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


Nothing makes men sharper than want.


Our necessities never equal our wants.


The keener the want, the lustier the growth.

Wendell Phillips.

How few our real wants, and how vast our imaginary ones!


If any one say that he has seen a just man in want of bread, I answer that it was in some place where there was no other just man.

St. Clement.

Hundreds would never have known want if they had not first known waste.


He can feel no little wants who is in pursuit of grandeur.


It is not from nature, but from education and habits that our wants are chiefly derived.


God forbid that such a scoundrel as want should dare approach me!


Every want that stimulates the breast becomes a source of pleasure when redressed.


Constantly choose rather to want less, than to have more.

Thomas à Kempis.

Human life is in constant want, and ought to be a constant prayer.

S. Osgood.

The relief that is afforded to mere want, as want, tends to increase that want.


The miser is as much in want of what he has, as of what he has not.


The stoical scheme of supplying our wants by lopping off our desires is like cutting off our feet when we want shoes.


Every one is the poorer in proportion as he has more wants, and counts not what he has, but wishes only what he has not.


The fewer our wants the nearer we resemble the gods.


We should wish for few things with eagerness, if we perfectly knew the nature of that which was the object of our desire.

La Rochefoucauld.

Great wants proceed from great wealth; but they are undutiful children, for they sink wealth down to poverty.

Henry Home.

Wants awaken intellect. To gratify them disciplines intellect. The keener the want the lustier the growth.

Wendell Phillips.

Where necessity ends, curiosity begins; and no sooner are we supplied with everything that nature can command than we sit down to contrive artificial appetites.

Dr. Johnson.

Nature has provided for the exigency of privation, by putting the measure of our necessities far below the measure of our wants. Our necessities are to our wants as Falstaff’s pennyworth of bread to his any quantity of sack.


We are ruined, not by what we really want, but by what we think we do; therefore never go abroad in search of your wants; if they be real wants, they will come home in search of you; for he that buys what he does not want will soon want what he cannot buy.


  • The grave Sir Gilbert holds it for a rule,
  • That ev’ry man in want is knave or fool.
  • “God cannot love (says Blunt, with tearless eyes)
  • The wretch he starves”—and piously denies;
  • But the good bishop, with a meeker air,
  • Admits and leaves them Providence’s care.
  • Pope.