O, how bitter a thing it is to look into happiness through another man’s eyes.

—William Shakespeare, c. 1599

One has to spend so many years in learning how to be happy.

—George Eliot, 1844

Happiness is not something you can catch and lock up in a vault like wealth. Happiness is nothing but everyday living seen through a veil.

—Zora Neale Hurston, 1939

A multitude of small delights constitute happiness.

—Charles Baudelaire, 1897

There is no greater disaster than not to know contentment.

—Laozi, c. 550 BC

He who would be happy should stay at home.

—Greek proverb

In every ill turn of fortune, the most unhappy sort of unfortunate man is the one who has been happy.

—Boethius, c. 520

One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats.

—Iris Murdoch, 1978

The right to the pursuit of happiness is nothing else than the right to disillusionment phrased in another way.

—Aldous Huxley, 1956

Happiness does not dwell in herds, nor yet in gold.

—Democritus, c. 420 BC

I had rather be in a state of misery and envied for my supposed happiness than in a state of happiness and pitied for my supposed misery.

—Elizabeth Inchbald, 1793

A lifetime of happiness! No man alive could bear it: it would be hell on earth.

—George Bernard Shaw, 1903

How to gain, how to keep, how to recover happiness is in fact for most men at all times the secret motive of all they do.

—William James, 1902

I take it as a prime cause of the present confusion of society that it is too sickly and too doubtful to use pleasure frankly as a test of value.

—Rebecca West, 1939

One is never as unhappy as one thinks, nor as happy as one hopes.

—La Rochefoucauld, 1664

Happiness, whether in business or private life, leaves very little trace in history.

—Fernand Braudel, 1979

Whatever the apparent cause of any riots may be, the real one is always want of happiness.

—Thomas Paine, 1792

All those who suffer in the world do so because of their desire for their own happiness.

—Shantideva, c. 750

When one has a famishing thirst for happiness, one is apt to gulp down diversions wherever they are offered.

—Alice Hegan Rice, 1917

Happiness (as the mathematicians might say) lies on a curve, and we approach it only by asymptote.

—Christopher Morley, 1919

Where happiness fails, existence remains a mad and lamentable experiment.

—George Santayana, c. 1905

Human happiness never remains long in the same place.

—Herodotus, c. 430 BC

There is no happiness like that of a young couple in a little house they have built themselves in a place of beauty and solitude.

—Annie Proulx, 2008

There is only one honest impulse at the bottom of puritanism, and that is the impulse to punish the man with a superior capacity for happiness.

—H.L. Mencken, 1920

A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of.

—Jane Austen, 1814

Seize from every moment its unique novelty, and do not prepare your joys.

—André Gide, 1897

That is happiness: to be dissolved into something complete and great.

—Willa Cather, 1918

Men who are unhappy, like men who sleep badly, are always proud of the fact.

—Bertrand Russell, 1930

Happiness is no laughing matter.

—Richard Whately, 1843

There will always be a lost dog somewhere that will prevent me from being happy.

—Jean Anouilh, 1934

The happiness of society is the end of government.

—John Adams, 1776

I have given up considering happiness as relevant.

—Edward Gorey, 1974

Just to fill the hour—that is happiness.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1844

We must select the illusion which appeals to our temperament and embrace it with passion if we want to be happy.

—Cyril Connolly, 1944

How sad a sight is human happiness to those whose thoughts can pierce beyond an hour!

—Edward Young, 1741

The world owes all its onward impulses to men ill at ease. The happy man inevitably confines himself within ancient limits.

—Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1851

The happy ending is our national belief.

—Mary McCarthy, 1947