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


No woman or man need ever suffer from ennui or despair; the panacea is occupation.

Mme. de Surin.

The busy have no time for tears.


Occupied people are not unhappy people.


Occupation is the scythe of time.


All that is great in man comes through work; and civilization is its product.

Samuel Smiles.

Occupation is the armor of the soul.


One of the principal occupations of man is to divine woman.


The want of occupation is no less the plague of society than of solitude.


Every base occupation makes one sharp in its practice, and dull in every other.

Sir P. Sidney.

Nature fits all her children with something to do.


The price of excellence is labor, and time that of immortality.


No thoroughly occupied man was ever yet very miserable.


Blessed is that man who knows his own distaff and has found his own spindle.

J. G. Holland.

To business that we love we rise betime, and go to ’t with delight.


O God, impress upon me the value of time, and give regulation to all my thoughts and to all my movements.


Occupation is the necessary basis of all enjoyment.

Leigh Hunt.

Want of occupation is the bane of both men and women, perhaps more especially of the latter.

Horace Mann.

If every man works at that for which nature fitted him, the cows will be well tended.

La Fontaine.

Occupation alone is happiness.

Dr. Johnson.

Be always resolute with the present hour. Every moment is of infinite value; for it is the representative of eternity.


The happiest man is he, who being above the troubles which money brings, has his hands the fullest of work.

Anthony Trollope.

The great happiness of life, I find, after all, to consist in the regular discharge of some mechanical duty.


Blessed is he who has found his work; let him ask no other blessedness. He has a work, a life purpose. Labor is life.


Let parents who hate their offspring rear them to hate labor, and to inherit riches; and before long they will be stung by every vice, racked by its poison, and damned by its penalty.

H. W. Beecher.

I believe one reason why women are generally so much more cheerful than men is because they can work with the needle, and so endlessly vary their employment.

Sydney Smith.

Occupation is the best safeguard for women under all circumstances—mental or physical, or both. Cupid extinguishes his torch in the atmosphere of industry.

Mme. de Sévigné.

One only “right” we have to assert in common with mankind—and that is as much in our hands as theirs—is the right of having something to do.

Miss Mulock.

Woman is largely occupied with man’s work; in the sweat of her face she eats bread. It is like taking a Damascus blade to hew timber withal.

Gail Hamilton.

Let every man be occupied, and occupied in the highest employment of which his nature is capable, and die with the consciousness that he has done his best.

Sydney Smith.

The crowning fortune of a man is to be born to some pursuit which finds him employment and happiness, whether it be to make baskets, or broadswords, or canals, or statues, or songs.


We must strive to make ourselves really worthy of some employment. We need pay no attention to anything else; the rest is the business of others.

La Bruyère.

Employment, which Galen calls “nature’s physician,” is so essential to human happiness that indolence is justly considered as the mother of misery.


Cheerfulness is the daughter of employment; and I have known a man come home in high spirits from a funeral, merely because he has had the management of it.

Dr. Horne.

No amount of preaching, exhortation, sympathy, benevolence, will render the condition of our working women what it should be, so long as the kitchen and needle are substantially their only resources.

Horace Greeley.

It is observed at sea that men are never so much disposed to grumble and mutiny as when least employed. Hence an old captain, when there was nothing else to do, would issue the order to “scour the anchor.”

Samuel Smiles.

We protract the career of time by employment, we lengthen the duration of our lives by wise thoughts and useful actions. Life to him who wishes not to have lived in vain is thought and action.


The ugliest of trades have their moments of pleasure. Now, if I were a grave-digger, or even a hangman, there are some people I could work for with a great deal of enjoyment.

Douglas Jerrold.

You see men of the most delicate frames engaged in active and professional pursuits who really have no time for illness. Let them become idle—let them take care of themselves, let them think of their health—and they die! The rust rots the steel which use preserves.


Who does not observe the immediate glow and security that is diffused over the life of woman, before restless or fretful, by engaging in gardening, building, or the lowest department of art? Here is something that is not routine—something that draws forth life towards the infinite.

Margaret Fuller Ossoli.

One man, perhaps, proves miserable in the study of law, who might have flourished in that of physic or divinity; another runs his head against the pulpit, who might have been serviceable to his country at the plough; and a third proves a very dull and heavy philosopher, who possibly would have made a good mechanic, and have done well enough at the useful philosophy of the spade or anvil.


Let a man choose what condition he will, and let him accumulate around him all the goods and all the gratifications seemingly calculated to make him happy in it—if that man is left at any time without occupation or amusement, and reflects on what he is, the meager, languid felicity of his present lot will not bear him up. He will turn necessarily to gloomy anticipations of the future; and except, therefore, his occupation calls him out of himself, he is inevitably wretched.


It is a great temptation, in these days of fresh activity, for women to leave the more confined field of home duty, and take a place among the workers in apparently more extended spheres of usefulness; but it is, in most instances, a mere exchange of a birthright for a mess of pottage. The glory is very poor, very evanescent; the struggles, the pains, the sorrows, the heart-breaks, in full measure; the loss of sweet home associations and memories, very real and very sure.

Mrs. F. C. Croly.