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It is the heart that carries one to heaven. ~ Anonymous
All great and extraordinary actions come from the heart. ~ Sydney Smith

The heart is a vital muscular organ in humans and other animals which pumps blood through the body's arteries and veins. The word itself, and stylized depictions of hearts have long been used as symbols of love, and to refer to the spiritual, emotional, moral, or intellectual core or soul of human beings. More generally the word can refer to the center, or essential core of any physical or non-physical entities or ideas.

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  • A man's first care should be to avoid the reproaches of his own heart; his next to escape the censures of the world: if the last interferes with the former, it ought to be entirely neglected; but otherwise there cannot be a greater satisfaction to an honest mind, than to see those approbations which it gives itself seconded by the applauses of the public: a man is more sure of his conduct, when the verdict which he passes upon his own behaviour is thus warranted and confirmed by the opinion of all that know him.
  • My voice is still for war.
    Gods! Can a Roman senate long debate
    Which of the two to choose, slavery or death?

    No, let us rise at once,
    Gird on our swords, and,
    At the head of our remaining troops, attack the foe,
    Break through the thick array of his throng'd legions,
    And charge home upon him.
    Perhaps some arm, more lucky than the rest,
    May reach his heart, and free the world from bondage.
  • When love once pleas admission to our hearts,
    (In spite of all the virtue we can boast),
    The woman that deliberates is lost.
    • Joseph Addison, Cato, A Tragedy (1713), Act IV, scene i; the last line has often been misreported as "He who hesitates is lost", a sentiment inspired by it but not penned by Addison, as reported in They Never Said It: A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, & Misleading Attributions (1989) by Paul F. Boller, Jr. and John George, p. 3.
  • O ye powers that search
    The heart of man, and weigh his inmost thoughts,
    If I have done amiss, impute it not!
    The best may err, but you are good.


  • My favoured temple is an humble heart.
  • "All the same," said the Scarecrow, "I shall ask for brains instead of a heart; for a fool would not know what to do with a heart if he had one."
  • "I shall take the heart," returned the Tin Woodman; "for brains do not make one happy, and happiness is the best thing in the world."
  • My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here;
    My heart's in the Highlands a-chasing the deer.
    • Robert Burns, My Heart's in the Highlands, from an old song, The Strong Walls of Derry.
  • Maid of Athens, ere we part,
    Give, oh, give me back my heart!
  • His heart was one of those which most enamour us,
    Wax to receive, and marble to retain.


  • A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge.
    • Thomas Carlyle, "The Works of Thomas Carlyle" (1839), Vol. 15, p. 260.
  • My heart is wax to be moulded as she pleases, but enduring as marble to retain.
  • No command of art,
    No toil, can help you hear;
    Earth's minstrelsy falls clear
    But on the listening heart.
  • Some hearts are hidden, some have not a heart.


  • "There are strings," said Mr. Tappertit, "…in the human heart that had better not be wibrated."
  • The heart asks pleasure first,
    And then, excuse from pain;
    And then, those little anodynes
    That deaden suffering;

    And then, to go to sleep;
    And then, if it should be
    The will of its Inquisitor,
    The liberty to die.




  • It is an affirmative command to give tzedaka to the poor of Israel. ... Anyone who sees a poor man begging alms and turns away his glance from him and does not give him tzedaka transgresses a negative command, as it is said, "You shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand to your needy brother" (Deuteronomy 15:7).
    • Shlomo Ganzfried as translated by George Horowith in The Spirit of the Jewish Law (New York: 1953)
  • All these things shall love do unto you
    that you may know the secrets of your heart,
    and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart.

    But if in your fear you would seek only
    love's peace and love's pleasure,
    Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing floor,
    Into the seasonless world where you
    shall laugh, but not all of your laughter,
    and weep, but not all of your tears.
  • Ganz unbefleckt geniesst sich nur das Herz.
  • Doch ein gekränktes Herz erholt sich schwer.


  • There is an evening twilight of the heart,
    When its wild passion-waves are lulled to rest.
  • Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it.
    • Learned Hand, in "The Spirit of Liberty" - a speech at "I Am an American Day" ceremony, Central Park, New York City (21 May 1944).
  • I've been tryin' to get down to the Heart of the Matter
    Because the flesh will get weak
    And the ashes will scatter
    So I'm thinkin' about forgiveness
    Even if you don't love me anymore.
    • Don Henley, in "The Heart of the Matter", on The End of the Innocence (1989).


And the former things will not be called to mind,
Nor will they come up into the heart.


  • The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Variant translation:

  • I, Jehovah, am searching the heart,
Examining the innermost thoughts,
To give to each one according to his ways,
According to the fruitage of his works.
  • I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy.
  • Tell General Howard I know his heart. What he told me before, I have it in my heart. I am tired of fighting. Our Chiefs are killed; Looking Glass is dead, Ta Hool Hool Shute is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say yes or no. He who led on the young men is dead. It is cold, and we have no blankets; the little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are - perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children, and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my Chiefs! I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the Sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.
    • Chief Joseph, speech in surrendering to General Nelson Appleton Miles after long evading a pursuit nearly to the border of Canada (5 October 1877).



  • Let your heart guide you. It whispers, so listen closely.
  • Wo das Herz reden darf braucht es keiner Vorbereitung.
  • For his heart was in his work, and the heart
    Giveth grace unto every Art.
  • Something the heart must have to cherish,
    Must love, and joy, and sorrow learn;
    Something with passion clasp, or perish,
    And in itself to ashes burn.


  • For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.
  • Better to have the poet's heart than brain,
    Feeling than song.
  • The heart is like an instrument whose strings
    Steal nobler music from Life's many frets:
    The golden threads are spun thro' Suffering's fire,
    Wherewith the marriage-robes for heaven are woven:
    And all the rarest hues of human life
    Take radiance, and are rainbow'd out in tears.
  • And when once the young heart of a maiden is stolen,
    The maiden herself will steal after it soon.


  • Zwei Kammern hat das Herz.
    Drin wohnen,
    Die Freude und der Schmerz.
    • Two chambers hath the heart.
      There dwelling,
      Live Joy and Pain apart.
    • Hermann Neumann, Das Herz; translation by T. W. H. Robinson; found in Echoes from Kottabos; another translation by Ernest Radford, is Chambers Twain.


  • That's the reason al-Qaeda has been decimated, because she broke my f****** heart.
    • Rob O'Neill (who shot Osama bin Laden), Telegraph
  • Yonkers that have hearts of oak at fourscore yeares.
    • Old Meg of Herefordshire (1609).


  • Oh, the heart is a free and a fetterless thing,—
    A wave of the ocean, a bird on the wing.
  • We must never say, even in fun, that we are disheartened, because someone might take us at our word.
  • The incense of the heart may rise.
  • Where heart lived is what is lived.
  • I shall not go out at all
    given that my love is here
    shall always stay attached to these hearts
    I shall never bid farewell to this place!

    But I have to send this body
    anyhow from here.
  • I'm searching a heart
    inside me--
    a heart
    that's ebullient by swallowing
    the entire pain of the creation,
    a heart jubilant by accepting
    the entire tears of the world,
    a heart aglow by merging
    the entire dark within itself
    a heart that's smooth, effervescent and clean.
  • I know you'll speak no truth at this time.
    I've to be guided
    solely by your silence, your eyes and
    the inaudible appeals of your heart.
  • Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it is the wellspring of life.
    • Proverbs 4:23, World English Bible
  • O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart.
    • Proverbs 8:5, King James Version
  • The heart knoweth his own bitterness.
    • Proverbs, 14:10.
  • A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.
    • Proverbs 14:30, King James Version
  • A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance.
    • Proverbs 15:13.
  • He that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.
    • Proverbs 15:15.
  • A man's heart deviseth his way; but the Lord directeth his steps.
    • Proverbs 16:9.
  • A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.
    • Proverbs 17:22, King James Version
  • The thoughts of a man’s heart are like deep waters,
    But the discerning man draws them out.
    • Proverbs 20:5 (New World Translation).
  • A king’s heart is like streams of water in Jehovah’s hand.
    He directs it wherever He pleases.
    • Proverbs 21:1 (New World Translation)
  • For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.
    • Proverbs 23:7, King James Version
  • He fashioneth their hearts alike.
    • Psalms 33:15.


  • The heart is a small thing, but desireth great matters. It is not sufficient for a kite's dinner, yet the whole world is not sufficient for it.
  • This house is to be let for life or years,
    Her rent is sorrow, and her income tears;
    Cupid, 't has long stood void; her bills make known,
    She must be dearly let, or let alone.


  • My heart is like a singing bird
    Whose nest is in a water'd shoot;
    My heart is like an apple-tree
    Whose boughs are bent with thick-set fruit;
    My heart is like a rainbow shell
    That paddles in a halcyon sea;
    My heart is gladder than all these,
    Because my love is come to me.
  • Malebranche dirait qu'il n'y a plus une âme:
    Nous pensons humblement qu'il reste encor des cœurs.
    • Malebranche would have it that not a soul is left; we humbly think that there still are hearts.
    • Edmond Rostand, Chantecler, Prélude.
  • C'est toujours un mauvais moyen de lire dans le cœur des autres que d'affecter de cacher le sien.
    • It is always a poor way of reading the hearts of others to try to conceal our own.
    • Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Confessions, II.
  • Listen to your heart
    when he's calling for you.
    Listen to your heart
    there's nothing else you can do.
    I don't know where you're going
    and I don't know why,
    but listen to your heart
    before you tell him goodbye.


  • Voici mon secret. Il est très simple: on ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.
  • Nicht Fleisch und Blut; das Herz macht uns zu Vätern und Söhnen.
    • It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons.
    • Friedrich Schiller, Die Räuber, I. 1.
  • The very firstlings of my heart shall be
    The firstlings of my hand.
  • I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
    For daws to peck at; I am not what I am.
  • All great and extraordinary actions come from the heart. There are seasons in human affairs, when qualities fit enough to conduct the common business of life, are feeble and useless; and when men must trust to emotion, for that safety which reason at such times can never give.
    • Sydney Smith, Elementary Sketches of Moral Philosophy (1849), Lecture XXVIL: On Habit


Who needs a heart, when a heart can be broken? ~ Tina Turner



  • L'oreille est le chemin du cœur.
    • The ear is the avenue to the heart.
    • Voltaire, Réponse au Roi de Prusse.
  • La bouche obéit mal lorsque le cœur murmure.
    • The mouth obeys poorly when the heart murmurs.
    • Voltaire, Tancrède, I. 4.


He has the pass-key of hearts, to him the response of the prying of hands on the knobs. ~ Walt Whitman
  • He is the Answerer,
    What can be answer'd he answers, and what cannot be answer'd he shows how it cannot be answer'd.

    A man is a summons and challenge,
    (It is vain to skulk — do you hear that mocking and laughter? do you hear the ironical echoes?)

    Books, friendships, philosophers, priests, action, pleasure, pride, beat up and down seeking to give satisfaction,
    He indicates the satisfaction, and indicates them that beat up and down also.

    Whichever the sex, whatever the season or place, he may go freshly and gently and safely by day or by night,
    He has the pass-key of hearts, to him the response of the prying of hands on the knobs.

    His welcome is universal, the flow of beauty is not more welcome or universal than he is,
    The person he favors by day or sleeps with at night is blessed.



  • Who, for the poor renown of being smart,
    Would leave a sting within a brother's heart?
  • Heaven's Sovereign saves all beings but himself,
    That hideous sight, a naked human heart.
    • Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night III, line 226.



  • It is the heart that carries one to heaven.
    • Anonymous proverb, as quoted in "The Mind of the African Negro as reflected in his Proverbs" in The Journal of Negro History, Volume 1 (1916), edited by Carter Godwin Woodson.

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