Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Sympathy

"Open your heart to sympathy, but close it against despondency. The flower which opens to receive the dew shuts against the rain" - Arthur Aughey

"Sympathy is the worst infirmity of muddling minds." - Henry Christopher "H.C." Bailey

"Let us cherish sympathy. By attention and exercise it may be improved in every man. It prepares the mind for receiving the impressions of virtue; and without it there can be no true politeness. Nothing is more odious than that insensibility which wraps a man up in himself and his own concerns, and prevents his being moved with either the joys or the sorrows of another." - James Beattie

"Graceful, particularly in youth, is the tear of sympathy, and the heart that melts at the tale of woe; we should not permit ease and indulgence to contract our affections, and wrap us up in selfish enjoyment. But we should accustom ourselves to think of the distresses of human life, of the solitary cottage, the dying parent, and the weeping orphan. Nor ought we ever to sport with pain and distress in any of our amusements, or treat even the meanest insect with wanton cruelty." - Hugh Blair

"There is in souls a sympathy with sounds, and as the mind is pitch’d, the ear is pleas’d with melting airs or martial, brisk, or grave; some chord in unison with what we hear is touch’d within us, and the heart replies." - William Cowper

"Quiet and sincere sympathy is often the most welcome and efficient consolation to the afflicted. Said a wise man to one in deep sorrow, "I did not come to comfort you; God only can do that; but I did come to say how deeply and tenderly I feel for you in your affliction."" - Tyron Edwards

"Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that man is here for the sake of other men - above all for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends, and also for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received. My peace of mind is often troubled by the depressing sense that I have borrowed too heavily from the work of other men." - Albert Einstein

"One is led astray alike by sympathy and coldness, by praise and by blame." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"Words of understanding and sympathy are wonderful instruments for unlocking the hearts and minds of men. They transcend all cultures, turning strangers into brothers, blotting out tolerance and discrimination." - Lucy R. Goodwin

"If we compare all these circumstances, we shall not doubt, that sympathy is the chief source of moral distinctions." - David Hume

"We may begin with considering a-new the nature and force of sympathy. The minds of all men are similar in their feelings and operations, nor can any one be actuated by any affection, of which all others are not, in some degree, susceptible. As in strings equally bound up, the motion of one communicates itself to the rest; so all the affections readily pass from one person to another, and beget correspondent movements in every human creature." - David Hume

"Acceptance is such an important commodity, some have called it "the first law of personal growth." Acceptance is simply seeing something the way it is and saying, "that is the way it is." Acceptance is not approval, consent, permission, authorization, sanction, concurrence, agreement, compliance, sympathy, endorsement, confirmation, support, ratification, assistance, advocating, backing, maintaining, authenticating, reinforcing, cultivating, encouraging, furthering, promoting, aiding, abetting or even liking what is." - John-Roger & Peter McWilliams NULL

"Pity may represent little more than impersonal concern which prompts the mailing of a check, but true sympathy is the personal concern which demands the giving of one's soul." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"The greatness of a popular character is less according to the ratio of his genius than the sympathy he shows with the prejudices and even the absurdities of his time. Fanatics do not select the cleverest, but the most fanatical leaders." -

"Our sympathy is never very deep unless founded on our own feelings. We pity, but do not enter in to the grief which we have never felt." - Letitia Elizabeth Landon

"Whoever walks a mile full of false sympathy walks to the funeral of the whole human race." -

"Life is given for wisdom, and yet we are not wise; for goodness, and we are not good; for overcoming evil, and evil remains; for patience and sympathy and love, and yet we are fretful and hard and weak and selfish. We are keyed not to attainment, but to struggle toward it." - Theodore T. Munger

"The attributes of a great lady may still be found in the rule of the four S's: Sincerity, Simplicity, Sympathy and Serenity." - Emily Post, born Emily Price

"There is little influence where there is not great sympathy." - Samuel I. Prime, fully Samuel Irenaeus Prime

"Sympathy is never wasted except when you give it to yourself." -

"Marriage is not a union merely between two creatures - it is a union between two spirits; and the intention of that bond is to perfect the nature of both, by supplementing their deficiencies with the force of contrast, giving to each sex those excellencies in which it is naturally deficient; to the one, strength of character and firmness of moral will; to the other, sympathy, meekness, tenderness; and just so solemn and glorious as these ends are for which the union was intended, just so terrible are the consequences if it be perverted and abused; for there is no earthly relationship which has so much power to ennoble and exalt." -

"Consideration is not merely a matter of emotional goodwill but of intellectual vigor and moral self-sacrifice. Wisdom must combine with sympathy. That is why consideration underlies the phrase "a scholar and a gentleman," which really sums up the ideal of the output of a college education." - Charles Seymour

"The world has no sympathy with any but positive griefs. It will pity you for what you lose; never for what you lack." - Madame Swetchine, fully Anne Sophie Swetchine née Sophia Petrovna Soïmonov or Soymanof

"The highest purpose of this world is not merely living in it, knowing it and making use of it, but realizing our own selves in it through expansion of sympathy; not alienating ourselves from it and dominating it, but comprehending and uniting it with ourselves in perfect union." -

"Sympathy is the first great lesson which man should learn. It will be ill for him if he proceeds no farther; if his emotions are but excited to roll back on his heart, and to be fostered in luxurious quiet. But unless he learns to feel for things in which he has no personal interest, he can achieve nothing generous or noble." - Thomas Talfourd, fully Sir Thomas Noon Talfourd

"All calm inquiry conducted among those who have their main principles of judgment in common, leads, if not to an approximation of views, yet, at least, to an increase of sympathy." - Thomas Arnold, aka Thomas "Tom" Arnold the Younger

"The chief characteristics of the (liberal) attitude are human sympathy, a receptivity to change, and a scientific willingness to follow reason rather than faith." - Chester Bliss Bowles

"The true proof of the inherent nobleness of our common nature is in the sympathy it betrays with what is noble whenever crowds are collected. Never believe the world base; if it were so, no society could hold together for a day." - Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, fully Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, Lord Lytton

"(Mathematical Division of Things, is never made in Minima; but Things may be Physically divided into their least parts; as when Concrete Matter is so far divided that it departs into Physical Monades, as it was in the first State of its Materiality...) Moreover the consideration of this Infinite Divisibility of every thing, into parts always less, is no unnecessary or unprofitable Theory, but a thing of great moment; viz. that thereby may be understood the Reasons and Causes of Things; and how all Creatures from the highest to the lowest are inseparably united with one another, by means of Subtiler Parts interceding or coming in between, which are the Emanations of one Creature into another, by which also they act one upon another at the greatest distance; and this is the Foundation of all Sympathy and Antipathy which happens in Creatures: And if these things be well understood of any one, he may easily see into the most secret and hidden Causes of Things, which ignorant Men call occult Qualities." - Anne Conway

"The sympathy of most people consists of a mixture of good-humor, curiosity, and self-importance." - Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

"How extraordinary is the situation of us mortals! Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he senses it. But without going deeper than our daily life, it is plain we exist for our fellow men, in the first place for those upon whose smiles and welfare our happiness depends, and next for all those unknown to us personally but to whose destinies we are bound by the tie of sympathy. A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the measure as I have received and am still receiving." - Albert Einstein

"Is it any weakness, pray, to be wrought on by exquisite music? to feel its wondrous harmonies searching the subtlest windings of your soul, the delicate fibres of life where no memory can penetrate, and binding together your whole being, past and present, in one ;unspeakable vibration; melting you in one moment with all the tenderness, all the love, that has been scattered through the toilsome years, concentrating in one emotion of heroic courage or resignation all the hard-learned lessons of self-renouncing sympathy, blending your present joy with past sorrow, and your present sorrow with all your past joy?" - George Eliot, pen name of Mary Ann or Marian Evans

"The most distinctive mark of a cultured mind is the ability to take another's point of view; to put one's self in another's place, and see life and its problems from a point of view different from one's own. To be willing to test a new idea; to be able to live on the edge of difference in all matters intellectually; to examine without heat the burning question of the day; to have imaginative sympathy, openness and flexibility of mind, steadiness and poise of feeling, cool calmness of judgment, is to have culture." - A. H. R. Fairchild, fully Arthur Henry Rolph Fairchild

"The busy world sometimes forgets that we need sympathy in our happiness as well as in our sorrow." - Charles Hanford Henderson

"Nature has no one distinguishable ultimate tendency with which to feel a sympathy" - William James

"A little courage helps more than much knowledge, a little human sympathy more than much courage, and the least tincture of the love of God more than all." -

"When pain is to be borne, a little courage helps more than much knowledge, a little human sympathy more than much courage, and the least tincture of the love of God more than all." -

"Making one object, in outward or inward nature, more holy to a single heart is reward enough for a life; for the more sympathies we gain or awaken for what is beautiful, by so much deeper will be our sympathy for that which is most beautiful." - James Russell Lowell

"The more sympathies we gain or awaken for what is beautiful, by so much deeper will be our sympathy for that which is most beautiful, the human soul." - James Russell Lowell

"Literature exists for the sake of the people - to refresh the weary, to console the sad, to hearten the dull and downcast, to increase man’s interest in the world, his joy of living, and his sympathy in all sorts of the condition of man." -

"It is not merely the multiplicity of tints, the gladness of tone, or the balminess of the air which delight in the spring; it is the still consecrated spirit of hope, the prophecy of happy days yet to come; the endless variety of nature, with presentiments of eternal flowers which never shall fade and sympathy with the blessedness of the ever-developing world." - Novalis, pseudonym of Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg NULL

"It is not the variegated colors, the cheerful sounds, and the warm breezes which enliven us so much in spring; it is the quiet prophetic spirit of endless hope, a presentiment of many happy days, the anticipation of higher everlasting blossoms and fruits, and the secret sympathy with the world that is developing itself." - Martin Opitz, fully Martin Opitz von Boberfeld

"True sympathy is beyond what can be seen and touched and reasoned upon." - Rosa Caroline Praed, aka Mrs. Campbell Praed

"Children require guidance and sympathy far more than instruction." - Anne Sullivan, fully Johanna "Anne" Mansfield Macy

"The world has no sympathy with any but positive griefs; it will pity you for what you lose, but never for what you lack." - Madame Swetchine, fully Anne Sophie Swetchine née Sophia Petrovna Soïmonov or Soymanof

"Objects of knowledge maintain an infinite distance from us who are the knowers. For knowledge is not union. Therefore the further world of freedom awaits us there where we reach truth, not through feeling it by senses or knowing it by reason, but through union of perfect sympathy." -

"I have said that the soul is not more than the body, and I have said that the body is not more than the soul, and nothing, not God, is greater to one than one's self is, and whoever walks a furlong without sympathy walks to his own funeral drest in his shroud, and I or you pocketless of a dime may purchase the pick of the earth, and to glance with an eye or show a bean in its pod confounds the learning of all times, and there is no trade or employment but the young man following it may become a hero, and there is no object so soft but it makes a hub for the wheel'd universe, and I say to any man or woman, Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes. And I say to mankind, Be not curious about God, for I who am curious about each am not curious about God, (No array of terms can say how much I am at peace about God and about death.) I hear and behold God in every object, yet understand God not in the least, nor do I understand who there can be more wonderful than myself. Why should I wish to see God better than this day? I see something of God each hour of the twenty-four, and each moment then, in the faces of men and women I see God, and in my own face in the glass, I find letters from God dropt in the street, and everyone is sign'd by God's name, and I leave them where they are, for I know that wheresoe'er I go, others will punctually come for ever and ever. " - Walt Whitman, fully Walter "Walt" Whitman

"There is poetry and there is beauty in real sympathy; but there is more - there is action. The noblest and most powerful form of sympathy is not merely the responsive tear, the echoed sigh, the answering look; it is the embodiment of the sentiment of actual help." - Octavius Winslow

"The first principle of Positive morality is the preponderance of social sympathy." -

"A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death." - Albert Einstein