothing should be.


    Happiness is only to be found in a recurrence to the principles of human nature; and these will prompt very simple measures.


    It is quite easy for stupid people to be happy; they believe in fables, and they trot on in a beaten track like a horse on a tramway.


    The nearest we can come to perfect happiness is to cheat ourselves with the belief that we have got it.

    H. W. Shaw.

    A sound mind in a sound body is a short but full description of a happy state in this world.


    Happiness is in taste and not in things; and it is by having what we love that we are happy, not by having what others find agreeable.

    La Rochefoucauld.

    The body is like a piano, and happiness is like music. It is needful to have the instrument in good order.


    You traverse the world in search of happiness, which is within the reach of every man; a contented mind confers it on all.


    Happiness has no limits, because God has neither bottom nor bounds, and because happiness is nothing but the conquest of God through love.


    That state of life is most happy where superfluities are not required and necessaries are not wanting.


  • It is ever thus with happiness;
  • It is the gay to-morrow of the mind,
  • That never comes.
  • Proctor.

    Degrees of happiness vary according to the degrees of virtue, and consequently, that life which is most virtuous is most happy.


    Happiness is the fine and gentle rain which penetrates the soul, but which afterwards gushes forth in springs of tears.

    Maurice de Guérin.

    Wouldst thou ever roam abroad? See, what is good lies by thy side. Only learn to catch happiness, for happiness is ever by you.


    We take greater pains to persuade others that we are happy than in endeavoring to think so ourselves.


    Brethren, happiness is not our being’s end and aim. The Christian’s aim is perfection, not happiness; and every one of the sons of God must have something of that spirit which marked his Master.

    F. W. Robertson.

    Terrestrial happiness is of short duration. The brightness of the flame is wasting its fuel; the fragrant flower is passing away in its own odors.

    Dr. Johnson.

    The great blessings of mankind are within us, and within our reach, but we shut our eyes, and, like people in the dark, we fall foul upon the very thing we search for, without finding it.


    If the chief part of human happiness arises from the consciousness of being beloved, as I believe it does, these sudden changes of fortune seldom contribute much to happiness.

    Adam Smith.

    All mankind are happier for having been happy; so that, if you make them happy now, you make them happy twenty years hence by the memory of it.

    Sydney Smith.

    So endless and exorbitant are the desires of men that they will grasp at all, and can form no scheme of perfect happiness with less.


    Happy! Who is happy? Was there not a serpent in Paradise itself? And if Eve had been perfectly happy beforehand, would she have listened to the tempter?


    The common course of things is in favor of happiness; happiness is the rule, misery the exception. Were the order reversed, our attention would be called to examples of health and competency, instead of disease and want.


    It is a great truth, wonderful as it is undeniable, that all our happiness—temporal, spiritual and eternal—consists in one thing; namely, in resigning ourselves to God, and in leaving ourselves with Him, to do with us and in us just as He pleases.

    Madame Guyon.

    True happiness is of a retired nature, and an enemy to pomp and noise. It arises, in the first place, from the enjoyment of one’s self, and, in the next, from the friendship and conversation of a few select friends.


    Happiness is a roadside flower growing on the highways of usefulness; plucked, it shall wither in thy hand; passed by, it is fragrance to thy spirit. Trample the thyme beneath thy feet; be useful, be happy.


  • The sweetest bird builds near the ground,
  • The loveliest flower springs low;
  • And we must stoop for happiness
  • If we its worth would know.
  • Swain.

    When we are not too anxious about happiness and unhappiness, but devote ourselves to the strict and unsparing performance of duty, then happiness comes of itself—nay, even springs from the midst of a life of troubles and anxieties and privations.


    Alas! if the principles of contentment are not within us—the height of station and worldly grandeur will as soon add a cubit to a man’s stature as to his happiness.


    Happiness in this world, when it comes, comes incidentally. Make it the object of pursuit, and it leads us a wild-goose chase, and is never attained.


    There is a gentle element, and man may breathe it with a calm, unruffled soul, and drink its living waters, till his heart is pure; and this is human happiness.


    Happiness and comfort stream immediately from God himself, as light issues from the sun; and sometimes looks and darts itself into the meanest corners, while it forbears to visit the largest and the noblest rooms.


    The most happy women within their homes are those who have married sensible men. The latter suffer themselves to be governed with so much the more pleasure, as they are always masters of themselves.

    Prince de Ligne.

    In the soul, when the supreme faculties move regularly, the inferior passions and faculties following, there arises a serenity infinitely beyond the highest quintessence of worldly delight.


    There is something more awful in happiness than in sorrow—the latter being earthly and finite, the former composed of the substance and texture of eternity, so that spirits still embodied may well tremble at it.


    To be happy is not only to be freed from the pains and diseases of the body, but from anxiety and vexation of spirit; not only to enjoy the pleasures of sense, but peace of conscience and tranquillity of mind.


    Priestly was the first (unless it was Beccaria) who taught my lips to pronounce this sacred truth—that the greatest happiness of the greatest number is the foundation of morals and legislation.


    Youth is too tumultuous for felicity; old age too insecure for happiness. The period most favorable to enjoyment, in a vigorous, fortunate, and generous life, is that between forty and sixty. Life culminates at sixty.


    So scanty is our present allowance of happiness that in many situations life could scarcely be supported if hope were not allowed to relieve the present hour by pleasures borrowed from the future.


    Without strong affection, and humanity of heart, and gratitude to that Being whose code is mercy, and whose great attribute is benevolence to all things that breathe, true happiness can never be attained.


    It is something to look upon enjoyment, so that it be free and wild, and in the face of Nature, though it be but the enjoyment of an idiot. It is something to know that Heaven has left the capacity of gladness in such a creature’s breast.


  • If solid happiness we prize,
  • Within our breast this jewel lies,
  • And they are fools who roam;
  • The world has nothing to bestow,
  • From our own selves our bliss must flow,
  • And that dear hut—our home.
  • Nathaniel Cotton.

    I have lived to know that the great secret of human happiness is this: Never suffer your energies to stagnate. The old adage of “too many irons in the fire,” conveys an untruth—you cannot have too many—poker, tongs—and all, keep them going.

    Adam Clark.

    The haunts of happiness are varied and rather unaccountable, but I have more often seen heir among little children, and home firesides, and in country houses, than anywhere else—at least, I think so.

    Sydney Smith.

    Perfect happiness, I believe, was never intended by the Deity to be the lot of one of His creatures in this world; but that He has very much put in our power the nearness of our approaches to it, is what I have steadfastly believed.


  • It’s no’ in books, it’s no’ in Lear,
  • To make us truly blest;
  • If happiness has not her seat
  • And center in the breast,
  • We may be wise, or rich, or great,
  • But never can be blest.
  • Burns.

    The utmost we can hope for in this world is contentment; if we aim at anything higher, we shall meet with nothing but grief and disappointment. A man should direct all his studies and endeavors at making himself easy now and happy hereafter.


    The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions—the little, soon-forgotten charities of a kiss, a smile, a kind look, a heartfelt compliment in the disguise of a playful raillery, and the countless other infinitesimals of pleasant thought and feeling.


  • I opened the doors of my heart.
  • And behold,
  • There was music within and a song,
  • And echoes did feed on the sweetness, repeating it long.
  • I opened the doors of my heart. And behold,
  • There was music that played itself out in æolian notes:
  • Then was heard, as a far-away bell at long intervals tolled.
  • Jean Ingelow.

    God loves to see his creatures happy; our lawful delight is His; they know not God that think to please Him with making themselves miserable. The idolaters thought it a fit service for Baal to cut and lance themselves; never any holy man looked for thanks from the true God by wronging himself.

    Bishop Hall.

    Hume’s doctrine was that the circumstances vary, the amount of happiness does not; that the beggar cracking fleas in the sunshine under a hedge, and the duke rolling by in his chariot, the girl equipped for her first ball, and the orator returning triumphant from the debate, had different means, but the same quantity of pleasant excitement.


    Every human soul has the germ of some flowers within; and they would open, if they could only find sunshine and free air to expand in. I always told you that not having enough of sunshine was what ailed the world. Make people happy, and there will not be half the quarreling, or a tenth part of the wickedness there is.

    Mrs. Child.

    The happiness of life consists, like the day, not in single flashes of light, but in one continuous mild serenity. The most beautiful period of the heart’s existence is in this calm, equable light, even although it be only moonshine or twilight. Now the mind alone can obtain for us this heavenly cheerfulness and peace.


    Happiness no more depends on station, rank, or any local or adventitious circumstances in individuals than a man’s life is connected with the color of his garment. The mind is the seat of happiness, and to make it so in reality, nothing is necessary but the balm of gospel peace and the saving knowledge of the Son of God.

    De Courcy.

    Happiness is much more equally divided than some of us imagine. One man shall possess most of the materials, but little of the thing; another may possess much of the thing, but very few of the materials. In this particular view of it, happiness has been beautifully compared to the man in the desert—he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack.


    No mockery in this world ever sounds to me so hollow as that of being told to cultivate happiness. Happiness is not a potato, to be planted in a mould and tilled with manure. Happiness is a glory shining far down upon us from heaven. She is a divine dew, which the soul feels dropping upon it from the amaranth bloom and golden fruitage of paradise.

    Charlotte Brontë.