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Quotations for Goodbyes

Don't be dismayed at good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends. ~Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, 1977

Let me kiss off that falling Tear,
We only part to meet again.
~John Gay (1685–1732), "Black-ey'd Susan"

Kindred hearts no distance parts. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897

Men's feelings are always purest and most glowing in the hour of meeting and of farewell; like the glaciers, which are transparent and rosy-hued only at sunrise and sunset... ~Johann Paul Friedrich Richter (1763–1825)

Why can’t we get all the people together in the world that we really like and then just stay together forever? Someone would leave. Someone always leaves. And then we have to say goodbye. I hate goodbyes... You know what I need? I need more hellos. ~Charles M. Schulz, Snoopy, Come Home, 1972

Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes. ~Henry David Thoreau, letter to Lidian Jackson Emerson, 1843 May 22nd

Sweet... is the memory of distant friends! Like the mellow ray of a departing sun, it falls tenderly yet sadly on the heart. ~Washington Irving, William Irving, & James Kirke Paulding, Salmagundi, 1807

Gone, and the light gone with her and left me in shadow here!
      Gone — flitted away,
Taken the stars from the night and the sun from the day!
Gone, and a cloud in my heart, and storm in the air!
~Alfred, Lord Tennyson, "The Window: Or, The Songs of the Wrens," 1870, written for the music of Arthur Sullivan

Good-bye, dear love. This cruel time is such a torture, and each second seems a heart's eternity. ~Laura L. Livingstone (Herbert Dickinson Ward), Lauriel: The Love Letters of an American Girl, 1901

I love you tenderly, adieu. ~Benjamin Franklin, letter to Sarah Davenport, c.1730

How lucky I am to have known somebody, something, that saying goodbye to is so damned awful. ~The Other Side of the Mountain, 1975, screenplay by David Seltzer, based on the book A Long Way Up: The Story of Jill Kinmont by Evans G. Valens, 1966

Excuse me, then. You know my heart.
But dearest friends, alas! must part.
~John Gay (1685–1732), "The Hare and Many Friends"

Let us thank God... that we can love our friends, our brothers and our sisters, and weep when they are gone, and smile at their return. It is indeed a joy which we are blest to know. ~Emily Dickinson, letter to brother, 1854

To Die and Part
Is a less Evil — But to Part and Live
There, there's the Torment...
~George Granville, Lord Lansdowne (1666–1735), Heroick Love, 1698

And ’t is a strange truth that only in the agony of parting we look into the depths of love. ~George Eliot, Felix Holt, 1866

The reason it hurts so much to separate is because our souls are connected. ~Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook, 1996

You and I will meet again
When we're least expecting it
One day in some far off place
I will recognize your face
I won't say goodbye my friend
For you and I will meet again...
I don't know how, I don't know when
But you and I will meet again
~Tom Petty, "You and I Will Meet Again," Into the Great Wide Open, 1991, performed by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers

Tammy made up her mind — she wasn't going to walk to the edge of the swamp with Pete. She didn't want to scatter her good-by through the swamp, trailing it out. She wanted to hold it fast here all together. ~Cid Ricketts Sumner, Tammy Out of Time, 1958

That Love’s a bitter-sweet, I ne’er conceive,
Till the sour minute comes of taking leave,
And then I taste it. But as Men drink up
In haste the bottom of a med’cin’d cup,
And take some syrup after; so do I,
To put all relish from my memory
Of parting, drown it, in the hope to meet
Shortly again, and make our absence sweet...
~Ben Jonson (1572–1637), Under-woods

Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same. ~Flavia Marie Register Weedn (1929–2015), Forever, 1999,

So sweetly she bade me adieu,
I thought that she bade me return.
~William Shenstone, "Absence," 1743

The best of friends must part... ~Frances Hodgson Burnett, Little Lord Fauntleroy 1885

The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again. ~Charles Dickens, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, 1839

Love reckons hours for months, and days for years:
And every little absence is an age.
~John Dryden, Amphitryon, 1690

May all the blessings of heaven rain down upon you and yours. ~Irish blessing

O, keen and bitter words of woe,
Which could I choose to send a throe,
      In thy kind heart so true?
~Samuel Woodhull, 1851

God bless you — I shall hope to greet you by New-years-day in perfect health — Adieu, my dear friend... ~Laurence Sterne (1713–1768)

Now it comes, the hour of parting,
      Coming with the waning day!
Friend from friend in love departing
      Hies to happy home away.
            Good-by, good-by, good-by!
            Oh, why, oh, why, oh, why
            Was the bitter word good-by
            E'er coined beneath the sky?...
~Sara L. Vickers Oberholtzer, "Good-by," Violet Lee, and Other Poems, 1873

Deep in our hearts we know that the best things said come last. People will talk for hours, saying nothing much, and then linger at the door with words that come with a rush from the heart. ~Alan Alda, commencement address at his daughter Eve's graduation, Connecticut College, 1980

How can there be any sin in sincere
Where is the good in goodbye?...
Tell me what can be fair in farewell, dear
While one single star shines above
How can there be any sin in sincere?
Aren't we sincerely in love?
Oh, we're in love!
~Meredith Willson, "Sincere," The Music Man, 1957 ♫

Every parting is a form of death — as every reunion is a type of heaven. ~Amelia B. Edwards, My Brother's Wife, 1855

What anguish gushes from the heart
      The quivering lip will tell,
When "two fond souls" are call'd to part
      And far from each other dwell.
~Samuel Woodhull, 1851

When I go away from you
The world beats dead
Like a slackened drum.
I call out for you against the jutted stars
And shout into the ridges of the wind.
Streets coming fast,
One after the other,
Wedge you away from me,
And the lamps of the city prick my eyes
So that I can no longer see your face.
Why should I leave you,
To wound myself upon the sharp edges of the night?
~Amy Lowell, "The Taxi"

What I was really hanging around for, I was trying to feel some kind of a good-by. I mean I've left schools and places I didn't even know I was leaving them. I hate that. I don't care if it's a sad good-by or a bad good-by, but when I leave a place I like to know I'm leaving it. If you don't, you feel even worse. ~J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, 1951

Farewell, my dearest sister, fare thee well:
The elements be kind to thee, and make
Thy spirits all of comfort! fare thee well.
~William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra, c.1606 [III, 2, Octavius]

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published 2005 Sep 12
revised 2018 Sep 18
last saved 2024 May 7