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Visiting is a pleasure; being visited is usually a mixed or ambivalent joy. The visitee, unless he or she is unusually self-confident, probably felt it necessary to clean up the house or at least unhook the dirty socks from the lampshades and swab the sticky patch on the kitchen floor. Food had to be bought and cooked, possibly expensive or quirky food to accommodate the visitor’s latest dietary fad. The sheets on the guest bed had to be changed and clean towels ferreted out. And once ensconced, the visitor may come to seem like occupying troops and possibly permanent. The visitee is helpless: nice people don’t throw guests out into the street because their airspace feels crowded and they’re tired of thinking up entertainments. The visitor can always go home; the visitee is already home, trapped like a rat in a drainpipe.

Barbara Holland (1933-2010) American author
Endangered Pleasures, “Visiting” (1996)
    (Source)
 
Added on 25-Jul-22 | Last updated 25-Jul-22
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The guest who deliberately wounds his Host strikes a Manacled Man.

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Minna Antrim (1861-1950) American epigrammatist, writer
Don’ts for Bachelors and Old Maids (1908)
    (Source)
 
Added on 19-Nov-21 | Last updated 19-Nov-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)]
    (Source)

(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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It’s wrong, my friend, to send any stranger packing —
even one who arrives in worse shape than you.
Every stranger and beggar comes from Zeus
and whatever scrap they get from the likes of us,
they’ll find it welcome.

[Ξεῖν’, οὔ μοι θέμις ἔστ’, οὐδ’ εἰ κακίων σέθεν ἔλθοι,
ξεῖνον ἀτιμῆσαι· πρὸς γὰρ Διός εἰσιν ἅπαντες
ξεῖνοί τε πτωχοί τε. δόσις δ’ ὀλίγη τε φίλη τε
γίνεται ἡμετέρη.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Odyssey [Ὀδύσσεια], Book 14, l. 56ff (14.56) [Eumæus/Eumaios] (c. 700 BC) [tr. Fagles (1996)]
    (Source)

(Source (Greek)). The language is an echo of Nausicaa in Book 6. Alternate translations:

Guest! If one much worse
Arriv’d here than thyself, it were a curse
To my poor means, to let a stranger taste
Contempt for fit food. Poor men, and unplac’d
In free seats of their own, are all from Jove
Commended to our entertaining love.
But poor is th’ entertainment I can give,
Yet free and loving.
[tr. Chapman (1616)]

Stranger, then said Eumæus, it was never
My custom any stranger to neglect;
The poor and stranger are in God’s hand ever.
Few are my gifts, and but of small effect.
[tr. Hobbes (1675)]

It never was our guise
To slight the poor, or aught humane despise:
For Jove unfold our hospitable door,
'Tis Jove that sends the stranger and the poor.
[tr. Pope (1725)]

My guest! I should offend, treating with scorn
The stranger, though a poorer should arrive
Than ev’n thyself; for all the poor that are,
And all the strangers are the care of Jove.
Little, and with good will, is all that lies
Within my scope.
[tr. Cowper (1792), l. 68ff]

O friend, I dare not, though a worse man sought
These doors, a stranger use discourteously.
All strangers and all poor by Zeus are brought;
Sweet is our gift, yet small.
[tr. Worsley (1862), st. 7]

O stranger! 'Twere a wrongful act of mine,
Ev'n should a wretch more hapless than thyself
Before me come, on such a stranger's claim
To cast contempt: for ev'ry one Unknown
And ev'ry Mendicant from Jove Himself
His claim prefers. But, small, indeed, though kind
Are our donations all.
[tr. Musgrave (1869), l. 90ff]

Sir guest, 'tis not my wont, not e'en should come
A worser man than thou, to slight a guest.
From Zeus are strangers all, and begger-men:
My gift is small, tho' proof of kindliness.
[tr. Bigge-Wither (1869)]

Guest of mine, it were an impious thing for me to slight a stranger, even if there came a meaner man than thou; for from Zeus are all strangers and beggars; and a little gift from such as we, is dear.
[tr. Butcher/Lang (1879)]

O guest, it were not rightful, though e'en worser than thou he were sped,
To put shame upon a stranger; since guest and bedesman all,
From Zeus they are; and our giving, although it be but small,
Is dear.
[tr. Morris (1887)]

Stranger, it is not right for me to slight a stranger, not even one in poorer plight than you; for in the charge of Zeus all strangers and beggars stand, and our small gift is welcome.
[tr. Palmer (1891)]

Stranger, though a still poorer man should come here, it would not be right for me to insult him, for all strangers and beggars are from Jove. You must take what you can get and be thankful.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

Nay, stranger, it were not right for me, even though one meaner than thou were to come, to slight a stranger: for from Zeus are all strangers and beggars, and a gift, though small, is welcome from such as we.
[tr. Murray (1919)]

My guest, I should sin if I failed in attention to any stranger, even one poorer than yourself. The needy and the strangers are all from Zeus; and with the likes of us a quite slender gift can convey goodwill.
[tr. Lawrence (1932)]

"Sir," said the swineherd Eumaeus, "my conscience would not let me turn away a stranger in a worse state even than yourself, for strangers and beggars all come in Zeus’ name, and a gift from folk like us is none the less welcome for being small."
[tr. Rieu (1946)]

Tush, friend,
rudeness to a stranger is not decency,
poor though he may be, poorer than you.
All wanderers
and beggars come from Zeus. What we can give
is slight but well-meant.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1961)]

Stranger, I have no right to deny the stranger, not
even if one came to me who was meaner than you. All vagabonds
and strangers are under Zeus, and the gift is a light and a dear one
that comes from us.
[tr. Lattimore (1965)]

Dear guest. I'd never slight the least of strangers. Not even one more wretched than you are; for it is Zeus who sends to us all beggars and strangers; and a gift, however small, means much when given by a man like me.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1990)]

Stranger, for me it would not be right to dishonor a stranger, though one baser than you came, for every stranger and beggar has the protection of Zeus; and a gift, though little, but welcome, lies in our power to give.
[tr. Merrill (2002)]

Stranger, it is not right for me to turn away any stranger, even one in a worse state than you are, for strangers and beggars all come in Zeus' name, and a gift from folk like us is none the less welcome for being small.
[tr. DCH Rieu (2002)]

Stranger, it is not right for me to treat a guest dishonorably, not even one in a worse state than you; all strangers and beggars are under the protection of Zeus. What I can offer is small, but you are welcome to it.
[tr. Verity (2016)]

One must honor guests and foreigners and strangers, even those much poorer than oneself. Zeus watches over beggars and guests and strangers. What I have to give is small, but I will give it gladly.
[tr. Wilson (2017)]

Stranger, were one even meaner than you than you to come here, I'd still have no right to reject him, for all strangers and beggars are from Zeus, and a gift, however small, is friendly from folk such as us.
[tr. Green (2018)]

It would be wrong,
stranger, for me to disrespect a guest,
even if one worse off than you arrived,
for every guest and beggar comes from Zeus,
and any gift from people like ourselves,
though small, is welcome.
[tr. Johnston (2019)]

 
Added on 7-Jul-21 | Last updated 25-Dec-21
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We flatter those we scarcely know,
We please the fleeting guest;
And deal full many a thoughtless blow
To those who love us best.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919) American author and poet.
“Life’s Scars” (1896)
    (Source)

Originally published in Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly, Vol. 42, #4 (Oct 1896)
 
Added on 1-Jul-16 | Last updated 26-Oct-20
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No guest is so welcome in a friend’s house that he will not become a nuisance after three days.

Plautus (c. 254-184 BC) Roman playright [Titus Maccius Plautus]
Miles Gloriosus, 3.2, l. 741
 
Added on 14-Oct-05 | Last updated 18-Mar-16
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I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn’t it.

Groucho Marx (1890-1977) American comedian [b. Julius Henry Marx]
(Spurious)

Groucho (in 1962) denied ever using the phrase (attributed to him as early as 1941). The earliest, somewhat dubious instance of it found is in 1936, attributed to comedian Hugh Hubert.  More here.
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 7-Apr-17
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All things are best when done without excess: it is as wrong to hurry off a guest who does not wish to leave as to detain a man who longs for home. Kind care for those who stay — and warm farewells for those who go.

[ἶσόν τοι κακόν ἐσθ᾽, ὅς τ᾽ οὐκ ἐθέλοντα νέεσθαι
ξεῖνον ἐποτρύνει καὶ ὃς ἐσσύμενον κατερύκει.
χρὴ ξεῖνον παρεόντα φιλεῖν, ἐθέλοντα δὲ πέμπειν.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Odyssey [Ὀδύσσεια], Book 15, l. 72ff (15.72) [Menelaus to Telemachus] (c. 700 BC) [tr. Mandelbaum (1990)]
    (Source)

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

A like ill ’tis, to thrust out such a guest
As would not go, as to detain the rest.
We should a guest love, while he loves to stay,
And, when he likes not, give him loving way.
[tr. Chapman (1616)]

I purpose not to make you longer stay;
For I conceive ’tis not a good man’s part,
To make too much or little of his guest,
To hold him when he gladly would depart,
Or press him to begone e’er he thinks best.
In hospitality this rule is true:
Love him that stays, help forth the going guest.
[tr. Hobbes (1675), l. 60ff]

Alike he thwarts the hospitable end,
Who drives the free, or stays the hasty friend:
True friendship's laws are by this rule express'd,
Welcome the coming, speed the parting guest.
[tr. Pope (1725)]

The middle course is best; alike we err,
Him thrusting forth whose wish is to remain,
And hind’ring the impatient to depart.
This only is true kindness -- To regale
The present guest, and speed him when he would.
[tr. Cowper (1792), l. 82ff]

Let us in all things the true mean apply;
Roughness offends, and over-courtesy.
He to my mind an equal sin doth show
Who, when a guest would linger, hints good-bye,
And who, if one desire to part, says no.
Love well the tarrying guest, and speed him fain to go.
[tr. Worsley (1861), st. 9]

An equal wrong it is to drive away
The guest, who fain would tarry; and to keep
Against his will the guest who fain would go!
'Tis right to treat with love the tarrying guest;
And speed on his way the guest, who wills to go!
[tr. Bigge-Wither (1869), l. 72ff]

Those acts which to strict equity conform
Are worthiest ever: and the selfsame wrong
Doth he commit who from his home would drive
The guest who fain would linger there, -- with him
Who stays the man that on his way would speed.
[tr. Musgrave (1869), l. 113ff]

He does equal wrong who speeds a guest that would fain abide, and stays one who is in haste to be gone. Men should lovingly entreat the present guest and speed the parting.
[tr. Butcher/Lang (1879)]

For in all things measure is best.
And good is neither fashion, to thrust out the willing guest
Who is fain to abide, or to stay him who longeth to be on the road;
But to cherish the guest that abideth and to speed the departer is good.
[tr. Morris (1887), l. 71ff]

It is an equal fault to thrust away the guest who does not care to go, and to detain the impatient. Best make the stranger welcome while he stays, and speed him when he wishes.
[tr. Palmer (1891)]

Moderation is best in all things, and not letting a man go when he wants to do so is as bad as telling him to go if he would like to stay. One should treat a guest well as long as he is in the house and speed him when he wants to leave it.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

'Tis equal wrong if a man speed on a guest who is loath to go, and if he keep back one that is eager to be gone. One should make welcome the present guest, and send forth him that would go.
[tr. Murray (1919)]

There should be moderation in all things, and it is equally offensive to speed a guest who would like to stay and to detain one who is anxious to leave. What I say is, treat a man well while he’s with you, but let him go when he wishes.
[tr. Rieu (1946)]

It is equally bad when one speeds on the guest unwilling to go, and when he holds back one who is hastening. Rather one should befriend the guest who is there, but speed him when he wishes.
[tr. Lattimore (1965)]

Balance is best in all things. It’s bad either way,
spurring the stranger home who wants to linger,
holding the one who longs to leave -- you know,
‘Welcome the coming, speed the parting guest!’
[tr. Fagles (1996)]

It's just as wrong to rush a guest's departure
When he doesn't want to go, as it is
To hold him back when he is ready to leave.
Make a guest welcome for as long as he stays
And send him off whenever he wants to go.
[tr. Lombardo (2000), l. 74ff]

There should be moderation in all things, and it is equally offensive to speed a guest who would like to stay and to detain one who is anxious to leave. Treat a man well while he's with you, but let him go when he wishes.
[tr. DCH Rieu (2002)]

It is, I think, an equal failing to speed a guest's departure when he is reluctant to leave and to detain him when eager to go. One must care for the guest in one's house, but send him on when he wishes.
[tr. Verity (2016)]

To force a visitor to stay is just as bad as pushing him to go. Be kind to guests while they are visiting, then help them on their way.
[tr. Wilson (2017)]

It's just as wrong to urge a guest's departure against his will as to keep him when it's itching to be off. Treat your guest well while he's there, let him go when he wants.
[tr. Green (2018)]

It’s bad when someone does not want to leave
to be too quick to send him on his way,
but just as bad is holding someone back
when he’s ready to depart. For a host
should welcome any guest in front of him
and send away the one who wants to go.
[tr. Johnston (2019), l. 94ff]

 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Dec-21
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