Great Throughts Treasury

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


"How often do we contradict the right rules of reason in the course of our lives! Reason itself is true and just, but the reason of every particular man is weak and wavering, perpetually swayed and turned by his interests, his passions, and his vices." - Jonathan Swift, pen names, M.B. Drapier, Lemuel Gulliver, Isaac Bickerstaff

"The wavering mind is but a base possession." - Euripedes NULL

"Leaves seem light and useless, and idle and wavering, and changeable - they even dance; yet God has made them part of the oak. In so doing, He has give us a lesson, not to deny the stout-heartedness within because we see the lightsomeness without." - James Henry Leigh Hunt

"What is life? A gulf of troubled waters, where the soul, like a vexed bark, is tossed upon the waves of pain and pleasure by the wavering breath of passions." - Letitia Elizabeth Landon

"To see the world as being ruled by a divine love which sets infinite value upon each individual and includes all men in its scope, and yet to live as though the world were a realm of chance in which each must fight for his own interests against the rest, argues a very dim and wavering vision of God’s rule." - John Hick, fully John Harwood Hick

"Man is but a short, critical stage between the animal and the spiritual. His state is one of constant wavering, of soaring and descending. Undeviating humanity is nonexistent. The emancipated man is yet to emerge." - Fritz A. Rothschild

"Prayer is more the mere outburst of the desires or sorrows of the soul, seeking that satisfaction or consolation which it does not find within itself. It is the expression of a faith, instinctive or reflective, obscure or clear, wavering or steadfast, in the existence, the presence, the power and the sympathy of the Being to whom prayer is addressed." - François Guizot, fully François Pierre Guillaume Guizot

"All the strength and force of man comes from his faith in things unseen. He who believes is strong; he who doubts is weak. Strong convictions precede great actions. The man strongly possessed of an idea is master of all who are uncertain or wavering. Clear, deep, living convictions rule the world." - James Freeman Clarke

"The torment of suspense is very great; and as soon as the wavering, perplexed mind begins to determine, be the determination which way soever, it will find itself at ease." -

"Reputation is only a candle, of wavering and uncertain flame, and easily blown out, but it is the light by which the world looks for and finds merit. " - James Russell Lowell

"Man liveth from hour to hour, and knoweth not what may happen; Influences circle him on all sides, and yet must he answer for his actions: For the being that is master of himself, bendeth events to his will, But a slave to selfish passions is the wavering creature of circumstance." - Martin Tupper, fully Martin Farquhar Tupper

"For Posidonius, ouranos, heaven, offers the paradigm for man. The stars teach ethics. The individual who pursues his duties without emotional involvement in them and without the correlative expectation of results, who recognizes honesty as the good and the hallmark of the wise man, and who seeks to honour the higher daimon in himself discovers a fidelity within the soul which is both its overarching oikeiosis and its link to the World-Soul. He sees that the principles of physics can be translated into the laws of psychology from which are derived ethics and the rules of right conduct. Without wavering in his loyalty to the deepest insights of the Stoic tradition, Posidonius exemplified in his own life and thought the ability of the philosopher to penetrate afresh and more precisely the mystery of the kosmos and the less ordered realm in which human beings dwell. His fearlessness of method and the marriage of observation and abstract thought influenced the generations which came immediately after him, and inspired a number of thinkers in the dawn of the European Enlightenment. [paraphrased]" - Posidonius, aka Posidonius of Rhodes or Posidonius of Apameia (meaning "of Poseidon") NULL

"And my spirit is grown to a lordly great compass within, That the length and the breadth and the sweep of the marshes of Glynn Will work me no fear like the fear they have wrought me of yore When length was failure, and when breadth was but bitterness sore, And when terror and shrinking and dreary unnamable pain Drew over me out of the merciless miles of the plain,— Oh, now, unafraid, I am fain to face The vast sweet visage of space." - Sidney Lanier

"If I were king, my pipe should be premier. The skies of time and chance are seldom clear, We would inform them all with bland blue weather. Delight alone would need to shed a tear, For dream and deed should war no more together. Art should aspire, yet ugliness be dear; Beauty, the shaft, should speed with wit for feather; And love, sweet love, should never fall to sere, If I were king. But politics should find no harbour near; The Philistine should fear to slip his tether; Tobacco should be duty free, and beer; In fact, in room of this, the age of leather, An age of gold all radiant should appear, If I were king." - William Henley, fully William Ernest Henley

"Naturally, if one's days were passed in this seeing of angular essences, this reducing of lovely evenings, with all their flamingo clouds and blue and silver to a white deal four-legged table (and it was a mark of the finest minds to do so), naturally one could not be judged like an ordinary person." - Virginia Woolf, nee Stephen, fully Adeline Virginia Woolf

"The world cares very little about what a man or woman knows; it is what a man or woman is able to do that counts." - Virgil, also Vergil, fully Publius Vergilius Maro NULL

"Come hither, come hither, come hither: here shall he see no enemy but winter and rough weather." - William Shakespeare

"Rumour doth double, like the voice and echo, the numbers of the fear'd." - William Shakespeare

"Run to your houses, fall upon your knees, pray to the gods to intermit the plague that needs must light on this ingratitude." - William Shakespeare

"My own curiosity and interest are insatiable." - Emma Lazarus