future generations; fame after death

Posterity refers to future generations, especially the descendants of a specific person.


  • Herself the solitary scion left
    Of a time-honour'd race.
  • Was glänzt ist für den Augenblick geboren,
    Das Echte bleibt der Nachwelt unverloren.
    • What dazzles, for the Moment spends its spirit:
      What's genuine, shall Posterity inherit.
    • What gleams is the moment's, born to be
      Soon lost; true gold lives for posterity.
      • As translated by David Luke (1987)
  • Muore per metà chi lascia un' immagine di se stesso nei figli.
    • He only half dies who leaves an image of himself in his sons.
    • Carlo Goldoni, Pamela (c. 1750), II. 2.
  • As to posterity, I may ask (with somebody whom I have forgot) what has it ever done to oblige me?
  • The man was laughed at as a blunderer who said in a public business: "We do much for posterity; I would fain see them do something for us."
  • Suum cuique decus posteritas rependet.
    • Posterity gives to every man his true honor.
    • Tacitus, Annales (AD 117), IV. 35.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 618-19.
  • Think of your forefathers! Think of your posterity!
  • He thinks posterity is a pack-horse, always ready to be loaded.
  • Posterity is a most limited assembly. Those gentlemen who reach posterity are not much more numerous than the planets.
  • Was glänzt ist für den Augenblick geboren;
    Das Aechte bleibt der Nachwelt unverloren.
    • What dazzles, for the moment spends its spirit;
      What's genuine, shall posterity inherit.
    • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust, Vorspiel auf dem Theater, line 41.
  • Audiet pugnas, vitio parentum
    Rara juventus.
    • Posterity, thinned by the crime of its ancestors, shall hear of those battles.
    • Horace, Odes, Book I. 2. 23.
  • Ich verachte die Menschheit in allen ihren Schichten; ich sehe es voraus, dass unsere Nachkommen noch weit unglücklicher sein werden, als wir. Sollte ich nicht ein Sünder sein, wenn ich trotz dieser Ansicht für Nachkommen, d. h. für Unglückliche sorgte?
    • I despise mankind in all its strata; I foresee that our descendants will be still far unhappier than we are. Would I not be a criminal if, notwithstanding this view, I should provide for progeny, i. e. for unfortunates?
    • Alexander von Humboldt, during a conversation with Arago in 1812.
  • Why should we put ourselves out of our way to do anything for posterity; for what has posterity done for us?
    • Sir Boyle Roche. During Grattan's Parliament. See C. Litton Flakiner's Studies in Irish History and Biography.
  • Culpam majorum posteri luunt.
    • Posterity pays for the sins of their fathers.
    • Quintus Curtius Rufus, De Rebus Gestis Alexandri Magni, VII, 5.

Quid quæris, quamdiu vixit? Vixit ad posteros.

    • Why do you ask, how long has he lived? He has lived to posterity.
    • Seneca the Younger, Epistles, XCIII.
  • Les étrangers sont la postérité contemporaine.
    • Strangers are contemporary posterity.
    • Madame de Staël. See the Journal of Camille Desmoulins.
  • The survivorship of a worthy man in his son is a pleasure scarce inferior to the hopes of the continuance of his own life.
  • We are always doing, says he, something for Posterity, but I would fain see Posterity do something for us.
  • What has poster'ty done for us,
    That we, lest they their rights should lose,
    Should trust our necks to gripe of noose?
  • A foreign nation is a kind of contemporaneous posterity.
    • H. B. Wallace, Stanley, Volume II, p. 89. (See also de Staël. Same idea in Franklin's Letter to William Strahan, 1745).
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