Somber Quotes

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About Somber Quotes

Keyword: Somber

Quotes: 23 total.

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Words (count)10731 - 476
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Date (year)19151825 - 1987
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"Barbarism is the natural state of mankind," the borderer said, still staring somberly at the Cimmerian. "Civilization is unnatural. It is a whim of circumstance. And barbarism must always ultimately triumph."
I am an American, Chicago born—Chicago, that somber city—and go at things as I have taught myself, free-style, and will make the record in my own way: first to knock, first admitted; sometimes an innocent knock, sometimes a not so innocent.
I am an American, Chicago born — Chicago, that somber city — and go at things as I have taught myself, free-style, and will make the record in my own way: first to knock, first admitted; sometimes an innocent knock, sometimes a not so innocent.
When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Slowly he rose, mechanically wiping his hands upon his cloak. A dark scowl had settled on his somber brow. Yet he made no wild, reckless vow, swore no oath by saints or devils. "Men shall die for this," he said coldly.
God in his harmony has equal ends For cedar that resists and reed that bends; For good it is a woman sometimes rules, Holds in her hand the power, and manners, schools And laws, and mind; succeeding master proud. With gentle voice and smiles she leads the crowd, The somber human troop.
• Victor Hugo, Eviradnus, V.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Women" (Quotes, Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations: Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 886-97.)
We have two lives about us, Two worlds in which we dwell, Within us and without us, Alternate Heaven and Hell:— Without, the somber Real, Within, our hearts of hearts, the beautiful Ideal.
My own room is next the bath room said Bernard it is decerated dark red as I have somber tastes. The bath room has got a tip up bason and a hose thing for washing your head.
The philosopher … applies what he sees in nature to his own life. “As are the generations of leaves, so are the generations of men,”—a somber lesson that is only compensated for by the intense pleasure accompanying insight. Without that pleasure, which so few have, it would be intolerable.
War! Some of the invalids break the silence, and say the word again under their breath, reflecting that this is the greatest happening of the age, and perhaps of all ages. Even on the lucid landscape at which they gaze the news casts something like a vague and somber mirage.
Mat was caught up in it now. He more than merely liked gambling, and battle was a gamble to make dicing in taverns a thing for children and toothless invalids. Lives were the stake here, yours and other men's, men who were not even there. Make the wrong wager, a foolish bet, and cities died, or whole nations. Natael's somber music was fit accompaniment. At the same time, this was a game that set the blood racing.
I heard the bells from the future churches, the children playing and laughing in the schoolyards … and here was an almond tree in bloom before me: I must reach out and cut a flowering branch. For, by believing passionately in something which still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired, whatever we have not irrigated with our blood to such a degree that it becomes strong enough to stride across the somber threshold of nonexistence.
Nikos Kazantzakis
• p. 434; in a few publications since 2008 part of this has been misattributed to Franz Kafka: "By believing passionately in something which still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired."
• Source: Wikiquote: "Nikos Kazantzakis" (Quotes, Report to Greco (1965): The first English edition was translated and published by Bruno Cassirer, Oxford (1965); this section uses primarily the translation by P. A. Bien, Faber and Faber Limited (1973) )
"It would be a crime to exhibit the fine side of war, even if there were one!" murmured one of the somber soldiers. The first man continued. "They'll say those things to us by way of paying us with glory, and to pay themselves, too, for what they haven't done. But military glory — it isn't even true for us common soldiers. It's for some, but outside those elect the soldier's glory is a lie, like every other fine-looking thing in war. In reality, the soldier's sacrifice is obscurely concealed. The multitudes that make up the waves of attack have no reward. They run to hurl themselves into a frightful inglorious nothing. You cannot even heap up their names, their poor little names of nobodies."
They are not only the warrior caste who shout as they fight and have joy of it, not only those whom universal slavery has clothed in magic power, the mighty by birth, who tower here and there above the prostration of the human race and will take their sudden stand by the scales of justice when they think they see great profit to gain; not only these, but whole multitudes who minister consciously or unconsciously to their fearful privilege. "There are those who say," now cries one of the somber and compelling talkers, extending his hand as though he could see the pageant, "there are those who say, 'How fine they are!'" "And those who say, 'The nations hate each other!'" "And those who say, 'I get fat on war, and my belly matures on it!'" "And those who say, 'There has always been war, so there always will be!'" "There are those who say, 'I can't see farther than the end of my nose, and I forbid others to see farther!'".
“You’ve no appreciation of high romance, that’s your trouble,” Lewis said, climbing in and starting the motor. Joseph nodded somberly. “Boy meets girl, girl loses boy, everybody dies. I just don’t get it.”
There are so many elements flying in so many different directions that you really have to go with what feels like instinctively. The nature of the universe is fairly whimsical and nonsensical. In the most somber, beatific peacefulness there's complete chaos and maniacal laughter. I think music that doesn't reflect that is boring.
A snake poisons the milk of a hermit as a frog watches. Realising the consequences, the frog jumps into the bowl of milk and dies instantaneously. The hermit, on his return, sees the frog in the milk and curses it for its gluttony. The curse reverses a former curse and the frog turns into the beautiful maiden and sharp, with voice like that of a vina (somber and majestic), with the gait of a white swan, flashing and restless eyes, and desired of all men.
The war on terror is an abstraction. But the terrorists are real people and they are not all alike. Most of the people attacking our soldiers in Iraq originally had nothing to do with al Qaeda. They have been generated by the policies of the Bush administration. We have been spared a terrorist attack at home but it is quite a stretch to attribute that to the invasion of Iraq. The insurrection in Iraq, however, is a somber reality and it doesn't make us safer at home. Our security, far from improving as President Bush claims, is deteriorating.
This [second] movement must have been Prokofiev’s favorite. In addition to orchestrating it, he included it in the group of works he recorded for HMV in 1935. It is built on a dramatic conflict between the somber, chromatic first theme and the lyrical, diatonic second theme, which uses only the white keys of the piano. (Prokofiev wrote these kinds of melodies throughout his life; one can recall the opening of the Third Piano Concerto or the first theme of the Ninth Sonata.) The structure of the movement is a complex one. It combines aspects of variations with a ternary (ABA) form and the sonata form without a development.
Sometimes a kind of glory lights up the mind of a man. It happens to nearly everyone. You can feel it growing or preparing like a fuse burning toward dynamite. It is a feeling in the stomach, a delight of the nerves, of the forearms. The skin tastes the air, and every deep-drawn breath is sweet. Its beginning has the pleasure of a great stretching yawn; it flashes in the brain and the whole world glows outside your eyes. A man may have lived all his life in the gray, and the land and trees of him dark and somber. The events, even the important ones, may have trooped by faceless and pale. And then — the glory — so that a cricket song sweetens the ears, the smell of the earth rises chanting to his nose, and dappling light under a tree blesses his eyes. Then a man pours outward, a torrent of him, and yet he is not diminished…
Tormented by spiritual thirst, I dragged myself through a somber desert. And a six-winged seraph Appeared to meet me at the crossing of the ways. He touched my eyes With fingers as light as a dream: And my prophetic eyes opened Like those of a frightened eagle. He touched my ears And they were filled with noise and ringing: And I heard the shuddering of the heavens, And the flight of the angels in the heights, And the movement of the beasts of the sea under the waters, And the sound of the vine growing in the valley. He bent down to my mouth And tore out my tongue, Sinful, decitful, and given to idle talk; with the right hand steeped in blood He inserted the tongue of a wise serpent, Into my benumbed mouth. He clove my breast with a sword, And plucked out my quivering heart, And thrust a coal of live fire Into my gaping breast. Like a corpse I lay in the desert. And the voice of God called out to me: 'Arise, O prophet, see and hear, Be filled with my will, Go forth over land and sea, And set the hearts of men on fire with your Word.'
Aleksandr Pushkin
• English translation found in New Society, Volume 8, (1966). New Society Limited. p. 413.
Also quoted by Kahn, Andrew (2006). The Cambridge Companion to Pushkin. Cambridge University Press, p. 84.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Aleksandr Pushkin" (Quotes, The Prophet (1826): Prorok)
Once, in the night, my mother called me to her bed and told me that she could not endure the pain, that she wanted to die. I held her hand and begged her to be quiet. That night I ceased to react to my mother; my feelings were frozen. I merely waited upon her, knowing that she was suffering. She remained abed ten years, gradually growing better, but never completely recovering, relapsing periodically into her paralytic state. The family had stripped itself of money to fight my mother’s illness and there was no more forthcoming. Her illness gradually became an accepted thing in the house, something that could not be stopped or helped. My mother’s suffering grew into a symbol in my mind, gathering to itself all the poverty, the ignorance, the helplessness; the painful, baffling, hunger-ridden days and hours; the restless moving, the futile seeking, the uncertainty, the fear, the dread; the meaningless pain and the endless suffering. Her life set the emotional tone of my life, colored the men and women I was to meet in the future, conditioned my relation to events that had not yet happened, determined my attitude to situations and circumstances I had yet to face. A somberness of spirit that I was never to lose settled over me during the slow years of my mother’s unrelieved suffering, a somberness that was to make me stand apart and look upon excessive joy with suspicion, that was to make me self-conscious, that was to make me keep forever on the move, as though to escape a nameless fate seeking to overtake me. At the age of twelve, before I had had one full year of formal schooling, I had a conception of life that no experience would ever erase, a predilection for what was real that no argument could ever gainsay, a sense of the world that was mine and mine alone, a notion as to what life meant that no education could ever alter, a conviction that the meaning of living came only when one was struggling to wring a meaning out of meaningless suffering.
The First World War had been the mass politicizer. For years on end, it had transformed the consciousnesses of the entire continent into those of observers of the front. Being schooled through war reports, every individual developed the perspective of a general. … Here for the first time, that overwhelming socialization of attention characteristic of modernity took place—and what awoke in individuals and groups as "political consciousness" was the optics of the observer of catastrophes, of the war voyeur. The so-called politicization proceeds from a more intensive militarization and strategic mobilization of consciousnesses, and that not only on the surface. It penetrates deep into body postures and structures of perception. In 1912, Walther Rathenau had referred to an "education for becoming a politician" when the conceptual models of tactics, of the estimation of total situations, etc., trickled down as far as the shopkeeper. From then on, it took only a short time for politicization—as strategic cothinking in large-scale catastrophes—to become universal consciousness. ... As the political ego strives for hardness and agility, it is trained in the way of seeing of generals and diplomats: reconnoiter the terrain; coldly consider the given circumstances; survey the numbers; tack as long as necessary; strike as soon as the time is right. … In this cold romanticism of grand strategic overviews, the political camps of the Left and the Right are quite close to each other. These realpolitik ways of thinking now penetrate down to the person on the street. This "sovereign" thinking, borrowed stateman's optics and general's disposition work on posturingly, even in the minds of the impotent. The principal psychopolitical model of the coming decades is the 'cothinking' cog in the machinery. Those who are infected with the cold intoxication of "thinking in terms of relationships" will more easily let themselves be made into the political tools of the future. The Napoleon cult in the Weimar Republic belongs in this framework. It marks a phase of inner political colonization. With it, political masochism ascends to new heights. The small ego learns how to deliriously think in parallel with the trains of thought of a great strategic brain, which disposes of the former. What Ernst Jünger had previously demonstrated on a high essayistic level (namely, the illusion-trick of being simultaneously general and victim, caterpillar and leaf) is translated onto a mediocre level by innumerable biographies, plays, and articles on Napoleon (and other "men of action" such as Cecil Rhodes and Warren Hastings). Here, educated and "semieducated" everyday sadomasochism finds expression. The leaf dreams of being the master ego of the caterpillar. The communality between the devouring and the devoured arises through the leaf feeling into the suffering soul of the caterpillar. … Napoleon races along his gleaming course like a "meteor" (Kircheissen). His glowing illuminates the more somber plight of mediocre individuals who dream themselves into the "great man."

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