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


Tears are the silent language of grief.


More tears are shed in playhouses than in churches.


Tears are due to human misery.


They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.


Tears such as angels weep.


Sad, unhelpful tears.


Those tender tears that humanize the soul.


My eyes are dim with childish tears.


Tears are sometimes as weighty as words.


Tears soothe suffering eyes.


Tears are the noble language of the eye.


If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.


Hence these tears.


For Beauty’s tears are lovelier than her smile.


Without the meed of some melodious tear.


Ope the sacred source of sympathetic tears.


Certain drops of salt.


Tears are a good alterative, but a poor diet.

H. W. Shaw.

The tears that stood considering in her eyes.


Tearless grief bleeds inwardly.


Venus smiles not in a house of tears.


The tears live in an onion that should water this sorrow.


’Tis the best brine a maiden can season her praise in.


Sympathizing and selfish people are alike given to tears.

Leigh Hunt.

Words that weep and tears that speak.

Abraham Cowley.

A stoic of the woods,—a man without a tear.


Weep not, sweet queen, for trickling tears are vain.


Tears may soothe the wounds they cannot heal.

Thomas Paine.

Nature’s tears are reason’s merriment.


The tears of penitents are the wine of angels.

St. Bernard.

Eye-offending brine.


Like Niobe, all tears.


Every tear is a verse, and every heart is a poem.

Marc André.

And weep the more, because I weep in vain.


Love is loveliest when embalmed in tears.

Walter Scott.

The April is in her eyes; it is love’s spring, and these the showers to bring it on.


The tear of joy is a pearl of the first water; the mourning tear, only of the second.


All the rarest hues of human life take radiance and are rainbowed out in tears.


Friends, I owe more tears to this dead man than you shall see me pay.


We often shed tears which deceive ourselves after having deceived others.

La Rochefoucauld.

The safety-valves of the heart, when too much pressure is laid on.

Albert Smith.

Man is the weeping animal born to govern all the rest.


The graceful tear that streams for others’ woes.


Scorn the proud man that is ashamed to weep.


Weep for love, but not for anger; a cold rain will never bring flowers.


After his blood, that which a man can next give out of himself is a tear.


Tears of joy, like summer raindrops, are pierced by sunbeams.

Hosea Ballou.

Shame on those breasts of stone that cannot melt in soft adoption of another’s sorrow.

Aaron Hill.

Every tear of sorrow sown by the righteous springs up a pearl.

Matthew Henry.

The waiting tears stood ready for command, and now they flow to varnish the false tale.


  • So bright the tear in Beauty’s eye,
  • Love half regrets to kiss it dry.
  • Byron.

    How much better is it to weep at joy than to joy at weeping!

    Jane Porter.

    Believe these tears, which from my wounded heart bleed at my eyes.


    O, let not woman’s weapons, waterdrops, stain my man’s cheeks!


    Let me wipe off this honorable dew, that silverly doth progress on thy cheeks.


  • See, see what showers arise,
  • Blown with the windy tempest of my heart.
  • Shakespeare.

    In youth, one has tears without grief; in age, griefs without tears.

    Joseph Roux.

    Tears are often to be found where there is little sorrow, and the deepest sorrow without any tears.


    Tears harden lust, though marble wear with raining.


    I can approve of those only who seek in tears for happiness.


    Tears are the tribute of humanity to its destiny.

    W. R. Alger.

    O, banish the tears of children! Continual rains upon the blossoms are hurtful.


    There is something so moving in the very image of weeping beauty.


  • He has strangled
  • His language in his tears.
  • Shakespeare.

    Trust not those cunning waters of his eyes, for villainy is not without such rheum.


    Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.


    It is some relief to weep; grief is satisfied and carried off by tears.


  • But woe awaits a country, when
  • She sees the tears of bearded men.
  • Scott.

  • Here tears and sighs speak his imperfect moan,
  • In language far more moving than his own.
  • Cowley.

  • I could perceive with joy, a silent show’r
  • Run down his silver beard.
  • Lee.

  • O father, what a hell of witchcraft lies
  • In the small orb of one particular tear!
  • Shakespeare.

  • All kin’ o’ smily round the lips
  • An’ teary roun’ the lashes.
  • Lowell.

  • Devotion’s self shall steal a thought from heaven,
  • One human tear shall drop, and be forgiven.
  • Pope.

    Sweet tears! the awful language eloquent of infinite affection, far too big for words.


  • There is a tear for all who die,
  • A mourner o’er the humblest grave.
  • Byron.

  • My tears must stop, for every drop
  • Hinders needle and thread.
  • Hood.

  • Upon her cheeks she wept, and from those showers
  • Sprang up a sweet nativity of flowers.
  • Herrick.

    Tears of joy are the dew in which the sun of righteousness is mirrored.


  • To me the meanest flower that blows can give
  • Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.
  • Wordsworth.

  • Thy heart is big; get thee apart and weep.
  • Passion, I see, is catching; for mine eyes,
  • Seeing those beads of sorrow stand in thine,
  • Begin to water.
  • Shakespeare.

  • The tide is now: nay, not thy tide of tears,
  • That tide will stay me longer than I should.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Her tears, like drops of molten lead,
  • With torment barn the passage to my heart.
  • Young.

  • To weep, is to make less the depth of grief;
  • Tears, then, for babes; blows and revenge for me.
  • Shakespeare.

  • E’en like the passage of an angel’s tear
  • That falls through the clear ether silently.
  • Keats.

  • Accept these grateful tears! for thee they flow,
  • For thee, that ever felt another’s woe!
  • Homer.

  • Those eyes of thine from mine have drawn salt tears:
  • Sham’d their aspects with store of childish drops.
  • Shakespeare.

    Lofty mountains are full of springs; great hearts are full of tears.

    Joseph Roux.

  • Our present tears here, not our present laughter
  • Are but the handsells of our joys hereafter.
  • Herrick.

    Tears are nature’s lotion for the eyes. The eyes see better for being washed with them.


  • By heavens, my love, thou dost distract my soul!
  • There’s not a tear that falls from those dear eyes,
  • But makes my heart weep blood.
  • Lee.

  • If that the earth could teem with woman’s tears,
  • Each drop she falls would prove a crocodile.
  • Shakespeare.

  • My plenteous joys,
  • Wanton in fullness, seek to hide themselves
  • In drops of sorrow.
  • Shakespeare.

  • I had not so much of man in me,
  • And all my mother came into mine eyes
  • And gave me up to tears.
  • Shakespeare.

  • None are so desolate but something dear,
  • Dearer than self, possesses or possess’d
  • A thought, and claims the homage of a tear.
  • Byron.

    A smile is ever the most bright and beautiful with a tear upon it. What is the dawn without the dew? The tear is rendered by the smile precious above the smile itself.


    The cloudy weather melts at length into beauty, and the brightest smiles of the heart are born of its tears.

    Hosea Ballou.

  • I did not think to shed a tear
  • In all my miseries; but thou hast forc’d me,
  • Out of thy honest truth, to play the woman.
  • Shakespeare.

  • I cannot weep; for all my body’s moisture
  • Scarce serves to quench my furnace-burning heart.
  • Shakespeare.

  • The big round tears run down his dappled face;
  • He groans in anguish.
  • Thomson.

  • I so lively acted with my tears
  • That my poor mistress, moved therewithal,
  • Wept bitterly.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Yet tears to human suffering are due;
  • And mortal hopes defeated and o’erthrown
  • Are mourned by man, and not by man alone.
  • Wordsworth.

    Hide not thy tears; weep boldly, and be proud to give the flowing virtue manly way; it is nature’s mark to know an honest heart by.

    Aaron Hill.

    Tears are the natural penalties of pleasure. It is a law that we should pay for all that we enjoy.


    How sometimes nature will betray its folly, its tenderness, and make itself a pastime to harder bosoms!


  • With sad unhelpful tears, and with dimm’d eyes
  • Look after him and cannot do him good.
  • Shakespeare.

  • And the tear that is wiped with a little address,
  • May be follow’d perhaps by a smile.
  • Cowper.

    It is delightful to kiss the eyelashes of the beloved,—is it not? But never so delightful as when fresh tears are on them.


    Nature confesses that she has bestowed on the human race hearts of softest mould, in that she has given us tears.


    Tears are the softening showers which cause the seed of heaven to spring up in the human heart.

    Walter Scott.

    Easy-crying widows take new husbands soonest; there is nothing like wet weather for transplanting.


    How many a holy and obsequious tear hath dear religious love stolen from mine eye, as interest of the dead!


  • What I should say
  • My tears gainsay; for every word I speak,
  • Ye see, I drink the water of mine eyes.
  • Shakespeare.

    The sweet dew that lingered in her eye for pity’s sake was—like an exhalation in the sun—dried and absorbed by love.

    Barry Cornwall.

    Those who are surly and imperious to their inferiors are generally humble, flattering, and cringing to their superiors.


  • The big round tears
  • Cours’d one another down his innocent nose
  • In piteous chase.
  • Shakespeare.

    Why, man, if the river were dry, I am able to fill it with my tears: if the wind were down, I could drive the boat with my sighs.


    So looks the lily after a shower, while drops of rain run gently down its silken leaves, and gather sweetness as they pass.


  • There she shook
  • The holy water from her heavenly eyes,
  • And clamour moisten’d.
  • Shakespeare.

  • That instant shut
  • My woeful self up in a mourning house,
  • Raining the tears of lamentation.
  • Shakespeare.

    What is the matter, that this distempered messenger of wet, the many-colored Iris, rounds thine eye?


  • Then fresh tears
  • Stood on her cheeks, as doth the honeydew
  • Upon a gather’d lily almost wither’d.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Down her cheeks flow’d the round drops:
  • And as we see the sun shine thro’ a show’r,
  • So look’d her beauteous eyes,
  • Casting forth light and tears together.
  • Lansdowne.

  • The tear down childhood’s cheek that flows,
  • Is like the dewdrop on the rose;
  • When next the summer breeze comes by,
  • And waves the bush, the flower is dry.
  • Walter Scott.

    Of all the portions of life it is in the two twilights, childhood and age, that tears fall with the most frequency; like the dew at dawn and eve.

    W. R. Alger.

    Tears, except as a private demonstration, are an ill-disguised expression of self-consciousness and vanity, which is inadmissible in good society.


  • O dear, dear Jeanie Morrison,
  • The thochts o’ bygane years
  • Still fling their shadows ower my path,
  • And blind my een wi’ tears.
  • Wm. Motherwell.

    Down she bent her head upon an arm so white that tears seemed but the natural melting of its snow, touched by the flushed cheek’s crimson.

    Miss L. E. Landon.

    Pride dries the tears of anger and vexation; humility, those of grief. The one is indignant that we should suffer; the other calms us by the reminder that we deserve nothing else.

    Madame Swetchine.

    See yonder rock from which the fountain gushes; is it less compact of adamant, though waters flow from it? Firm hearts have moister eyes.

    Walter Scott.

    Hide thy tears,—I do not bid thee not to shed them,—it were easier to stop Euphrates at its source than one tear of a true and tender heart.


  • The liquid drops of tears that you have shed
  • Shall come again, transform’d to orient pearl,
  • Advantaging their loan with interest
  • Of ten times double gain of happiness.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Heaven is not gone, but we are blind with tears,
  • Groping our way along the downward slope of years!
  • R. H. Stoddard.

  • What gem hath dropp’d and sparkles o’er his chain?
  • The tear most sacred, shed for others’ pain,
  • That starts at once—bright—pure—from pity’s mine,
  • Already polished by the hand divine!
  • Byron.

  • So bright the tear in Beauty’s eye,
  • Love half regrets to kiss it dry;
  • So sweet the blush of Bashfulness,
  • Even Pity scarce can wish it less!
  • Byron.

  • I wish’d but for a single tear,
  • As something welcome, new and dear,
  • I wish’d it then, I wish it still,
  • Despair is stronger than my will.
  • Byron.

  • When friendship or love our sympathies move,
  • When truth in a glance should appear,
  • The lips may beguile with a dimple or smile,
  • But the test of affection’s a tear.
  • Byron.

  • One, whose subdu’d eyes,
  • Albeit unused to the melting mood,
  • Drop tears as fast as the Arabian trees
  • Their medicinal gum.
  • Shakespeare.

    Tears, O Aspasia, do not dwell long upon the cheeks of youth. Rain drops easily from the bud, rests on the bosom of the maturer flower, and breaks down that one only which hath lived its day.


  • Oh! too convincing—dangerously dear—
  • In woman’s eye the unanswerable tear!
  • That weapon of her weakness she can wield,
  • To save, subdue—at once her spear and shield.
  • Byron.

  • That very law which moulds a tear
  • And bids it trickle from its source,
  • That law preserves the earth a sphere,
  • And guides the planets in their course.
  • S. Rogers.

  • May no marble bestow the splendor of woe,
  • Which the children of vanity rear;
  • No fiction of fame shall blazon my name,
  • All I ask—all I wish—is a tear.
  • Byron.

  • Why wilt thou ever scare me with thy tears,
  • And make me tremble lest a saying learnt,
  • In days far-off, on that dark earth, be true?
  • The gods themselves cannot recall their gifts.
  • Tennyson.

  • She was a good deal shock’d; not shock’d at tears.
  • For women shed and use them at their liking;
  • But there is something when man’s eye appears
  • Wet, still more disagreeable and striking.
  • Byron.

  • From his big heart o’ercharg’d with generous sorrow;
  • See the tide working upward to his eye,
  • And stealing from him in large silent drops,
  • Without his leave.
  • Young.

    And that same dew, which some time on the buds was wont to swell like round and orient pearls, stood now within the pretty floweret’s eyes, like tears that did their own disgrace bewail.


    As Rubens by one stroke converted a laughing into a crying child, so nature frequently makes this stroke in the original; a child’s eye, like the sun, never draws water so readily as in the hot temperature of pleasure.


    There appears much joy in him, even so much that joy could not show itself modest enough without a badge of bitterness. A kind overflow of kindness,—there are no faces truer than those that are so washed.


    Heaven and God are best discerned through tears; scarcely perhaps are discerned at all without them. The constant association of prayer with the hour of bereavement and the scenes of death suffice to show this.

    James Martineau.

    The good widow’s sorrow is no storm, but a still rain; commonly it comes to pass that that grief is quickly emptied that streameth out at so large a vent, whilst their tears that but drop will hold running a long time.


    I would hardly change the sorrowful words of the poets for their glad ones. Tears dampen the strings of the lyre, but they grow the tenser for it, and ring even the clearer and more ravishingly.


    Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,—tears from the depth of some divine despair rise in the heart, and gather in the eyes, in looking on the happy autumn fields, and thinking of the days that are no more.


  • Two aged men, that had been foes for life,
  • Met by a grave, and wept—and in those tears
  • They washed away the memory of their strife;
  • Then wept again the loss of all those years.
  • Frederick Tennyson.

  • How, thro’ her tears, with pale and trembling radiance,
  • The eye of beauty shines, and lights her sorrows!
  • As rises o’er the storm some silver star,
  • The seaman’s hope, and promise of this safety.
  • Francis.

  • Heav’n, that knows
  • The weakness of our natures, will forgive,
  • Nay, must applaud love’s debt, when decent paid:
  • Nor can the bravest mortal blame the tear
  • Which glitters on the bier of fallen worth.
  • Shirley.

    There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.

    Washington Irving.

  • I weep, ’tis true; but Machiavel, I swear
  • They’re tears of vengeance; drops of liquid fire!
  • So marble weeps, when flames surround the quarry,
  • And the pil’d oaks spout forth such scalding bubbles,
  • Before the general blaze.
  • Lee.

    A man is seldom more manly than when he is what you call unmanned,—the source of his emotion is championship, pity, and courage; the instinctive desire to cherish those who are innocent and unhappy, and defend those who are tender and weak.


  • And friends, dear friends,—when it shall be
  • That this low breath is gone from me,
  • And round my bier ye come to weep,
  • Let One, most loving of you all,
  • Say, “Not a tear must o’er her fall;
  • He giveth His beloved sleep.”
  • E. B. Browning.

  • Her eye did seem to labour with a tear,
  • Which suddenly took birth, but overweigh’d
  • With its own weight, swelling, dropp’d upon her bosom,
  • Which, by reflection of her light, appear’d
  • As nature meant her sorrow for an ornament.
  • Shirley.

  • You have seen
  • Sunshine and rain at once: her smiles and tears
  • Were like a better day: those happy smiles
  • That play’d on her ripe lip, seem’d not to know
  • What guests were in her eyes; which parted thence,
  • As pearls from diamonds dropp’d.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Thank God for grace,
  • Ye who weep only! If, as some have done,
  • Ye grope tear-blinded in a desert place
  • And touch but tombs,—look up! Those tears will run
  • Soon in long rivers down the lifted face,
  • And leave the vision clear for stars and sun.
  • E. B. Browning.

    God made both tears and laughter, and both for kind purposes; for as laughter enables mirth and surprise to breathe freely, so tears enable sorrow to vent itself patiently. Tears hinder sorrow from becoming despair and madness; and laughter is one of the very privileges of reason, being confined to the human species.

    Leigh Hunt.

  • Our funeral tears from different causes rise:
  • Of various kinds they flow. From tender hearts,
  • By soft contagion call’d, some burst at once
  • And stream obsequious to the leading eye.
  • Some ask more time, by curious art distill’d.
  • Some hearts, in secret hard, unapt to melt,
  • Struck by the public eye, gush out amain.
  • Young.

  • The smile that illumines the features of beauty,
  • When kindled by virtue, alluring appears;
  • But smiles, tho’ alluring, no magic can borrow,
  • To vie with the softness of beauty in tears.
  • The smiles that are sweetest are often deceiving;
  • Too often a mask which the cold-hearted wears;
  • But a tear is the holiest offspring of feeling,
  • And monarchs are weak before beauty in tears.
  • Bohn.

  • No radiant pearl, which crested fortune wears,
  • No gem, that twinkling hangs from beauty’s ears;
  • Not the bright stars, which night’s blue arch adorn;
  • Nor rising sun that gilds the vernal morn;
  • Shine with such lustre as the tear, that flows
  • Down virtue’s manly cheek for others’ woes.
  • Darwin.

  • I found her on the floor
  • In all the storm of grief; yet beautiful!
  • Sighing such a breath of sorrow, that her lips,
  • Which late appear’d like buds, were now o’er-blown!
  • Pouring forth tears, at such a lavish rate,
  • That were the world on fire, they might have drown’d
  • The wrath of heaven, and quench’d the mighty ruin.
  • Lee.

  • The glorious Angel, who was keeping
  • The gates of Light, beheld her weeping;
  • And, as he nearer drew and listen’d
  • To her sad song, a tear-drop glisten’d
  • Within his eyelids, like the spray
  • From Eden’s fountain, where it lies
  • On the blue flow’r, which—Bramins say—
  • Blooms nowhere but in Paradise.
  • Moore.

    Sooner mayest thou trust thy pocket to a pickpocket than give loyal friendship to the man who boasts of eyes to which the heart never mounts in dew! Only when man weeps he should be alone, not because tears are weak, but they should be secret. Tears are akin to prayer,—Pharisees parade prayers, imposters parade tears.


    Astronomers have built telescopes which can show myriads of stars unseen before; but when a man looks through a tear in his own eye, that is a lens which opens reaches in the unknown, and reveals orbs which no telescope, however skilfully constructed, could do; nay, which brings to view even the throne of God, and pierces that nebulous distance where are those eternal verities in which true life consists.