The grief that does not speak

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow quote: There is no grief like the grief that does not …

—  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Last update Nov. 2, 2021.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
201American poet 1807 - 1882

Related quotes

„Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.“

—  William Shakespeare, Macbeth

Variant: The grief that does not speak whispers the o'erfraught heart and bids it break.
Source: Macbeth

„Grief does not expire like a candle or the beacon on a lighthouse. It simply changes temperature.“

—  Anthony Rapp, book Without You

Source: Without You

„Man needs to suffer. When he does not have real griefs he creates them. Griefs purify and prepare him.“

—  José Martí Poet, writer, Cuban nationalist leader 1853 - 1895

"Adúltera" [Adulterous Thoughts] (1883)

„My grief was cold. It was nothing to share. It was nothing to speak about, nothing to feel.

—  Alice Hoffman, book Green Angel

Source: Green Angel

„Between grief and nothing, I will take grief.“

—  William Faulkner, book If I Forget Thee

Variant: Given a choice between grief and nothing, I'd choose grief
Source: The Wild Palms

„Grief like anything else – like a stone – is content only; God gives us the form, that serenity, purity and self-possession with which to surround and live grief.“

—  Aldo Capitini Italian philosopher and political activist 1899 - 1968

„There is no feeling, except the extremes of fear and grief, that does not find relief in music.“

—  T.S. Eliot 20th century English author 1888 - 1965

„There is no feeling, except the extremes of fear and grief, that does not find relief in music.“

—  George Eliot, book The Mill on the Floss

The Mill on the Floss (1860)

„For sudden Joys, like Griefs, confound at first.“

—  Daniel Defoe, La vie et les aventures de Robinson Crusoe

Source: Robinson Crusoe

„Grief takes many forms, including the absence of grief.

—  Alison Bechdel American cartoonist, author 1960

„Grief is the agony of an instant; the indulgence of Grief the blunder of a life.“

—  Benjamin Disraeli British Conservative politician, writer, aristocrat and Prime Minister 1804 - 1881

Book VI, Chapter 7.
Books, Coningsby (1844), Vivian Grey (1826)

„The mercy of the world is time. Time does not stop for love, but it does not stop for death and grief, either.“

—  Wendell Berry author 1934

Source: Jayber Crow

„Don't make it sound like that. Like some ordinary sort of grief. It's not like that. They say time heals all wounds, but that presumes the source of the grief is finite. Over. This is a fresh wound every day.“

—  Cassandra Clare, book Clockwork Prince

Source: Clockwork Prince

„But woman's grief is like a summer storm,
Short as it violent is.“

—  Joanna Baillie Scottish poet and dramatist 1762 - 1851

Act V, scene 3.
Count Basil (1798)

„Grief is depression in proportion to circumstance; depression is grief out of proportion to circumstance.

—  Andrew Solomon, book The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression

Source: The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression

„Grief is different. Grief has no distance. Grief comes in waves, paroxysms, sudden apprehensions that weaken the knees and blind the eyes and obliterate the dailiness of life.“

—  Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking

Source: The Year of Magical Thinking

„And it was grief that made Mankind your lover,
And it was grief that made you love Mankind.“

—  Joyce Kilmer American poet, editor, literary critic, soldier 1886 - 1918

Main Street and Other Poems (1917), In Memory
Context: Your eyes, that looked on glory, could discover
The angry scar to which the world was blind:
And it was grief that made Mankind your lover,
And it was grief that made you love Mankind.

„In every heart there should be one grief that is like a well in the desert.“

—  Edith Wharton American novelist, short story writer, designer 1862 - 1937

„Grief restrains grief as dams torrential rain
And time grows fertile with extended pain“

—  J. V. Cunningham American writer 1911 - 1985

'Exclusion of Rhyme' Alan Swallow Denver 1942

„No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.“

—  Clive Staples Lewis, book A Grief Observed

First line.
A Grief Observed (1961)

Related topics

  • For Father
  • Doe
  • Grief
  • Likeness
  • Speaking

Macbeth. Act IV. Scene III. William Shakespeare. 1914. The Oxford Shakespeare

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Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > Macbeth
William Shakespeare (1564–1616).   The Oxford Shakespeare.  1914.
Act IV. Scene III.

England.  Before the KING’S Palace.



  Mal.  Let us seek out some desolate shade, and there
Weep our sad bosoms empty.
  Macd.        Let us rather        5
Hold fast the mortal sword, and like good men
Bestride our down-fall’n birthdom; each new morn
New widows howl, new orphans cry, new sorrows
Strike heaven on the face, that it resounds
As if it felt with Scotland and yell’d out        10
Like syllable of dolour.
  Mal.        What I believe I’ll wail,
What know believe, and what I can redress,
As I shall find the time to friend, I will.
What you have spoke, it may be so perchance.        15
This tyrant, whose sole name blisters our tongues,
Was once thought honest: you have lov’d him well;
He hath not touch’d you yet, I am young; but something
You may deserve of him through me, and wisdom
To offer up a weak, poor, innocent lamb        20
To appease an angry god.
  Macd.  I am not treacherous.
  Mal.        But Macbeth is.
A good and virtuous nature may recoil
In an imperial charge. But I shall crave your pardon;        25
That which you are my thoughts cannot transpose;
Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell;
Though all things foul would wear the brows of grace,
Yet grace must still look so.
  Macd.        I have lost my hopes.        30
  Mal.  Perchance even there where I did find my doubts.
Why in that rawness left you wife and child—
Those precious motives, those strong knots of love—
Without leave-taking? I pray you,
Let not my jealousies be your dishonours,        35
But mine own safeties: you may be rightly just,
Whatever I shall think.
  Macd.        Bleed, bleed, poor country!
Great tyranny, lay thou thy basis sure,
For goodness dares not check thee! wear thou thy wrongs;        40
The title is affeer’d! Fare thee well, lord:
I would not be the villain that thou think’st
For the whole space that’s in the tyrant’s grasp,
And the rich East to boot.
  Mal.        Be not offended:        45
I speak not as in absolute fear of you.
I think our country sinks beneath the yoke;
It weeps, it bleeds, and each new day a gash
Is added to her wounds: I think withal,
There would be hands uplifted in my right;        50
And here from gracious England have I offer
Of goodly thousands: but, for all this,
When I shall tread upon the tyrant’s head,
Or wear it on my sword, yet my poor country
Shall have more vices than it had before,        55
More suffer, and more sundry ways than ever,
By him that shall succeed.
  Macd.        What should he be?
  Mal.   It is myself I mean; in whom I know
All the particulars of vice so grafted,        60
That, when they shall be open’d, black Macbeth
Will seem as pure as snow, and the poor state
Esteem him as a lamb, being compar’d
With my confineless harms.
  Macd.        Not in the legions        65
Of horrid hell can come a devil more damn’d
In evils to top Macbeth.
  Mal.        I grant him bloody,
Luxurious, avaricious, false, deceitful,
Sudden, malicious, smacking of every sin        70
That has a name; but there’s no bottom, none,
In my voluptuousness: your wives, your daughters,
Your matrons, and your maids, could not fill up
The cistern of my lust; and my desire
All continent impediments would o’erbear        75
That did oppose my will; better Macbeth
Than such an one to reign.
  Macd.        Boundless intemperance
In nature is a tyranny; it hath been
Th’ untimely emptying of the happy throne,        80
And fall of many kings. But fear not yet
To take upon you what is yours; you may
Convey your pleasures in a spacious plenty,
And yet seem cold, the time you may so hoodwink.
We have willing dames enough; there cannot be        85
That vulture in you, to devour so many
As will to greatness dedicate themselves,
Finding it so inclin’d.
  Mal.        With this there grows
In my most ill-compos’d affection such        90
A stanchless avarice that, were I king,
I should cut off the nobles for their lands,
Desire his jewels and this other’s house;
And my more-having would be as a sauce
To make me hunger more, that I should forge        95
Quarrels unjust against the good and loyal,
Destroying them for wealth.
  Macd.        This avarice
Sticks deeper, grows with more pernicious root
Than summer-seeming lust, and it hath been        100
The sword of our slain kings: yet do not fear;
Scotland hath foisons to fill up your will,
Of your mere own; all these are portable,
With other graces weigh’d.
  Mal.  But I have none: the king-becoming graces,        105
As justice, verity, temperance, stableness,
Bounty, perseverance, mercy, lowliness,
Devotion, patience, courage, fortitude,
I have no relish of them, but abound
In the division of each several crime,        110
Acting it many ways. Nay, had I power, I should
Pour the sweet milk of concord into hell,
Uproar the universal peace, confound
All unity on earth.
  Macd.        O Scotland, Scotland!        115
  Mal.  If such a one be fit to govern, speak:
I am as I have spoken.
  Macd.        Fit to govern!
No, not to live. O nation miserable,
With an untitled tyrant bloody-scepter’d,        120
When shalt thou see thy wholesome days again,
Since that the truest issue of thy throne
By his own interdiction stands accurs’d,
And does blaspheme his breed? Thy royal father
Was a most sainted king; the queen that bore thee,        125
Oft’ner upon her knees than on her feet,
Died every day she liv’d. Fare thee well!
These evils thou repeat’st upon thyself
Have banish’d me from Scotland. O my breast,
Thy hope ends here!        130
  Mal.        Macduff, this noble passion,
Child of integrity, hath from my soul
Wip’d the black scruples, reconcil’d my thoughts
To thy good truth and honour. Devilish Macbeth
By many of these trains hath sought to win me        135
Into his power, and modest wisdom plucks me
From over-credulous haste; but God above
Deal between thee and me! for even now
I put myself to thy direction, and
Unspeak mine own detraction, here abjure        140
The taints and blames I laid upon myself,
For strangers to my nature. I am yet
Unknown to woman, never was forsworn,
Scarcely have coveted what was mine own;
At no time broke my faith, would not betray        145
The devil to his fellow, and delight
No less in truth than life; my first false speaking
Was this upon myself. What I am truly,
Is thine and my poorcountry’s to command;
Whither indeed, before thy here-approach,        150
Old Siward, with ten thousand war-like men,
Already at a point, was setting forth.
Now we’ll together, and the chance of goodness
Be like our warranted quarrel. Why are you silent?
  Macd.  Such welcome and unwelcome things at once        155
’Tis hard to reconcile.

Enter a Doctor.

  Mal.  Well; more anon. Comes the king forth, I pray you?
  Doct.  Ay, sir; there are a crew of wretched souls
That stay his cure; their malady convinces        160
The great assay of art; but, at his touch,
Such sanctity hath heaven given his hand,
They presently amend.
  Mal.        I thank you, doctor.  [Exit Doctor.
  Macd.  What’s the disease he means?        165
  Mal.        ’Tis call’d the evil:
A most miraculous work in this good king,
Which often, since my here-remain in England,
I have seen him do. How he solicits heaven,
Himself best knows; but strangely-visited people,        170
All swoln and ulcerous, pitiful to the eye,
The mere despair of surgery, he cures;
Hanging a golden stamp about their necks,
Put on with holy prayers; and ’tis spoken
To the succeeding royalty he leaves        175
The healing benediction. With this strange virtue,
He hath a heavenly gift of prophecy,
And sundry blessings hang about his throne
That speak him full of grace.
  Macd.        See, who comes here?        180
  Mal.  My countryman; but yet I know him not.

Enter ROSS.

  Macd.  My ever-gentle cousin, welcome hither.
  Mal.  I know him now. Good God, betimes remove
The means that make us strangers!        185
  Ross.        Sir, amen.
  Macd.  Stands Scotland where it did?
  Ross.        Alas! poor country;
Almost afraid to know itself. It cannot
Be call’d our mother, but our grave; where nothing,        190
But who knows nothing, is once seen to smile;
Where sighs and groans and shrieks that rent the air
Are made, not mark’d; where violent sorrow seems
A modern ecstasy; the dead man’s knell
Is there scarce ask’d for who; and good men’s lives        195
Expire before the flowers in their caps,
Dying or ere they sicken.
  Macd.        O! relation
Too nice, and yet too true!
  Mal.        What’s the newest grief?        200
  Ross.  That of an hour’s age doth hiss the speaker;
Each minute teems a new one.
  Macd.        How does my wife?
  Ross.  Why, well.
  Macd.        And all my children?        205
  Ross.                Well too.
  Macd.  The tyrant has not batter’d at their peace?
  Ross.  No; they were well at peace when I did leave ’em.
  Macd.  Be not a niggard of your speech: how goes ’t?
  Ross.  When I came hither to transport the tidings,        210
Which I have heavily borne, there ran a rumour
Of many worthy fellows that were out;
Which was to my belief witness’d the rather
For that I saw the tyrant’s power a-foot.
Now is the time of help; your eye in Scotland        215
Would create soldiers, make our women fight,
To doff their dire distresses.
  Mal.        Be ’t their comfort,
We are coming thither. Gracious England hath
Lent us good Siward and ten thousand men;        220
An older and a better soldier none
That Christendom gives out.
  Ross.        Would I could answer
This comfort with the like! But I have words
That would be howl’d out in the desert air,        225
Where hearing should not latch them.
  Macd.        What concern they?
The general cause? or is it a fee-grief
Due to some single breast?
  Ross.         No mind that’s honest        230
But in it shares some woe, though the main part
Pertains to you alone.
  Macd.        If it be mine
Keep it not from me; quickly let me have it.
  Ross.  Let not your ears despise my tongue for ever,        235
Which shall possess them with the heaviest sound
That ever yet they heard.
  Macd.        Hum! I guess at it.
  Ross.  Your castle is surpris’d; your wife and babes
Savagely slaughter’d; to relate the manner,        240
Were, on the quarry of these murder’d deer,
To add the death of you.
  Mal.        Merciful heaven!
What! man; ne’er pull your hat upon your brows;
Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak        245
Whispers the o’er-fraught heart and bids it break.
  Macd.  My children too?
  Ross.        Wife, children, servants, all
That could be found.
  Macd.        And I must be from thence!        250
My wife kill’d too?
  Ross.        I have said.
  Mal.                Be comforted:
Let’s make us medicine of our great revenge,
To cure this deadly grief.        255
  Macd.  He has no children. All my pretty ones?
Did you say all? O hell-kite! All?
What! all my pretty chickens and their dam
At one fell swoop?
  Mal.        Dispute it like a man.        260
  Macd.                 I shall do so;
But I must also feel it as a man:
I cannot but remember such things were,
That were most precious to me. Did heaven look on,
And would not take their part? Sinful Macduff!        265
They were all struck for thee. Naught that I am,
Not for their own demerits, but for mine,
Fell slaughter on their souls. Heaven rest them now!
  Mal.  Be this the whetstone of your sword: let grief
Convert to anger; blunt not the heart, enrage it.        270
  Macd.  O! I could play the woman with mine eyes,
And braggart with my tongue. But, gentle heavens,
Cut short all intermission; front to front
Bring thou this fiend of Scotland and myself;
Within my sword’s length set him; if he ’scape,        275
Heaven forgive him too!
  Mal.         This tune goes manly.
Come, go we to the king; our power is ready;
Our lack is nothing but our leave. Macbeth
Is ripe for shaking, and the powers above        280
Put on their instruments. Receive what cheer you may;
The night is long that never finds the day.  [Exeunt.

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Five phrases that should not be said to a person experiencing grief

We all once said stupid things. I myself have uttered such words, not knowing what loss is. Now I know what not to say, and this knowledge helps me a lot. I hope my advice is helpful, and the next time you're around a grieving person, you'll know what phrases to avoid.

"Were you close?"

What can be the answer to this question? A person either says "yes" - and this is sad, or "no" - and such an answer is often no less sad. Grief brings with it many difficult feelings. If your friend hasn't had much contact with the person they've lost, it can only increase their pain. It doesn't matter if they talked every day or haven't seen each other in years. The main thing is to support him.

“Everything happens for a reason”

After my father died, someone I knew posted a big motivational picture with this inscription on my Facebook wall (an extremist organization banned in Russia) – most likely to inspire me. I removed it immediately. There is not always a higher goal, and even if something good follows from tragic situations, one should not confuse positive “side effects” with the cause of trouble.

"You are doing well"

We may think that a friend is doing well, but we do not know what he is really feeling and thinking. You can’t just take and draw a line under his feelings with one such phrase.

"God does not send more trials than we can bear"

Another fundamentally wrong and extremely useless statement. Many people go through much more difficult situations than they can bear. We are not designed to experience pain alone. We must take part in each other's lives: both in joy and in sorrow. If we see a friend going through a bereavement, we should reach out and help them up.

"If you need anything, let me know"

It is difficult for a person in grief to ask for help. So do not wait for requests - act. Do something specific.

This is how my friends behaved when I was bereaved:

  • Shannon gave me a set of "humanitarian aid": tea, handkerchiefs, a magazine and a necklace.
  • Gretchen brought a box of chocolates and a card signed by all my friends.
  • Karen drank coffee with my mother every morning for seven weeks.
  • Jennifer helped organize events for the anniversary of her father's death.
  • Jill just hugged me tightly without saying a word.

You don't have to treat the bereaved person as if you were best friends if you weren't before. Choose your way to help depending on the closeness of the relationship. Maybe you just cook dinner or leave a note. And you will come home to someone really close every day for seven weeks.

Of course, the pain does not go away after seven weeks. It does not go away in six months, and in a year. The pain of loss remains with us forever. Set a reminder on your phone and tell a friend a year later that you remember his loss. And you will always remember.

5 myths about grief that prevent us from recovering after a loss

September 20, 2021Life

These misconceptions prevent us from moving on after a sad event.



You can listen to a short version of the article. If it's more convenient for you, turn on the podcast.

There are many misconceptions associated with grief and healing in our culture that hinder recovery. It is believed that grief must manifest itself in a certain way, otherwise something is wrong with a person.

But everyone grieves in their own way, and there are several types of grief. For example, scientists distinguish:

  • Anticipated grief . It occurs before the loss occurs. For example, when an incurable disease is found in a person or his loved one.
  • Normal (uncomplicated) grief . It includes all the natural feelings and reactions associated with loss.
  • Prolonged grief . In this case, a person experiences a very acute reaction for a long time - the same as immediately after a painful event. Sometimes it lasts for several years.
  • Delayed grief . It is characterized by the suppression of normal reactions to loss. They usually show up later.

In any case, loss or trauma causes severe experiences that unsettle and deprive life of meaning for a while. In order not to get stuck in them, it is worth abandoning the following five myths.

1. You can grieve only because of the death of a loved one

In fact, any loss can cause grief. For example, the loss of the opportunity to celebrate the long-awaited graduation from school due to the coronavirus pandemic. The loss of relationships and the future that you envisioned with your partner. The death of a friend or public figure, even the tragic death of a stranger. All this can lead to grief.

But we are accustomed to believing that we should not grieve over such occasions. That there are people who are much harder than us, which means that we just need to "pull ourselves together." Such denial of emotions does not lead to anything good.

Remind yourself that whatever you feel has a right to exist.

The fact that you are somehow happier than others does not invalidate your current experiences. Be kind to yourself and accept your feelings. Until you admit that you are going through a difficult period, it will be more difficult for you to move towards healing.

2. If I returned to my usual life early, it means that I don't care

If you occasionally rejoice in the little things or enjoy your ordinary activities, this does not mean that what you lost was not of great importance to you. Such moments are completely natural and do not diminish your grief. However, this myth is so ingrained that when a person shows few outward signs of grief, they are considered wrong.

This is actually one of the subtypes of complicated grief, and there is nothing abnormal about it. Moreover, it can even be taken as a sign of psychological stability.

Loss takes a toll on the psyche, and the fact that you have the strength to deal with everyday problems is something to be proud of.

If you are experiencing the loss of a loved one, think about this: this person would surely rejoice in good things with you and be proud of your stamina. You don't have to cling to pain to prove how important what you lost was to you.

However, there are times when a too quick return to your usual life is a sign of an emotional stupor. In this state, a person does not feel anything. This psychological mechanism helps to survive a strong shock. But most often, the emotions suppressed with its help still manifest themselves, only with a delay.

3. If I grieve too long, something is wrong with me.

There is no “correct” way to grieve. Although studies show that grief lasts an average of 7 to 12 months, grief does not have a set timetable. Do not blame yourself if the period of acute experiences ended quickly for you, or if you experience pain even several years later.

Protracted grief can be considered a problem if it significantly compromises quality of life or mental well-being. In this case, it is worth contacting a psychotherapist, he will help you deal with what you are experiencing.

4. We must wait for catharsis, and only then try to let go of our grief

It seems that we must certainly suffer in order to come to some secret conclusion. That only this will allow you to come to terms with the situation and move on. And that this is possible only if you dwell on your suffering and spend all your days in tears. At least that's the impression one gets after movies and TV shows. In fact, this is not always the case.

Life will go on as usual, and gradually you will adjust to live with your loss. But conclusions and full awareness of the situation can only come a few years later, when you gain new experience. There is no point in forcing yourself to spend all this time in suffering.

Don't cling to your pain just because it symbolizes love to you.

Of course, you shouldn't ignore your feelings. Try writing your experiences in a diary to better understand them. And let yourself cry when you feel the need. But don't think that grief has to completely take over your life so that you can experience relief.

5. Grief has an end

You must have heard of the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Such a model gives hope that as we move from one stage to the next, we will come to a healing. But grief is a much more complicated process, and there is no universal map that helps you get through it. Instead of stepping from stage to stage, in fact, we are constantly returning from one emotion to another.

Grief is a cyclical process that never really ends.

Over time, we begin to better recognize and control our reactions to it. We may even feel like we've come to terms with the loss, but the next day something triggers the cycle again, such as a birthday or a disturbed memory.

But don't despair.

Learn more