Quotations about   terror

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Aghast, astonish’d, and struck dumb with fear,
I stood; like bristles rose my stiffen’d hair.

[Obstupui, steteruntque comae, et vox faucibus haesit.]

Virgil (70-19 BC) Roman poet [b. Publius Vergilius Maro; also Vergil]
The Aeneid [Ænē̆is], Book 2, l. 774ff (2.774) [Aeneas] (29-19 BC) [tr. Dryden (1697)]
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Confronting his wife's ghost. (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

I stood aghast! my hair rose on end, and my voice clung to my jaws.
[tr. Davidson/Buckley (1854)]

I stood appall'd, my hair erect,
And fear my tongue-tied utterance checked.
[tr. Conington (1866)]

Aghast I stood, with hair
Erect: my voice clung to my throat.
[tr. Cranch (1872), ll. 1041-42]

I was motionless; my hair stood up, and the accents faltered on my tongue.
[tr. Mackail (1885)]

I stood amazed, my hair rose up, nor from my jaws would pass
My frozen voice.
[tr. Morris (1900)]

Aghast I stood, tongue-tied, with stiffening hair.
[tr. Taylor (1907), st. 104, l. 935]

I quailed, my hair rose, and I gasped for fear.
[tr. Williams (1910)]

I was appalled, my hair stood up, and the voice clave to my throat.
[tr. Fairclough (1916)]

I was appalled: my hair stood on end, and my voice struck
In my throat.
[tr. Day Lewis (1952)]

I was dismayed;
my hair stood stiff, my voice held fast within
my jaws.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1971), ll. 1043-45]

Chilled to the marrow, could feel the hair
On my head rise, the voice clot in my throat.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1981), ll. 1004-5]

I was paralyzed. My hair stood on end. My voice stuck in my throat.
[tr. West (1990)]

I was transfixed,
My hair stood on end, and my voice choked.
[tr. Lombardo (2005), ll. 913-14]

I froze. My hackles bristled, voice choked in my throat.
[tr. Fagles (2006), l. 960]

I was aghast. My hair stood up, my voice stuck in my throat.
[tr. Bartsch (2021)]

Added on 27-Apr-22 | Last updated 1-Jun-22
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Terror,
Terror and silence were all I found.

[Horror ubique animo, simul ipsa silentia terrent.]

Virgil (70-19 BC) Roman poet [b. Publius Vergilius Maro; also Vergil]
The Aeneid [Ænē̆is], Book 2, l. 755 (2.755) (29-19 BC) [tr. Humphries (1951)]
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Aeneas recounting searching fallen Troy for his lost wife. (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

All things were full of horror and affright,
And dreadful even the silence of the night.
[tr. Dryden (1697)]

Horror on all sides, and at the same time the very silence affrights my soul.
[tr. Davidson/Buckley (1854)]

A shuddering on my spirit falls,
And e'en the silence' self appals.
[tr. Conington (1866)]

Everywhere horror fills my soul, and even
The silence terrifies.
[tr. Cranch (1872)]

Everywhere my spirit shudders, dismayed at the very silence.
[tr. Mackail (1885)]

While on the heart lies weight of fear, and e'en the hush brings dread.
[tr. Morris (1900)]

Horror waits
Around; the very silence breeds affright.
[tr. Taylor (1907), st. 102, ll. 912-13]

On all sides round
horror spread wide; the very silence breathed
a terror on my soul.
[tr. Williams (1910)]

Everywhere dread fills my heart; the very silence, too, dismays.
[tr. Fairclough (1916)]

Everywhere
Dread and the sheer silence reduced my courage to nothing.
[tr. Day Lewis (1952)]

My spirit is held by horror everywhere;
even the very silence terrifies.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1971), ll. 1017-18]

And everywhere my heart misgave me: even
Stillness had its terror.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1981), ll. 983-84]

Horror was everywhere and the very silence chilled the blood.
[tr. West (1990)]

Everywhere there was fear. The very silence
Was terrifying.
[tr. Lombardo (2005), ll. 890-91]

With terror at every turn, the very silence makes me cringe.
[tr. Fagles (2006), l. 937]

Horror filled me everywhere, the very silence scared me.
[tr. Bartsch (2021)]

Added on 20-Apr-22 | Last updated 1-Jun-22
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How very little can be done under the spirit of fear; it is the very sentence pronounced upon the serpent, “Upon they belly shalt thou go all the days of thy life.”

Florence Nightingale
Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) English social reformer, statistician, founder of modern nursing
Letter to Hannah Nicholson (May 1846)
    (Source)
Added on 12-Aug-21 | Last updated 12-Aug-21
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Despotic authority attaches great importance to being considered strong, and much less to being admired for its wisdom. Besides, what does wisdom mean to a despot? It means skill in the use of power. The wise despot knows when and how to strike. This continual display of power is necessary because, at root, any dictatorship appeals to the lowest instincts of the governed: fear, aggressiveness toward one’s neighbors, bootlicking. Terror most effectively excites such instincts, and fear of strength is the wellspring of terror.

Ryszard Kapuściński (1932-2007) Polish journalist, photographer, poet, author
Shah of Shahs (1982)
    (Source)
Added on 28-Jun-21 | Last updated 28-Jun-21
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It was foolish indeed — thus to run farther and farther from all who could help her, as if she had been seeking a fit spot for the goblin-creature to eat her in at his leisure; but that is the way fear serves us: it always sides with the thing we are afraid of.

George MacDonald (1824-1905) Scottish novelist, poet
The Princess and the Goblin, ch. 14 (1872)
    (Source)
Added on 22-Jun-21 | Last updated 22-Jun-21
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Pity is aroused by unmerited misfortune, fear by the misfortune of a man like ourselves.

[ἔλεος μὲν περὶ τὸν ἀνάξιον, φόβος δὲ περὶ τὸν ὅμοιον]

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Poetics [Περὶ ποιητικῆς, De Poetica], ch. 13 / 1453a (c. 335 BC) [tr. Butcher (1895)]
    (Source)

On the essential elements of tragedy. Original Greek. Alternate translations:

  • "Pity is occasioned by undeserved misfortune, and fear by that of one like ourselves." [tr. Bywater (1909)]
  • "Pity is concerned with unmerited ill-fortune, fear with what happens to one's like." [tr. Margoliouth (1911)]
  • "Pity for the undeserved misfortune, fear for the man like ourselves." [tr. Fyfe (1932)]
  • "We pity those who suffer undeservedly, and feel fear for people who are like ourselves." [tr. Janko (1987)]
  • "The one [pity] is to do with the man brought to disaster undeservedly, the other [terror] is to do with [what happens to] men like us." [tr. Whalley (1997)]
  • "One of these sentiments, namely pity, has to do with undeserved misfortune, and the other, namely fear, has to do with someone who is like ourselves." [tr. Sachs (2006)]
Added on 28-May-21 | Last updated 28-May-21
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The splendor of the goal of the French Revolution is simultaneously the source of our strength and of our weakness: our strength, because it gives us an ascendancy of truth over falsehood, and of public rights over private interests; our weakness, because it rallies against us all vicious men, all those who in their hearts seek to despoil the people . … It is necessary to stifle the domestic and foreign enemies of the Republic or perish with them. Now in these circumstances, the first maxim of our politics ought to be to lead the people by means of reason and the enemies of the people by terror. If the basis of popular government in time of peace is virtue, the basis of popular government in time of revolution is both virtue and terror: virtue without which terror is murderous, terror without which virtue is powerless. Terror is nothing else than swift, severe, indomitable justice; it flows, then, from virtue.

Maximilien Robespierre (1758-174) French lawyer, politician, revolutionary leader
Speech, National Convention (7 May 1794)
    (Source)

In a parallel thought, he wrote in On the Principles of Political Morality (1794):

If virtue be the spring of a popular government in times of peace, the spring of that government during a revolution is virtue combined with terror: virtue, without which terror is destructive; terror, without which virtue is impotent. Terror is only justice prompt, severe and inflexible; it is then an emanation of virtue; it is less a distinct principle than a natural consequence of the general principle of democracy, applied to the most pressing wants of the country.
Added on 16-Jan-17 | Last updated 13-May-21
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The practice of terror serves the true believer not only to cow and crush his opponents but also to invigorate and intensify his own faith.

hoffer-practice-of-terror-intensify-faith-wist_info-quote

Eric Hoffer (1902-1983) American writer, philosopher, longshoreman
The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements, ch. 85 (1951)
Added on 9-Jan-17 | Last updated 9-Jan-17
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Terrorism and deception are weapons not of the strong but of the weak.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
In Young India (22 Sep 1920)
Added on 28-Nov-16 | Last updated 28-Nov-16
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The climax of terror is reached when the police state begins to devour its own children, when yesterday’s executioner becomes today’s victim.

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) German-American philosopher, political theorist
On Violence, ch. 3 (1970)
Added on 14-Nov-16 | Last updated 14-Nov-16
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If you ever want to feel like you’re on the verge of total, abject bowel-releasing terror, try making your way a klick or two out of a forest, at night, with the certain feeling you’re being hunted. It makes you feel alive, it really does, but not in a way you want to feel alive.

John Scalzi (b. 1969) American writer
Zoe’s Tale (2008)
Added on 27-Sep-16 | Last updated 27-Sep-16
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Nothing is terrible except fear itself.

[Nil terribile nisi ipse timor.]

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
De Augmentis Scientiarum [Advancement of Learning], Part 2, “Fortitudo” (1605)
Added on 21-Jul-16 | Last updated 21-Jul-16
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If you can’t joke about the most horrendous things in the world, what’s the point of jokes? What’s the point in having humor? Humor is to get us over terrible things. That’s all it’s for. That’s why you should laugh at funerals. Of course it’s the wrong thing to say. That’s why it’s funny.

Gervais - humor terrible things - wist_info quote

Ricky Gervais (b. 1961) English comedian, actor, director, writer
Interview with Chris Heath, GQ (15 May 2013)
    (Source)
Added on 7-Jul-16 | Last updated 7-Jul-16
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     More to the point, nameless hideous monsters are freaking terrifying. You always fear what you don’t know, what you don’t understand, and the first step to having understanding of something is to know what to call it. It’s a habit of mine to give names to anything I wind up interacting with if it doesn’t have one readily available. Names have power — magically, sure, but far more important, they have psychological power. Something horrible with a name holds less power over you, less terror, than something horrible without one.
     “Octokongs,” I pronounced grimly. “Why did it have to be octokongs?”

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Skin Game (2014)
Added on 16-Nov-15 | Last updated 16-Nov-15
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Somebody was screaming and I had to check it wasn’t me. It could have been me. I certainly wanted to scream, but I remembered that right then and there Leslie and I were the only coppers on the scene and the public doesn’t like it when the police start screaming; it contributes to an impression of things not being conducive to public calm.

Ben Aaronovitch (b. 1964) British author
Rivers of London [Midnight Riot] (2011)
Added on 21-Oct-15 | Last updated 21-Oct-15
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I believe that the gods themselves are frightened of the world which they have fashioned.

Peter Ackroyd (b. 1949) English biographer, novelist, critic
The Last Testament of Oscar Wilde (1983)
Added on 16-Sep-14 | Last updated 16-Sep-14
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There’s power in the night. There’s terror in the darkness. Despite all our accumulated history, learning, and experience, we remember. We remember times when we were too small to reach the light switch on the wall, and when the darkness itself was enough to make us cry out in fear. Get a good ways out from civilization — say, miles and miles away on a lightless lake — and the darkness is there, waiting. Twilight means more than just time to call the children in from playing outside. Fading light means more than just the end of another day. Night is when terrible things emerge from their sleep and seek soft flesh and hot blood. Night is when unseen beings with no regard for what our people have built and no place in what we have deemed the natural order look in at our world from outside, and think dark and alien thoughts. And sometimes, just sometimes, they do things.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Turn Coat, ch. 40 (2009)
    (Source)
Added on 10-Dec-13 | Last updated 20-Jan-22
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I shudder as I recall.

[Horresco réferens]

Virgil (70-19 BC) Roman poet [b. Publius Vergilius Maro; also Vergil]
The Aeneid [Ænē̆is], Book 2, l. 204ff (2.204) (29-19 BC) [tr. Mackail (1885)]
    (Source)

Referring to the death of the Trojan priest Laocoön and his sons. (Source (Latin)).
Added on 11-Mar-13 | Last updated 16-Mar-22
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Vows made in Storms are forgot in Calms.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Gnomologia: Adages and Proverbs, #5408 (1732)
    (Source)
Added on 31-Oct-12 | Last updated 26-Jan-21
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A Degree of Fear sharpeneth, the Excess of it stupifieth.

George Savile, Marquis of Halifax (1633-1695) English politician and essayist
“Fear,” Political, Moral and Miscellaneous Reflections (1750)
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Added on 18-May-10 | Last updated 30-Jan-20
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Totalitarianism is never content to rule by external means, namely, through the state and a machinery of violence; thanks to its peculiar ideology and the role assigned to it in this apparatus of coercion, totalitarianism has discovered a means of dominating and terrorizing human beings from within.

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) German-American philosopher, political theorist
The Origins of Totalitarianism, Part 3, ch. 10 “A Classless Society”, sec. 1 (1951)
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Added on 18-Mar-10 | Last updated 5-Jul-22
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So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945) US President (1933-1945)
First Inaugural Address (4 Mar 1933)
    (Source)

See Bacon.
Added on 31-Aug-07 | Last updated 21-Jul-16
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