Great Throughts Treasury

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


"Remorse is virtue's root; its fair increase are fruits of innocence and blessedness." - William Cullen Bryant

"Remorse is the echo of a lost virtue." -

"When a man decides to do something he must go all the way, but he must take responsibility for what he does. He must know first why he is doing it and then he must proceed with his actions with no doubts or remorse." -

"Remorse turns us against ourselves." -

"Be grateful to the man who cares nothing for your remorse. You are his equal." - René Char

"Remorse begets reform." - William Cowper

"There is no heart without remorse, no life without some misfortune, no one but what is something stained with sin." -

"Bashfulness may sometimes exclude pleasure, but seldom opens any avenue to sorrow or remorse." -

"Wisdom and virtue are by no means sufficient, without the supplemental laws of good-breeding, to secure freedom from degenerating into rudeness, or self-esteem from swelling into insolence. A thousand incivilities may be committed, and a thousand offices neglected, without any remorse of conscience or reproach from reason." -

"The laws of conscience, which we say are born of nature, are born of custom. Each man, holding in inward veneration the opinions and the behavior approved and accepted around him, cannot break loose from them without remorse, or apply himself to them without self-satisfaction." - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"Remorse is surgical in action; it cuts away foul tissues of the mind." - Christopher Morley, fully Christopher Darlington Morley

"Remorse is the consciousness of doing wrong with no sense of love; penitence the same consciousness with the feeling of sorrow and tenderness added." -

"For he who has acquired the habit of lying or deceiving his father, will do the same with less remorse to others. I believe that it is better to bind your children to you by a feeling of respect, and by gentleness, then by fear." -

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

"There is never enough time to say our last word - the last word of our love, of our desire, faith, remorse, submission, revolt." - Joseph Conrad, born Teodor Josef Konrad Korzeniowski

"God speaks to our hearts through the voice of remorse." - François-Joachim de Pierre de Bernis

"All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you: the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was." - Ernest Hemingway, fully Ernest Miller Hemingway

"Remorse is the pain of sin." - Joseph Parker

"Remorse sleeps during prosperity but awakes to bitter consciousness during adversity." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"The more cruel the wrong that men commit against an individual or a people, the deeper their hatred and contempt for their victim. Conceit and false pride on the part of a nation prevent the rise of remorse for its crime." - Albert Einstein

"Every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going one knows that he does is morally indefensible. He is a kind of confidence man, preying on people’s vanity, ignorance, or loneliness, gaining their trust, and betraying them without remorse." - Janet Malcolm

"Remorse is impotent; it will sin again. Only repentance is strong; it can end everything." - Henry Miller, aka Henry Valentine Miller

"Religion indeed enlightens, terrifies, subdues; it gives faith, it inflicts remorse, it inspires resolutions, it draws tears, it inflames devotion, but only for the occasion." - John Henry Newman

"Remorse is the punishment of crime; repentance, its expiation. The former appertains to a tormented conscience; the later to a soul changed for the better." - Joseph Joubert

"You cannot lay remorse upon the innocent nor lift it from the heart of the guilty, unbidden shall it call in the night, that men may wake and gaze upon themselves." - Kahlil Gibran

"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

"Wickedness is a wonderfully diligent architect of misery, of shame, accompanied with terror, and commotion, and remorse, and endless perturbation." - Plutarch, named Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus after becoming Roman citizen NULL

"It isn’t the experience of today that drives men mad. It is the remorse for something that happened yesterday, and the dread of what tomorrow may disclose." - Robert Jones Burdette

"We would willingly and without remorse, sacrifice not only the present moment, but all the interval (no matter how long) that separates us from any favorite object." - William Hazlitt

"When a man decides to do something he must go all the way, but he must take responsibility for what he does. He must know first why he is doing it and then he must proceed with his actions with no doubts or remorse." - Carlos Castaneda, fully Carlos César Salvador Arana Castaneda

"The most unnoticed of all miracles is the miracle of repentance. It is not the same thing as rebirth; it is transformation, creation… Repentance is an absolute, spiritual decision made in truthfulness. Its motivations are remorse for the past and responsibility for the future." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"True remorse is never just a regret over consequences; it is a regret over motive." - Mignon McLaughlin

"I work all day, and get half drunk at night. Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare. In time the curtain edges will grow light. Till then I see what's really always there: Unresting death, a whole day nearer now, Making all thought impossible but how And where and when I shall myself die. Arid interrogation: yet the dread Of dying, and being dead, Flashes afresh to hold and horrify. The mind blanks at the glare. Not in remorse – The good not used, the love not given, time Torn off unused – nor wretchedly because An only life can take so long to climb Clear of its wrong beginnings, and may never: But at the total emptiness forever, The sure extinction that we travel to And shall be lost in always. Not to be here, Not to be anywhere, And soon; nothing more terrible, nothing more true. This is a special way of being afraid No trick dispels. Religion used to try, That vast moth-eaten musical brocade Created to pretend we never die, And specious stuff that says no rational being Can fear a thing it cannot feel, not seeing That this is what we fear – no sight, no sound, No touch or taste or smell, nothing to think with, Nothing to love or link with, The anesthetic from which none come round. And so it stays just on the edge of vision, A small unfocused blur, a standing chill That slows each impulse down to indecision. Most things may never happen: this one will, And realization of it rages out In furnace fear when we are caught without People or drink. Courage is no good: It means not scaring others. Being brave Lets no-one off the grave. Death is no different whined at than withstood. Slowly light strengthens, and the room takes shape. It stands plain as a wardrobe, what we know, Have always known, know that we can't escape Yet can't accept. One side will have to go. Meanwhile telephones crouch, getting ready to ring In locked-up offices, and all the uncaring Intricate rented world begins to rouse. The sky is white as clay, with no sun. Work has to be done. Postmen like doctors go from house to house. " - Philip Larkin, fully Philip Arthur Larkin

"Being conscious of having done a wicked action leaves stings of remorse behind it, which, like an ulcer in the flesh, makes the mind smart with perpetual wounds; for reason, which chases away all other pains, creates repentance, shames the soul with confusion, and punishes it with torment. " - Plutarch, named Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus after becoming Roman citizen NULL

"For the non-believers, however, repentance is more of a burden. Having suffered little pain or remorse at the time of the sin, they are obliged to suffer when they repent in order to balance the pleasure of the sin." - Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav or Breslov, aka Reb Nachman Breslover or Nachman from Uman NULL

"LOVE'S SERVILE LOT - LOVE, mistress is of many minds, Yet few know whom they serve ; They reckon least how little Love Their service doth deserve. The will she robbeth from the wit, The sense from reason's lore ; She is delightful in the rind, Corrupted in the core. She shroudeth vice in virtue's veil, Pretending good in ill ; She offereth joy, affordeth grief, A kiss where she doth kill. A honey-shower rains from her lips, Sweet lights shine in her face ; She hath the blush of virgin mind, The mind of viper's race. She makes thee seek, yet fear to find To find, but not enjoy : In many frowns some gliding smiles She yields to more annoy. She woos thee to come near her fire, Yet doth she draw it from thee ; Far off she makes thy heart to fry, And yet to freeze within thee. She letteth fall some luring baits For fools to gather up ; Too sweet, too sour, to every taste She tempereth her cup. Soft souls she binds in tender twist, Small flies in spinner's web ; She sets afloat some luring streams, But makes them soon to ebb. Her watery eyes have burning force ; Her floods and flames conspire : Tears kindle sparks, sobs fuel are, And sighs do blow her fire. May never was the month of love, For May is full of flowers ; But rather April, wet by kind, For love is full of showers. Like tyrant, cruel wounds she gives, Like surgeon, salve she lends ; But salve and sore have equal force, For death is both their ends. With soothing words enthralled souls She chains in servile bands ; Her eye in silence hath a speech Which eye best understands. Her little sweet hath many sours, Short hap immortal harms ; Her loving looks are murd'ring darts, Her song bewitching charms. Like winter rose and summer ice, Her joys are still untimely ; Before her Hope, behind Remorse : Fair first, in fine unseemly. Moods, passions, fancy's jealous fits Attend upon her train : She yieldeth rest without repose, And heaven in hellish pain. Her house is Sloth, her door Deceit, And slippery Hope her stairs ; Unbashful Boldness bids her guests, And every vice repairs. Her diet is of such delights As please till they be past ; But then the poison kills the heart That did entice the taste. Her sleep in sin doth end in wrath, Remorse rings her awake ; Death calls her up, Shame drives her out, Despairs her upshot make. Plough not the seas, sow not the sands, Leave off your idle pain ; Seek other mistress for your minds, Love's service is in vain." - Robert Southwell, also Saint Robert Southwell

"Wit will never make a man rich, but there are places where riches will always make a wit." - Samuel Johnson, aka Doctor Johnson

"Gender named literature simply fun hair." - Stephane Mallarme, born Étienne Mallarmé

"Down comes rain drop, bubble follows; On the house-top one by one Flock the synagogue of swallows, Met to vote that autumn's gone." - Théophile Gautier, fully Pierre Jules Théophile Gautier, aka Le Bon Theo

"Sometimes I feel I don't want to know anything more about [history] than I know already. [...] Because what's the use of learning that I am one of a long row only--finding out that there is set down in some old book somebody just like me, and to know that I shall only act her part; making me sad, that's all. The best is not to remember that your nature and you past doings have been kist like thousands' and thousands', and that your coming life and doings 'll be like thousands' and thousands'. [...] I shouldn't mind learning why--why the sun do shine on the just and the unjust alike, [...] but that's what books will not tell me." - Thomas Hardy

"He thought what a fine thing it was that people made music all over the world, even in the strangest settings – probably even on polar expeditions." - Thomas Mann, fully Paul Thomas Mann

"All pictures that's painted with sense and with thought Are painted by madmen as sure as a groat; For the greater the fool in the pencil more blest, And when they are drunk they always paint best." - William Blake

"Vanity wants nothing but the motive power to develop into absolute wickedness." - Wilkie Collins, fully William Wilkie Collins

"At issue in the Hiss Case was the question whether this sick society, which we call Western civilization, could in its extremity still cast up a man whose faith in it was so great that he would voluntarily abandon those things which men hold good, including life, to defend it." - Whittaker Chambers, born Jay Vivian Chambers, aka Jay David Whittaker Chambers

"The Wizard of Oz (M. G. M.) should settle an old Hollywood controversy: whether fantasy can be presented on the screen as successfully with human actors as with cartoons." - Whittaker Chambers, born Jay Vivian Chambers, aka Jay David Whittaker Chambers

"What am I, after all, but a child, pleas’d with the sound of my own name? repeating it over and over; I stand apart to hear—it never tires me." - Walt Whitman, fully Walter "Walt" Whitman

"Vast tribes of savages, who had always been idolaters, who were perfectly incapable, from their low state of civilization, of forming any but anthropomorphic conceptions of the Deity, or of concentrating their attention steadily on any invisible object, and who for the most part were converted not by individual persuasion but by the commands of their chiefs, embraced Christianity in such multitudes that their habits of mind soon became the dominating habits of the Church. From this time the tendency to idolatry was irresistible. The old images were worshipped under new names, and one of the most prominent aspects of the Apostolical teaching was in practice ignored." - W. E. H. Lecky, fully William Edward Hartpole Lecky

"A man who has decided upon self-destruction is far removed from mundane affairs, and to sit down and write his will would be, at that moment, an act just as absurd as winding up one’s watch, since together with the man, the whole world is destroyed; the last letter is instantly reduced to dust and, with it, all the postmen; and like smoke, vanishes the estate bequeathed to a nonexistent progeny." - Vladimir Nabokov, fully Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov