Quotations about:
    condemnation


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What we do is never understood but always only praised or censured.

[Was wir thun, wird nie verstanden, sondern immer nur gelobt und getadelt.]

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) German philosopher and poet
The Gay Science [Die fröhliche Wissenschaft], Book 3, § 264 (1882) [tr. Kaufmann (1974)]
    (Source)

Also known as La Gaya Scienza, The Joyful Wisdom, or The Joyous Science.

(Source (German)). Alternate translations:

What we do is never understood, but only praised and blamed.
[tr. Common (1911)]

What we do is never understood but always merely praised and reproached.
[tr. Nauckhoff (2001)]

 
Added on 28-Apr-24 | Last updated 28-Apr-24
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I certainly had not the smallest reason to fear that the execution of this murderer of Roman citizens would cause me to be blamed by posterity. And indeed, even if this were a serious danger, I have always been convinced that unpopularity earned by honourable actions is not unpopularity at all, but renown.
 
[Certe verendum mihi non erat, ne quid hoc parricida civium interfecto invidiae mihi in posteritatem redundaret. Quodsi ea mihi maxime inpenderet tamen hoc animo fui semper, ut invidiam virtute partam gloriam, non invidiam putarem.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Orationes in Catilinam [Catilinarian Orations], No. 1, § 12, cl. 29 (1.12.29) (63-11-08 BC) [tr. Grant (1960)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Truly I have no reason to fear, least this Murderer of the Citizens being slain, any envy should rise against me for the future. But if never so much did hang over me, yet I was alwayes of this Judgment, to think Envy gotten by Vertue to be no Envy but Glory.
[tr. Wase (1671)]

I could have no reason to fear; that for the execution of a traitor and a parricide I should stand condemned by the voice of posterity. But let me add, were the severest censure to be the certain consequence, it has ever been my settled opinion, that reproach, when earned by virtue, is not reproach, but the truest glory.
[tr. Sydney (1795)]

Surely I had no cause to fear lest for slaying this parricidal murderer of the citizens any unpopularity should accrue to me with posterity. And if it did threaten me to ever so great a degree, yet I have always been of the disposition to think unpopularity earned by virtue and glory, not unpopularity.
[tr. Yonge (1856)]

Surely it was not to be dreaded by me, lest, if this parricide of the citizens were slain, any odium might redound for me to posterity. But if that impended over myself in particular, yet I have always been of this opinion, that I should consider the odium acquired by merit as glory and not as odium.
[tr. Mongan (1879)]

Certainly it was not to be feared to (by) me, lest any (thing) of unpopularity might redound to me unto posterity, this parricide of citizens being slain. But if it might impend (threaten) to me mostly (very much), yet I have been always with this mind, that I might think envy produced by virtue, glory, not envy.
[tr. Underwood (1885)]

Certainly it was not to be feared by me, lest any ill-will should redound to [affect] me for posterity, this parricide of citizens having been slain. But if this should threaten me very much, yet I have been always with [of] this mind, that I should think ill will produced by virtue, glory, not ill will.
[tr. Dewey (1916)]

Certainly I did not have to fear, lest with this parricide of citizens having been killed, anything of unpopularity might run over in posterity. And yet, if these were to threaten me especially, however, I have always been in this mind, so that I thought that unpopularity obtained by virtue is an honour, not unpopularity at all.
[IB Notes]

I have always been of the opinion that infamy earned by doing what is right is not infamy at all, but glory.
[E.g.]

 
Added on 22-Feb-24 | Last updated 22-Feb-24
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O the times! O the manners!

[O tempora, o mores!]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Orationes in Catilinam [Catilinarian Orations], No. 1, § 1, cl. 2 (1.1.2) (63-11-08 BC) [tr. Mongan (1879)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Oh what times! what a world do we live in!
[tr. Wase (1671)]

But O degenerate times!
[tr. Sydney (1795)]

Shame on the age and on its principles!
[tr. Yonge (1856)]

O the times! O the manners.
[tr. Underwood (1885)]

O times! O manners!
[tr. Dewey (1916)]

What a scandalous commentary on our age and its standards!
[tr. Grant (1960)]

O what times (we live in)! O what customs (we pursue)!
[IB Notes]

What times! What morals!
[Source]

 
Added on 15-Feb-24 | Last updated 15-Feb-24
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AGE, n. That period of life in which we compound for the vices that we still cherish by reviling those that we have no longer the enterprise to commit.

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?) American writer and journalist
“Age,” The Cynic’s Word Book (1906)
    (Source)

Included in The Devil's Dictionary (1911).

Originally published in the "Devil's Dictionary" column in the San Francisco Wasp (1881-02-12).
 
Added on 19-Dec-23 | Last updated 19-Dec-23
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How deep is evil rooted in the breasts
Of all men! tho’ our pardon we extend not
To him, who, grasping at some great reward,
Becomes a sinner: yet since, in proportion
As he grows boldly profligate, he reaps
Greater advantages, he with more ease
The world’s reproachful language may sustain.

[ὡς ἔμφυτος μὲν πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις κάκη”
ὅστις δὲ πλεῖστον μισϑὸν εἰς χεῖρας λαβὼν
κακὸς γένηται, τῷδε συγγνώμη μὲν οὔ,
πλείω δὲ μισϑὸν μείζονος τόλμης ἔχων
τὸν τῶν λεγόντων ῥᾷον ἂν φέροι Ῥόγον.]

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Bellerophon [Βελλεροφῶν], frag. 297 (TGF) (c. 430 BC) [tr. Wodhull (1809)]
    (Source)

Nauck frag. 299. Barnes frag. 44, Musgrave frag. 9. (Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

All men have badness in their natures! The one who takes most pay into his hands, and proves bad, gets no pardon; but if he has more pay for greater audacity, he'll endure censorious talk more easily.
[tr. Collard, Hargreaves, Cropp (1995)]

There is evil in all men. Whoever gets his hands on good money and is seen to be wicked, he is roundly condemned. But if he were yet more daring, gaining even greater reward, he would have less of a problem enduring being criticized by others.
[tr. Stevens (2012)]

 
Added on 31-Oct-23 | Last updated 31-Oct-23
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The usual devastating put-downs imply that a person is basically bad, rather than that he is a person who sometimes does bad things. Obviously, there is a vast difference between a “bad” person and a person who does something bad.

Hilary Hinton "Zig" Ziglar (1926-2012) American author, salesperson, motivational speaker
See You at the Top, Segment 2, ch. 2 “Causes of a Poor Self Image” (1974)
    (Source)
 
Added on 20-Jun-22 | Last updated 20-Jun-22
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Contumely always falls upon those who break through some custom or convention. Such men, in fact, are called criminals. Everyone who overthrows an existing law is, at the start, regarded as a wicket man. Long afterward, when it is found that this law was bad and so cannot be re-established, the epithet is changed. All history treats almost exclusively of wicked men who, in the course of time, have come to be looked upon as good men. All progress is the result of successful crimes.

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) German philosopher and poet
The Dawn [Morgenröte], sec. 20 (1881) [Mencken (1907)]
    (Source)

Alternate translations:

We have to make good a great deal of the contumely which has fallen on all those who, by their actions, have broken through the conventionality of some custom -- such people generally have been called criminals. Everybody who overthrew the existing moral law has hitherto, at least in the beginning, been considered a wicked man; but when afterwards, as sometimes happened, the old law could not be re-established and had to be abandoned, the epithet was gradually changed. History almost exclusively treats of such wicked men who, in the course of time, have been declared good men.
[tr. Volz (1903)]

One has to take back much of the defamation which people have cast upon all those who broke through the spell of a custom by means of a deed -- in general, they are called criminals. Whoever has overthrown an existing law of custom has hitherto always first been accounted a bad man: but when, as did happen the laws could not afterwards be reinstated and this fact was accepted, the predicate gradually changed -- history treats almost exclusively of these bad men who subsequently became good men!
[tr. Hollingdale (1997)]

 
Added on 20-Sep-21 | Last updated 20-Sep-21
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History is thought of largely in nationalist terms, and such things as the Inquisition, the tortures of the Star Chamber, the exploits of the English buccaneers (Sir Francis Drake, for instance, who was given to sinking Spanish prisoners alive), the Reign of Terror, the heroes of the Mutiny blowing hundreds of Indians from the guns, or Cromwell’s soldiers slashing Irishwomen’s faces with razors, become morally neutral or even meritorious when it is felt that they were done in the “right” cause. If one looks back over the past quarter of a century, one finds that there was hardly a single year when atrocity stories were not being reported from some part of the world; and yet in not one single case were these atrocities — in Spain, Russia, China, Hungary, Mexico, Amritsar, Smyrna — believed in and disapproved of by the English intelligentsia as a whole. Whether such deeds were reprehensible, or even whether they happened, was always decided according to political predilection.

George Orwell (1903-1950) English writer [pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair]
“Notes on Nationalism” (May 1945)
    (Source)
 
Added on 9-Mar-21 | Last updated 9-Mar-21
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It is better to correct your own faults than those of another.

[Κρέσσον τὰ οἰκήϊα ἐλέγχειν ἁμαρτήματα ἢ τὰ ὀθνεῖα.]

Democritus (c. 460 BC - c. 370 BC) Greek philosopher
Frag. 60 (Diels) [tr. Bakewell (1907)]
    (Source)

Original Greek. Diels cites this as "Fragment 60, (114 N.) DEMOKRATES. 25"; collected in Joannes Stobaeus (Stobaios) Anthologium III, 13, 46. Bakewell lists this under "The Golden Sayings of Democritus." Freeman notes this as one of the Gnômae, from a collection called "Maxims of Democratês," but because Stobaeus quotes many of these as "Maxims of Democritus," they are generally attributed to the latter.

Alternate translations:

  • "It is better to examine one's own faults than those of others." [tr. Freeman (1948)]
  • "It is better to examine your own mistakes than those of others." [tr. Barnes (1987)]
  • "It is better to rebuke familiar faults than foreign ones." [tr. @sententiq (2018)]
  • "Rather examine your own faults than those of others." [Source]
 
Added on 2-Feb-21 | Last updated 23-Feb-21
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One need not go back two thousand years to the time when those who believed in the gospel of Jesus were thrown into the arena or hunted into dungeons to realize how little great beliefs or earnest believers are understood. The history of progress is written in the blood of men and women who have dared to espouse an unpopular cause, as, for instance, the black man’s right to his body, or woman’s right to her soul. If, then, from time immemorial, the New has met with opposition and condemnation, why should my beliefs be exempt from a crown of thorns?

Emma Goldman (1869-1940) Lithuanian-American anarchist, activist
“What I Believe,” New York World (19 Jul 1908)
    (Source)
 
Added on 3-Dec-20 | Last updated 3-Dec-20
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He who would acquire fame must not show himself afraid of censure. The dread of censure is the death of genius.

William G. Simms (1806-1870) American writer and politician
Egeria, Or Voices of Thought and Counsel, for the Woods and Wayside, “Ambition” (1853)
    (Source)
 
Added on 15-Apr-20 | Last updated 15-Apr-20
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You may rejoice to think yourselves secure,
You may be grateful for the gift divine,
That grace unsought which made your black hearts pure
And fits your earthborn souls in Heaven to shine.
But is it sweet to look around and view
Thousands excluded from that happiness,
Which they deserve at least as much as you,
Their faults not greater nor their virtues less?

Anne Brontë (1820-1849) British novelist, poet [pseud. Acton Bell]
“A Word to Calvinists” (28 May 1843)
    (Source)
 
Added on 19-Jan-17 | Last updated 19-Jan-17
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Moral indignation is in most cases 2 percent moral, 48 percent indignation, and 50 percent envy.

De Sica - 50 percent envy - wist_info quote

Vittorio De Sica (1901-1974) Italian neorealist director and actor
In The Observer (1961)

See also H. G. Wells.
 
Added on 31-Mar-16 | Last updated 31-Mar-16
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Every man hath in his own life sins enough, in his own mind trouble enough, in his own fortune evils enough, and in performance of his offices failings more than enough, to entertain his own inquiry; so that curiosity after the affairs of others cannot be without envy, and an evil mind. What is it to me, if my neighbour’s grandfather were a Syrian, or his grandmother illegitimate; or that another is indebted five thousand pounds, or whether his wife be expensive?

Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667) English cleric and author
The Rules and Exercises of Holy Living (1650)
 
Added on 4-Feb-16 | Last updated 4-Feb-16
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We cannot change anything unless we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses. I am the oppressor of the person I condemn, not his friend and fellow-sufferer. I do not in the least mean to say that we must never pass judgment in the case of persons whom we desire to help and improve. But if the doctor wishes to help a human being he must be able to accept him as he is. And he can do this in reality only when he has already seen and accepted himself as he is.

Carl Jung (1875-1961) Swiss psychologist
Modern Man In Search of a Soul (1933)
 
Added on 20-Oct-14 | Last updated 20-Oct-14
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It is harder to avoid censure than to gain applause; for this may be done by one great or wise action in an age. But to escape censure a man must pass his whole life without saying or doing one ill or foolish thing.

David Hume (1711-1776) Scottish philosopher, economist, historian, empiricist
(Attributed)
    (Source)

Quoted in The Home Circle (Jan 1855)
 
Added on 11-Aug-14 | Last updated 11-Aug-14
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When the million applaud you, seriously ask yourself what harm you have done; when they censure you, what good!

Charles Caleb "C. C." Colton (1780-1832) English cleric, writer, aphorist
Lacon: Or, Many Things in Few Words, Vol. 1, § 183 (1820)
    (Source)
 
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I wonder how anyone can have the face to condemn others when he reflects upon his own thoughts.

W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) English novelist and playwright [William Somerset Maugham]
The Summing Up, ch. 16 (1938)
    (Source)
 
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The first thing that happens to men once they have had to give up any pleasure, whether for propriety’s sake, or from satiety, or for their health, is to condemn it in other people. Such behavior implies a sort of attachment to the very things one has just renounced: we want nobody else to enjoy the good things that we have lost; it is a feeling of jealousy.

[La première chose qui arrive aux hommes après avoir renoncé aux plaisirs, ou par bienséance, ou par lassitude, ou par régime, c’est de les condamner dans les autres. Il entre dans cette conduite une sorte d’attachement pour les choses mêmes que l’on vient de quitter; l’on aimerait qu’un bien qui n’est plus pour nous ne fût plus aussi pour le reste du monde: c’est un sentiment de jalousie.]

Jean de La Bruyere
Jean de La Bruyère (1645-1696) French essayist, moralist
The Characters [Les Caractères], ch. 11 “Of Mankind [De l’Homme],” § 112 (11.112) (1688) [tr. Stewart (1970)]
    (Source)

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

The first thing men do, when they have renounc'd pleasure, either out of decency, surfeit, or conviction, is to condemn it in others. This sort of management is however seldom free from a particular affection for those very things they left off, but they would have no body enjoy the pleasure they can no longer enjoy themselves, which proceeds more from Jealousie than any thing else.
[Bullord ed. (1696)]

The first thing Men do, when they have renounc'd Pleasure, either out of Decency, Surfeit, or Conviction, is to condemn it in others. They preserve, in this Conduct, a sort of Affection for the very things they left off; they would have no body enjoy the Pleasure they can no longer enjoy themselves: 'Tis a sentiment of Jealousy.
[Curll ed. (1713)]

The first Thing, when Men have renounced Pleasure, either out of Decency, Satiety, or Necessity, is to condemn it in others. This Sort of Reproof, however, is not free from a latent Affection for their forsaken Pleasures; they would interdict to all others what they can themselves no longer enjoy; their Admonitions are the Snarlings of Jealousy, not the Dictates of Purity.
[Browne ed. (1752)]

The first thing men do when they have renounced pleasure, through decency, lassitude, or for the sake of health, is to condemn it in others. Such conduct denotes a kind of latent affection for the very things they left off; they would like no one to enjoy a pleasure they can no longer indulge in; and thus they show their feelings of jealousy.
[tr. Van Laun (1885)]

 
Added on 2-Apr-13 | Last updated 6-Jun-23
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Deserves death! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some die that deserve life. Can you give that to them? Then be not too eager to deal out death in the name of justice, fearing for your own safety. Even the wise cannot see all ends.

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) English writer, fabulist, philologist, academic [John Ronald Reuel Tolkien]
The Lord of the Rings, Vol. 2: The Two Towers, Book 4, ch. 1 “The Taming of Sméagol” (1954)
    (Source)

Frodo recalling the words of Gandalf (approximately) in The Fellowship of the Ring.
 
Added on 26-Jul-11 | Last updated 23-Feb-23
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Woe to those who make unjust laws,
to those who issue oppressive decrees,
to deprive the poor of their rights
and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people,
making widows their prey
and robbing the fatherless.
What will you do on the day of reckoning,
when disaster comes from afar?
To whom will you run for help?
Where will you leave your riches?
Nothing will remain but to cringe among the captives
or fall among the slain.

The Bible (The Old Testament) (14th - 2nd C BC) Judeo-Christian sacred scripture [Tanakh, Hebrew Bible], incl. the Apocrypha (Deuterocanonicals)
Isaiah 10:1-3 [NIV (2011 ed.)]
    (Source)

Alternate translations:

Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed; To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless! And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory? Without me they shall bow down under the prisoners, and they shall fall under the slain.
[KJV (1611)]

You are doomed! You make unjust laws that oppress my people. That is how you keep the poor from having their rights and from getting justice. That is how you take the property that belongs to widows and orphans. What will you do when God punishes you? What will you do when he brings disaster on you from a distant country? Where will you run to find help? Where will you hide your wealth? You will be killed in battle or dragged off as prisoners.
[GNT (1976)]

Woe to those who enact unjust decrees, who compose oppressive legislation to deny justice to the weak and to cheat the humblest of my people of fair judgement, to make widows their prey and to rob the orphan. What will you do on the day of punishment, when disaster comes from far away? To whom will you run for help and where will you leave your riches, to avoid squatting among the captives or falling among the slain?
[NJB (1985)]

Ha! Those who write out evil writs and compose iniquitous documents, to subvert the cause of the poor, to rob of their rights the needy of My people; that widows may be their spoil, and fatherless children their booty! What will you do on the day of punishment, When the calamity comes from afar? To whom will you flee for help, And how will you save your carcasses from collapsing under [fellow] prisoners, from falling beneath the slain?
[JPS (1985)]

Woe to those who make iniquitous decrees, who write oppressive statutes, to turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my people of their right, to make widows their spoil and to plunder orphans! What will you do on the day of punishment, in the calamity that will come from far away? To whom will you flee for help, and where will you leave your wealth, so as not to crouch among the prisoners or fall among the slain?
[NRSV (1989 ed.)]

 
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The secret thoughts of a man run over all things holy, prophane, clean, obscene, grave, and light, without shame, or blame.

Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) English philosopher
Leviathan, Part 1, ch. 8 (1651)
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Men might be better if we better deemed
Of them. The worst way to improve the world
Is to condemn it.

Phillip James Bailey
Philip James Bailey (1816-1902) English poet, lawyer
Festus, Sc. “A Mountain – Sunrise” [Festus] (1839)
    (Source)
 
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It was a cold, disapproving gaze, such as a fastidious luncher who was not fond of caterpillars might have directed at one which he had discovered in his portion of salad …

P. G. Wodehouse (1881-1975) Anglo-American humorist, playwright and lyricist [Pelham Grenville Wodehouse]
The Adventures of Sally (1922)
 
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Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) English writer, fabulist, philologist, academic [John Ronald Reuel Tolkien]
The Lord of the Rings, Vol. 1: The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 1, ch. 2 “The Shadow of the Past” [Gandalf] (1954)
    (Source)

Frodo later recounts these words (approximately) to Sam in The Two Towers.
 
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Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

The Bible (The New Testament) (AD 1st - 2nd C) Christian sacred scripture
Matthew 7:1-2 (KJV)

Alt. trans.:
  • "Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get."(NRSV)
  • "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." (NIV)
  • "Do not judge others, so that God will not judge you, for God will judge you in the same way you judge others, and he will apply to you the same rules you apply to others." (GNT)
 
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Miss Manners’ meager arsenal consists only of the withering look, the insistent and repeated request, the cold voice, the report up the chain of command, and the tilted nose. Also the ability to dismiss inferior behavior from her mind as coming from inferior people. You will perhaps point out that she will never know the joy of delivering a well-deserved sock in the chops. True — but she will never inspire one either.

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist, etiquette expert [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
“Miss Manners,” syndicated column (1980-05-08)
    (Source)
 
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Half the vices that the world condemns most loudly have seeds of good in them and require moderate use rather than total abstinence.

Samuel Butler (1835-1902) English novelist, satirist, scholar
The Way of All Flesh, ch. 52 (1903)
    (Source)
 
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