Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Melancholy

"As a remedy against all ills - poverty, sickness, and melancholy - only one thing is absolutely necessary: a liking for work." - Charles Pierre Baudelaire

"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy, for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter into another." - Anatole France, pen name of Jacques Anatole Francois Thibault

"Weakness, fear, melancholy, together with ignorance, are the true sources of superstition. Hope, pride, presumption, a warm indignation, together with ignorance, are the true sources of enthusiasm." - David Hume

"Affection, like melancholy, magnifies trifles; but the magnifying of the one is like looking through a telescope at heavenly objects; that of the other, like enlarging monsters with a microscope." - James Henry Leigh Hunt

"Employment and hardships prevent melancholy." -

"Knowledge of the soul would unfailingly make us melancholy if the pleasures of expression did not keep us alert and of good cheer." - Thomas Mann, fully Paul Thomas Mann

"Life is a well of joy; but for those out of whom an upset stomach speaks, which is the father of melancholy, all wells are poisoned." -

"There is a melancholy which accompanies all enthusiasm." - Lord Shaftesbury, Anthony Ashley Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury

"If idleness do not produce vice or malevolence, it commonly produces melancholy." - Sydney Smith

"The melancholy prudence of the abandonment of such a great being as a man is to the toss and pallor of years of money making with all their scorching days and icy nights... is the great fraud upon modern civilization." - Walt Whitman, fully Walter "Walt" Whitman

"Active natures are rarely melancholy. Activity and sadness are incompatible." - Christian Nestell Bovee

"Melancholy is a symptom of oncoming sickness." -

"Idleness is the bane of body and mind, the nurse of naughtiness, the chief author of all mischief, one of the seven deadly sins, the cushion upon which the devil chiefly reposes, and a great cause not only of melancholy, but of many other diseases; for the mind is naturally active; and if it be not occupied about some honest business, it rushes into mischief or sinks into melancholy." - Richard Francis Burton, fully Sir Richard Francis Burton

"Sickness and disease are in weak minds the sources of melancholy; but that which is painful to the body, may be profitable to the soul. Sickness puts us in mind of our mortality, and, while we drive on heedlessly in the full career of worldly pomp and jollity, kindly pulls us by the ear, and brings us to a proper sense of duty." - Richard Francis Burton, fully Sir Richard Francis Burton

"As the bosom of earth blooms again and again, having buried out of sight the dead leaves of autumn, and loosed the frosty bands of winter; so does the heart, in spite of all that melancholy poets write, feel many renewed springs and summers. It is a beautiful and a blessed world we live in, and whilst that life lasts, to lose the enjoyment of it is a sin." - Talbot Wilson Chambers

"And all your dreams and other such like folly, to deep oblivion let them be consigned; for they arise but from your melancholy, by which your health is being undermined. A straw for all the meaning you can find in dreams! They aren’t worth a hill of beans, for no one knows what dreaming really means." - Geoffrey Chaucer

"Whatever is highest and holiest is tinged with melancholy. The eye of genius has always a plaintive expression, and its natural language is pathos." -

"Melancholy and remorse form the deep leaden keel which enables us to sail into the wind of reality." - Cyril Connolly, fully Cyril Vernon Connolly

"Beware of fatiguing them by ill-judged exactness. If virtue offers itself to the child under a melancholy and constrained aspect, while liberty and license present themselves under an agreeable form, all is lost, and your labor is in vain." - François Fénelon, fully Francois de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon

"Cheerfulness is health; the opposite, melancholy, is disease." - Thomas Haliburton, fully Thomas Chandler Haliburton, pseudonym "Sam Slick"

"One of the most melancholy things in the world is the enormous power for evil of the dead over things living. There is hardly a great painter or writer, or a man who had achieved greatness in any direction, whose name has not been used to repress rising genius." - John Alexander Hammerton, fully Sir John Alexander Hammerton

"There is not a string attuned to mirth but has its chord of melancholy." - Thomas Hood

"To be happy, the temperament must be cheerful and gay, not gloomy and melancholy. A propensity to hope and joy, is real riches; one to fear and sorrow is real poverty." - David Hume

"Mirth itself is too often but melancholy in disguise." - James Henry Leigh Hunt

"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." -

"I can endure a melancholy man, but not a melancholy child; the former, in whatever slough he may sink, can raise his eyes either to the kingdom of reason or of hope; but the little child is entirely absorbed and weighed down by one black poison-drop of the present." - Caroline Norton

"A comfortable old age is the reward of a well-spent youth; instead of its introducing dismal and melancholy prospects of decay, it should give us hopes of eternal youth in a better world." - Thomas W. Palmer

"As in our lives so also in our studies, it is most becoming and most wise, so to temper gravity with cheerfulness, that the former may not imbue our minds with melancholy, nor the latter degenerate into licentiousness." - Pliny the Younger, full name Casus Plinius Caecilius Secundus, born Gaius Caecilius or Gaius Caecilius Cilo NULL

"Man has other enemies more formidable, against which he is not provided with such means of defense: these are the natural infirmities of infancy, old age, and illness of every kind, melancholy proofs of our weakness, of which the two first are common to all animals, and the last belongs chiefly to man in a; state of society." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"There is a melancholy which accompanies all enthusiasm." - Anthony Ashley Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury

"I once gave a lady two-and-twenty receipts against melancholy; one was a bright fire; another, to remember all the pleasant things said to her; another, to keep a box of sugarplums on the chimney-piece and a kettle simmering on the hob. I thought this mere trifling at the moment, but have in after life discovered how true it is that these little pleasures often banish melancholy better than higher and more exalted objects; and that no means ought to be thought too trifling which can oppose it either in ourselves or in others." - Sydney Smith

"Nothing except a battle lost can be half as melancholy as a battle won." - Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, sometimes called "The Iron Duke"

"The love of solitude, when cultivated in the morn of life, elevates the mind to a noble independence, but to acquire the advantages which solitude is capable of affording, the mind must not be impelled to it by melancholy and discontent, but by a real distaste to the idle pleasures of the world, a rational contempt for the deceitful joys of life, and just apprehensions of being corrupted and seduced by its insinuating and destructive gayeties." - Johann Georg Ritter von Zimmermann

"We ignore the generation which has no sense of melancholy." - Ahmet Haşim

"Good-humor, gay spirits, are the liberators the sure cure for spleen and melancholy. deeper than tears, these irradiate the tophets with their glad heavens. Go laugh, vent the pits, transmuting imps into angels by the alchemy of smiles. The satans flee at the sight of these redeemers." - Amos Bronson Alcott

"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy, for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter into another." -

"Wisdom is the tears of experience, the bridge of experience and imagination over time. It is the listening heart, the melancholy sigh, the distillation of despair to provide a realistic, if often despondent, view of the world." - Daniel Bell

"Unselfish and noble acts are the most radiant epochs in the biography of souls. When wrought in earliest youth, they lie in the memory of age like the coral islands, green and sunny, amidst the melancholy waste of ocean." - David Thomas

"Idleness is the badge of the gentry, the bane of body and mind, the nurse of naughtiness, the stepmother of discipline, the chief author of all mischief, one of the seven deadly sins, the cushion upon which the devil chiefly reposes, and a great cause not only of melancholy, but of many other diseases; for the mind is naturally active, and, if it is not occupied about some honest business, it rushes into mischief or sinks into melancholy." - Edmund Burke

"Suspicions amongst thoughts are like the bats amongst the birds, they ever fly by twilight: certainly they are to be repressed, or at least well guarded, for they cloud the mind, lose friends, check business, dispose kings to tyranny, husbands to jealousy, and wise men to irresolution and melancholy; they are defects, not in the heart, but in the brain." - Francis Bacon

"Nothing is really so poor and melancholy as art that is interested in itself and not in its subject." - George Santayana

"Temptation is a fearful word. It indicates the beginning of a possible series of infinite evils. It is the ringing of an alarm bell, whose melancholy sounds may reverberate through eternity. Like the sudden, sharp cry of “Fire!” under our windows by night, it should rouse us to instantaneous action, and brace every muscle to its highest tension." - Horace Mann

"What a superlatively grand and consoling idea is that of death! Without this radiant idea - this delightful morning star, indicting that the luminary of eternity is going to rise, life would, to my view, darken into midnight melancholy. The expectation of living here, and living thus always, would be indeed a prospect of overwhelming despair. But thanks to that fatal decree that dooms us to die; thanks to that gospel which opens the vision of an endless life; and thanks above all to that Saviour friend who has promised to conduct the faithful through the sacred trance of death, into scenes of Paradise and everlasting delight." - John Foster, fully John Watson Foster

"Indulgence in constant thoughts of fear, anger, melancholy, remorse, envy, sorrow, hatred, discontent, or worry; and lack of the necessities for normal and happy living, such as right food, proper exercise, fresh air, sunshine, agreeable work and a purpose in life, all are causes of nervous disease." - Paramahansa Yogananda, born Mukunda Lal Ghosh

"When a man allows music to play upon him and to pour into his soul through the funnel of his ears those sweet and soft and melancholy airs... and his whole life is passed in warbling and the delights of song, in the first stage of the process the passion or spirit which is in him is tempered like iron, and made useful, instead of brittle and useless. But, if he carries on the softening and soothing process, in the next stage he begins to melt and waste, until he has wasted away his spirit and cut out the sinews of his soul." - Plato NULL

"Every moment instructs, and every object; for wisdom is infused into every form. It has been poured into us as blood; it convulsed us as pain; it slid into us as pleasure; it enveloped us in dull, melancholy days, or in days of cheerful labor; we did not guess its essence until after long time." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"If there is a hell upon earth it is to be found in a melancholy man's heart." - Robert Burton

"There is no greater cause of melancholy than idleness." - Robert Burton

"Music is a tonic for the saddened soul, a Roaring Meg [cannon] against melancholy, to rear and revive the languishing soul." - Robert Burton