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


Generosity is only benevolence in practice.

Bishop Ken.

Generosity is more charitable than wealth.

Joseph Roux.

One can love any man that is generous.

Leigh Hunt.

Generosity is the flower of justice.


Bounty, being free itself, thinks all others so.


Our generosity never should exceed our abilities.


The secret pleasure of a generous act is the great mind’s great bribe.


It is not enough to help the feeble up, but to support him after.


In this world, it is not what we take up, but what we give up, that makes us rich.


A giving hand, though foul, shall have fair praise.


Some are unwisely liberal; and more delight to give presents than to pay debts.

Sir P. Sidney.

Almost always the most indigent are the most generous.


If there be any truer measure of a man than by what he does, it must be by what he gives.


To give awkwardly is churlishness. The most difficult part is to give, then why not add a smile?

La Bruyère.

Generosity, wrong placed, becometh a vice; a princely mind will undo a private family.


  • The truly generous is the truly wise;
  • And he who loves not others, lives unblest.
  • Horace.

    Bounty always receives part of its value from the manner it is bestowed.

    Dr. Johnson.

    A man who suddenly becomes generous may please fools, but he will not deceive the wise.


    Many men have been capable of doing a wise thing, more a cunning thing, but very few a generous thing.

    Alexander Pope.

    Generosity, to be perfect, should always be accompanied by a dash of humor.

    Marie Ebner-Eschenbach.

    Generosity is the accompaniment of high birth; pity and gratitude are its attendants.


    For his bounty, there was no winter in it; an autumn ’twas that grew the more by reaping.


    What seems generosity is often disguised ambition, that despises small to run after greater interests.

    La Rochefoucauld.

    How much easier it is to be generous than just! Men are sometimes bountiful who are not honest.


    In giving, a man receives more than he gives; and the more is in proportion to the worth of the thing given.

    George MacDonald.

    O the world is but a word; were it all yours to give it in a breath, how quickly were it gone!


    Men of the noblest dispositions think themselves happiest when others share their happiness with them.


    The generous who is always just, and the just who is always generous, may, unannounced, approach the throne of heaven.


    When you give, take to yourself no credit for generosity, unless you deny yourself something in order that you may give.

    Henry Taylor.

    To be generous, guiltless, and of a free disposition is to take those things for bird-bolts that you deem cannon-bullets.


    No one ever sowed the grain of generosity who gathered not up the harvest of the desire of his heart.


    Wherever I find a great deal of gratitude in a poor man, I take it for granted there would be as much generosity if he were a rich man.


    Let us proportion our alms to our ability, lest we provoke God to proportion His blessings to our alms.


    They that do an act that does deserve requital pay first themselves the stock of such content.

    Sir Robert Howard.

    Any one may do a casual act of good-nature; but a continuation of them shows it a part of the temperament.


    There were in him candor and generosity, which, unless tempered by due moderation, lead to ruin.


    There is a greatness in being generous, and there is only simple justice in satisfying creditors. Generosity is the part of the soul raised above the vulgar.


    He who gives what he would as readily throw away gives without generosity; for the essence of generosity is in self-sacrifice.

    Henry Taylor.

    It is a pleasure appropriate to man for him to save a fellow-man, and gratitude is acquired in no better way.


    All my experience of the world teaches me that in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred the safe side and the just side of a question is the generous side and the merciful side.

    Mrs. Jameson.

    True generosity is a duty as indispensably necessary as those imposed upon us by the law. It is a rule imposed upon us by reason, which should be the sovereign law of a rational being.


    Generosity, when once set going, knows not how to stop; as the more familiar we are with the lovely form, the more enamored we become of her charms.

    Pliny the Younger.

  • God blesses still the generous thought
  • And still the fitting word He speeds,
  • And truth, at His requiring taught,
  • He quickens into deeds.
  • Whittier.

    It is good to be unselfish and generous; but don’t carry that too far. It will not do to give yourself to be melted down for the benefit of the tallow-trade; you must know where to find yourself.

    George Eliot.

    A friend to everybody is often a friend to nobody, or else in his simplicity he robs his family to help strangers, and becomes brother to a beggar. There is wisdom in generosity, as in everything else.


    He that gives all, though but little, gives much; because God looks not to the quantity of the gift, but to the quality of the givers; he that desires to give more than he can hath equaled his gift to his desire, and hath given more than he hath.


    The reputation of generosity is to be purchased pretty cheap; it does not depend so much upon a man’s general expense, as it does upon his giving handsomely where it is proper to give at all. A man, for instance, who should give a servant four shillings would pass for covetous, while he who gave him a crown would be reckoned generous; so that the difference of those two opposite characters turns upon one shilling.


    One great reason why men practice generosity so little in the world is their finding so little there. Generosity is catching; and if so many men escape it, it is in a great degree from the same reason the countrymen escape the smallpox,—because they meet no one to give it to them.


    There is a story of some mountains of salt in Cumana, which never diminished, though carried away in much abundance by merchants; but when once they were monopolized to the benefit of a private purse, then the salt decreased, till afterward all were allowed to take of it, when it had a new access and increase. The truth of this story may be uncertain, but the application is true; he that envies others the use of his gifts decays then, but he thrives most that is most diffusive.