Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes


"I will this day try to live a simple, sincere, and serene life; repelling promptly every thought of discontent, anxiety, discouragement, impurity, and self-seeking; cultivating cheerfulness, magnanimity, charity, and the habit of holy silence; exercising economy in expenditure, carefulness in conversation, diligence in appointed service, fidelity to every trust, and a childlike trust in God." - John H. Vincent, fully John Heyl Vincent

"Whereas speaking distracts, silence and work collect the thoughts and strengthen the spirit. As soon therefore as a person understand what has been said to him for his good, there is no further need to hear or to discuss; but to set himself in earnest to practice what he has learnt with silence and attention, in humility, charity and contempt of self." -

"There is a silence, the child of love, which expresses everything, and proclaims more loudly that the tongue is able to so." - Vittorio Alfieri

"Truth is not only violated by falsehood; it may be equally outraged by silence." -

"If a word be worth one Shekel, silence is worth two." -

"Silence is good for the wise; how much more for the foolish." - Babylonian Talmud

"Music, not being made up of objects nor referring to objects, is intangible and ineffable; it can only be, as it were, inhaled by the spirit: the rest is silence." -

"What a power has Death to awe and hush the voices of this earth! How mute we stand when that presence confronts us, and we look upon the silence he has wrought in a human life! We can only gaze, and bow our heads, and creep with our broken stammering utterances under the shelter of some great word which God has spoken, and in which we see through the history of human sorrow the outstretching and overshadowing of the eternal arms." - W. W. Battershall

"Silence is one of the great arts of conversation, as allowed by Cicero himself, who says, "there is not only an art, but an eloquence in it." A well bred woman may easily and effectually promote the most useful and elegant conversation without speaking a word. The modes of speech are scarcely more variable than the modes of silence." -

"Love delights in paradoxes. Saddest when it has most reason to be gay, sights are the signs of its greatest joy, and silence is the expression of its yearning tenderness." - Christian Nestell Bovee

"Silence, when nothing need be said, is the eloquence of discretion." - Christian Nestell Bovee

"The main reason why silence is so efficacious an element of repute is, first, because of that magnification which proverbially belongs to the unknown; and, secondly, because silence provokes no man's envy, and wounds no man's self-love." - Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, fully Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, Lord Lytton

"The more a man desirous to pass at a value above his worth, and can, by dignified silence, contrast with the garrulity of trivial minds, the more will the world give him credit for the wealth he does not possess." - Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, fully Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, Lord Lytton

"Silence is not always tact and it is tact that is golden, not silence." - Samuel Butler

"Silence is the unbearable repartee." - G. K. Chesterton, fully Gilbert Keith Chesterton

"Even silence may be eloquent in love." - William Congreve

"Nothing enhances authority better than silence." - Charles de Gaulle, fully Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle

"Silence is all we dread. There's Ransom in a Voice - but Silence is Infinity." -

"If you yourself cannot keep silent, how can you expect silence from another?" - Martinus Dumiensis

"I like not only to be loved, but to be told that I am loved; the realm of silence is large enough beyond the grave." - George Eliot, pen name of Mary Ann or Marian Evans

"Silence is sometimes better than speech, and speech sometimes than silence." - Euripedes NULL

"Your very silence is confession." - Euripedes NULL

"Just as bad is too much silence as too much talk." - Florus NULL

"Liberty is the right to silence." - French Student Revolt Graffiti NULL

"The man who cannot enjoy his own natural gifts in silence, and find his reward in the exercise of them, will generally find himself badly off." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"There are three kinds of silence. Silence from words is good, because inordinate speaking tends to evil. Silence, or rest from desires and passions is still better, because it prompts quietness of spirit. But the best of all is silence from unnecessary and wandering thoughts, because that is essential to internal recollection, and because it lays a foundation for a proper reputation and for silence in other respects." -

"My soul was not only brought into harmony with itself and with God, but with God’s providence. In the exercise of faith and love, I endured and performed whatever came in God’s providence, in submission, in thankfulness, and silence." -

"To be alone with silence is to be alone with God." -

"The temple of our purest thoughts is silence." - Sarah J. Hale, fully Sarah Josepha Buell Hale

"Religion is the answer to that cry of Reason which nothing can silence, that aspiration of the soul which no created thing can meet, that want of the heart which all creation cannot supply." - Isaac Thomas Hecker

"The silence in our lives is under assault on all fronts: roaring jets and blasting Walkmans, numbing elevator music and blaring headline news. It’s hard to genuflect to the beat of MTV. We are wired, plugged in, constantly catered to and cajoled. After a while we become terrified out of the silence, unaware of what it has to offer. We drown out the simple question of God with the simplistic sound-bites of man." - Arianna Huffington, born Arianna Stassinopoulos

"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"I have often thought it would be a blessing if each human being were stricken blind and deaf for a few days at some time during his early adult life. Darkness would make him more appreciative of sight; silence would teach him the joys of sound." -

"One of the greatest sounds of them all... is utter, complete silence." - André Kostelanetz

"Meditation is like a river. It cannot be tamed. It flows and flows and overflows its banks. It is music without sound. It is the silence in which the observer ceases to be immediately he plunges in." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

"Who, in the midst of just provocation to anger, instantly finds the fit word which settles all around him in silence is more than wise or just; he is, were he a beggar, of more than royal blood, he is of celestial descent." - Johann Kaspar Lavater

"Silence is sorrow's best food." - James Russell Lowell

"Modern man seems to be afraid of silence. We are conditioned by radio and television on which every minute must be filled with talking, or some kind of sound. We are stimulated by the American philosophy of keeping on the move all the time - busy, busy, busy. This tends to make us shallow. A person's life can be deepened tremendously by periods of silence, used in the constructive ways of meditation and prayer. Great personalities have spent much time in the silence of life." - Robert E. Lyon

"As the flowers follow the sun, and silently hold up their petals to be tinted and enlarged by its shining, so must we, if we would know the joy of God, hold our souls, wills, hearts, and minds, still before Him, whose voice commands, whose love warns, whose truth makes fair our whole being. God speaks for the most pat in such silence only. If the soul be full of tumult and jangling voices, His voice is little likely to be heard." - Alexander Maclaren

"Not merely an absence of noise, Real Silence begins when a reasonable being withdraws form the noise in order to find peace and order in his inner sanctuary. The exodus from slavery toward the possession of the Kingdom." - Peter Minard

"Silence and modesty are very valuable qualities in the art of conversation." - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"Never, never do great thoughts come to a man while he is discontented or fretful. There must be quiet in the temple of his soul before the windows of it will open for him to see out of them into the infinite. Quiet is what heavenly powers move in. It is in silence that the stars move on, and it is in quiet that our souls are visited from on high." - William Mountford

"One can impose silence on sentiment, but one cannot give it limits." -

"All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. And we must pass through solitude and difficulty, isolation and silence, in order to reach forth to the enchanted place where we can dance our clumsy dance and sing our sorrowful song - but in this dance or in this song there are fulfilled the most ancient rites of our conscience in the awareness of being human and of believing in a common destiny." - Pablo Neruda, pen name for Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto

"Silence is more eloquent than speech." - Beverley Nichols, fully John Beverley Nichols

"Be silent and safe - silence never betrays you." - John Boyle O'Reilly

"Silence is the ecstatic bliss of souls, that by intelligence converse." - Thomas Otway

"True silence is the rest of the mind, and is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment. It is a great virtue: it covers folly, keeps secrets, avoids disputes, and prevents sin." - William Penn

"Suffering only becomes unbearable when, separated from the great silence in the world, it is merely a part of the noise of history, and then has to bear its burden alone." - Max Picard