Last modified on 13 April 2014, at 07:04


It is the heart that carries one to heaven.
All great and extraordinary actions come from the heart. ~ Sydney Smith

The Heart has long been used as a symbol to refer to the spiritual, emotional, moral, and in the past also intellectual core of a human being. As the heart was once widely believed to be the seat of the human mind, the word heart continues to be used poetically to refer to the soul, and stylized depictions of hearts are extremely prevalent symbols representing love.


  • It is the heart that carries one to heaven.
    • Anonymous proverb, as quoted in "The Mind of the African Negro as reflected in his Proverbs" in The Journal of Negro History, Volume 1 (1916), edited by Carter Godwin Woodson
  • My favoured temple is an humble heart.
  • For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.
  • The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
  • His heart was one of those which most enamour us,
    Wax to receive, and marble to retain.
  • "All the same," said the Scarecrow, "I shall ask for brains instead of a heart; for a fool would not know what to do with a heart if he had one."
  • "I shall take the heart," returned the Tin Woodman; "for brains do not make one happy, and happiness is the best thing in the world."
  • Some hearts are hidden, some have not a heart.
  • All these things shall love do unto you
    that you may know the secrets of your heart,
    and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart.

    But if in your fear you would seek only
    love's peace and love's pleasure,
    Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing floor,
    Into the seasonless world where you
    shall laugh, but not all of your laughter,
    and weep, but not all of your tears.
  • Great literature, past or present, is the expression of great knowledge of the human heart; great art is the expression of a solution of the conflict between the demands of the world without and that within.
  • Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it.
    • Learned Hand, in "The Spirit of Liberty" - a speech at "I Am an American Day" ceremony, Central Park, New York City (21 May 1944).
  • Tell General Howard I know his heart. What he told me before, I have it in my heart. I am tired of fighting. Our Chiefs are killed; Looking Glass is dead, Ta Hool Hool Shute is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say yes or no. He who led on the young men is dead. It is cold, and we have no blankets; the little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are - perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children, and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my Chiefs! I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the Sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.
    • Chief Joseph, speech in surrendering to General Nelson Appleton Miles after long evading a pursuit nearly to the border of Canada. (October 5, 1877).
  • For his heart was in his work, and the heart
    Giveth grace unto every Art.
  • Something the heart must have to cherish,
    Must love, and joy, and sorrow learn;
    Something with passion clasp, or perish,
    And in itself to ashes burn.
  • We must never say, even in fun, that we are disheartened, because someone might take us at our word.
  • The thoughts of a man’s heart are like deep waters,
    But the discerning man draws them out.
    • Proverbs 20:5 (New World Translation)
  • Here is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. (Original french: Voici mon secret. Il est très simple: on ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.)
  • Listen to your heart
    when he's calling for you.
    Listen to your heart
    there's nothing else you can do.
    I don't know where you're going
    and I don't know why,
    but listen to your heart
    before you tell him goodbye.
  • The very firstlings of my heart shall be
    The firstlings of my hand.
  • But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
    For daws to peck at; I am not what I am.
  • All great and extraordinary actions come from the heart. There are seasons in human affairs, when qualities fit enough to conduct the common business of life, are feeble and useless; and when men must trust to emotion, for that safety which reason at such times can never give.
    • Sydney Smith, in Elementary Sketches of Moral Philosophy (1849), Lecture XXVIL: On Habit
  • When people keep repeating
    That you'll never fall in love
    When everybody keeps retreating
    But you can't seem to get enough
    Let my love open the door

    Let my love open the door
    Let my love open the door
    To your heart.
  • Who, for the poor renown of being smart,
    Would leave a sting within a brother's heart?
    • Edward Young, Love of Fame (1725-28), Satire II, line 113.
  • Heaven's Sovereign saves all beings but himself,
    That hideous sight, a naked human heart.
    • Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night III, line 226.
  • A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge.
    • Thomas Carlyle, "The Works of Thomas Carlyle" (1839), Volume 15, page 260.
  • Let your heart guide you. It whispers, so listen closely.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical QuotationsEdit

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 357-59.
  • A man's first care should be to avoid the reproaches of his own heart.
  • My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here;
    My heart's in the Highlands a-chasing the deer.
    • Robert Burns, My Heart's in the Highlands (from an old song, The Strong Walls of Derry).
  • Maid of Athens, ere we part,
    Give, oh, give me back my heart!
  • My heart is wax to be moulded as she pleases, but enduring as marble to retain.
  • No command of art,
    No toil, can help you hear;
    Earth's minstrelsy falls clear
    But on the listening heart.
  • "There are strings," said Mr. Tappertit, "…in the human heart that had better not be wibrated."
  • The heart asks pleasure first,
    And then, excuse from pain;
    And then, those little anodynes
    That deaden suffering;

    And then, to go to sleep;
    And then, if it should be
    The will of its Inquisitor,
    The liberty to die.
  • Ganz unbefleckt geniesst sich nur das Herz.
  • Doch ein gekränktes Herz erholt sich schwer.
  • There is an evening twilight of the heart,
    When its wild passion-waves are lulled to rest.
  • I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy.
    • Job, XXIX. 13.
  • Let not your heart be troubled.
    • John, XIV. 1.
  • Wo das Herz reden darf braucht es keiner Vorbereitung.
  • Better to have the poet's heart than brain,
    Feeling than song.
  • The heart is like an instrument whose strings
    Steal nobler music from Life's many frets:
    The golden threads are spun thro' Suffering's fire,
    Wherewith the marriage-robes for heaven are woven:
    And all the rarest hues of human life
    Take radiance, and are rainbow'd out in tears.
  • Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
    • Matthew, VI. 21.
  • And when once the young heart of a maiden is stolen,
    The maiden herself will steal after it soon.
  • Zwei Kammern hat das Herz.
    Drin wohnen,
    Die Freude und der Schmerz.
    • Two chambers hath the heart.
      There dwelling,
      Live Joy and Pain apart.
    • Hermann Neumann, Das Herz. Translation by T. W. H. Robinson. Found in Echoes from Kottabos. Another translation by Ernest Radford, Chambers Twain.
  • Yonkers that have hearts of oak at fourscore yeares.
    • Old Meg of Herefordshire (1609).
  • Oh, the heart is a free and a fetterless thing,—
    A wave of the ocean, a bird on the wing.
  • The incense of the heart may rise.
  • The heart knoweth his own bitterness.
    • Proverbs, XIV. 10.
  • A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance.
    • Proverbs, XV. 13.
  • He that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.
    • Proverbs, XV. 15.
  • A man's heart deviseth his way; but the Lord directeth his steps.
    • Proverbs, XVI. 9.
  • He fashioneth their hearts alike.
    • Psalms, XXXIII. 15.
  • The heart is a small thing, but desireth great matters. It is not sufficient for a kite's dinner, yet the whole world is not sufficient for it.
  • This house is to be let for life or years,
    Her rent is sorrow, and her income tears;
    Cupid, 't has long stood void; her bills make known,
    She must be dearly let, or let alone.
  • My heart is like a singing bird
    Whose nest is in a water'd shoot;
    My heart is like an apple-tree
    Whose boughs are bent with thick-set fruit;
    My heart is like a rainbow shell
    That paddles in a halcyon sea;
    My heart is gladder than all these,
    Because my love is come to me.
  • Malebranche dirait qu'il n'y a plus une âme:
    Nous pensons humblement qu'il reste encor des cœurs.
    • Malebranche would have it that not a soul is left; we humbly think that there still are hearts.
    • Edmond Rostand, Chantecler, Prélude.
  • C'est toujours un mauvais moyen de lire dans le cœur des autres que d'affecter de cacher le sien.
    • It is always a poor way of reading the hearts of others to try to conceal our own.
    • Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Confessions, II.
  • Nicht Fleisch und Blut; das Herz macht uns zu Vätern und Söhnen.
    • It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons.
    • Friedrich Schiller, Die Räuber, I. 1.
  • My heart, the bird of the wilderness, has found its sky in your eyes.
  • L'oreille est le chemin du cœur.
    • The ear is the avenue to the heart.
    • Voltaire, Réponse au Roi de Prusse.
  • La bouche obéit mal lorsque le cœur murmure.
    • The mouth obeys poorly when the heart murmurs.
    • Voltaire, Tancrède, I. 4.

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