No man rules safely unless he is willing to be ruled. No man commands safely unless he has learned well how to obey.
[Nemo secure apparet nisi qui libenter latet. Nemo secure præcipit nisi qui obedire didicit.]
The Imitation of Christ [De Imitatione Christi], Book 1, ch. 20, v. 2 (1.20.2) (c. 1418-27) [tr. Croft/Bolton (1940)]
See also Cicero. (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:
No man is sure in prelacy, but that he would gladly be a subject: no, none may surely command, but he that hath learned gladly to obey
[tr. Whitford/Raynal (1530/1871)]
No man is secure in high position save he who would gladly be a subject. No man can firmly command save he who has learned gladly to obey.
[tr. Whitford/Gardiner (1530/1955)]
No man ruleth safely but he that is ruled willingly, no man securely doth command, but he that hath learned readily to obey.
[tr. Page (1639), 1.20.9]
No Man is fit to govern who hath not learned how to obey.
[tr. Stanhope (1696; 1706 ed.)]
No man can safely govern, that would not cheerfully become subject; no man can safely command, that has not truly learned to obey.
[tr. Payne (1803), 1.20.4]
No man ruleth safely, but he that is willingly ruled. No man securely doth command, but he that hath learned readily to obey.
[ed. Parker (1841)]
No man can safely govern, that would not willingly be governed; no man can safely command, that has not well learned to obey.
[tr. Dibdin (1851), 1.20.3]
No man is safe to govern, but he who would rather live in subjection. No man is safe to command, but he who has learned well how to obey.
[ed. Bagster (1860)]
No man safely ruleth but he who loveth to be subject. No man safely commandeth but he who loveth to obey.
[tr. Benham (1874)]
No man doth safely rule, but he that is glad to be ruled. No man doth safely rule, but he that hath learned gladly to obey.
[tr. Anon. (1901)]
No one is safely set above who would not cheerfully be subject. No one safely gives orders but he who has thoroughly learned to obey.
[tr. Daplyn (1952)]
No man can safely command, unless he who has learned to obey well.
[tr. Sherley-Price (1952)]
Never trust yourself [...] to come to the front, unless you would sooner be at the back; to give orders, unless you know how to obey them.
[tr. Knox-Oakley (1959), 1.20(b)]
No one can safely be in command, but the man who has learned complete obedience.
[tr. Knott (1962)]
No one governs with safety who is unwilling to be governed. No one gives commands with safety who has not learned well how to obey.
[tr. Rooney (1979)]
No one leads securely except the person who freely serves.
[tr. Creasy (1989)]
Note not all quotations have been tagged, so Search may find additional quotes on this topic.
Added on 9-Aug-23 | Last updated 28-Sep-23
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The true art of government consists in not governing too much.
“A Sermon Preached Before the Incorporated Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts,” St. Mary-Le-Bow, London (19 Feb 1773)
Shipley believed that a lighter hand in the American colonies would make them want to remain with Britain, to the benefit of all parties.
Added on 29-May-20 | Last updated 29-May-20
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