Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.


"They truly mourn, that mourn without a witness." - Joseph L. Baron

"The physical loss is not sufficient for mourning. Purely on a physical level what would a person gain if he lived many more years? What is the ultimate gain in devouring hundreds more chickens and thousands more loaves of bread? What is the overall difference if the deceased left all this to others? The Torah obligates us to mourn to emphasize the loss of the true value of life; which is the spiritual elevation a person could have gained if he were still alive. The Almighty placed him on this earth for this purpose. The person’s death should remind the mourners to fill their lives with the spiritual growth that they are capable of." - Yechiel Michel Tukatinsky

"We must be knit together in this work as one man; we must entertain each other in brotherly affection; we must uphold a familiar commerce together in all meekness, gentleness, patience and liberality. We must delight in each other, make others’ conditions our own, rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together; always having before our eyes our commission and community as members of the same body." - John Winthrop

"And Man, whose heav'n-erected face the smiles of love adorn - Man's inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn." - Robert Burns, aka Rabbie Burns, Scotland's favourite son, the Ploughman Poet, Robden of Solway Firth, the Bard of Ayrshire and in Scotland as simply The Bard

"Sorrow is knowledge; they who know thee most must mourn the deepest over the fatal truth, the tree of knowledge is not that of life." -

"Sorrows are our best educators. A man can see further through a tear than a telescope... Grief should be the instructor of the wise: sorrow is knowledge; they who know the most must mourn the deepest o'er the fatal truth, the tree of knowledge that is not that of life." -

"The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly." -

"Even while we mourn the death of a loved one, there is room in our hearts for thankfulness for that life… Sober reflection can also lead us to a more sympathetic appreciation of the vital role death plays in the economy of life. Life’s significant and zest issue from our awareness of its transiency, its “fragile contingency.” The urge to create, the passion to perfect, the will to heal and cure – all the noblest of human enterprises grow in the soil of human mortality." - Sidney Greenberg

"A good man never dies - in worthy deed and prayer and helpful hands, and honest eyes, if smiles or tears be there; who lives for you and me - live for the world he tries to help - he lives eternally. A good man never dies. Who lives bravely take his share of toil and stress and, for his weaker fellows’ sake, makes every burden less - he may, at last, seem worn - lie fallen - hands and eyes folded - yet, though we mourn and mourn, a good man never dies." - James Whitcomb Riley

"Mourn not the dead. But rather mourn the apathetic throng - the cowed and meek who see the world's great anguish and its wrong, and dare not speak." - Ralph Chaplin, fully Ralph Hosea Chaplin

"He that lacks the time to mourn, lacks time to mend." - Author Unknown NULL

"The truly wise mourn not either for the dead or for the living." - Bhagavad Gītā, simply known as Gita NULL

"Your sorrow is for nothing. The truly wise mourn neither for the living nor for the dead. There never was a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor any of these kings. Nor is there any future in which we shall cease to be... That Reality which pervades the universe is indestructible. No one has power to change the Changeless... Death is certain for the born. Rebirth is certain for the dead. You should not grieve for what is unavoidable." - Bhagavad Gītā, simply known as Gita NULL

"The living all find death unpleasant; men mourn over it. And yet, what is death, but the unbending of the bow and its return to its case?" - Chuang Tzu, also spelled Chuang-tsze, Chuang Chou, Zhuangzi, Zhuang Tze, Zhuang Zhou, Chuang Tsu, Chouang-Dsi, Chuang Tse, or Chuangtze

"The true way to mourn the dead is to take care of the living who belong to them." - Edmund Burke

"Do not give to genius, but take from him! Thus only shall you be honoring him. do not mourn for him, but be merry, and drink deeply of his wisdom. Only thus will you be paying him the tribute rightly his." - Kahlil Gibran

"He that lacks time to mourn, lacks time to mend: eternity mourns that. ‘Tis an ill cure for life’s worst ills to have no time to feel them." - Henry Taylor, fully Sir Henry Taylor

"The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly." - Paramahansa Yogananda, born Mukunda Lal Ghosh

"He lives, he wakes — 'tis Death is dead, not he; Mourn not for Adonais. — Thou young Dawn, Turn all thy dew to splendour, for from thee The spirit thou lamentest is not gone. The One remains, the many change and pass; Heaven's light forever shines, Earth's shadows fly; Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass, Stains the white radiance of Eternity... He is made one with Nature: there is heard His voice in all her music, from the moan Of thunder, to the song of night's sweet bird. He is a portion of the loveliness Which once he made more lovely. The One remains, the many change and pass; Heaven's light forever shines, Earth's shadows fly; Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass, Stains the white radiance of Eternity, Until Death tramples it to fragments. The soul of Adonais, like a star, Beacons from the abode where the Eternal are." - Percy Bysshe Shelley

"As the depth of mystery is only felt by the most civilized and advanced soul, and is a cloud of which a savage knows nothing, it may be inferred, that it comes not as a penalty of culture, but as a delicate hand to lead it to a still better being. The solemn question of Hamlet, " To be, or not to be," surpasses the books of the school-house in shaping the spirit of man. The willow and cypress, that mourn over the tombs of our dead, impress our hearts the more deeply, because the wind that sighs through them, and the somber shades they cast, help us to pass over into the unknown world. Thus, by fact, and by the wandering shadow of fact, the soul of man is perpetual ly fed. They are the only manna that falls for it, in this wilderness march. " - David Swing, aka Professor Swing

"Every great loss demands that we choose life again. We need to grieve in order to do this. The pain we have not grieved over will always stand between us and life. When we don't grieve, a part of us becomes caught in the past like Lot's wife who, because she looked back, was turned into a pillar of salt. Grieving is not about forgetting. Grieving allows us to heal, to remember with love rather than pain. It is a sorting process. One by one you let go of the things that are gone and you mourn for them. One by one you take hold of the things that have become a part of who you are and build again. " - Rachel Naomi Remen

"The walnut of my brain glows. I feel it irradiate the skull. I am aware of the consciousness I have, and I mourn the consciousness I do not have." - Robert Bly

"I like to think that when I fall, A rain-drop in Death's shoreless sea, This shelf of books along the wall, Beside my bed, will mourn for me." - Robert Service, fully Robert William Service

"Here lie men who loved America because their ancestors generations ago helped in her founding. And other men who loved her with equal passion because they themselves or their own fathers escaped from oppression to her blessed shores. Here lie officers and men, Negroes and Whites, rich men and poor, together. Here are Protestants, Catholics, and Jews together. Here no man prefers another because of his faith or despises him because of his color. Here there are no quotas of how many from each group are admitted or allowed. Among these men there is no discrimination. No prejudices. No hatred. Theirs is the highest and purest democracy... Whosoever of us lifts his hand in hate against a brother, or who thinks himself superior to those who happen to be in the minority, makes of this ceremony and the bloody sacrifice it commemorates, an empty, hollow mockery. To this then, as our solemn sacred duty, do we the living now dedicate ourselves: To the right of Protestants, Catholics, and Jews, of White men and Negroes alike, to enjoy the democracy for which all of them have here paid the price... We here solemnly swear this shall not be in vain. Out of this and from the suffering and sorrow of those who mourn this, will come, we promise, the birth of a new freedom for the sons of men everywhere." - Roland B. Gittelsohn, fully Roland Bertram Gittelsohn

"This is the grimmest, and surely the holiest task we have faced since D–day. Here before us lie the bodies of comrades and friends. Men who until yesterday or last week laughed with us, joked with us, trained with us. Men who were on the same ships with us, and went over the side with us as we prepared to hit the beaches of this island.It is not easy to do so,” He continued. Some of us have buried our closest friends here. We saw these men killed before our very eyes. Any one of us might have died in their place. Indeed some of us are alive and breathing at this very monent only because men who lie here beneath us had the courage and strength to give their lives for ours. To speak in memory of men such as these is not easy . . . No, our poor power of speech can add nothing to what these men and the other dead of our Division who are not here have already done. All we can even hope to do is follow their example. To show the same selfless courage in peace as they did in war. To swear by the grace of God and the stubborn strength and power of human will, their sons and ours will never suffer these pains again. These men have done their job well. They have paid the ghastly price of freedom. . . . “We dedicate ourselves, first, to live together in peace the way they fought and are buried in this war. Here lie men who loved America because their ancestors generations ago helped in her founding and other men who loved her with equal passion because they themselves or their own fathers escaped from oppression to her blessed shores. Here lie officers and men, Negroes and whites, rich men and poor--- together . . . . Theirs is the highest and purest democracy. Any man among us, the living, who fails to understand that will thereby betray those who lie here dead. Whoever of us lifts his hand in hate against a brother . . . . makes of this ceremony and of the bloody sacrifice it commemorates an empty, hollow mockery. To one thing more do we consecrate ourselves in memory of those who sleep beneath these crosses and stars. We shall not foolishly suppose, as did the last generation of America’s fighting men, that victory on the battlefield will automatically guarantee the triumph of Democracy at home. This war with all its frightful heartache and suffering, is but the beginning of our generations struggle for democracy . . . . Thus do we memorialize those who, have ceased living with us, now live within us. Thus do we consecrate ourselves, the living, to carry on the struggle they began. Too much pain and heartache have fertilized the earth on which we stand. We here solemnly swear: This shall not be in vain! Out of this, and from the suffering and sorrow of those who mourn this, will come—we promise – the birth of a new freedom for the sons of men everywhere." - Roland B. Gittelsohn, fully Roland Bertram Gittelsohn

"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God which is with me." - Saint Paul, aka The Apostle Paul, Paul the Apostle or Saul of Tarsus NULL

"’Tis a strange species of generosity which requires a return infinitely more valuable than anything it could have bestowed; that demands as a reward for a defense of our property a surrender of those inestimable privileges, to the arbitrary will of vindictive tyrants, which alone give value to that very property." - Samuel Adams

"Exactly. She does not shine as a wife even in her own account of what occurred. I am not a whole-souled admirer of womankind, as you are aware, Watson, but my experience of life has taught me that there are few wives having any regard for their husbands who would let any man's spoken word stand between them and that husband's dead body. Should I ever marry, Watson, I should hope to inspire my wife with some feeling which would prevent her from being walked off by a housekeeper when my corpse was lying within a few yards of her." - Arthur Conan Doyle, fully Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle

"Sociobiology is not just any statement that biology, genetics, and evolutionary theory have something to do with human behavior. Sociobiology is a specific theory about the nature of genetic and evolutionary input into human behavior. It rests upon the view that natural selection is a virtually omnipotent architect, constructing organisms part by part as best solutions to problems of life in local environments. It fragments organisms into traits, explains their existence as a set of best solutions, and argues that each trait is a product of natural selection operating for the form or behavior in question. Applied to humans, it must view specific behaviors (not just general potentials) as adaptations built by natural selection and rooted in genetic determinants, for natural selection is a theory of genetic change. Thus, we are presented with unproved and unprovable speculations about the adaptive and genetic basis of specific human behaviors: why some (or all) people are aggressive, xenophobic, religious, acquisitive, or homosexual." - Stephan Jay Gould

"O for a lodge in some vast wilderness, some boundless contiguity of shade; where rumor of oppression and deceit, of unsuccessful or successful war, might never reach me more." - William Cowper

"It is native personality, and that alone, that endows a man to stand before presidents or generals, or in any distinguished collection, with aplomb -and not culture, or any intellect whatever." - Walt Whitman, fully Walter "Walt" Whitman

"When Sherman’s armies, (long after they left Atlanta,) were marching through South and North Carolina—after leaving Savannah, the news of Lee’s capitulation having been receiv’d—the men never mov’d a mile without from some part of the line sending up continued, inspiriting shouts. At intervals all day long sounded out the wild music of those peculiar army cries. They would be commenc’d by one regiment or brigade, immediately taken up by others, and at length whole corps and armies would join in these wild triumphant choruses. It was one of the characteristic expressions of the western troops, and became a habit, serving as a relief and outlet to the men—a vent for their feelings of victory, returning peace, &c. Morning, noon, and afternoon, spontaneous, for occasion or without occasion, these huge, strange cries, differing from any other, echoing through the open air for many a mile, expressing youth, joy, wildness, irrepressible strength, and the ideas of advance and conquest, sounded along the swamps and uplands of the South, floating to the skies. This exuberance continued till the armies arrived at Raleigh. There the news of the President’s murder was receiv’d. Then no more shouts or yells, for a week. All the marching was comparatively muffled. It was very significant—hardly a loud word or laugh in many of the regiments. A hush and silence pervaded all." - Walt Whitman, fully Walter "Walt" Whitman

"All her youth is gone, her beautiful youth outworn, daughter of tarn and tor, the moors that were once her home no longer know her step on the upland tracks forlorn where she was wont to roam." - Vita Sackville-West, fully The Hon Victoria Mary Sackville-West, Lady Nicolson

"One evening, when we were already resting on the floor of our hut, dead tired, soup bowls in hand, a fellow prisoner rushed in and asked us to run out to the assembly grounds and see the wonderful sunset. Standing outside we saw sinister clouds glowing in the west and the whole sky alive with clouds of ever-changing shapes and colors, from steel blue to blood red. The desolate grey mud huts provided a sharp contrast, while the puddles on the muddy ground reflected the glowing sky. Then, after minutes of moving silence, one prisoner said to another, How beautiful the world could be." - Viktor Frankl, fully Viktor Emil Frankl

"The tongue like a sharp knife... Kills without drawing blood." - Tripitaka or Tipitaka NULL

"A mote it is to trouble the mind's eye. In the most high and palmy state of Rome, A little ere the mightiest Julius fell, The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets; As stars with trains of fire and dews of blood, Disasters in the sun; and the moist star Upon whose influence Neptune's empire stands Was sick almost to doomsday with eclipse. Hamlet Prince of Denmark (Horatio at I, i)" - William Shakespeare

"And my large kingdom for a little grave, a little little grave, an obscure grave. King Richard II. Act iii. Sc. 3." - William Shakespeare

"Coal-black is better than another hue in that it scorns to bear another hue; for all the water in the ocean can never turn the swan's black legs to white, although she lave them hourly in the flood." - William Shakespeare

"I assure you, a tiger, or a venomous serpent could not rouse terror in me equal to that which he wakens." - Emily Brontë, fully Emily Jane Brontë, aka pseudonym Ellis Bell

"The divine in man is our sole ground for believing that there is anything divine in the universe outside of man. Man is the revealer of the divine. At bottom, the world is to be interpreted in terms of joy, but of a joy that includes all the pain, includes it and transforms it and transcends it. The Light of the World is a light that is saturated with the darkness which it has overcome and transfigured." - Felix Adler