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


If there be a regal solitude, it is a sick-bed. How the patient lords it there!


Sickness is a sort of early old age; it teaches us a diffidence in our earthly state.


Few spirits are made better by the pain and languor of sickness; as few great pilgrims become eminent saints.

Thomas à Kempis.

In sickness let me not so much say, am I getting better of my pain? as am I getting better for it?


  • What, is Brutus sick,
  • And will he steal out of his wholesome bed,
  • To dare the vile contagion of the night?
  • Shakespeare.

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

    Some maladies are rich and precious and only to be acquired by the right of inheritance or purchased with gold.

    Nathaniel Hawthorne.

    In sickness the soul begins to dress for immortality. And first she unties the strings of vanity that made her upper garments cleave to the world and sit uneasy.

    Jeremy Taylor.

    It is with diseases of the mind as with those of the body; we are half dead before we understand our disorders, and half cured when we do.


  • The best of remedies is a beefsteak
  • Against sea-sickness; try it, sir, before
  • You sneer, and I assure you this is true,
  • For I have found it answer—so may you.
  • Byron.

    Sickness is the mother of modesty, as it puts us in mind of our mortality, and while we drive on heedlessly in the full career of worldly pomp and jollity, kindly pulls us by the ear, and brings us to a sense of our duty.


    Of all the know-nothing persons in this world, commend us to the man who has “never known a day’s illness.” He is a moral dunce, one who has lost the greatest lesson in life; who has skipped the finest lecture in that great school of humanity, the sick-chamber.


    It is in sickness that we most feel the need of that sympathy which shows how much we are dependent one upon another for our comfort, and even necessities. Thus disease, opening our eyes to the realities of life, is an indirect blessing.

    Hosea Ballou.

    When a man is laboring under the pain of any distemper, it is then that he recollects there is a God, and that he himself is but a man. No mortal is then the object of his envy, his admiration or his contempt; and, having no malice to gratify, the tales of slander excite him not.


  • He had a fever when he was in Spain,
  • And when the fit was on him, I did mark
  • How he did shake; ’tis true, this god did shake:
  • His coward lips did from their colour fly,
  • And that same eye whose bend doth awe the world
  • Did lose his lustre.
  • Shakespeare.

    As I see in the body, so I know in the soul; they are oft most desperately sick who are least sensible of their disease; whereas he that fears each light wound for mortal seeks a timely cure, and is healed. I will not reckon it my happiness that I have many sores, but since I have them, I am glad they grieve me. I know the cure is not the more dangerous because my wounds are more grievous; I should be more sick if I complained less.

    Arthur Warwick.

    The delicate face where thoughtful care already mingled with the winning grace and loveliness of youth, the too bright eye, the spiritual head, the lips that pressed each other with such high resolve and courage of the heart, the slight figure, firm in its bearing and yet so very weak.


  • Lemira’s sick; make haste, the doctor call,
  • He comes: but where’s his patient?—at the ball;
  • The doctor stares; her woman curtsies low,
  • And cries, “My lady, sir, is always so:
  • Diversions put her maladies to flight;
  • True, she can’t stand, but she can dance all night:
  • I’ve known my lady (for she loves a tune)
  • For fevers take an opera in June:
  • And, though perhaps you’ll think the practice bold,
  • A midnight park is sov’reign for a cold.”
  • Young.

    Disease generally begins that equality which death completes; the distinctions which set one man so much above another are very little perceived in the gloom of a sick-chamber, where it will be vain to expect entertainment from the gay, or instruction from the wise; where all human glory is obliterated, the wit is clouded, the reasoner perplexed, and the hero subdued; where the highest and brightest of mortal beings finds nothing left him but the consciousness of innocence.