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


Though punishment be slow, still it comes.

George Herbert.

Punishment follows close on crime.


Gold must be beaten, and a child scourged.

Ben Sira.

The power of punishment is to silence, not to confute.


And still adore the hand that gives the blow.

John Pomfret.

Unrespited, unpitied, unrepriev’d.


That is the bitterest of all—to wear the yoke of our own wrong-doing.

George Eliot.

The schoolmaster deserves to be beaten himself who beats nature in a boy for a fault.

Thomas Fuller.

The public have more interest in the punishment of an injury than he who receives it.


The only effect of public punishment is to show the rabble how bravely it can be borne.


The work of eradicating crimes is not by making punishment familiar, but formidable.


We do not correct the man we hang; we correct others by him.


Corporeal punishment falls far more heavily than most weighty pecuniary penalty.


Every great example of punishment has in it some injustice; but the suffering individual is compensated by the public good.


The object of punishment is prevention from evil; it never can be made impulsive to good.

Horace Mann.

When men of talents are punished, authority is strengthened.


  • There is nothynge that more dyspleaseth God
  • Than from theyr children to spare the rod.
  • Skelton.

  • Heaven is not always angry when He strikes,
  • But most chastises those whom most He likes.
  • John Pomfret.

    An avenging God closely follows the haughty.


    The time that precedes punishment is the severest part of it.


    The sins committed by many pass unpunished.


    A variety in punishment is of utility, as well as a proportion.


    Punishment, that is the justice for the unjust.

    St. Augustine.

    There is no greater punishment than that of being abandoned to one’s self.

    Pasquier Quesnel.

    God is on the side of virtue; for whoever dreads punishment suffers it, and whoever deserves it, dreads it.


    If punishment reaches not the mind and makes not the will supple, it hardens the offender.


    The best of us being unfit to die, what an inexpressible absurdity to put the worst to death!


    Punishment is a fruit that, unsuspected, ripens within the flower of the pleasure that concealed it.


    There is no future pang can deal that justice on the self-condemned he deals on his own soul.


    One man meets an infamous punishment for that crime which confers a diadem upon another.


    To leave no interval between the sentence and the fulfillment of it doth beseem God only, the Immutable!


    A just chastisement may benefit a man, though it seldom does; but an unjust one changes all his blood to gall.


    The severity of laws prevents their execution. When the penalty is excessive, one is forced to prefer impunity.


    There is no greater punishment of wickedness than that it is dissatisfied with itself and its deeds.


    The punishment of criminals should be of use; when a man is hanged he is good for nothing.


    If Jupiter hurled his thunderbolt as often as men sinned, he would soon be out of thunderbolts.


    It is hard, but it is excellent, to find the right knowledge of when correction is necessary and when grace doth most avail.

    Sir P. Sidney.

  • Just prophet, let the damn’d one dwell
  • Full in the sight of Paradise,
  • Beholding heaven and feeling hell.
  • Moore.

    Every instance of a man’s suffering the penalty of the law is an instance of the failure of that penalty in effecting its purpose, which is to deter.


    Never yet were the feelings and instincts of our nature violated with impunity; never yet was the voice of conscience silenced without retribution.

    Mrs. Jameson.

    That kind of discipline whose pungent severity is in the manifestations of paternal love, compassion, and tenderness is the most sure of its object.

    Hosea Ballou.

    It is as expedient that a wicked man be punished as that a sick man be cured by a physician; for all chastisement is a kind of medicine.


    Care should be taken that the punishment does not exceed the guilt; and also that some men do not suffer for offenses for which others are not even indicted.


    Faults of the head are punished in this world, those of the heart in another; but as most of our vices are compound, so also is their punishment.


    Crime and punishment grow out of one stem. Punishment is a fruit that, unsuspected, ripens within the flower of the pleasure that concealed it.


    If the people be led by laws, and uniformity sought to be given them by punishments, they will try to avoid the punishment, but have no sense of shame.


    The only effect of public punishment is to show the rabble how bravely it can be borne; and that every one who hath lost a toe-nail hath suffered worse.


    Even legal punishments lose all appearance of justice, when too strictly inflicted on men compelled by the last extremity of distress to incur them.


    Don’t let us rejoice in punishment, even when the hand of God alone inflicts it. The best of us are but poor wretches, just saved from shipwreck. Can we feel anything but awe and pity when we see a fellow-passenger swallowed by the waves?

    George Eliot.

    The goodness of God to mankind is no less evinced in the chastisement with which He corrects His children than in the smiles of His providence; for the Lord will not cast off forever, but though He cause grief, yet will He have compassion according to the multitude of His mercies.

    Hosea Ballou.

    To make punishments efficacious, two things are necessary. They must never be disproportioned to the offence, and they must be certain.


    There are dreadful punishments enacted against thieves; but it were much better to make such good provisions, by which every man might be put in a method how to live, and so to be preserved from the fatal necessity of stealing and dying for it.


    A sincere acquaintance with ourselves teaches us humility; and from humility springs that benevolence which compassionates the transgressors we condemn, and prevents the punishments we inflict from themselves partaking of crime, in being rather the wreakings of revenge than the chastisements of virtue.

    Jane Porter.

    Our measure of rewards and punishments is most partial and incomplete, absurdly inadequate, utterly worldly; and we wish to continue it into the next world. Into that next and awful world we strive to pursue men, and send after them our impotent paltry verdicts of condemnation or acquittal. We set up our paltry little rod to measure heaven immeasurable.


  • The twig is so easily bended,
  • I have banished the rule and the rod:
  • I have taught them the goodness of knowledge,
  • They have taught me the goodness of God;
  • My heart is the dungeon of darkness,
  • Where I shut them for breaking a rule;
  • My frown is sufficient correction;
  • My love is the law of the school.
  • Charles M. Dickinson.

    Whatever is worthy to be loved for anything is worthy of preservation. A wise and dispassionate legislator, if any such should ever arise among men, will not condemn to death him who has done or is likely to do more service than injury to society. Blocks and gibbets are the nearest objects with legislators, and their business is never with hopes or with virtues.