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


The soul of art best loved when love is by.

Rev. J. B. Brown.

Sweet music! sacred tongue of God.

Charles G. Leland.

Music is well said to be the speech of angels.


Music’s golden tongue.


Music is the universal language of mankind.


It is the medicine of the breaking heart.

Sir A. Hunt.

The hidden soul of harmony.


The language spoken by angels.


Is there a heart that music cannot melt?


The ordered music of the marching orbs.

Edwin Arnold.

All of heaven we have below.


Music is the poetry of the air.

Jean Paul Richter.

Music is the poor man’s Parnassus.


I am never merry when I hear sweet music.


Why should the devil have all the good tunes?

Rowland Hill.

The stormy music of the drum.


For discords make the sweetest airs.


  • Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast,
  • To soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.
  • Congreve.

    Music, which gentler on the spirit lies than tired eyelids upon tired eyes.


    Music should strike fire from the heart of man, and bring tears from the eyes of woman.


    There is music in all things, if men had ears.


    Let me have music dying, and I seek no more delight.


  • Music so softens and disarms the mind
  • That not an arrow does resistance find.
  • Waller.

  • O music, sphere descended maid,
  • Friend of pleasure, wisdom’s aid.
  • Collins.

    Music!—O, how faint, how weak, language fades before thy spell!


    Music is the child of prayer, the companion of religion.


    Let me die to the sounds of the delicious music.

    Last words of Mirabeau.

    It is in learning music that many youthful hearts learn love.


    I was all ear, and took in strains that might create a soul under the ribs of death.


    Music washes away from the soul the dust of every-day life.


    How sour sweet music is, when time is broke, and no proportion kept!


  • Music waves eternal wands,—
  • Enchantress of the souls of mortals!
  • E. C. Stedman.

  • There is a sadness in sweet sound
  • That quickens tears.
  • T. B. Aldrich.

  • Music, where soft voices die,
  • Vibrates in the memory.
  • Shelley.

    Music is the metre of this poetic movement, and is an invisible dance, as dancing is a silent music.


    Music stands in a much closer connection with pure sensation than any of the other arts.

    H. L. F. Helmholtz.

    Music, rather than poetry, should be called “the happy art.”


    Had I children, my utmost endeavors would be to make them musicians.

    Horace Walpole.

  • Is there a heart that music cannot melt?
  • Alas! how is that rugged heart forlorn.
  • Beattie.

    Sentimentally I am disposed to harmony, but organically I am incapable of a tune.


    Sweetest melodies are those that are by distance made more sweet.


    Melodies die out, like the pipe of Pan, with the ears that love them and listen for them.

    George Eliot.

    Music, among those who were styled the chosen people, was a religious art.


    See deep enough, and you see musically; the heart of nature being everywhere music, if you can only reach it.


    Men, even when alone, lighten their labors by song, however rude it may be.


    The harmony of things, as well as that of sound, from discord springs.

    Sir J. Denham.

    Music that brings sweet sleep down from the blissful skies.


  • How light the touches are that kiss
  • The music from the chords of life!
  • Coventry Patmore.

  • Give me some music; music, moody food
  • Of us that trade in love.
  • Shakespeare.

    Music is nothing else but wild sounds civilized into time and tune.

    Thomas Fuller.

    Music is not merely a study, it is an entertainment: wherever there is music there is a throng of listeners.


    Music cleanses the understanding, inspires it, and lifts it into a realm which it would not reach if it were left to itself.

    Henry Ward Beecher.

    O Music! how it grieves me that imprudence, intemperance, gluttony, should open their channels into thy sacred stream.


    Music, when combined with a pleasurable idea, is poetry; music without the idea is simply music; the idea without the music is prose from its very definiteness.

    Edgar Allan Poe.

    Music was a thing of the soul; a rose-lipped shell that murmured of the eternal sea; a strange bird singing the songs of another shore.

    J. G. Holland.

    Music, in the best sense, does not require novelty; nay, the older it is, and the more we are accustomed to it, the greater its effect.


    All musical people seem to be happy. It is the engrossing pursuit,—almost the only innocent and unpunished passion.

    Sydney Smith.

    Music is not a science any more than poetry is. It is a sublime instinct, like genius of all kinds.


    Where painting is weakest,—namely, in the expression of the highest moral and spiritual ideas,—there music is sublimely strong.

    Mrs. Stowe.

    Music, if only listened to, and not scientifically cultivated, gives too much play to the feelings and fancy; the difficulties of the art draw forth the whole energies of the soul.


    Music is a kind of inarticulate unfathomable speech, which leads us to the edge of the infinite, and lets us for moments gaze into that.


  • Not the rich viol, trump, cymbal, nor horn,
  • Guitar, nor cittern, nor the pining flute,
  • Are half so sweet as tender human words.
  • Barry Cornwall.

  • Music resembles poetry; in each
  • Are nameless graces which no methods teach,
  • And which a master-hand alone can reach.
  • Pope.

    Music is a discipline, and a mistress of order and good manners; she makes the people milder and gentler, more moral and more reasonable.


    Lord, what music hast thou provided for Thy saints in heaven, when Thou affordest bad men such music on earth!

    Izaak Walton.

  • The man that hath no music in himself,
  • Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
  • Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils.
  • Shakespeare.

    O, it came over my ear like the sweet south, that breathes upon a bank of violets, stealing and giving odor!


    Music is the fourth great material want of our natures,—first food, then raiment, then shelter, then music.


  • Music exalts each joy, allays each grief,
  • Expels diseases, softens every pain,
  • Subdues the rage of poison and of plague.
  • Armstrong.

    If music be the food of love, play on, give me excess of it; that, surfeiting, the appetite may sicken, and so die.


    I ever held this sentence of the poet as a canon of my creed, “that whom God loveth not, they love not music.”

    T. Morley.

    It wakes a glad remembrance of our youth, calls back past joys, and warms us into transport.


    Music when thus applied raises in the mind of the hearer great conceptions. It strengthens devotion, and advances praise into rapture.


    Music is a prophecy of what life is to be, the rainbow of promise translated out of seeing into hearing.

    Mrs. L. M. Child.

    Music is the only sensual gratification which mankind may indulge in to excess without injury to their moral or religious feelings.


    Music,—we love it for the buried hopes, the garnered memories, the tender feelings it can summon at a touch.

    Miss L. E. Landon.

    There is no feeling, perhaps, except the extremes of fear and grief, that does not find relief in music,—that does not make a man sing or play the better.

    George Eliot.

  • Yea, music is the Prophet’s art;
  • Among the gifts that God hath sent,
  • One of the most magnificent!
  • Longfellow.

  • He is dead, the sweet musician!
  • *****
  • He has moved a little nearer
  • To the Master of all music.
  • Longfellow.

  • O, pleasant is the welcome kiss
  • When day’s dull round is o’er;
  • And sweet the music of the step
  • That meets us at the door.
  • J. R. Drake.

  • Orpheus’ lute was strung with poets’ sinews;
  • Whose golden touch could soften steel and stones;
  • Make tigers tame, and huge leviathans
  • Forsake unsounded deeps to dance on sands.
  • Shakespeare.

  • When griping griefs the heart doth wound,
  • And doleful dumps the mind oppress,
  • *****
  • Then music, with her silver sound,
  • With speedy help doth lend redress.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
  • Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
  • Not to the sensual ear, but more endear’d,
  • Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone.
  • Keats.

  • Music’s force can tame the furious beast;
  • Can make the wolf or foaming boar restrain
  • His rage; the lion drop his crested mane
  • Attentive to the song.
  • Prior.

  • Music can noble hints impart,
  • Engender fury, kindle love;
  • With unsuspected eloquence can move,
  • And manage all the man with secret art.
  • Addison.

    Explain it as we may, a martial strain will urge a man into the front rank of battle sooner than an argument, and a fine anthem excite his devotion more certainly than a logical discourse.


    Next to theology I give to music the highest place and honor. And we see how David and all the saints have wrought their godly thoughts into verse, rhyme, and song.


    Such is the sociableness of music, it conforms itself to all companies, both in mirth and mourning; complying to improve that passion with which it finds the auditors most affected.


    Music is the only one of the fine arts in which not only man, but all other animals, have a common property,—mice and elephants, spiders and birds.


  • And music too—dear music! that can touch
  • Beyond all else the soul that loves it much—
  • Now heard far off, so far as but to seem
  • Like the faint, exquisite music of a dream.
  • Moore.

  • The harp that once through Tara’s halls
  • The soul of music shed,
  • Now hangs as mute on Tara’s walls,
  • As if that soul were fled.
  • Moore.

    Music, of all the liberal arts, has the greatest influence over the passions, and is that to which the legislator ought to give the greatest encouragement.


    It is a bird-flight of the soul, when the heart declares itself in song. The affections that clothe themselves with wings are passions that have been subdued to virtues.


    Music is God’s best gift to man, the only art of heaven given to earth, the only art of earth that we take to heaven. But music, like all our gifts, is given us in the germ. It is for us to unfold and develop it by instruction and cultivation.

    Charles W. Landon.

    Music is one of the fairest and most glorious gifts of God, to which Satan is a bitter enemy; for it removes from the heart the weight of sorrow, and the fascination of evil thoughts.


    The direct relation of music is not to ideas, but emotions. Music, in the works of its greatest masters, is more marvellous, more mysterious, than poetry.

    Henry Giles.

    Music is the harmonious voice of creation, an echo of the invisible world, one note of the divine concord which the entire universe is destined one day to sound.


    Music is the medicine of an afflicted mind, a sweet sad measure is the balm of a wounded spirit; and joy is heightened by exultant strains.

    Henry Giles.

    The lines of poetry, the periods of prose, and even the texts of Scripture most frequently recollected and quoted, are those which are felt to be pre-eminently musical.


    Some of the fathers went so far as to esteem the love of music a sign of predestination; as a thing divine, and reserved for the felicities of heaven itself.

    Sir W. Temple.

    Music is the art of the prophets, the only art that can calm the agitations of the soul; it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us.


  • Music religious heat inspires,
  • It wakes the soul, and lifts it high,
  • And wings it with sublime desires,
  • And fits it to bespeak the Deity.
  • Addison.

    Amongst the instrumentalities of love and peace, surely there can be no sweeter, softer, more effective voice than that of gentle, peace-breathing music.

    Elihu Burritt.

    Arcadians skilled in song will sing my woes upon the hills. Softly shall my bones repose, if you in future sing my loves upon your pipe.


  • God is its author, and not man; He laid
  • The key-note of all harmonies: He planned
  • All perfect combinations, and He made
  • Us so that we could hear and understand.
  • J. G. Brainard.

    In the germ, when the first trace of life begins to stir, music is the nurse of the soul; it murmurs in the ear, and the child sleeps; the tones are companions of his dreams,—they are the world in which he lives.


    Those who love music are gentle and honest in their tempers. I always loved music, and would not, for a great matter, be without the little skill which I possess in the art.


    Without the definiteness of sculpture and painting, music is, for that very reason, far more suggestive. Like Milton’s Eve, an outline, an impulse, is furnished, and the imagination does the rest.


    The cause of freedom, in music as elsewhere, is now very nearly triumphant; but at a time when its adversaries were many and powerful, we can hardly imagine the sacred bridge of liberty kept by a more stalwart trio than Schubert the Armorer, Chopin the Refiner, and Liszt the Thunderer.

    Hugh R. Haweis.

    Music is thus, in her health, the teacher of perfect order, and is the voice of the obedience of angels, and the companion of the course of the spheres of heaven; and in her depravity she is also the teacher of perfect disorder and disobedience.


    Music is a sacred, a divine, a Godlike thing, and was given to man by Christ to lift our hearts up to God, and make us feel something of the glory and beauty of God, and of all which God has made.

    Charles Kingsley.

    A well-composed song strikes and softens the mind, and produces a greater effect than a moral work, which convinces our reason, but does not warm our feelings, nor affect the slightest alteration in our habits.

    Napoleon I.

    The time is probably not far distant when music will stand revealed perchance as the mightiest of the arts, and certainly as the one art peculiarly representative of our modern world, with its intense life, complex civilization, and feverish self-consciousness.

    Hugh R. Haweis.

    Music, once admitted to the soul, becomes a sort of spirit, and never dies. It wanders perturbedly through the halls and galleries of the memory, and is often heard again, distinct and living as when it first displaced the wavelets of the air.


  • Music as in all growing things;
  • And underneath the silky wings
  • Of smallest insects there is stirred
  • A pulse of air that must be heard;
  • Earth’s silence lives, and throbs, and sings.
  • Lathrop.

    What rapturous flights of sound! what thrilling, pathetic chimes! what wild, joyous revelry of passion! what an expression of agony and woe! All the feelings of suffering and rejoicing humanity sympathized with and finding a voice in those tones.


  • ’Tis God gives skill,
  • But not without men’s hands: He could not make
  • Antonio Stradivari’s violins
  • Without Antonio.
  • George Eliot.

  • Lap me in soft Lydian airs,
  • Married to immortal verse,
  • Such as the meeting soul may pierce,
  • In notes, with many a winding bout
  • Of linked sweetness long drawn out.
  • Milton.

  • And wheresoever, in his rich creation,
  • Sweet music breathes—in wave, or bird, or soul—
  • ’Tis but the faint and far reverberation
  • Of that great tune to which the planets roll!
  • Frances S. Osgood.

    Music moves us, and we know not why; we feel the tears, but cannot trace their source. Is it the language of some other state, born of its memory? For what can wake the soul’s strong instinct of another world, like music?

    Miss L. E. Landon.

  • There is in souls a sympathy with sounds,
  • And as the mind is pitch’d, the ear is pleas’d
  • With melting airs or martial, brisk or grave;
  • Some chord in unison with what we hear
  • Is touch’d within us, and the heart replies.
  • Cowper.

    I think sometimes could I only have music on my own terms; could I live in a great city, and know where I could go whenever I wished the ablution and inundation of musical waves, that were a bath and a medicine.


  • There let the pealing organ blow,
  • To the full voiced quire below,
  • In service high, and anthems clear,
  • As may with sweetness, through mine ear,
  • Dissolve me into ecstasies,
  • And bring all heaven before mine eyes.
  • Milton.

  • We know they music made
  • In heaven, ere man’s creation;
  • But when God threw it down to us that strayed,
  • It dropt with lamentation,
  • And ever since doth its sweetness shade
  • With sighs for its first station.
  • Jean Ingelow.

  • When Music, heavenly maid, was young,
  • While yet in early Greece she sung,
  • The Passions oft, to hear her shell,
  • Throng’d around her magic cell,
  • Exulting, trembling, raging, fainting,
  • Possest beyond the Muse’s painting.
  • Collins.

    Curran’s favorite mode of meditation was with his violin in his hand; for hours together would he forget himself, running voluntaries over the strings, while his imagination, collecting its tones, was opening all his faculties for the coming emergency at the bar.


    Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life. Although the spirit be not master of that which it creates through music, yet it is blessed in this creation, which, like every creation of art, is mightier than the artist.


  • Of all the arts beneath the heaven,
  • That man has found, or God has given,
  • None draws the soul so sweet away,
  • As music’s melting, mystic lay;
  • Slight emblem of the bliss above,
  • It soothes the spirit all to love.
  • Hogg.

  • Music the fiercest grief can charm,
  • And fate’s severest rage disarm.
  • Music can soften pain to ease,
  • And make despair and madness please;
  • Our joys below it can improve,
  • And antedate the bliss above.
  • Pope.

    I always loved music; whoso has skill in this art, is of a good temperament, fitted for all things. We must teach music in schools. A schoolmaster ought to have skill in music, or I would not regard him; neither should we ordain young men as preachers, unless they have been well exercised in music.

    Martin Luther.

    And sure there is music even in the beauty, and the silent note which Cupid strikes, far sweeter than the sound of an instrument; for there is music wherever there is harmony, order, or proportion; and thus far we may maintain the music of the spheres.

    Sir Thomas Browne.

    Tunes and airs have in themselves some affinity with the affections,—as merry tunes, doleful tunes, solemn tunes, tunes inclining men’s minds to pity, warlike tunes,—so that it is no marvel if they alter the spirits, considering that tunes have a predisposition to the motion of the spirits.


  • By music, minds an equal temper know,
  • Nor swell too high, nor sink too low:
  • If in the breast tumultuous joys arise,
  • Music her soft, assuasive voice applies;
  • Or, when the soul is press’d with cares,
  • Exalts her in enliv’ning airs.
  • Pope.

    It reveals us to ourselves, it represents those modulations and temperamental changes which escape all verbal analysis, it utters what must else remain forever unuttered and unutterable; it feeds that deep, ineradicable instinct within us of which all art is only the reverberated echo, that craving to express, through the medium of the senses, the spiritual and eternal realities which underlie them.

    Hugh R. Haweis.

  • Yet what is music, and the blended power
  • Of voice with instruments of wind and string,
  • What but an empty pageant of sweet noise?
  • ’Tis past: and all that it has left behind
  • Is but an echo dwelling in the ear
  • Of the toy-taken fancy, and beside,
  • A void and countless hour life’s brief day.
  • Crowe.

    Music, according to Wagner, is no longer to be considered merely a means of exciting “the pleasure which we derive from beautiful forms;” it is, instead, the most immediate means possessed by the will for the manifestation of its inner impulses. Far from exercising a determining influence of its own, “the æsthetic form must itself be determined by the artist’s inner intuition of the idea.”

    Albert R. Parsons.

  • Music!—O! how faint, how weak,
  • Language fades before thy spell!
  • Why should Feeling ever speak,
  • When thou can’st breathe her soul so well?
  • Friendship’s balmy words may feign—
  • Love’s are even more false than they;
  • Oh! ’tis only music’s strain
  • Can sweetly soothe, and not betray.
  • Moore.

  • Ring out ye crystal spheres!
  • Once bless our human ears,
  • If ye have power to touch our senses so;
  • And let your silver chime
  • Move in melodious time;
  • And let the base of Heaven’s deep organ blow,
  • And with your ninefold harmony,
  • Make up full consort to the angelic symphony.
  • Milton.

    Lord Bacon had music often played in the room adjoining his study. Milton listened to his organ for his solemn inspirations; and music was ever necessary to Warburton. The symphonies which awoke in the poet sublime emotions might have composed the inventive mind of the great critic in the visions of his theoretical mysteries.


    If you love music, hear it: go to operas, concerts, and pay fiddlers to play to you; but I insist upon your neither piping nor fiddling yourself. It puts a gentleman in a very frivolous, contemptible light; brings him into a great deal of bad company; and takes up a great deal of time, which might be much better employed.


    In part of Lord Kames’ Elements of Criticism, he says that “music improves the relish of a banquet.” That I deny,—any more than painting might do. They may both be additional pleasures, as well as conversation is, but are perfectly distinct notices; and cannot, with the least propriety, be said to mix or blend with the repast, as none of them serve to raise the flavor of the wine, the sauce, the meat, or help to quicken appetite. But music and painting both add a spirit to devotion, and elevate the ardor.


    Is it any weakness, pray, to be wrought on by exquisite music? to feel its wondrous harmonies searching the subtlest windings of your soul, the delicate fibres of life where no memory can penetrate, and binding together your whole being, past and present, in one unspeakable vibration; melting you in one moment with all the tenderness, all the love, that has been scattered through the toilsome years, concentrating in one emotion of heroic courage or resignation all the hard-learned lessons of self-renouncing sympathy, blending your present joy with past sorrow, and your present sorrow with all your past joy?

    George Eliot.