C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


Compassion, the fairest associate of the heart.


  • Man may dismiss compassion from his heart,
  • But God will never.
  • Cowper.

    There never was any heart truly great and generous that was not also tender and compassionate.


    It is the crown of justice, and the glory, where it may kill with right, to save with pity.

    Beaumont and Fletcher.

    Compassion to an offender who has grossly violated the laws is, in effect, a cruelty to the peaceable subject who has observed them.


  • O, heavens! can you hear a good man groan,
  • And not relent, or not compassion him?
  • Shakespeare.

  • Poor naked wretches, wheresoever you are,
  • That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,
  • How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,
  • Your loop’d and window’d raggedness, defend you
  • From seasons such as these? Oh, I have ta’en
  • Too little care of this! Take physic, pomp;
  • Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel;
  • That thou may’st shake the superflux to them,
  • And show the heavens more just.
  • Shakespeare.

    Want of compassion (however inaccurate observers have reported to the contrary) is not to be numbered among the general faults of mankind. The black ingredient which fouls our disposition is envy. Hence our eyes, it is to be feared, are seldom turned up to those who are manifestly greater, better, wiser, or happier than ourselves, without some degree of malignity, while we commonly look downward on the mean and miserable with sufficient benevolence and pity.


    Compassion is an emotion of which we ought never to be ashamed. Graceful, particularly in youth, is the tear of sympathy, and the heart that melts at the tale of woe. We should not permit ease and indulgence to contract our affections, and wrap us up in a selfish enjoyment; but we should accustom ourselves to think of the distresses of human life, of the solitary cottage, the dying parent, and the weeping orphan. Nor ought we ever to sport with pain and distress in any of our amusements, or treat even the meanest insect with wanton cruelty.