- Some good we all can do; and if we do all that is in our power, however little that power may be, we have performed our part, and may be as near perfection as those whose influence extends over kingdoms, and whose good actions are felt and applauded by thousands.
- Jane Bowdler On Christian Perfection
- Can one desire too much of a good thing?
- Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote (1605-15), Part I, Book I, Chapter VI. As You Like It, Act IV, scene 1, line 123
- I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it for I shall not pass this way again.
- Attributed to Stephen Grellet , variants of this have been been widely circulated as a Quaker saying since at least 1869, and attributed Grellet since at least 1893. W. Gurney Benham in Benham's Book of Quotations, Proverbs, and Household Words (1907) states that though sometimes attributed to others, "there seems to be some authority in favor of Stephen Grellet being the author, but the passage does not appear in any of his printed works." It appears to have been published as an anonymous proverb at least as early as 1859, when it appeared in Household Words : A Weekly Journal.
- Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be "cured" against one's will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.
- C. S. Lewis, in "God in the Dock" (1948)
- Some people talk as if meeting the gaze of absolute goodness would be fun. They need to think again. They are still only playing with religion. Goodness is either the great safety or the great danger — according to the way you react to it.
- We care so little of other people than even Christianity urges us to do good for the love of God.
- Cesare Pavese, This Business of Living, 1938-07-08
- He that does good for good's sake seeks neither praise nor reward, though sure of both at last.
- William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude in Reflections and Maxims (1682) no. 441
- Do good by stealth, and blush to find it fame.
- Alexander Pope Epilogue to the Satires dialogue I line 136
- Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
- Psalms 23:6
- I judge things from an evolutionary perspective — "How does this serve and contribute to the process of our own evolution?" — rather than think of good and evil in moral terms. I see the triumph of good over evil as a manifestation of the error-correcting process of evolution.
- Jonas Salk, in Academy of Achievement interview, in San Diego, California (16 May 1991)
- For he that is a good man, is three quarters of his way towards the being a good Christian, wheresoever he lives, or whatsoever he is called.
- Robert South sermon Why Christ's Doctrine was Rejected
- Most people are bad; if they are strong they take from the weak. The good people are all weak; they are good because they are not strong enough to be bad.
- The touchstone of goodness is to own one's defeat even to inferiors.
- Tiruvalluvar, Tirukkural: 786
- What good is that goodness if it does not return good even to those who cause evil?
- Tiruvalluvar, Tirukkural: 787
- One may slain every goodness and yet escape, but no escape for one who slain gratitude.
- Tiruvalluvar, Tirukkural: 110
- People aren't either wicked or noble. They're like chef's salads, with good things and bad things chopped and mixed together in a vinaigrette of confusion and conflict.
- Lemony Snicket, A Series of Unfortunate Events
- What is good looking, as Horace Smith remarks, but looking good? Be good, be womanly, be gentle, — generous in your sympathies, heedful of the well-being of all around you; and, my word for it, you will not lack kind words of admiration.
- John Greenleaf Whittier The Beautiful
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 326-29.
- Whatever any one does or says, I must be good.
- Aurelius Antoninus, Meditations, Chapter VII
- What good I see humbly I seek to do,
And live obedient to the law, in trust
That what will come, and must come, shall come well.
- Edwin Arnold, The Light of Asia, Book VI, line 273
- Because indeed there was never law, or sect, or opinion, did so much magnify goodness, as the Christian religion doth.
- Francis Bacon, Essays, Of Goodness and Goodness of Nature
- For the cause that lacks assistance,
The wrong that needs resistance,
For the future in the distance,
And the good that I can do.
- George Linnæus Banks, What I Live For
- The good he scorned
Stalked off reluctant, like an ill-used ghost,
Not to return; or if it did, in visits
Like those of angels, short and far between.
- Robert Blair, The Grave, Part II, line 586
- One may not doubt that, somehow Good
Shall come of Water and of Mud;
And sure, the reverent eye must see
A purpose in Liquidity.
- Rupert Brooke, Heaven
- There shall never be one lost good! What was shall live as before;
The evil is null, is nought, is silence implying sound;
What was good shall be good, with, for evil, so much good more;
On the earth the broken arcs; in the heaven a perfect round.
- Robert Browning, Abt Vogler, IX
- No good Book, or good thing of any sort, shows its best face at first.
- Ergo hoc proprium est animi bene constituti, et lætari bonis rebus, et dolere contrariis.
- This is a proof of a well-trained mind, to rejoice in what is good and to grieve at the opposite.
- Cicero, De Amicitia, XIII
- Homines ad deos nulla re propius accedunt, quam salutem hominibus dando.
- Men in no way approach so nearly to the gods as in doing good to men.
- Cicero, Oratio Pro Quinto Ligario, XII
- Cui bono?
- What's the good of it? for whose advantage?
- Cicero, Oratio Pro Sextio Roscio Amerino, XXX. Quoted from Lucius Cassius—Second Philippic. ("Qui bono fueret.") See Life of Cicero, II. 292. Note
- That good diffused may more abundant grow.
- William Cowper, Conversation (1782), line 441
- Doing good,
Disinterested good, is not our trade.
- William Cowper, The Task (1785), Book I. The Sofa, line 673
- Now, at a certain time, in pleasant mood,
He tried the luxury of doing good.
- George Crabbe, Tales of the Hall (1819), Book III
- Who soweth good seed shall surely reap;
The year grows rich as it groweth old,
And life's latest sands are its sands of gold!
- Julia C. R. Dorr, To the "Bouquet Club"
- Look around the habitable world, how few
Know their own good, or knowing it, pursue.
- John Dryden, Juvenal, Satire X
- If you wish to be good, first believe that you are bad.
- Epictetus, Fragments. Long's translation
- For all their luxury was doing good.
- Samuel Garth, Cleremont, line 149
- Ein guter Mensch, in seinem dunkeln Drange,
Ist sich des rechten Weges wohl bewusst.
- And learn the luxury of doing good.
- Oliver Goldsmith, The Traveller (1764), line 22
- Impell'd with steps unceasing to pursue
Some fleeting good, that mocks me with the view,
That, like the circle bounding earth and skies,
Allures from far, yet, as I follow, flies.
- Oliver Goldsmith, The Traveller (1764), line 25
- If goodness leade him not, yet wearinesse
May tosse him to my breast.
- George Herbert, The Pulley, Stanza 4
- Vir bonus est quis?
Qui consulta patrum, qui leges juraque servat.
- Who is a good man? He who keeps the decrees of the fathers, and both human and divine laws.
- Horace, Epistles, I. 16. 40
- God whose gifts in gracious flood
Unto all who seek are sent,
Only asks you to be good
And is content.
- Victor Hugo, God whose Gifts in Gracious Flood
- He was so good he would pour rose-water on a toad.
- Douglas Jerrold, Jerrold's Wit, A Charitable Man
- Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?
- John. I. 46
- How near to good is what is fair!
- Ben Jonson, Love Freed from Ignorance and Folly
- Rari quippe boni: numero vix sunt totidem quot
Thebarum portæ, vel divitis ostia Nili.
- The good, alas! are few: they are scarcely as many as the gates of Thebes or the mouths of the Nile.
- Juvenal, Satires, XIII. 26
- Be good, sweet maid, and let who will be clever;
Do noble things, not dream them all day long;
And so make life, death, and that vast forever
One grand, sweet song.
- Charles Kingsley, Farewell. To C. E. G.
- Be good, sweet maid, and let who can be clever;
Do lovely things, not dream them, all day long;
And so make Life, and Death, and that For Ever,
One grand sweet song.
- Charles Kingsley, Farewell. Version in ed. of 1889. Also in Life. Ed. by his wife, Volume I, p. 487, with line: "And so make Life, Death, and that vast For Ever"
Dass alle Länder gute Menschen tragen.
- Know this, that every country can produce good men.
- Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Nathan der Weise, II
- Segnius homines bona quam mala sentiunt.
- Men have less lively perception of good than of evil.
- Livy, Annales, XXX. 21
- The soil out of which such men as he are made is good to be born on, good to live on, good to die for and to be buried in.
- James Russell Lowell, Among my Books. Second Series. Garfield
- Si veris magna paratur
Fama bonis, et si successu nuda remoto
Inspicitur virtus, quicquid laudamus in ullo
Majorum, fortuna fuit.
- If honest fame awaits the truly good; if setting aside the ultimate success of excellence alone is to be considered, then was his fortune as proud as any to be found in the records of our ancestry.
- Marcus Annaeus Lucanus, Pharsalia, IX. 593
- The crest and crowning of all good,
Life's final star, is Brotherhood.
- Edwin Markham, Brotherhood
But such as are good men can give good things,
And that which is not good, is not delicious
To a well-governed and wise appetite.
- * * his providence
Out of our evil seek to bring forth good.
- Since good, the more
Communicated, more abundant grows.
- A glass is good, and a lass is good,
And a pipe to smoke in cold weather;
The world is good, and the people are good,
And we're all good fellows together.
- John O'Keefe, Sprigs of Laurel, Act II, scene 1
- I know and love the good, yet ah! the worst pursue.
- Petrarch, To Laura in Life, Canzone XXI
- Itidemque ut sæpe jam in multis locis,
Plus insciens quis fecit quam prodens boni.
- And so it happens oft in many instances; more good is done without our knowledge than by us intended.
- Plautus, Captivi Prologue, XLIV
- Bono ingenio me esse ornatam, quam auro multo mavolo.
Aurum fortuna invenitur, natura ingenium donum.
Bonam ego, quam beatam me esse nimio dici mavolo.
- A good disposition I far prefer to gold; for gold is the gift of fortune; goodness of disposition is the gift of nature. I prefer much rather to be called good than fortunate.
- Plautus, Phœnulus, I. 2. 90
- Gute Menschen können sich leichter in schlimme hineindenken als diese injene.
- Good men can more easily see through bad men than the latter can the former.
- Jean Paul Richter, Hesperus, IV
- You're good for Madge or good for Cis
Or good for Kate, maybe:
But what's to me the good of this
While you're not good for me?
- Christina G. Rossetti, Jessie Cameron, Stanza 3
- Esse quam videri bonus malebat.
- He preferred to be good, rather than to seem so.
- Sallust, Catlina, LIV
- What is beautiful is good, and who is good will soon also be beautiful.
- Sappho, Fragment, 101
- Bonitas non est pessimis esse meliorem.
- It is not goodness to be better than the very worst.
- Seneca, Epistolæ Ad Lucilium
- There lives within the very flame of love
A kind of wick or snuff that will abate it;
And nothing is at a like goodness still;
For goodness, growing to a pleurisy,
Dies in his own too much.
- There is some soul of goodness in things evil,
Would men observingly distil it out.
- Your great goodness, out of holy pity,
Absolv'd him with an axe.
- I am in this earthly world; where to do harm,
Is often laudable, to do good sometime
Accounted dangerous folly.
- My meaning in saying he is a good man is to have you understand me that he is sufficient.
- For the Lord Jesus Christ's sake,
Do all the good you can,
To all the people you can,
In all the ways you can,
As long as ever you can.
- Tombstone inscription in Shrewsbury, England. Favorite of Mr. Moody
- For who is there but you? who not only claim to be a good man and a gentleman, for many are this, and yet have not the power of making others good. Whereas you are not only good yourself, but also the cause of goodness in others.
- How pleasant is Saturday night,
When I've tried all the week to be good,
Not spoken a word that is bad,
And obliged every one that I could.
- Nancy Dennis Sproat, How Pleasant is Saturday Night
- One person I have to make good: myself. But my duty to my neighbor is much more nearly expressed by saying that I have to make him happy—if I may.
- Robert Louis Stevenson, Christmas Sermon
- She has more goodness in her little finger than he has in his whole body.
- Jonathan Swift, Polite Conversation (c. 1738), Dialogue II
- O, yet we trust that somehow good
Will be the final goal of ill,
To pangs of nature, sins of will
Defects of doubt and taints of blood.
- 'Tis only noble to be good.
- Alfred Tennyson, Lady Clara Vere de Vere. Same in Juvenal, Satires, VIII. 24
- From seeming evil still educing good.
- James Thomson, Hymn, line 114
- Man should be ever better than he seems.
- Sir Aubrey de Vere, A Song of Faith
- Roaming in thought over the Universe, I saw the little that is
Good steadily hastening towards immortality,
And the vast all that is called Evil I saw hastening to merge itself and become lost and dead.
- Walt Whitman, Roaming in Thought. (After reading Hegel)
- Bene facere et male audire regium est.
- To do good and be evil spoken of, is kingly.
- On the Town Hall of Zittau, Saxony. Noted in Carlyle, Frederick the Great, XV. 13
Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)
Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).
- Goodness consists not in the outward things we do, but in the inward thing we are. To be is the great thing.
- Edwin Hubbell Chapin, p. 286
- How many people would like to be good, if only they might be good without taking trouble about it! They do not like goodness well enough to hunger and thirst after it, or to sell all that they have that they may buy it; they will not batter at the gate of the kingdom of heaven; but they look with pleasure on this or that aerial castle of righteousness, and think it would be rather nice to live in it.
- George MacDonald, p. 286
- Great hearts alone understand how much glory there is in being good.
- Jules Michelet, p. 286
- Be good my child, and let who will be clever;
Do noble deeds, not dream them all day long;
And so make life, death, and that vast forever
One grand, sweet song.
- Charles Kingsley, p. 286
- Be not simply good; be good for something.
- Henry David Thoreau, p. 286
- No good thing is ever lost. Nothing dies, not even life which gives up one form only to resume another. No good action, no good example dies. It lives forever in our race. While the frame moulders and disappears, the deed leaves an indelible stamp, and moulds the very thought and will of future generations.
- Samuel Smiles, p. 286
- For ever and ever, my darling, yes—
Goodness and love are undying;
Only the troubles and cares of earth
Are winged from the first for flying.
Our way we plough
In the furrow "now;"
But after the tilling and growing the sheaf;
Soil for the root, but the sun for the leaf—
And God keepeth watch forever.
- Mary Mapes Dodge, p. 287
- Nothing that man ever invents will absolve him from the universal necessity of being good as God is good, righteous as God is righteous, and holy as God is holy.
- Charles Kingsley, p. 287
- He who believes in goodness has the essence of all faith. He is a man "of cheerful yesterdays and confident to-morrows."
- James Freeman Clarke, p. 287
- We cannot rekindle the morning beams of childhood; we cannot recall the noontide glory of youth; we cannot bring back the perfect day of maturity; we cannot fix the evening rays of age in the shadowy horizon; but we can cherish that goodness which is the sweetness of childhood, the joy of youth, the strength of maturity, the honor of old age, and the bliss of saints.
- Henry Giles, p. 287
- A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.
- Basil of Caesarea
- A good man is kinder to his enemy than bad men are to their friends.
- Every day should be distinguished by at least one particular act of love.
- It is only great souls that know how much glory there is in being good.
- Live for something. Do good, and leave behind you a monument of virtue that the storm of time can never destroy. Write your name in kindness, love, and mercy, on the hearts of thousands you come in contact with year by year; you will never be forgotten. No, your name, your deeds, will be as legible on the hearts you leave behind as the stars on the brow of evening. Good deeds will shine as the stars of heaven.
- Every person has the choice between Good and Evil. Choose Good, and stand against those who would choose Evil.
- Most people are good. They may not be saints but they are good.