Selected silence quotes; quotations on quiet and stillness.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
... a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1,7
Let us be silent, so we may hear the whisper of the gods.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, from the essay "Friendship" (1841)
Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.
~ Ludwig Wittgenstein, in Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1922)
The notes I handle no better than many pianists. But the pauses between the notes — ah, that is where the art resides.
~ Artur Schnabel (pianist), Chicago Daily News (1958)
Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn? Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven't the answer to a question you've been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause in a roomful of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you're all alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful, if you listen carefully.
~ Norton Juster, in The Phantom Tollbooth (1961)
You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
~ Miranda Warning, given to criminal suspects in U.S. police custody (1966)
It reminds me of the heady days of Sputnik and Yuri Gagarin, when the world trembled at the sound of our rockets. Well, they will tremble again — at the sound of our silence. The order is: Engage the silent drive.
~ Capt. Ramius in The Hunt for Red October (1990 movie)
The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
~ English proverb
As we must account for every idle word, so we must for every idle silence.
~ Benjamin Franklin, in Poor Richard's Almanack (1738)
All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
~ Thomas Jefferson, from a letter to George Washington (1792)
There is a silence where hath been no sound,
There is a silence where no sound may be,
In the cold grave—under the deep deep sea,
Or in wide desert where no life is found,
Which hath been mute, and still must sleep profound;
No voice is hush'd—no life treads silently,
But clouds and cloudy shadows wander free.
That never spoke, over the idle ground:
But in green ruins, in the desolate walls
Of antique palaces, where Man hath been,
Though the dun fox, or wild hyaena, calls,
And owls, that flit continually between,
Shriek to the echo, and the low winds moan,—
There the true Silence is, self-conscious and alone.
Thomas Hood, Sonnet "Silence." (1823)
I have often thought it would be a blessing if each human being were stricken blind and deaf for a few days at some time during his early adult life. Darkness would make him more appreciative of sight; silence would teach him the joys of sound.
~ Helen Keller, in "Three Days to See," The Atlantic Monthly (1933)
When you've got worries, all the noise and the hurry seems to help, I know. Downtown.
~ Tony Hatch, from the song "Downtown" (1964)
I swore never to be silent whenever — wherever — human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.
~ Elie Wiesel, in his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize (1986)
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