Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes


"Perfection does not exist. To understand it is the triumph of human intelligence; to desire to possess it is the most dangerous kind of madness." -

"Anger begins with madness, and ends with regret." - Abraham Hasdai

"Passions unguided are for the most part mere madness." - Thomas Hobbes

"Anger is a momentary madness, so control your passion or it will control you." - Horace, full name Quintus Horatius Flaccus NULL

"He who will not curb his passion, will wish that undone which his grief and resentment suggested, while he violently plies his revenge with unsated rancor. Rage is a short madness. Rule your passion, which commands, if it do not obey; do not restrain it with a bridle, and with fetters." - Horace, full name Quintus Horatius Flaccus NULL

"Today, every inhabitant of this planet must contemplate the day when it may no longer be habitable. Every man, woman and child lives under a nuclear sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident, miscalculation or madness. The weapons of war must be abolished before they abolish us." - John F. Kennedy, fully John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy

"Valor has its limits like the other virtues, and these limits once transgressed, we find ourselves on the path of vice; so that we may pass through valor to temerity, obstinacy, and madness, unless we know its limits well - and they are truly hard to discern near the borderlines." - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"Madness is rare in individuals - but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule." -

"What is madness but nobility of soul at odds with circumstance." - Theodore Refke

"No great genius has ever existed without some touch of madness." -

"Nothing is so wretched or foolish as to anticipate misfortunes. What madness is it to be expecting evil before it comes." -

"Hatred is the madness of the heart." -

"Madness must necessarily have more followers than discretion." - Miguel de Cervantes, fully Miguel de Cervantes Saaversa

"It is the worst of madness to learn what has to be unlearnt." -

"Wine is the source of the greatest evils among communities. It causes diseases, quarrels, seditions, idleness, aversion to labor, and family disorders... It is s species of poison that causes madness. It does not make a man die, but it degrades him into a brute. Men may preserve their health and vigor without wine; with wine they run the risk of ruining their health and losing their morals." - François Fénelon, fully Francois de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon

"Those who are versed in the history of their country, in the history of the human race, must know that rigorous state prosecutions have always preceded the era of convulsion; and this era, I fear, will be accelerated by the folly and madness of our rulers. If the people are discontented, the proper mode of quieting their discontent is, not by instituting rigorous and sanguinary prosecutions, but by redressing their wrongs and conciliating their affections. Courts of justice, indeed, may be called in to the aid of ministerial vengeance; but if once the purity of their proceedings is suspected, they will cease to be objects of reverence to the nation; they will degenerate into empty and expensive pageantry, and become the partial instruments of vexatious oppression. Whatever may become of me, my principles will last forever. Individuals may perish; but truth is eternal. The rude blasts of tyranny may blow from every quarter; but freedom is that hardy plant which will survive the tempest and strike an everlasting root into the most unfavorable soil." - Joseph Gerrald

"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 on top of the very privileges of reason, being confined to the human species." - James Henry Leigh Hunt

"Madness need not be all breakdown. It may also be break-through. It is potential liberation and renewal as well as enslavement and existential death." - R. D. Laing, fully Ronald David Laing

"The courage of the poet is to keep ajar the door that leads into madness." - Christopher Morley, fully Christopher Darlington Morley

"There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness." - Friedrich Nietzsche, fully Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

"There is a great streak of violence in every human being. If it is not channeled and understood, it will break out in war or in madness." - Sam Peckinpah

"Party-spirit at best is but the madness of many for the gain of a few." - Alexander Pope

"What madness is it for a man to starve himself to enrich his heir, and so turn a friend into an enemy! For his joy at your death will be proportioned to what you leave him." -

"What madness to anticipate one's troubles." -

"Excess of grief for the dead is madness; for it is an injury to the living, and the dead know it not." - Xenophon, aka Xenophon of Athens NULL

"Be wise to-day - ‘tis madness to defer." - Edward Young

"Madness is man’s desperate attempt to reach transcendence, to rise beyond himself." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"A fixed idea ends in madness or heroism." - Victor Hugo

"Madness need not be all breakdown. It may also be a breakthrough. It is potentially liberation and renewal as well as enslavement and existential death." -

"What's madness but nobility of soul at odds with circumstance? The day's on fire! I know the purity of pure despair, my shadow pinned against a sweating wall, that place among the rocks--is it a cave, or winding path? The edge is what I have. " - Theodore Roethke

"The machine is one of the most compelling rational of human discoveries. The madness is in those who would use a rational thing to further the irrational ends of exploitation and domination." - Gregory Vlastos

"We need others. We need others to love and we need to be loved by them. There is no doubt that without it, we too, like the infant left alone, would cease to grow, cease to develop, choose madness and even death." -

"Madness need not be all breakdown. It may also be breakthrough." -

"The first draught serveth for health, the second for pleasure, the third for shame, and the fourth for madness." - Anacharsis NULL

"No excellent soul is exempt from a mixture of madness." - Aristotle NULL

"The courage of the poet is to keep ajar the door that leads into madness." -

"Jealousy lives upon doubts. It becomes madness or ceases entirely as soon as we pass from doubt to certainty." - François de La Rochefoucauld, François VI, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, Prince de Marcillac, Francois A. F. Rochefoucauld-Liancourt

"Superabundance of suspicion is a kind of political madness." - Francis Bacon

"A body seriously out of equilibrium, either with itself or with its environment, perishes outright. Not so a mind. Madness and suffering can set themselves no limit; they lapse only when the corporeal frame that sustains them yields to circumstances and changes its habit." - George Santayana

"A body seriously out of equilibrium, either with itself or with its environment, perishes outright. Not so a mind. Madness and suffering set themselves no limit." - George Santayana

"Sanity is a madness put to good use." - George Santayana

"The blindness of bigotry, the madness of ambition, and the miscalculations of diplomacy seek their victims principally amongst the innocent and the unoffending. The cottage is sure to suffer for every error of the court, the cabinet, or the camp. When error sits in the seat of power and of authority, and is generated in high places, it may; be compared to that torrent which originates indeed in the mountain, but commits its devastation in the vale." - James Bryant Conant

"If the will, which is the law of our nature, were withdrawn from our memory, fancy, understanding, and reason, no other hell could equal, for a spiritual being, what we should then feel from the anarchy of our powers. It would be conscious madness, a horrid thought!" - John Milton

"Wine heightens indifference into love, love into jealousy, and jealousy into madness. It often turns the good-natured man into an idiot, and the choleric into an assassin. It give bitterness to resentment, it makes vanity insupportable, and displays every little spot of the soul in its utmost deformity." - Joseph Addison

"Without meaning to belittle the wonders of science, I do not think they can absolve mankind of suffering, desire, madness, and death." - Lewis H. Lapham

"I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit. For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow." -

"Worldly and sensual pleasures lie, for the most part, are short, false, and deceitful. Like drunkenness, they revenge the jolly madness of one hour with the sad repentance of many." - Thomas Fuller

"Hunger does not breed reform, it breeds madness, and all the ugly distempers that make an ordered life impossible." - Woodrow Wilson, fully Thomas Woodrow Wilson

"Madness is to think of too many things in succession too fast, or of one thing too exclusively." - Voltaire, pen name of François-Marie Arouet NULL