Quotations about   gratitude

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Cain Mongfish’s masterpiece, A Reasoned Diatribe Regarding thee Methods and Required Madnesses Towards the Manipulation of ye Stuffe of Life and thee Entertaining Consequences Thereof and How Best to Avoid Them is regarded as the seminal work that gathered and codified all of the then-known processes for reanimating, bending, warping, and subjugating life as we know it. Cain died while researching a sequel, which according to his notes was to be entitled How to Promote and Manipulate thee Natural Fealty and Gratitude That Thine Creation Will Express Towards Thou, Their Creator. For some reason, that never works.

Phil Foglio (b. 1956) American writer, cartoonist
Agatha H and the Voice of the Castle (2014) [with Kaja Foglio]
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Added on 14-Mar-22 | Last updated 14-Mar-22
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Don’t be afraid to thank a servant. Do so quietly, but unmistakably, whenever thanks are in order.

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Minna Antrim (1861-1950) American epigrammatist, writer
Don’ts for Bachelors and Old Maids (1908)
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Added on 5-Nov-21 | Last updated 5-Nov-21
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He who is truly shrewd would rather have people need him than thank him.

[El sagaz más quiere necessitados de sí que agradecidos.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 5 (1647) [tr. Maurer (1992)]
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Alternate translation: "The wise man would rather see men needing him than thanking him." [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
Added on 1-Nov-21 | Last updated 4-Apr-22
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The wise man would rather see men needing him than thanking him.

[El sagaz más quiere necessitados de sí que agradecidos.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 5 (1647) [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
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Alternate translation: "He who is truly shrewd would rather have people need him than thank him." [tr. Maurer (1992)]
Added on 4-Oct-21 | Last updated 4-Apr-22
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When asked what ages quickly, he replied, “Gratitude.”

[ἐρωτηθεὶς τί γηράσκει ταχύ, “χάρις,” ἔφη.]

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Attributed in Diogenes Laërtius, Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers [Vitae Philosophorum], Book 5, sec. 18 [tr. Mensch (2018)]
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(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

Once he was asked what grew old most speedily, and he replied, “Gratitude.”
[tr. Yonge (1853), sec. 11]

Being asked, "What is it that soon grows old?" he answered, "Gratitude."
[tr. Hicks (1925)]

When he was asked what grows old quickly, he said "thanks."
[tr. @sentantiq (2016)]

Added on 3-Aug-21 | Last updated 3-Aug-21
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Since we all need reproving and rebuking, and since we all know that we need reproving and rebuking, we ought — if we were logical — to be extremely grateful to those who reprove and rebuke us. And I suppose that, sooner or later, we are; but almost invariably later.

Frank W. Boreham (1871-1959) Anglo-Australian preacher
The Fiery Crags (1929)
Added on 27-Jul-21 | Last updated 27-Jul-21
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For a guest remembers all his days the hospitable man who showed him kindness.

[Τοῦ γάρ τε ξεῖνος μιμνῄσκεται ἤματα πάντα
ἀνδρὸς ξεινοδόκου, ὅς κεν φιλότητα παράσχῃ.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Odyssey [Ὀδύσσεια], Book 15, l. 54ff (15.54) [Pisistratus] (c. 700 BC) [tr. Palmer (1891)]
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(Greek Source). Alternate translations:

Not a guest
Shall touch at his house, but shall store his breast
With fit mind of an hospitable man,
To last as long as any daylight can
His eyes recomfort, in such gifts as he
Will proofs make of his hearty royalty.
[tr. Chapman (1616)]

For guests use always to remember those
By whom they have been entertain’d with love.
[tr. Hobbes (1675), ll. 49-50]

For the guest in mem’ry holds
Through life, the host who treats him as a friend.
[tr. Cowper (1792), l. 64-65]

For when a host with friendship void of blame
Gives of his choicest, men observe his name,
And hold it all their lives exceeding dear.
[tr. Worsley (1861), st. 7]

Throughout his life,
A guest the gen'rous man should keep in mind
Who to is home hath welcom'd him.
[tr. Musgrave (1869), l. 88ff]

A guest remembers thro' life's livelong days
That host, who gives him sterling proofs of love!
[tr. Bigge-Wither (1869)]

For of him a guest is mindful all the days of his life, even of the host that shows him loving-kindness.
[tr. Butcher/Lang (1879)]

Since forsooth the guest remembereth that man for all his days
Who giveth him good guesting in friendly wise and dear.
[tr. Morris (1887)]

So long as he lives a guest should never forget a host who has shown him kindness.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

For a guest remembers all his days the host who shews him kindness.
[tr. Murray (1919)]

A guest never forgets the host who has treated him kindly.
[tr. Rieu (1946)]

A guest remembers all his days that hose who makes provision for him kindly.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1961)]

For a guest remembers all his days the man who received him as a host receives a guest, and gave him the gifts of friendship.
[tr. Lattimore (1965)]

A guest will keep in memory, held close, the gift of friendship given by his host.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1990)]

That’s the man a guest will remember all his days:
the lavish host who showers him with kindness.
[tr. Fagles (1996)]

A guest remembers
A host's hospitality for as long as he lives.
[tr. Lombardo (2000)]

As you know, a guest remembers for all his days the man who has welcomed him hospitably and shown friendship towards him.
[tr. Verity (2016)]

For a guest remembers with gratitude all his days the man who was his host, who showed him kindness.
[tr. Green (2018)]

A guest remembers all his life the man
who gave him hospitality and kindness.
[tr. Johnston (2019), l. 74-85]

Added on 21-Jul-21 | Last updated 5-Jan-22
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To Herbert Westbrook, without whose never-failing advice, help, and encouragement, this book would have been finished in half the time.

P. G. Wodehouse (1881-1975) Anglo-American humorist, playwright and lyricist [Pelham Grenville Wodehouse]
A Gentleman of Leisure, Dedication (1910)
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Added on 5-Sep-19 | Last updated 5-Sep-19
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Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.

William Arthur Ward (1921-1994) American aphorist, author, educator
(Attributed)
Added on 20-Nov-17 | Last updated 20-Nov-17
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No cook can ignore the opinion of a man who asks for three helpings. One is politeness, two is hunger, but three is a true and cherished compliment.

Kerry Greenwood (b. 1954) Australian author and lawyer
The Green Mill Murder, ch. 6 (1993)
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Added on 12-Oct-17 | Last updated 12-Oct-17
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God is pleased with no music from below so much as in the thanksgiving songs of relieved widows, of supported orphans, of rejoicing, and comforted, and thankful persons.

Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667) English cleric and author
Sermon 25, “The Duties of the Tongue,” Part 4 [Eph. 4:29]
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He that gives should never remember. He that receives should never forget.

The Talmud (AD 200-500) Collection of Jewish rabbinical writings
(Unreferenced)
Added on 25-May-17 | Last updated 13-Jul-17
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If we are devoted to the cause of humanity, we shall soon be crushed and broken-hearted, for we shall often meet with more ingratitude from men than we would from a dog; but if our motive is love to God, no ingratitude can hinder us from serving our fellow men.

Oswald Chambers (1874-1917) Scottish evangelist and teacher
“My Utmost For His Highest” (1927)
Added on 28-Oct-16 | Last updated 28-Oct-16
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Posterity! You will never know, how much it cost the present Generation, to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make a good Use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the Pains to preserve it.

John Adams (1735-1826) American lawyer, Founding Father, statesman, US President (1797-1801)
Letter to Abigail Adams (26 Apr 1777)
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Added on 31-Aug-16 | Last updated 31-Aug-16
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The man who has received a benefit ought always to remember it, but he who has granted it ought to forget the fact at once.

Demosthenes (384-322 BC) Greek orator and statesman
(Attributed)
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Attributed in Hugh Percy Jones, A New Dictionary of Foreign Phrases and Classical Quotations (1900).
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I live my life in celebration and in praise of the life I’m living. What you focus on expands. The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate. The more you complain, the more you find fault, the more misery and fault you will have to find.

Oprah Winfrey (b. 1954) American TV personality, actress
“Words of the Week,” Jet (27 Oct 1986)
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Most People return small Favors, acknowledge middling ones, and repay great ones with Ingratitude.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher
Poor Richard’s Almanack (Apr 1751)
Added on 9-Oct-15 | Last updated 9-Oct-15
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Men are more ready to repay an injury than a benefit because gratitude is a burden and revenge a pleasure.

Tacitus (c.56-c.120) Roman historian, orator, politician [Publius or Gaius Cornelius Tacitus]
(Attributed)

In Machiavelli, The Discourses, 1.29 (1517) [tr. Detmold (1940)]
Added on 2-Oct-15 | Last updated 2-Oct-15
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One can pay back a loan of gold, but one dies forever in debt to those who are kind.

(Other Authors and Sources)
Malayan proverb
Added on 25-Nov-14 | Last updated 25-Nov-14
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I just finished with nine months of treatment for cancer. First they poison you, then they mutilate you, then they burn you. I’ve had more fun. And when it’s over, you’re so glad that you’re grateful to absolutely everyone. And I am. The trouble is, I’m not a better person. I was in great hopes that confronting my own mortality would make me deeper, more thoughtful. Many lovely people sent books on how to find a more spiritual meaning in life. My response was, “Oh, hell, I can’t go on a spiritual journey — I’m constipated.”

Molly Ivins (1944-2007) American writer, political columnist [Mary Tyler Ivins]
“Cancer, II” The Progressive (Oct 2000)

In a similar vein, Ivins wrote in "Who Needs Breasts, Anyway?", Time (18 Feb 2002): "Having breast cancer is massive amounts of no fun. First they mutilate you; then they poison you; then they burn you. I have been on blind dates better than that."
Added on 3-Oct-11 | Last updated 2-Mar-21
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The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there’s little good evidence. Far better it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides.

Carl Sagan (1934-1996) American scientist and writer
“In the Valley of the Shadow,” Parade (10 Mar 1996)
Added on 9-Jun-08 | Last updated 9-Feb-16
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Next to God, we are indebted to women, first for life itself, and then for making it worth having.

Christian Nestell Bovee (1820-1904) American epigrammatist, writer, publisher
Thoughts, Feelings, and Fancies (1857)
Added on 14-Feb-08 | Last updated 17-Jan-20
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I now perceive one immense omission in my Psychology— the deepest principle of Human Nature is the craving to be appreciated, and I left it out altogether from the book, because I had never had it gratified till now.

William James (1842-1910) American psychologist and philosopher
Letter to his Philosophy 2A class at Radcliffe College (6 Apr 1896)

The class had sent him a potted azalea at Easter. Full letter:

Dear Young Ladies, I am deeply touched by your remembrance. It is the first time anyone ever treated me so kindly, so you may well believe that the impression on the heart of the lonely sufferer will be even more durable than the impression on your minds of all the teachings of Philosophy 2A. I now perceive one immense omission in my Psychology—the deepest principle of Human Nature is the craving to be appreciated, and I left it out altogether from the book, because I had never had it gratified until now. I fear that you have let lose a demon in me, and that all my actions will now be for the sake of such rewards.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 3-Mar-20
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