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Silence Quotations

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If a word is worth a coin, silence is worth two.
Hebrew Proverb, From John Ray's 1770s book of proverbs

"The ideal man is his own best friend and takes delight in privacy."

A quiet mind cureth all.
Robert Burton

"I think the first virtue is to restrain the tongue: he approaches nearest to the Gods, who knows how to be silent, even though he is in the right."

The mind contracts herself and shrinketh in, And to herself she gladly doth retire.
Davies, Sir J.

In silence man can most readily preserve his integrity.
Meister Eckhart, Directions for the Contemplative Life

"Silence deep rules o'er the waters,
  Calmly slumbering lies the main,
While the sailor views with trouble
  Nought but one vast level plain.
Not a zephyr is in motion!
  Silence fearful as the grave!
In the mighty waste of ocean
  Sunk to rest is every wave."
Goethe, CALM AT SEA, 1795

"Silence gives consent."
Goldsmith, Oliver, The Good Natured Man

It is as important to cultivate your silence power as your word power.
Wm James

*Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.
James Madison, speech at Virginia Convention, 6/26/1788

"In happiness there are far more regions unknown than there are in misfortune. The voice of misfortune is ever the same; happiness becomes the more silent as it penetrates deeper. "When we put our misfortunes in one scale of the balance, each of us lays, in the other, all that he deems to be happiness. The savage flings feathers and powder, and alcohol into the scale; civilized men some gold, a few days of delirium; but the sage will deposit therein countless things our eyes cannot see-- all his soul, it may be, and even the misfortune that he will have purified."
Maeterlinck, Maurice, WISDOM and DESTINY

"...I should say that human affairs would be much more happily conducted if it were equally in  the power of men to be silent and to speak; but experience shows over and over again that there is nothing which men have less power over than the tongue, and there is nothing which they are less able to do than to govern their appettites, so that many persons believe that we do those things only with freedom which we seek indifferently; as the desire for such things can easily be lessened by the recollection of another thing which we frequently call to mind; it being impossible, on the other hand, to do those things with  freedom which we seek with such ardour that the recollection of another thing is unable to mitigate it. "

The cruelest lies are often told in silence.
R.L. Stevenson, Truth of Intercourse  1879

Of every noble work the silent part is best; of all expression,
that which cannot be expressed.-- W.W. Story

Because in the school of the Spirit man learns wisdom through humility, knowledge by forgetting, how to speak by silence, how to live by dying.
Johannes Tauler 1300-1361 Theologian and Rosicrucian

The earth is rude, silent, incomprehensible at first;
Be not discouraged-- keep on-- there are divine things, well envelop'd;
I swear to you there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell.
Whitman, Walt, Song of The Open Road

He only is rich who owns the day. There is no king, rich man, fairy or demon who possesses such power as that.  The days come and go like muffled and veiled figures sent from a distant, friendly party: but they say nothing, and if we do not use the gifts they bring, they carry them as silently away.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo

"An innavigable sea washes with silent waves between us and the things we aim at and converse with. ...Nothing is left us now but Death. We look to that with a grim Satisfaction, saying, there at least is Reality that will not dodge us."
Ralph Waldo Emerson, experience

"He that would live in peace and at ease, must not speak all he knows, nor judge all he sees."
Franklin, Benjamin, POOR RICHARD'S ALMANAC