Harp Wiki

Girl Reading a Book at Home / BY VIKTOR HANACEK / via Picjumbo.com

For your enjoyment, here are some quotes and jokes about harps (and music in general).

For lengthier writing on the subject of harps, check out our books category.

Aristotle "People become house builders through building houses, harp players through playing the harp. We grow to be just by doing things which are just." (Ethics, Book II)

Bacon, Sr., Francis (1561-1626) "The poets did well to conjoin music and medicine, because the office of medicine is but to tune the curious harp of man's body." (The Advancement of Learning)

Bible, The Holy "Praise the Lord with the harp; / make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. / Sing to him a new song; / play skillfully, and shout for joy." (Psalm 33:2-3)

Diogenes (412-323 BC) "Those who have virtue always in their mouths, and neglect it in practice, are like a harp, which emits a sound pleasing to others, while itself is insensible of the music."

Holmes, Oliver Wendell "Talking is like playing on the harp; there is as much in laying the hands on the strings to stop their vibration as in twanging them to bring out their music." (Holmes Leaflets)


  • "From all who walk the earth, our bards deserve esteem and awe, for the Muse herself has taught them paths of song. She loves the breed of harpers." (The Odyssey Book VIII:580)
  • "When the wary hero wise / Had made his hand familiar with the bow, / Poising it and examining—at once— / As when, in harp and song adept, a bard / Strings a new lyre, extending first the chords" (Comparing Ulysses stringing his bow, to a harper stringing a new harp) (The Odyssey Book XXI:478)

Krumpholtz, Jean-Baptiste (1747-1790) "My only concern is to make known all the possibilities and resources of the harp. The instrument has its faults, but when it is understood properly, it is inferior to none."

More, Thomas (1779-1839) "The Minstrel Boy to the war is gone, / In the ranks of death you'll find him; / His father's sword he has girded on, / And his wild harp slung behind him."

Neale Hurston, Zora (1891-1960) "I have been in Sorrow's kitchen and licked out all the pots. Then I have stood on the peaky mountain wrapped in rainbows, with a harp and sword in my hands." (I Have Been in Sorrow's Kitchen)

Shakespeare, William (1564 - 1616) "If music be the food of love, play on; give me excess of it, that, surfeiting, the appetite may sicken, and so die."

Tennyson, Alfred (1809–1892)

  • "I held it truth, with him who sings / To one clear harp in divers tones, / That men may rise on stepping-stones / Of their dead selves to higher things." (Page 13: In Memoriam A.H.H.)
  • "And I—my harp would prelude woe— / I cannot all command the strings; / The glory of the sum of things / Will flash along the chords and go." (Page 90: In Memoriam A.H.H.)
  • "Or in the all-golden afternoon / A guest, or happy sister, sung, / Or here she brought the harp and flung / A ballad to the brightening moon." (Page 92: In Memoriam A.H.H.)
  • "The hall with harp and carol rang. / They sang of what is wise and good / And graceful." (Page 107: In Memoriam A.H.H.)

Unknown "What's the definition of an optimist? A harpist with a tuner."


Note about this article. Some of this content has been copy-pasted from Peggy Coates' website dorveille.com The website has disappeared, but the content remains on the internet archives. Attempts have been made to get in touch with the original author, but have been unfruitful. Should Peggy come across this content, please get in touch with @harpwiki!