The secret thoughts of a man run over all things, holy, profane, clean, obscene, grave, and light, without shame or blame.
—Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679) English Political Philosopher
How can we expect another to keep our secret if we cannot keep it ourselves?
—Francois de La Rochefoucauld (1613–80) French Writer
A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other. A solemn consideration, when I enter a great city by night, that everyone of those darkly clustered houses encloses it’s own secret that every room in every one of them encloses its own secret that every beating heart in the hundreds of thousands of breasts there, is, in some of it’s imaginings, a secret to the heart nearest it!
—Charles Dickens (1812–70) English Novelist
Three can keep a secret if two are dead.
—Benjamin Franklin (1706–90) American Political Leader, Inventor, Diplomat
No one gossips about other people’s secret virtues.
—Bertrand A. Russell (1872–1970) British Philosopher, Mathematician, Social Critic
A secret between two is God’s secret, between three is all men s.
He that has light within his own cleer brest
May sit ith center, and enjoy bright day,
But he that hides a dark soul, and foul thoughts
Benighted walks under the mid-day Sun;
Himself is his own dungeon.
—John Milton (1608–74) English Poet, Civil Servant, Scholar, Debater
Nothing weighs on us so heavily as a secret.
—Jean de La Fontaine (1621–95) French Poet, Short Story Writer
Public lives are lived out on the job and in the marketplace, where certain rules, conventions, laws, and social customs keep most of us in line. Private lives are lived out in the presence of family, friends, and neighbors who must be considered and respected even though the rules and proscriptions are looser than what’s allowed in public. But in our secret lives, inside our own heads, almost anything goes.
—Robert Fulghum (b.1937) American Unitarian Universalist Author, Essayist, Clergyman
Where secrecy or mystery begins, vice or roguery is not far off.
—Samuel Johnson (1709–84) British Essayist
In the long run, there are no secrets. in science. The universe will not cooperate in a cover-up.
—Arthur C. Clarke (1917–2008) British Scientist, Science-fiction Writer
O divine art of subtlety and secrecy! Through you we learn to be invisible, through you inaudible and hence we can hold the enemy’s fate in our hands.
—Sun Tzu (fl. c.544–496 BCE) Chinese General, Military Theorist
Our true history is scarcely ever deciphered by others. The chief part of the drama is a monologue, or rather an intimate debate between God, our conscience, and ourselves. Tears, grieves, depressions, disappointments, irritations, good and evil thoughts, decisions, uncertainties, deliberations—all these belong to our secret, and are almost all incommunicable and intransmissible, even when we try to speak of them, and even when we write them down.
—Henri Frederic Amiel (1821–81) Swiss Moral Philosopher, Poet, Critic
The very word ‘secrecy’ is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and to secret proceedings.
—John F. Kennedy (1917–63) American Head of State, Journalist
A secret is like a dove: when it leaves my hand it takes wing.
I am convinced digestion is the great secret of life.
—Sydney Smith (1771–1845) English Clergyman, Essayist, Wit
The secret of two is God’s secret, the secret of three is everybody’s secret
To him that you tell your secret you resign your liberty.
The man who can keep a secret may be wise, but he is not half as wise as the man with no secrets to keep
—E. W. Howe (1853–1937) American Novelist, Editor
To keep your secret is wisdom; but to expect others to keep it is folly.
—Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809–94) American Physician, Essayist
To have found you is a dear happiness; and to be Apollo’s son is beyond all my hopes; but there is something I want to say to you alone. Come; this is a private matter between us two – anything you tell me shall be as secret as the grave.
—Euripides (480–406 BCE) Ancient Greek Dramatist
He then learns that in going down into the secrets of his own mind he has descended into the secrets of all minds.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82) American Philosopher
Secrets travel fast in Paris.
—Napoleon I (1769–1821) Emperor of France
That which man conceals in his innermost chamber is plain and manifest to God.
—The Talmud Sacred Text of the Jewish Faith
You know there are no secrets in America. It’s quite different in England, where people think of a secret as a shared relation between two people.
—W. H. Auden (1907–73) British-born American Poet, Dramatist
Women’s propensity to share confidences is universal. We confirm our reality by sharing.
—Barbara Grizzuti Harrison (1934–2002) American Journalist, Essayist, Memoirist, Travel Writer
A man can keep a secret better than his own. A woman her own better than others.
—Jean de La Bruyere (1645–96) French Satiric Moralist, Author
What one hides is worth neither more nor less than what one finds. And what one hides from oneself is worth neither more nor less than what one allows others to find.
—Andre Breton (1896–1966) French Poet, Essayist, Critic
The first step towards vice is to shroud innocent actions in mystery, and whoever likes to conceal something sooner or later has reason to conceal it.
—Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–78) Swiss-born French Philosopher
Anything will give up its secrets if you love it enough. Not only have I found that when I talk to the little flower or to the little peanut they will give up their secrets, but I have found that when I silently commune with people they give up their secrets also—if you love them enough.
—George Washington Carver (1864–1943) American Scientist, Botanist, Educator, Inventor