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


All comes from, and will go to others.

George Herbert.

  • For what one has in black and white,
  • One can carry home in comfort.
  • Goethe.

    Property has its duties as well as its rights.

    Thomas Drummond.

    The sun never sets on the immense empire of Charles V.


  • I die,—but first I have possess’d,
  • And come what may, I have been bless’d.
  • Byron.

    As soon as women become ours we are no longer theirs.


    Remember, not one penny can we take with us into the unknown land.


  • Lord of himselfe, though not of lands,
  • And having nothing, yet hath all.
  • Sir Henry Wotton.

    When we have not what we love, we must love what we have.


    All our possessions are as nothing compared to health, strength, and a clear conscience.

    Hosea Ballou.

    Aspiration sees only one side of every question; possession, many.


  • Women are angels, wooing:
  • Things won are done, joy’s soul lies in the doing.
  • Shakespeare.

  • People may have too much of a good thing:
  • Full as an egg of wisdom thus I sing.
  • John Wolcott.

  • The sweets we wish for, turn to loathed sours,
  • Even in the moment that we call them ours.
  • Shakespeare.

    The proud daughter of that monarch to whom when it grows dark (elsewhere) the sun never sets.


  • Possession means to sit astride of the world,
  • Instead of having it astride of you.
  • Charles Kingsley.

  • Thus have I had thee, as a dream doth flatter,
  • In sleep a king, but waking, no such matter.
  • Shakespeare.

    Of a rich man who was mean and niggardly, he said, “That man does not possess his estate, but his estate possesses him.”

    Diogenes Laërtius.

  • Cleon hath ten thousand acres,—
  • Ne’er a one have I;
  • Cleon dwelleth in a palace,—
  • In a cottage I.
  • Charles Mackay.

  • I ne’er could any lustre see
  • In eyes that would not look on me;
  • I ne’er saw nectar on a lip
  • But where my own did hope to sip.
  • R. B. Sheridan.

    Our material possessions, like our joys, are enhanced in value by being shared. Hoarded and unimproved property can only afford satisfaction to a miser.

    G. D. Prentice.

    We only begin to realize the value of our possessions when we commence to do good to others with them. No earthly investment pays so large an interest as charity.

    Joseph Cook.

    All the good things of this world are no further good than as they are of use; and whatever we may heap up to give to others, we enjoy only as much of as we can use.

    De Foe.

    In life, as in chess, one’s own pawns block one’s way. A man’s very wealth, ease, leisure, children, books, which should help him to win, more often checkmate him.

    Charles Buxton.

  • That what we have we prize not to the worth
  • Whiles we enjoy it, but being lack’d and lost,
  • Why, then we rack the value, then we find
  • The virtue that possession would not show us
  • While it was ours.
  • Shakespeare.

    Common people, whether lords or shop-keepers, are slow to understand that possession, whether in the shape of birth or lands or money or intellect, is a small affair in the difference between men.

    George MacDonald.

    Attainment is followed by neglect, and possession by disgust. The malicious remark of the Greek epigrammatist on marriage may apply to every other course of life—that its two days of happiness are the first and the last.

    Dr. Johnson.

    It is said, that the thing you possess is worth more than two you may have in the future. The one is sure and the other is not. (A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.)

    La Fontaine.

    Possession, why more tasteless than pursuit? Why is a wish far dearer than a crown? that wish accomplished, why the grave of bliss? Because in the great future, buried deep, beyond our plans of empire and renown, lies all that man with ardor should pursue; and He who made him bent him to the right.


    The right of individual property is no doubt the very corner-stone of civilization, as hitherto understood; but I am a little impatient of being told that property is entitled to exceptional consideration because it bears all the burdens of the state. It bears those, indeed, which can be most easily borne, but poverty pays with its person the chief expenses of war, pestilence, and famine.


  • When I behold what pleasure is pursuit,
  • What life, what glorious eagerness it is,
  • Then mark how full possession falls from this,
  • How fairer seems the blossom than the fruit,—
  • I am perplext, and often stricken mute,
  • Wondering which attained the higher bliss,
  • The winged insect, or the chrysalis
  • It thrust aside with unreluctant foot.
  • T. B. Aldrich.

    The only test of possession is use. The talent that is buried is not owned. The napkin and the hole in the ground are far more truly the man’s property, because they are accomplishing something for him, slothful and shameful though it be. And what is a lost soul? Is it not one that God cannot use, or one that cannot use God? Trustless, prayerless, fruitless, loveless—is it not so far lost? So may a man have a soul that is lost and be dead while he lives.

    Maltbie Babcock.