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


Goodness is beauty in its best estate.


’Tis only noble to be good.


O goodness! that shall evil turn to good.


Seek for good, but expect evil.


Nothing rarer than real goodness.

La Rochefoucauld.

If you wish to be good, first believe that you are bad.


How goodness heightens beauty!

Hannah More.

The true and good resemble gold.


And learn the luxury of doing good.


Evil and good are God’s right hand and left.


Do good by stealth, and blush to find it fame.


How near to good is what is fair!

Ben Jonson.

Sin writes histories, goodness is silent.


The soul is strong that trusts in goodness.


That good diffused may more abundant grow.


Goodness admits of no excess, but error.


Goodness thinks no ill where no ill seems.


Man should be ever better than he seems.

Sir Aubrey de Vere.

Virtue is bold and goodness never fearful.


He is good that does good to others.

La Bruyère.

Doing good is the only certainly happy action of a man’s life.

Sir P. Sidney.

There is some soul of goodness in things evil, would men observingly distil it out.


Good deeds ring clear through heaven, like a bell.


Scream as we may at the bad, the good prevails.


My heart contains of good, wise, just, the perfect shape.


All are of the race of God, and have in themselves good.


Heaven prepares good men with crosses; but no ill can happen to a good man.

Ben Jonson.

A real man is he whose goodness is a part of himself.


Great hearts alone understand how much glory there is in being good.


Good, the more communicated, the more abundant grows.


Real goodness does not attach itself merely to this life; it points to another world.

Daniel Webster.

There is a warp of evil woven in the woof of good.


Be not simply good; be good for something.


Goodness is the only investment that never fails.


He who believes in goodness has the essence of all faith. He is a man “of cheerful yesterdays and confident to-morrows.”

J. F. Clarke.

Great hearts alone understand how much glory there is in being good.


Every day should be distinguished by at least one particular act of love.


When what is good comes of age, and is likely to live, there is reason for rejoicing.

George Eliot.

He is a truly good man who desires always to bear the inspection of good men.

La Rochefoucauld.

  • The good are better made by ill,
  • As odors crushed are sweeter still.
  • S. Rogers.

    Forever all goodness will be most charming; forever all wickedness will be most odious.

    Thomas Sprat.

    What is good only because it pleases cannot be pronounced good till it has been found to please.


    Men have less lively perception of good than of evil.


    A charmed life old goodness hath; the tares may perish, but the grain is not for death.


    Whatever any one does or says, I must be good.

    Aurelius Antoninus.

    Few persons have courage enough to seem as good as they really are.


    A good man enlarges the term of his own existence.


    His daily prayer, far better understood in acts than words, was simply doing good.


    You are not very good if you are not better than your best friends imagine you to be.


    If for anything he loved greatness, it was because therein he might exercise his goodness.

    Sir P. Sidney.

    How far that little candle throws his beams! so shines a good deed in a naughty world.


    She has more goodness in her little finger than he has in his whole body.


  • Only the actions of the just
  • Smell sweet, and blossom in their dust.
  • Shirley.

    What is beautiful is good, and who is good will soon also be beautiful.


  • Happy were men if they but understood
  • There is no safety but in doing good.
  • John Fountain.

    It is only great souls that know how much glory there is in being good.


    Goodness consists not in the outward things we do, but in the inward thing we are. To be is the great thing.

    E. H. Chapin.

    He that does good for good’s sake seeks neither praise nor reward, though sure of both at last.

    William Penn.

  • Doing good,
  • Disinterested good, is not our trade.
  • Cowper.

  • Look around the habitable world, how few
  • Know their own good, or knowing it, pursue.
  • Dryden.

    Your goodness must have some edge to it, else it is none.


    No good book, or good thing of any sort, shows its best face at first.


    Real excellence, indeed, is most recognized when most openly looked into.


    Goodness does not more certainly make men happy than happiness makes them good.


    How indestructibly the good grows, and propagates itself, even among the weedy entanglements of evil.


    We may be as good as we please, if we please to be good.


    It is not goodness to be better than the very worst.


    Experience makes us see a wonderful difference between devotion and goodness.


    He whose goodness is part of himself, is what is called a real man.


    Good men are the stars, the planets of the ages wherein they live, and illustrate the times.

    Ben Jonson.

    Everything good in a man thrives best when properly recognized.

    J. G. Holland.

    There was never law or sect or opinion did so much magnify goodness as the Christian religion doth.


    Whatever makes men good Christians, makes them good citizens.

    Daniel Webster.

  • ’Tis a kind of good deed to say well,
  • And yet words are no deeds.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Who does the best his circumstance allows,
  • Does well, acts nobly; angels could no more.
  • Young.

  • Hard was their lodging, homely was their food,
  • For all their luxury was doing good.
  • Garth.

    A good man is kinder to his enemy than bad men are to their friends.

    Bishop Hall.

    He who loves goodness harbors angels, reveres reverence, and lives with God.


    Never be afraid of what is good; the good is always the road to what is true.


    There is in the soul a taste for the good, just as there is in the body an appetite for enjoyment.


    He that loveth God will do diligence to please God by his works, and abandon himself, with all his might, well for to do.


    The fragrance of the flower is never borne against the breeze; but the fragrance of human virtues diffuses itself everywhere.


    True goodness is like the glow-worm in this, that it shines most when no eyes except those of heaven are upon it.

    J. C. Hare.

    Nothing that man ever invents will absolve him from the universal necessity of being good as God is good, righteous as God is righteous, and holy as God is holy.

    Charles Kingsley.

    As the greatest liar tells more truths than falsehoods, so may it be said of the worst man, that he does more good than evil.

    Dr. Johnson.

    As I know more of mankind, I expect less of them, and am ready now to call a man a good man upon easier terms than I was formerly.

    Dr. Johnson.

    A good man doubles the length of his existence; to have lived so as to look back with pleasure on our past existence is to live twice.


    What a sublime doctrine it is, that goodness cherished now is eternal life already entered on!


    He that is a good man is three-quarters of his way towards the being a good Christian, wheresoever he lives, or whatsoever he is called.


    Experience has convinced me that there is a thousand times more goodness, wisdom, and love in the world than men imagine.


    There is no odor so bad as that which arises from goodness tainted. It is human, it is divine carrion.


    Little men build up great ones, but the snow colossus soon melts; the good stand under the eye of God, and therefore stand.


    The soil out of which such men as he are made is good to be born on, good to live on, good to die for and to be buried in.


  • Who soweth good seed shall surely reap;
  • The year grows rich as it groweth old,
  • And life’s latest sands are its sands of gold.
  • Julia C. R. Dorr.

    A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.


    The good, alas! are few: there are scarcely as many as the gates of Thebes or the mouths of the Nile.


    It is all a mistake that we cannot be good and manly without being scrupulously and studiously good. There is too much mechanism about our virtue.

    Charles H. Parkhurst.

    A good man will avoid the spot of any sin. The very aspersion is grievous, which makes him choose his way in his life, as he would in his journey.

    Ben Jonson.

  • Abash’d the devil stood,
  • And felt how awful goodness is, and saw
  • Virtue in her shape how lovely.
  • Milton.

    Who is a good man? He who keeps the decrees of the fathers, and both human and divine laws.


    This is a proof of a well-trained mind, to rejoice in what is good and to grieve at the opposite.


    And so it happens oft in many instances; more good is done without our knowledge than by us intended.


    There is no man so good who, were he to submit all his thoughts and actions to the law, would not deserve hanging ten times in his life.


    It is of unspeakable advantage to possess our minds with an habitual good intention, and to aim all our thoughts, words, and actions at some laudable end.


    He that does good to another man does also good to himself, not only in the consequence, but in the very act of doing it; for the consciousness of well-doing is an ample reward.


  • Be good, my child, and let who will be clever;
  • Do noble deeds, not dream them all day long;
  • And so make life, death, and that vast forever
  • One grand, sweet song.
  • Charles Kingsley.

    Whatever any one does or says, I must be good; just as if the emerald were always saying this: “Whatever any one does or says, I must still be emerald, and keep my color.”

    Marcus Aurelius.

    Goodness and love mould the form into their own image, and cause the joy and beauty of love to shine forth from every part of the face.


  • A glass is good, and a lass is good,
  • And a pipe to smoke in cold weather;
  • The world is good, and the people are good,
  • And we’re all good fellows together.
  • John O’Keefe.

    The scent of flowers does not travel against the wind; but the odor of good people travels even against the wind: a good man pervades every place.

    Max Müller.

    A bad man is like an earthen vessel,—easy to break, and hard to mend. A good man is like a golden vessel,—hard to break, and easy to mend.


    While tenderness of feeling and susceptibility to generous emotions are accidents of temperament, goodness is an achievement of the will and a quality of the life.


  • Howe’er it be, it seems to me,
  • ’Tis only noble to be good,
  • Kind hearts are more than coronets,
  • And simple faith than Norman blood.
  • Tennyson.

    Nothing good bursts forth all at once. The lightning may dart out of a black cloud; but the day sends his bright heralds before him, to prepare the world for his coming.


    A more glorious victory cannot be gained over another man than this, that when the injury began on his part, the kindness should begin on ours.


    That which is good to be done, cannot be done too soon; and if it is neglected to be done early, it will frequently happen that it will not be done at all.

    Bishop Mant.

    In the heraldry of heaven goodness precedes greatness; so on earth it is more powerful. The lowly and the lovely may frequently do more in their own limited sphere than the gifted.

    Bishop Horne.

    There are people whose good qualities shine brightest in the darkness, like the ray of a diamond; but there are others whose virtues are only brought out by the light, like the colors of a silk.

    Justin McCarthy.

    O, if the good deeds of human creatures could be traced to their source, how beautiful would even death appear; for how much charity, mercy, and purified affection would be seen to have growth in dusty graves!


    Our whole life is startlingly moral. There is never an instant’s truce between virtue and vice. Goodness is the only investment that never fails.


    The hand that hath made you fair hath made you good. The goodness that is cheap in beauty makes beauty brief in goodness; but grace, being the soul of your complexion, should keep the body of it ever fair.


  • God whose gifts in gracious flood
  • Unto all who seek are sent,
  • Only asks you to be good
  • And is content.
  • Victor Hugo.

    Who is only good that others may know it, and that he may be the better esteemed when ’tis known, who will do well but upon condition that his virtue may be known to men, is one from whom much service is not to be expected.


    Goodness is generous and diffusive; it is largeness of mind, and sweetness of temper,—balsam in the blood, and justice sublimated to a richer spirit.

    Jeremy Collier.

    A good disposition I far prefer to gold; for gold is the gift of fortune; goodness of disposition is the gift of nature. I prefer much rather to be called good than fortunate.


    Let no man think lightly of good, saying in his heart, It will not benefit me. Even by the falling of waterdrops a water-pot is filled; the wise man becomes full of good, even if he gather it little by little.


    “Good and stupid,” is a common saying. I have found that only the judicious are really good. Only clever men know what is good for others; and at the first appearance of disadvantage to himself, the stupid man deserts.


    To love the public, to study universal good, and to promote the interest of the whole world, as far as lies within our power, is the height of goodness, and makes that temper which we call divine.


    God’s livery is a very plain one; but its wearers have good reason to be content. If it have not so much gold-lace about it as Satan’s, it keeps out foul weather better, and is besides a great deal cheaper.


  • None
  • But such as are good men can give good things,
  • And that which is not good, is not delicious
  • To a well-governed and wise appetite.
  • Milton.

    We may have an excellent ear for music, without being able to perform in any kind; we may judge well of poetry, without being poets, or possessing the least of a poetic vein; but we can have no tolerable notion of goodness without being tolerably good.


    What is good-looking, as Horace Smith remarks, but looking good? Be good, be womanly, be gentle, generous in your sympathies, heedful of the well-being of all around you; and, my word for it, you will not lack kind words of admiration.


    Some good we all can do; and if we do all that is in our power, however little that power may be, we have performed our part, and may be as near perfection as those whose influence extends over kingdoms, and whose good actions are felt and applauded by thousands.


    Goodness I call the habit, and goodness of nature the inclination. This of all the virtues and dignities of the mind, is the greatest, being the character of the Deity; and without it man is a busy, mischievous, wretched thing.


    No good thing is ever lost. Nothing dies, not even life which gives up one form only to resume another. No good action, no good example dies. It lives forever in our race. While the frame moulders and disappears, the deed leaves an indelible stamp, and molds the very thought and will of future generations.

    Samuel Smiles.

    Whatever mitigates the woes or increases the happiness of others is a just criterion of goodness; and whatever injures society at large, or any individual in it, is a criterion of iniquity. One should not quarrel with a dog without a reason sufficient to vindicate one through all the courts of morality.


    Goodness answers to the theological virtue charity, and admits no excess but error. The desire of power in excess caused the angels to fall; the desire of knowledge in excess caused man to fall. But in charity there is no excess; neither can angel or man come in danger by it.


    How many people would like to be good, if only they might be good without taking trouble about it! They do not like goodness well enough to hunger and thirst after it, or to sell all that they have that they may buy it; they will not batter at the gate of the kingdom of heaven; but they look with pleasure on this or that aerial castle of righteousness, and think it would be rather nice to live in it.

    George MacDonald.

    Goodness does not more certainly make men happy, than happiness makes them good. We must distinguish between felicity and prosperity; for prosperity leads often to ambition, and ambition to disappointment; the course is then over, the wheel turns round but once; while the reaction of goodness and happiness is perpetual.


    It is pleasant to be virtuous and good, because that is to excel many others; it is pleasant to grow better, because that is to excel ourselves; it is pleasant to mortify and subdue our lusts, because that is victory; it is pleasant to command our appetites and passions, and to keep them in due order within the bounds of reason and religion, because this is empire.


    We cannot rekindle the morning beams of childhood; we cannot recall the noontide glory of youth; we cannot bring back the perfect day of maturity; we cannot fix the evening rays of age in the shadowy horizon; but we can cherish that goodness which is the sweetness of childhood, the joy of youth, the strength of maturity, the honor of old age, and the bliss of saints.

    Henry Giles.

    One of the almost numberless advantages of goodness is, that it blinds its possessor to many of those faults in others which could not fail to be detected by the morally defective. A consciousness of unworthiness renders people extremely quick-sighted in discerning the vices of their neighbors; as persons can easily discover in others the symptoms of those diseases beneath which they themselves have suffered.


    Why is it that the bad side of life seems so much more conspicuous than the good? Is it because predominance of evil makes it more common, or that we being evil see it more readily, or that the abnormal, by its nature, stands out excrescent and disfiguring? Whatever the answer, it should be the ambition of every lover of goodness to make much of goodness, to sound its praises, to flavor his words with its appreciation. Part of hating evil is ignoring it, neglecting it. Thinking of things of good report and speaking of them strengthens good. Shutting our mouths as well as our ears against the bruit of evil, in the scorn of silence, weakens its hold upon us. What the redeemed of the Lord say should strengthen the side of the Lord of the redeemed.

    Maltbie Babcock.

    Live for something. Do good, and leave behind you a monument of virtue that the storm of time can never destroy. Write your name, in kindness, love, and mercy, on the hearts of thousands you come in contact with year by year; you will never be forgotten. No, your name, your deeds, will be as legible on the hearts you leave behind as the stars on the brow of evening. Good deeds will shine as the stars of heaven.


    Natural good is so intimately connected with moral good, and natural evil with moral evil, that I am as certain as if I heard a voice from heaven proclaim it, that God is on the side of virtue. He has learnt much, and has not lived in vain, who has practically discovered that most strict and necessary connection, that does and will ever exist between vice and misery, and virtue and happiness.


  • There shall never be one lost good! What was shall live as before;
  • The evil is null, is nought, is silence implying sound;
  • What was good shall be good, with, for evil, so much good more;
  • On the earth the broken arcs; in the heaven a perfect round.
  • Robert Browning.

  • For ever and ever, my darling, yes—
  • Goodness and love are undying;
  • Only the troubles and cares of earth
  • Are winged from the first for flying.
  • Our way we plough
  • In the furrow “now;”
  • But after the tilling and growing the sheaf;
  • Soil for the root, but the sun for the leaf—
  • And God keepeth watch forever.
  • Mary Mapes Dodge.

    Goodness conditions usefulness. A grimy hand may do a gracious deed, but a bad heart cannot. What a man says and what a man is must stand together,—must con-sist. His life can ruin his lips or fill them with power. It is what men see that gives value to what we say. Paul had the right order, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine.” Being comes before saying or doing. Well may we pray, “Search me, O God! Reveal me to myself. Cleanse me from secret faults, that those who are acquainted with me, who know my down-sittings and my uprisings, may not see in me the evil way that gives the lie to my words.”

    Maltbie Babcock.

    Men live a moral life, either from regard to the Divine Being, or from regard to the opinion of the people in the world; and when a moral life is practised out of regard to the Divine Being, it is a spiritual life. Both appear alike in their outward form; but in their inward, they are completely different. The one saves a man, but the other does not; for he that leads a moral life out of regard to the Divine Being is led by him, but he who does so from regard to the opinion of people in the world is led by himself.