Silence

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Napoli, chiostro di Santa Chiara: allegoria del Silenzio

Quotes about Silence.

Quotes[edit]

  • There are times when silence is the best way to yell at the top of your voice.
    • O. A. Battista, from Braude's Second Encyclopedia of stories, quotations, and anecdotes.
  • Speech is of time, silence is of eternity.
  • Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves together; that at length they may emerge, full-formed and majestic, into the daylight of Life, which they are thenceforth to rule.
  • Under all speech that is good for anything there lies a silence that is better. Silence is deep as Eternity; speech is shallow as Time.
  • Silence is more eloquent than words.
  • Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
  • Silence best speaks the mind.
  • Take heed of still waters, they quick pass away.
  • Silence, according to western and eastern tradition alike, is necessary for the emergence of persons. It is taken from us by machines that ape people. We could easily be made increasingly dependent on machines for speaking and for thinking, as we are already dependent on machines for moving.
    • Ivan Illich, "Silence is a Commons" (1982), as published in The CoEvolution Quarterly, Winter 1983.
  • Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
    Are sweeter: therefore, ye soft pipes, play on
  • Sorrow and silence are strong, and patient endurance is godlike.
  • The surest pledge of a deathless name
    Is the silent homage of thoughts unspoken.
  • * You know
    There are moments when silence, prolong'd and unbroken,
    More expressive may be than all words ever spoken,
    It is when the heart has an instinct of what
    In the heart of another is passing.
    • Owen Meredith (Lord Lytton), Lucile (1860), Part II, Canto I, Stanza 20.
  •   ...   There's a joy,
    To the fond votaries of fame unknown,
    To hear the still small voice of conscience speak
    In whisp'ring plaudit to the silent soul.
  • The saying is true "The empty vessel makes the greatest sound."
  • But my words like silent raindrops fell, and echoed in the wells of silence.
  • "Do not too hastily conclude that silence is indifference. Indifference is not to care, not to act, not even to think or breathe. Indifference is inhuman and inhumane. Silence, on the other hand, is almost always premeditated, a willful act. Without silence there would be no sound."
  • The things you do not have to say make you rich.
    Saying the things you do not have to say weakens your talk.
    Hearing the things you do not need to hear dulls your hearing.
    And the things you know before you hear them, these are you, and this is why you are in the world.
  • Silence, beautiful voice.
  • Well-timed silence hath more eloquence than speech.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 707-10.
  • But silence never shows itself to so great an advantage, as when it is made the reply to calumny and defamation, provided that we give no just occasion for them.
  • Alta vendetta
    D'alto silenzio è figlia.
    • Deep vengeance is the daughter of deep silence.
    • Vittorio Alfieri, La Congiura de' Pazzi, I, 1.
  • Le silence est l'esprit das sots,
    Et l'une des vertus du sage.
  • Three things are ever silent—Thought, Destiny, and the Grave.
  • There was silence deep as death;
    And the boldest held his breath,
    For a time.
  • Speech is great; but silence is greater.
  • Under all speech that is good for anything there lies a silence that is better. Silence is deep as Eternity; speech is shallow as Time.
  • There are haunters of the silence, ghosts that hold the heart and brain.
  • Cum tacent clamant.
    • When they hold their tongues they cry out.
    • Cicero, In Catilinam, 1. 8.
  • And they three passed over the white sands, between the rocks, silent as the shadows.
  • Striving to tell his woes, words would not come;
    For light cares speak, when mighty griefs are dumb.
  • Il ne voit que la nuit, n'entend que le silence.
    • He sees only night, and hears only silence.
    • Jacques Delille, Imagination, IV.
  • Silence is the mother of Truth.
  • A horrid stillness first invades the ear,
    And in that silence we the tempest fear.
  • Stillborn silence! thou that art
    Flood-gate of the deeper heart!
  • Small griefs find tongues: full casques are ever found
    To give, if any, yet but little sound.
    Deep waters noyselesse are; and this we know,
    That chiding streams betray small depth below.
    • Robert Herrick, Hesperides, To His Mistresse Objecting to Him Neither Toying or Talking.
  • There is a silence where hath been no sound,
    There is a silence where no sound may be,
    In the cold grave—under the deep, deep sea,
    Or in wide desert where no life is found,
    Which hath been mute, and still must sleep profound.
  • Est et fideli tuta silentio merces.
    • There is likewise a reward for faithful silence.
    • Horace, Carmina, III. 2. 25.
  • Not much talk—a great, sweet silence.
  • Vessels never give so great a sound as when they are empty.
    • Bishop John Jewell, Defense of the Apology for the Church of England.
  • Rarus sermo illis et magna libido tacendi.
  • Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time.
  • Les gens sans bruit sont dangereux;
    Il n'en est pas ainsi des autres.
  • Some sipping punch, some sipping tea,
    But as you by their faces see
    All silent and all damned.
    • Charles Lamb, lines made up from a stanza in Wordsworth's Peter Bell.
  • Three Silences there are: the first of speech,
    The second of desire, the third of thought.
  • Where the streame runneth smoothest, the water is deepest.
    • John Lyly, Euphues and His England, p. 287.
  • I have known the silence of the stars and of the sea,
    And the silence of the city when it pauses,
    And the silence of a man and a maid,
    And the silence for which music alone finds the word.
  • Dixisse me, inquit, aliquando pœnituit, tacuisse nunquam.
    • He [Xenocrates] said that he had often repented speaking, but never of holding his tongue.
    • Valerius Maximus, Book VII. 2, Ext. 7.
  • Nothing is more useful than silence.
  • That silence is one of the great arts of conversation is allowed by Cicero himself, who says, there is not only an art, but even an eloquence in it.
    • Hannah More, Essays on Various Subjects, Thoughts on Conversation.
  • Silence sweeter is than speech.
  • Be silent and safe—silence never betrays you.
  • Sed taciti fecere tamen convicia vultus.
    • But still her silent looks loudly reproached me.
    • Ovid, Amorum (16 BC), I. 7. 21.
  • Sæpe tacens vocem verbaque vultus habet.
    • The silent countenance often speaks.
    • Ovid, Ars Amatoria, I. 574.
  • Exigua est virtus præstare silentia rebus;
    At contra, gravis est culpa tacenda loqui.
    • Slight is the merit of keeping silence on a matter, on the other hand serious is the guilt of talking on things whereon we should be silent.
    • Ovid, Ars Amatoria, Book II. 603.
  • Remember what Simonides said,—that he never repented that he had held his tongue, but often that he had spoken.
    • Plutarch, Morals, Volume I. Rules for the Preservation of Health.
  • Said Periander, "Hesiod might as well have kept his breath to cool his pottage."
    • Plutarch, Morals, Volume II. The Banquet of the Seven Wise Men.
  • La douleur qui se tait n'en est que plus funeste.
    • Silent anguish is the more dangerous.
    • Jean Racine, Andromaque, III. 3.
  • Silence in love bewrays more woe
    Than words, though ne'er so witty;
    A beggar that is dumb, you know,
    May challenge double pity.
  • The silente man still suffers wrong.
    • The Rock of Regard. J. P. Collier's Reprint. (1576).
  • Altissima quæque flumina minimo sono labuntur.
    • The deepest rivers flow with the least sound.
    • Quintus Curtius Rufus, De Rebus Gestis Alexandri Magni, VII, 4, 13.
  • Doch große Seelen dulden still.
  • Bekker schweigt in sieben Sprachen.
    • Bekker is silent in seven languages.
    • Schleiermacher. See letter of Zelter to Goethe (March 15, 1830).
  • Wise Men say nothing in dangerous times.
  • Tacere multis discitur vitæ malis.
    • Silence is learned by the many misfortunes of life.
    • Seneca, Thyestes, 319.
  • Silence! Oh, well are Death and Sleep and Thou
    Three brethren named, the guardians gloomy-winged,
    Of one abyss, where life and truth and joy
    Are swallowed up.
  • Shallow brookes murmur moste, deepe silent slide away.
  • Macaulay is like a book in breeches * * * He has occasional flashes of silence, that make his conversation perfectly delightful.
  • Le silence du peuple est la leçon des rois.
    • The silence of the people is a lesson for kings.
    • Soanen, Bishop of Senax; also Abbé de Beauvais, funeral oration over Louis XV.
  • Woman, to women silence is the best ornament.
  • To me so deep a silence portends some dread event; a clamorous sorrow wastes itself in sound.
  • The deepest rivers make least din,
    The silent soule doth most abound in care.
  • But let me silent be:
    For silence is the speech of love,
    The music of the spheres above.
  • Of every noble work the silent part is best,
    Of all expression, that which cannot be expressed.
  • And I too talk, and lose the touch
    I talk of. Surely, after all,
    The noblest answer unto such
    Is kindly silence when they brawl.
    • Alfred Tennyson, The After Thought, in Punch (March 7, 1846); Altered in the published poems to: "Is perfect stillness when they brawl".
  • Our noisy years seem moments in the being
    Of the eternal Silence.
  • No sound is uttered,—but a deep
    And solemn harmony pervades
    The hollow vale from steep to steep,
    And penetrates the glades.
  • The silence that is in the starry sky.

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