Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes


"All men are born free and equal, and have certain natural, essential, and unalienable rights." - Thomas Jefferson

"We took the liberty to make some enquiries concerning the ground of their pretensions to make war upon nations who had done them no injury, and observed that we considered all mankind as our friends who had done us no wrong, nor had given us any provocation. The Ambassador [of Tripoli] answered us that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise." - Thomas Jefferson

"Contradictions have always existed in the soul of [individuals]. But it is only when we prefer analysis to silence that they become a constant and insoluble problem. We are not meant to resolve all contradictions but to live with them and rise above them and see them in the light of exterior and objective values which make them trivial by comparison." - Thomas Merton

"The burden of the national debt consists not in its being so many millions, or so many hundred millions, but in the quantity of taxes collected every year to pay the interest. If this quantity continue the same, the burden of the national debt is the same to all intents and purposes, be the capital more or less." - Thomas Paine

"Formless realities like soul etc. cannot be apprehended by senses and those which are formless are eternal." - Uttaradhyayana Sutra

"Providence certainly does not favor just certain individuals, but the deep wisdom of its counsel, instruction and ennoblement extends to all." - Wilhelm von Humboldt, fully Friedrich Wilhelm Christian Karl Ferdinand von Humboldt

"A wrong step by a leader is a warning to the followers. – African Proverb" -

"You may now ask how it can be true that this image of God, which is man’s soul, can be restored to His likeness here in this life; it would seem to be impossible. You must admit you are very far from such a position. If it were restored we would possess sound understanding, clear vision, and pure ardent Love of God and Spiritual things all of the time. Your thoughts, your reason and affections of the soul are so immersed in Earthly things that your have little perception of Spiritual things." - Walter Hilton

"Once you touch the biographies of human beings, the notion that political beliefs are logically determined collapses like a pricked balloon." - Walter Lippmann

"Its massive height near the City of Heaven joins a thousand mountains to the corner of the sea. Clouds, when I look back, close behind me, mists, when I enter them, are gone. A central peak divides the wilds and weather into many valleys... Needing a place to spend the night, I call to a wood-cutter over the river." - Wang Wei, aka Wang Youcheng

"Mahomet now proceeded to execute the great object of his religious aspirations, the purifying of the sacred edifice from the symbols of idolatry, with which it was crowded. All the idols in and about it, to the number of three hundred and sixty, were thrown down and destroyed. Among these, the most renowned was Hobal, an idol brought from Balka, in Syria, and fabled to have the power of granting rain. It was, of course, a great object of worship among the inhabitants of the thirsty desert. There were statues of Abraham and Ishmael also, represented with divining arrows in their hands ; an outrage on their memories, said Mahomet, being symbols of a diabolical art which they had never practiced. In reverence of their memories, therefore, these statues were demolished. There were paintings, also, depicting angels in the guise of beautiful women. The angels, said Mahomet, indignantly, are no such beings. There are celestial hour is provided in paradise for the solace of true believers ; but angels are ministering spirits of the Most High, and of too pure a nature to admit of sex. The paintings were accordingly obliterated. Even a dove, curiously carved of wood, he broke with his own hands, and cast upon the ground, as savoring of idolatry." - Washington Irving

"There is something nobly simple and pure in a taste for the cultivation of forest trees. It argues, I think, a sweet and generous nature to have his strong relish for the beauties of vegetation, and this friendship for the hardy and glorious sons of the forest. He who plants a tree looks forward to future ages, and plants for posterity. Nothing could be less selfish than this." - Washington Irving

"I said earlier that I do not believe an artist's life throws much light upon his works. I do believe, however, that, more often than most people realize, his works may throw light upon his life. An artist with certain imaginative ideas in his head may then involve himself in relationships which are congenial to them." - W. H. Auden, fully Wystan Hugh Auden

"Herein lie buried many things which if read with patience may show the strange meaning of being black here in the dawning of the Twentieth Century. This meaning is not without interest to you, Gentle Reader; for the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color-line." - W. E. B. Du Bois, fully William Edward Burghardt Du Bois

"Human child birth is an act which transforms the woman into an almost lifeless, bloodstained heap of flesh, tortured, tormented and driven frantic by pain." - Vladimir Lenin, fully Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

"A scholar always treads on the path of righteousness and as result becomes successful." - Rig Veda, or The Rigveda

"Your eyes should not seek evil sights; your ears should not seek evil tales; your tongue should not seek evil speech; your hands should not seek evil acts; your minds should not seek evil thoughts." - Atharva Veda, or Atharvaveda

"The individual cannot bargain with the State. The State recognizes no coinage but power: and it issues the coins itself." - Ursula Le Guin, fully Ursula Kroeber Le Guin

"The function of ignoring, of inattention, is as vital a factor in mental progress as the function of attention itself." - William James

"If Religion has raised us into a new world, if it has filled us with new ends of life, if it has taken possession of our hearts, and altered the whole turn of our minds, if it has changed all our ideas of things, given us a new set of hopes and fears, and taught us to live by the realities of an invisible world -- then we may humbly hope that we are true followers." - William Law

"Think upon the vanity and shortness of human life, and let death and eternity be often in your minds." - William Law

"Though the light and comfort of the outward world keeps even the worst men from any constant strong sensibility of that wrathful, fiery, dark and self-tormenting nature that is the very essence of every fallen unregenerate soul, yet every man in the world has more or less frequent and strong intimations given him that so it is with him in the inmost ground of his soul. How many inventions are some people forced to have recourse to in order to keep off a certain inward uneasiness, which they are afraid of and know not whence it comes? Alas, it is because there is a fallen spirit, a dark, aching fire, within them, which has never had its proper relief and is trying to discover itself and calling out for help at every cessation of worldly joy." - William Law

"Where has the Scripture made merit the rule or measure of charity?" - William Law

"Now the wives of the husband’s elder brothers and his younger sister are equal in status; while they may be no bond of affection, they have become close relatives by duty. Now a pure and gentle, modest and obedient person will by adhering to duty be able to create a deep friendship and to extend affection to obtain their help. As a result, her excellence and beauty will be brilliantly displayed, her faults and defects will be concealed and hidden, her parent-in-law will cherish and commend her, her husband and master will laud and praise her, and her reputation will shine in town and village, its great glory extending to her father and mother… This is the root of glory or dishonor, the basis of fame or infamy. Of course you have to be circumspect!" - Ban Zhao, courtesy name Huiban

"All phenomena are intricately and dynamically interrelated." - Dong Zhongshu, aka Dǒng Zhòngshū or Tung Chung-shu

"How cruelly sweet are the echoes that start, when memory plays an old tune on the heart." - Eliza Cook

"ROMEO: Is love a tender thing? it is too rough, too rude, too boisterous, and it pricks like thorn. MERCUTIO: If love be rough with you, be rough with love; prick love for pricking, and you beat love down." -

"Shall we now contaminate our fingers with base bribes, and sell the mighty space of our large honors for so much trash as may be grasped thus? I had rather be a dog and bay the moon than such a Roman." -

"I live in nature where everything is connected, circular. The seasons are circular. The planet is circular, and so is the planet around the sun. The course of water over the earth is circular coming down from the sky and circulating through the world to spread life and then evaporating up again. I live in a circular teepee and build my fire in a circle. The life cycles of plants and animals are circular. I live outside where I can see this. The ancient people understood that our world is a circle, but we modern people have lost site of that. I don’t live inside buildings because buildings are dead places where nothing grows, where water doesn’t flow, and where life stops. I don’t want to live in a dead place. People say that I don’t live in a real world, but it’s modern Americans who live in a fake world, because they have stepped outside the natural circle of life. Do people live in circles today? No. They live in boxes. They wake up every morning in a box of their bedrooms because a box next to them started making beeping noises to tell them it was time to get up. They eat their breakfast out of a box and then they throw that box away into another box. Then they leave the box where they live and get into another box with wheels and drive to work, which is just another big box broken into little cubicle boxes where a bunch of people spend their days sitting and staring at the computer boxes in front of them. When the day is over, everyone gets into the box with wheels again and goes home to the house boxes and spends the evening staring at the television boxes for entertainment. They get their music from a box, they get their food from a box, they keep their clothing in a box, they live their lives in a box. Break out of the box! This not the way humanity lived for thousands of years." - Elizabeth Gilbert

"I want to have a lasting experience of God, I told him. Sometimes I feel like I understand the divinity of this world, but then I lose it because I get distracted by my petty desires and fears." - Elizabeth Gilbert

"I was a veritable Johnny Appleseed of grand expectations, and all I reaped for my trouble was a harvest of bitter fruit." - Elizabeth Gilbert

"I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong." - Elizabeth II, born Elizabeth Alexandra May NULL

"If we could see ourselves as others see us, we would vanish on the spot." - Emil M. Cioran

"We have before us the ignoble spectacle of men who are sunken in debts and crimes being hailed as innocent, whereas the honor of a man whose life is spotless is being vilely attacked: A society that sinks to that level has fallen into decay." - Emile Zola

"The real reason for not committing suicide is because you always know how swell life gets again after the hell is over." - Ernest Hemingway, fully Ernest Miller Hemingway

"For all of them told happenings like narrations, chronological and careful, as if the ear of the world listened and wished to know surely." - Eudora Welty

"Insight doesn't happen often on the click of the moment, like a lucky snapshot, but comes in its own time and more slowly and from nowhere but within." - Eudora Welty

"We must not be cast down or discouraged in this work. There is no basis for discouragement. We are not alone. We will not, we cannot fail if we will do our duty. The Lord will magnify us even beyond our present talents and abilities." - Ezra Taft Benson