Quotations about:
    health


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But our machines have now been running for 70. or 80. years, and we must expect that, worn as they are, here a pivot, there a wheel, now a pinion, next a spring, will be giving way: and however we may tinker them up for awhile, all will at length surcease motion. Our watches, with works of brass and steel, wear out within that period.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to John Adams (5 Jul 1814)
    (Source)


Jefferson (and Adams) lived another 12 years, both dying on 4 July 1826.
 
Added on 15-Aug-22 | Last updated 15-Aug-22
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John Quincy Adams is well, sir; quite well, I thank you. But the house in which he lives at the present time is becoming dilapidated. It’s tottering upon its foundations. Time and the seasons have nearly destroyed it. Its roof is pretty well worn out. Its walls are much shattered and tremble with every wind. The old tenement is becoming almost uninhabitable, and I think John Quincy Adams will have to move out of it soon. But he himself is quite well, sir; quite well.

John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) US President (1825-29)
(Attributed)
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When, at eighty years old, he was asked by a passer-by on the street, "How is John Quincy Adams today?" The anecdote is found with some frequency c. 1900, about fifty years after Adams' death in 1848, at that age.
 
Added on 26-Apr-22 | Last updated 1-Jun-22
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Men that look no further than their outsides, think health an appurtenance unto life, and quarrel with their constitutions for being sick; but I that have examined the parts of man, and know upon what tender filaments that fabric hangs, do wonder that we are not always so; and considering the thousand doors that lead to death, do thank my God that we can die but once.

[Men that looke no further than their outsides thinke health an appertinance unto life, and quarrell with their constitutions for being sick; but I that have examined the parts of man, and know upon what tender filaments that Fabrick hangs, doe wonder that we are not alwayes so; and considering the thousand dores that lead to death doe thanke my God that we can die but once.]

Thomas Browne (1605-1682) English physician and author
Religio Medici, Part 1, sec. 44 (1643)
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Added on 6-Oct-21 | Last updated 6-Oct-21
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There seems to be a feeling that anything that is natural is good. Strychnine is natural.

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) Russian-American author, polymath, biochemist
(Attributed)
 
Added on 30-Sep-21 | Last updated 30-Sep-21
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Health is relative. There is no such thing as an absolute state of health or sickness. Everyone’s physical, mental, and emotional condition is a combination of both.

Theodore Isaac Rubin (1923-2019) American psychiatrist and author
The Angry Book, “Let Freedom Ring” (1970)
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Added on 17-May-21 | Last updated 17-May-21
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A rich man cannot enjoy a sound mind nor a sound body without exercise and abstinence; and yet these are truly the worst ingredients of poverty.

Henry Home, Lord Kames (1696-1782) Scottish jurist, agriculturalist, philosopher, writer
Introduction to the Art of Thinking, ch. 2 (1761)
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Added on 15-May-20 | Last updated 15-May-20
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What some call health, if purchased by perpetual anxiety about diet, isn’t much better than tedious disease.

George D. Prentice (1802-1870) American newspaper editor
Prenticeana (1860)
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Added on 12-May-20 | Last updated 12-May-20
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Life is not living, but living in health.

[Vita non est vivere, sed valere vita est.]

Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 6, epigram 70, l. 15 (6.70) [tr. Ker (1919)]
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(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

  • "It is not life to live, but to be well." [tr. Burton (1621)]

  • "Not all who live long, but happily, are old." [tr. Anon. (1695)]

  • "For life is not to live, but to be well." [tr. Johnson, in The Rambler, #48, cited to Elphinston (1 Sep 1750)]

  • "For sense and reason tell, / That life is only life, when we are well." [tr. Hay (1755)]

  • "To brethe can just not dying give: / But, to be well, must be to live." [tr. Elphinston (1782), 2.115]

  • "For life is not simply living, but living in health." [tr. Amos (1858)]

  • "Life consists not in living, but in enjoying health." [tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

  • "The blunderer who deems them so, / Misreckons life and much mistakes it, / He thinks 'tis drawing breath -- we know / 'Tis health alone that mars or makes it." [tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]

  • "To live is not just life, but health." [tr. Shepherd (1987)]

  • "Life's not just being alive, but being well."

 
Added on 4-Apr-18 | Last updated 12-Nov-21
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He made her melancholy, sad, and heavy,
And so she died. Had she been light like you,
Of such a merry, nimble, stirring spirit,
She might ha’ been a grandam ere she died.
And so may you, for a light heart lives long.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Love’s Labour’s Lost, Act 5, sc. 2, l. 15ff [Katherine] (c. 1595)
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Added on 26-Aug-16 | Last updated 29-Jun-22
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Capital is reckless of the health or length of life of the laborer, unless under compulsion from society.

Karl Marx (1818-1883) German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist
Capital: A Critical Analysis of Capitalist Production (1873)
 
Added on 20-Apr-16 | Last updated 20-Apr-16
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Please stop assuming that longevity and perfect health is always the correct option. No. Sometimes fun costs ya. It just does, you know? And that’s OK, you’re willing to make that purchase. Sammy Davis, Jr. was 64 when he died. Give me 64 Sammy-years, I’ll be happy.

William "Bill" Maher (b. 1956) American comedian, political commentator, critic, television host.
Be More Cynical (2000)
 
Added on 13-Apr-16 | Last updated 13-Apr-16
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Most vigitaryans I iver see looked enough like their food to be classed as cannibals.

[Most vegetarians I ever see looked enough like their food to be classed as cannibals.]

Finley Peter Dunne (1867-1936) American humorist and journalist
“Casual Observations,” Mr. Dooley’s Philosophy (1900)
 
Added on 19-Feb-16 | Last updated 19-Feb-16
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Happiness is beneficial for the body but it is grief that develops the powers of the mind.

Marcel Proust (1871-1922) French author
Remembrance of Things Past (1913-27)
 
Added on 8-Feb-16 | Last updated 8-Feb-16
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Never learn anything until you find you have been made uncomfortable for a good long while by not knowing it; when you find that you have occasion for this or that knowledge, or foresee that you will have occasion for it shortly, the sooner you learn it the better, but till then spend your time in growing bone and muscle; these will be much more useful to you than Latin and Greek, nor will you ever be able to make them if you do not do so now, whereas Latin and Greek can be acquired at any time by those who want them.

Samuel Butler (1835-1902) English novelist, satirist, scholar
The Way of All Flesh (1903)
 
Added on 25-Jan-16 | Last updated 25-Jan-16
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You remember what people say when they are sick? What do they say? That after all, nothing is pleasanter than health. But then they never knew this to be the greatest of pleasures until they were ill.

Plato (c.428-347 BC) Greek philosopher
The Republic, Book 9
 
Added on 22-Jan-16 | Last updated 22-Jan-16
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The body is like a piano, and happiness is like music. It is needful to have the instrument in good order.

Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) American clergyman and orator
Norwood; or, Village Life in New England, Vol. 1 (1867)
 
Added on 11-Jan-16 | Last updated 11-Jan-16
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We Americans live in a nation where the medical-care system is second to no one in the world, unless you count maybe 25 or 30 little scuzzball countries like Scotland that we could vaporize in seconds if we felt like it.

Dave Barry (b. 1947) American humorist
Stay Fit and Healthy Until You’re Dead (1985)
 
Added on 19-Feb-14 | Last updated 19-Feb-14
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Yet for a long time mortal men have discussed the question whether success in arms depends more on strength of body or excellence of mind; for before you begin, deliberation is necessary, when you have deliberated, prompt action. Thus each of these, being incomplete of itself, requires the other’s aid.

[Sed diu magnum inter mortalis certamen fuit vine corporis an virtute animi res militaris magis procederet. Nam et prius quam incipias, consulto, et ubi consulueris, mature facto opus est. Ita utrumque per se indigens alterum alterius auxilio eget.]

Sallust (c. 86-35 BC) Roman historian and politician [Gaius Sallustius Crispus]
Bellum Catilinae [The War of Catiline; The Conspiracy of Catiline], ch. 1, sent. 5-7 [tr. Rolfe (1931)]
    (Source)


Original Latin. Alt. trans.:

"But a just estimate of our mental and bodily faculties was not easily made. Which of them was most conducive to the success of military operations, was in former times a question much agitated, and long undecided. It is evident, however, that before the undertaking of a warlike enterprise, judgment is required to concert and plan the necessary measures; vigor in execution is equally necessary. The powers of man, in their separate functions feeble and ineffectual, demand each other's aid, and flourish by mutual assistance." [tr. Murphy (1807)]

"It has, however, been a great and long debate, whether success in war is most owing to bodily strength or mental abilities: for, as counsel is necessary before we enter on action, after measures are duly concerted, speedy execution is equally necessary; so that neither of these being sufficient singly, they prevail only by the assistance of each other." [tr. Rose (1831)]

"But there has been for a long time a great debate amongst mortals, whether the science of war advanced more by the strength of body or by the abilities of the mind. For both before you begin there is need of counsel; and when you have counselled, there is need of vigorous execution. So whilst both by themselves are defective, the one is strengthened by the assistance of the other." [Source (1841)]

"Yet it was long a subject of dispute among mankind, whether military efforts were more advanced by strength of body, or by force of intellect. For, in affairs of war, it is necessary to plan before beginning to act, and, after planning, to act with promptitude and vigor. Thus, each being insufficient of itself, the one requires the assistance of the other." [tr. Watson (1867)]

"Not it was long hotly contested among men whether military success was more advanced by mental ability or by bodily strength, for what we need is deliberation before we begin, and after deliberation, then well-timed action; either of itself is deficient and lacks the other's help." [tr. Pollard (1882)]

"Yet for a long time there was considerable dispute amongst mortals as to whether it was through the power of the body or the prowess of the mind that military affairs made greater progress. For, before you begin, deliberation is necessary, and, when you have deliberated, speedy action: hence each element, deficient on its own, requires the help of the other." [tr. Woodman (2007)]
 
Added on 7-Aug-13 | Last updated 23-Oct-20
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With health, everything is a source of pleasure; without it, nothing else, whatever it may be, is enjoyable; even the other personal blessings, — a great mind, a happy temperament — are degraded and dwarfed for want of it. So it is really with good reason that, when two people meet, the first thing they do is to inquire after each other’s health, and to express the hope that it is good; for good health is by far the most important element in human happiness.

[Mit ihr wird alles eine Quelle des Genusses: hingegen ist ohne sie kein äußeres Gut, welcher Art es auch sei, genießbar, und selbst die übrigen subjektiven Güter, die Eigenschaften des Geistes, Gemütes, Temperaments, werden durch Kränklichkeit herabgestimmt und sehr verkümmert. Demnach geschieht es nicht ohne Grund, daß man vor allen Dingen sich gegenseitig nach dem Gesundheitszustande befragt und einander sich wohlzubefinden wünscht: denn wirklich ist dieses bei weitem die Hauptsache zum menschlichen Glück.]

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) German philosopher
“Personality, or What A Man Is [Von dem, was einer ist],” The Essays of Arthur Schopenhauer: The Wisdom of Life, ch. 2 [tr. Saunders (1851)]
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Added on 14-Oct-10 | Last updated 24-Aug-22
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Health is not valued, till Sickness comes.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Gnomologia: Adages and Proverbs, #2478 (1732)
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Added on 4-Oct-10 | Last updated 26-Jan-21
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The best doctors in the world are Doctor Diet, Doctor Quiet, and Doctor Merryman.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) English writer and churchman
Polite Conversation, Dialog 2 (1738)


Borrowed / popularized from William Bullein, Government of Health, folio 50 (1558): "The first was called doctor diet, the seconde doctor quiet, the thirde doctor merry-man." (1558)
 
Added on 14-May-10 | Last updated 5-Nov-15
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Even while I protest the assembly-line production of our food, our songs, our language, and eventually our souls, I know that it was a rare home that baked good bread in the old days. Mother’s cooking was with rare exceptions poor, that good unpasteurized milk touched only by flies and bits of manure crawled with bacteria, the healthy old-time life was riddled with aches, sudden death from unknown causes, and that sweet local speech I mourn was the child of illiteracy and ignorance. It is the nature of a man as he grows older, a small bridge in time, to protest against change, particularly change for the better.

John Steinbeck (1902-1968) American writer
Travels With Charley: In Search of America, Part 2 (1962)
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Added on 21-Aug-09 | Last updated 4-Sep-19
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Frame your mind to mirth and merriment,
Which bars a thousand harms, and lengthens life.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Taming of the Shrew, Induction, sc. 2, l. 137ff [Messenger] (c. 1591)
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 30-Jun-22
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