Quotations about   hospitality

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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)
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Added on 19-Nov-21 | Last updated 19-Nov-21
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This man who has fetched up here is some unlucky wanderer; we must now look after him, because all strangers and beggars are under Zeus’ protection, and any gift, though small, is welcome.

[ἀλλ’ ὅδε τις δύστηνος ἀλώμενος ἐνθάδ’ ἱκάνει,
τὸν νῦν χρὴ κομέειν· πρὸς γὰρ Διός εἰσιν ἅπαντες
ξεῖνοί τε πτωχοί τε, δόσις δ’ ὀλίγη τε φίλη τε.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Odyssey [Ὀδύσσεια], Book 6, l. 206ff (6.206) [Nausicaa] (c. 700 BC) [tr. Verity (2016)]
    (Source)

(Source (Greek)). This is later echoed by Eumæus in Book 14. Alternate translations:

This man, minding nought
But his relief, a poor unhappy wretch,
Wrack’d here, and hath no other land to fetch,
Him now we must provide for. From Jove come
All strangers, and the needy of a home,
Who any gift, though ne’er so small it be,
Esteem as great, and take it gratefully.
[tr. Chapman (1616)]

But by evil weather
To come to land this man hath forced been;
Let’s do him good. From Jove come beggars all,
And welcome to them is whate’er they get;
Our givings to him will be very small.
[tr. Hobbes (1675), l. 195ff]

'Tis ours this son of sorrow to relieve,
Cheer the sad heart, nor let affliction grieve.
By Jove the stranger and the poor are sent;
And what to those we give to Jove is lent.
[tr. Pope (1725)]

This man, a miserable wand’rer comes,
Whom we are bound to cherish, for the poor
And stranger are from Jove, and trivial gifts
To such are welcome.
[tr. Cowper (1792)]

Now comes this wanderer -- let us treat him well;
All strangers and all poor by Zeus are sent,
And love can make a little gift excel.
[tr. Worsley (1861), st. 27]

But this -- some hapless wanderer -- hither comes:
Him it behoves us care for: since from Zeus
Come strangers all, and poor men: and a gift
Small to the giver -- blesses him that takes it.
[tr. Bigge-Wither (1869)]

Nay, but this man is some helpless one come hither in his wanderings, whom now we must kindly entreat, for all strangers and beggars are from Zeus, and a little gift is dear.
[tr. Butcher/Lang (1879)]

But this man, a hapless wanderer, to usward now is sent,
And him is it meet to cherish; since from Zeus come guestfolk all
And suppliants; and full welcome is the gift, albeit but small.
[tr. Morris (1887)]

But this poor man has come here having lost his way, and we should give him aid; for in the charge of Zeus all strangers and beggars stand, and a small gift is welcome.
[tr. Palmer (1891)]

This is only some poor man who has lost his way, and we must be kind to him, for strangers and foreigners in distress are under Jove's protection, and will take what they can get and be thankful.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

This is some hapless wanderer that has come hither. Him must we now tend; for from Zeus are all strangers and beggars, and a gift, though small, is welcome.
[tr. Murray (1919)]

This man appeals as a luckless wanderer whom we must now kindly entertain. Homeless and broken men are all of them in the sight of Zeus, and it is a good deed to make them some small alms.
[tr. Lawrence (1932)]

The man you see is an unfortunate wanderer who has strayed here, and now commands our care, since all strangers and beggars come under the protection of Zeus, and the charity that is a trifle to us can be precious to others.
[tr. Rieu (1946)]

This man is a castaway, poor fellow; we must take care of him. Strangers and beggars come from Zeus: a small gift, then, is friendly.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1961)]

But this man is a luckless fellow, one
who wandered here, and he deserves our care;
the stranger and the beggar -- both are sent
by Zeus, and even small gifts win their thanks.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1990)]

But here's an unlucky wanderer strayed our way
and we must tend him well. Every stranger and beggar
comes from Zeus, and whatever scrap we give him
he'll be glad to get.
[tr. Fagles (1996)]

This poor man comes here as a wanderer,
And we must take care of him now. All strangers,
All beggars, are under the protection of Zeus,
And even small gifts are welcome.
[tr. Lombardo (2000)]

But this man is lost, poor thing. We must look after him. All foreigners and beggars come from Zeus, and any act of kindness is a blessing.
[tr. Wilson (2017)]

But this man who has wandered here, who is so ill-starred,
It is right to care for him now. For all are from Zeus,
The strangers and the beggars, and our gift is small but dear to them.
[tr. @sentantiq (2020)]

Added on 4-Aug-21 | Last updated 1-Dec-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]

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)]

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)]

Added on 21-Jul-21 | Last updated 1-Dec-21
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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)]
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(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]

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)]

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. Lattimore (1965)]

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)]

Added on 7-Jul-21 | Last updated 1-Dec-21
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A successful party is a creative act, and creation is always painful.

Phyllis McGinley (1905-1978) American author, poet
“Party Line,” Ladies’ Home Journal (1962)
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Later reprinted in Sixpence in Her Shoe (1964).
Added on 9-Jan-20 | Last updated 9-Jan-20
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You ought to get out of those wet clothes and into a dry martini.

Mae West (1892-1980) American film actress
Every Day’s a Holiday (movie) [Larmadou Graves] (1937)

West both starred in the film (as the recipient of this line, Peaches O'Day) and wrote the screenplay. Often attributed to Robert Benchley, who used the line in a film a few years later, and claimed he got it from a joke book.
Added on 16-Feb-18 | Last updated 16-Feb-18
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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)
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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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The world’s an Inn; and I her guest.
I eat; I drink; I take my rest.
My hostess, nature, does deny me
Nothing, wherewith she can supply me;
Where, having stayed a while, I pay
Her lavish bills, and go my way.

Quarles - worlds an inn - wist_info quote

Francis Quarles (1592-1644) English poet
“On the World”
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Added on 6-Jun-16 | Last updated 7-Jun-16
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Home is where, when you go there and tell people to get out, they have to leave.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Skin Game (2014)
Added on 7-Dec-15 | Last updated 7-Dec-15
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In the end, as every human being who has ever breakfasted on their own in someone else’s kitchen has done since nearly the dawn of time, he made do with unsweetened instant black coffee.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Good Omens (1990) [with Neil Gaiman]
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 8-Jun-21
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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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