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


Loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud.


The more corrupt the state, the more laws.


  • ——I have seen corruption boil and bubble
  • ’Till it o’errun the stew.
  • Shakespeare.

    Be certain that he who has betrayed thee once will betray thee again.


    A corrupt judge does not carefully search for the truth.


  • E’en grave divines submit to glittering gold,
  • The best of consciences are bought and sold.
  • Dr. Wolcot.

    O that estates, degrees, and offices were not derived corruptly! and that clear honor were purchased by the merit of the wearer!


    I have been young and am now old, and have not yet known an untruthful man to come to a good end.


  • Our supple tribes repress their patriot throats,
  • And ask no questions but the price of votes.
  • Dr. Johnson.

    He that accuses all mankind of corruption ought to remember that he is sure to convict only one.


  • Whoso seeks an audit here
  • Propitious, pays his tribute, game or fish,
  • Wild fowl or venison, and his errand speeds.
  • Cowper.

  • And conscience, truth and honesty are made
  • To rise and fall, like other wares of trade.
  • Moore.

  • He who tempts, though in vain, at last asperses
  • The tempted with dishonor foul, supposed
  • Not incorruptible of faith, not proof
  • Against temptation.
  • Milton.

  • Corruption is a tree, whose branches are
  • Of an unmeasurable length: they spread
  • Everywhere; and the dew that drops from thence
  • Hath infected some chairs and stools of authority.
  • Beaumont and Fletcher.

  • When rogues like these (a sparrow cries)
  • To honours and employments rise,
  • I court no favor, ask no place,
  • For such preferment is disgrace.
  • Gay.

  • Here let those reign, whom pensions can incite,
  • To vote a patriot black, a courtier white,
  • Explain their country’s dear-bought rights away,
  • And plead for pirates in the face of day.
  • Dr. Johnson.

    There is something in corruption which, like a jaundiced eye, transfers the color of itself to the object it looks upon, and sees everything stained and impure.

    Thomas Paine.

  • This mournful truth is everywhere confess’d,
  • Slow rises worth by poverty depress’d:
  • But here more slow, where all are slaves to gold,
  • Where looks are merchandise, and smiles are sold.
  • Dr. Johnson.

    Men by associating in large masses, as in camps, and in cities, improve their talents, but impair their virtues, and strengthen their minds, but weaken their morals; thus a retrocession in the one is too often the price they pay for a refinement in the other.


  • At length corruption, like a general flood,
  • (So long by watchful ministers withstood,)
  • Shall deluge all; and avarice creeping on,
  • Spread like a low-born mist, and blot the sun.
  • Pope.

  • Like a young eagle who has lent his plume,
  • To fledge the shaft by which he meets his doom,
  • See their own feathers pluck’d, to wing the dart,
  • Which rank corruption destines for their heart!
  • Moore.

  • Hence, wretched nation! all thy woes arise,
  • Avow’d corruption, licensed perjuries,
  • Eternal taxes, treaties for a day,
  • Servants that rule, and senates that obey.
  • Lord Lyttleton.

  • The impious man, who sells his country’s freedom
  • Makes all the guilt of tyranny his own.
  • His are her slaughters, her oppressions his;
  • Just heav’n! reserve your choicest plagues for him,
  • And blast the venal wretch.
  • Martyn.

  • But though bare merit might in Rome appear
  • The strongest plea for favour, ’tis not here;
  • We form our judgment in another way;
  • And they will best succeed, who best can pay;
  • Those, who would gain the votes of British tribes,
  • Must add to force of merit, force of bribes.
  • Churchill.

  • ’Tis pleasant purchasing our fellow-creatures,
  • And all are to be sold if you consider
  • Their passions, and are dext’rous; some by features
  • Are bought up, others by a warlike leader;
  • Some by a place, as tend their years or natures;
  • The most by ready cash—but all have prices,
  • From crowns to kicks, according to their vices.
  • Byron.

    Examine well his milk-white hand, the palm is hardly clean,—but here and there an ugly smutch appears. Foh! It was a bribe that left it. He has touched corruption.


  • For, firm within, and while at heart untouch’d,
  • Ne’er yet by force was freedom overcome.
  • But soon as independence stoops the head,
  • To vice-enslaved, and vice-created wants,
  • Then to some foul corrupting-hand, whose waste
  • Their craving lusts with fatal bounty feeds,
  • They fall a willing, undefended prize;
  • From man to man th’ infectious softness runs,
  • Till the whole state unnerved in slavery sinks.
  • Thomson.

  • If, ye powers divine!
  • Ye mark the movements of this nether world
  • And bring them to account, crush, crush, those vipers,
  • Who, singled out by a community
  • To guard their rights, shall, for a grasp of air,
  • Or paltry office, sell ’em to the foe.
  • Miller.