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


Emulation and imitation are of twin birth.

Charles Buxton.

There is emulation even in vice.

Eugene Sue.

’T is no shame to follow the better precedent.

Ben Jonson.

Emulation admires and strives to imitate great actions; envy is only moved to malice.


My heart laments that virtue cannot live out of the teeth of emulation.


An envious fever of pale and bloodless emulation.


Emulation embalms the dead; envy, the vampire, blasts the living.


Those fair ideas to my aid I’ll call, and emulate my great original.


Envy, to which the ignoble mind’s a slave, is emulation in the learned or brave.


Emulation is a handsome passion; it is enterprising, but just withal.

Jeremy Collier.

Where there is emulation, there will be vanity; where there is vanity, there will be folly.


Terror has its inspiration, as well as competition.


Emulation is active virtue; envy is brooding malice.


There is a long and wearisome step between admiration and imitation.


Emulation is a noble and just passion, full of appreciation.


It is scarce possible at once to admire and excel an author, as water rises no higher than the reservoir it falls from.


Unsuccessful emulation is too apt to sink into envy, which of all sins has not even the excuse to offer of temporary gratification.

Sydney Dobell.

  • Keeps mankind sweet by action; without that
  • The world would be a filthy settled mud.
  • Crown.

    Emulation looks out for merits, that she may exert herself by a victory; envy spies out blemishes, that she may have another by a defeat.


    Emulation hath a thousand sons, that one by one pursue; if you give way, or edge aside from the direct forthright, like to an entered tide, they all rush by, and leave you hindmost.


    When emulation leads us to strive for self-elevation by merit alone, and not by belittling another, then it is one of the grandest possible incentives to action.

    Dr. Johnson.

    Does the man live who has not felt this spur to action, in a more or less generous spirit? Emulation lives so near to envy that it is sometimes difficult to establish the boundary-lines.

    Henry Giles.

    God grant that we may contend with other churches, as the vine with the olive, which of us shall bear the best fruit; but not as the briar with the thistle, which of us will be the most unprofitable.


    Worldly ambition is founded on pride or envy, but emulation, or laudable ambition, is actually founded in humility; for it evidently implies that we have a low opinion of our present attainments, and think it necessary to be advanced.

    Bishop Hall.

    Emulation has been termed a spur to virtue, and assumes to be a spur of gold. But it is a spur composed of baser materials, and if tried in the furnace will be found to want that fixedness which is the characteristic of gold. He that pursues virtue, only to surpass others, is not far from wishing others less forward than himself; and he that rejoices too much at his own perfections will be too little grieved at the defects of other men.


    Emulation is a handsome passion; it is enterprising, but just withal. It keeps a man within the terms of honor, and makes the contest for glory just and generous. He strives to excel, but it is by raising himself, not by depressing others.

    Jeremy Collier.

    Emulation is grief arising from seeing one’s self exceeded or excelled by his concurrent, together with hope to equal or exceed him in time to come, by his own ability. But envy is the same grief joined with pleasure conceived in the imagination of some ill-fortune that may befall him.

    Thomas Hobbes.

    Give me the boy who rouses when he is praised, who profits when he is encouraged and who cries when he is defeated. Such a boy will be fired by ambition; he will be stung by reproach, and animated by preference; never shall I apprehend any bad consequences from idleness in such a boy.


    It is averse to talent to be consorted and trained up with inferior minds or inferior companions, however high they may rank. The foal of the racer neither finds out his speed, nor calls out his powers, if pastured out with the common herd, that are destined for the collar and the yoke.


    Emulation, even in brutes, is sensitively “nervous.” See the tremor of the thoroughbred racer before he starts. The dray-horse does not tremble, but he does not emulate. It is not his work to run a race. Says Marcus Antoninus, “It is all one to a stone whether it be thrown upward or downward.” Yet the emulation of a man of genius is seldom with his contemporaries, that is, inwardly in his mind, although outwardly in his act it would seem so. The competitors with whom his secret ambition seems to vie are the dead.