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


Any one can be rich in promises.


Promise is most given when the least is said.

George Chapman.

He who promiseth runs in debt.


  • His promises were, as he then was, mighty;
  • But his performance, as he is now, nothing.
  • Shakespeare.

    A mind that is conscious of its integrity scorns to say more than it means to perform.


    We promise according to our hopes, and perform according to our fears.

    La Rochefoucauld.

    Magnificent promises are always to be suspected.

    Theodore Parker.

    An acre of performance is worth the whole world of promise.


    I had rather do and not promise, than promise and not do.

    Arthur Warwick.

    He who is the most slow in making a promise is the most faithful in the performance of it.


    I will forethink what I will promise, that I may promise but what I will do.


    It is easy to promise, and alas! how to forget!

    Alfred de Musset.

    I do know when the blood burns, how prodigal the soul lends the tongue vows.


    Promises retain men better than services; for hope is to them a chain, and gratitude a thread.

    J. Petit-Senn.

    Every brave man is a man of his word; to such base vices he cannot stoop, and shuns more than death the shame of lying.


  • And be these juggling fiends no more believ’d,
  • That palter with us in a double sense:
  • That keep the word of promise to our ear,
  • And break it to our hope.
  • Shakespeare.

    Thou oughtest to be nice, even to superstition, in keeping thy promises; and therefore thou shouldst be equally cautious in making them.


    Promises,—the ready money that was first coined and made current by the law of nature, to support that society and commerce that was necessary for the comfort and security of mankind.


    Liberal of cruelty are those who pamper with promises; promisers destroy while they deceive, and the hope they raise is dearly purchased by the dependence that is sequent to disappointment.


    Every promise is built upon four pillars:—God’s justice or holiness, which will not suffer Him to deceive; His grace or goodness, which will not suffer Him to forget; His truth, which will not suffer Him to change; and His power, which makes Him able to accomplish.


    Promising is the very air of the time; it opens the eyes of expectation; performance is ever the duller for his act; and, but in the plainer and simpler kind of people, the deed of saying is quite out of use. To promise is most courtly and fashionable; performance is a kind of will, or testament, which argues a great sickness in his judgment that makes it.


    The man who is wantonly profuse of his promises ought to sink his credit as much as a tradesman would by uttering a great number of promissory notes payable at a distant day. The truest conclusion in both cases is, that neither intend or will be able to pay. And as the latter most probably intends to cheat you of your money, so the former at least designs to cheat you of your thanks.


    A promise is a child of the understanding and the will; the understanding begets it, the will brings it forth. He that performs delivers the mother; he that breaks it murders the child. If he be begotten in the absence of the understanding it is a bastard, but the child must be kept. If thou mistrust thy understanding, promise not; if thou hast promised, break it not: it is better to maintain a bastard than to murder a child.