Quotations about:
    reciprocation


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Why don’t I send my book to you
Although you often urge me to?
The reason’s good, for if I did
You’d send me yours — which God forbid!

[Non donem tibi cur meos libellos
Oranti totiens et exigenti,
Miraris, Theodore? Magna causa est:
Dones tu mihi ne tuos libellos.]

Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 5, epigram 73 (5.73) [tr. Pott & Wright (1921), “Return Favours”]
    (Source)

Compare to Epigram 7.3. (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Why I dole thee not my pieces,
Theodore, thou may'st devine.
Yet thy wond'ring zeal increases:
Lest thou should'st redole me thine.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Book 3, ep. 48]

"Why ne'er to me," the Laureat cries,
"Are poet Paulo's verses sent?"
"For fear," the tuneful rogue replies,
"You should return the compliment."
[tr. Hodgson (c. 1810)]

I give thee, friend, no works of mine,
For fear you should return me thine.
[tr. Lamb (1821)]

Do you wonder for what reason, Theodorus, notwithstanding your frequent requests and importunities, I have never presented you with my works? I have an excellent reason; it is lest you should present me with yours.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

Though it's true, Theodorus, you frequently pray
For my book in a flattering tone,
No wonder I'm slow; I've good cause for delay
In my fear you'd then send me your own.
[tr. Nixon (1911), "Vendetta"]

Why don't I give you my works, although so often you beseech me for them, and press me? Do you wonder, Theodorus? There is great reason: that you may not give me your works.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

Pompilianus asks why I omit
To send him all the poetry that is mine;
The reason is that in return for it,
Pompilianus, thou might'st send me thine.
[tr. Duff (1929), "Answer to a Poetaster"]

Ted, don't give me pleading looks,
And beg I send you all my books,
Your ask comes with a healthy fee:
You'll then send all of yours to me!
[tr. Ericsson (1995)]

Why, Theodorus, don't I send my books, though you demand and plead repeatedly? My answer's good: so you won't give me yours to read.
[tr. McLean (2014)]

You ask my verse, so here. This evens scores:
I had kept mine in hopes you would keep yours.
[tr. Young]

You wonder why I never ask you if you’ve read my book?
I’m not one of those narcissistic bores
who fishes around for praise with such a thinly baited hook.
Besides, I’m worried you’ll ask if I’ve read yours.
[tr. Clark, "A Good Reason"]

 
Added on 31-Mar-22 | Last updated 9-Sep-22
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Friendship is the gift that goes on giving and is a gift to both the person given to and to the giver as well. But to really make it work, it isn’t enough to give to another person. You also have to let them give to you.

Merle Shain (1935-1989) Canadian journalist and author
When Lovers Are Friends (1978)
    (Source)
 
Added on 4-Feb-22 | Last updated 4-Feb-22
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The question was once put to him, how we ought to behave to our friends; and the answer he gave was, “As we should wish our friends to behave to us.”

[ἐρωτηθεὶς πῶς ἂν τοῖς φίλοις προσφεροίμεθα, ἔφη, “ὡς ἂν εὐξαίμεθα αὐτοὺς ἡμῖν προσφέρεσθαι.”]

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Attributed in Diogenes Laërtius, Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers [Vitae Philosophorum], Book 5, sec. 11 [tr. Yonge (1853)]
    (Source)

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

To the question how we should behave to friends, he answered, "As we should wish them to behave to us."
[tr. Hicks (1925), sec. 21]

When asked how we should act towards friends, he said “as we would pray they act towards us!”
[tr. @sentantiq (2016)]

When asked how we should behave to friends, he said, "As we would wish them to behave to us."
[tr. Mensch (2018)]

 
Added on 21-Sep-21 | Last updated 21-Sep-21
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You ask me why I have no verses sent?
For fear you should return the compliment.

[Cur non mitto meos tibi, Pontiliane, libellos?
Ne mihi tu mittas, Pontiliane, tuos.]

Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 7, epigram 3 (7.3) [tr. Hay (1755)]
    (Source)

Compare to Epigram 5.73. (Souce (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Why I send thee, Pontilian, not one of my writings?
It is lest thou, too gen'rous, return thine enditings.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), 12.10]

Why, sir, I don't my verses send you,
Pray, would you have the reason known?
The reason is -- for fear, my friend, you
Should send me, in return, your own.
[tr. Webb (1879)]

Why do I not send you my books, Pontilianus? Lest you should send me yours, Pontilianus.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1897)]

Why do I not send you my works, Pontilianus? That you, Pontilianus, may not send yours to me.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

You ask me why my books were never sent?
For fear you might return the compliment.
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]

Pontilianus asks why I omit
To send him all the poetry that is mine;
The reason is that in return for it,
Pontilianus, thou might'st send me thine.
[tr. Duff (1929)]

Why don’t I send you my little books?
Pontilianus, lest you send me yours.
[tr. Kline (2006), "No thanks"]

You ask me why I send you not my book?
For fear you'll say, "Here's my work -- take a look."
[tr. Wills (2007)]

Why don’t I send my books to you?
For fear you’d send me your books, too.
[tr. McLean (2014)]

Why send I not to thee these books of mine?
'Cause I, Pontilian, would be free from thine.
[tr. Wright]

You ask me why I’ve sent you no new verses?
There might be reverses.
[tr. Burch]

I never send my books, it’s true.
Know why? You’d send me your books too.
[tr. West, "Reply"]

You wonder why my little book is overdue,
dear Pontilianus?
It’s just that I don’t want to look at one from you.
[tr. Juster]

 
Added on 17-Sep-21 | Last updated 9-Sep-22
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A man’s tongue is a glib and twisty thing …
plenty of words there are, all kinds at its command —
with all the room in the world for talk to range and stray.
And the sort you use is just the sort you’ll hear.

[Στρεπτὴ δὲ γλῶσσ᾽ ἐστὶ βροτῶν, πολέες δ᾽ ἔνι μῦθοι
παντοῖοι, ἐπέων δὲ πολὺς νομὸς ἔνθα καὶ ἔνθα.
ὁπποῖόν κ᾽ εἴπῃσθα ἔπος, τοῖόν κ᾽ ἐπακούσαις.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad [Ἰλιάς], Book 20, l. 248ff (20.248) [Aeneas] (c. 750 BC) [tr. Fagles (1990), l. 287ff]
    (Source)

Original Greek. Alternate translations:

A man’s tongue is voluble, and pours
Words out of all sorts ev’ry way. Such as you speak you hear.
[tr. Chapman (1611), ll. 228-29]

Armed or with truth or falsehood, right or wrong,
So voluble a weapon is the tongue;
Wounded, we wound; and neither side can fail,
For every man has equal strength to rail.
[tr. Pope (1715-20)]

The tongue of man is voluble, hath words
For every theme, nor wants wide field and long,
And as he speaks so shall he hear again.
[tr. Cowper (1791), ll. 309-11]

The language of mortals is voluble, and the discourses in it numerous and varied: and vast is the distribution of words here and there. Whatsoever word thou mayest speak, such also wilt thou hear.
[tr. Buckley (1860)]

For glibly runs the tongue, and can at will
Give utt’rance to discourse in ev’ry vein;
Wide is the range of language; and such words
As one may speak, another may return.
[tr. Derby (1864)]

Glib is the tongue of man, and many words are therein of every kind, and wide is the range of his speech hither and thither. Whatsoever word thou speak, such wilt thou hear in answer.
[tr. Leaf/Lang/Myers (1891)]

The tongue can run all whithers and talk all wise; it can go here and there, and as a man says, so shall he be gainsaid.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

Glib is the tongue of mortals, and words there be therein many and manifold, and of speech the range is wide on this side and on that. Whatsoever word thou speakest, such shalt thou also hear.
[tr. Murray (1924)]

The tongue of man is a twisty thing, there are plenty of words there
of every kind, the range of words is wide, and their variance.
The sort of thing you say is the thing that will be said to you.
[tr. Lattimore (1951)]

Men have twisty tongues, and on them speech of all kinds; wide is the grazing land of words, both east and west. The manner of speech you use, the same you are apt to hear.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1974)]

Pliant and glib is the tongue men have, and the speeches in it are many and various -- far do the words range hither and thither; such as the word you speak is the word which you will be hearing.
[tr. Merrill (2007)]

 
Added on 17-Feb-21 | Last updated 1-Dec-21
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Make a careful list of all things done to you that you abhorred. Don’t do them to others, ever. Make another list of things done for you that you loved. Do them for others, always.

Dee W. Hock (b. 1929) American businessman
In M. Mitchell Waldrop, “Dee Hock on Management,” Fast Company (Oct/Nov 1996)
 
Added on 23-Oct-15 | Last updated 23-Oct-15
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Do as you would be done by, is the surest method that I know of pleasing. Observe carefully what pleases you in others, and probably the same thing in you will please others.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son, #129 (16 Oct 1747)
    (Source)

A common theme in Chesterfield's advice, e.g.:

Letter #144 (9 Mar 1748):
Observe carefully, then, what displeases or pleases you in others, and be persuaded, that, in general, the same things will please or displease them in you.

Letter #229 (9 Jul 1750):
Pleasure is necessarily reciprocal; no one feels, who does not at the same time give it. To be pleased, one must please. What pleases you in others, will in general please them in you.
 
Added on 6-Apr-15 | Last updated 18-Oct-22
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My hope of preserving peace for our country is not founded in the quaker principle of non resistance under every wrong, but in the belief that a just and friendly conduct on our part will procure justice and friendship from others, and that, in the existing contest, each of the combatants will find an interest in our friendship.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to the Earl of Buchan (10 Jul 1803)
    (Source)
 
Added on 17-Feb-15 | Last updated 3-Aug-22
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Men are more prone to revenge Injuries, than to requite Kindnesses.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Gnomologia: Adages and Proverbs, #3389 (1732)
    (Source)
 
Added on 16-Oct-13 | Last updated 26-Jan-21
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A man’s character is most evident by how he treats those who are not in a position either to retaliate or reciprocate.

Paul Eldridge (1888-1982) American educator, novelist, poet
“Lanterns in the Night,” Maxim 41, The Jewish Forum (Aug 1948)

Restated by Eldridge in Maxims for a Modern Man, #1198 (1965): "A man is most accurately judged by how he treats those who are not in a position either to retaliate or to reciprocate."

The same sentiment is also made or attributed to Ann Landers, Abigail Van Buren, Malcolm Forbes, James Miles, and (without any reference found) Goethe and Samuel Johnson. A more convoluted version can be found in the 19th Century by Charles Spurgeon.

More examination of this quotation:
 
Added on 10-Apr-12 | Last updated 12-Nov-21
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You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.

Malcolm Forbes (1919-1990) American billionaire
(Attributed)

Quoted in Earl Wilson, "Coco Offered Fatty Arbuckle Role," Hartford Courant (6 Aug 1972); earliest reference found for Forbes. A variant is found in The Sayings of Chairman Malcolm (1978): “You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who can do nothing for them or to them.”

The earliest version of the sentiment appears to be Paul Eldridge.
 
Added on 3-Nov-11 | Last updated 12-Nov-21
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If you would be loved, love and be lovable.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher
Poor Richard’s Almanack (Feb 1755)

Earlier given, "If you'd be beloved, make yourself amiable." (Nov 1744). See Ovid.
 
Added on 25-Jul-11 | Last updated 8-Jul-21
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Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

Jesus - do unto others - wist_info quote

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
Matthew 7:12 (KJV)

Variants:
  • Popularly, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
  • NIV: "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets."
  • NRSV: "In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets."
  • TEV: "Do for others what you want them to do for you: this is the meaning of the Law of Moses and of the teachings of the prophets."


Note: The "Golden Rule" has been expressed in many ways by many religious and philosophical teachers. Several of these in WIST are or will be cross-referenced to this quotation (as trackbacks), not to lend it primacy, but because this is the most well-known formulation of it in the Western world, and to simplify the cross-referencing to one central point.
 
Added on 13-Sep-10 | Last updated 23-Apr-19
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Though justice be thy plea, consider this:
That in the course of justice none of us
Should see salvation. We do pray for mercy,
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Merchant of Venice, Act 4, sc. 1, l. 204ff [Portia] (1597)
    (Source)
 
Added on 10-Feb-10 | Last updated 29-Jun-22
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Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Man and Superman, “Maxims for Revolutionists,” “The Golden Rule” (1903)
    (Source)

See Matthew.

 
Added on 17-Jun-08 | Last updated 23-Oct-15
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Deal with the faults of others as gently as with your own.

(Other Authors and Sources)
Chinese proverb
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 11-Feb-20
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The only way to have a friend is to be one.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Friendship,” Essays: First Series (1841)
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 19-Feb-22
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