Quotations about:
    hope


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Worthy work carries with it the hope of pleasure in rest, the hope of the pleasure in our using what it makes, and the hope of pleasure in our daily creative skill. All other work but this is worthless; it is slaves’ work — mere toiling to live, that we may live to toil.

William Morris (1834-1896) British textile designer, writer, socialist activist
Signs of Change, ch. 6 (1888)
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Added on 16-Nov-22 | Last updated 14-Nov-22
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My theory has always been that if we are to dream, the flatteries of hope are as cheap, and pleasanter than the gloom of despair.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to François de Marbois (14 Jun 1817)
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Added on 24-Oct-22 | Last updated 24-Oct-22
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Hope is itself a species of happiness, and, perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords: but, like all other pleasures immoderately enjoyed, the excesses of hope must be expiated by pain; and expectations improperly indulged must end in disappointment.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
Letter (1 Jun 1762)
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Added on 4-Aug-22 | Last updated 4-Aug-22
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Do not get lost in a sea of despair. You must not become bitter or hostile; be hopeful and optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year. It is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble. We will find a way to make a way out of no way.

John Lewis
John Lewis (1940-2020) American politician and civil rights leader
Stump speech

Lewis used variations of these phrases regularly through his career. Several abridged combinations showed up in social media:

Ours is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year--it is the struggle of lifetime. We must build a world at peace with itself.
[Twitter (14 Jul 2016)]

Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.
[Twitter (27 Jun 2018)]

Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Do not become bitter or hostile. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble. We will find a way to make a way out of no way.
[Twitter (16 Jul 2019)]

 
Added on 27-Jul-22 | Last updated 27-Jul-22
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A religious man is a person who holds God and man in one thought at one time, at all times, who suffers in himself harm done to others, whose greatest passion is compassion, whose greatest strength is love and defiance of despair.

Abraham Joshua Heschel
Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972) Polish-American rabbi, theologian, philosopher
“What Ecumenism Is” (1963)
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Collected in Susanna Heschel, ed., Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity (1996). In other essays in the book, he uses the first clause ("a person who holds God and man in one thought, at one time, at all times") as a definition of a "prophet."
 
Added on 10-Jun-22 | Last updated 13-Jun-22
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“Faith, hope, and charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”

There is a deeper meaning in this text than we at first see. Of “these three,” two concern ourselves; the third concerns others. When faith and hope fail, as they do sometimes, we must try charity, which is love in action. We must speculate no more on our duty, but simply do it. When we have done it, however blindly, perhaps Heaven will show us the reason why.

Dinah Craik
Dinah Craik (1826-1887) English novelist and poet [b. Dinah Maria Mulock]
Christian’s Mistake, ch. 2 (1865)
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A reference to the Bible, 1 Cor. 13:13, the "Three Theological Virtues."
 
Added on 6-May-22 | Last updated 1-Jun-22
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Yet, if nothing else, each time a new baby is born there is a possibility of reprieve. Each child is a new being, a potential prophet, a new spiritual prince, a new spark of light precipitated into the outer darkness. Who are we to decide that it is hopeless?

R D Laing
R. D. Laing (1927-1989) Scottish psychiatrist [Ronald David Laing]
The Politics of Experience, ch. 1 (1967)
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Added on 15-Apr-22 | Last updated 1-Jun-22
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Cynicism is a form of cowardice, a failure of courage to hope.

Merle Shain (1935-1989) Canadian journalist and author
Hearts That We Broke Long Ago, ch. 11 (1983)
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Added on 15-Apr-22 | Last updated 1-Jun-22
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The very utterness of the crash and ruin, the desperation of the case, might be its hope. On ruins one can begin to build. Anyhow, looking out from ruins one clearly sees; there are no obstructing walls.

Rose Macaulay
Rose Macaulay (1881-1958) English writer
The Valley Captives (1911)
 
Added on 24-Mar-22 | Last updated 24-Mar-22
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Your task is to endure and save yourselves for better days.

[Durate, et vosmet rebus servate secundis.]

Virgil (70-19 BC) Roman poet [b. Publius Vergilius Maro; also Vergil]
Aeneid [Ænē̆is], Book 1, l. 207 (1.207) [Aeneas] (29-19 BC) [tr. West (1990)]
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(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Endure the hardships of your present state;
Live, and reserve yourselves for better fate.
[tr. Dryden (1697)]

Bear up, and live for happier days.
[tr. Conington (1866)]

     Be firm,
And keep your hearts in hope of brighter days.
[tr. Cranch (1872), l. 263ff]

Keep heart, and endure till prosperous fortune come.
[tr. Mackail (1885)]

Abide, endure, and keep yourselves for coming days of joy.
[tr. Morris (1900)]

Bear up; reserve you for a happier day.
[tr. Taylor (1907), l. 238]

     Have patience all!
And bide expectantly that golden day.
[tr. Williams (1910)]

Endure, and keep yourselves for days of happiness.
[tr. Fairclough (1916)]

Endure, and keep yourself for better days.
[tr. Humphries (1951)]

Hold on, and find salvation in the hope of better things!
[tr. Day Lewis (1952)]

Hold out, and save yourselves for kinder days.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1971)]

     Be patient:
Save yourselves for more auspicious days.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1981), ll. 282-83]

Endure, and save yourselves for happier times.
[tr. Lombardo (2005)]

     Bear up.
Save your strength for better times to come.
[tr. Fagles (2006)]

     Hold on.
Save your strength for better days to come.
[tr. Bartsch (2021)]

 
Added on 5-Jan-22 | Last updated 5-Jan-22
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On another occasion the question was put to him, what hope is? and his answer was, “The dream of a waking man.”

[ἐρωτηθεὶς τί ἐστιν ἐλπίς, “ἐγρηγορότος,” εἶπεν, “ἐνύπνιον.”]

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Attributed in Diogenes Laërtius, Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers [Vitae Philosophorum], Book 5, sec. 11 [tr. Yonge (1853)]
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(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

He was asked to define hope, and he replied, "It is a waking dream."
[tr. Hicks (1925), sec. 18]

When asked what hope is, he said “It is dreaming while awake.”
[tr. @sentantiq (2016), 5.21]

When asked to define hope, he said, "It is a waking dream."
[tr. Mensch (2018)]

 
Added on 10-Aug-21 | Last updated 10-Aug-21
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“Supposing a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?”

“Supposing it didn’t,” said Pooh after careful thought.

Piglet was comforted by this.

A. A. Milne (1882-1956) English poet and playwright [Alan Alexander Milne]
The House at Pooh Corner, ch. 8 “In Which Piglet Does A Very Grand Thing” (1928)
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Added on 26-Jul-21 | Last updated 26-Jul-21
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If you wish to succeed in life, make perseverance your bosom friend, experience your wise counselor, caution your elder brother, and hope your guardian genius.

Joseph Addison (1672-1719) English essayist, poet, statesman
(Attributed)

Broadly attributed to Addison, but possibly a 19th Century creation. The earliest found appearance is in 1854, and the earliest attribution to Addison in in 1862.
 
Added on 14-Jun-21 | Last updated 14-Jun-21
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We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.

Elizabeth II (b. 1926) Queen of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth realms
Address to the Nation (5 Apr 2020)
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On the COVID-19 Pandemic. The last line is an allusion to the famous WWII song.
 
Added on 17-Mar-21 | Last updated 17-Mar-21
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And however dark the skies may appear,
And however souls may blunder,
I tell you it all will work out clear,
For good lies over and under.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919) American author and poet.
“Insight,” An Erring Woman’s Love (1892)
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Added on 26-Oct-20 | Last updated 19-May-21
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He’d been wrong, there was a light at the end of the tunnel, and it was a flamethrower.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Mort (1987)
 
Added on 13-Oct-20 | Last updated 13-Oct-20
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Never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone ought to be.

Clementine Paddleford (1898-1967) American food writer
A Flower for My Mother (1958)
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Quoting her mother.
 
Added on 28-Sep-20 | Last updated 28-Sep-20
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There is said to be hope for a sick man, as long as there is life.

[Aegroto dum anima est, spes esse dicitur.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Epistulae ad Atticum [Letters to Atticus], Book 9, Letter 10 (9.10), sec. 3, l. 19 (18 Mar 49 BC) [tr. Shackleton Bailey (1968)]
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Alt. trans.: "A sick man is said to have hope, so long as he has breath." [tr. Winstedt (1913)]

Often paraphrased as: "While there is life there is hope" [Dum anima est, spes est.] See also Theocritus, "While there's life there’s hope, and only the dead have none" (Idyll #4, l. 42 [tr. Gow]).
 
Added on 31-Aug-20 | Last updated 11-Aug-22
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Man is a victim of dope
In the incurable form of hope.

Ogden Nash (1902-1971) American poet
“Good-bye, Old Year, You Oaf, or Why Don’t They Pay the Bonus?” (1935)
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Added on 10-Jul-20 | Last updated 10-Jul-20
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It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.

Paulo Coelho (b. 1947) Brazilian spiritual writer
The Alchemist, ch. 1 (1988)
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Added on 3-Feb-20 | Last updated 3-Feb-20
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The people I respect most behave as if they were immortal and as if society was eternal. Both assumptions are false: both of them must be accepted as true if we are to go on eating and working and loving, and are to keep open a few breathing-holes for the human spirit. No millennium seems likely to descend upon humanity; no better and stronger League of Nations will be instituted; no form of Christianity and no alternative to Christianity will bring peace to the world or integrity to the individual; no “change of heart” will occur. And yet we need not despair, indeed, we cannot despair; the evidence of history shows us that men have always insisted on behaving creatively under the shadow of the sword; that they have done their artistic and scientific and domestic stuff for the sake of doing it, and that we had better follow their example under the shadow of the aeroplanes.

E. M. Forster (1879-1970) English novelist, essayist, critic, librettist [Edward Morgan Forster]
“What I Believe,” The Nation (16 Jul 1938)
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Added on 20-Sep-19 | Last updated 20-Sep-19
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May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.

Neil Gaiman (b. 1960) British fabulist
Comment (31 Dec 2001)
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Added on 12-Feb-18 | Last updated 12-Feb-18
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Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all.

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) American poet
“Hope is the thing with feathers”
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Added on 3-Nov-17 | Last updated 3-Nov-17
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Take hope from the heart of man and you make him a beast of prey.

Ouida (1839-1908) English novelist [pseud. of Maria Louise Ramé]
A Village Commune, ch. 20 (1881)
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Added on 11-Sep-17 | Last updated 11-Sep-17
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Absence from whom we love is worse than death,
And frustrate hope severer than despair.

William Cowper (1731-1800) English poet
“Hope, like the short-lived ray that gleams awhile”
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Added on 1-Aug-17 | Last updated 5-Sep-17
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The aims of life are the best defense against death.

Primo Levi (1919-1987) Italian Jewish chemist and writer
The Drowned and the Saved (1988)
 
Added on 16-Jun-17 | Last updated 16-Jun-17
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To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.

What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places — and there are so many — where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.

And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.

zinn-itself-a-marvelous-victory-wist_info-quote

Howard Zinn (1922-2010) American historian, academic, author, social activist
“The Optimism of Uncertainty,” The Nation (2 Sep 2004)
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Adopted from Zinn's essay of the same name in Paul Loeb (ed.), The Impossible Will Take a Little While (2004). See also Zinn, "A Marvelous Victory" (23 Feb 2004).
 
Added on 28-Nov-16 | Last updated 11-Dec-16
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I must confess, my friends, the road ahead will not always be smooth. There will be still rocky places of frustration and meandering points of bewilderment. There will be inevitable setbacks here and there. There will be those moments when the buoyancy of hope will be transformed into the fatigue of despair. Our dreams will sometimes be shattered and our ethereal hopes blasted. We may again with tear-drenched eyes have to stand before the bier of some courageous civil rights worker whose life will be snuffed out by the dastardly acts of bloodthirsty mobs. Difficult and painful as it is, we must walk on in the days ahead with an audacious faith in the future.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, social activist, preacher
“Where Do We Go From Here?” Southern Christian Leadership Conference Presidential Address (16 Aug 1967)
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Added on 28-Oct-16 | Last updated 9-Nov-20
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But I must submit all my Hopes and Fears, to an overruling Providence, in which, unfashionable as the Faith may be, I firmly believe.

John Adams (1735-1826) American lawyer, Founding Father, statesman, US President (1797-1801)
Letter to Abigail Adams (3 Jul 1776)
 
Added on 28-Sep-16 | Last updated 28-Sep-16
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Maybe this is the chief thing the dog knows better than we do. There isn’t enough time in life to do anything but love and do our work with joy. We should sleep when we’re tired. Run with abandon. Always be happy to see each other. And never stop believing we will, someday, catch the squirrel.

Martha Brockenbrough (b. 1970) American writer
Facebook (9 Aug 2016)
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Added on 17-Aug-16 | Last updated 17-Aug-16
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Remember, Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.

Stephen King (b. 1947) American author
“Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption” (1982)
 
Added on 3-Aug-16 | Last updated 3-Aug-16
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Hope for the best.
Expect the worst.
The world’s a stage.
We’re unrehearsed.

Brooks - were unrehearsed - wist_info quote

Mel Brooks (b. 1926) American comedic actor, writer, producer [b. Melvyn Kaminsky]
The Twelve Chairs, “Hope for the Best, Expect the Worst”, chorus (1970)
 
Added on 20-Jul-16 | Last updated 20-Jul-16
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There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask “What if I fall?”
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?

Erin Hanson (b. 1996) Australian poet
“There is freedom waiting for you”
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Added on 4-May-16 | Last updated 4-May-16
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Hope
Smiles from the threshold of the year to come
Whispering “it will be happier.”

Tennyson - hope - wist_info quote

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet
The Foresters, Act 1, sc. 3 [Robin] (1892)
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Added on 31-Dec-15 | Last updated 17-Dec-22
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SYDNEY: You don’t seem to realize that a poor person who is unhappy is in a better position than a rich person who is unhappy. Because the poor person has hope. He thinks money would help.

Jean Kerr (1922-2003) American author and playwright [b. Bridget Jean Collins]
Poor Richard, Act 1 (1965)
 
Added on 12-Oct-15 | Last updated 12-Oct-15
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Don’t wait for a light to appear at the end of the tunnel, stride down there … and light the bloody thing yourself.

Sara Henderson (1936-2005) Australian pastoralist and author
The Strength in Us All (1994)
 
Added on 29-Sep-15 | Last updated 29-Sep-15
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I think perhaps we want a more conscious life. We’re tired of drudging and sleeping and dying. We’re tired of seeing just a few people able to be individualists. We’re tired of always deferring hope till the next generation. We’re tired of hearing politicians and priests and cautious reformers (and the husbands!) coax us, “Be calm! Be patient! Wait! We have the plans for a Utopia already made; just wiser than you.” For ten thousand years they’ve said that. We want our Utopia now — and we’re going to try our hands at it.

Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951) American novelist, playwright
Main Street, ch. 16 [Carol] (1920)
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ZOE: You sanguine about the kind of reception we’re apt to receive on an Alliance ship, Cap’n?

MAL: Absolutely. [Pause] What’s “sanguine” mean?

ZOE: “Sanguine”. Hopeful. Plus, point of interest: it also means “bloody”.

MAL: Well, that pretty much covers all the options, don’t it?

Drew Z. Greenberg (contemp.) TV producer and writer
Firefly, 1×05 “Safe” (8 Nov 2002)
 
Added on 21-May-15 | Last updated 21-May-15
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The real reason for not committing suicide is because you always know how swell life gets again after hell is over.

Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) American writer
Letter (1926)
 
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Surely, in the light of history, it is more intelligent to hope rather than to fear, to try rather than not to try. For one thing we know beyond all doubt: Nothing has ever been achieved by the person who says, “It can’t be done.”

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) First Lady of the US (1933-45), politician, diplomat, activist
You Learn By Living (1960)
 
Added on 22-Apr-15 | Last updated 22-Apr-15
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When the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
An Ideal Husband, Act 2 (1895)
 
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Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement; nothing can be done without hope.

Helen Keller (1880-1968) American author and lecturer
“Optimism” (1903)
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I believe that the present suffering is nothing compared to the coming glory that is going to be revealed to us. The whole creation waits breathless with anticipation for the revelation of God’s sons and daughters. Creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice — it was the choice of the one who subjected it — but in the hope that the creation itself will be set free from slavery to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of God’s children. We know that the whole creation is groaning together and suffering labor pains up until now. And it’s not only the creation. We ourselves who have the Spirit as the first crop of the harvest also groan inside as we wait to be adopted and for our bodies to be set free. We were saved in hope. If we see what we hope for, that isn’t hope. Who hopes for what they already see? But if we hope for what we don’t see, we wait for it with patience.

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
Romans 8:18-25
 
Added on 25-Feb-15 | Last updated 25-Feb-15
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Man cannot live without hope. If it is not engendered by his own convictions and desires, it can easily be fired from without, and by the most meretricious and empty of promises.

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) First Lady of the US (1933-45), politician, diplomat, activist
“What Has Happened to the American Dream?” Atlantic Monthly (Apr 1961)
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Talking of the danger of being mortified by rejection, when making approaches to the acquaintance of the great, I observed, “I am, however, generally for trying, ‘Nothing venture, nothing have.'” JOHNSON. “Very true, sir; but I have always been more afraid of failing, than hopeful of success.”

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
Comment (22 Sep 1777)
    (Source)

In Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson (1791) See Heywood.
 
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I wouldn’t want to live in Tomorrowland, where the social patterns and infrastructure are all so spiff and modern and rational and well-designed that any remaining problems must needs be insoluble, and so a cause for despair.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden (b. 1956) American editor, writer, essayist
“On Time” (1995)
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Added on 29-Aug-14 | Last updated 29-Aug-14
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To have a grievance is to have a purpose in life. A grievance can almost serve as a substitute for hope; it not infrequently happens that those who hunger for hope give their allegiance to him who offers them a grievance.

Eric Hoffer (1902-1983) American writer, philosopher, longshoreman
The Passionate State of Mind, Aphorism 166 (1955)
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Added on 27-Apr-12 | Last updated 23-Jun-22
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For I can assure you that we love our country, not for what it was, though it has always been great — not for what it is, though of this we are deeply proud — but for what it someday can, and, through the efforts of us all, someday will be.

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) US President (1961-63)
Speech, National Industrial Conference Board (13 Feb 1961)
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Added on 9-Apr-12 | Last updated 2-Jan-14
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As long as we love we will hope to live, and when the one dies that we love we will say: “Oh, that we could meet again,” and whether we do or not it will not be the work of theology. It will be a fact in nature. I would not for my life destroy one star of human hope, but I want it so that when a poor woman rocks the cradle and sings a lullaby to the dimpled darling, she will not be compelled to believe that ninety-nine chances in a hundred she is raising kindling wood for hell.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“What Must We Do To Be Saved?” Sec. 11 (1880)
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Man partly is and wholly hopes to be.

Robert Browning (1812-1889) English poet
“A Death in the Desert,” l. 586, Dramatis Personae (1864)
 
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There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) English writer, fabulist, philologist, academic [John Ronald Reuel Tolkien]
The Lord of the Rings, Vol. 3: The Return of the King, Book 6, ch. 2 “The Land of Shadow” (1954)
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Added on 23-Aug-11 | Last updated 22-Mar-22
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Despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt. We do not.

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) English writer, fabulist, philologist, academic [John Ronald Reuel Tolkien]
The Lord of the Rings, Vol. 1: The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 2, ch. 2 “The Council of Elrond” [Gandalf] (1954)
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Added on 24-May-11 | Last updated 1-Dec-22
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To the question whether I am a pessimist or an optimist, I answer that my knowledge is pessimistic, but my willing and hoping are optimistic.

Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) Alsatian theologian, philosopher, physician, philanthropist
Out of My Life and Thought, An Autobiography, Epilogue (1933) [tr. Campion]

See also Gramsci.
 
Added on 5-Apr-11 | Last updated 14-May-18
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We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope. Only in this way shall we live without the fatigue of bitterness and the drain of resentment.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, social activist, preacher
Strength to Love, ch. 10 “Shattered Dreams,” sec. 2 (1963)
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Added on 21-Mar-11 | Last updated 16-Jan-23
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In youth our judgments are obscured by our hopes; in age, by our regrets.

Paul Eldridge (1888-1982) American educator, novelist, poet
Maxims for a Modern Man, #144 (1965)
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Added on 7-Feb-11 | Last updated 28-Jan-22
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