Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Robert Nathan

American Author, Composer, Poet and Novelist

"True sorrow makes a silence in the heart."

"Joy has its friends, but grief its loneliness."

"Man is judged each moment."

"Where I come from Nobody knows; And where I'm going Everything goes. The wind blows, The sea flows - And nobody knows."

"A man's family sets him apart from all other living creatures. . . . Only..."

"Art is a communication informing man of his own dignity, and of the value of his life, whether in joy or grief, whether in laughter or indignation, beauty or terror...Man needs the comfort of his own dignity...And that's what the artist is for. To give him that comfort."

"Give thanks for sorrow that teaches you pity; for pain that teaches you courage - and give exceeding thanks for the mystery which remains a mystery still - the veil that hides you from the infinite, which makes it possible for you to believe in what you cannot see."

"I have tried as far as I could to be a comforter in the world, not through what I know, but what I don?t-and cannot-know. I have tried to suggest the mystery and the magic."

"Give exceeding thanks for the mystery which remains a mystery still ? the veil that hides you from the infinite, which makes it possible for you to believe in what you cannot see."

"Beauty is ever to the lonely mind a shadow fleeting; she is never plain. She is a visitor who leaves behind the gift of grief, the souvenir of pain."

"It seems to me that I have always wanted to say the same thing in my books: that life is one, that mystery is all around us, that yesterday, today and tomorrow are all spread out in the pattern of eternity, together, and that although love may wear many faces in the incomprehensible panorama of time, in the heart that loves, it is always the same."

"Sorrow is a silence in the heart."

"Summer is the worst time of all to be alone. The earth is warm and lovely, free to go about in; and always somewhere in the distance there is a place where two people might be happy if only they were together. It is in the spring that one dreams of such places; one thinks of the summer which is coming, and the heart dreams of its friend."

"There is no distance on this earth as far away as yesterday."

"What I really want is to give comfort to people in this wilderness of death and trouble. And to myself, too. So, when I can, I take the poison and hate out of my books; but I hate, just the same. I hate violence, and tyranny, and vulgarity. I hate despair and destruction, and the writers who insist that that is all there is, there isn?t anything else."

"What is it which makes a man and a woman know that they, of all other men and women in the world, belong to each other? Is it no more than chance and meeting? no more than being alive together in the world at the same time? Is it only a curve of the throat, a line of the chin, the way the eyes are set, a way of speaking? Or is it something deeper and stranger, something beyond meeting, something beyond chance and fortune? Are there others, in other times of the world, whom we should have loved, who would have loved us? Is there, perhaps, one soul among all others--among all who have lived, the endless generations, from world's end to world's end--who must love us or die? And whom we must love, in turn--whom we must seek all our lives long--headlong and homesick--until the end?"

"What trouble we go to, trying to fool people who see right through us anyhow."

"How little we have, I thought, between us and the waiting cold, the mystery, death--a strip of beach, a hill, a few walls of wood or stone, a little fire--and tomorrow's sun, rising and warming us, tomorrow's hope of peace and better weather . . . What if tomorrow vanished in the storm? What if time stood still? And yesterday--if once we lost our way, blundered in the storm--would we find yesterday again ahead of us, where we had thought tomorrow's sun would rise?"