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Quotations about Truth



...there is a magnificent bias for truth in the heart of man. ~H. G. Wells, Apropos of Dolores, 1938


The water in a vessel is sparkling; the water in the sea is dark.
The small truth has words that are clear; the great truth has great silence.
~Rabindranath Tagore


It was a puzzling thing. The truth knocks on the door and you say, “Go away, I'm looking for the truth,” and so it goes away. Puzzling. ~Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, 1974


Salute truth, even if she comes in rags. Hate error though she comes clothed in tradition, riding with a coach. ~Charles F. Raymond, "This Banner Year," Just Be Glad, 1907


We shall advance when we have learned humility; when we have learned to seek truth, to reveal it and publish it; when we care more for that than for the privilege of arguing about ideas in a fog of uncertainty. ~Walter Lippmann, c.1917


Truth is the fourth dimension. By her grace
Motion, the idiot of time and space,
Grows reasonable, so that the spirit sees
Behind the aimless drag of categories
The moving centuries, whose gestures mirror
And dissipate the cloudy shapes of error.
O there's the long way back, the dawns that scatter
Like startled birds about the spirit, and chatter
Of animal voices seeking lucid speech
In colonies of darkness...
~Humbert Wolfe, "The Jungle," Shylock Reasons with Mr. Chesterton and Other Poems, 1920


Many persons have patience in affliction, who have little or none in the pursuit of truth. ~William Benton Clulow, Horæ Otiosæ, 1833


Now eighty years are come and gone;
      He crouches by the hearth alone,
      Or sits the live-long summer-day
      Where slants the sun his dusty ray,
      With knees and nose together thrust,
      Himself some larger mote of dust.
He sought afar the path of truth,
      And stepped it bravely in his youth;
      But, finding it a cul-de-sac,
      Since middle-age he travelled back.
~V. A. R., "The Old Man," Poems, 1867


Error is not always the result of a want of education, but often a lack of power to comprehend the truth. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882


Fortunately there have always been men whose larger minds could adapt themselves to the truth instead of narrowing the truth to them. ~Thomas Wentworth Higginson, "The Sympathy of Religions," an address delivered at Horticultural Hall, Boston, 1870 February 6th


One truth can illume the whole world, but a thousand errors can only shadow a little corner. ~Ouina (Cora L. V. Scott Richmond), given through her Medium "Water Lily," "Diamond Drops," Ouina's Canoe, 1882


Away then, with soft ideals:
Brace yourself with bitterness:
A drink of that biting liquor, the Truth...
~James Oppenheim, "Civilization," Songs for the New Age, 1914


God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose. Take which you please, — you can never have both. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


Opinions, do you say? mock me not! opinions, what are they?
Only wings with which our souls may soar
To self-conceited flighty heights but nothing more,
No this is truth, a diamond delved from dust.
~D.C.L.D., "A Reverie," Castalian Splashes, 1916


The goddess Truth has not sufficient charms to captivate the vulgar, but must be veiled in mystery, or invested with adventitious ornaments or attractions, to strike the popular fancy. ~William Benton Clulow, Horæ Otiosæ, 1833


It is alike your interest and mine and all men's, however long we have dwelt in lies, to live in truth. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


It is a sad regret to have searched for the truth and settled for an answer. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


Error is sometimes so nearly allied to truth, that it blends with it as imperceptibly as the colours of the rainbow fade into each other. ~William Benton Clulow, Horæ Otiosæ, 1833


If you want the truth on your side, get on the side of truth. ~Arnold H. Glasow (1905–1999)


The forceps of our minds are clumsy forceps and crush the truth a little in taking hold of it… ~H. G. Wells


"Gentle truth" will at last cease to be gentle and crush him who rejects her. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882


If we strengthen not the weary, if we right no wrong,
      If we crush not false with iron hand,
      Bind not truth with golden band,
Give no courage to the doubting, to no loss our gain—
Our strength, our power, is in vain.
~Josephine Butterfield Walcott (1840–1906), "In Vain," 1871


Truth crushed to earth shall rise again... ~William Cullen Bryant (1794–1878), "The Battle-field"


Truth is rarely writ in ink; it lives in nature. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)


Seek All the Truth lest Error seize you;
Fear not the Truth that does not please you.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Truth," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924


Without faith there is no truth, for that is all the truth is or ever was. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


Truth is light of foot like a fawn, not heavy like lead. It is young with the spirit of youth, but we bend it with weight in its still young years. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "A Soul's Faring: VII," A Soul's Faring, 1921


Opinion is a flitting thing
But truth outlasts the sun,
If then we cannot own them both,
Possess the oldest one.
~Emily Dickinson


If there be no God, then what is truth but the average of all lies. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


By sooth-saying it is quite possible to make a living in the world, but not by truth-saying. ~Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742–1799), translated by Norman Alliston, 1908


My truths do not last long in me. Not as long as those that are not mine. ~Antonio Porchia (1886–1968), Voces, 1943–1966, translated from the Spanish by W.S. Merwin (1927–2019), c.1968


Truth never hides; yet how hard to find! ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897


One of life's regrets is that you didn't always tell the truth, and now it's too late, because the truth has changed. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


Truth is the diamond of the soul... ~Ouina (Cora L. V. Scott Richmond), given through her Medium "Water Lily," "Diamond Drops," Ouina's Canoe, 1882


As change is the order of Nature,
And beauty springs from decay,
So in its destined season
The false for the true makes way.
~Alice Carey, "The Time to Be," c.1847


People always think something's all true. ~J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, 1951


Truth is the breath of life to human society. It is the food of the immortal spirit. Yet a single word of it may kill a man as suddenly as a drop of prussic acid. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes


United wishes and goodwill cannot overcome brute facts. ~Winston Churchill


[T]ruth is incontrovertible. Panic may resent it. Ignorance may deride it. Malice may distort it. But there it is. ~Winston Churchill


Alas! In vain historians pry and probe:
      The same wind blows, and in the same live robe
      Truth bends her head to fingers curved cupwise;
And with a woman's smile and a child's care
      Examines something she is holding there
      Concealed by her own shoulder from our eyes.
~Vladimir Nabokov, The Gift, 1963, translated from Russian by Michael Scammell


Truth bends abashed, and answers not. ~Thomas Hardy, "An Impromptu to the Editor," The Cornhill Magazine, January 1910 (fifty years jubilee edition)


Every truth bends and reshapes itself or is reshaped by other forces. ~Leslie Woolf Hedley


For men in earnest have no time to waste
In patching fig-leaves for the naked truth.
~James Russell Lowell, "A Glance Behind the Curtain"


Don't keep searching for the truth, just let go of your opinions. ~Author unknown


There are more martyrs to nonsense than truth, truth preferring missionaries. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


FAIR  Truth lay at the bottom of a well
      Where all who came to draw the water, leant
To find her where she lurked, invisible,
      Deep down — but on the surface, as he bent,
Brooding on that clear darkness, each descried
      The image of himself reflected there,
And at the sight went forth, full-satisfied,
      Crying, "I have seen Truth, and she is fair!"
~May Sinclair (1863–1946), "A Fable," c.1886


I am of the Buddhists. The great Teacher comes periodically. He is followed by pupils who corrupt the texts and then a new Buddha must be born to reëstablish the truth. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)


All great truths begin as blasphemies. ~Bernard Shaw


...Science and mathematics
Run parallel to reality, they symbolize it, they squint at it,
They never touch it: consider what an explosion
Would rock the bones of men into little white fragments and unsky the world
If any mind should for a moment touch truth.
~Robinson Jeffers


Do not mistake probability for truth, for it is a notorious liar. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


The greatest truths are the simplest: so likewise are the greatest men. ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827


Nothing possesses greater magnetism than the simple truth well spoken. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882


When one has one's hand full of truth it is not always wise to open it. ~French proverb


...truth cannot overcome its old habit of being stranger than fiction. ~Michael Monahan


Once an absurdity is accepted as truth, it will seem truer the more absurd it is shown to be. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


If we run from the
truth of our existence
we become a lie...
~Terri Guillemets


Philosophy running mad, madness philosophising, much idle-learned inquiries, what truth is? and no issue, fruit, of all these noises, only huge books are written, and who is the wiser?... Men... lose their time and wits... chasing of nimble and retiring Truth... Truth is the game all these hunt after, to the extreme perturbacyon and drying up of the moistures, humidum radicale exsiccant, as Galen, in his counsels to one of these wear-wits, brain-moppers, spunges, saith... They bowle away, shooting beside the marke... but and if Very Truth be extant indeede on earth, as some hold she it is which actuates men's deeds, purposes, ye may in vaine look for her in the learned universities, halls, colleges. Truth is no Doctoresse, she takes no degrees at Paris or Oxford... but oftentimes to such an one as myself, an Idiota or common person, no great things, melancholising in woods where waters are, quiet places by rivers, fountains, whereas the silly man expecting no such matter, thinketh only how best to delectate and refresh his mynde continually with Natura her pleasaunt scenes, woods, waterfalls, or Art her statelie gardens, parks, terraces, Belvideres, on a sudden the goddesse herself Truth has appeared, with a shyning lyghte, and a sparklyng countenance, so as yee may not be able lightly to resist her. ~Charles Lamb, "Curious Fragments, Extracted from a Common-place Book, which Belonged to Robert Burton, the Famous Author of the 'Anatomy of Melancholy,'" 1801


There are truths of which I have an inkling, but of most I have only a penciling. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com





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