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Obscurity is the state of being unknown or the quality of being difficult to understand.
- Content thyself to be obscurely good.
- Joseph Addison, Cato, A Tragedy (1713), Act IV, scene 4.
- Like beauteous flowers which vainly waste their scent
Of odours in unhaunted deserts.
- William Chamberlayne, Pharonida (1659), Part II, Book IV.
- That it has pleased God to make Holy Scripture obscure in certain places lest, if it were perfectly clear to all, it might be vulgarized and subjected to disrespect or be so misunderstood by people of limited intelligence as to lead them into error.
- Pope Gregory VII, in response to the request made in 1079 by Vratislaus, duke of Bohemia, seeking permission to use Slavonic in local church services. Awake! magazine December 2011, page 7; They Tried to Keep God’s Word From the Masses.
- Now, in our opinion, no author should be blamed for obscurity; nor should any pains be grudged in the effort to understand him, provided that he has done his best to be intelligible. Difficult thoughts are quite distinct from difficult words. Difficulty of thought is the very heart of poetry.
- Alice Meynell, "Robert Browning" (1880), in Prose and Poetry: Centenary Volume (London: Jonathan Cape, 1947), pp. 93–94.
- How happy is the blameless vestal's lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
- Alexander Pope, Eloisa to Abelard (1717), line 207.
- Yet was he but a squire of low degree.
- Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene (1589-96), Book IV, Canto VII, Stanza 15.
- Eo magis præfulgebat quod non videbatur.
- He shone with the greater splendor, because he was not seen.
- Tacitus, Annales (AD 117), III. 76.
- The evolutionary urge drives man to seek for intenser forms of fulfillment, since his basic urge is for more life, more consciousness, and this contentment has an air of stagnation that the healthy mind rejects. (This recognition lies at the centre of my own 'outsider theory': that there are human beings to whom comfort means nothing, but whose happiness consists in following an obscure inner-drive, an 'appetite for reality'.)
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 565.
- I give the fight up; let there be an end,
A privacy, an obscure nook for me,
I want to be forgotten even by God.
- Robert Browning, Paracelsus, Part V.
- As night the life-inclining stars best shows,
So lives obscure the starriest souls disclose.
- George Chapman, Hymns and Epigrams of Homer, The Translator's Epilogue, line 74.
- Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
- Thomas Gray, Elegy in a Country Churchyard, Stanza 14.
- Yet still he fills affection's eye,
Obscurely wise, and coarsely kind.
- Samuel Johnson, On the Death of Robert Levet.
- Some write their wrongs in marble: he more just,
Stoop'd down serene and wrote them on the dust,
Trod under foot, the sport of every wind,
Swept from the earth and blotted from his mind,
There, secret in the grave, he bade them lie,
And grieved they could not 'scape the Almighty eye.
- Samuel Madden, Boulter's Monument.
- Bene qui latuit, bene vixit.
- He who has lived obscurely and quietly has lived well.
- Ovid, Tristium, III, 4, 25.
- Ut sæpe summa ingenia in occulto latent!
- How often the highest talent lurks in obscurity!
- Plautus, Captivi, I, 2, 62.
- Thus let me live, unseen, unknown,
Thus unlamented let me die;
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lie.
- Alexander Pope, Ode on Solitude.
- She dwelt among the untrodden ways
Beside the springs of Dove,
A maid whom there were none to praise
And very few to love.
- William Wordsworth, She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways.