In fact generally, doing well by others is more characteristic of virtue than being done well by, and doing things positively honourable than forbearing to do things dishonourable.
[τῆς γὰρ ἀρετῆς μᾶλλον τὸ εὖ ποιεῖν ἢ τὸ εὖ πάσχειν, καὶ τὰ καλὰ πράττειν μᾶλλον ἢ τὰ αἰσχρὰ μὴ πράττειν]
Nicomachean Ethics [Ἠθικὰ Νικομάχεια], Book 4, ch. 1 (4.1.7) / 1120a.11 (c. 325 BC) [tr. Chase (1847)]
(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:
For virtue rather shows itself in treating others as we ought, than in being treated as we ought; and in doing noble acts, rather than in abstaining from disgraceful acts.
[tr. Williams (1869)]
For it is more truly distinctive of virtue to be the author than to be the recipient of benefactions, and to do what is noble than to abstain from doing what is shameful.
[tr. Welldon (1892)]
For it is more distinctive of virtue to do good to others than to have good done to you, and to do what is noble than not to do what is base.
[tr. Peters (1893)]
For it is more characteristic of virtue to do good than to have good done to one, and more characteristic to do what is noble than not to do what is base.
[tr. Ross (1908)]
Virtue is displayed in doing good rather than in having good done to one, and in performing noble acts rather than in avoiding base ones.
[tr. Rackham (1934)]
The good man thinks it more blessed to give than to receive, and virtue is more clearly shown in the performance of fine actions than in the non-performance of base ones.
[tr. Thomson (1953)]
Virtue consists more in doing good than in receiving it, and more in doing fine actions than in refraining from disgraceful ones.
[tr. Thomson/Tredennick (1976)]
For it is more proper to virtue to do good than to receive good, and more proper to do fine actions than not to do shameful ones.
[tr. Irwin (1999)]
For it is more characteristic of virtue to do good than to receive it, and to do noble actions than not to do shameful ones.
[tr. Crisp (2000)]
Cf. the Bible, Acts 20:35 [KJV]:
I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
Added on 13-Aug-10 | Last updated 3-May-22
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