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


Revenge is a kind of wild justice.


Revenge is profitable.


Sweet is revenge—especially to women.


The malevolent have hidden teeth.

Publius Syrus.

To revenge is no valor, but to bear.


Which, if not victory, is yet revenge.


Revenge is lost in agony, and remorse to rage succeeds.


The whirligig of time brings in his revenges.


Revenge is an inhuman word.


Revenge, at first though sweet, bitter ere long, back on itself recoils.


Revenge, the attribute of gods! they stamped it with their great image on our natures.


A readiness to resent injuries is a virtue only in those who are slow to injure.


Had all his hairs been lives, my great revenge had stomach for them all.


Revenge, we find, the abject pleasure of an abject mind.


Revenge is the naked idol of the worship of a semi-barbarous age.


He that studieth revenge keepeth his own wounds green.


The best sort of revenue is not to be like him who did the injury.

Marcus Antoninus.

To work a fell revenge a man’s a fool, if not instructed in a woman’s school.


In taking revenge a man is but equal to his enemy, but in passing it over he is his superior.


Why revenge an enemy when you can outwit him?


  • It is a quarrel most unnatural,
  • To be reveng’d on him that loveth thee.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Honour hath her degrees: there is excess
  • In all revenge, that may be done with less.
  • Lord Brooke.

    No man ever did me so much good, or enemy so much harm, but I repaid him with interest.


    Revenge is sweeter than life itself. So think fools.


    He is below himself that’s not above an injury.


  • If I can catch him once upon the hip,
  • I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him.
  • Shakespeare.

  • ’Tis sweet to love; but when with scorn we meet,
  • Revenge supplies the loss with joys as great.
  • Lord Lansdowne.

    There is no passion of the human heart that promises so much and pays so little as revenge.

    H. W. Shaw.

    The indulgence of revenge tends to make men more savage and cruel.

    Lord Kames.

    Revenge, that thirsty dropsy of our souls, makes us covet that which hurts us most.


    Those who plot the destruction of others often fall themselves.


    While you are meditating revenge, the devil is meditating a recruit.


  • O, that the slave had forty thousand lives;
  • One is too poor, too weak for my revenge.
  • Shakespeare.

    Revenge is a debt, in the paying of which the greatest knave is honest and sincere, and, so far as he is able, punctual.


    Revenge is an act of passion; vengeance, of justice: injuries are revenged; crimes are avenged.

    Dr. Johnson.

    If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.


    In one consort there sat cruel revenge and rancorous despite, disloyal treason and heart-burning hate.


    What is revenge but courage to call in our honor’s debts, and wisdom to convert others’ self-love into our own protection?


    There are some professed Christians who would gladly burn their enemies, but yet who forgive them merely because it is heaping coals of fire on their heads.

    F. A. Durivage.

  • Vengeance to God alone belongs;
  • But, when I think of all my wrongs,
  • My blood is liquid flame.
  • Scott.

  • Pleasure and revenge
  • Have ears more deaf than adders to the voice
  • Of any true decision.
  • Shakespeare.

    I will not be revenged, and this I owe to my enemy; but I will remember, and this I owe to myself.


    An act by which we make one friend and one enemy is a losing game; because revenge is a much stronger principle than gratitude.


    Revenge is barren of itself; itself is the dreadful food it feeds on; its delight is murder, and its satiety, despair.


    Nothing is more ruinous for a man than when he is mighty enough in any part to right himself without right.


    Haste me to know it; that I with wings as swift as meditation, or the thoughts of love, may sweep to my revenge.


    Revenge is fever in our own blood, to be cured only by letting the blood of another; but the remedy too often produces a relapse, which is remorse—a malady far more dreadful than the first disease, because it is incurable.


    Revenge, which, like envy, is an instinct of justice, does but take into its own hands the execution of that natural law which precedes the social.


    The vengeful thought that has root merely in the mind is but a dream of idlest sort which one clear day will dissipate; while revenge, the passion, is a disease of the heart which climbs up, up to the brain, and feeds itself on both alike.

    Lew Wallace.

    Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot that it doth singe yourself. We may outrun by violent swiftness that which we run at, and lose by overrunning.


    In revenge a man is but even with his enemy; for it is a princely thing to pardon, and Solomon saith it is the glory of a man to pass over a transgression.


    Neither is it safe to count upon the weakness of any man’s understanding, who is thoroughly possessed of the spirit of revenge to sharpen his invention.


    Revenge commonly hurts both the offerer and sufferer; as we see in a foolish bee, which in her anger invenometh the flesh and loseth her sting, and so lives a drone ever after.

    Bishop Hall.

    Not to be provoked is best; but if moved, never correct till the fume is spent; for every stroke our fury strikes is sure to hit ourselves at last.

    William Penn.

    It is through madness that we hate an enemy, and think of revenging ourselves; and it is through indolence that we are appeased, and do not revenge ourselves.

    La Bruyère.

    A pure and simple revenge does in no way restore man towards the felicity which the injury did interrupt; for revenge is but doing a simple evil, and does not, in its formality, imply reparation.

    Jeremy Taylor.

  • There are things
  • Which make revenge a virtue by reflection,
  • And not an impulse of mere anger; though
  • The laws sleep, justice wakes, and injur’d souls
  • Oft do a public right with private wrong.
  • Byron.

    The best manner of avenging ourselves is by not resembling him who has injured us; and it is hardly possible for one man to be more unlike another than he that forbears to avenge himself of wrong is to him who did the wrong.

    Jane Porter.

    He that thinks he shows boldness or height of mind by a scurrilous reply to a scurrilous provocation measures himself by a false standard, and acts not the spirit of a man, but the spleen of a wasp.


  • ’Tis an old tale, and often told;
  • But did my fate and wish agree,
  • Ne’er had been read, in story old,
  • Of maiden true betray’d for gold,
  • That loved, or was avenged, like me!
  • Scott.

  • If we do but watch the hour,
  • There never yet was human power
  • Which could evade, if unforgiven,
  • The patient search and vigil long
  • Of him who treasures up a wrong.
  • Byron.

  • To hell, allegiance! vows, to the blackest devil!
  • Conscience, and grace, to the profoundest pit!
  • I dare damnation: To this point I stand,—
  • That both the worlds I give to negligence,
  • Let come what comes; only I’ll be reveng’d.
  • Shakespeare.

    We can more easily avenge an injury than requite a kindness; on this account, because there is less difficulty in getting the better of the wicked than in making one’s self equal with the good.


    If you are affronted, it is better to pass it by in silence, or with a jest, though with some dishonor, than to endeavor revenge. If you can keep reason above passion, that and watchfulness will be your best defendants.


  • But if for wrongs we needs revenge must have,
  • Then be our vengeance of the noblest kind:
  • Do we his body from our fury save,
  • And let our hate prevail against his mind?
  • What can ’gainst him a greater vengeance be,
  • Than make his foe more worthy far than he.
  • Lady Elizabeth Carew.

    On him that takes revenge revenge shall be taken, and by a real evil he shall dearly pay for the goods that are but airy and fantastical; it is like a rolling stone, which, when a man hath forced up a hill, will return upon him with a greater violence, and break those bones whose sinews gave it motion.

    Jeremy Taylor.

    If anything can legalize revenge, it should be injury from an extremely obliged person; but revenge is so absolutely the peculiar of heaven that no consideration whatever can empower even the best men to assume the execution of it.


    The most tolerable sort of revenge is for those wrongs which there is no law to remedy. But then let a man take heed that the revenge be such as there is no law to punish; else a man’s enemy is still beforehand, and is two for one.


    Revenge is a common passion; it is the sin of the uninstructed. The savage deems it noble; but Christ’s religion, which is the sublime civilizer, emphatically condemns it. Why? Because religion ever seeks to ennoble man; and nothing so debases him as revenge.


    Few things are more agreeable to self-love than revenge, and yet no cause so effectually restrains us from revenge as self-love. And this paradox naturally suggests another; that the strength of the community is not unfrequently built upon the weakness of those individuals that compose it.


    Some philosophers would give a sex to revenge, and appropriate it almost exclusively to the female mind. But, like most other vices, it is of both genders; yet, because wounded vanity and slighted love are the two most powerful excitements to revenge, it has been thought, perhaps, to rage with more violence in the female heart.


    All the ends of human felicity are secured without revenge, for without it we are permitted to restore ourselves; and therefore it is against natural reason to do an evil that no way co-operates the proper and perfective end of human nature. And he is a miserable person, whose good is the evil of his neighbor; and he that revenges in many cases does worse than he that did the injury; in all cases as bad.

    Jeremy Taylor.