Quotations about   reciprocity

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That I nor gold nor silver to you send,
I this forbear, for your sake, learned friend.
Who gives great gifts, expects great gifts again;
My cheap ones to return will cause no pain.

[Quod non argentum, quod non tibi mittimus aurum,
Hoc facimus causa, Stella diserte, tua.
Quisquis magna dedit, voluit sibi magna remitti;
Fictilibus nostris exoneratus eris.]

Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 5, epigram 59 [tr. Anon. (1695)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

That of silver or gold we afford no oblation,
'Tis for they sake, sweet Stella, th' economy's such.
Ample off'rings expect ample remuneration;
A plain service of earth will not gravitate much.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Book 2, ep. 11]

In forbearing to send you either silver or gold, eloquent Stella, I have acted for your interest. Whoever makes great presents, wishes great presents to be made in return. By my present of earthenware vases you will be released from such an obligation.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

In sending you no silver plate, no gold plate, I act in your interest, eloquent Stella. He who has given great presents has desired great presents in return: your burden will be lightened by my earthenware.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

Dear poet friend, desirous to befriend you
It is not gold or silver that I send you,
For costly gifts demand a costly guerdon;
My pretty gift shall free you from a burden.
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]

Thank me you get no wealthy gifts from me.
It keeps you of reciprocation free.
[tr. Wills (2007)]

Added on 8-Oct-21 | Last updated 8-Oct-21
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Tsze-kung asked, saying, “Is there one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one’s life?” The Master said, “Is not RECIPROCITY such a word? What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.”

Confucius (551-479 BC) Chinese philosopher [Ku'ng Ch'iu / King Qiu, Ku'ng Fu-tzu / Kong Fuzi]
The Analects [Lun Yü], 15.24 (6th C. BC) [ed. Lao-Tse; tr. Legge (1930)]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.:
  • Zigong asked: "Is there any single word that could guide one's entire life?" The Master said: "Should it not be reciprocity? What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others." [tr. Leys (1997)]
  • Zigong asked: "Is there a single word that can serve as the guide to conduct throughout one's life?" The Master said, "It is perhaps the word shu. Do not impose on others what you yourself do not want." [tr. Chin (2014); Chin translates shu as "treating others with an awareness that they, too, are alive with humanity"]
  • Zi-gong asked: "Is there one single word that one can practice throughout one's life?" The Master said: "It is perhaps 'like-hearted considerateness.' 'What you do not wish for yourself, do not impose on others.'" [tr. Huang (1997)]
  • "Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you."
See also the Bible, Matthew 7:12.
Added on 27-Sep-10 | Last updated 22-Jun-20
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