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Suffering is an individual's basic affective experience of physical or mental unpleasantness and aversion associated with harm or threat of harm.
- Knowledge by suffering entereth,
And Life is perfected by Death.
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning, A Vision of Poets (1844), Conclusion.
- the capacity to accept suffering for the sake of goodness, truth and justice is an essential criterion of humanity, because if my own well-being and safety are ultimately more important than truth and justice, then the power of the stronger prevails, then violence and untruth reign supreme. Truth and justice must stand above my comfort and physical well-being, or else my life itself becomes a lie. In the end, even the “yes” to love is a source of suffering, because love always requires expropriations of my “I”, in which I allow myself to be pruned and wounded. Love simply cannot exist without this painful renunciation of myself, for otherwise it becomes pure selfishness and thereby ceases to be love.
- If there is a meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering. Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death.
- If it is true that one gets used to suffering, how is it that as the years go one always suffers more?
No, they are not mad, those people who amuse themselves, enjoy life, travel, make love, fight—they are not mad. We should like to do the same ourselves.
- Cesare Pavese, This Business of Living, 1937-11-21.
- But the real, tremendous truth is this: suffering serves no purpose whatever.
- Cesare Pavese, This Business of Living, 1937-11-26.
- You cannot insult a man more atrociously than by refusing to believe he is suffering.
- Cesare Pavese, This Business of Living, 1938-10-05.
- Oh, I have suffered
With those that I saw suffer.
- For there are deeds
Which have no form, sufferings which have no tongue.
- Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Cenci (1819), Act III, scene 1.
- He could afford to suffer
With those whom he saw suffer.
- William Wordsworth, The Excursion (1814), I, 370. (V. 40 in Knight's ed.).
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 762-63.
- It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
- Acts, IX. 5. Same idea in Æschylus, Agamemnon, line 1,635.
- To each his suff'rings; all are men,
Condemn'd alike to groan;
The tender for another's pain,
Th' unfeeling for his own.
Yet ah! why should they know their fate,
Since sorrow never comes too late,
And happiness too swiftly flies?
Thought would destroy their paradise.
- Thomas Gray, Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College (1742), Stanza 10.
- Ho! why dost thou shiver and shake, Gaffer Grey?
And why does thy nose look so blue?
- Thomas Holcroft, Gaffer Grey.
- And taste
The melancholy joys of evils pass'd,
For he who much has suffer'd, much will know.
- Homer, The Odyssey, Book XV, line 434. Pope's translation.
- I have trodden the wine-press alone.
- Isaiah. LXIII. 3.
- Graviora quæ patiantur videntur jam hominibus quam quæ metuant.
- Present sufferings seem far greater to men than those they merely dread.
- Livy, Annales, III. 39.
- They, the holy ones and weakly,
Who the cross of suffering bore,
Folded their pale hands so meekly,
Spake with us on earth no more!
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Footsteps of Angels, Stanza 5.
- Perfer et obdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olim.
- Have patience and endure; this unhappiness will one day be beneficial.
- Ovid, Amorum (16 BC), III. 11. 7.
- Leniter ex merito quidquid patiare ferendum est,
Quæ venit indigne pœna dolenda venit.
- What is deservedly suffered must be borne with calmness, but when the pain is unmerited, the grief is resistless.
- Ovid, Heriodes, V. 7.
- Si stimulos pugnis cædis manibus plus dolet.
- If you strike the goads with your fists, your hands suffer most.
- Plautus, Truculentus, IV. 2. 54.
- Levia perpessi sumus
Si flenda patimur.
- We have suffered lightly, if we have suffered what we should weep for.
- Seneca the Younger, Agamemnon, 665.
- Those who inflict must suffer, for they see
The work of their own hearts, and that must be
Our chastisement or recompense.
- Percy Bysshe Shelley, Julian and Maddalo, line 494.
- Can it be, O Christ in heaven, that the holiest suffer most,
That the strongest wander furthest, and more hopelessly are lost?
- Sarah Williams, Is it so, O Christ in Heaven?, Stanza 3.
Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers
- Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).
- Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seamed with scars; martyrs have put on their coronation robes glittering with fire; and through their tears have the sorrowful first seen the gate of heaven.
- Edwin Hubbell Chapin, p. 567.
- Toil on, O weary, way-worn sufferer! bear up, O crushed and sorrowing heart! thy bed of pain, thy silent heroism, thy patient Christian walk, thy resignation, and thy grief, glow all unconsciously to thee with winning radiance, and fill the world with life's sweetest fragrance — as bruised flowers with perfume do the air.
- Alexander Dickson, p. 569.
- There is seldom a line of glory written upon the earth's face, but a line of suffering runs parallel with it; and they that read the lustrous syllables of the one, and stoop not to decipher the spotted and worn inscription of the other, get the.least half of the lesson earth has to give.
- Frederick William Faber, p. 567.
- He knows the bitter, weary way,
The endless striving day by day,
The souls that weep, the souls that pray
He knows! Oh thought so full of bliss!
For though on earth our joy we miss,
We still can bear it, feeling this,—
He knows; O heart take up thy cross,
And know earth's treasures are but dross,
And He will prove as gain our loss!
- Marian Longfellow, p. 569.
- Our merciful Father has no pleasure in the sufferings of His children; He chastens them in love; He never inflicts a stroke He could safely spare; He inflicts it to purify as well as to punish, to caution as well as to cure, to improve as well as to chastise.
- Hannah More, p. 568.
- Suffering is my gain; I bow
To my Heavenly Father's will,
And receive it hushed and still;
Suffering is my worship now.
- Jean Paul, p. 568.
- Not till I was shut up to prayer and to the study of God's word by the loss of earthly joys — sickness destroying the flavor of them all — did I begin to penetrate the mystery that is learned under the cross. And wondrous as it is, how simple is this mystery! To love Christ, and to know that I love Him — this is all.
- Elizabeth Payson Prentiss, p. 568.
- Some of His children must go into the furnace to testify that the Son of God is there with them.
- Elizabeth Payson Prentiss, p. 568.
- The cross of Christ is the pledge to us that the deepest suffering may be the condition of the highest blessing; the sign, not of God's displeasure, but of His widest and most compassionate face.
- Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, p. 568.
- In the highest class of God's school of suffering we learn not resignation nor patience, but rejoicing in tribulation.
- John Heyl Vincent, p. 569.