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


Passion is the drunkenness of the mind.


In solitude the passions feed upon the heart.


Passion makes us feel, but never see clearly.


The passions do not die out; they burn out.

Ninon de Lenclos.

The passions are the voice of the body.


Steel assassinates; the passions kill.

Mme. Deluzy.

Great passions are incurable diseases.


Passion makes the will lord of the reason.


No man’s body is as strong as his appetites.


The ruling passion conquers reason still.


A great passion has no partner.


We are ne’er like angels till our passion dies.

Thomas Dekker.

The passions are the only orators that always persuade.

La Rochefoucauld.

He only employs his passion who can make no use of his reason.


Who is strong? He who subdues his passions.


Our headstrong passions shut the door of our souls against God.


Passion is always suffering, even when gratified.

Marie Ebner-Eschenbach.

Flowers whose wild odors breathe but agonies.


In the human breast two master-passions cannot coexist.


We should employ our passions in the service of life, not spend life in the service of our passions.

Richard Steele.

Let the sap of reason quench the fire of passion.


The worst of slaves is he whom passion rules.

H. Brooke.

Passions are defects or virtues in the highest power.


  • Give me that man
  • That is not passion’s slave.
  • Shakespeare.

  • And you, brave Cobham! to the latest breath
  • Shall feel your ruling passion strong in death.
  • Pope.

    If we resist our passions it is more from their weakness than from our strength.

    La Rochefoucauld.

  • One master-passion in the breast,
  • Like Aaron’s serpent, swallows up the rest.
  • Pope.

    He whom passion rules, is bent to meet his death.

    Sir Philip Sidney.

    Govern your passions or otherwise they will govern you.


    Passion costs too much to bestow it upon every trifle.

    Rev. Thomas Adam.

  • Lose not thyself, nor give thy humors way;
  • God gave them to thee under lock and key.
  • George Herbert.

    Passions are like storms which, full of present mischief, serve to purify the atmosphere.


    All passions exaggerate; and they are passions only because they do exaggerate.


    We use up in the passions the stuff that was given us for happiness.


    It is not the absence, but the mastery, of our passions which affords happiness.

    Mme. de Maintenon.

    Passion may not unfitly be termed the mob of the man, that commits a riot upon his reason.

    William Penn.

    True passion is not a wisp-light; it is a consuming flame, and either it must find fruition or it will burn the human heart to dust and ashes.

    William Winter.

    Man is only truly great when he acts from the passions; never irresistible but when he appeals to the imagination.


    Passion is universal humanity. Without it religion, history, romance and art would be useless.


    Passion looks not beyond the moment of its existence. Better, it says, the kisses of love to-day, than the felicities of heaven afar off.


    The passions are the gales of life; and it is religion only that can prevent them from rising into a tempest.

    Dr. Watts.

    The mind hath not reason to remember that passions ought to be her vassals, not her masters.

    Sir Walter Raleigh.

    Passions are likened best to floods and streams; the shallow murmur, but the deep are dumb.

    Sir Walter Raleigh.

  • Rage is the shortest passion of our souls:
  • Like narrow brooks, that rise with sudden show’rs,
  • It swells in haste, and falls again as soon.
  • Rowe.

    Men will always act according to their passions. Therefore the best government is that which inspires the nobler passions and destroys the meaner.


    He who is passionate and hasty is generally honest. It is your cool, dissembling hypocrite of whom you should beware.


    Strong as our passions are, they may be starved into submission, and conquered without being killed.


    A genuine passion is like a mountain stream; it admits of no impediment; it cannot go backward; it must go forward.


    The passions are like fire, useful in a thousand ways and dangerous only in one, through their excess.


    Our passions are like convulsion fits, which, though they make us stronger for a time, leave us the weaker ever after.


    Passions, as fire and water, are good servants, but bad masters, and subminister to the best and worst purposes.


    When the tongue or the pen is let loose in a frenzy of passion, it is the man, and not the subject, that becomes exhausted.

    Thomas Paine.

  • 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.

  • Oh how the passions, insolent and strong,
  • Bear our weak minds their rapid course along;
  • Make us the madness of their will obey;
  • Then die and leave us to our griefs a prey!
  • Crabbe.

    The blossoms of passions, gay and luxuriant flowers, are brighter and fuller of fragrance; but they beguile us and lead us astray, and their odor is deadly.


    The passions are like those demons with which Afrasahiab sailed down the Orus. Our only safety consists in keeping them asleep. If they wake, we are lost.


    Even virtue itself, all perfect as it is, requires to be inspirited by passion; for duties are but coldly performed, which are but philosophically fulfilled.

    Mrs. Jameson.

    The passions act as winds to propel our vessel, our reason is the pilot that steers her; without the winds she would not move, without the pilot she would be lost.

    From the French.

    Women are much more alike than men; they have, in truth, but two passions, vanity and love; these are their universal characteristics.


    Hold not conference, debate, or reasoning with any lust; ’tis but a preparatory for thy admission of it. The way is at the very first flatly to deny it.


  • Search then the ruling passion; there alone
  • The wild are constant, and the cunning known;
  • The fool consistent, and the false sincere:
  • Priests, princes, women, no dissemblers here.
  • Pope.

    Were it not for the salutary agitation of the passions, the waters of life would become dull, stagnant, and as unfit for all vital purposes as those of the Dead Sea.


    Words may be counterfeit, false coined, and current only from the tongue, without the mind; but passion is in the soul, and always speaks the heart.


  • Alas! too well, too well they know
  • The pain, the penitence, the woe
  • That passion brings down on the best,
  • The wisest and the loveliest.
  • Moore.

    No man’s body is as strong as his appetites, but heaven has corrected the boundlessness of his voluptuous desires by stinting his strength and contracting his capacities.


    The passions may be humored till become our masters, as a horse may be pampered till he gets the better of his rider; but early discipline will prevent mutiny, and keep the helm in the hands of reason.


    The most common-place people become highly imaginative when they are in a passion. Whole dramas of insult, injury and wrong pass before their minds,—efforts of creative genius, for there is sometimes not a fact to go upon.


    The passions are the winds which fill the sails of the vessel; they sink it at times, but without them it would be impossible to make way. Bile makes man passionate and sick; but without bile man could not live.


  • Exalted souls
  • Have passions in proportion violent,
  • Resistless, and tormenting: they’re a tax
  • Imposed by nature on pre-eminence,
  • And fortitude and wisdom must support them.
  • Lillo.

    The difference between passion and love is that this is fixed, that volatile. Love grows, passion wastes, by enjoyment; and the reason is that one springs from a union of souls, and the other springs from a union of sense.

    William Penn.

    Passion is the great mover and spring of the soul. When men’s passions are strongest, they may have great and noble effects; but they are then also apt to fall into the greatest miscarriages.


    The way to avoid evil is not by maiming our passions, but by compelling them to yield their vigor to our moral nature. Thus they become, as in the ancient fable, the harnessed steeds which bear the chariot of the sun.


    The men of sense, the idols of the shallow, are very inferior to the men of passions. It is the strong passions which, rescuing us from sloth, impart to us that continuous and earnest attention necessary to great intellectual efforts.


    The passions should be purged; all may become innocent if they are well directed and moderated. Even hatred may be a commendable feeling when it is caused by a lively love of good. Whatever makes the passions pure, makes them stronger, more durable, and more enjoyable.


    Weak minds make treaties with the passions they cannot overcome, and try to purchase happiness at the expense of principle; but the resolute will of a strong man scorns such means, and struggles nobly with his foe to achieve great deeds.


    There is a holy love and a holy rage, and our best virtues never glow so brightly as when our passions are excited in the cause. Sloth, if it has prevented many crimes, has also smothered many virtues; and the best of us are better when roused.


  • His soul, like bark with rudder lost,
  • On passion’s changeful tide was tost;
  • Nor vice nor virtue had the power
  • Beyond th’ impression of the hour;
  • And O, when passion rules, how rare
  • The hours that fall to virtue’s share!
  • Scott.

    The art of governing the passions is more useful, and more important, than many things in the search and pursuit of which we spend our days. Without this art, riches and health, and skill and knowledge, will give us little satisfaction; and whatsoever else we be, we can be neither happy, nor wise, nor good.


    As rivers, when they overflow, drown those grounds, and ruin those husbandmen, which, whilst they flowed calmly betwixt their banks, they fertilized and enriched; so our passions, when they grow exorbitant and unruly, destroy those virtues, to which they may be very serviceable whilst they keep within their bounds.


    The passions are at once tempters and chastisers. As tempters, they come with garlands of flowers on brows of youth; as chastisers, they appear with wraths of snakes on the forehead of deformity. They are angels of light in their delusion; they are fiends of torment in their inflictions.

    Henry Giles.

  • When reason, like the skilful charioteer,
  • Can break the fiery passions to the bit,
  • And, spite of their licentious sallies, keep
  • The radiant tract of glory; passions, then,
  • Are aids and ornaments. Triumphant reason,
  • Firm in her seat, and swift in her career,
  • Enjoys their violence, and, smiling, thanks
  • Their formidable flame, for bright renown.
  • Young.

    What a mistake to suppose that the passions are strongest in youth! The passions are not stronger, but the control over them is weaker! They are more easily excited, they are more violent and apparent; but they have less energy, less durability, less intense and concentrated power than in maturer life.