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quotations about misery

In misery it is great comfort to have a companion.

JOHN LYLY, Euphues

Extreme hopes are born of extreme misery.

BERTRAND RUSSELL, Unpopular Essays

I hate all pain,
Given or received; we have enough within us
The meanest vassal as the loftiest monarch,
Not to add to each other's natural burden
Of mortal misery.

LORD BYRON, Sardanapalus

Though the rich of this earth find no difficulty in creating misery, they can't bear to see it.

BERTOLT BRECHT, The Threepenny Opera

We generally fancy ourselves more miserable than we are, for want of taking a true estimate of things; wherefore we fly into transports without reason, and judge of the happiness or calamity of human life, by false lights.

WELLINS CALCOTT, Thoughts Moral and Divine

God, wishing His elect to realize their own misery, often temporarily withdraws His favours: no more is needed to prove to us in a very short time what we really are.

TERESA OF AVILA, The Interior Castle

There is no people so miserable, but that at some time or other, in some respect or other, they have reason to account themselves happy. And if they would but duly consider how it is with many of their neighbours, they would find it their duty to be thankful, that it is no worse with themselves; for it is some relief to the unfortunate to show them that there are others yet more miserable.

WELLINS CALCOTT, Thoughts Moral and Divine

Misery knows none but equals.

PAUL HERVIEU, Les Tenailles

There is always more misery among the lower classes than there is humanity in the higher.

VICTOR HUGO, Les Misérables

So true it is, and so terrible too, that up to a certain point the thought or sight of misery enlists our best affections; but, in certain special cases, beyond that point it does not. They err who would assert that invariably this is owing to the inherent selfishness of the human heart. It rather proceeds from a certain hopelessness of remedying excessive and organic ill. To a sensitive being, pity is not seldom pain. And when at last it is perceived that such pity cannot lead to effectual succor, common sense bids the sould rid of it.

HERMAN MELVILLE, Bartleby, the Scrivener

Misery loves company, particularly when she is herself the hostess, and can give generously of her stores to others.

JOHN KENDRICK BANGS, "The Spectre Cook of Bangletop"

What misery to live in this world! We are like men whose enemies are at the door, who must not lay aside their arms, even while sleeping or eating, and are always in dread lest the foe should enter the fortress by some breach in the walls. O my Lord and my all! How canst thou wish us to prize such a wretched existence?

TERESA OF AVILA, The Interior Castle

Misery's fine -- as long as you know you can get out of it when you want to.


But misery still delights to trace
Its semblance in another's case.


Those who have suffered, who have known poverty or oppression, are generally the most prone to kindness. Perhaps it is well to endure some misery if only to learn this lesson.

ARTHUR LYNCH, Moods of Life

It is seldom that the miserable can help regarding their misery as a wrong inflicted by those who are less miserable.

GEORGE ELIOT, Silas Marner

We are apt to measure the happiness or misery of the world by that portion of either which has fallen to our lot.

NORMAN MACDONALD, Maxims and Moral Reflections

It is because of their corrupt thoughts
That creatures go to Misery.


Misery appears to improve the intellect, but this is only because it dismisses fear.

ARTHUR HELPS, Thoughts in the Cloister and the Crowd

At a certain stage of misery, you'll try anything to explain what's going on with you, even if you know it doesn't explain a thing and it's one failed explanation after another.

PHILIP ROTH, The Humbling

Length of days with an evil heart is only length of misery.

C. S. LEWIS, The Magician's Nephew

Here is a thing which the more you fear and avoid it the nearer you approach to it, and this is misery; the more you flee from it the more miserable and restless you will become.

LEONARDO DA VINCI, Thoughts on Art and Life

Pain and misery always hit the spot
Knowing you can't lose what you haven't got


There are no absolutes in human misery and things can always get worse.


It is better not to exist than to live in misery.

SOPHOCLES, Peleus [fragment]

It is a comfort to the miserable to have companions in their sad state. This may seem to be a kind of malicious satisfaction, that one man derives from the Misfortunes of another, but the philosophy of this reflection stands upon another foundation; for our comfort does not arise from others being miserable, but from this inference upon the balance, that we suffer only the lot of human nature, and as we are happy or miserable compared with others, so others are miserable or happy compared with us.

WELLINS CALCOTT, Thoughts Moral and Divine

Misery pulls away the brackets of life leaving you to free fall.

JEANETTE WINTERSON, Written on the Body

Ah, happiness courts the light, so we deem the world is gay; but misery hides aloof, so we deem that misery there is none.

HERMAN MELVILLE, Bartleby, the Scrivener

To be caught happy in a world of misery was for an honest man the most despicable of crimes.

VIRGINIA WOOLF, To the Lighthouse

From time to time the emotional lightning flashed and showed a landscape of private misery, and then — we went on dancing.

DORIS LESSING, The Golden Notebook


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