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James Wood, comp. Dictionary of Quotations. 1899.


A brave spirit struggling with adversity is a spectacle for the gods.

A favour does not consist in the service done, but in the spirit of the man who confers it.

A well-governed appetite is a great part of liberty.

Ab honesto virum bonum nihil deterret—Nothing deters a good man from what honour requires of him.

Aliena vitia in oculis habemus; a tergo nostra sunt—We keep the faults of others before our eyes; our own behind our backs.

Alieno in loco haud stabile regnum est—Sovereignty over a foreign land is insecure.

All cruelty springs from weakness.

Ante senectutem curavi, ut bene viverem; in senectute, ut bene moriar—Before old age, it was my chief care to live well; in old age, it is to die well.

Atria regum hominibus plena sunt, amicis vacua—The courts of kings are full of men, empty of friends.

Audiatur et altera pars—Let the other side also have a hearing.

Augiæ cloacas purgare—To cleanse the Augean stables, i.e., achieve an arduous and disagreeable work.

Calamitosus est animus futuri anxius—The mind that is anxious about the future is miserable.

Cogenda mens est ut incipiat—The mind must be stimulated to make a beginning.

Cogi qui potest nescit mori—He who can be compelled knows not how to die.

Cogitatio nostra cœli munimenta perrumpit, nec contenta est, id, quod ostenditur, scire—Our thoughts break through the muniments of heaven, and are not satisfied with knowing what is offered to sense observation.

Cui prodest scelus, is fecit—He has committed the crime who profits by it.

Curæ leves loquuntur, ingentes stupent—Light troubles are loud-voiced, deeper ones are dumb.

Death is the wish of some, the relief of many, and the end of all.

Dediscit animus sero quod didicit diu—The mind is slow in unlearning what it has been long learning.

Det ille veniam facile, cui venia est opus—He who needs pardon should readily grant it.

Detur aliquando otium quiesque fessis—Leisure and repose should at times be given to the weary.

Deum colit, qui novit—He who knows God worships Him.

Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labour does the body.

Distrahit animum librorum multitudo—A multitude of books distracts the mind.

Domini pudet, non servitutis—I am ashamed of my master, but not of my condition as a servant.

Drunkenness is voluntary madness.

Dubiam salutem qui dat afflictis, negat—He who offers to the wretched a dubious deliverance, denies all hope.

Ducunt volentem fata, nolentem trahunt—Fate leads the willing, and drags the unwilling.From Cleanthes.

Elige eum cujus tibi placuit et vita et oratio—Make choice of him who recommends himself to you by his life as well as address.

Et quiescenti agendum est, et agenti quiescendum est—He who is indolent should work, and he who works should take repose.

Every one would rather believe than exercise his own judgment.

Everything that exceeds the bounds of moderation has an unstable foundation.

Ex inimico cogita posse fieri amicum—Think that you may make a friend of an enemy.

Exiguum est ad legem bonum esse—It is but a small matter to be good in the eye of the law only.

Eyes will not see when the heart wishes them to be blind; desire conceals truth as darkness does the earth.

Fastidientis est stomachi multa degustare—Tasting so many dishes shows a dainty stomach.

Fidelity purchased with money, money can destroy.

Folly is its own burden.

Fortem facit vicina libertas senem—The approach of liberty makes even an old man brave.

Fortuna opes auferre, non animum potest—Fortune may bereave us of wealth, but not of courage.

Gratum hominem semper beneficium delectat; ingratum semel—A kindness is always delightful to a grateful man; to an ungrateful, only at the time of its receipt.

Grave pondus illum magna nobilitas premit—His exalted rank weighs heavy on him as a grievous burden.

Gravis ira regum semper—The anger of kings is always heavy.

Great is he who enjoys his earthenware as if it were plate, and not less great the man to whom all his plate is no more than earthenware.

Great men often rejoice at crosses of fortune, just as brave soldiers do at wars.

Habet iracundia hoc mali, non vult regi—There is in anger this evil, that it will not be controlled.

Hanc personam induisti, agenda est—You have assumed this part, and you must act it out.

Happy is the man who can endure the highest and the lowest fortune. He who has endured such vicissitudes with equanimity has deprived misfortune of its power.

Haste trips up its own heels, fetters and stops itself.

He is ungrateful who denies a benefit; he is ungrateful who hides it; he is ungrateful who does not return it; he, most of all, who has forgotten it.

He that is a friend to himself is a friend to all men.

Homines amplius oculis quam auribus credunt: longum iter est per præcepta, breve et efficax per exempla—Men trust their eyes rather than their ears: the road by precept is long and tedious, by example short and effectual.

Homines plus in alieno negotio videre, quam in suo—Men see better into other people’s business than their own.

Hominibus plenum, amicis vacuum—Full of men, vacant of friends.

Honesta quædam scelera successus facit—Success makes some species of crimes honourable.

Human felicity is lodged in the soul, not in the flesh.

Id facere laus est quod decet, non quod licet—The man is deserving of praise who does what it becomes him to do, not what he is free to do.

Id nobis maxime nocet, quod non ad rationis lumen sed ad similitudinem aliorum vivimus—This is especially ruinous to us, that we shape our lives not by the light of reason, but after the fashion of others.

Ignis aurum probat, miseria fortes viros—Fire tests gold; adversity strong men.

Imperia dura tolle, quid virtus erit?—Remove severe restraint, and what will become of virtue?

In unoquoque virorum bonorum habitat Deus—God has his dwelling within every good man.

Incertum est quo te loco mors expectet; itaque in omni loco illam expecta—It is uncertain in what place death awaits you; be ready for it therefore in every place.

Ingratus est qui remotis testibus agit gratiam—He is an ungrateful man who is unwilling to acknowledge his obligation before others.

Iniqua nunquam regna perpetua manent—Authority founded on injustice is never of long duration.

Initium est salutis, notitia peccati—The first step in a man’s salvation is knowledge of his sin.

Injuriam qui facturus est jam facit—He who is bent on doing an injury has already done it.

Inter cetera mala, hoc quoque habet stultitia proprium, semper incipit vivere—Among other evils, folly has also this special characteristic, it is always beginning to live.

Invisa nunquam imperia retinentur diu—Hated governments never hold out long.

Ira quæ tegitur nocet; / Professa perdunt odia vindictæ locum—Resentment which is concealed is dangerous; hatred avowed loses its opportunity of revenge.

Is maxime divitiis utitur, qui minime divitiis indiget—He employs riches to the best purpose who least needs them.

It is true greatness to have in one the frailty of a man and the security of a god.

It was the wisdom of the ancients to regard the most useful as the most illustrious.

Juvenile vitium regere non posse impetum—It is the failing of youth not to be able to restrain its own violence.

Legem brevem esse oportet quo facilius ab imperitis teneatur—A law ought to be short, that it may be the more easily understood by the unlearned.

Leonum ora a magistris impune tractantur—The mouths of lions are with impunity handled by their keepers.

Let us make haste to live, since every day to a wise man is a new life.

Leve æs alienum debitorem facit, grave inimicum—A small debt makes a man your debtor, a large one your enemy.

Levis est dolor qui capere consilium potest—Grief is light which can take advice.

Levity of behaviour is the bane of all that is good and virtuous.

Levius solet timere qui propius timet—A man’s fears are lighter when the danger is near at hand.

Libera te metu mortis—Deliver thyself from the fear of death.

Life is a warfare.

Light cares (or griefs) speak; great ones are dumb.

Longum iter est per præcepta, breve et efficax per exempla—The road to learning by precept is long, by example short and effectual.

Magnæ felicitates multum caliginis mentibus humanis objiciunt—Great and sudden prosperity has a deadening (lit. densely darkening) effect on the human mind.

Magna servitus est magna fortuna—A great fortune is a great slavery.

Magni animi est injurias despicere—It is the mark of a great mind to despise injuries.

Magni animi est magna contemnere, ac mediocria malle quam nimia—It is a sign of a great mind to despise greatness, and to prefer things in measure to things in excess.

Magnus animus remissius loquitur et securius—The talk of a great soul is at once more careless and confident than that of other men.

Malo mihi male quam molliter esse—I prefer being ill to being idle.

Maximum remedium iræ dilatio est!—Deferring of anger is the best antidote to anger.

Me justum esse gratis oportet—It is my duty to show justice without recompense.

Men trust rather to their eyes than to their ears; the effect of precepts is therefore slow and tedious, whilst that of examples is summary and effectual.

Moderata durant—Things we use in moderation last long.

Most powerful is he who has himself in his power.

Multis parasse divitias non finis miseriarium fuit, sed mutatio; non est in rebus vitium sed in animo—The acquisition of riches has been to many, not the end of their miseries, but a change in them; the fault is not in the riches, but in the disposition.

Natura, quam te colimus inviti quoque—O Nature, now we bow to thee even against our will.

Nature ever provides for her own exigencies.

Nec est ad astra mollis e terris via—The way from the earth to the stars is no soft one.

Nemo potest personam diu ferre fictam—No one can play a feigned part long.

Nemo quam bene vivat, sed quamdiu, curat: quum omnibus possit contingere ut bene vivat, ut diu nulli—No one concerns himself with how well he should live, only how long: while none can count upon living long, all have the chance of living well.

Nihil a Deo vacat; opus suum ipse implet—Nothing is void of God; His work everywhere is full of Himself.

Nihil est tam utile, quod in transitu prosit—Nothing is so useful as to be of profit after only a hasty study of it.

Nihil turpius est quam gravis ætate senex, qui nullum aliud habet argumentum, quo se probet diu vixisse, præter ætatem—There is nothing more despicable than an old man who has no other proof than his age to offer of his having lived long in the world.

Nil tam inæstimable est quam animi multitudinis—Nothing is so contemptible as the sentiments of the mob.

No evil is without its compensation.

No evil propensity of the human heart is so powerful that it may not be subdued by discipline.

No man is nobler born than another, unless he is born with better abilities and a more amiable disposition.

No one can be despised by another until he has learned to despise himself.

Non est ad astra mollis a terris via—The road from the earth to the stars is not a soft one.

Non quam diu, sed quam bene vixeris refert—Not how long, but how well you have lived is the main thing.

Non scholæ, sed vitæ discimus—We learn not at school, but in life.

Nostra nos sine comparatione delectant; nunquam erit felix quem torquebit felicior—What we have pleases us if we do not compare it with what others have; he never will be happy to whom a happier is a torture.

Not lost, but gone before.

Not to return one good office for another is inhuman; but to return evil for good is diabolical.

Nullius boni sine socio jucunda possessio—Without a friend to share it, no good we possess is truly enjoyable.

Nullum magnum ingenium sine mixtura dementiæ fuit—No great genius is ever without some tincture of madness.

Nunquam nimis dicitur, quod nunquam satis discitur—That is never too often repeated which is never sufficiently learned.

Odia qui nimium timet, regnare nescit—He who dreads hostility too much is unfit to bear rule.

Omnes amicos habere operosum est; satis est inimicos non habere—It is an arduous task to make all men your friends; it is enough to have no enemies.

Omnia cum amico delibera, sed de te ipso prius—Consult your friend on everything, but particularly on what affects yourself.

Omnis ars imitatio est naturæ—All art is an imitation of nature.

Omnis stulitia laborat fastidio sui—All folly is afflicted with a disdain of itself.

Operose nihil agunt—They toil at doing nothing.

Otium sine literis mors est, et hominis vivi sepultura—Leisure without literature is death and burial alive.

Pars sanitatis velle sanari fuit—It is a step to the cure to be willing to be cured.

Paupertas est, non quæ pauca possidet, sed quæ multa non possidet—Poverty is not possessing few things, but lacking many things.

Philosophy does not regard pedigree; she did not receive Plato as a noble, but she made him so.

Placeat homini quidquid Deo placuit—That which has seemed good to God should seem good to man.

Plerique enim lacrimas fundunt ut ostendant; et toties siccos oculos habent, quoties spectator definit—Many shed tears merely for show; and have their eyes quite dry whenever there is no one to observe them.

Plura sunt quæ nos terrent, quam quæ premunt; et sæpius opinione quam re laboramus—There are more things to alarm than to harm us, and we suffer much oftener in apprehension than reality.

Potentissimus est, qui se habet in potestate—He is the most powerful who has himself in his power.

Power exercised with violence has seldom been of long duration, but temper and moderation generally produce permanence in all things.

Precepts or maxims are of great weight; and a few useful ones at hand do more toward a happy life than whole volumes that we know not where to find.

Prima et maxima peccantium est pœna peccasse—The first and greatest punishment of sinners is the conscience of sin.

Pro virtute felix temeritas—Instead of valour successful rashness.Of Alexander the Great.

Procellæ quanto plus habent virium tanto minus temporis—The more violent storms are, the sooner they are over.

Prosperum et felix scelus / Virtus vocatur—Crime when it succeeds is called virtue.

Quæ fuerant vitia mores sunt—What were once vices are now the fashion of the day.

Quæ fuit durum pati / Meminisse dulce est—What was hard to suffer is sweet to remember.

Quem pœnitet peccasse pene est innocens—He who repents of having sinned is almost innocent.

Quemcunque miserum videris, hominem scias—Whenever you behold a fellow-creature in distress, remember that he is a man.

Qui genus jactat suum aliena laudat—He who boasts of his descent boasts of what he owes to others.

Qui nil potest sperare, desperet nihil—Who can hope for nothing should despair of nothing.

Qui sibi amicus est, scito hunc amicum omnibus esse—He who is a friend to himself you may be sure he is a friend to all.

Qui timide rogat, docet negare—He who asks timidly courts refusal.

Quicquid excessit modum / Pendet instabili loco—Whatever has overstepped its due bounds is always in a state of instability.

Quid est turpius quam senex vivere incipiens?—What is more scandalous than an old man just beginning to live?

Quod nimis miseri volunt, hoc facile credunt—Whatever the wretched anxiously wish for, they are ready to believe.

Quod non vetat lex, hoc vetat fieri pudor—Modesty forbids what the law does not.

Quod verum est, meum est—What is true belongs to me (whoever said it).

Recta actio non erit, nisi recta fuit voluntas, ab hac enim est actio. Rursus, voluntas non erit recta, nisi habitus animi rectus fuerit, ab hoc enim est voluntas—An action will not be right unless the intention is right, for from it comes the action. Again, the intention will not be right unless the state of the mind has been right, for from it proceeds the intention.

Remark how many are better off than you are; consider how many are worse.

Res est sacra miser—A man overwhelmed by misfortune is a sacred object.

Rex est qui metuit nihil; / Rex est qui cupit nihil—He is a king who fears nothing; he is a king who desires nothing.

Scelere velandum est scelus—One crime has to be concealed by another.

Sera in fundo parsimonia—Economy is too late when you are at the bottom of your purse.

Series implexa causarum—The complicated series of causes; fate.

Servitude seizes on few, but many seize on servitude.

Shame may restrain what law does not prohibit.

Si ad naturam vivas, nunquam eris pauper; si ad opinionem, nunquam dives—If you live according to the dictates of Nature, you will never be poor; if according to the notions of men, you never will be rich.

Si judicas, cognosce; si regnas, jube—If you sit in judgment, investigate; if you possess supreme power, sit in command.

Si tibi vis omnia subjicere, te subjice rationi—If you wish to subject everything to yourself, subject yourself first to reason.

Si vis amari, ama—If you wish to be loved, love.

Sic fac omnia … tanquam spectet aliquis—Do everything as in the eye of another.

Sic præsentibus utaris voluptatibus, ut futuris non noceas—So enjoy present pleasures as not to mar those to come.

So live with men, as if God saw you; so speak to God, as if men heard you.

Success consecrates the foulest crimes.

Summæ opes inopia cupiditatum—He is richest who is poorest in his desires.

Tam diu discendum est, quum diu nescias, et, si proverbio credimus, quam diu vivas—You must continue learning as long as you do not know, and, if the proverb is to be believed, as long as you live.

The great felicity of life is to be without perturbation.

There is no great genius free from some tincture of madness.

There is no man so rudely punished as he that is subject to the whip of his own remorse.

There is not any benefit so glorious in itself but it may be exceedingly sweetened and improved by the manner of conferring it. The virtue, I know, rests in the intent, but the beauty and ornament of an obligation lies in the manner of it.

There’s no grace in a benefit that sticks to the fingers.

Thou must live unto another if thou wilt live unto thyself.

True friends are the whole world to one another; and he that is a friend to himself is also a friend to mankind. Even in my studies the greatest delight I take is of imparting it to others; for there is no relish to me in the possession of anything without a partner.

True joy is a serene and sober motion; and they are miserably out, that take laughing for rejoicing; the seat of it is within, and there is no cheerfulness like the resolutions of a brave mind that has fortune under its feet.

Turpe est aliud loqui, aliud sentire; quanto turpius aliud scribere, aliud sentire!—It is base to say one thing and to think another; how much more base to write one thing and think another!

Tuta scelera esse possunt, non secura—Wickedness may be safe, but not secure.

Urbes constituit ætas: hora dissolvit. Momenta fit cinis, diu sylva—It takes an age to build a city, but an hour involves it in ruin. A forest is long in growing, but in a moment it may be reduced to ashes.

Ut ager, quamvis fertilis, sine cultura fructuosus esse non potest, sic sine doctrina animus—As a field, however fertile, can yield no fruit without culture, so neither can the mind of man without education.

Ut quisque contemtissimus et ludibrio est, ita solutæ linguæ est—The more despicable and ridiculous a man is, the readier he is with his tongue.

Utrumque vitium est, et omnibus credere et nulli—It is equally an error to confide in all and in none.

Venient annis / Sæcula seris, quibus Oceanus / Vincula rerum laxet, et ingens / Pateat tellus, Tiphysque novos / Detegat orbes; nec sit terris / Ultima thule—In later years a time will come when Ocean shall relax his bars, and a vast territory shall appear, and Tiphys shall discover new worlds, and Thule shall be no longer the remotest spot on earth.Predicting the discovery of America.

Verborum paupertas, imo egestas—A poverty of words, or rather an utter want of them.

Veritatis simplex oratio est—The language of truth is simple, i.e., it needs not the ornament of many words.

Violenta nemo imperia continuit din; / Moderata durant—No one ever held power long by violence; it lasts only when wielded with moderation.

Vitæ est avidus, quisquis non vult / Mundo secum pereunte mori—He is greedy of life who is unwilling to die when the world around him is perishing.

Vita sine proposito vaga est—A life without a purpose is a rambling one.

Vitia nobis sub virtutum nomine obrepunt—Vices steal upon us under the name of virtues.

Vitia otii negotio discutienda sunt—The vice of doing nothing is only to be shaken off by doing something.

Vitiosum est ubique, quod nimium est—Too much of anything is in every case a defect.

Vivere militare est—To live is to fight.

We all complain of the shortness of time, and yet have much more than we know what to do with. Our lives are spent either in doing nothing at all, or in doing nothing to the purpose, or in doing nothing that we ought to do; we are always complaining our days are few, and acting as though there would be no end of them.

We are members of one great body. Nature planted in us a mutual love, and fitted us for a social life. We must consider that we were born for the good of the whole.

We shut our eyes, and, like people in the dark, we fall foul upon the very thing we search for, without finding it.

Were wisdom given me with this reservation, that I should keep it shut up within myself and not impart it, I would spurn it.

What once were vices are now the manners of the day.

What should a wise man do if he is given a blow? What Cato did when some one struck him on the mouth;—not fire up or revenge the insult, or even return the blow, but simply ignore it.

Whatever has exceeded its due bounds is ever in a state of instability.

When an author is too fastidious about his style, you may presume that his mind is frivolous and his matter flimsy.

Wherever the speech is corrupted the mind is also.

Why is there no man who confesses his vices? It is because he has not yet laid them aside. It is a waking man only who can tell his dreams.

With parsimony a little is sufficient, and without it nothing is sufficient, whereas frugality makes a poor man rich.

Wouldst thou subject all things to thyself? Subject thyself to reason.

You must live for another if you wish to live for yourself.