Quotations about   soul

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I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet’s, the writer’s, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet’s voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.

William Faulkner (1897-1962) American novelist
Speech, Nobel Banquet, Stockholm (10 Dec 1950)
    (Source)

Faulkner received the 1949 Nobel Prize for Literature.
Added on 2-Jun-22 | Last updated 13-Jun-22
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As the love increases in thee, so the loveliness increases: for love is itself the beauty of the soul.

Augustine of Hippo (354-430) Christian church father, philosopher, saint [b. Aurelius Augustinus]
Homilies on the 1st Epistle of John [Tractatus in epistulam Ioannis ad Parthos], Homily 9 [tr. Browne (1888)]

Sermon on 1 John 4:17-21. Alternate translations:

Beauty grows in you to the extent that love grows, because charity itself is the soul's beauty.
[tr. Ramsey (1990)]

Inasmuch as love grows in you, in so much beauty grows; for love is itself the beauty of the soul.

Added on 28-Feb-22 | Last updated 28-Feb-22
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if you don’t have much soul left and you know it, you still got soul.

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) German-American author, poet
“A Dollar and Twenty Cents” (1967)
    (Source)

Often misquoted as "If you're losing your soul and you know it, then you've still got a soul left to lose."
Added on 3-Nov-21 | Last updated 3-Nov-21
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there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too tough for him,
I say, stay in there, I’m not going
to let anybody see
you.

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) German-American author, poet
“The Bluebird”
    (Source)
Added on 27-Oct-21 | Last updated 27-Oct-21
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When asked to define a friend, he said, “One soul dwelling in two bodies.”

[ἐρωτηθεὶς τί ἐστι φίλος, ἔφη, “μία ψυχὴ δύο σώμασιν ἐνοικοῦσα.”]

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Attributed in Diogenes Laërtius, Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers [Vitae Philosophorum], Book 5, sec. 11 [tr. Mensch (2018)]
    (Source)

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

He was once asked what a friend is; and his answer was, “One soul abiding in two bodies.”
[tr. Yonge (1853)]

To the query, "What is a friend?" his reply was, "A single soul dwelling in two bodies."
[tr. Hicks (1925), sec. 20]

When he was asked what a friend is, he replied “one soul occupying two bodies.”
[tr. @sentantiq (2016)]

Added on 4-Jun-21 | Last updated 21-Sep-21
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Such as are your habitual thoughts, such also will be the character of your mind; for the soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts.

Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) Roman emperor (161-180), Stoic philosopher
Meditations, Book 5, #16

Alt. trans.:
  • "Your mind will be like its habitual thoughts; for the soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts."
  • "Whatever kind of impressions you receive most often, so too will be your mind, for the soul is dyed with the color of one's impressions." [tr. Needleman & Piazza (2008)]
  • "Your manners will depend very much upon the quality of what you frequently think on; for the soul is as it were tinged with the color and complexion of thought." [tr. Collier (1887)]

The last clause is also frequently attributed to William Ralph Inge, who likely used it in an essay.
Added on 31-Aug-20 | Last updated 31-Aug-20
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But if physical death is the price that a man must pay to free his children and his white brethren from a permanent death of the spirit, then nothing could be more redemptive. This is the type of soul force that I am convinced will triumph over the physical force of the oppressor.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
“The Rising Tide of Racial Consciousness,” Speech, National Urban League, New York (6 Sep 1960)
    (Source)
Added on 20-Mar-20 | Last updated 20-Mar-20
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A person can go on living fairly well, seem to be a human being, be occupied with temporal matters, marry, have children, be honored and esteemed — and it may not be detected that in a deeper sense this person lacks a self. Such things do not create much of a stir in the world, for a self is the last thing the world cares about and the most dangerous thing of all for a person to show signs of having. The greatest hazard of all, losing one’s self, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all. No other loss can occur so quietly; any other loss — an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc. — is sure to be noticed.

Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) Danish philosopher, theologian
The Sickness unto Death, “The Forms of This Sickness, i.e., of Despair,” 1.a.1 (1849)

    Alt. trans.:
  • "A man may nevertheless be perfectly well able to live on, to be a mn, a it seems, to occupy himself with temporal things, get married, beget children, win honor and esteem -- and perhaps no one notices that in a deeper sense he lacks a self. About such a thing as that not much fuss made in the world for a self is the thing the world is least apt to inquire about, and the thing of all things the most dangerous for a man to let people notice that he has it. The greatest danger, that of losing one's own self, may pass off as quietly as if it were nothing; every other loss, that of an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc., is sure to be noticed." (Source)
  • "But to become fantastic in this way, and therefore be in despair, although usually obvious, does not mean that a person may not continue living a fairly good life, to all appearances be someone, employed with temporal matters, get married, beget children, be honored and esteemed -- and one may fail to notice that in a deeper sense he lacks a self. Such things cause little stir in the world; for in the world a self is what one least asks after, and the thing it is the most dangerous of all to show signs of having. The biggest danger, that of losing oneself, can pass off in the world as quietly as if it were nothing; every other loss, an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc. is bound to be noticed." (Source)
Added on 9-Jan-20 | Last updated 9-Jan-20
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Man is a reasoning animal. Therefore, man’s highest good is attained if he has fulfilled the good for which nature designed him at birth. And what is it which this reason demands of him? The easiest thing in the world — to live in accordance with his nature. But this has turned into a hard task by the general madness of mankind; we push one
another into vice.

Seneca the Younger (c. 4 BC-AD 65) Roman statesman, philosopher, playwright [Lucius Annaeus Seneca]
Letters to Lucilius, Letter 41 (c. 65 AD)
    (Source)
Added on 18-Sep-19 | Last updated 18-Sep-19
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Every subject’s duty is the king’s; but every subject’s soul is his own.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Henry V, Act 4, sc. 1 [King Henry] (1599)
    (Source)
Added on 9-Apr-18 | Last updated 9-Apr-18
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Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage.

Richard Lovelace (1617-1657) English poet
“To Althea, from Prison,” l. 25 (1649)
    (Source)
Added on 19-Jun-17 | Last updated 19-Jun-17
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To aim to convert a man by miracles is a profanation of the soul.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“The Divinity School Address” (1838)
Added on 3-Oct-16 | Last updated 3-Oct-16
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Fine natures are like fine poems; a glance at the first two lines suffices for a guess into the beauty that waits you, if you read on.

Edward George Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873) English novelist and politician
My Novel, or Varieties in English Life (1853)
Added on 27-Sep-16 | Last updated 27-Sep-16
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Dreadful will be the day when the world becomes contented, when one great universal satisfaction spreads itself over the world. Sad will be the day for every man when he becomes absolutely contented with the life that he is living, with the thoughts that he is thinking, with the deeds that he is doing, when there is not forever beating at the doors of his soul some great desire to do something larger which he knows that he was meant and made to do because he is a child of God.

Phillips Brooks (1835-1893) American clergyman, hymnist
Daily Thoughts from Phillips Brooks (1893)
Added on 10-Aug-16 | Last updated 10-Aug-16
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One sure window into a person’s soul is his reading list.

Tabor - reading list - wist_info quote

Mary B. W. Tabor (b. 1964) American journalist [Mary Britt Wellford Tabor]
“Book Notes,” New York Times (14 Jun 1995)
    (Source)
Added on 18-Mar-16 | Last updated 18-Mar-16
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The Bible is a sealed book to him who has not first heard its laws from his soul.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Trust Yourself,” Sermon 90 (1830)
    (Source)

Sermon on Matthew 16:26.
Added on 3-Feb-16 | Last updated 22-Feb-22
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There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilisations — these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit — immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn: We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously — no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner — no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbour, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat — the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden.

Lewis - ordinary people - wist_info quote

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
“The Weight of Glory,” sermon, Oxford University Church of St Mary the Virgin (8 Jun 1941)
Added on 23-Dec-15 | Last updated 22-Jun-16
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I am sorry to hear of the little dog’s death. The animal creation is a strange mystery. We can make some attempt to understand human suffering: but the sufferings of animals from the beginning of the world till now (inflicted not only by us but by one another) — what is one to think? And again, how strange that God brings us into such intimate relations with creatures of whose real purpose and destiny we remain forever ignorant. We know to some degree what angels and men are for. But what is a flea for, or a wild dog?

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
Letter to Mary Willis Shelburne (26 Oct 1962)
Added on 11-Nov-15 | Last updated 11-Nov-15
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He who fasteth and doth no Good, saveth his Bread but loseth his Soul.

Fuller - fasting - wist_info

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Gnomologia: Adages and Proverbs, #2382 (1732)
    (Source)
Added on 3-Nov-15 | Last updated 26-Jan-21
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It’s a good thing when a man is different from your image of him. It shows he isn’t a type. If he were, it would be the end of him as a man. But if you can’t place him in a category, it means that at least a part of him is what a human being ought to be. He has risen above himself, he has a grain of immortality.
Boris Pasternak - grain of immortality - wist_info

Boris Pasternak (1890-1960) Russian poet, novelist, and literary translator
Doctor Zhivago, 9.14 (1957) [tr. Hayward and Harari (1958)]
Added on 20-Oct-15 | Last updated 21-Oct-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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It may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

Bob Dylan (b. 1941) American singer, songwriter
“Gotta Serve Somebody” (1979)
Added on 25-Sep-15 | Last updated 25-Sep-15
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Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.

The Talmud (AD 200-500) Collection of Jewish rabbinical writings
Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:9; Yerushalmi Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin 37a
    (Source)

Alt. trans.: "Whoever destroys a single life is as guilty as though he had destroyed the entire world; and whoever rescues a single life earns as much merit as though he had rescued the entire world."
Added on 1-Sep-15 | Last updated 20-Dec-19
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What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
Mark 8:36 (KJV)
Added on 22-May-14 | Last updated 22-May-14
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Two souls, alas, are housed within my breast,
And each will wrestle for the mastery there.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) German poet, statesman, scientist
Faust, 1, “Outside the City Gate” (1808-1832) [tr. Wayne (1959)]
Added on 21-May-14 | Last updated 21-May-14
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In every kind of debauch there enters much coldness of soul. It is a conscious and voluntary abuse of pleasure.

Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French moralist
Pensées (1838) [ed. Auster (1983)]
Added on 30-Sep-13 | Last updated 13-May-16
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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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It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Henley - master of my fate - wist_info quote

William Ernest Henley (1849-1903) English poet, critic, editor
“Invictus” (1875)
Added on 15-Jul-09 | Last updated 12-Feb-16
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I don’t say I’ve got much of a soul, but, such as it is, I’m perfectly satisfied with the little chap. I don’t want people fooling about with it. ‘Leave it alone,’ I say. ‘Don’t touch it. I like it the way it is.’

P. G. Wodehouse (1881-1975) Anglo-American humorist, playwright and lyricist [Pelham Grenville Wodehouse]
Joy in the Morning (1947)
Added on 27-Apr-09 | Last updated 5-Sep-19
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The soul, secured in her existence, smiles
At the drawn dagger, and defies its point.

Joseph Addison (1672-1719) English essayist, poet, statesman
Cato, Act 5, sc. 1 (1713)
Added on 13-Jan-09 | Last updated 14-Jun-21
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You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.

Plato (c.428-347 BC) Greek philosopher
The Republic
Added on 16-Aug-07 | Last updated 24-Sep-14
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So, whatsoever that be within us which feels, thinks, desires, and animates us, it is something celestial, divine, and, consequently, imperishable.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
(Attributed)
    (Source)

The earliest reference to this text that I can find is in Louis Alphonse Cahagnet, Magnétisme: The Celestial Telegraph (1850), who attributes it to Cicero's "Explanation of the Doctrines of Aristotle." It is unclear which of Cicero's actual works this refers to, and it doesn't come across as Aristotelian (or even Ciceronian), and, given the source, may be distorted, poorly translated, or bogus.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 10-May-21
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