Soul

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Oh! how seldom the soul is silent, in order that God may speak. ~ François Fénelon
Say not, "I have found the path of the soul." Say rather, "I have met the soul walking upon my path." For the soul walks upon all paths. The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed. The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals. ~ Kahlil Gibran

A soul, – in many spiritual, philosophical, and psychological traditions – is the incorporeal identifying essence of a person, living thing, object, process, pattern or event. Many philosophical and spiritual systems teach that humans have souls, and others teach that all living things and even inanimate objects, such as rivers, or anything identifiable by any means at all, have souls; the term also functions as a synonym for spirit, mind or self; scientific and modern psychological works, in particular often consider soul as a synonym for mind.

Quotes[edit]

  • I was thrown out of college for cheating on the metaphysics exam: I looked into the soul of another boy.
  • The hypothesis of the soul, on the other hand, has not once in all of human history been supported by good, solid scientific evidence. That's pretty surprising when you think about it. For decades, and indeed centuries, most scientists had some sort of religious beliefs, and most of them believed in the soul. So a great deal of early science was dedicated to proving the soul's existence, and discovering and exploring its nature. It wasn't until after decades upon decades of fruitless research in this area that scientists finally gave it up as a bad job, and concluded, almost unanimously, that the reason they hadn't found a soul was that there was no such thing.
    • Greta Christina, Why Are You Atheists So Angry?: 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless (2012).
  • The soul is placed in the body like a rough diamond; and must be polished, or the lustre of it will never appear
  • A fiery soul, which, working out its way,
    Fretted the pygmy-body to decay,
    And o'er-inform'd the tenement of clay.
    • John Dryden, Absalom and Achitophel (1681), Part I, line 156
  • Say not, "I have found the truth," but rather, "I have found a truth." Say not, "I have found the path of the soul." Say rather, "I have met the soul walking upon my path." For the soul walks upon all paths. The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed. The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals.
  • For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
  • And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell.
  • Confession is good for the conscience, but it usually bypasses the soul.
  • The soul may sleep and the body still be happy, but only in youth.
  • For of the soule the bodie forme doth take; For the soule is forme, and doth the bodie make.
  • I believe that the soul consists of its sufferings. For the soul that cures its own sufferings dies.
  • Living is being born slowly. It would be a little too easy if we could borrow ready-made souls.
  • I have a soul. I see patterns.
    • Leoben (Battlestar Galactica, "Reimagining").
  • A man can be compelled to do anything, but his soul cannot be forced.
  • "You," your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.
    • The Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search for the Soul (1994), Francis Crick
  • The soul that walks in love neither tires others nor grows tired
    • Sayings of Light and Love (1581), # 97, John of the Cross (translation by Kieran Kavanaugh and Otilio Rodríguez, 1991).
  • All day I think about it, then at night I say it. Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing? I have no idea. My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that, and I intend to end up there.
    • Rumi. "Who says words with my mouth?" in Ch. 1 : The Tavern, p. 2.
  • Thy soul's flight,
    If it find heaven, must find it out to-night.
  • Whate'er of earth is form'd, to earth returns,
    * * * The soul
    Of man alone, that particle divine,
    Escapes the wreck of worlds, when all things fail.
  • Be careless in your dress if you must, but keep a tidy soul.
    • Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar, Following the Equator (1897).
  • Principio caelum ac terras camposque liquentis
    Lucentemque globum Lunae Titaniaque astra
    Spiritus intus alit, totamque infusa per artus
    Mens agitat molem et magno se corpore miscet.
    • Know, first, that heav'n, and earth's compacted frame,
      And flowing waters, and the starry flame,
      And both the radiant lights, one common soul
      Inspires and feeds, and animates the whole.
      This active mind, infus'd thro' all the space,
      Unites and mingles with the mighty mass.
    • Virgil, Aeneid, Book VI, 724–727 (trans. John Dryden).
  • The soul is the human being considered as having a value in itself.
  • The history of a man's soul, even the pettiest soul, is hardly less interesting and useful than the history of a whole people; especially when the former is the result of the observations of a mature mind upon itself, and has been written without any egotistical desire of arousing sympathy or astonishment.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 736-40.
  • Today the journey is ended,
    I have worked out the mandates of fate;
    Naked, alone, undefended,
    I knock at the Uttermost Gate.
    Behind is life and its longing,
    Its trial, its trouble, its sorrow,
    Beyond is the Infinite Morning
    Of a day without a tomorrow.
  • But thou shall flourish in immortal youth,
    Unhurt amidst the wars of elements,
    The wrecks of matter, and the crush of worlds.
  • What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to the soul.
  • And see all sights from pole to pole,
    And glance, and nod, and bustle by,
    And never once possess our soul
    Before we die.
  • But each day brings its petty dust
    Our soon choked souls to fill.
  • Anima certe, quia spiritus, in sicco habitare non potest; ideo in sanguine fertur habitare.
    • The soul, which is spirit, can not dwell in dust; it is carried along to dwell in the blood.
    • Augustine of Hippo, Decretum, IX. 32. 2.
  • A soul as white as Heaven.
  • John Brown's body lies a mould'ring in the grave
    His soul goes marching on.
  • And I have written three books on the soul,
    Proving absurd all written hitherto,
    And putting us to ignorance again.
  • And he that makes his soul his surety,
    I think, does give the best security.
  • Everywhere the human soul stands between a hemisphere of light and another of darkness; on the confines of two everlasting hostile empires, Necessity and Freewill.
  • Imago animi vultus est, indices oculi.
    • The countenance is the portrait of the soul, and the eyes mark its intentions.
    • Cicero, De Oratore, III. 59.
  • From the looks—not the lips, is the soul reflected.
  • The soul of man is larger than the sky,
    Deeper than ocean, or the abysmal dark
    Of the unfathomed centre.
  • My father was an eminent button-maker at Birmingham,… but I had a soul above buttons.
  • A happy soul, that all the way
    To heaven hath a summer's day.
  • Lord of oneself, uncumbered with a name.
  • I have a soul that, like an ample shield,
    Can take in all, and verge enough for more.
  • The one thing in the world, of value, is the active soul.
  • Gravity is the ballast of the soul, which keeps the mind steady.
    • Thomas Fuller, The Holy State and the Profane State (1642), Gravity.
  • He was one of a lean body and visage, as if his eager soul, biting for anger at the clog of his body, desired to fret a passage through it.
  • Animula, vagula, blandula
    Hospes comesque corporis!
    Quæ nunc abibis in loca,
    Pallidula, frigida nudula
    Nec ut soles dabis joca?
    • O fleeting soul of mine, my body's friend and guest, whither goest thou, pale, fearful, and pensive one? Why laugh not as of old?
    • Hadrian, Ad Animam, according to Ælius Spartianus. See Pope's paraphrase, A Dying Christian to His Soul.
  • 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.
  • Salute thyself; see what thy soul doth wear.
  • Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
    As the swift seasons roll!
    Leave thy low-vaulted past!
    Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
    Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
    Till thou at length art free,
    Leaving thine outgrown shell by life's unresting sea!
  • And rest at last where souls unbodied dwell,
    In ever-flowing meads of Asphodel.
    • Homer, The Odyssey, Book XXIV, line 19. Pope's translation.
  • The production of souls is the secret of unfathomable depth.
  • The limbs will quiver and move after the soul is gone.
  • Awake, my soul, and with the sun
    Thy daily course of duty run.
    • Bishop Ken, Evening Hymn, Taken from Salvator Mundi, Domine. In Hymni Ecclesiæ.
  • Arise, O Soul, and gird thee up anew,
    Though the black camel Death kneel at thy gate;
    No beggar thou that thou for alms shouldst sue:
    Be the proud captain still of thine own fate.
  • Ah, the souls of those that die
    Are but sunbeams lifted higher.
  • Ignoratur enim, quæ sit natura animai;
    Nata sit, an contra nascentibus insinuetur;
    Et simul intereat nobiscum, morte diremta,
    An tenebras Orci visat, vastasque lacunas:
    An pecudes alias divinitus insinuet se.
    • For it is unknown what is the real nature of the soul, whether it be born with the bodily frame or be infused at the moment of birth, whether it perishes along with us, when death separates the soul and body, or whether it visits the shades of Pluto and bottomless pits, or enters by divine appointment into other animals.
    • Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, I. 113.
  • Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
    • Luke, XII. 19. Ecclesiastes, VIII. 15.
  • In your patience possess ye your souls.
    • Luke, XXI. 19.
  • This ae nighte, this ae nighte
    Every nighte and all;
    Fire and sleete, and candle lighte
    And Christe receive thye saule.
    • Lyke, Wake Dirge. In Scott's Minstrelsy of the Border, Volume III, p. 163. T. F. Henderson's ed. (1902). "Fire and fleet" in version given in John Aubrey's Remaines of Gentilisme and Judaisme (1686–7). Lansdowne MSS. in British Museum. ("Fleet" given as meaning water; "Sleete" meaning salt.) Compare with chant to the departing spirit in Guy Mannering.
  • The soul of the river had entered my soul,
    And the gathered power of my soul was moving
    So swiftly, it seemed to be at rest
    Under cities of cloud and under
    Spheres of silver and changing worlds—
    Until I saw a flash of trumpets
    Above the battlements over Time!
  • The dust's for crawling, heaven's for flying,
    Wherefore, O Soul, whose wings are grown,
    Soar upward to the sun!
  • What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
    • Matthew, XVI. 26.
  • The soul, aspiring, pants its source to mount,
    As streams meander level with their fount.
    • Robert Montgomery, Omnipresence of the Deity, Part I. Ridiculed by Macaulay as "the worst similitude in the world." Omitted in later editions.
  • There was a little man, and he had a little soul;
    And he said, "Little Soul, let us try, try, try!"
  • I reflected how soon in the cup of desire
    The pearl of the soul may be melted away;
    How quickly, alas, the pure sparkle of fire
    We inherit from heaven, may be quenched in the clay.
  • Above the vulgar flight of common souls.
  • Lord of myself, accountable to none.
    But to my conscience, and my God alone.
  • I sent my Soul through the Invisible,
    Some letter of that After-life to spell,
    And by and by my Soul returned to me,
    And answered "I Myself am Heav'n and Hell."
  • Est deus in nobis, et sunt commercia cœli.
    Sedibus ætheriis spiritus ille venit.
    • There is a god within us, and we have intercourse with heaven. That spirit comes from abodes on high.
    • Ovid, Ars Amatoria, III. 549.
  • Deus est in pectore nostro.
    • There is a divinity within our breast.
    • Ovid, Epistolæ Ex Ponto, III. 4. 93.
  • Egomet sum mihi imperator.
    • I am myself my own commander.
    • Plautus, Mercator, Act V.
  • The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home,
    Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
  • Stript to the naked soul.
    • Alexander Pope, lines to Mrs. Grace Butler found in Sussex Garland. Nos. 9 and 10. Under Warminghurst. Attributed also to Charles Yorke.
  • Vital spark of heav'nly flame!
    • Alexander Pope, paraphrase of Emperor Hadrian's "Ode of the Dying Christian to His Soul." Also inspired by Sappho, Fragment. In Spectator (Nov. 15, 1711).
  • Or looks on heav'n with more than mortal eyes,
    Bids his free soul expatiate in the skies,
    Amid her kindred stars familiar roam,
    Survey the region, and confess her home.
  • The iron entered into his soul.
    • Psalms. CV. 18. In the Psalter.
  • Anima mea in manibus meis semper.
    • My soul is continually in my hand.
    • Psalms. CXIX. 109. (Latin in Vulgate.).
  • My soul, the seas are rough, and thou a stranger
    In these false coasts; O keep aloof; there's danger;
    Cast forth thy plummet; see, a rock appears;
    Thy ships want sea-room; make it with thy tears.
  • Goe sowle, the bodies gueste
    vpon a thankeles errant;
    feare not to touche the beste,
    the trueth shalbe thie warrant,
    goe, since I nedes muste die
    and tell them all they lie.
    • Generally believed to be by Raleigh, The Lie. (Souls Errand.) Harleian Manuscript, 2296. Folio 135. Also in Manuscript, 6910. Folio 141. Assigned to him in Chetham Manuscript, 8012, p. 103. Cottier Manuscript, Bibl. Cat. Volume II, p. 244. Printed as Davidson's in his Poetical Rhapsody (Second Ed.) Pub. 1608. Claim for John Sylvester discredited by authorities, although it appears in the folio of his posthumous works. (1641). Printed in Lord Pembroke's Poems. Attributed also to Richard Edwards by Campbell. Not proven that Raleigh wrote it 1618 or 1603. May have been written by him 1592–3(?) during his imprisonment.
  • Yet stab at thee who will,
    No stab the soul can kill!
  • —'Tis my soul
    That I thus hold erect as if with stays,
    And decked with daring deeds instead of ribbons,
    Twirling my wit as it were my moustache,
    The while I pass among the crowd, I make
    Bold truths ring out like spurs.
  • Animus hoc habet argumentum divinitatis suæ, quod ilium divina delectant.
    • The soul has this proof of its divinity: that divine things delight it.
    • Seneca, Quæstionum Naturalium, Præfet ad 1 lib.
  • Man who man would be
    Must rule the empire of himself.
  • For of the soule the bodie forme doth take;
    For soule is forme and doth the bodie make.
  • The soul is a fire that darts its rays through all the senses; it is in this fire that existence consists; all the observations and all the efforts of philosophers ought to turn towards this ME, the centre and moving power of our sentiments and our ideas.
  • My soul is a dark ploughed field
    In the cold rain;
    My soul is a broken field
    Ploughed by pain.
  • But this main-miracle that thou art thou,
    With power on thine own act and on the world.
  • * * * But while
    I breathe Heaven's air, and Heaven looks down on me,
    And smiles at my best meanings, I remain
    Mistress of mine own self and mine own soul.
  • What profits now to understand
    The merits of a spotless shirt—
    A dapper boot—a little hand—
    If half the little soul is dirt.
    • Alfred Tennyson, The New Timon and the Poets. Appeared in Punch (Feb. 28, 1846). Signed Alcibiades. Answer to attack made by Bulwer-Lytton in The New Timon when Tennyson received a pension.
  • Her soul from earth to Heaven lies,
    Like the ladder of the vision,
    Wheron go
    To and fro,
    In ascension and demission,
    Star-flecked feet of Paradise.
  • What then do you call your soul? What idea have you of it? You cannot of yourselves, without revelation, admit the existence within you of anything but a power unknown to you of feeling and thinking.
    • Voltaire, Dictionnaire philosophique portatif ("A Philosophical Dictionary") (1764), Soul.
  • And keeps that palace of the soul serene.
  • Were I so tall to reach the pole,
    Or grasp the ocean with my span,
    I must be measur'd by my soul:
    The mind's the standard of the man.
    • Isaac Watts, False Greatness, Horæ Lyricæ, Book II.
  • A charge to keep I have,
    A God to glorify:
    A never-dying soul to save,
    And fit it for the sky.
  • I loafe and invite my soul,
    I lean and loafe at my ease, observing a spear of summer grass.
  • But who would force the Soul, tilts with a straw
    Against a Champion cased in adamant.
    • William Wordsworth, Ecclesiastical Sonnets, Part III, VII. Persecution of the Scottish Covenanters.
  • For the Gods approve
    The depth, and not the tumult, of the soul.
  • Lord of himself, though not of lands;
    And having nothing, yet hath all.

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)[edit]

Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).

  • The human soul is like a bird that is born in a cage. Nothing can deprive it of its natural longings, or obliterate the mysterious remembrance of its heritage.
  • The universe, vast, beautiful, magnificent, as it is, cannot content the soul, but rouses it to more majestic thoughts. The wider view it takes of what is material, the more impatient it becomes of all material bonds. The sublimer the prospects which are opened by the universe, the more the spirit is impelled to ascend to a still sublimer being. Forever it aspires towards an infinite and immutable One as the ground of all finite and mutable existences. It can rest in His Omnipotence alone as the source, centre, sustainer, determiner of all forces.
  • There is a remedy for every wrong and a satisfaction for every soul.
  • The strongest love which the human heart has ever felt has been that for its Heavenly Parent. Was it not then constituted for this love?
  • As the flowers follow the sun, and silently hold up their petals to be tinted and enlarged by its shining, so must we, if we would know the joy of God, hold our souls, wills, hearts, and minds, still before Him, whose voice commands, whose love warns, whose truth makes fair our whole being.' God speaks for the most part in such silence only. If the soul be full of tumult and jangling voices, His voice is little likely to be heard.
  • Oh! how seldom the soul is silent, in order that God may speak.
  • Christ bounds and terminates the vast desires of the soul; He is the very Sabbath of the soul.
  • Every thing here, but the soul of man, is a passing shadow. The only enduring substance is within. When shall we awake to the sublime greatness, the perils, the accountableness, and the glorious destinies of the immortal soul?
  • It is only when we see in human souls, taken as germs of power, a future magnitude and majesty transcending all present measures, that we come into any fit conception at all of Christ's mission to the world.
    • Author unidentified, p. 559.
  • Go and try to save a soul, and you will see how well it is worth saving, how capable it is of the most complete salvation. Not by pondering about it, nor by talking of it, but by saving it, you learn its preciousness.
  • You can throw yourselves away. You can become of no use in the universe except for a warning. You can lose your souls. Oh, what a loss is that! The perversion and degradation of every high and immortal power for an eternity! And shall this be true of any one of you? Will you be lost when One has come from heaven, traveling in the greatness of His strength, and with garments dyed in blood, on purpose to guide you home—.home to a Father's house — to an eternal home?
  • Two things a master commits to his servant's care — the child and the child's clothes. It will be a poor excuse for the servant to say, at his master's return, " Sir, here are all the child's clothes, neat and clean, but the child is lost." Much so of the account that many will give to God of their souls and bodies at the great day. " Lord, here is my body; I am very grateful for it; I neglected nothing that belonged to its contents and welfare; but as for my soul, that is lost and cast away forever. I took little care and thought about it.
  • We all dread a bodily paralysis, and would make use of every contrivance to avoid it; but none of us is troubled about a paralysis of the soul.
  • The saddest of all failures is that of a soul, with its capabilities and possibilities, failing of life everlasting, and entering upon that night of death upon which morning never dawns.
  • As ravens rejoice over carrion, so infernal spirits exult over the soul that is dead in sin.

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