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For the musical genre, see soul music.
Oh! how seldom the soul is silent, in order that God may speak. ~ François Fénelon
And (by) the soul and He who proportioned it and inspired it (with discernment of) its wickedness and its righteousness, He has succeeded who purifies it, and he has failed who instills it (with corruption). ~ Quran
Say not, "I have found the path of the soul." Say rather, "I have met the soul walking upon my path." For the soul walks upon all paths. The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed. The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals. ~ Kahlil Gibran
Soul carried to Heaven by William Bouguereau

A soul – in many spiritual, philosophical, and psychological traditions – is the incorporeal identifying essence of a person, living thing, object, process, pattern or event. Many philosophical and spiritual systems teach that humans have souls, and others teach that all living things and even inanimate objects, such as rivers, or anything identifiable by any means at all, have souls; the term also functions as a synonym for spirit, mind or self; scientific and modern psychological works, in particular often consider soul as a synonym for mind.

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  • I was thrown out of college for cheating on the metaphysics exam: I looked into the soul of another boy.
  • A mermaid has not an immortal soul, nor can she obtain one unless she wins the love of a human being. On the power of another hangs her eternal destiny. But the daughters of the air, although they do not possess an immortal soul, can, by their good deeds, procure one for themselves. We fly to warm countries, and cool the sultry air that destroys mankind with the pestilence. We carry the perfume of the flowers to spread health and restoration. After we have striven for three hundred years to all the good in our power, we receive an immortal soul and take part in the happiness of mankind. You, poor little mermaid, have tried with your whole heart to do as we are doing; you have suffered and endured and raised yourself to the spirit-world by your good deeds; and now, by striving for three hundred years in the same way, you may obtain an immortal soul.
  • Antony, however, according to his custom, returned alone to his own cell, increased his discipline, and sighed daily as he thought of the mansions in Heaven, having his desire fixed on them, and pondering over the shortness of man's life. And he used to eat and sleep, and go about all other bodily necessities with shame when he thought of the spiritual faculties of the soul. So often, when about to eat with any other hermits, recollecting the spiritual food, he begged to be excused, and departed far off from them, deeming it a matter for shame if he should be seen eating by others.
  • Antony ... used to say that it behooved a man to give all his time to his soul rather than his body, yet to grant a short space to the body through its necessities; but all the more earnestly to give up the whole remainder to the soul and seek its profit, that it might not be dragged down by the pleasures of the body, but, on the contrary, the body might be in subjection to the soul.


  • The relation of the soul to the Oversoul is that of the part towards the Whole, and it is this relation and its consequent recognitions, which develop into that sense of oneness with all beings and with the supreme Reality to which the mystics have always testified.
  • The next two hundred years will see the abolition of death, as we now understand that great transition, and the establishing of the soul's existence. The soul will be known as an entity, as the motivating impulse, and the spiritual centre back of all manifested forms. . . . Our essential immortality will be demonstrated and realised to be a fact in nature.
  • Death, as the human consciousness understands it, pain and sorrow, loss and disaster, joy and distress, are only such because man, as yet, identifies himself with the life of the form and not with the life and consciousness of the soul...
  • The spirit in man is undying; it forever endures, progressing from point to point, and stage to stage upon the Path of Evolution, unfolding steadily and sequentially the divine attributes and aspects... The immortality of the human soul, and the innate ability of the spiritual, inner man to work out his own salvation under the Law of Rebirth, in response to the Law of Cause and Effect, are the underlying factors governing all human conduct and all human aspiration. They condition him at all times, until he has achieved the desired and the designed perfection, and can manifest on earth as a rightly functioning son of God.
    • Alice Bailey, The Reappearance of the Christ, p. 146/147, (1947)
  • The basic law underlying all occult healing, may be stated to be as follows: Law I: All disease is the result of inhibited soul life... The art of the healer consists in releasing the soul, so that its life can flow through the aggregate of organisms which constitute any particular form. It is interesting to note that the attempt of the scientist to release the energy of the atom, is of the same general nature as the work of the esotericist when he endeavours to release the energy of the soul. In this release the nature of the true art of healing is hidden.
    • Alice Bailey in A Treatise on the Seven Rays: Volume 4: Esoteric Healing (1953), p. 5
  • The study of the soul will before long be as legitimate and respectable an investigation as any scientific problem, such as research into the nature of the atom. The investigation of the soul and its governing laws, will before long, engross the attention of our finest minds. The newer psychology will eventually succeed in proving the fact of its existence, and the paralleling intuitive and instinctive response of mankind to soul nurture, emanating from the invisible side of life, will steadily and successfully prove the existence of a spiritual entity in man, - an entity all-wise, immortal, divine and creative.
    • Alice Bailey in A Treatise on the Seven Rays: Volume 1: Esoteric Psychology I. (1936), p. 104/5.
  • Humanity is an expression of two aspects of the soul - the animal soul and the divine soul - and these two, blended and fused in man, constitute the human soul. It is this fact that is the cause of man's special problems, and it is these two factors which involve him in the long struggle which eventuates in the liberation of the divine soul, through the sublimation of the animal soul. In these words lie much food for thought.
    • Alice Bailey in A Treatise on the Seven Rays: Volume 1: Esoteric Psychology I. (1936), p. 248.
  • SOUL, n. A spiritual entity concerning which there hath been brave disputation. Plato held that those souls which in a previous state of existence (antedating Athens) had obtained the clearest glimpses of eternal truth entered into the bodies of persons who became philosophers. Plato himself was a philosopher. The souls that had least contemplated divine truth animated the bodies of usurpers and despots. Dionysius I, who had threatened to decapitate the broad-browed philosopher, was a usurper and a despot. Plato, doubtless, was not the first to construct a system of philosophy that could be quoted against his enemies; certainly he was not the last.
  • When one sees mortal man displaying tremendous capabilities, controlling the forces of nature and opening up to view the world of spirit, the reflective mind is overwhelmed with the conviction that if one man's spiritual Ego can do this much, the capabilities of the FATHER SPIRIT must be relatively as much vaster as the whole ocean surpasses the single drop in volume and potency. Ex nihilo nihil fit; prove the soul of man by its wondrous powers — you have proved God! In our studies, mysteries were shown to be no mysteries.
    • H.P. Blavatsky, in Isis Unveiled: A Master-Key to the Mysteries of Ancient and Modern Science and Theology, Vol. I, Preface, (1877)
  • SPIRIT. — The lack of any mutual agreement between writers in the use of this word has resulted in dire confusion. It is commonly made synonymous with soul; and the lexicographers countenance the usage. This is the natural result of our ignorance of the other word, and repudiation of the classification adopted by the ancients. Elsewhere we attempt to make clear the distinction between the terms "spirit" and "soul." There are no more important passages in this work. Meanwhile, we will only add that "spirit" is the nou'" of Plato, the immortal, immaterial, and purely divine principle in man — the crown of the human Triad; whereas, SOUL is the fuch , or the nephesh of the Bible; the vital principle, or the breath of life, which every animal, down to the infusoria, shares with man. In the translated Bible it stands indifferently for life, blood, and soul. "Let us not kill his nephesh," says the original text: "let us not kill him," translate the Christians (Genesis xxxvii. 21), and so on.
    • H.P. Blavatsky, in Isis Unveiled: A Master-Key to the Mysteries of Ancient and Modern Science and Theology, Vol. I, Before the Veil, (1877)
  • Crantor, another philosopher associated with the earliest days of Plato's Academy, conceived the human soul as formed out of the primary substance of all things, the Monad or One, and the Duad or the Two. Plutarch speaks at length of this philosopher, who like his master believed in souls being distributed in earthly bodies as an exile and punishment.
    • H.P. Blavatsky, in Isis Unveiled: A Master-Key to the Mysteries of Ancient and Modern Science and Theology, Vol. I, Before the Veil, (1877)
  • Although neither an alchemist, magician, nor astrologer, but simply a great philosopher, Henry More, of Cambridge University — a man universally esteemed, may be named as a shrewd logician, scientist, and metaphysician... His faith in immortality and able arguments in demonstration of the survival of man's spirit after death are all based on the Pythagorean system, adopted by Cardan, Van Helmont, and other mystics. The infinite and uncreated spirit that we usually call God, a substance of the highest virtue and excellency, produced everything else by emanative causality. God thus is the primary substance... He firmly believed in apparitions, and stoutly defended the theory of the individuality of every soul in which "personality, memory, and conscience will surely continue in the future state." He divided the astral spirit of man after its exit from the body into two distinct entities: the "aerial" and the "aethereal vehicle." During the time that a disembodied man moves in its aerial clothing, he is subject to Fate -- i.e., evil and temptation, attached to its earthly interests, and therefore is not utterly pure; it is only when he casts off this garb of the first spheres and becomes ethereal that he becomes sure of his immortality. "For what shadow can that body cast that is a pure and transparent light, such as the ethereal vehicle is? And therefore that oracle is then fulfilled, when the soul has ascended into that condition we have already described, in which alone it is out of the reach of fate and mortality."
    • H.P. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled: A Master-Key to the Mysteries of Ancient and Modern Science and Theology, Vol. I, Before the Veil, (1877)
  • Go for souls and go for the worst.
    • William Booth as quoted in The Life of General Booth (1913) by Hulda Friedrichs
  • The way to the soul is a very long walk
    • Hacia el alma es muy largo el camino que andar
    • Canción de la verdad sencilla/Song of the Simple Truth: The Complete Poems of Julia de Burgos translated by Jack Agüeros (1997)


  • The plan for the soul was a cycle of experience, unlimited in scope and duration, in which the new individual would come to know creation in all its aspects, at the discretion of will. The cycle would be completed when the desire of will was no longer different from the thought of God. The consciousness of the new individual would then merge with its spiritual consciousness of identity with God, and the soul would return to its source as the companion it was intended to be. In this state the soul would retain its consciousness of a separate individuality and would be aware that of its own free will it now acted as a part of God, not diverting mind force because it was in agreement with the action toward which this force was directed. Until this state was reached the soul would not be a companion in the true sense of the word.
  • The control is usually by the soul itself, if it has evolved sufficiently, because once the body of this dimension has been left and the consciousness of this life has been absorbed into the subconscious, the veil between the two is lifted. The subconscious, you see, is the record of all the lives of the soul, in this system and in other systems, out among the stars. It’s the record we think of as being kept by the Recording Angel. It’s the story of what we do with our spirit—the portion of God that is given to us for life, with the gift of individuality, or separate existence from God. Our problem is to perfect our individuality, and then we return to God. Our spirit and soul, or individuality, are joined to Him.
  • The idea that a return to God means a loss of individuality is paradoxical, since God is aware of everything that happens and must therefore be aware of the consciousness of each individual. Thus the return of the soul is the return of the image to that which imagined it, and the consciousness of an individual—its record, written in mind—could not be destroyed without destroying part of God Himself. When a soul returns to God it becomes aware of itself not only as a part of God, but as a part of every other soul, and everything. The plan for the soul included experience of all creation, but it did not necessarily mean identification with and participation in all forms and substance. Nor did it mean interference in creation by souls. It did not mean that they were to spin their own little worlds, twisting and bending laws to make images of their dreams. But these things could happen. The soul was the greatest thing that was made; it had free will. Once free will was given, God did nothing to curb it; however it acted, it had to act within Him; by whatever route, it had to return to Him.
  • The hypothesis of the soul, on the other hand, has not once in all of human history been supported by good, solid scientific evidence. That's pretty surprising when you think about it. For decades, and indeed centuries, most scientists had some sort of religious beliefs, and most of them believed in the soul. So a great deal of early science was dedicated to proving the soul's existence, and discovering and exploring its nature. It wasn't until after decades upon decades of fruitless research in this area that scientists finally gave it up as a bad job, and concluded, almost unanimously, that the reason they hadn't found a soul was that there was no such thing.
    • Greta Christina, Why Are You Atheists So Angry?: 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless (2012).
  • "You," your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.
    • Francis Crick, The Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search for the Soul (1994)


  • The devil went down to Georgia
    He was lookin' for a soul to steal
    He was in a bind
    'Cause he was way behind
    And he was willin' to make a deal.
  • The soul is placed in the body like a rough diamond; and must be polished, or the lustre of it will never appear
  • A fiery soul, which, working out its way,
    Fretted the pygmy-body to decay,
    And o'er-inform'd the tenement of clay.
    • John Dryden, Absalom and Achitophel (1681), Part I, line 156.


  • Since our inner experiences consist of reproductions and combinations of sensory impressions, the concept of a soul without a body seem to me to be empty and devoid of meaning.
    • Albert Einstein, Albert Einstein: The Human Side p. 40 - 5 Feb 1921 (1979).


  • Ryght so euery man is capitayne of his owne soule.
  • The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.
    • Ferdinand Foch, As quoted in The 32d Infantry Division in World War II (1956) by Harold Whittle Blakeley, p. 3.


  • Inmate: You can't sell your soul. It doesn't really belong to you in the first place. No way, no how.
Elliot: Is that so? Then who does it belong to?
Inmate: [looks straight at Elliot] It belongs to God: that universal spirit that animates and binds all things in existence.
  • Say not, "I have found the truth," but rather, "I have found a truth." Say not, "I have found the path of the soul." Say rather, "I have met the soul walking upon my path." For the soul walks upon all paths. The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed. The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals.
  • Someone has a great fire in his soul and nobody ever comes to warm themselves at it, and passers-by see nothing but a little smoke at the top of the chimney and then go on their way.
    • Vincent van Gogh, Letter no. 155 (June 1880), published in the online version of "Vincent van Gogh – The Letters; The Complete Illustrated and Annotated Edition". Retrieved 29 July 2014.
    • Variants: One may have a blazing hearth in one's soul and yet no one ever came to sit by it. Passers-by see only a wisp of smoke from the chimney and continue on their way.
    • There may be a great fire in our hearts, yet no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passers-by see only a wisp of smoke.


  • I listen to the wind of my soul/Where I’ll end up, well, I think only God really knows


  • What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?
    • Jesus, in Mark 8:36 NIV
    • For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
    • Jesus, in Mark 8:36 KJV
    • What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?
    • Variant in Mark 8:36 The Message
  • Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Gehenna).
  • The soul that walks in love neither tires others nor grows tired
    • Sayings of Light and Love (1581), # 97, John of the Cross (translation by Kieran Kavanaugh and Otilio Rodríguez, 1991).
  • People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. They will practice Indian yoga and all its exercises, observe a strict regimen of diet, learn the literature of the whole world - all because they cannot get on with themselves and have not the slightest faith that anything useful could ever come out of their own souls. Thus the soul has gradually been turned into a Nazareth from which nothing good can come.


  • Indeed, the resolution was to will to be victorious over one’s disposition and over one’s enemies by reconciliation; the resolution was that the evening of life should witness that there had been work during the day; the resolution was to lift up one’s soul over everything that was petty in life.
  • Ah, do not weary your soul with makeshift, temporary palliatives; do not grieve the spirit with temporal consolations; do not suicidally kill the wish; through hope, through faith, through love you win the highest that the most powerful is capable of – in the decision to be with the good!
    • Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits, March 13, 1847 by Soren Kierkegaard, copyright 1993 by Howard Hong p. 101


  • The Theosophical Explanation. We endorse the theory that the soul leaves the body; but we are perhaps a little more definite in our explanation of what we mean by the soul than are many religious people. Our statement is not that man possesses a soul, but that man is a soul, and that the body is merely a vestment which he casts off when it is worn out... Man is a far more complex being than to physical sight he appears to be; and the only way in which we can thoroughly understand him is by raising our consciousness to altogether higher planes, where we can see much more...[than] one who has not previously studied the subject.
  • I will suppose that all humankind have souls, a condition which, when sober, I do not hold.
  • The history of a man's soul, even the pettiest soul, is hardly less interesting and useful than the history of a whole people; especially when the former is the result of the observations of a mature mind upon itself, and has been written without any egotistical desire of arousing sympathy or astonishment.


  • I said to Him, Lord, how does he who sees the vision see it, through the soul or through the spirit?
    The Savior answered and said, He does not see through the soul nor through the spirit, but the mind that is between the two that is what sees the vision.
  • I held my breath, for to me there is nothing more awe-inspiring than when a man discovers to you the nakedness of his soul.
  • Confession is good for the conscience, but it usually bypasses the soul.
  • The soul may sleep and the body still be happy, but only in youth.


  • To understand that we have souls, is to feel our separation from things visible, our independence of them, our distinct existence in ourselves, our individuality, our power of acting for ourselves this way or that way, our accountableness for what we do.
    • John Henry Newman, "The Immortality of the Soul" (1833), Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. I (1868), p. 19
  • A rich and powerful soul not only gets over painful and even terrible losses, deprivations, robberies, and insults: it actually leaves such dark infernos in possession of still greater plenitude and power; and, what is most important of all, in possession of an increased blissfulness in love. I believe that he who has divined something of the most fundamental conditions of love, will understand Dante for having written over the door of his Inferno: "I also am the creation of eternal love."
    • Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power Book IV 130


  • 28. Through the sounding of the Word and through reflection upon its meaning, the Way is found.
  • 29. From this comes the realisation of the Self (the soul) and the removal of all obstacles.
  • 30. The obstacles to soul cognition are bodily disability, mental inertia, wrong questioning, carelessness, laziness, lack of dispassion, erroneous perception, inability to achieve concentration, failure to hold the meditative attitude when achieved.
    • Patanjali: The Light of the Soul: Its Science and Effect : a paraphrase of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, with commentary by Alice A. Bailey, (1927), p.5
  • Was it worthwhile? Everything is worthwhile if the soul is not small.
  • Are you not ashamed that you give your attention to acquiring as much money as possible, and similarly with reputation and honor, and give no attention or thought to truth and understanding and the perfection of your soul?
  • SOCRATES: The shoemaker, for example, uses a square tool, and a circular tool, and other tools for cutting?
SOCRATES: But the tool is not the same as the cutter and user of the tool?
ALCIBIADES: Of course not. ...
SOCRATES: Then what shall we say of the shoemaker? Does he cut with his tools only or with his hands?
ALCIBIADES: With his hands as well.
SOCRATES: He uses his hands too?
SOCRATES: And does not a man use the whole body?
ALCIBIADES: Certainly.
SOCRATES: And that which uses is different from that which is used?
SOCRATES: Then a man is not the same as his own body?
ALCIBIADES: That is the inference.
SOCRATES: What is he, then?
ALCIBIADES: I cannot say.
SOCRATES: Nay, you can say that he is the user of the body.
SOCRATES: And the user of the body is the soul?
ALCIBIADES: Yes, the soul.
  • Neither my deeds contain any essence
    nor, my gestures have sense of zeal,
    my days are creeping forth for nothingness;
    with this body deficient of heart and soul
    O' Glorious! O' Lord Almighty !
    how can I come close to you?
  • Tonight, let us exchange every part of our bodies and every space of our souls to each other.
  • I believe that the soul consists of its sufferings. For the soul that cures its own sufferings dies.
  • Every Theosophical movement throughout the ages has been founded in order to bring back to man the realization of that which is essentially man's, to awaken in his heart his spiritual instincts, to light the divine fire anew in his soul, so that, inflamed with its glory, he may press onwards, find this pathway, and in following it to its end -which is indeed no end, for it is endless - may reach the realization by individual experience of his complete oneness with the Universe of which he is a child. That Universe is you. Every part of it is yours. It is your eternal Home and your everlasting Dwelling-place. There you are native; and not only are you, each one of you, the heart of the Universe, but that Universe itself verily is you yourself in your inmost. p. 48
  • Now there are two ways for a man to achieve his destiny, two ways for a human soul to reach its own inner powers, the full expansion of its own god-like genius. The first is that followed by the majority, drifting along like flotsam on the ceaselessly moving ebb and flow of the Ocean of Time; and this is the path of natural evolution, of natural growth. But oh! how slow, how slow, how slow it is! Ages will pass before the expansion of inner faculties and powers reaches even a modicum of a larger greatness.
    The other pathway is Initiation. This means a quicker growth, a more rapid evolution, a more speedy emergence from the chrysalis of humanhood into possessing the wings of the spirit - into becoming the bird of eternity, to change the metaphor somewhat. p. 70
  • You can gain wonderfully just by cultivating a few simple rules of mental and practical conduct. Be kindly; refuse to hate. Learn to love; learn to forgive. Let your heart expand. Be yourself, and expand your sympathies; touch with the tendrils of your consciousness the hearts of other human beings. Oh! what a delight to feel, as it were, the inner spiritually electrical quiver that your own soul experiences when you have touched the heart of a fellow human being! Practising these rules of morals and of noble ethics, you begin a short cut to a comprehension of yourself, and ultimately you touch the mysteries of the Universe. p. 73


  • And (by) the soul and He who proportioned it and inspired it (with discernment of) its wickedness and its righteousness, He has succeeded who purifies it, and he has failed who instills it (with corruption).


  • With his superior knowledge the entity must leave hands off. His, the entity’s, only hope is to allow the personality complete independence, for it is the personality who understands more clearly than he the conditions of the particular plane upon which he existence happens. There is here no puppet, and there is no hand that moves the strings. If there were you see, you would indeed have a much more perfect world, but you would not have that one built-in prerequisite: complete as possible existence within all facets, and manipulation within all facets, of a given plane.
    • Jane Roberts in The Early Sessions: Book 3, Session 95, Page 63.
  • This private multidimensional self, or the soul, has... an eternal validity. It is upheld, supported, maintained by the energy, the inconceivable vitality, of All That Is.
  • The soul is too great to know itself, yet each individual portion of the soul seeks this knowledge, and in the seeking creates new possibilities of development, new dimensions of actuality. The individual self at any given moment can connect with its soul.
    • Jane Roberts in Seth, Dreams & Projections of Consciousness, p. 285.
  • All day I think about it, then at night I say it. Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing? I have no idea. My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that, and I intend to end up there.
    • Rumi. "Who says words with my mouth?" in Ch. 1 : The Tavern, p. 2.


  • Living is being born slowly. It would be a little too easy if we could borrow ready-made souls.

  • Galileo's head was on the block... The crime was looking up for truth... And then you had to bring up reincarnation... How long 'til my soul gets it right... Can any human being ever reach that kind of light... I call on the resting soul of Galileo... King of night vision, king of insight... I'm not making a joke, you know me...I take everything so seriously... If we wait for the time 'til all souls get it right... Then at least I know there'll be no nuclear annihilation... Can any human being ever reach the highest light... Except for Galileo — God rest his soul...
    • Emily Saliers in the song, “Galileo” (lead single of the Indigo Girls fourth album, a minor crossover pop hit in the US in August 1992, Genius (12 May 1992)
  • An event rather than an entity, the soul defines our deepest depths, oblivious of sensation, thought, and feeling—touching bottom in our simple existence.
    • Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker (2020)
  • A man can be compelled to do anything, but his soul cannot be forced.
  • Whate'er of earth is form'd, to earth returns,
    * * * The soul
    Of man alone, that particle divine,
    Escapes the wreck of worlds, when all things fail.
  • For of the soule the bodie forme doth take; For the soule is forme, and doth the bodie make.


  • Be careless in your dress if you must, but keep a tidy soul.
    • Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar, Following the Equator (1897).


  • We had to be able to animate them so that they felt like flesh and blood, but most importantly you had to believe that they had souls behind their eyes.


  • Principio caelum ac terras camposque liquentis
    Lucentemque globum Lunae Titaniaque astra
    Spiritus intus alit, totamque infusa per artus
    Mens agitat molem et magno se corpore miscet.
    • Know, first, that heav'n, and earth's compacted frame,
      And flowing waters, and the starry flame,
      And both the radiant lights, one common soul
      Inspires and feeds, and animates the whole.
      This active mind, infus'd thro' all the space,
      Unites and mingles with the mighty mass.
    • Virgil, Aeneid, Book VI, 724–727 (trans. John Dryden).


  • The soul is the human being considered as having a value in itself.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 736-40.
  • Today the journey is ended,
    I have worked out the mandates of fate;
    Naked, alone, undefended,
    I knock at the Uttermost Gate.
    Behind is life and its longing,
    Its trial, its trouble, its sorrow,
    Beyond is the Infinite Morning
    Of a day without a tomorrow.
  • But thou shall flourish in immortal youth,
    Unhurt amidst the wars of elements,
    The wrecks of matter, and the crush of worlds.
  • What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to the soul.
  • And see all sights from pole to pole,
    And glance, and nod, and bustle by,
    And never once possess our soul
    Before we die.
  • But each day brings its petty dust
    Our soon choked souls to fill.
  • Anima certe, quia spiritus, in sicco habitare non potest; ideo in sanguine fertur habitare.
    • The soul, which is spirit, can not dwell in dust; it is carried along to dwell in the blood.
    • Augustine of Hippo, Decretum, IX. 32. 2.
  • A soul as white as Heaven.
  • John Brown's body lies a mould'ring in the grave
    His soul goes marching on.
  • And I have written three books on the soul,
    Proving absurd all written hitherto,
    And putting us to ignorance again.
  • And he that makes his soul his surety,
    I think, does give the best security.
  • Everywhere the human soul stands between a hemisphere of light and another of darkness; on the confines of two everlasting hostile empires, Necessity and Freewill.
  • Imago animi vultus est, indices oculi.
    • The countenance is the portrait of the soul, and the eyes mark its intentions.
    • Cicero, De Oratore, III. 59.
  • From the looks—not the lips, is the soul reflected.
  • The soul of man is larger than the sky,
    Deeper than ocean, or the abysmal dark
    Of the unfathomed centre.
  • My father was an eminent button-maker at Birmingham,… but I had a soul above buttons.
  • A happy soul, that all the way
    To heaven hath a summer's day.
  • Lord of oneself, uncumbered with a name.
  • I have a soul that, like an ample shield,
    Can take in all, and verge enough for more.
  • The one thing in the world, of value, is the active soul.
  • He was one of a lean body and visage, as if his eager soul, biting for anger at the clog of his body, desired to fret a passage through it.
  • Animula, vagula, blandula
    Hospes comesque corporis!
    Quæ nunc abibis in loca,
    Pallidula, frigida nudula
    Nec ut soles dabis joca?
    • O fleeting soul of mine, my body's friend and guest, whither goest thou, pale, fearful, and pensive one? Why laugh not as of old?
    • Hadrian, Ad Animam, according to Ælius Spartianus. See Pope's paraphrase, A Dying Christian to His Soul.
  • It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll,
    I am the master of my fate:
    I am the captain of my soul.
  • Salute thyself; see what thy soul doth wear.
  • Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
    As the swift seasons roll!
    Leave thy low-vaulted past!
    Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
    Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
    Till thou at length art free,
    Leaving thine outgrown shell by life's unresting sea!
  • And rest at last where souls unbodied dwell,
    In ever-flowing meads of Asphodel.
    • Homer, The Odyssey, Book XXIV, line 19. Pope's translation.
  • The production of souls is the secret of unfathomable depth.
  • The limbs will quiver and move after the soul is gone.
  • Awake, my soul, and with the sun
    Thy daily course of duty run.
    • Bishop Ken, Evening Hymn, Taken from Salvator Mundi, Domine. In Hymni Ecclesiæ.
  • Arise, O Soul, and gird thee up anew,
    Though the black camel Death kneel at thy gate;
    No beggar thou that thou for alms shouldst sue:
    Be the proud captain still of thine own fate.
  • Ah, the souls of those that die
    Are but sunbeams lifted higher.
  • Ignoratur enim, quæ sit natura animai;
    Nata sit, an contra nascentibus insinuetur;
    Et simul intereat nobiscum, morte diremta,
    An tenebras Orci visat, vastasque lacunas:
    An pecudes alias divinitus insinuet se.
    • For it is unknown what is the real nature of the soul, whether it be born with the bodily frame or be infused at the moment of birth, whether it perishes along with us, when death separates the soul and body, or whether it visits the shades of Pluto and bottomless pits, or enters by divine appointment into other animals.
    • Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, I. 113.
  • Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
    • Luke, XII. 19. Ecclesiastes, VIII. 15.
  • In your patience possess ye your souls.
    • Luke, XXI. 19.
  • This ae nighte, this ae nighte
    Every nighte and all;
    Fire and sleete, and candle lighte
    And Christe receive thye saule.
    • Lyke, Wake Dirge. In Scott's Minstrelsy of the Border, Volume III, p. 163. T. F. Henderson's ed. (1902). "Fire and fleet" in version given in John Aubrey's Remaines of Gentilisme and Judaisme (1686–7). Lansdowne MSS. in British Museum. ("Fleet" given as meaning water; "Sleete" meaning salt.) Compare with chant to the departing spirit in Guy Mannering.
  • For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
  • Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
  • The soul of the river had entered my soul,
    And the gathered power of my soul was moving
    So swiftly, it seemed to be at rest
    Under cities of cloud and under
    Spheres of silver and changing worlds—
    Until I saw a flash of trumpets
    Above the battlements over Time!
  • The dust's for crawling, heaven's for flying,
    Wherefore, O Soul, whose wings are grown,
    Soar upward to the sun!
  • What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
    • Matthew, XVI. 26.
  • The soul, aspiring, pants its source to mount,
    As streams meander level with their fount.
    • Robert Montgomery, Omnipresence of the Deity, Part I. Ridiculed by Macaulay as "the worst similitude in the world." Omitted in later editions.
  • There was a little man, and he had a little soul;
    And he said, "Little Soul, let us try, try, try!"
  • I reflected how soon in the cup of desire
    The pearl of the soul may be melted away;
    How quickly, alas, the pure sparkle of fire
    We inherit from heaven, may be quenched in the clay.
  • Above the vulgar flight of common souls.
  • Lord of myself, accountable to none.
    But to my conscience, and my God alone.
  • I sent my Soul through the Invisible,
    Some letter of that After-life to spell,
    And by and by my Soul returned to me,
    And answered "I Myself am Heav'n and Hell."
  • Est deus in nobis, et sunt commercia cœli.
    Sedibus ætheriis spiritus ille venit.
    • There is a god within us, and we have intercourse with heaven. That spirit comes from abodes on high.
    • Ovid, Ars Amatoria, III. 549.
  • Deus est in pectore nostro.
    • There is a divinity within our breast.
    • Ovid, Epistolæ Ex Ponto, III. 4. 93.
  • Egomet sum mihi imperator.
    • I am myself my own commander.
    • Plautus, Mercator, Act V.
  • The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home,
    Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
  • Stript to the naked soul.
    • Alexander Pope, lines to Mrs. Grace Butler found in Sussex Garland. Nos. 9 and 10. Under Warminghurst. Attributed also to Charles Yorke.
  • Vital spark of heav'nly flame!
    • Alexander Pope, paraphrase of Emperor Hadrian's "Ode of the Dying Christian to His Soul." Also inspired by Sappho, Fragment. In Spectator (Nov. 15, 1711).
  • Or looks on heav'n with more than mortal eyes,
    Bids his free soul expatiate in the skies,
    Amid her kindred stars familiar roam,
    Survey the region, and confess her home.
  • The iron entered into his soul.
    • Psalms. CV. 18. In the Psalter.
  • Anima mea in manibus meis semper.
    • My soul is continually in my hand.
    • Psalms. CXIX. 109. (Latin in Vulgate).
  • My soul, the seas are rough, and thou a stranger
    In these false coasts; O keep aloof; there's danger;
    Cast forth thy plummet; see, a rock appears;
    Thy ships want sea-room; make it with thy tears.
  • Goe sowle, the bodies gueste
    vpon a thankeles errant;
    feare not to touche the beste,
    the trueth shalbe thie warrant,
    goe, since I nedes muste die
    and tell them all they lie.
    • Generally believed to be by Raleigh, The Lie. (Souls Errand.) Harleian Manuscript, 2296. Folio 135. Also in Manuscript, 6910. Folio 141. Assigned to him in Chetham Manuscript, 8012, p. 103. Cottier Manuscript, Bibl. Cat. Volume II, p. 244. Printed as Davidson's in his Poetical Rhapsody (Second Ed.) Pub. 1608. Claim for John Sylvester discredited by authorities, although it appears in the folio of his posthumous works. (1641). Printed in Lord Pembroke's Poems. Attributed also to Richard Edwards by Campbell. Not proven that Raleigh wrote it 1618 or 1603. May have been written by him 1592–3(?) during his imprisonment.
  • Yet stab at thee who will,
    No stab the soul can kill!
  • —'Tis my soul
    That I thus hold erect as if with stays,
    And decked with daring deeds instead of ribbons,
    Twirling my wit as it were my moustache,
    The while I pass among the crowd, I make
    Bold truths ring out like spurs.
  • Animus hoc habet argumentum divinitatis suæ, quod ilium divina delectant.
    • The soul has this proof of its divinity: that divine things delight it.
    • Seneca the Younger, Quæstionum Naturalium, Præfet ad 1 lib.
  • Man who man would be
    Must rule the empire of himself.
  • For of the soule the bodie forme doth take;
    For soule is forme and doth the bodie make.
  • The soul is a fire that darts its rays through all the senses; it is in this fire that existence consists; all the observations and all the efforts of philosophers ought to turn towards this ME, the centre and moving power of our sentiments and our ideas.
  • Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.
    • Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:9; Yerushalmi Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin 37a.
  • My soul is a dark ploughed field
    In the cold rain;
    My soul is a broken field
    Ploughed by pain.
  • But this main-miracle that thou art thou,
    With power on thine own act and on the world.
  • * * * But while
    I breathe Heaven's air, and Heaven looks down on me,
    And smiles at my best meanings, I remain
    Mistress of mine own self and mine own soul.
  • What profits now to understand
    The merits of a spotless shirt—
    A dapper boot—a little hand—
    If half the little soul is dirt.
    • Alfred Tennyson, The New Timon and the Poets. Appeared in Punch (Feb. 28, 1846). Signed Alcibiades. Answer to attack made by Bulwer-Lytton in The New Timon when Tennyson received a pension.
  • Her soul from earth to Heaven lies,
    Like the ladder of the vision,
    Wheron go
    To and fro,
    In ascension and demission,
    Star-flecked feet of Paradise.
  • What then do you call your soul? What idea have you of it? You cannot of yourselves, without revelation, admit the existence within you of anything but a power unknown to you of feeling and thinking.
    • Voltaire, Dictionnaire philosophique portatif ("A Philosophical Dictionary") (1764), Soul.
  • And keeps that palace of the soul serene.
  • Were I so tall to reach the pole,
    Or grasp the ocean with my span,
    I must be measur'd by my soul:
    The mind's the standard of the man.
  • A charge to keep I have,
    A God to glorify:
    A never-dying soul to save,
    And fit it for the sky.
  • I loafe and invite my soul,
    I lean and loafe at my ease, observing a spear of summer grass.
  • But who would force the Soul, tilts with a straw
    Against a Champion cased in adamant.
    • William Wordsworth, Ecclesiastical Sonnets, Part III, VII. Persecution of the Scottish Covenanters.
  • For the Gods approve
    The depth, and not the tumult, of the soul.
  • Lord of himself, though not of lands;
    And having nothing, yet hath all.

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)[edit]

Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).

  • The human soul is like a bird that is born in a cage. Nothing can deprive it of its natural longings, or obliterate the mysterious remembrance of its heritage.
  • The universe, vast, beautiful, magnificent, as it is, cannot content the soul, but rouses it to more majestic thoughts. The wider view it takes of what is material, the more impatient it becomes of all material bonds. The sublimer the prospects which are opened by the universe, the more the spirit is impelled to ascend to a still sublimer being. Forever it aspires towards an infinite and immutable One as the ground of all finite and mutable existences. It can rest in His Omnipotence alone as the source, centre, sustainer, determiner of all forces.
  • There is a remedy for every wrong and a satisfaction for every soul.
  • The strongest love which the human heart has ever felt has been that for its Heavenly Parent. Was it not then constituted for this love?
  • As the flowers follow the sun, and silently hold up their petals to be tinted and enlarged by its shining, so must we, if we would know the joy of God, hold our souls, wills, hearts, and minds, still before Him, whose voice commands, whose love warns, whose truth makes fair our whole being.' God speaks for the most part in such silence only. If the soul be full of tumult and jangling voices, His voice is little likely to be heard.
  • Oh! how seldom the soul is silent, in order that God may speak.
  • Christ bounds and terminates the vast desires of the soul; He is the very Sabbath of the soul.
  • Every thing here, but the soul of man, is a passing shadow. The only enduring substance is within. When shall we awake to the sublime greatness, the perils, the accountableness, and the glorious destinies of the immortal soul?
  • It is only when we see in human souls, taken as germs of power, a future magnitude and majesty transcending all present measures, that we come into any fit conception at all of Christ's mission to the world.
    • Author unidentified, p. 559.
  • Go and try to save a soul, and you will see how well it is worth saving, how capable it is of the most complete salvation. Not by pondering about it, nor by talking of it, but by saving it, you learn its preciousness.
  • You can throw yourselves away. You can become of no use in the universe except for a warning. You can lose your souls. Oh, what a loss is that! The perversion and degradation of every high and immortal power for an eternity! And shall this be true of any one of you? Will you be lost when One has come from heaven, traveling in the greatness of His strength, and with garments dyed in blood, on purpose to guide you home—.home to a Father's house — to an eternal home?
  • Two things a master commits to his servant's care — the child and the child's clothes. It will be a poor excuse for the servant to say, at his master's return, " Sir, here are all the child's clothes, neat and clean, but the child is lost." Much so of the account that many will give to God of their souls and bodies at the great day. " Lord, here is my body; I am very grateful for it; I neglected nothing that belonged to its contents and welfare; but as for my soul, that is lost and cast away forever. I took little care and thought about it.
  • We all dread a bodily paralysis, and would make use of every contrivance to avoid it; but none of us is troubled about a paralysis of the soul.
  • The saddest of all failures is that of a soul, with its capabilities and possibilities, failing of life everlasting, and entering upon that night of death upon which morning never dawns.
  • As ravens rejoice over carrion, so infernal spirits exult over the soul that is dead in sin.

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