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state of one who lacks a certain amount of material possessions or money
(Redirected from Poor)
Holy poverty … is the foundation and guardian of all virtues. ... The kingdom of heaven truly belongs to those who, of their own will, a spiritual intention, and a desire for eternal goods, possess nothing of this earth. ~ The Sacred Exchange between Saint Francis and Lady Poverty
If a poor person envies a rich person, he is no better than the rich person. ~ Leo Tolstoy
The international community ... allows nearly 3 billion people—almost half of all humanity—to subsist on $2 or less a day in a world of unprecedented wealth. ~ Kofi Annan
Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain and little, I am soulless and heartless?
You think wrong!. I have as much soul as you, and full as much heart! ~ Charlotte Brontë
No, madam, 'tis not so well that I am poor, though many of the rich are damned. ~ William Shakespeare
Poverty is no sin. ~ George Herbert
To be broke is not a disgrace, it is only a catastrophe. ~ Rex Stout
In the Bible poverty is a scandalous condition inimical to human dignity and therefore contrary to the will of God.~ Gustavo Gutierrez
The poor, by thinking unceasingly of money, reach the point of losing the spiritual advantages of non-possession, thereby sinking as low as the rich. ~ E. M. Cioran

Poverty is a state in which an individual, group, or population lack essential elements of life within their societies. This usually has the connotation of a lack of basic survival items like food, clothing, shelter, and health care, or the financial means to obtain these, but can also mean having less tangible problems like social exclusion, dependency, and the ability to participate in society. Its exact meaning varies considerably with context and the social environments involved.

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  • The international community . . . allows nearly 3 billion people—almost half of all humanity—to subsist on $2 or less a day in a world of unprecedented wealth.
    • Kofi Annan, "Can Globalization Really Solve Our Problems?" Awake! magazine, May 22, 2002.
  • One would have thought that it was even more necessary to limit population than property; and that the limit should be fixed by calculating the chances of mortality in the children, and of sterility in married persons. The neglect of this subject, which in existing states is so common, is a never-failing cause of poverty among the citizens; and poverty is the parent of revolution and crime.
  • But let us realize what sort of rich people. Here comes heaven knows who across our path, wrapped in rags, and he has been jumping for joy and laughing on hearing it said that the rich man can’t enter the kingdom of heaven; and he’s been saying, “I, though, will enter; that’s what theses rags will earn me; those who treat s badly and insult us, those who bear down hard upon us won’t enter; no, that sort certainly won’t enter. But just a minute, Mr. Poor Man; consider whether you can, in fact, enter. What if you’re poor, and also happen to be greedy? What if you’re sunk in destitution, and at the same time on fire with avarice? So if that’s what you’re like, whoever you are that are poor, it’s not because you haven’t wanted to be rich, but because you haven’t been able to. So God doesn’t inspect your means, but he observes your will. So if that’s what you’re like, leading a bad life, of bad morals, a blasphemer, an adulterer, a drunkard, proud, cross yourself off the list of God’s poor; you won’t be among those of whom it is said, Blessed are the poor in spirit, since theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Mt 5:3).
    • Augustine, Sermon 346A:6 (c. 399 A.D.) "On the Word of God as Leader of the Christians on Their Pilgrimage," Works of Saint Augustine: A Translation for the 21st Century, III/10, Sermons, 341-400, New City Press, Edmund Hill O.P., trans., (1995), ISBN 1565480554 ISBN 9781565480285 , p. 74.[2]


  • In truth, poverty is an anomaly to rich people. It is very difficult to make out why people who want dinner do not ring the bell.
  • Come away; poverty's catching.
    • Aphra Behn (1640-1689), English dramatist, The Rover, Part 2. I. (1681).
  • Poverty looks grim to grown people; still more so to children: they have not much idea of industrious, working, respectable poverty; they think of the word only as connected with ragged clothes, scanty food, fireless grates, rude manners and debasing vices: poverty for me was synonymous with degradation.
  • Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong!. I have as much soul as you, and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh: it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God's feet, equal — as we are!”
  • S’il est vrai que l’on soit pauvre par toutes les choses que l’on désire, l’ambitieux et l’avare languissent dans une extrême pauvreté.
    • If it is true that one is poor on account of all the things one wants, the ambitious and the avaricious languish in extreme poverty.
    • Jean de La Bruyère, Les Caractères (1688), “Of The Gifts of Fortune,” #49


  • The fact is, people work hard and rely on Food Stamps—or SNAP Program—to be able to feed their families. When they work full-time they still live in poverty. That's wrong in our nation. Students who are losing hope because of the difficulty of finding jobs in this tough economy. What we need to do, what is best for America, is to raise wages, create jobs, and then we will move forward. Hard-working people are trying their best, but those who hold on to capital are not sharing the wealth, and there is the problem.
  • Dr. Warton complied with this proposal, to which (as his circumstances were narrow) it must be-hoped that his poverty consented rather than his will.
    • Thomas Campbell, "Joseph Warton", Specimens of the British poets (1819), p. 320.
  • There is a solitude in poverty, but a solitude which restores to each thing its value.
    • Albert Camus (1913-1960), "Between Yes and No," World Review magazine, March 1950.
  • La pauvreté met le crime au rabais.
  • The poor, by thinking unceasingly of money, reach the point of losing the spiritual advantages of non-possession, thereby sinking as low as the rich.
  • The God who appears to me is the comforter of the poor and their avenger in world history. This avenger of the poor is the God I love.
    • Hermann Cohen, The Concept of Religion in the System of Philosophy (1915), p. 81
  • There is not a poor person in the United States who was not made poor by his own shortcomings, or by the shortcomings of someone else. It is all wrong to be poor, anyhow.


  • Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.
    • Frederick Douglass, Speech on the twenty-fourth anniversary of Emancipation in the District of Columbia, Washington, D.C. (April 1886).


  • There have always been poor and working classes; and the working class have mostly been poor. But there have not always been workers and poor people living under conditions as they are today.


  • There's no scandal like rags, nor any crime so shameful as poverty.
  • It is not true (what some people imagine) "that the common law of England made no provision for the poor": the Mirror shews the contrary. How, indeed, it was done does not appear.
    • Foster, J., Rex v. Loxdale (1758), 1 Burr. Part IV. 450; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 198.
  • Holy poverty … is the foundation and guardian of all virtues. ... The kingdom of heaven truly belongs to those who, of their own will, a spiritual intention, and a desire for eternal goods, possess nothing of this earth.
  • When he [Jesus] chose some of the indispensable witnesses to his holy preaching and to his glorious manner of living for the salvation of the human race, he surely did not choose rich merchants but poor fishermen, to show by such esteem that you [Poverty] were to be loved by all. Finally, to reveal to everyone your goodness, magnificence, dignity and strength, how you surpass all other virtues, how nothing can be a virtue without you.


  • In the Bible poverty is a scandalous condition inimical to human dignity and therefore contrary to the will of God.


  • The poverty pimps have to keep changing the definition of poor to keep the dollars flowing.
  • If the plaintiff could have gone away from the dangerous place without incurring the risk of losing his means of livelihood, the case might have been different; but he was obliged to be there; his poverty, not his will, consented to incur the danger.
    • Henry Hawkins, Thrussell v. Handyside, L.R. 20 Q.B.D. 359, 364 (1888).
  • Who sees not, that whosoever ministers to the poor, ministers to God? as it appears in that solemn sentence of the last day, Inasmuch as you did feed, clothe, lodge the poor, you did it unto me.
    • Sir Henry Hobart, 1st Baronet, C.J., Pits v. James (1614), Lord Hobart's Rep. 125; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 198.
  • People from all sectors of society, including business, government and community must all work together to reduce poverty at its source, by ensuring that all have access to fairly paid work, to decent public services, and to income support in times of need.
During the election, Prime Minister Harper ended some of his speeches with the words “God bless Canada.” Indeed, the prophet Isaiah says that God blesses you when you “share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house” (Isaiah 58.7). We urge the Prime Minister to spend tax dollars now in a way that will bring the homeless poor into their own house, and allow them the dignity of sharing their bread with others.


  • For the first time in our history it is possible to conquer poverty.
  • This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America. I urge this Congress and all Americans to join with me in that effort.
    • Lyndon B. Johnson, State of the Union address, delivered to a joint session of Congress (January 8, 1964); in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1963–64, book 1, p. 114.
  • When two-thirds of the world's population still go to bed hungry every night, when hundreds of millions need shoes and Warmth, medicines and nourishment to prevent them from dying years before their time, the dereliction of science to reducing the greater part of the earth's surface to radio-active shambles is worse than a crime. It is a sin against the light.
  • Poverty is an abstraction, even for the poor. But the symptoms of collective impoverishment are all about us. Broken highways, bankrupt cities, collapsing bridges, failed schools, the unemployed, the underpaid and the uninsured: all suggest a collective failure of will. These shortcomings are so endemic that we no longer know how to talk about what is wrong, much less set about repairing it. And yet something is seriously amiss. Even as the US budgets tens of billions of dollars on a futile military campaign in Afghanistan, we fret nervously at the implications of any increase in public spending on social services or infrastructure.
    • Tony Judt, Ill Fares the Land (2010), Ch. 1 : The Way We Live Now
  • Nil habet infelix paupertas durius in se
    Quam quod ridiculos homines facit.
    • Poverty is bitter, but it has no harder pang than that it makes men ridiculous.


  • Though in a state of society some must have greater luxuries and comforts than others, yet all should have the necessaries of life; and if the poor cannot exist, in vain may the rich look for happiness or prosperity. The legislature is never so well employed as when they look to the interests of those who are at a distance from them in the ranks of society. It is their duty to do so: religion calls for it; humanity calls for it; and if there are hearts who are not awake to either of those feelings, their own interests would dictate it.
    • Lord Kenyon, Rex v. Rusby (1800), Peake's N. P. Cases 192; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 198-199.
  • The sacred stories have among other qualities also this remarkable characteristic, that in all their simplicity they nevertheless always get everything said that ought to be said. This is also the case with the Gospel about the rich man and the poor man. Neither Lazarus’s misery nor the rich man’s luxury is elaborated and described, yet one incident is added that is worth nothing. It is told that Lazarus, full of sores, was laid at the rich man’s door, but he dogs came and licked his sores. What is this supposed to portray in the rich man? Mercilessness, or, more exactly, inhuman mercilessness. In order to illustrate mercifulness, one can use a merciful person who is placed alongside. This is the way it is done in the story of the merciful Samaritan, who by contrast illuminates the Levite and the priest. But the rich man was inhuman, and therefore the Gospel makes use of the dogs. What a contrast! Now, we shall not exaggerate say that a dog can be merciful, but in contrast to the rich man it seems as if the dogs were merciful. What is shocking is that when the human being had abandoned mercifulness, the dogs had to be merciful. But there is something else in this comparison between the rich man and the dogs. The rich man had it abundantly enough in his power to do something for Lazarus, the dogs were able to do nothing, and yet it is as if the dogs were merciful.
  • Anyone who feels, and there are still a lot of people who feel that way, that war can solve the social problems facing mankind is sleeping through a great revolution. … This day we are spending five hundred thousand dollars to kill every Vietcong soldier. Every time we kill one we spend about five hundred thousand dollars while we spend only fifty-three dollars a year for every person characterized as poverty-stricken in the so-called poverty program, which is not even a good skirmish against poverty.
    • Martin Luther King Jr. Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution, National Cathedral, Washington, DC, 31 March 1968


  • Few save the poor feel for the poor,
    The rich know not how hard
    It is to be of needful food
    And needful rest debarred.
    • Letitia Elizabeth Landon Fisher's Drawing Room Scrap Book, 1836 (1835) 'The Widow's Mite'. Re-used in Ethel Churchill (1837), Vol III Chapter 5
  • We spend our lives fighting to get people very slightly more stupid than ourselves to accept truths that the great men have always known. They have known for thousands of years that to lock a sick person into solitary confinement makes him worse. They have known for thousands of years that a poor man who is frightened of his landlord and of the police is a slave. They have known it. We know it. But do the great enlightened mass of the British people know it? No. It is our task, Ella, yours and mine, to tell them. Because the great men are too great to be bothered. They are already discovering how to colonise Venus and to irrigate the moon. That is what is important for our time. You and I are the boulder-pushers. All our lives, you and I, we’ll put all our energies, all our talents into pushing a great boulder up a mountain. The boulder is the truth that the great men know by instinct, and the mountain is the stupidity of mankind.


  • It is easy enough to tell the poor to accept their poverty as God's will when you yourself have warm clothes and plenty of food and medical care and a roof over your head and no worry about the rent. But if you want them to believe you—try to share some of their poverty and see if you can accept it as God's will yourself!
    • Thomas Merton, Seeds of Contemplation (1949), chapter 14, p. 107.
  • Real poverty comes only to those who indulge in food and drink. They have made themselves poor.


  • Poverty is never dishonourable in itself, but only when it is a mark of sloth, intemperance, extravagance, or thoughtlessness. When, on the other hand, it is the handmaid of a sober, industrious, righteous, and brave man, who devotes all his powers to the service of the people, it is the sign of a lofty spirit that harbours no mean thoughts
    • Plutarch, Comparison of Aristides and Cato.


  • Will you touch, will you mend me Christ?
    Won't you touch, will you heal me Christ?
    Will you kiss, can you cure me Christ?
    Won't you kiss, won't you pay me Christ?
See my eyes, I can hardly see
See me stand, I can hardly walk
I believe you can make me whole
See my tongue, I can hardly talk.
See my skin, I'm a mass of blood
See my legs, I can hardly stand
I believe you can make me well
See my purse, I'm a poor, poor man.
  • Judas: Hey-hey-hey
    Woman your fine ointment - brand new and expensive
    Should have been saved for the poor
    Why has it been wasted? We could have raised maybe
    Three hundred silver pieces or more
    People who are hungry, people who are starving
    They matter more than your feet and hair
  • We are the first nation in the history of the world to go to the poor house in an automobile.
    • As quoted in How We Elect Our Presidents (1952), edited by Donald Day, p. 111
    • Variants: We'll hold the distinction of being the only Nation in the history of the world that ever went to the poor house in an automobile.
      We hold the distinction of being the only nation in the history of the world that went to the poor-house in an automobile.
      We hold the distinction of being the only nation that is goin' to the poorhouse in an automobile.
  • We are the first nation to starve to death in a storehouse that's overfilled with everything we want.
    • Will Rogers, Daily Telegram #1355, The First Good News of the 1928 Campaign! Mr. Rogers Says He Will Not Run For Anything (26 November 1930)
  • Sure must be a great consolation to the poor people who lost their stock in the late crash to know that it has fallen in the hands of Mr. Rockefeller, who will take care of it and see it has a good home and never be allowed to wander around unprotected again. There is one rule that works in every calamity. Be it pestilence, war, or famine, the rich get richer and poor get poorer. The poor even help arrange it.
    • Will Rogers, Daily Telegram #1019, Thoughts Of Will Rogers On The Late Slumps In Stocks (31 October 1929)


  • It's simply a national acknowledgement that in any kind of priority, the needs of human beings must come first. Poverty is here and now. Hunger is here and now. Racial tension is here and now. Pollution is here and now. These are the things that scream for a response. And if we don't listen to that scream - and if we don't respond to it - we may well wind up sitting amidst our own rubble, looking for the truck that hit us - or the bomb that pulverized us. Get the license number of whatever it was that destroyed the dream. And I think we will find that the vehicle was registered in our own name.
  • It is still her use
    To let the wretched man outlive his wealth,
    To view with hollow eye and wrinkled brow
    An age of poverty.
  • Poor and content is rich and rich enough,
    But riches fineless is as poor as winter
    To him that ever fears he shall be poor.
  • The world affords no law to make thee rich;
    Then be not poor, but break it, and take this.
  • The greatest of evils and the worst of crimes is poverty.
  • Poverty is no discrace to a man, but it is confoundedly inconvenient.
    • Reverend Samuel F. Smith (1808-1895), American Baptist minister and author. His Wit and Wisdom
    • Reverend Sydney Smith (1771 - 1845), British clergyman, essayist and wit.
  • The rich is the one that rules over those of little means, and the borrower is servant to the man doing the lending.
  • Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh: For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.
    • Solomon, Proverbs 23:20-21, King James Version
  • Give beer to those who are perishing, wine to those who are in anguish; let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.
    • Solomon, Proverbs 31:4-7, New International Version
  • Whose plenty made him pore.
    • Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene (1589-96), Book I, Canto IV, Stanza 29.
  • His rawbone cheekes, through penurie and pine,
    Were shronke into his jawes, as he did never dyne.
    • Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene (1589-96), Book I, Canto IX, Stanza 35.


  • If a poor person envies a rich person, he is no better than the rich person.
    • Leo Tolstoy, Path of Life, M. Cote, trans. (2002), p. 89.
  • Counselor Deanna Troi: Poverty was eliminated on Earth, a long time ago. And a lot of other things disappeared with it - hopelessness, despair, cruelty...
Samuel Clemens: Young lady, I come from a time when men achieve power and wealth by standing on the backs of the poor, where prejudice and intolerance are commonplace and power is an end unto itself. And you're telling me that isn't how it is anymore?
Counselor Deanna Troi: That's right.
Samuel Clemens: Hmmm... Well... maybe... it's worth giving up cigars for, after all.


  • Paupertas sanitatis mater.
    • Poverty is the mother of health.
      • Vincent of Beauvais, Speculum Historiale, Book X, Chapter LXXI. Herbert, Jacula Prudentum (1651).


  • As for the virtuous poor, one can pity them of course, but one cannot possibly admire them.
    • Oscar Wilde (1856-1900). 'The Soul of Man Under Socialism', originally published in the Fortnightly Review magazine, February 1891.
  • In the Bible, poverty is not in itself something to be applauded. It is in fact a wretched condition. Rich Christians romanticize it, misinterpreting the text "blessed are the poor in spirit," as when they claim, "I wish I were poor. Their lives are so uncomplicated, more simple. The poor don't have the worries of the rich." Poverty is not an ideal state. On the contrary, it is regarded as an evil condition in the Bible, because the poor are victims of injustice and oppression. Poverty is seen not so much as an absence of possessions, but as a condition of powerlessness. So poverty is not an ideal but an evil.
  • To listen to someone is to put oneself in his place while he is speaking. To put oneself in the place of someone whose soul is corroded by affliction, or in near danger of it, is to annihilate oneself. It is more difficult than suicide would be for a happy child. Therefore the afflicted are not listened to. They are like someone whose tongue has been cut out and who occasionally forgets the fact. When they move their lips no ear perceives any sound. And they themselves soon sink into impotence in the use of language, because of the certainty of not being heard.

    That is why there is no hope for the vagrant as he stands before the magistrate. Even if, through his stammerings, he should utter a cry to pierce the soul, neither the magistrate nor the public will hear it. His cry is mute. And the afflicted are nearly always equally deaf to one another; and each of them, constrained by the general indifference, strives by means of self-delusion or forgetfulness to become deaf to his own self.


  • Never again should a people starve in a world of plenty.


The Bible in Wikisource.
Speak out on behalf of the voiceless, and for the rights of all who are vulnerable. Speak out in order to judge with righteousness and to defend the needy and the poor. ~ Proverbs 31:8-10
  • For he will rescue the poor who cry for help,
Also the lowly one and whoever has no helper.
He will have pity on the lowly and the poor,
And the lives of the poor he will save.
  • If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them as you would a foreigner and stranger, so they can continue to live among you.
  • So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.
  • Whoever mocks the poor reviles their Maker;
    whoever rejoices in their misfortune will not go unpunished.
  • Those who shut their ears to the cry of the poor will themselves call out and not be answered.
  • Speak out on behalf of the voiceless, and for the rights of all who are vulnerable.
    Speak out in order to judge with righteousness and to defend the needy and the poor.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical QuotationsEdit

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 620-22.
  • Paupertas omnium artium repertrix.
    • Poverty is the discoverer of all the arts.
    • Apollonius, De Magia, p. 285. 35.
  • Leave the poor
    Some time for self-improvement. Let them not
    Be forced to grind the bones out of their arms
    For bread, but have some space to think and feel
    Like moral and immortal creatures.
  • L'or même à la laideur donne un teint de beauté:
    Mais tout devient affreux avec la pauvreté.
    • Gold gives an appearance of beauty even to ugliness: but with poverty everything becomes frightful.
    • Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux, Satires, VIII. 209.
  • Oh, the little more, and how much it is!
    And the little less, and what worlds away.
  • Needy knife-grinder! whither are ye going?
    Rough is the road, your wheel is out of order;
    Bleak blows the blast—your hat has got a hole in it.
    So have your breeches.
    • Canning, The Friend of Humanity and the Knife-Grinder.
  • Thank God for poverty
    That makes and keeps us free,
    And lets us go our unobtrusive way,
    Glad of the sun and rain,
    Upright, serene, humane,
    Contented with the fortune of a day.
  • Paupertatis onus patienter ferre memento.
    • Patiently bear the burden of poverty.
    • Dionysius Cato, Disticha, Lib. I, 21.
  • He is now fast rising from affluence to poverty.
  • The beggarly last doit.
    • William Cowper, The Task (1785), Book V. The Winter Morning Walk, line 316.
  • And plenty makes us poor.
  • Content with poverty, my soul I arm;
    And virtue, though in rags, will keep me warm.
  • Thou source of all my bliss and all my woe,
    That found'st me poor at first, and keep'st me so.
  • The nakedness of the indigent world may be clothed from the trimmings of the vain.
  • Chill penury repress'd their noble rage,
    And froze the genial current of the soul.
  • Yes, child of suffering, thou may'st well be sure
    He who ordained the Sabbath loves the poor!
  • O God! that bread should be so dear,
    And flesh and blood so cheap!
  • Stitch! stitch! stitch!
    In poverty, hunger, and dirt,
    And still with a voice of dolorous pitch,
    Would that its tone could reach the Rich,
    She sang this "Song of the Shirt!"
  • Magnas inter opes inops.
    • Penniless amid great plenty.
    • Horace, Carmina, Book III. 16. 28.
  • Pauper enim non est cui rerum suppetet usus.
    • He is not poor who has the use of necessary things.
    • Horace, Epistles, I. 12. 4.
  • Ibit eo quo vis qui zonam perdidit.
    • The man who has lost his purse will go wherever you wish.
    • Horace, Epistles, II. 2. 40.
  • Nil habet infelix paupertas durius in se
    Quam quod ridiculos homines facit.
    • Cheerless poverty has no harder trial than this, that it makes men the subject of ridicule.
    • Juvenal, Satires, III. V. 152.
  • Haud facile emergunt quorum virtutibus obstat
    Res angusta domi.
    • They do not easily rise whose abilities are repressed by poverty at home.
    • Juvenal, Satires, III. 164.
  • Hic vivimus ambitiosa
    Paupertate omnes.
    • Here we all live in ambitious poverty.
    • Juvenal, Satires, III. 182.
  • O Poverty, thy thousand ills combined
    Sink not so deep into the generous mind,
    As the contempt and laughter of mankind.
    • Juvenal, Satires, III, line 226. Gifford's translation.
  • Cantabit vacuus coram latrone viator.
    • The traveler without money will sing before the robber.
    • Juvenal, Satires, X. 22.
  • Paupertas fugitur, totoque arcessitur orbe.
  • If you are poor now, Æmilianus, you will always be poor. Riches are now given to none but the rich.
    • Martial, Epigrams (c. 80-104 AD), Book V, Epigram 8.
  • Non est paupertas, Nestor, habere nihil.
    • To have nothing is not poverty.
    • Martial, Epigrams (c. 80-104 AD), XI. 32. 8.
  • La pauvreté des biens est aysee à guerir; la pauvreté de l'âme, impossible.
    • The lack of wealth is easily repaired; but the poverty of the soul is irreparable.
    • Michel de Montaigne, Essays, III. 10.
  • Rattle his bones over the stones!
    He's only a pauper whom nobody owns!
  • Horrea formicæ tendunt ad inania nunquam
    Nullus ad amissas ibit amicus opes.
    • Ants do not bend their ways to empty barns, so no friend will visit the place of departed wealth.
    • Ovid, Tristium, I. 9. 9.
  • Inops, potentem dum vult imitari, perit.
    • The poor, trying to imitate the powerful, perish.
    • Phaedrus, Fables, I. 24. 1.
  • Paupertas … omnes artes perdocet.
    • Poverty is a thorough instructress in all the arts.
    • Plautus, Stichus, Act II. 1.
  • But to the world no bugbear is so great,
    As want of figure and a small estate.
  • Where are those troops of poor, that throng'd of yore
    The good old landlord's hospitable door?
  • Whene'er I walk the public ways,
    How many poor that lack ablution
    Do probe my heart with pensive gaze,
    And beg a trivial contribution.
  • Non qui parum habet, sed qui plus cupit, pauper est.
    • Not he who has little, but he who wishes for more, is poor.
    • Seneca the Younger, Epistolæ Ad Lucilium, II.
  • Nemo tam pauper vivit quam natus est.
  • Poor people always lose in struggles.
    • Michael Servetus, a sentence from his first edition of Ptolemy's Geography (1535)
  • The poor in Resurrection City have come to Washington to show that the poor in America are sick, dirty, disorganized, and powerless—and they are criticized daily for being sick, dirty, disorganized, and powerless.
    • Calvin Trillin, "U.S. Journal: Resurrection City", The New Yorker (June 15, 1968), p. 71.
  • Whene'er I take my walks abroad,
    How many poor I see!

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant WritersEdit

Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert's Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).

  • As no one can adventure nearer the throne of God by virtue of his rank, his wealth, or his talent, so no one is kept farther from that throne by his low condition, or by his poverty of wealth, of learning, or of intellect. The prince and the sage are not more welcome to heaven than the poor and ignorant.
  • Aspirations pure and high —
    Strength to do and to endure —
    Heir of all the Ages, I —
    Lo! I am no longer poor!
  • It is not poverty so much as pretense that harasses a ruined man.
  • There is not such a mighty difference as some men imagine between the poor and the rich; in pomp, show, and opinion, there is a great deal, but little as to the pleasures and satisfactions of life. They enjoy the same earth and air and heavens; hunger and thirst make the poor man's meat and drink as pleasant and relishing as all the varieties which cover the rich man's table; and the labor of a poor man is more healthful, and many times more pleasant, too, than the ease and softness of the rich.
  • The world's proverb is, "God help the poor, for the rich can help themselves;" but to our mind, it is just the rich who have most need of Heaven's help. Dives in scarlet is worse off than Lazarus in rags, unless Divine love shall uphold him.

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