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


Sorrow makes men sincere.


Social sorrow loses half its pain.


Here let me sit in sorrow for mankind.


Brief is sorrow, and endless is joy.


To live beneath sorrow, one must yield to it.

Mme. de Staël.

Nothing comes to us too soon but sorrow.


Till sorrow seemed to wear one common face.


Wisely weigh our sorrow with our comfort.


Sorrows remembered sweeten present joy.


Hang sorrow, care ’ll kill a cat.

Ben Jonson.

Great sorrows cannot speak.

John Donne.

Sorrow, the great idealizer.


Sorrow is knowledge.


All sorrows are bearable, if there is bread.


Alas! sorrow from happiness is oft evolved.


Sorrow is held the eldest child of sin.

John Webster.

By sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.


Smit with exceeding sorrow unto Death.


Sorrow ends not when it seemeth done.


There can be no rainbow without a cloud and a storm.

J. H. Vincent.

Down, thou climbing sorrow.


And weep the more, because I weep in vain.


Sinks my sad soul with sorrow to the grave.


I will instruct my sorrows to be proud.


There is no day without sorrow.


My peace is gone, my heart is heavy.


The heart may be broken, and the soul remain unshaken.


It is easy in adversity to despise death; real fortitude has he who can dare to be wretched.


The sorrowful dislike the gay, and the gay the sorrowful.


Sorrows are like thunder-clouds,—in the distance they look black, over our heads hardly gray.


  • Joy, being altogether wanting,
  • It doth remember me the more of sorrow.
  • Shakespeare.

    We pick our own sorrows out of the joys of other men, and from their sorrows likewise we derive our joys.

    Owen Feltham.

  • Woes cluster; rare are solitary woes:
  • They love a train, they tread each other’s heel.
  • Young.

    The deeper the sorrow, the less tongue hath it.


    Present unhappiness is selfish; past sorrow is compassionate.

    Joseph Roux.

    Sorrow causes more absence of mind and confusion than so-called levity.


    The natural effect of sorrow over the dead is to refine and elevate the mind.

    Washington Irving.

    Even by means of our sorrows we belong to the eternal plan.

    Wilhelm von Humboldt.

  • This sorrow’s heavenly;
  • It strikes where it doth love.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Sorrow conceal’d, like an oven stopp’d,
  • Doth burn the heart to cinders.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Give sorrow words: the grief that does not speak
  • Whispers the o’er-fraught heart, and bids it break.
  • Shakespeare.

    There is a joy in sorrow which none but a mourner can know.


  • Here I and sorrows sit:
  • Here is my throne, bid kings come bow to it.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Weep on; and, as thy sorrows flow,
  • I’ll taste the luxury of woe.
  • Moore.

  • One sorrow never comes but brings an heir,
  • That may succeed as his inheritor.
  • Shakespeare.

    That a sorrow’s crown of sorrow is remembering happier things.


    Not to sorrow freely is never to open the bosom to the sweets of the sunshine.


  • Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
  • That has been and may be again.
  • Wordsworth.

    Sorrow turns the stars into mourners, and every wind of heaven into a dirge.


    Light griefs do speak, white sorrow’s tongue is bound.


    Every noble crown is, and on earth will ever be, a crown of thorns.


    Sorrow is Mount Sinai. If one will, one may go up and talk with God, face to face.


    He that would soothe sorrow must not argue on the vanity of the most deceitful hopes.

    Walter Scott.

    The best enjoyment is half disappointment to what we mean, or would have, in this world.


    He who has most of heart, knows most of sorrow.


  • How beautiful, if sorrow had not made
  • Sorrow more beautiful than Beauty’s self.
  • Keats.

  • The path of sorrow, and that path alone,
  • Leads to the land where sorrow is unknown.
  • Cowper.

    Night brings out stars as sorrow shows us truths.


    Any mind that is capable of a real sorrow is capable of good.

    Mrs. Stowe.

  • Since sorrow never comes too late,
  • And happiness too swiftly flies.
  • Gray.

    Affliction may one day smile again; and till then, sit thee down, sorrow!


  • Sorrow breaks seasons and reposing hours,—
  • Makes the night morning, and the noontide night.
  • Shakespeare.

    What signifies sadness, sir; a man grows lean on it.


  • Past sorrows, let us mod’rately lament them,
  • For those to come, seek wisely to prevent them.
  • Webster.

  • I have that within which passeth show;
  • These, but the trappings and the suits of woe.
  • Shakespeare.

    Courage! even sorrows, when once they are vanished, quicken the soul, as rain the valley.


    Gnarling sorrow hath less power to bite the man that mocks at it, and sets it light.


    If grief is to be mitigated, it must either wear itself out or be shared.

    Madame Swetchine.

    Many an inherited sorrow that has marred a life has been breathed into no human ear.

    George Eliot.

    Man alone is born crying, lives complaining, and dies disappointed.

    Sir W. Temple.

    It is those who make the least display of their sorrow who mourn the deepest.


    Sorrow is not evil, since it stimulates and purifies.


    Could my griefs speak, the tale would have no end.


  • Great sorrows have no leisure to complain:
  • Least ills vent forth, great griefs within remain.
  • Goffe.

    Sorrows must die with the joys they outnumber.


  • Sorrows humanize our race;
  • Tears are the showers that fertilize this world.
  • Jean Ingelow.

    Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.


    I do not know of a better cure for sorrow than to pity somebody else.

    H. W. Shaw.

    To the old, sorrow is sorrow; to the young, it is despair.

    George Eliot.

    Thou makest the man, O Sorrow!—yes, the whole man,—as the crucible gold.


    Ah, if you knew what peace there is in an accepted sorrow!

    Mme. Guyon.

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

    Sorrow is the mere rust of the soul. Activity will cleanse and brighten it.


    It is with sorrows, as with countries, each man has his own.


    Year chases year, decay pursues decay; still drops some joy from withering life away.

    Dr. Johnson.

    Do not look at life’s long sorrow; see how small each moment’s pain.

    Adelaide A. Procter.

    It eases some, though none it ever cured, to think their sorrows others have endured.


    The seal of suffering impressed upon our destiny announces in clear characters our high calling.

    De Gerando.

    Whatever, below God, is the object of our love, will, at some time or other, be the matter of our sorrow.


    As we retain but a faint remembrance of our felicity, it is but fair that the smartest stroke of sorrow should, if bitter, at least be brief.

    Earl of Beaconsfield.

    The first pressure of sorrow crushes out from our hearts the best wine; afterwards the constant weight of it brings forth bitterness,—the taste and stain from the lees of the vat.


    Believe me, every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and oftentimes we call a man cold when he is only sad.


    In the voice of mirth there may be excitement, but in the tones of mourning there is consolation.

    W. G. Clarke.

    Sorrow, like a heavy hanging bell, once set on ringing, with his own weight goes; then little strength rings out the doleful knell.


  • Tell me what is sorrow? It is a garden-bed.
  • And what is joy? It is a little rose,
  • Which in that garden grows.
  • R. H. Stoddard.

  • How beautiful is sorrow, when ’t is drest
  • By virgin innocence? it makes
  • Felicity in others seem deform’d.
  • Sir W. Davenant.

    Sorrow is a stone that crushes a single bearer to the ground, while two are able to carry it with ease.


    Whatever lives, lives to die in sorrow. We engage our hearts, and grasp after the things of this world, only to undergo the pang of losing them.


    In extent sorrow is boundless,—it pours from ten million sources, and floods the world; but its depth is small,—it drowns few.

    Charles Buxton.

  • Be of comfort, and your heavy sorrow
  • Part equally among us; storms divided,
  • Abate their force, and with less rage are guided.
  • Heywood.

    There are sorrows that are not painful, but are of the nature of some acids, and give piquancy and flavor to life.


    Real sorrow is almost as difficult to discover as real poverty. An instinctive delicacy hides the rays of the one and the wounds of the other.

    Madame Swetchine.

    Sorrow is knowledge; they who know thee most must mourn the deepest over the fatal truth, the tree of knowledge is not that of life.


    ’T is the work of many a dark hour, many a prayer, to bring the heart back from an infant gone.

    N. P. Willis.

    There is enjoyment even in sadness; and the same souvenirs which have produced long regrets may also soften them.

    De Boufflers.

    We may learn from children how large a part of our grievances is imaginary. But the pain is just as real.


    Thou canst not tell how rich a dowry sorrow gives the soul, how firm a faith and eagle sight of God.

    Dean Alford.

    The mind profits by the wreck of every passion, and we may measure our road to wisdom by the sorrow we have undergone.


    Sorrow seems sent for our instruction, as we darken the cages of birds when we would teach them to sing.


  • Affliction is a mother,
  • Whose painful throes yield many sons,
  • Each fairer than the other.
  • Henry Vaughan.

  • Look, who comes here! a grave unto a soul,
  • Holding the eternal spirit against her will,
  • In the vile prison of afflicted breath.
  • Shakespeare.

    Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish: earth hath no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.


    Sorrow is properly that state of the mind in which our desires are fixed upon the past without looking forward to the future.

    Dr. Johnson.

    The sorrow which calls for help and comfort is not the greatest, nor does it come from the depths of the heart.

    Wilhelm von Humboldt.

    It is foolish to pluck out one’s hair for sorrow, as if grief could be assuaged by baldness.


    Joy cannot unfold the deepest truths. Cometh white-robed Sorrow, stooping and wan, and flingeth wide the door she must not enter.

    George MacDonald.

    If hearty sorrow be a sufficient ransom for offence, I tender it here; I do as truly suffer as e’er I did commit.


    It would seem that by our sorrows only we are called to a knowledge of the Infinite. Are we happy? The limits of life constrain us on all sides.

    Madame Swetchine.

    Sorrow itself is not so hard to bear as the thought of sorrow coming. Airy ghosts that work no harm do terrify us more than men in steel with bloody purpose.


    The human race are sons of sorrow born; and each must have his portion. Vulgar minds refuse, or crouch beneath their load; the brave bear theirs without repining.


    There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues.

    W. Irving.

    The dark in soul see in the universe their own shadow; the shattered spirit can only reflect external beauty in form as untrue and broken as itself.


    The capacity of sorrow belongs to our grandeur; and the loftiest of our race are those who have had the profoundest grief, because they have had the profoundest sympathies.

    Henry Giles.

  • Men die, but sorrow never dies;
  • The crowding years divide in vain,
  • And the wide world is knit with ties
  • Of common brotherhood in pain.
  • Susan Coolidge.

  • O sorrow, wilt thou rule my blood,
  • But sometimes lovely, like a bride,
  • And put thy harsher moods aside,
  • If thou wilt have me wise and good.
  • Tennyson.

    A small sorrow distracts, a great one makes us collected; as a bell loses its clear tone when slightly cracked, and recovers it if the fissure is enlarged.


  • ’Tis better to be lowly born,
  • And range with humble livers in content,
  • Than to be perk’d up in a glistering grief,
  • And wear a golden sorrow.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Alas! by some degree of woe
  • We every bliss must gain:
  • The heart can ne’er a transport know,
  • That never feels a pain.
  • Lord Lyttleton.

  • Alas! I have not words to tell my grief;
  • To vent my sorrow would be some relief;
  • Light sufferings give us leisure to complain;
  • We groan, but cannot speak, in greater pain.
  • Dryden.

    When fresh sorrows have caused us to take some steps in the right way, we may not complain. We have invested in a life annuity, but the income remains.

    Madame Swetchine.

    Short time seems long in sorrow’s sharp sustaining; though woe be heavy, yet it seldom sleeps, and they who watch see time how slow it creeps.


  • The path of sorrow, and that path alone,
  • Leads to the land where sorrow is unknown;
  • No traveller ever reach’d that blest abode,
  • Who found not thorns and briars in his road.
  • Cowper.

    There is no wisdom in useless and hopeless sorrow; but there is something in it so like virtue that he who is wholly without it cannot be loved, nor will by me, at least, be thought worthy of esteem.


  • To each his sufferings; all are men
  • Condemn’d alike to groan;
  • The tender for another’s pain,
  • The unfeeling for his own.
  • Gray.

    We fancy that our afflictions are sent us directly from above; sometimes we think it in piety and contrition, but oftener in moroseness and discontent.


    The echo of the nest-life, the voice of our modest, fairer, holier soul, is audible only in a sorrow-darkened bosom, as the nightingales warble when one veils their cage.


    Sorrows, as storms, bring down the clouds close to the earth; sorrows bring heaven down close; and they are instruments of cleansing and purifying.


    The violence of sorrow is not at the first to be striven withal; being, like a mighty beast, sooner tamed with following than overthrown by withstanding.

    Sir P. Sidney.

    To love all mankind, from the greatest to the lowest, a cheerful state of being is required; but in order to see into mankind, into life, and still more into ourselves, suffering is requisite.


    The sorrow for the dead is the only sorrow from which we refuse to be divorced. Every other wound we seek to heal, every other affliction to forget; but this wound we consider it a duty to keep open, this affliction we cherish and brood over in solitude.

    Washington Irving.

    Sorrow, being the natural and direct offspring of sin, that which first brought sin into the world, must, by necessary consequences, bring in sorrow also.


    Sorrow is sin’s echo, and as the echo answers the voice best where there are broken walls and ruined buildings to return it, so is sorrow when reverberated by a broken ruined heart.

    Philip Henry.

  • Time, thy name is sorrow, says the stricken
  • Heart of life, laid waste with wasting flame
  • Ere the change of things and thoughts requicken,
  • Time, thy name.
  • Swinburne.

  • I have, as when the sun doth light a storm,
  • Buried this sigh in wrinkle of a smile:
  • But sorrow, that is couch’d in seeming gladness,
  • Is like that mirth fate turns to sudden sadness.
  • Shakespeare.

    As fate is inexorable, and not to be moved either with tears or reproaches, an excess of sorrow is as foolish as profuse laughter; while, on the other hand, not to mourn at all is insensibility.


    To grieve for evils is often wrong; but it is much more wrong to grieve without them. All sorrow that lasts longer than its cause is morbid, and should be shaken off as an attack of melancholy, as the forerunner of a greater evil than poverty or pain.


    It is the veiled angel of sorrow who plucks away one thing and another that bound us here in ease and security, and, in the vanishing of these dear objects, indicates the true home of our affections and our peace.


    Religion prescribes to every miserable man the means of bettering his condition; nay, it shows him that the bearing of his afflictions as he ought to do, will naturally end in the removal of them.


    Vital is the relation between earthly sorrow and eternal satisfaction. The travail to which God’s saints are subjected results in the birth of nobler natures and more sanctified spirits. Pain always promotes progress, and suffering invariably ensures success.

    J. McC. Holmes.

  • Sorrow preys upon
  • Its solitude and nothing more diverts it
  • From its sad visions of the other world
  • Than calling it at moments back to this.
  • The busy have no time for tears.
  • Byron.

    Every Calvary has an Olivet. To every place of crucifixion there is likewise a place of ascension. The sun that was shrouded is unveiled, and heaven opens with hopes eternal to the soul which was nigh unto despair.

    Henry Giles.

    Fairer and more fruitful in the spring the vine becomes from the skilful pruning of the husbandman; less pure had been the gums which the odorous balsam gives, if it had not been cut by the knife of the Arabian shepherd.


    Part of our good consists in the endeavor to do sorrows away, and in the power to sustain them when the endeavor fails,—to bear them nobly, and thus help others to bear them as well.

    Leigh Hunt.

  • Earth may embitter, not remove,
  • The love divinely given;
  • And e’en that mortal grief shall prove
  • The immortality of love,
  • And lead us nearer heaven.
  • Mrs. E. B. Browning.

    Oh, look not at thy pains or sorrows, how great soever; but look from them, look off them, look beyond them, to the Deliverer, whose power is over them, and whose loving, wise, and tender spirit is able to do thee good by them!

    Isaac Penington.

    Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seamed with scars; martyrs have put on their coronation robes glittering with fire, and through their tears have the sorrowful first seen the gates of heaven.


    No wringing of the hands and knocking the breast, or wishing one’s self unborn; all which are but the ceremonies of sorrow, the pomp and ostentation of an effeminate grief, which speak not so much the greatness of the misery as the smallness of the mind.


    If there is an evil in this world, it is sorrow and heaviness of heart. The loss of goods, of health, of coronets and mitres, is only evil as they occasion sorrow; take that out, the rest is fancy, and dwelleth only in the head of man.


    As the Christian’s sorrows multiply, his patience grows, until, with sweet, unruffled quiet, he can confront the ills of life, and, though inwardly wincing, can calmly pursue his way to the restful grave, while his old, harsh voice is softly cadenced into sweetest melody, like the faint notes of an angel’s whispered song. As patience deepens, charity and sympathy increase.

    George C. Lorimer.

  • There’s no way to make sorrow light
  • But in the noble bearing; be content;
  • Blows given from heaven are our due punishment;
  • All shipwrecks are not drownings; you see buildings
  • Made fairer from their ruins.
  • W. Rowley.

  • Sorrow treads heavily, and leaves behind
  • A deep impression, e’en when she departs:
  • While joy trips by with steps light as the wind,
  • And scarcely leaves a trace upon our hearts
  • Of her faint foot-falls: only this is sure,
  • In this world nought, save misery, can endure.
  • Mrs. Embury.

  • And o’er that fair broad brow were wrought
  • The intersected lines of thought;
  • Those furrows, which the burning share
  • Of sorrow ploughs untimely there:
  • Scars of the lacerating mind,
  • Which the soul’s war doth leave behind.
  • Byron.

    Nature always wears the colors of the spirit. To a man laboring under calamity the heat of his own fire hath sadness in it. Then there is a kind of contempt of the landscape felt by him who has just lost by death a dear friend. The sky is less grand as it shuts down over less worth in the population.


    Whoever can turn his weeping eyes to heaven has lost nothing; for there, above, is everything he can wish for here below. He only is a loser, who persists in looking down on the narrow plains of the present time.


    Rash combat often immortalizes man; if he should fall, he is renowned in song; but after-ages reckon not the ceaseless tears which the forsaken woman sheds. Poets tell us not of the many nights consumed in weeping, or of the dreary days wherein her anguished soul vainly yearns to call her loved one back.


  • The night of sorrow now is turn’d to day,
  • Her two blue windows faintly she upheaveth,
  • Like the fair sun, when in his fresh array
  • He cheers the morn, and all the world relieveth;
  • And as the bright sun glorifies the sky,
  • So is her face illumined with her eye.
  • Shakespeare.

    Sorrows, because they are lingering guests, I will entertain but moderately, knowing that the more they are made of, the longer they will continue; and for pleasures, because they stay not, and do but call to drink at my door, I will use them as passengers with slight respect. He is his own best friend that makes least of both of them.

    Bishop Hall.

  • Do not cheat thy Heart and tell her,
  • “Grief will pass away,
  • Hope for fairer times in future,
  • And forget to-day.”
  • Tell her, if you will, that sorrow
  • Need not come in vain;
  • Tell her that the lesson taught her
  • Far outweighs the pain.
  • Adelaide A. Procter.

    When some one sorrow, that is yet reparable, gets hold of your mind like a monomania,—when you think, because Heaven has denied you this or that, on which you had set your heart, that all your life must be a blank,—oh, then diet yourself well on biography,—the biography of good and great men. See how little a space one sorrow really makes in life. See scarce a page, perhaps, given to some grief similar to your own, and how triumphantly the life sails on beyond it.


    For the external expressions and vent of sorrow, we know that there is a certain pleasure in weeping; it is the discharge of a big and swelling grief, of a full and strangling discontent; and therefore he that never had such a burden upon his heart as to give him opportunity thus to ease it has one pleasure in this world yet to come.


  • When the cold breath of sorrow is sweeping
  • O’er the chords of the youthful heart,
  • And the earnest eye, dimm’d with strange weeping,
  • Sees the visions of fancy depart;
  • When the bloom of young feeling is dying,
  • And the heart throbs with passion’s fierce strife,
  • When our sad days are wasted in sighing,
  • Who then can find sweetness in life?
  • Mrs. Embury.

  • Sorrow, the heart must bear,
  • Sits in the home of each, conspicuous there.
  • Many a circumstance, at least,
  • Touches the very breast.
  • For those
  • Whom any sent away,—he knows;
  • And in the live man’s stead,
  • Armor and ashes reach
  • The house of each.
  • Robert Browning.

    He that hath so many causes of joy, and so great, is very much in love with sorrow and peevishness, who loses all these pleasures, and chooses to sit down on his handful of thorns. Such a person is fit to bear Nero company in his funeral sorrow for the loss of one of Poppea’s hairs, or help to mourn for Lesbia’s sparrow; and because he loves it he deserves to starve in the midst of plenty, and to want comfort whilst he is encircled with blessings.

    Jeremy Taylor.

    From the very summit of his sorrows, where he had gone to die, Moses, for the first time in his life, caught a view of the land of Canaan. He did not know, as he went over the rocks, torn and weary, how lovely the prospect was from the top. In this world, it frequently happens that when man has reached the place of anguish, God rolls away the mist from his eyes, and the very spot selected as the receptacle of his tears, becomes the place of his highest rapture.

    J. T. Headley.