Quotations about   heart

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For life without life’s joys
Is living death; and such a life is his.
Riches and rank and show of majesty
And state, where no joy is, are empty, vain
And unsubstantial shadows, of no weight
To be compared with happiness of heart.

[τὰς γὰρ ἡδονὰς
ὅταν προδῶσιν ἄνδρες, οὐ τίθημ᾽ ἐγὼ
ζῆν τοῦτον, ἀλλ᾽ ἔμψυχον ἡγοῦμαι νεκρόν.
πλούτει τε γὰρ κατ᾽ οἶκον, εἰ βούλει, μέγα
καὶ ζῆ τύραννον σχῆμ᾽ ἔχων: ἐὰν δ᾽ ἀπῇ
τούτων τὸ χαίρειν, τἄλλ᾽ ἐγὼ καπνοῦ σκιᾶς
οὐκ ἂν πριαίμην ἀνδρὶ πρὸς τὴν ἡδονήν]

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Antigone, l. 1165ff [Messenger] (441 BC) [tr. Watling (1947), Epilogos, l. 977ff]
    (Source)

Original Greek. Alternate translations:

For him I reckon but
An animate corpse, and not a living man,
Whose life's delights are cast away. Thy house,
I grant thee, may be richly stored with wealth;
And thou may'st live in royal pomp: but if
Joy is not there the while, and I must lose
All happiness thereby, I would not give
Smoke's shadow as the price of all the rest.
[tr. Donaldson (1848)]

For a life
Without life's joys I count a living death.
You'll tell me he has ample store of wealth,
The pomp and circumstance of kings; but if
These give no pleasure, all the rest I count
The shadow of a shade, nor would I weigh
His wealth and power 'gainst a dram of joy.
[tr. Storr (1859)]

For when a man is lost to joy,
I count him not to live, but reckon him
A living corse. Riches belike are his,
Great riches and the appearance of a King;
But if no gladness come to him, all else
Is shadow of a vapour, weighed with joy.
[tr. Campbell (1873)]

When a man has forfeited his pleasures, I do not reckon his existence as life, but consider him just a breathing corpse. Heap up riches in your house, if you wish! Live with a tyrant's pomp! But if there is no joy along with all of that, I would not pay even the shadow of smoke for all the rest, compared with joy.
[tr. Jebb (1891)]

For when a man hath forfeited his pleasures, I count him not as living, -- I hold him but a breathing corpse. Heap up riches in thy house, if thou wilt; live in kingly state; yet, if there be no gladness therewith, I would not give the shadow of a vapour for all the rest, compared with joy.
[tr. Jebb (1917)]

Who can say
That a man is still alive when his life’s joy fails?
He is a walking dead man. Grant him rich,
Let him live like a king in his great house:
If his pleasure is gone, I would not give
So much as the shadow of smoke for all he owns.
[tr. Fitts/Fitzgerald (1939), l. 910ff]

Yes, when a man has lost all happiness,
he's not alive. Call him a breathing corpse.
Be very rich at home. Live as a king.
But once your joy has gone, though these are left
they are smoke's shadow to lost happiness.
[tr. Wyckoff (1954)]

He who forfeits joy
Forfeits his life; he is a breathing corpse.
Heap treasures in your palace, if you will,
And wear the pomp of royalty; but if
You have no happiness, I would not give
A straw for all of it, compared with joy.
[tr. Kitto (1962)]

Believe me,
when a man has squandered his true joys,
he's good as dead, I tell you, a living corpse.
Pile up riches in your house, as much as you like --
live like a king with a huge show of pomp,
but if real delight is missing from the lot,
I wouldn't give you a wisp of smoke for it,
not compared to joy. [tr. Fagles (1982), l. 1284ff]

When every source of joy deserts a man,
I don't call him alive: he's an animated corpse.
For my money, you can get rich as you want,
You can wear the face of a tyrant,
But if you have no joy in this,
Your life's not worth the shadow of a puff of smoke.
[tr. Woodruff (2001)]

Whenever men forfeit their pleasures, I do not regard
such a man as alive, but I consider him a living corpse.
Be very wealthy in your household, if you wish, and live
the style of absolute rulers, but should the enjoyment of these
depart, what is left, compared to pleasure,
I would not buy from a man for a shadow of smoke.
[tr. Tyrell/Bennett (2002)]

When a man’s body has lost all sense of joy, you can say he’s not alive any more. He is a living corpse. You can have as much wealth in your house as you like and you can live like a king but when joy is missing then all those other things I wouldn’t exchange for the price of the shadow of smoke -- not against the sweetness of joy!
[tr. Theodoridis (2004), "Herald"]

For when a man has lost
what gives him pleasure, I don’t include him
among the living -- he’s a breathing corpse.
Pile up a massive fortune in your home,
if that’s what you want -- live like a king.
If there’s no pleasure in it, I’d not give
to any man a vapour’s shadow for it,
not compared to human joy.
[tr. Johnston (2005), l. 1296ff]

But when people lose their pleasures, I do not consider this life -- rather, it is just a corpse with a soul.
[tr. @sentantiq (2018)]
Added on 25-Mar-21 | Last updated 25-Mar-21
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Hell is not in torture.
Hell is in an empty heart.

Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931) Lebanese-American poet, writer, painter [Gibran Khalil Gibran]
“The Sayings of the Brook [Ma Taqul al-Saqiyah]” [tr. Sheban]
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Added on 18-Mar-21 | Last updated 18-Mar-21
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I love not to be constrained to love; for love must only arise of the heart’s self, and not by no constraint.

Thomas Malory (c. 1415-1471) English writer
Le Morte d’Arthur, Book 18, ch. 20 (1485)
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Lancelot to Guinevere, of the Lady of Ascolat.
Added on 12-Jan-21 | Last updated 12-Jan-21
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NEMO: What you fail to understand is the power of hate. It can fill the heart as surely as love can.

Earl Felton (1909-1972) American screenwriter
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, screenplay (1954) [with Richard Fleischer]
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Explaining his campaign on wagers of war. Based on the novel by Jules Verne (1870). The words are not in the novel.
Added on 29-Jun-20 | Last updated 29-Jun-20
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Sorrow is how we learn to love. Your heart isn’t breaking. It hurts because it’s getting larger. The larger it gets, the more love it holds.

Rita Mae Brown (b. 1944) American author, playwright
Riding Shotgun, ch. 17 (1996)
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Added on 26-Feb-18 | Last updated 26-Feb-18
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I think our heart-strings were, like warp and woof
In some firm fabric, woven in and out;
Your golden filaments in fair design
Across my duller fibre.

Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950) American poet
“Interim”
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Added on 10-Nov-17 | Last updated 10-Nov-17
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The heart never grows better by age; I fear rather worse; always harder. A young liar will be an old one; and a young knave will only be a greater knave as he grows older.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (17 May 1750)
Added on 25-Oct-16 | Last updated 25-Oct-16
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A generous heart suffers for the misfortunes of others as much as though it had caused them.

Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues (1715-1747) French moralist, essayist, soldier
Reflections and Maxims [Réflexions et maximes], #173 (1746) [tr. Stevens (1940)]
Added on 28-Sep-16 | Last updated 14-Jun-17
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Hearts can break. Yes. Hearts can break. Sometimes I think it would be better if we died when they did, but we don’t.

Stephen King (b. 1947) American author
Hearts in Atlantis (1999)
Added on 21-Sep-16 | Last updated 21-Sep-16
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No man can tell whether he is rich or poor by turning to his ledger. It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich or poor according to what he is, not according to what he has.

Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) American clergyman and orator
Life Thoughts: Gathered from the Extemporaneous Discourses of Henry Ward Beecher (1858)
Added on 16-Aug-16 | Last updated 16-Aug-16
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In matters of the heart, nothing is true except the improbable.

Germaine de Staël (1766-1817) Swiss-French writer, woman of letters, critic, salonist [Anne Louise Germaine de Staël-Holstein, Madame de Staël, Madame Necker]
Letter to Juliette Récamier (5 Oct 1810)
Added on 29-Dec-15 | Last updated 29-Dec-15
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Why do men with little souls have to have big weapons?

Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) American writer
Friday [Friday Jones] (1982)
Added on 29-Sep-15 | Last updated 29-Sep-15
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Nothing for preserving the body like having no heart.

Jean-Antoine Petit-Senn (1792-1870) French-Swiss poet
(Attributed)
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Added on 16-Jul-15 | Last updated 16-Jul-15
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Men, as well as women, are much oftener led by their hearts than by their understandings.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (21 Jan 1748)
Added on 2-Mar-15 | Last updated 2-Mar-15
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The ruling passion, be it what it will,
The ruling passion conquers reason still.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
Moral Essays 3.153 (1731-1735)
Added on 6-Jan-15 | Last updated 6-Jan-15
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A good leg will fall; a straight back will stoop; a black beard will turn white; a curled pate will grow bald; a fair face will wither; a full eye will wax hollow: but a good heart, Kate, is the sun and the moon; or, rather, the sun, and not the moon; for it shines bright and never changes, but keeps his course truly.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Henry V, Act 5, sc. 2 [Henry] (1599)
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Quoted by Walter Mondale as a eulogy for Hubert Humphrey.
Added on 23-Mar-11 | Last updated 26-Oct-18
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And is he dead whose glorious mind
Lifts thine on high?
To live in the hearts we leave
Is not to die!

Campbell - not to die - wist_info

Thomas Campbell (1777–1844) Scottish poet
“Hallowed Ground” (1825)
Added on 8-Feb-11 | Last updated 19-Nov-15
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The old woman took the umbrella, gratefully, and smiled her thanks. “You’ve a good heart,” she told him. “Sometimes that’s enough to see you safe wherever you go.” Then she shook her head. “But mostly, it’s not.”

Neil Gaiman (b. 1960) British fabulist
Neverwhere (1996)
Added on 4-May-10 | Last updated 19-Apr-18
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In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.

Camus - invincible summer - wist_info quote

Albert Camus (1913-1960) Algerian-French novelist, essayist, playwright
“Return to Tipasa,” Summer (1954)
Added on 13-Oct-09 | Last updated 15-Dec-15
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‘A good heart will help you to a bonny face, my lad,’ I continued, ‘if you were a regular black; and a bad one will turn the bonniest into something worse than ugly.’

Emily Brontë (1818-1848) British novelist, poet [pseud. Ellis Bell]
Wuthering Heights, ch. 7 [Nelly to Heathcliff] (1847)

Full text.

Added on 25-Jun-08 | Last updated 7-Dec-15
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Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up save in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless — it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
The Four Loves
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 12-Dec-17
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The greatest test of courage is to bear defeat without losing heart.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“The Declaration of Independence” (1876)
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 2-Feb-16
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Too long a sacrifice
Can make a stone of the heart.
O when may it suffice?

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) Irish poet and dramatist
“Easter 1916,” st. 4, ll. 57-59, Michael Robartes and the Dancer (1921)
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 2-Nov-20
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