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


Necessity, thou mother of the world!


Necessity is stronger than duty.


Nature means Necessity.


Necessity does everything well.


Necessity is stronger than human nature.


Necessity, the mother of invention.


There is no virtue like necessity.


Not even the gods contend with necessity.


Necessity has no law.


Necessity never made a good bargain.


Necessity is the last and strongest weapon.


The argument of the weak.


Accident is veiled necessity.

Marie Ebner-Eschenbach.

Necessity makes dastards valiant men.


He must needs go that the devil drives.


Fate and necessity are unconquerable.


Necessity is often the spur to genius.


To maken virtue of necessity.


Necessity does not submit to debate.


Necessity urges desperate measures.


Necessity can sharpen the wits even of children.

Timothy Dwight.

Even God is said to be unable to use force against necessity.


Our necessities are few, but out wants are endless.

H. W. Shaw.

What fate imposes, men must needs abide; it boots not to resist both wind and tide.


The necessities that exist are in general created by the superfluities that are enjoyed.


  • Soul of the world, divine Necessity,
  • Servant of God, and master of all things.
  • Bailey.

    Necessity is the argument of tyrants, it is the creed of slaves.

    William Pitt.

    Necessity may render a doubtful act innocent, but it cannot make it praiseworthy.


  • Necessity—thou best of peacemakers,
  • As well as surest promoter of invention.
  • Scott.

    Learn on how little man may live, and how small a portion nature requires.


    Necessity, like electricity, is in ourselves and all things, and no more without us than within us.


    Fear is the underminer of all determinations; and necessity, the victorious rebel of all laws.

    Sir P. Sidney.

    Necessity is cruel, but it is the only test of inward strength. Every fool may live according to his own likings.


    Necessity of action takes away the fear of the act, and makes bold resolution the favorite of fortune.


    What was once to me mere matter of the fancy now has grown the vast necessity of heart and life.


    Necessity is the only real sovereign in the world, the only despot for whom there is no law.


    Necessity, that great refuge and excuse for human frailty, breaks through all law; and he is not to be accounted in fault whose crime is not the effect of choice, but force.


    Necessity, oftener than facility, has been the mother of invention; and the most prolific school of all has been the school of difficulty.

    Samuel Smiles.

    The mother of useful arts is necessity; that of the fine arts is luxury. For father, the former has intellect; the latter, genius, which itself is a kind of luxury.


    We ought to be thankful to nature for having made those things which are necessary easy to be discovered; while other things that are difficult to be known are not necessary.


    When God will educate a man, He compels him to learn bitter lessons. He sends him to school to the Necessities rather than to the Graces, that by knowing all suffering he may know also the eternal consolations.

    Celia Burleigh.

    No picture of life can have any veracity that does not admit the odious facts. A man’s power is hooped in by a necessity, which, by many experiments, he touches on every side, until he learns its arc.


    There is no contending with necessity, and we should be very tender how we censure those that submit to it. It is one thing to be at liberty to do what we will, and another thing to be tied up to do what we must.


    The iron hand of necessity commands, and her stern decree is supreme law, to which the gods even must submit. In deep silence rules the uncounselled sister of eternal fate. Whatever she lays upon thee, endure; perform whatever she commands.


    Manhood begins when we have, in a way, made truce with necessity; begins, at all events, when we have surrendered to necessity, as the most part only do; but begins joyfully and hopefully only when we have reconciled ourselves to necessity, and thus, in reality, triumphed over it, and felt that in necessity we are free.


    We are ruined, not by what we really want, but by what we think we do. Therefore never go abroad in search of your wants; if they be real wants, they will come home in search of you. For he that buys what he does not want, will soon want what he cannot buy.


    The word “necessary” is miserably applied. It disordereth families, and overturneth government, by being so abused. Remember that children and fools want everything because they want judgment to distinguish; and therefore there is no stronger evidence of a crazy understanding than the making too large a catalogue of things necessary.

    Lord Halifax.

    Necessity is always the first stimulus to industry, and those who conduct it with prudence, perseverance and energy will rarely fail. Viewed in this light, the necessity of labor is not a chastisement, but a blessing,—the very root and spring of all that we call progress in individuals and civilisation in nations.

    Samuel Smiles.