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Thou art an heyre to fayre lyving, that is nothing, if thou be disherited of learning, for better were it to thee to inherite righteousnesse then riches, and far more seemely were it for thee to have thy Studie full of bookes, then thy pursse full of mony: to get goods is the benefit of Fortune, to keepe them the gift of Wisedome.
[Thou art an heir to fair living; that is nothing if thou be disinherited of learning, for better were it to thee to inherit righteousness than riches and far more seemly were it for thee to have thy study full of books than thy purse full of money. To get goods is the benefit of fortune, to keep them the gift of wisdom. (1916 ed.)]

John Lyly (c. 1553-1606) was an English writer [also Lilly or Lylie]
Euphues: The Anatomy of Wit, “Letter to Alcius” (1579)
Added on 22-Nov-23 | Last updated 25-Nov-23
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Whence had you this illustrious name?
From virtue and unblemish’d fame.
By birth the name alone descends;
Your honour on yourself depends:
Think not your coronet can hide
Assuming ignorance and pride.
Learning by study must be won,
‘Twas ne’er entail’d from son to son.

John Gay
John Gay (1685-1732) English poet and playwright
“The Pack-Horse and Carrier (To a young Nobleman),” ll. 41-42

Some printings of the poem leave off the prologue, of which this is a part.
Added on 14-Nov-23 | Last updated 14-Nov-23
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The root of human virtue seldom bears
Like branches; and the Giver wills it so,
That men may know it is His gift, not theirs.
[Rade volte risurge per li rami
l’umana probitate; e questo vole
quei che la dà, perché da lui si chiami.]

Dante Alighieri the poet
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italian poet
The Divine Comedy [Divina Commedia], Book 2 “Purgatorio,” Canto 7, l. 121ff (7.121-123) (1314) [tr. Sayers (1955)]

Dante noting that the sons of great kings rarely measure up to their fathers, a reminder from God that those who would be great must seek His blessing, not rely on their heritage.

(Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:

Rarely into the branches of the tree
Doth human worth mount up; and so ordains
He who bestows it, that as his free gift
It may be call’d.
[tr. Cary (1814)]

Rarely shoots merit up into the boughs,
Or human worth; and such the will of Him,
That from the Donor they should seem to come.
[tr. Bannerman (1850)]

Not oftentimes upriseth through the branches
The probity of man; and this He wills
Who gives it, so that we may ask of Him.
[tr. Longfellow (1867)]

Seldom rises human goodness through the branches; and this wills He who gives it in order that from Him it may be claimed.
[tr. Butler (1885)]

But rarely in the branch again is grown
Our human excellence, so willeth He
Who gives it, that the boon be called His own.
[tr. Minchin (1885)]

Rarely doth human goodness rise through the branches, and this He wills who gives it, in order that it may be asked from Him.
[tr. Norton (1892)]

Rarely doth human probity rise through the sons branches:
and this he wills who giveth it,
so that it may be prayed for from him.
[tr. Okey (1901)]

Rarely does human worth rise through the branches, and this He wills who gives it, that it may be sought from Him.
[tr. Sinclair (1939)]

Full seldom human virtue rises through
The branches; and the Giver wills it so,
That they to him for such a gift may sue.
[tr. Binyon (1943)]

Rare is the tree that lifts to every limb
the sap of merit -- He who gives, so wills
that men may learn to beg their best from Him.
[tr. Ciardi (1961)]

Rarely does human worth rise through the branches, and this He wills who gives it, in order that it may be asked from Him.
[tr. Singleton (1973)]

Not often does the sap of virtue rise
to all the branches. This is His own gift,
and we can only beg that He bestow it.
[tr. Musa (1981)]

Rarely does human worth rise through the branches;
That is the will of him whose gift it is,
So that it should be matter for petition.
[tr. Sisson (1981)]

How seldom human worth ascends from branch to branch,
and this is willed by Him who grants that gift,
that one may pray to Him for it!
[tr. Mandelbaum (1982)]

Seldom does human probity rise up through the branches, and this is willed by him who gives it, that it may be attributed to him.
[tr. Durling (2003)]

Human worth rarely increases through its branches: and this He wills who creates it, so that it may be asked for of him.
[tr. Kline (2002)]

It seldom happens that man’s probity
will rise through every branch. He wills it thus,
so, given from beyond, it’s known as His.
[tr. Kirkpatrick (2007)]

Rarely does human worth rise through the branches.
And this He wills who gives it,
so that it shall be sought from Him.
[tr. Hollander/Hollander (2007)]

Goodness rarely flows to the spreading branches
Of a family tree, for God who gives it decrees
That since the gift is His, humans must ask it.
[tr. Raffel (2010)]

Added on 10-Nov-23 | Last updated 10-Nov-23
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“Yet doth he live!” exclaims th’ impatient heir,
And sighs for sables which he must not wear.

Lord Byron
George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824) English poet
Lara, Canto 1, st. 3 (1814)
Added on 12-Jan-23 | Last updated 12-Jan-23
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But the best inheritance that fathers can give their children, more precious than any patrimony however large, is a reputation for virtue and for worthy deeds, which if the child disgraces, his conduct should be branded as infamous and impious.

[Optima autem hereditas a patribus traditur liberis omnique patrimonio praestantior gloria virtutis rerumque gestarum, cui dedecori esse nefas et vitium iudicandum est.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Officiis [On Duties; On Moral Duty; The Offices], Book 1, ch. 33 (1.33) / sec. 121 (44 BC) [tr. Peabody (1883)]

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translation:

Now the noblest inheritance that can ever be left by a father to his son, and far exceeding that of houses and lands, is the fame of his virtues and glorious actions; and for a son to live so, as is unworthy of the name and reputation of his ancestors, is the basest and most abominable thing in the world.
[tr. Cockman (1699)]

The best inheritance left by a father to his children, superior to every other patrimony, is the honor of a virtuous conduct, and the glory of his public transactions. And it is base and criminal by an unworthy conduct, to bring disgrace upon a father's reputation.
[tr. McCartney (1798)]

Now, the best inheritance a parent can leave a child -- more excellent than any patrimony -- is the glory of his virtue and his deeds; to bring disgrace on which ought to be regarded as wicked and monstrous.
[tr. Edmonds (1865)]

The noblest heritage, the richest patrimony a father can bequeath to his children is a reputation for virtue and noble deeds. To tarnish his good name is a sin and a crime.
[tr. Gardiner (1899)]

The best legacy a father can leave to his children, a legacy worth far more than the largest patrimony, is the fame of a virtuous and well-spent life. He who disgraces such a bequest is deserving of infamy.
[ed. Harbottle (1906)]

The noblest heritage, however, that is handed down from fathers to children, and one more precious than any inherited wealth, is a reputation for virtue and worthy deeds; and to dishonour this must be branded as a sin and a shame.
[tr. Miller (1913)]

The best heritage that descends from fathers to sons is the fame for honesty and great deeds. Such fame surpasses any legacy. We must judge it a crime and a shame to disgrace it.
[tr. Edinger (1974)]

Added on 7-Apr-22 | Last updated 11-Aug-22
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Be civil, then, to young and old,
Especially to persons who
Possess a quantity of gold
Which they might leave to you.
The more they have, it seems to me,
The more polite you ought to be.

Harry Graham (1874-1936) English journalist, poet, stage lyricist
Added on 30-Jan-17 | Last updated 30-Jan-17
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I will enjoy the pleasure of what I give by giving it alive, and seeing another enjoy it. When I die, I should be ashamed to leave enough to build me a monument if there were a wanting friend above ground.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
Letter to Jonathan Swift (9 Oct 1729)
Added on 2-Sep-16 | Last updated 2-Sep-16
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If your descent is from heroic sires,
Show in your life a remnant of their fires.

[Si vous êtes sorti de ces héros fameux,
Montrez-nous cette ardeur qu’on vit briller en eux.]

Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux (1636-1711) French poet and critic
Satires, Satire 5, l. 43 (1716)
Added on 1-Jun-16 | Last updated 27-Jun-22
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The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced.

Carnegie - dies thus rich - wist_info quote

Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) American industrialist and philanthropist
“Wealth,” North American Review (Jun 1889)

Reprinted in The Gospel of Wealth (1889).
Added on 11-Dec-15 | Last updated 11-Dec-15
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Therefore it is fitting for the women to be married at about the age of eighteen and the men at thirty-seven or a little before — for that will give long enough for the union to take place with their bodily vigor at its prime, and for it to arrive with a convenient coincidence of dates at the time when procreation ceases. Moreover the succession of the children to the estates, if their birth duly occurs soon after the parents marry, will take place when they are beginning their prime, and when the parents’ period of vigor has now come to a close, towards the age of seventy.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Politics [Πολιτικά], Book 7, ch. 16 / 1335a.27 [tr. Rackham (1932)]

Alt. trans.:

And so it is best to unite women of about eighteen years of age and men of thirty-seven or less; for by such an arrangement the union will be during their greatest physical perfection, and will, as the years pass reach the limit of child-begetting at the right time. Again, the succession of children will be secured, as the younger generation will be having children at the beginning of their prime, supposing some to be born at once, as we may expect, and as the right age has passed away from the older generation as they approach the limit of seventy years.
[tr. Bolland (1877)]

Women should marry when they are about eighteen years of age, and men at seven and thirty; then they are in the prime of life, and the decline in the powers of both will coincide. Further, the children, if their birth takes place soon, as may reasonably be expected, will succeed in the beginning of their prime, when the fathers are already in the decline of life, and have nearly reached their term of three-score years and ten.
[tr. Jowett (1885)]

For which reason the proper time for a woman to marry is eighteen, for a man thirty-seven, a little more or less; for when they marry at that time their bodies are in perfection, and they will also cease to have children at a proper time; and moreover with respect to the succession of the children, if they have them at the time which may reasonably be expected, they will be just arriving into perfection when their parents are sinking down under the load of seventy years.
[tr. Ellis (1912)]

Hence it is fitting for women to unite in marriage around the age of eighteen, and for men at thirty-seven or a little before. At such an age, union will occur when their bodies are in their prime, and will arrive at its conclusion conveniently for both of them with respect to the cessation of procreation. Further, the succession of the offspring -- if birth occurs shortly after marriage, as can reasonably be expected -- will be for them at the beginning of their prime, while for the fathers it will be when their age has already run its course toward the seventieth year.
[tr. Lord (1984)]
Added on 17-Jan-11 | Last updated 12-Feb-21
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