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


The miserable are sacred.


Misery makes sport to mock itself.


Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.


Half our misery from our foibles springs.

Hannah More.

  • One woe doth tread upon another’s heel,
  • So fast they follow.
  • Shakespeare.

    He that is down need fear no fall.


    Man is only miserable so far as he thinks himself so.


  • Misery still delights to trace
  • Its semblance in another’s case.
  • Cowper.

  • When sorrows come, they come not single spies,
  • But in battalions.
  • Shakespeare.

    The gods from heaven survey the fatal strife, and mourn the miseries of human life.


    When a few words will rescue misery out of her distress, I hate the man who can be a churl of them.


    There are a good many real miseries in life that we cannot help smiling at, but they are the smiles that make wrinkles and not dimples.

    O. W. Holmes.

    This iron world brings down the stoutest hearts to lowest state; for misery doth bravest minds abate.


    Miserable men commiserate not themselves; bowelless unto others, and merciless unto their own bowels.

    Sir Thomas Browne.

    Misery is caused for the most part, not by a heavy crash of disaster, but by the corrosion of less visible evils, which canker enjoyment and undermine security.

    Dr. Johnson.

    Misery and ignorance are always the cause of great evils. Misery is easily excited to anger, and ignorance soon yields to perfidious counsels.


  • One more Unfortunate
  • Weary of breath,
  • Rashly importunate,
  • Gone to her death.
  • Hood.

    Misery is so little appertaining to our nature, and happiness so much so, that we in the same degree of illusion only lament over that which has pained us, but leave unnoticed that which has rejoiced us.


    If misery be the effect of virtue, it ought to be reverenced; if of ill-fortune, to be pitied; and if of vice, not to be insulted, because it is perhaps itself a punishment adequate to the crime by which it was produced.

    Dr. Johnson.

    Small miseries, like small debts, hit us in so many places and meet us at so many turns and corners, that what they want in weight they make up in number, and render it less hazardous to stand one cannon ball than a volley of bullets.


    Man is so great that his greatness appears even in the consciousness of his misery. A tree does not know itself to be miserable. It is true that it is misery indeed to know one’s self to be miserable; but then it is greatness also. In this way, all man’s miseries go to prove his greatness. They are the miseries of a mighty potentate, of a dethroned monarch.


  • Nothing is a misery,
  • Unless our weakness apprehend it so:
  • We cannot be more faithful to ourselves,
  • In anything that’s manly, than to make
  • Ill-fortune as contemptible to us
  • As it makes us to others.
  • Beaumont and Fletcher.

    The misery of human life is made up of large masses, each separated from the other by certain intervals. One year the death of a child; years after, a failure in trade; after another longer or shorter interval, a daughter may have married unhappily; in all but the singularly unfortunate, the integral parts that compose the sum-total of the unhappiness of a man’s life are easily counted and distinctly remembered.