Great Throughts Treasury

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


"In every parting there is an image of death." - George Eliot, pen name of Mary Ann or Marian Evans

"The grief of parting and the agony of separation are the ways of the world." - Japanese Proverbs

"Within the scientific skeleton of truth, religious meaning attempts to flourish, often by denying the scientific framework itself — rather like sawing off the branch where you cheerily perch. The disgust is mutual because modern science gleefully denies virtually all the basic tenets of religion in general. According to the typical view of modern science, religion is not much more than a holdover from the childhood of humanity, with about as much reality as, say, Santa Claus. Whether the religious claims are more literal (Moses parting the Red Sea) or more mystical (religion invovlves direct spiritual experience) modern science denies them all, simply because there is no credible empirical evidence for any of them." - Ken Wilber, fully Kenneth Earl Wilber II

"I am Milarepa, the yogi from Tibet. There is a great purpose to not having possessions." He then explained this in a spiritual song: "I have no desire for wealth or possessions, and so I have nothing. I do not experience the initial suffering of having to accumulate possessions, the intermediate suffering of having to guard and keep up possessions, nor the final suffering of loosing the possessions. This is a wonderful thing. I have no desire for friends or relations. I do not experience the initial suffering of forming an attachment, the intermediate suffering of having disagreements with friends and family, nor the final suffering of parting with them. Therefore it is good to be without friends and relations. I have no desire for pleasant conversation. I do not experience the initial suffering of beginning conversation, the intermediate suffering of wondering whether to continue the conversation, nor the final suffering of the conversation deteriorating. Therefore I do not delight in pleasant conversation. I have no desire for a home land and have no fixed residence. I do not experience the initial suffering of partiality of thinking that 'this is my land and that place isn't.' I do not experience the intermediate suffering of yearning for my land. And I do not experience the final suffering of having to protect my land. Therefore I do not have a fixed abode." - Milarepa, fully Jetsun Milarepa NULL

"The logs of wood which move down the river together Are driven apart by every wave. Such inevitable parting Should not be the cause of misery." - Nāgārjuna, fully Acharya Nāgārjuna NULL

"Lone amid the cafe's cheer, Sad of heart am I to-night; Dolefully I drink my beer, But no single line I write. There's the wretched rent to pay, Yet I glower at pen and ink: Oh, inspire me, Muse, I pray, It is later than you think! Hello! there's a pregnant phrase. Bravo! let me write it down; Hold it with a hopeful gaze, Gauge it with a fretful frown; Tune it to my lyric lyre . . . Ah! upon starvation's brink, How the words are dark and dire: It is later than you think. Weigh them well. . . . Behold yon band, Students drinking by the door, Madly merry, bock in hand, Saucers stacked to mark their score. Get you gone, you jolly scamps; Let your parting glasses clink; Seek your long neglected lamps: It is later than you think. Look again: yon dainty blonde, All allure and golden grace, Oh so willing to respond Should you turn a smiling face. Play your part, poor pretty doll; Feast and frolic, pose and prink; There's the Morgue to end it all, And it's later than you think. Yon's a playwright -- mark his face, Puffed and purple, tense and tired; Pasha-like he holds his place, Hated, envied and admired. How you gobble life, my friend; Wine, and woman soft and pink! Well, each tether has its end: Sir, it's later than you think. See yon living scarecrow pass With a wild and wolfish stare At each empty absinthe glass, As if he saw Heaven there. Poor damned wretch, to end your pain There is still the Greater Drink. Yonder waits the sanguine Seine . . . It is later than you think. Lastly, you who read; aye, you Who this very line may scan: Think of all you planned to do . . . Have you done the best you can? See! the tavern lights are low; Black's the night, and how you shrink! God! and is it time to go? Ah! the clock is always slow; It is later than you think; Sadly later than you think; Far, far later than you think." - Robert Service, fully Robert William Service

"The feeling of pity alone is enough to make Man choose the good and reject the bad." - Samuel David Luzzatto, aka by acronym of SHaDaL or SHeDaL

"Then you my goddess with your immortal lips smiling Would ask what now afflicts me, why again I am calling and what now I with my restive heart Desired: Whom now shall I beguile To bring you to her love? Who now injures you, Sappho? For if she flees, soon shall she chase And, rejecting gifts, soon shall she give. If she does not love you, she shall do so soon Whatsoever is her will. Come to me now to end this consuming pain Bringing what my heart desires to be brought: Be yourself my ally in this fight.” ― Sappho 4 people liked it like “Some say an army of horsemen, some of footsoldiers, some of ships, is the fairest thing on the black earth, but I say it is what one loves. It's very easy to make this clear to everyone, for Helen, by far surpassing mortals in beauty, left the best of all husbands and sailed to Troy, mindful of neither her child nor her dear parents, but with one glimpse she was seduced by Aphrodite. For easily bent... and nimbly...[missing text]... has reminded me now of Anactoria who is not here; I would much prefer to see the lovely way she walks and the radiant glance of her face than the war-chariots of the Lydians or their footsoldiers in arms.” “Honestly, I wish I were dead. Weeping many tears, she left me and said, “Alas, how terribly we suffer, Sappho. I really leave you against my will.” And I answered: “Farewell, go and remember me. You know how we cared for you. If not, I would remind you ... of our wonderful times. For by my side you put on many wreaths of roses and garlands of flowers around your soft neck. And with precious and royal perfume you anointed yourself. On soft beds you satisfied your passion. And there was no dance, no holy place from which we were absent." " - Sappho NULL

"Men of England! who inherit rights that cost your sires their blood." - Thomas Campbell

"Oh, leave this barren spot to me! Spare, woodman, space the beechen tree!" - Thomas Campbell

"What greater calamity can fall upon a nation than the loss of worship." - Thomas Carlyle

"What is important, then, is not that the critic should possess a correct abstract definition of beauty for the intellect, but a certain kind of temperament, the power of being deeply moved by the presence of beautiful objects." - Walter Pater, fully Walter Horatio Pater

"All my stories are webs of style and none seems at first blush to contain much kinetic matter. For me style is matter." - Vladimir Nabokov, fully Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov

"Kay Arr, said the nursemaid, and Septimus heard her say Kay Arr close to his ear, deeply, softly, like a mellow organ, but with a roughness in her voice like a grasshopper's, which rasped his spine deliciously and sent running up into his brain waves of sound which, concussing, broke. A marvelous discovery indeed - that the human voice in certain atmospheric conditions (for one must be scientific, above all scientific) can quicken trees into life!" - Virginia Woolf, nee Stephen, fully Adeline Virginia Woolf

"Fables, like parables, are more ancient than formal arguments and are often the most effective means of presenting and impressing both truth and duty." - Tryon Edwards

"I saw before me, sitting on the counter, a handsome, burly man, heavily built, and not looking, to my gymnasium-trained eye, in really good condition for athletic work. I perhaps felt a little prejudiced against him from having read ‘‘Leaves of Grass’’ on a voyage, in the early stages of seasickness,—a fact which doubtless increased for me the intrinsic unsavoriness of certain passages. But the personal impression made on me by the poet was not so much of manliness as of Boweriness, if I may coin the phrase. . . . This passing impression did not hinder me from thinking of Whitman with hope and satisfaction at a later day when regiments were to be raised for the war, when the Bowery seemed the very place to enlist them. . . . When, however, after waiting a year or more, Whitman decided that the proper post for him was hospital service, I confess to feeling a reaction, which was rather increased than diminished by his profuse celebration of his own labors in that direction. Hospital attendance is a fine thing, no doubt, yet if all men, South and North, had taken the same view of their duty that Whitman held, there would have been no occasion for hospitals on either side." - Thomas Wentworth Higginson

"We are citizens of the world. The tragedy of our times is that we do not know this." - Woodrow Wilson, fully Thomas Woodrow Wilson

"But this swift business I must uneasy make, lest too light winning Make the prize light. The Tempest (Prospero at I, ii)" -

"Or have we eaten on the insane root that takes the reason prisoner?" -

"My life had stood--a Loaded Gun-- In Corners--till a Day The Owner passed--identified-- And carried Me away-- And now We roam in Sovereign Woods-- And now We hunt the Doe-- And every time I speak for Him-- The Mountains straight reply-- And do I smile, such cordial light Upon the Valley glow-- It is as a Vesuvian face Had let its pleasure through-- And when at Night--Our good Day done-- I guard My Master's Head-- 'Tis better than the Eider-Duck's Deep Pillow--to have shared-- To foe of His--I'm deadly foe-- None stir the second time-- On whom I lay a Yellow Eye-- Or an emphatic Thumb-- Though I than He--may longer live He longer must--than I-- For I have but the power to kill, Without--the power to die." - Emily Dickinson, fully Emily Elizabeth Dickinson

"I put the words down and push them a bit." - Evelyn Waugh, fully Evelyn Arthur St. John Waugh