Quotations about:
    deserving


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People complain about the bad things that happen to em that they don’t deserve but they seldom mention the good. About what they done to deserve them things. I don’t recall that I ever give the good Lord all that much cause to smile on me. But he did.

Cormac McCarthy (1933-2023) American novelist, playwright, screenwriter
No Country for Old Men, ch. 4 (2005)
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Added on 27-Dec-23 | Last updated 27-Dec-23
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HENRY: God befriend us as our cause is just.

Shakespeare
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Henry IV, Part 1, Act 5, sc. 1, l. 121 (5.1.121) (1597)
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Added on 4-Feb-21 | Last updated 29-Jan-24
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Here’s a man who’s wangled millions;
Yet the parasite’s not done.
Fortune gives too much to many,
Yet, strange to say, enough to none.

[Habet Africanus miliens, tamen captat.
Fortuna multis dat nimis, satis nulli.]

Marcus Valerius Martial
Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 12, epigram 10 (12.10) (AD 101) [tr. Marcellino (1968)]
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"On Africanus." Africanus is identified in some sources as a captator, one who sucked up to a childless millionaire in order to inherit part or all of their estate.

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

As riche as Cresus Afric is:
for more yet hunts the chuffe:
To muche to many, fortune gives,
and yet to none inuffe.
[tr. Kendall (1577)]

Fortune, some say, doth give too much to many:
And yet she never gave enough to any.
[tr. Harington (fl. c. 1600); Book 4, ep. 56; overall ep. 310]

African has a thousand pounds in store,
Yet he desires, and hunts, and rakes for more:
Fortune hath overmuch bestow'd on some;
But plenary content doth give to none.
[tr. Fletcher (1656)]

He fawns for more, though he his thousands touch:
Fortune gives one enough, but some too much.
[tr. Hay (1755)]

Millions has Africa; yet grasps at more:
Too much have many, none sufficient store.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), 12.65]

Africanus possesses a hundred thousand sesterces, but is always striving by servility to acquire more. Fortune gives too much to many, enough to none.
[tr. Amos (1858), ch. 3, ep. 92, "Sufficient Fortune"]

Africanus possesses a hundred thousand sesterces, and yet covets more. Fortune gives too much to many, enough to none.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

Fortune to many gives too much, enough to none.
[ed. Harbottle (1897)]

African us possesses a hundred millions, yet he angles for more. Fortune to many gives too much, enough to none.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

Although he is a millionaire,
He courts the rich who lack an heir;
Fortune gives much to many a one,
But just enough she grants to none.
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]

Africanus has a hundred million, but still he fishes for legacies. Fortune gives too much to many, to none enough.
[tr. Shackleton Bailey (1993)]

Africanus is a tireless legacy-hunter
though he's a wealthy man.
Fortune gives too much to many,
enough to none
[tr. Kennelly (2008)]

Although worth millions, Africanus hunts a legacy.
To many Fortune gives too much, enough to nobody.
[tr. McLean (2014)]

Africanus has a hundred million, and still he's hunting legacies. Fortune gives too much to many, but "enough" to none.
[tr. Nisbet (2015)]

 
Added on 21-Nov-18 | Last updated 27-Nov-23
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At fifty, everyone has the face he deserves.

George Orwell (1903-1950) English writer [pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair]
Notebook, last words (17 Apr 1949)
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See Camus. See also discussion here.
 
Added on 7-Aug-17 | Last updated 25-Aug-20
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We cannot insure Success, but We can deserve it.

adams-insure-success-deserve-it-wist_info-quote

John Adams (1735-1826) American lawyer, Founding Father, statesman, US President (1797-1801)
Letter to Abigail Adams (18 Feb 1776)
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Perhaps after Addison.
 
Added on 28-Dec-16 | Last updated 1-Oct-21
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In giving of thy alms, inquire not so much into the person, as his necessity. God looks not so much upon the merits of him that requires, as into the manner of him that relieves; if the man deserve not, thou hast given it to humanity.

Francis Quarles (1592-1644) English poet
Enchyridion, Cent. 3, cap. 38
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Added on 9-Sep-16 | Last updated 9-Sep-16
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The prouder a man is, the more he thinks he deserves; and the more he thinks he deserves, the less he really does deserve.

Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) American clergyman and orator
Royal Truths (1866)
 
Added on 30-Aug-16 | Last updated 30-Aug-16
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No victor believes in chance.

[Kein Sieger glaubt an den Zufall.]

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) German philosopher and poet
The Gay Science [Die fröhliche Wissenschaft], Book 3, § 258 (1882) [tr. Kaufmann (1974)]
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Also known as La Gaya Scienza, The Joyful Wisdom, or The Joyous Science.

(Source (German)). Alternate translations:

No conqueror believes in chance.
[tr. Common (1911)]

No victor believes in chance.
[tr. Nauckhoff (2001)]

 
Added on 19-Apr-16 | Last updated 12-Mar-24
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WILL MUNNY: It’s a helluva thing killing a man. You take away all he’s got, and all he’s ever gonna have.

SCHOFIELD KID: Well, I guess they had it coming.

WILL MUNNY: We all have it coming, kid.

David Peoples (b. 1940) American screenwriter
Unforgiven (film) (1992)

Will Munny was played by Clint Eastwood.
 
Added on 14-Dec-15 | Last updated 14-Dec-15
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HAMLET: Use every man after his desert, and who should ‘scape whipping?

Shakespeare - whipping - wist_info

Shakespeare
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Hamlet, Act 2, sc. 2, l. 555ff (2.2.555) (c. 1600)
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Added on 23-Nov-15 | Last updated 29-Jan-24
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Bad rulers … are in constant fear lest others are conspiring to inflict upon them the punishment which they are conscious of deserving.

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) Italian politician, philosopher, political scientist
The Discourses on Livy, Book 3, ch. 6 (1517) [tr. Detmold (1882)]
 
Added on 21-Aug-13 | Last updated 27-Jan-20
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One element in all happiness is to feel that we have deserved it.

[Il entre dans la composition de tout bonheur l’idée de l’avoir mérité.]

Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French moralist, philosopher, essayist, poet
Pensées [Thoughts], ch. 5 “Des Passions et des Affections de l’Âme [On the Soul],” ¶ 31 (1850 ed.) [tr. Lyttelton (1899), ch. 4, ¶ 21]
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(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

Into the composition of every happiness enters the thought of having deserved it.
[tr. Calvert (1866), ch. 5]

It is an element of all happiness to fancy that we deserve it.
[tr. Collins (1928), ch. 5]

 
Added on 4-Aug-11 | Last updated 22-Apr-24
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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)
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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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Do not worry if you are without a position; worry lest you do not deserve a position. Do not worry if you are not famous; worry lest you do not deserve to be famous.

[不患無位、患所以立、不患莫己知、求爲可知也]

Confucius (c. 551- c. 479 BC) Chinese philosopher, sage, politician [孔夫子 (Kǒng Fūzǐ, K'ung Fu-tzu, K'ung Fu Tse), 孔子 (Kǒngzǐ, Chungni), 孔丘 (Kǒng Qiū, K'ung Ch'iu)]
The Analects [論語, 论语, Lúnyǔ], Book 4, verse 14 (4.14) (6th C. BC – AD 3rd C.) [tr. Leys (1997)]
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(Source (Chinese)). See also 1.16, 14.30, 15.19. Alternate translations:

A man should say, I am not concerned that I have no place, I am concerned how I may fit myself for one. I am not concerned that I am not known, I seek to be worthy to be known.
[tr. Legge (1861)]

One should not be greatly concerned at not being in office; but rather about the requirements in oneself for such a standing. Neither should one be so much concerned at being unknown; but rather with seeking to become worthy of being known.
[tr. Jennings (1895)]

Be not concerned for want of a position; be concerned how to fit yourself for a position. Be not concerned that you are not known, but seek to do something to deserve a reputation.
[tr. Ku Hung-Ming (1898)]

One should not be concerned at lack of position; but should be concerned about what will fit him to occupy it. One should not be concerned at being unknown; he should seek to be worthy of being known.
[tr. Soothill (1910)]

Not worried at being out of a job, but about being fit for one; not worried about being unknown but about doing something knowable.
[tr. Pound (1933)]

He does not mind not being in office; all he minds about is whether he has qualities that entitle him to office. He does not mind failing to get recognition; he is too busy doing the things that entitle him to recognition.
[tr. Waley (1938)]

Do not worry about not holding high position; worry rather about playing your proper role. Worry not that no one knows of you; seek to be worth knowing.
[tr. Ware (1950)]

Do not worry because you have no official position. Worry about your qualifications. Do not worry because no one appreciates your abilities. Seek to be worthy of appreciation.
[tr. Lau (1979)]

One is not worried about not holding position; one is worried about how one may fit oneself for appointment. One is not worried that nobody knows one; one seeks to become fit to be known.
[tr. Dawson (1993)]

Do not worry about having no office; rather, worry about whether you deserve to stand in that office. Do not worry about nobody knowing you; rather, seek to be worth knowing.
[tr. Huang (1997)]

Do not worry about not being on the position, just worry about my quality on the position. Do not worry about that nobody understand me, just seek I can be understood.
[tr. Cai/Yu (1998), #81]

Do not worry over not having an official position; worry about what it takes to have one. Do not worry that no one acknowledges you; seek to do what will earn you acknowledgment.
[tr. Ames/Rosemont (1998)]

He does not worry that he has no position; he worries about whether he is qualified to hold one. He does not worry that no one recognizes his worth; he seeks to become worthy to be recognized.
[tr. Brooks/Brooks (1998)]

Don't worry if you have no position: worry about making yourself worthy of one. Don't worry if you aren't known and admired: devote yourself to a life that deserves admiration.
[tr. Hinton (1998)]

Do not be concerned that you lack an official position, but rather concern yourself with the means by which you might become established. Do not be concerned that no one has heard of you, but rather strive to become a person worthy of being known.
[tr. Slingerland (2003)]

Don’t worry that you have no position -- worry about how you can qualify for one. Don’t worry that people don’t know you -- look for some reason to become known.
[tr. Watson (2007)]

Do not worry that you have no official position. Worry about tnot having the qualifications to deserve a position. Do not worry that others do not know you. Seek to be worthy of being known.
[tr. Annping Chin (2014)]

You should not worry about not getting an official appointment. You should instead worry about whether you have the capability to take that assignment. You should not worry that people do not know you. You should instead strive for remarkable achievement.
[tr. Li (2020)]

 
Added on 19-Mar-10 | Last updated 8-May-23
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In my heart there may be doubt that I deserve the Nobel award over other men of letters whom I hold in respect and reverence — but there is no question of my pleasure and pride in having it for myself.

Steinbeck - Nobel prize - wist_info

John Steinbeck (1902-1968) American writer
Nobel prize acceptance speech (10 Dec 1962)
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Added on 3-Dec-09 | Last updated 16-Nov-15
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MARCUS: You know, I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair; then I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happened to us come because we actually deserved them?’ So now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe.

J. Michael (Joe) Straczynski (b. 1954) American screenwriter, producer, author [a/k/a "JMS"]
Babylon 5, 3×13 “A Late Delivery from Avalon” (22 Apr 1996)
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 17-Jul-20
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Dignity does not consist in possessing honors, but in deserving them.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
(Attributed)

Variant: "Dignity consists not in possessing honors, but in the consciousness that we deserve them."

Citation not identified. Earliest reference found in 1854.
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 10-May-21
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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)
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Frodo later recounts these words (approximately) to Sam in The Two Towers.
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 29-Sep-22
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Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
A Little Book in C Major, ch. 2, § 1 (1916)
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 24-Apr-24
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PORTIUS: ‘Tis not in mortals to command success,
But we’ll do more, Sempronius; we’ll deserve it.

Joseph Addison (1672-1719) English essayist, poet, statesman
Cato, Act 1, sc. 2, l. 43ff (1713)
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This passage was widely known to America's Founders; John Adams paraphrases it in a letter to his wife Abigail (1776-02-18), and George Washington in letters to Nicholas Cooke (1775-10-29) and, most famously, Benedict Arnold (1775-12-05).
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 16-Apr-24
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