Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Weakness

"Indecision and hesitation are the weakness of a careful nature always intent on the saving of face and losing it thereby." - Henry Christopher "H.C." Bailey

"Earnestness is the devotion of all the faculties. It is the cause of patience; gives endurance; overcomes pain; strengthens weakness; braves dangers; sustains hope; makes light of difficulties, and lessens the sense of weariness in overcoming them." - Christian Nestell Bovee

"It was our belief that the love of possessions is a weakness to be overcome. Its appeal is to the material part, and if allowed its way, it will in time disturb one’s spiritual balance. Therefore, children must early learn the beauty of generosity. They are taught to give what they prize most, that they may taste the happiness of giving. If a child is inclined to be grasping, or to cling to any of his or her little possessions, legends are related about the contempt and disgrace falling upon the ungenerous and mean person... The Indians in their simplicity literally give away all that they have - to relatives, to guests of other tribes or clans, but above all to the poor and the aged, from whom they can hope for no return." - Charles Alexander Eastman, first named Ohiyesa

"The lust for power is not rooted in strength but in weakness." -

"Prayer is confession of one's own unworthiness and weakness." -

"To bear up under loss; to fight the bitterness of defeat and the weakness of grief; to be victor over anger, to smile when tears are close; to resist disease and evil men and base instincts; to hate hate and to love love; to go on when it would seem good to die; to look up with unquenchable faith in something ever more about to be - that is what any man can do, and be great." - Zane Grey Orig. name Pearl Grey

"Misfortunes display the skill of a general, prosperous circumstances conceal his weakness." - Horace, full name Quintus Horatius Flaccus NULL

"Weakness, fear, melancholy, together with ignorance, are the true sources of superstition. Hope, pride, presumption, a warm indignation, together with ignorance, are the true sources of enthusiasm." - David Hume

"There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love." - Washington Irving

"I have great admiration for power, a great terror of weakness, especially in my own sex, yet feel that my love is for those who overcome the mental and moral suffering and temptation through excess of tenderness rather than through excess of strength." - Anna Jameson

"Neutrality, as a lasting principle, is an evidence of weakness." - Louis Kossuth, also Lajos Kossuth, fully Lajos Kossuth de Udvard et Kossuthfalva

""Know thyself" means: devote time each day to studying yourself... ferreting out your weakness, working at self-improvement, purifying your immortal soul." - Israel Salanter Lipkin

"Pride and weakness are Siamese twins." - James Russell Lowell

"Amiability is very often a weakness, but the most unobjectionable one as a rule." -

"What is evil? - Whatever springs from weakness." -

"What is good? All that heightens the feeling of power, the will to power, power itself in man. What is bad? All that proceeds from weakness." -

"Lust is an enemy to the purse, a foe to the person, a canker to the mind, a corrosive to the conscience, a weakness of the wit, a besotter of the senses, and finally a mortal bane to all the body." - Pliny the Elder, full name Casus Plinius Secundus NULL

"I saw that all beings are fated to happiness: action is not life, but a way of wasting some force, an enervation. Morality is the weakness of the brain.”" - Arthur Rimbaud, fully Jean-Nicolas-Arthur Rimbaud

"Purpose without power is weakness; power without purpose is fatuity." -

"All cruelty springs from hard-heartedness and weakness." -

"The bigger the information media, the less courage and freedom they allow. Bigness means weakness." -

"It is the calling of great men, not so much to preach new truths, as to rescue from oblivion those old truths which it is our wisdom to remember and our weakness to forget." - Sydney Smith

"He who cannot rule his passions, nor hold them in check out of respect for the law, while he may be excusable on the ground of weakness, is incapable of enjoying conformity of spirit and knowledge and love of God; and he is lost inevitably." -

"The Universe is governed by divine laws, which, unlike those of man’s making, are immutable, inviolable and an end to themselves, not instruments for the attainment of particular objects. The love of God is man’s only true good. From other passions we can free ourselves, but not from love, because for the weakness of our nature we could not subsist without the enjoyment of something that may strength us by our union with it. Only the knowledge of God will enable us to subdue the hurtful passions, This, as the source of all knowledge, is the most perfect of all; and inasmuch as all knowledge is derived from the knowledge of God, we may know god better than we know ourselves. This knowledge in time leads to the love of God, which is the soul’s union with Him. The union of the soul with God is its second birth, and therein consists man’s immortality and freedom." -

"We deceive ourselves when we fancy that only weakness needs support. Strength needs it far more. A straw or a feather sustains itself long in the air." - Madame Swetchine, fully Anne Sophie Swetchine née Sophia Petrovna Soïmonov or Soymanof

"Although men are accused for not knowing their own weakness, yet perhaps as few know their own strength. It is in men as in soils, where sometimes there is a vein of gold which the owners knows not of." - Jonathan Swift, pen names, M.B. Drapier, Lemuel Gulliver, Isaac Bickerstaff

"If anger be the basis of our political activities, the excitement tends to become an end in itself, at the expense of the object to be achieved. side issues then assume an exaggerated importance, and all gravity of thought and action is lost; such excitement is not an exercise of strength, but a display of weakness." -

"All persons as they become less prosperous, are the more suspicious. They take everything as an affront; and from their conscious weakness, presume that they are neglected." -

"All man’s efforts, all his impulses to life, are only efforts to increase freedom. Wealth and poverty, fame and obscurity, power and subordination, strength and weakness, health and disease, culture and ignorance, work and leisure, repletion and hunger, virtue and vice, are only greater or lesser degrees of freedom." -

"The hardest sentiment to tolerate is pity, especially when it's deserved. Hatred is a tonic, it vitalizes us, it inspires vengeance, but pity deadens, it makes our weakness weaker." - Honoré de Balzac

"Nothing is a misery, unless our weakness apprehend it so; we cannot be more faithful to ourselves, in anything that’s manly, than to make ill-fortune as contemptible to us as it makes us to others." - Beaumont and Fletcher, Francis Beaumont (c.1585-1614) and John Fletcher

"Earnestness is the devotion of all the faculties. It is the cause of patience; gives endurance; overcome pain; strengthens weakness; braves dangers; sustains hope; make light of difficulties, and lessens the sense of weariness in overcoming them." - John Christian Bovee

"In the world there are only two ways of raising one’s self, either by one’s own industry or by the weakness of others." - Jean de La Bruyère

"Wherever progress ends, decline in variably begins; but remember that the healthful progress of society is like the natural life of man - it consists in the gradual and harmonious development of all its constitutional powers, all its component parts, and you introduce weakness and disease into the whole system whether you attempt to stint or to force its growth." - Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, fully Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, Lord Lytton

"The history of the world is the record of the weakness, frailty and death of public opinion." - Samuel Butler

"Think’st thou there is no tyranny but that of blood and chains? The despotism of vice, the weakness and the wickedness of luxury, the negligence, the apathy, the evils of sensual sloth - produce then thousand tyrants, whose delegated cruelty surpasses the worst acts of one energetic master, however harsh and hard in his own bearing." -

"Poverty is, except where there is an actual want of food an raiment, a thing much more imaginary than real. The shame of poverty - the shame of being though poor - it is a great and fatal weakness, though arising in this country, from the fashion of the times themselves." - William Cobbett

"Weakness is oftentimes so palpable as to be equivalent to wickedness." -

"He that resolves upon any great and good end, has, by the very resolution, scaled the chief barrier to it. He will find such resolution removing difficulties, searching out or making means, giving courage for despondency, and strength for weakness and like the star to the wise men of old, ever guiding him nearer and nearer to perfection." - Tyron Edwards

"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

"Failures are necessary to human experience. A man usually learns more from his failures than by his moments of success. No man ever succeeded in any cause without his share of failures... Our failures may sometimes be necessary in the sight of God to show us our own weakness, and that no man is sufficient unto himself." - Oliver Everette

"The underlying cause of all weakness and unhappiness is man has always been, and still is, weak habit-of-thought." - Horace Fletcher, nicknamed "The Great Masticator"

"Nature reacts not only to physical disease, but also to moral weakness; when the danger increases, she gives us greater courage." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"Without my work in natural science I should never have known human beings as they really are. In no other activity can one come so close to direct perception and clear thought, or realize so fully the errors of the senses, the mistakes of the intellect, the weakness and greatnesses of human character." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"The principles of war, not merely one principle, can be condensed into a single word - "Concentration." But the truth this needs to be amplified as the concentration of strength against weakness. And for real value, it needs to be explained that the concentration of strength against weakness depends on the dispersion of your opponent's strength." -

"Never speak by superlatives; for in so doing you will be likely to wound either truth or prudence. Exaggeration is neither thoughtful, wise, nor safe. It is a proof of the weakness of the understanding, or the want of discernment of him that utters it, so that even when he speaks the truth, he soon finds it is received with partial, or even utter disbelief." - David Hume

"The aging man of the middle twentieth century lives, not in the public world of atomic physics and conflicting ideologies, of welfare states and supersonic speed, but in his strictly private universe of physical weakness and mental decay." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"Nothing can be more touching than to behold a soft and tender female, who had been all weakness and dependence, and alive to every trivial roughness while treading the prosperous paths of life, suddenly rising by mental force to be the comforter and supporter of her husband under misfortune, and abiding with unshrinking firmness the bitterest blast of adversity." - Washington Irving

"In every government on earth is some trace of human weakness, some germ of corruption and degeneracy, which cunning will discover, and wickedness insensibly open, cultivate and improve. Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves therefore are its only safe depositories." - Thomas Jefferson