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A genuine faith lifts us above the bitterness of grief… ~ Arthur Henry Kenney

Grief is a multi-faceted response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something to which a bond was formed. Although conventionally focused on the emotional response to loss, it also has physical, cognitive, behavioral, social, and philosophical dimensions. While the terms are often used interchangeably, bereavement often refers to the state of loss, and grief to the emotional reaction to loss.


But nothing that can be said can begin to take away the anguish and the pain of these moments. Grief is the price we pay for love. ~ Elizabeth II
There is no grief which time does not lessen and soften. ~ Cicero
  • But what is grief, if not love persevering?
  • Why wilt thou add to all the griefs I suffer
    Imaginary ills, and fancy'd tortures?
  • But nothing that can be said can begin to take away the anguish and the pain of these moments. Grief is the price we pay for love.
    • Elizabeth II , Message from the Queen, read by the British ambassador to Washington, Sir Christopher Meyer, St Thomas's Episcopal Church on Fifth Avenue in New York City. 22 September 2001. [1] Source 1: The Telegraph (September 21, 2001): Grief is price of love, says the Queen. By David Sapsted, Peter Foster and George Jones in New York. Archived from the original on July 7, 2013 and January 25, 2023. and Source 2: The Guardian (September 21, 2021): Text of the Queen's message to New York. Archived from the original on February 2, 2023 and May 17, 2023.
  • O, brothers! let us leave the shame and sin
    Of taking vainly in a plaintive mood,
    The holy name of Grief—holy herein,
    That, by the grief of One, came all our good.
  • Thank God, bless God, all ye who suffer not
    More grief than ye can weep for. That is well—
    That is light grieving!
  • To say that a life is grievable is to claim that a life, even before it is lost, is, or will be, worthy of being grieved on the occasion of its loss; the life has value in relation to mortality. One treats a person differently if one brings the sense of the grievability of the other to one’s ethical bearing toward the other. If an other’s loss would register as a loss, would be marked and mourned, and if the prospect of loss is feared, and precautions are thus taken to safeguard that life from harm or destruction, then our very ability to value and safeguard a life depends upon an ongoing sense of its grievability—the conjectured future of a life as an indefinite potential that would be mourned were it cut short or lost.
  • We are not yet speaking about equality if we have not yet spoken about equal grievability, or the equal attribution of grievability. Grievability is a defining feature of equality. Those whose grievability is not assumed are those who suffer inequality—unequal value.
  • The heart which grief hath cankered
    Hath one unfailing remedy - the Tankard.
  • Nullus dolor est quem non longinquitas temporis minuat ac molliat.
    • There is no grief which time does not lessen and soften.
    • Cicero, Epistles, IV. 5. Said by Servius Sulplicius to Cicero.
  • In all the silent manliness of grief.
  • Grief tears his heart, and drives him to and fro,
    In all the raging impotence of woe.
    • Homer, The Iliad, Book XXII, line 526. Pope's translation.
  • Quis desiderio sit pudor aut modus
    Tam cari capitis?
    • What impropriety or limit can there be in our grief for a man so beloved?
    • Horace, Carmina. I. 24. 1.
  • On me, on me
    Time and change can heap no more!
    The painful past with blighting grief
    Hath left my heart a withered leaf.
    Time and change can do no more.
  • Grief and disappointment give rise to anger, anger to envy, envy to malice, and malice to grief again, till the whole circle be completed.
  • Those redeemed by Jehovah will return and come to Zion with a joyful cry. Unending joy will crown their heads. Exultation and rejoicing will be theirs, And grief and sighing will flee away.
  • Ponamus nimios gemitus: flagrantior æquo
    Non debet dolor esse viri, nec vulnere major.
    • Let us moderate our sorrows. The grief of a man should not exceed proper bounds, but be in proportion to the blow he has received.
    • Juvenal, Satires (early 2nd century), XIII. 11.
  • If grief can be a doorway to love, then let us all weep for the world we are breaking apart so we can love it back to wholeness again.
  • There is an indolence in grief
    Which will not even seek relief.
    What is the toil, or care, or pain,
    The human heart cannot sustain?
    Enough if struggling can create
    A change or colour in our fate;
    But where's the spirit that can cope
    With listless suffering, when hope,
    The last of misery's allies,
    Sickens of its sweet self, and dies.
  • The only cure for grief is action.
    • G. H. Lewes, The Spanish Drama, Life of Lope De Vega, Chapter II.
  • Believe me, it is no time for words when the wounds are fresh and bleeding; no time for homilies when the lightning's shaft has smitten and the man lies stunned and stricken. Then let the comforter be silent; let him sustain by his presence, not by his preaching; by his sympathetic silence, not by his speech. "Afterward," when the storm is spent, he may venture to open his mouth; "afterward," when the morn has dawned, he may seek "to justify the ways of God to man;" for " afterward" the sufferer will be prepared to hear, and "afterward" the sufferer himself may be able to extract sweetness from bitterness, music from mourning, songs from sorrow, and "the peaceable fruit of righteousness" from the root of wretchedness and woe.
    • George C. Lorimer, Isms Old and New: Winter Sunday Evening Sermon-series for 1880-81 (1881), Chapter 6: Pessimism, or The Mystery of Human Suffering, "Unwise Comforters", p. 147.
  • Ille dolet vere qui sine teste dolet.
    • He grieves sincerely who grieves unseen.
    • Martial, Epigrams (c. 80-104 AD), I. 34. 4.
  • There is a solemn luxury in grief.
  • Se a ciascun l'interno affanno
    Si leggesse in fronte scritto,
    Quanti mai, che invidia fanno,
    Ci farebbero pietà!
    • If our inward griefs were seen written on our brow, how many would be pitied who are now envied!
    • Metastasio, Giuseppe Riconosciuto, I.
  • What need a man forestall his date of grief,
    And run to meet what he would most avoid?
  • Great, good, and just, could I but rate
    My grief with thy too rigid fate,
    I'd weep the world in such a strain
    As it should deluge once again;
    But since thy loud-tongued blood demands supplies
    More from Briareus' hands than Argus' eyes,
    I'll sing thy obsequies with trumpet sounds
    And write thy epitaph in blood and wounds.
  • Strangulat inclusus dolor, atque exæstuat intus,
    Cogitur et vires multiplicare suas.
    • Suppressed grief suffocates, it rages within the breast, and is forced to multiply its strength.
    • Ovid, Tristium, V, 1, 63.
  • Grief must be a reflection of love. It is perhaps the ultimate proof of love. Grief is an uncontrollable manifestation of your belief that the lost person’s existence, limited and flawed as it might have been, was worthwhile, despite the limitations and flaws even of life itself.
  • Grief—unlike sex, music, and cheating at cards—was not a skill that could be honed by practice.
    • Tim Pratt, Cup and Table (originally published in 2006 in David Moles & Susan Marie Groppi (eds.) Twenty Epics) and reprinted in Mike Ashley (ed.), The Mammoth Book of Extreme Fantasy (p. 375)
  • Le bonheur est salutaire pour le corps, mais c'est le chagrin qui développe les forces de l'esprit.
    • Happiness is beneficial for the body but it is grief that develops the powers of the mind.
      • Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time (1927), Vol. VII: Le temps retrouvé (The Past Recaptured), Chapter III: "An Afternoon Party at the House of the Princesse de Guermantes".
  • All the old statues of Victory have wings: but Grief has no wings. She is the unwelcome lodger that squats on the hearthstone between us and the fire and will not move or be dislodged.
  • Curæ leves loquuntur, ingentes stupent.
  • Levis est dolor qui capere consilium potest.
  • Magnus sibi ipse non facit finem dolor.
  • O, grief hath chang'd me since you saw me last,
    And careful hours with time's deform'd hand
    Have written strange defeatures in my face.
  • I am not mad; I would to heaven I were!
    For then, 'tis like I should forget myself:
    O, if I could, what grief should I forget!
  • Grief fills the room up of my absent child,
    Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me,
    Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words,
    Remembers me of all his gracious parts,
    Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form;
    Then, have I reason to be fond of grief?
  • Men
    Can counsel and speak comfort to that grief
    Which they themselves not feel; but, tasting it,
    Their counsel turns to passion, which before
    Would give preceptial medicine to rage,
    Fetter strong madness in a silken thread,
    Charm ache, with air and agony with words.
  • Nor doth the general care
    Take hold on me, for my particular grief
    Is of so flood-gate and o'erbearing nature
    That it engluts and swallows other sorrows
    And it is still itself.
  • When remedies are past, the griefs are ended
    By seeing the worst, which late on hopes depended.
  • Each substance of a grief hath twenty shadows,
    Which shows like grief itself, but is not so;
    For sorrow's eye, glazed with blinding tears,
    Divides one thing entire to many objects.
  • You may my glories and my state depose,
    But not my griefs; still am I king of those.
  • My grief lies all within;
    And these external manners of laments
    Are merely shadows to the unseen grief
    That swells with silence in the tortur'd soul.
  • Griefs of mine own lie heavy in my breast,
    Which thou wilt propagate, to have it prest
    With more of thine.
  • Winter is come and gone,
    But grief returns with the revolving year.
  • Dark is the realm of grief: but human things
    Those may not know of who cannot weep for them.
  • In much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.
    • Solomon, Eccesiastes, 1:18, King James Version.
  • "Oh, but," quoth she, "great griefe will not be tould,
    And can more easily be thought than said."
    • Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene (1589-96), Book I, Canto VII, Stanza 41.
  • He gave a deep sigh; I saw the iron enter into his soul.
  • Nulli jactantius mœrent quam qui maxime lætantur.
    • None grieve so ostentatiously as those who rejoice most in heart.
    • Tacitus, Annales (AD 117), II. 77.
  • We tend to shy away from that grief. But I think that that’s the role of art: to help us into grief, and through grief, for each other, for our values, for the living world. You know, I think about grief as a measure of our love, that grief compels us to do something, to love more.
  • But, Madam, let your grief be laid aside,
    And let the fountain of your tears be dry'd,
    In vain they flow to wet the dusty plain,
    Your sighs are wafted to the skies in vain,
    Your pains they witness, but they can no more,
    While Death reigns tyrant o'er this mortal shore.
    • Phillis Wheatley, "To a Gentleman and Lady on the Death of the Lady's Brother and Sister, and a Child of the Name of Avis, aged one Year." st. 2, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (1773).
  • Men are we, and must grieve when even the Shade
    Of that which once was great is passed away.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 342-44.
  • Were floods of tears to be unloosed
    In tribute to my grief,
    The doves of Noah ne'er had roost
    Nor found an olive-leaf.

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)

Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).
  • A genuine faith lifts us above the bitterness of grief; a sense of Christ's living presence takes away all unbearable loneliness even when we are most alone. In our darkest hours, to know that our lost friend is still living, still loving us, still ours, in the highest and best sense, must be unspeakably consoling.
  • The mossy marbles rest
    On the lips that he has pressed
    In their bloom;
    And the names he loved to hear
    Have been carved for many a year
    On the tomb.
  • Over the river they beckon to me,
    Loved ones who've crossed to the farther side,
    The gleam of their snowy robes I see,
    But their voices are lost in the dashing tide.
  • Yes, we all live to God!
    Father, Thy chastening rod,
    So help us, Thine afflicted ones, to bear,
    That in the spirit land,
    Meeting at Thy right hand,
    'Twill be our heaven to find that He is there!
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