Quotations about   mourning

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She heard him mutter, “Can you take away this grief?”

“I’m sorry,” she replied. “Everyone asks me. And I would not do so even if I knew how. It belongs to you. Only time and tears take away grief; that is what they are for.”

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
I Shall Wear Midnight (2010)
Added on 20-Apr-21 | Last updated 20-Apr-21
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To lose a friend, a brother, or a son,
Heaven dooms each mortal, and its will is done:
Awhile they sorrow, then dismiss their care;
Fate gives the wound, and man is born to bear.

[μέλλει μέν πού τις καὶ φίλτερον ἄλλον ὀλέσσαι
ἠὲ κασίγνητον ὁμογάστριον ἠὲ καὶ υἱόν:
ἀλλ᾽ ἤτοι κλαύσας καὶ ὀδυράμενος μεθέηκε:
τλητὸν γὰρ Μοῖραι θυμὸν θέσαν ἀνθρώποισιν.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad, Book 24, l. 46ff [Apollo] (c. 750 BC) [tr. Pope (1715-20)]
    (Source)

Complaining of Achilles excessive grief over Patroclus. Original Greek. Alternate translations:

Other men a greater loss than he
Have undergone, a son, suppose, or brother of one womb;
Yet, after dues of woes and tears, they bury in his tomb
All their deplorings. Fates have giv’n to all that are true men
True manly patience.
[tr. Chapman (1611), l. 50ff]

For whosoever hath a loss sustain’d
Still dearer, whether of his brother born
From the same womb, or even of his son,
When he hath once bewail’d him, weeps no more,
For fate itself gives man a patient mind.
[tr. Cowper (1791), l. 59ff]

For perhaps some one will lose another more dear, either a brother, or a son; yet does he cease weeping and lamenting, for the Destinies have placed in men an enduring mind.
[tr. Buckley (1860)]

A man may lose his best-lov’d friend, a son,
Or his own mother’s son, a brother dear:
He mourns and weeps, but time his grief allays,
For fate to man a patient mind hath giv’n.
[tr. Derby (1864)]

It must be that many a man lose even some dearer one than was this, a brother of the same womb born or perchance a son; yet bringeth he his wailing and lamentation to an end, for an enduring soul have the Fates given unto men.
[tr. Leaf/Lang/Myers (1891)]

A man may lose one far dearer than Achilles has lost -- a son, it may be, or a brother born from his own mother's womb; yet when he has mourned him and wept over him he will let him bide, for it takes much sorrow to kill a man.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

Lo, it may be that a man hath lost one dearer even than was this -- a brother, that the selfsame mother bare, or haply a son; yet verily when he hath wept and wailed for him he maketh an end; for an enduring soul have the Fates given unto men.
[tr. Murray (1924)]

For a man must some day lose one who was even closer than this; a brother from the same womb, or a son. And yet he weeps for him, and sorrows for him, and then it is over, for the Destinies put in mortal men the heart of endurance.
[tr. Lattimore (1951)]

A sane one may endure an even dearer loss: a blood-brother, a son; and yet, by heaven, having grieved and passed through mourning, he will let it go. The Fates have given patient hearts to men.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1974)]

No doubt some mortal has suffered a dearer loss than this,
a brother born in the same womb, or even a son ...
he grieves, he weeps, but then his tears are through.
The Fates have given mortals hearts that can endure.
[tr. Fagles (1990), l. 54ff]

There is no doubt that a man may have lost someone even dearer,
either a brother by one same mother or even his own son,
yet once he has lamented and wept, he ceases to mourn him,
since mankind is endowed by the Fates with a heart of endurance.
[tr. Merrill (2007), l. 46ff]
Added on 10-Mar-21 | Last updated 10-Mar-21
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The person who is sick in the body needs a doctor;
someone who is sick in the mind needs a friend
For a well-meaning friend knows how to treat grief.

[Τῷ μὲν τὸ σῶμα διατεθειμένῳ κακῶς
χρεία ‘στ’ ἰατροῦ, τῷ δὲ τὴν ψυχὴν φίλου·
λύπην γὰρ εὔνους οἶδε θεραπεύειν φίλος.]

Menander (c. 341 - c. 290 BC) Greek comedic dramatist
Fragment 591 K., in Stobaeus, Anthology [tr. @sentantiq]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.:
  • "For him who is ill at ease in his body there is need of a physician, but need of a friend for him whose soul is ill. For loyal words have the secret of healing grief." [tr. Allinson (1921)]
  • "Sick bodies need a doctor, minds a friend; / Kind words have skill the mourner's pain to mend." [tr. Edmonds]
Added on 6-Oct-20 | Last updated 6-Oct-20
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Yes, he thought, between grief and nothing I will take grief.

William Faulkner (1897-1962) American novelist
The Wild Palms [If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem], ch. 9 (1939)
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Added on 21-Jan-20 | Last updated 21-Jan-20
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Sorrow makes us all children again, destroys all difference of intellect. The wisest knows nothing.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
Journal (30 Jan 1842)
    (Source)

Two days after he recorded the death of his son.
Added on 3-Apr-18 | Last updated 7-Jan-19
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He that lacks time to mourn, lacks time to mend.
Eternity mourns that. ‘Tis an ill cure
For life’s worst ills, to have no time to feel them.
Where sorrow’s held intrusive and turned out,
There wisdom will not enter, nor true power,
Nor aught that dignifies humanity.

Henry Taylor (1800-1886) English dramatist, poet, bureaucrat, man of letters
Philip Van Artevelde, Part 1, Act 1, sc. 5 (1834)
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Added on 10-Oct-17 | Last updated 10-Oct-17
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I will never laugh at anyone for grieving over a loved beast. I think God wants us to love Him more, not to love creatures (even animals) less. We love everything in one way too much (i.e., at the expense of our love for Him), but in another way we love everything too little. No person, animal, flower, or even pebble has ever been loved too much — i.e., more than every one of God’s works deserves.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
Letter to Mary Willis Shelburne (18 Aug 1956)
    (Source)
Added on 27-Sep-16 | Last updated 27-Sep-16
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“It’s not fair,” Cloud said eventually. “It’s not fair you have to mourn this child.”

Jared gave a small laugh. “We’re in the wrong universe for fair,” he said, simply.

John Scalzi (b. 1969) American writer
The Ghost Brigades (2006)
Added on 13-Sep-16 | Last updated 13-Sep-16
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The busy have no time for tears.

George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824) English poet
The Two Foscari, Act 4, sc. 1 (1821)
Added on 10-Dec-15 | Last updated 10-Dec-15
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BOLINGBROKE: Grief makes one hour ten.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Richard II, Act 1, sc. 3, l. 261 (1595)
Added on 2-Nov-15 | Last updated 2-Nov-15
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Excess of grief for the deceased is madness; for it is an injury to the living, and the dead know it not.

Xenophon (c. 431-355 BC) Greek historian and essayist
(Attributed)
    (Source)

In Anon. Mental Recreation Or, Select Maxims, Sayings And Observations Of Philosophers (1831).
Added on 19-Mar-15 | Last updated 19-Mar-15
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The Bustle in a House
The Morning after Death
Is solemnest of industries
Enacted upon Earth —
The Sweeping up the Heart
And putting Love away
We shall not want to use again
Until Eternity.

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) American poet
“The Bustle in a House” (c. 1866)
Added on 5-Feb-15 | Last updated 5-Feb-15
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Patience is the cure for every sorrow.

Publilius Syrus (d. 42 BC) Assyrian slave, writer, philosopher [less correctly Publius Syrus]
Sententiae [Moral Sayings], # 170 [tr. Lyman (1862)]
Added on 8-Apr-14 | Last updated 15-Feb-17
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I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
(Attributed)
Added on 9-Nov-06 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
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Starving the living will not profit the dead.

Rex Stout (1886-1975) American writer
The Black Mountain, ch. 2 [Fritz] (1954)
Added on 17-Oct-05 | Last updated 10-Apr-14
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