Quotations about   legacy

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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 / sec. 121 (44 BC) [tr. Peabody (1883)]
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(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 7-Apr-22
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A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you, and were helped by you, will remember you when forget-me-nots are withered. Carve your name on hearts, and not on marble.

Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) British Baptist preacher, author [Charles Haddon (C.H.) Spurgeon]
John Ploughman’s Talk: Or Plain Advice for Plain People, “Monuments” (1869)
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Added on 24-Dec-21 | Last updated 24-Dec-21
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The genius of a good leader is to leave behind him a situation which common sense, without the grace of genius, can deal with successfully.

Walter Lippmann (1889-1974) American journalist and author
“Roosevelt Has Gone,” “Today and Tomorrow” column (14 Apr 1945)
Added on 22-Nov-21 | Last updated 22-Nov-21
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Some people are going to leave a mark on this world, while others will leave a stain.

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) First Lady of the US (1933-45), politician, diplomat, activist
(Attributed)
Added on 18-Dec-20 | Last updated 18-Dec-20
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Every marriage is a battle between two families struggling to reproduce themselves.

Carl Whitaker (1912-1995) American physician, psychotherapist, family therapist
(Attributed)
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Quoted in his obituary.
Added on 4-Sep-19 | Last updated 4-Sep-19
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Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.

Rita Mae Brown (b. 1944) American author, playwright
Starting from Scratch: A Different Kind of Writers’ Manual, Part 3, ch. 1 “Words as Separate Units of Consciousness” (1988)
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Added on 27-May-19 | Last updated 27-May-19
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We open our mouths and out flow words whose ancestries we do not even know. We are walking lexicons. In a single sentence of idle chatter we preserve Latin, Anglo-Saxon, Norse: we carry a museum inside our heads, each day we commemorate peoples of whom we have never heard.

Penelope Lively (b. 1933) British writer
Moon Tiger (1987)
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Added on 2-Oct-18 | Last updated 2-Oct-18
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In the end, the American Dream is not a sprint or even a marathon, but a relay.

Julián Castro (b. 1974) American politician and bureaucrat
Speech, Democratic National Convention, Charlotte, NC (4 Sep 2012)
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Added on 8-Aug-18 | Last updated 8-Aug-18
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Many of the ugly pages of American history have been obscured and forgotten. A society is always eager to cover misdeeds with a cloak of forgetfulness, but no society can fully repress an ugly past when the ravages persist into the present. America owes a debt of justice which it has only begun to pay. If it loses the will to finish or slackens in its determination, history will recall its crimes and the country that would be great will lack the most indispensable element of greatness — justice.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? (1967)
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Added on 17-Nov-17 | Last updated 9-Nov-20
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For books are more than books, they are the life
The very heart and core of ages past,
The reason why men lived and worked and died,
The essence and quintessence of their lives.

Amy Lowell (1874-1925) American poet
“The Boston Athenaeum,” A Dome of Many-Coloured Glass (1912)
Added on 13-Jul-17 | Last updated 13-Jul-17
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Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again. And what do we teach our children in school? We teach them that two and two make four and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. And look at your body — what a wonder it is! Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the ways you move. You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel? You must work — we must all work — to make the world worthy of its children.

Pablo Casals (1876-1973) Spanish cellist, conductor, composer
In Joys and Sorrows: Reflections‎ by Pablo Casals as told to Albert E. Kahn (1970)
Added on 13-Sep-16 | Last updated 29-Jan-21
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The cheerful live longest in life, and after it, in our regards.

Christian Nestell Bovee (1820-1904) American epigrammatist, writer, publisher
Intuitions and Summaries of Thought (1862)
Added on 30-Jul-16 | Last updated 30-Jul-16
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Posthumous charities are the very essence of selfishness, when bequeathed by those who, when alive, would part with nothing.

Charles Caleb "C. C." Colton (1780-1832) English cleric, writer
Lacon: or, Many Things in Few Words, #341 (1820)
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Added on 30-Jul-16 | Last updated 29-Apr-22
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We have a place, all of us, in a long story. A story we continue, but whose end we will not see. It is the story of a new world that became a friend and liberator of the old, a story of a slave-holding society that became a servant of freedom, the story of a power that went into the world to protect but not possess, to defend but not to conquer.

George H. W. Bush (1924-2018) American politician, diplomat, US President (1989-93)
Inaugural Address (20 Jan 1989)
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Added on 6-Jun-16 | Last updated 24-May-19
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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 1-Jun-16
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Wouldst thou find my ashes? Look
In the pages of my book;
And, as these thy hands doth turn,
Know here is my funeral urn.

Adelaide Crapsey (1878-1914) American poet
“The Immortal Residue” (1915)
Added on 26-May-16 | Last updated 26-May-16
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Defer not thy charities till death; for certainly, if a man weight it rightly, he that doth so is rather liberal of another man’s than his own.

Bacon - defer not thy charities - wist_info

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
“Of Riches,” Essays, No. 34 (1625)
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Added on 16-May-16 | Last updated 25-Mar-22
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A man plunges into politics to make his fortune, and only cares that the world should last his days.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
Letter to Thomas Carlyle (1835)
Added on 13-Apr-16 | Last updated 13-Apr-16
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“Gun-wielding recluse gunned down by local police” isn’t the epitaph I want. I am hoping for “Witnesses reported the sound up to two hundred kilometers away” or “Last body part finally located”.

James Nicoll (b. 1961) Canadian reviewer, editor
Usenet (2005)
Added on 7-Mar-16 | Last updated 7-Mar-16
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ANTONY: The evil men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Julius Caesar, Act 3, scene 2, l. 80 (1599)
Added on 23-Feb-16 | Last updated 23-Feb-16
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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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When I think about all the money we spent on bombs and munitions, and our failures in Viet Nam, Iraq, Afghanistan and other places around the world … Instead of advancing our agenda using force, we should have instead built schools and hospitals in these countries, improving the lives of their children. By now, those children would have grown into positions of influence, and they would be grateful to us instead of hating us.

George Shultz (b. 1920) American economist, statesman, and businessman
(Attributed)
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Quoted in In Daniel Levitin, The Organized Mind (2014).
Added on 30-Nov-15 | Last updated 21-Nov-21
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I am afraid. Not of life, or death, or nothingness, but of wasting it as if I had never been.

Keyes - never been - wist_info

Daniel F. Keyes (1927-2014) American author
Flowers for Algernon (novel) (1966)
Added on 26-Oct-15 | Last updated 26-Oct-15
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You never can tell when you do an act
Just what the result will be;
But with every deed you are sowing a seed,
Though the harvest you may not see.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919) American author and poet.
“You Never Can Tell,” Custer And Other Poems (1896)
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Added on 21-Sep-15 | Last updated 21-Sep-15
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The only things in which we can be said to have any property are our actions. Our thoughts may be bad, yet produce no poison; they may be good, yet produce no fruit. Our riches may be taken away from us by misfortune, our reputation by malice, our spirits by calamity, our health by disease, our friends by death. But our actions must follow us beyond the grave; with respect to them alone, we can not say that we shall carry nothing with us when we die, neither that we shall go naked out of the world.

Charles Caleb "C. C." Colton (1780-1832) English cleric, writer
Lacon: or, Many Things in Few Words, # 52 (1821 ed.)
Added on 11-May-15 | Last updated 11-May-15
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The last pleasure in life is the sense of discharging our duty.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
Table Talk, “On Novelty and Familiarity” (1822)
Added on 17-Apr-15 | Last updated 17-Apr-15
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Seven cities warr’d for Homer, being dead;
Who, living, had no roof to shroud his head.

No picture available
Thomas Heywood (1570s-1641) English playwright, actor, author
The Hierarchie of the Blesed Angells (1635)
Added on 8-Apr-15 | Last updated 8-Apr-15
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A President is best judged by the enemies he makes when he has really hit his stride.

Maxwell "Max" Lerner (1902-1992) American journalist, columnist, educator
Column, New York Star (9 Jan 1949)

Reprinted in "The Education of Harry Truman," pt. 4, The Unfinished Country (1959).
Added on 3-Mar-15 | Last updated 3-Mar-15
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Shun those studies in which the work that results dies with the worker.

Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) Italian artist, engineer, scientist
Note-books, 1 [tr. McCurdy (1908)]
Added on 1-Jan-15 | Last updated 1-Jan-15
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Something about the fact that I made some contribution to either my country, or those who were less well off. I think back to what Camus wrote about the fact that perhaps this world is a world in which children suffer, but we can lessen the number of suffering children, and if you do not do this, then who will do this? I’d like to feel that I’d done something to lessen that suffering.

Robert Francis Kennedy (1925-1968) American politician
Interview with David Frost (1968)

In an interview a month before he was assassinated, about how his obituary should read. See Camus.
Added on 27-Oct-14 | Last updated 27-Oct-14
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Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hand away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there for a lifetime.

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) American writer, futurist, fabulist
Fahrenheit 451 (1953)
Added on 26-Dec-13 | Last updated 26-Dec-13
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But now Nixon has come along and everything I’ve worked for is ruined. There’s a story in the paper every day about him slashing another one of my Great Society programs. I can just see him waking up in the morning, making that victory sign of his and deciding which program to kill. It’s a terrible thing for me to sit by and watch someone else starve my Great Society to death. She’s getting thinner and thinner and uglier and uglier all the time; now her bones are beginning to stick out and her wrinkles are beginning to show. Soon she’ll be so ugly that the American people will refuse to look at her; they’ll stick her in a closet to hide her away and there she’ll die. And when she dies, I, too, will die.

Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973) American politician, educator, US President (1963-69)
LBJ and the American Dream, ch. 10 (1971)
Added on 13-Feb-13 | Last updated 17-Mar-21
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When I am dead,
I hope it may be said:
‘His sins were scarlet,
But his books were read’.

Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953) Franco-British writer, historian [Joseph Hilaire Pierre René Belloc]
“On His Books” (1923)
Added on 25-Jul-11 | Last updated 3-Jun-14
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No legacy is so rich as honesty.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
All’s Well that Ends Well, Act 3, sc. 5 (1602)
Added on 30-Nov-10 | Last updated 26-May-16
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Who are you, reader, reading my poems an hundred years hence?

I cannot send you one single flower from this wealth of the spring, one single streak of gold from yonder clouds.

Open your doors and look abroad.

From your blossoming garden gather fragrant memories of the vanished flowers of an hundred years before.

In the joy of your heart may you feel the living joy that sang one spring morning, sending its glad voice across a hundred years.

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) Indian Bengali poet, philosopher [a.k.a. Rabi Thakur, Kabiguru]
The Gardener, #85 (1915)
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Added on 7-Jun-10 | Last updated 8-Oct-15
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When a man is in doubt about this or that in his writing, it will often guide him if he asks himself how it will tell a hundred years hence.

Samuel Butler (1835-1902) English novelist, satirist, scholar
The Note-Books of Samuel Butler, “Writing for a Hundred Years Hence” (1912)

Full text.

Added on 5-Feb-09 | Last updated 5-Sep-19
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Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.

Horace Mann (1796-1859) American educator
Baccalaureate address, Antioch College, Ohio (1859)

Final public address.
Added on 13-Feb-08 | Last updated 16-Jun-17
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This life we have is short, so let us leave a mark for people to remember.

Kip Keino (b. 1940) Kenyan athlete [Kipchoge Keino]
(Attributed)

On why he adopted and educated 69 orphan children.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 16-Jun-14
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The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and the will to carry on.

Walter Lippmann (1889-1974) American journalist and author
“Roosevelt Has Gone,” “Today and Tomorrow” column (14 Apr 1945)

On the death of Franklin Roosevelt.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 22-Nov-21
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