Quotations about   strength

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Pride is not a wise counselor. People who believe themselves to be the incarnation of good have a distorted view of the world. The absence of any obstacle to the deployment of strength is dangerous for the strong themselves: passion takes precedence over reason. “No power without limit can be legitimate,” as Montesquieu wrote long ago. Political wisdom does not consist in seeking only immediate victory, nor does it require systematic preference of “us” over “them.”

Tzvetan Todorov
Tzvetan Todorov (1939-2017) Bulgarian-French historian, philosopher, literary critic, sociologist
Hope and Memory: Reflections on the Twentieth Century, Preface to the English edition (2003)
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When will the churches learn that intolerance, personal or ecclesiastical, is an evidence of weakness? The confident can afford to be calm and kindly; only the fearful must defame and exclude.

Harry Emerson Fosdick (1878-1969) American clergyman, author, teacher
“Tolerance,” sec. 3, Adventurous Religion (1926)
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All passes. — Only strong art
Passes to eternity.
The bust
Survives the city.

And the austere coin
That a workman finds
Underground
Reveals an emperor.

[Tout passe. — L’art robuste
Seul a l’éternité,
     Le buste
Survit à la cité.

Et la médaille austère
Que trouve un laboureur
     Sous terre
Révèle un empereur.]

Théophile Gautier (1811-1872) French poet, writer, critic
“L’Art,” l. 41ff, Émaux et Camées (1852)
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(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

Everything passes. --
Only robust art is eternal.
The bust outlives the city.

And the simple coin
Unearthed by a peasant
Reveals the image of an emperor.
[Source]

All passes, Art alone
Enduring stays to us;
The Bust outlasts the throne, --
The Coin, Tiberius.
[Austin Dobson, "Ars Victrix" (1876), in imitation]

Everything passes -- Robust art
Alone is eternal.
The bust
Survives the city.
[Source]

Everything disappears -- Robust art
   alone is eternal:
      The Bust survives the city.
[Source]

Everything passes away. -- Robust Art
   Alone has eternity;
      The bust
   Survives the city.
[Source]

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It is easy when you’ve been hurt by love to give it up as a bad job and make independence your new god, taking the love you had to give and turning it in upon yourself. And most of us have had to protect ourselves so much at times that we’ve given up the high road and taken the low. But independence carried to the furthest extreme is just loneliness and death, nothing more than another defense, and there is no growth in it, only a safe harbor for a while. The answer doesn’t lie in learning how to protect ourselves from life — it lies in learning how to become strong enough to let a bit more of it in.

Merle Shain (1935-1989) Canadian journalist and author
When Lovers Are Friends, ch. 1 (1978)
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Every group feels strong once it has found a scapegoat.

Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983) American journalist and author
The Neurotic’s Notebook, ch. 6 (1963)
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A person who has no genuine sense of pity for the weak is missing a basic source of strength, for one of the prime moral forces that comprise greatness and strength of character is a feeling of mercy. The ruthless man, au fond, is always a weak and frightened man.

Sydney J. Harris (1917-1986) Anglo-American columnist, journalist, author
“Strictly Personal” column (5 Apr 1962)
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Reprinted in On the Contrary (1964).
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Three Failures denote uncommon strength. A weakling has not enough grit to fail thrice.

No picture available
Minna Antrim (1861-1950) American epigrammatist, writer
At the Sign of the Golden Calf (1905)
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We repeat: strength of character does not consist solely in having powerful feelings, but in maintaining one’s balance in spite of them. Even with the violence of emotion, judgment and principle must still function like a ship’s compass, which records the slightest variations however rough the sea.

Karl von Clausewitz (1780-1831) Prussian soldier, historian, military theorist
On War [Vom Kriege], Book 1, ch. 3 “On Military Genius” (1832) [tr. Howard/Paret (1976)]
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Alternate translation:

We, therefore, say once more a strong mind is not one that is merely susceptible of strong excitement, but one which can maintain its serenity under the most powerful excitement; so that, in spite of the storm in the breast, the perception and judgment can act with perfect freedom, like the needle of the compass in the storm-tossed ship.
[tr. Graham (1873), "The Genius for War"]
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Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.

Edwin Hubbell Chapin (1814-1880) American clergyman
Discourses on the Beatitudes, ch. 2 “The Blessing of the the Mourners” (1853)
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Preaching on Matthew 5:4. Frequently misattributed to Kahlil Gibran, after it was incorrectly included in The Treasured Writings of Kahlil Gibran (1995).
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Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands — and then eat just one of the pieces.

Judith Viorst (b. 1931) American writer, journalist, psychoanalysis researcher
Redbook Magazine (mid-1970s)

Attributed in many places. More information: The Big Apple: “Strength is breaking a chocolate bar into four pieces with your hands — and then eating just one”
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Now, every time I witness a strong person, I want to know: What darkness did you conquer in your story? Mountains do not rise without earthquakes.

Katherine MacKennett
Katherine MacKenett (b. c. 1984) American writer, editor
(Attributed)
Added on 27-Jul-21 | Last updated 27-Jul-21
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Despotic authority attaches great importance to being considered strong, and much less to being admired for its wisdom. Besides, what does wisdom mean to a despot? It means skill in the use of power. The wise despot knows when and how to strike. This continual display of power is necessary because, at root, any dictatorship appeals to the lowest instincts of the governed: fear, aggressiveness toward one’s neighbors, bootlicking. Terror most effectively excites such instincts, and fear of strength is the wellspring of terror.

Ryszard Kapuściński (1932-2007) Polish journalist, photographer, poet, author
Shah of Shahs (1982)
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Our strength is often composed of the weakness that we’re damned if we’re going to show.

Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983) American journalist and author
The Second Neurotics Handbook, ch. 10 (1966)
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it is important not to confuse nationalism with mere worship of success. The nationalist does not go on the principle of simply ganging up with the strongest side. On the contrary, having picked his side, he persuades himself that it is the strongest, and is able to stick to his belief even when the facts are overwhelmingly against him. Nationalism is power-hunger tempered by self-deception. Every nationalist is capable of the most flagrant dishonesty, but he is also — since he is conscious of serving something bigger than himself — unshakably certain of being in the right.

George Orwell (1903-1950) English writer [pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair]
“Notes on Nationalism” (May 1945)
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The good things of youth are strength and beauty, but the flower of age is moderation.

[Ἰσχὺς καὶ εὐμορφίη νεότητος ἀγαθά, γήραος δὲ σωφροσύνη ἄνθος.]

Democritus (c. 460 BC - c. 370 BC) Greek philosopher
Frag. 294 (Diels) [tr. Freeman (1948)]
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Diels citation: "294. (205 N.)"; ; collected in Joannes Stobaeus (Stobaios) Anthologium IV, 115, 19.

Alternate translations:

  • "The good things of youth are strength and beauty; moderation is the flower of age." [Source]
  • "Strength and beauty are the blessings of youth; temperance, however, is the flower of old age."
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In short, while you have Strength, use it; when it leaves you, no more repine for the want of it, than you did when Lads, that your Childhood was past; or at the Years of Manhood, that you were no longer Boys. The Stages of Life are fixed; Nature is the same in all, and goes on in a plain and steady Course: Every Part of Life, like the Year, has its peculiar Season: As Children are by Nature weak, Youth is rash and bold; staid Manhood more solid and grave; and so Old-Age in its Maturity, has something natural to itself, that ought particularly to recommend it.

[Denique isto bono utare, dum adsit, cum absit, ne requiras: nisi forte adulescentes pueritiam, paulum aetate progressi adulescentiam debent requirere. cursus est certus aetatis et una via naturae eaque simplex, suaque cuique parti aetatis tempestivitas est data, ut et infirmitas puerorum et ferocitas iuvenum et gravitas iam constantis aetatis et senectutis maturitas naturale quiddam habet, quod suo tempore percipi debeat.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Cato Maior de Senectute [Discourse on Old Age], ch. 10 / sec. 33 (44 BC) [tr. Logan (1734)]
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Original Latin. Alt. trans.:

To conclude, use that strength which you have while you have it; but when it is gone, require it not, unlesse you thinke it a seemly thing of young men, to require their child-hood againe, and ancient men their youth; There is but one course of age, and one way of nature, and the same simple, and to every part of age its own timelines is given; for as infirmity belongs to child-hood, fiercenesse to youth, and gravity to age, so the true ripe∣nesse of age hath a certaine natural gravity in it, which ought to be used in it own time.
[tr. Austin (17th C)]

In a word, my friends, make a good use of your youthful vigour so long as it remains; but never let it cost you a sign when age shall have withdrawn it from you; as reasonably indeed might youth regret the loss of infancy, or mahood the extinction of youth. Nature conducts us, by a regular and insensible progression through the different seasons of human life; to each of which she has annexed its proper and distinguishing characteristic. As imbecility is the attribute of infancy, ardour of youth, and gravity of manhood; so declining age has its essential properties, which gradually disclose themselves as years increase.
[tr. Melmoth (1820)]

In fine, I would have you use strength of body while you have it: when it fails, I would not have you complain of its loss, unless you think it fitting for young men to regret their boyhood, or for those who have passed on a little farther in life to want their youth back again. Life has its fixed course, and nature one unvarying way; each age has assigned to it what best suits it, so that the fickleness of boyhood, the sanguine temper of youth, the soberness of riper years, and the maturity of old age, equally have something in harmony with nature, which ought to be made availing in its season.
[tr. Peabody (1884)]

In fine, enjoy that blessing when you have it; when it is gone, don't wish it back -- unless we are to think that young men should wish their childhood back, and those somewhat older their youth! The course of life is fixed, and nature admits of its being run but in one way, and only once; and to each part of our life there is something specially seasonable; so that the feebleness of children, as well as the high spirit of youth, the soberness of maturer years, and the ripe wisdom of old age -- all have a certain natural advantage which should be secured in its proper season.
[tr. Shuckburgh (1895)]

Use then the gifts you have:
When gone, regret them not: unless as men
You are to ask for boyhood to return,
When older ask for you: there still must be
A certain lapse of years; one only way
Nature pursues, and that a simple one:
To each is given what is fit for him.
The boy is weak: youth is more full of fire:
Increasing years have more of soberness:
And as in age there is a ripeness too.
Each should be garnered at its proper time,
And made the most of.
[tr. Allison (1916)]

In short, enjoy the blessing of strength while you have it and do not bewail it when it is gone, unless, forsooth, you believe that youth must lament the loss of infancy, or early manhood the passing of youth. Life's race-course is fixed; Nature has only a single path and that path is run but once, and to each stage of existence has been allotted its own appropriate quality; so that the weakness of childhood, the impetuosity of youth, the seriousness of middle life, the maturity of old age -- each bears some of Nature's fruit, which must be garnered in its own season.
[tr. Falconer (1923)]

In short, enjoy the blessing of bodily strength while you have it, but don't mourn when it passes away, any more than a young man should lament the end of boyhood, or a mature man the passing of youth. The course of life cannot change. Nature has but a single path and you travel it only once. Each stage of life has its own appropriate qualities -- weakness in childhood, boldness in youth, seriousness in middle age, and maturity in old age. These are fruits that must be harvested in due season.
[tr. Freeman (2016)]
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He [the pseudo-conservative] sees his own country as being so weak that it is constantly about to fall victim to subversion; and yet he feels that it is so all-powerful that any failure it may experience in getting its own way in the world … cannot possibly be due to its limitations but must be attributed to its having been betrayed.

Richard Hofstadter (1916-1970) American historian and intellectual
“The Pseudo-Conservative Revolt” (1954)
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When a Man’s exhausted, wine will build his strength.

[Ἀνδρὶ δὲ κεκμηῶτι μένος μέγα οἶνος ἀέξει.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad [Ἰλιάς], Book 6, l. 261 (6.261) (c. 750 BC) [tr. Fagles (1990), l. 310]

Alt. trans.
For to a man dismay’d
With careful spirits, or too much with labour overlaid,
Wine brings much rescue, strength'ning much the body and the mind.
[tr. Chapman (1611), ll. 274-76]

Then with a plenteous draught refresh thy soul,
And draw new spirits from the generous bowl.
[tr. Pope (1715-20)]

For wine is mighty to renew the strength
Of weary man.
[tr. Cowper (1791), ll. 318-19]

For to a wearied man wine greatly increases strength.
[tr. Buckley (1860)]

For great the strength
Which gen'rous wine imparts to men who toil.
[tr. Derby (1864), ll. 306-07]

When a man is awearied wine greatly maketh his strength to wax.
[tr. Leaf/Lang/Myers (1891)]

Wine gives a man fresh strength when he is wearied.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

When a man is spent with toil wine greatly maketh his strength to wax.
[tr. Murray (1924)]

In a tired man, wine will bring back his strength to its bigness.
[tr. Lattimore (1951)]

Wine will restore a man when he is weary as you are.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1974)]

When someone is fatigued, wine greatly increases his power.
[tr. Merrill (2007)]

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Never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone ought to be.

Clementine Paddleford (1898-1967) American food writer
A Flower for My Mother (1958)
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Quoting her mother.
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Never does the human soul appear so strong as when it foregoes revenge, and dares to forgive an injury.

Edwin Hubbell Chapin (1814-1880) American clergyman
Living Words (1860)
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KING : Am I the strongest or am I not?
BECKET: You are, today. But one must never drive one’s enemy to despair. It makes him strong. Gentleness is better politics. It saps virility. A good occupational force must never crush, it must corrupt.

Jean Anouilh (1910-1987) French dramatist
Becket, Act 2 (1959) [tr. Hill (1961)
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The lines remain intact in Edward Anhalt's 1964 screenplay.
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When a just cause reaches its flood-tide … whatever stands in the way must fall before its overwhelming power.

Carrie Chapman Catt (1859-1947) American women's suffrage activist
“Is Woman Suffrage Progressing?” speech, Sixth Convention of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance, Stockholm (13 Jun 1911)
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Concentration is the secret of strength in politics, in war, in trade, in short, in all management of human affairs.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Power,” The Conduct of Life, ch. 2 (1860)
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I was thinking I’d want my daughters to know how much I love them, but I’d also want them to know that being a strong man includes being kind. That there’s nothing weak about kindness and compassion. There’s nothing weak about looking out for others. There’s nothing weak about being honorable. You’re not a sucker to have integrity, and to treat others with respect.

Barack Obama (b. 1961) American politician, US President (2009-2017)
Speech, Funeral of Elijah Cummings, Washington, DC (25 Oct 2019)
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Some people idealize force and pull it into the foreground and worship it, instead of keeping it in the background as long as possible. I think they make a mistake, and I think that their opposites, the mystics, err even more when they declare that force does not exist. I believe that it exists, and that one of our jobs is to prevent it from getting out of its box. It gets out sooner or later, and then it destroys us and all the lovely things which we have made. But it is not out all the time, for the fortunate reason that the strong are so stupid.

E. M. Forster (1879-1970) English novelist, essayist, critic, librettist [Edward Morgan Forster]
“What I Believe,” The Nation (16 Jul 1938)
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I want
to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.

Mary Oliver (1935-2019) American poet
“Starlings in Winter”
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Vampire super-strength is a poor fit for many of the modern world’s problems — it really doesn’t help you fill in your time-sheet any faster — but when it comes to breaking damp-weakened wooden door frames it’s superb.

Charles "Charlie" Stross (b. 1964) British writer
The Nightmare Stacks (2016)
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Again, it is proper to the magnanimous person to ask for nothing, or hardly anything, but to help eagerly. When he meets people with good fortune or a reputation for worth, he displays his greatness, since superiority over them is difficult and impressive, and there is nothing ignoble in trying to be impressive with them. But when he meets ordinary people, he is moderate, since superiority over them is easy, and an attempt to be impressive among inferiors is as vulgar as a display of strength against the weak.

[μεγαλοψύχου δὲ καὶ τὸ μηδενὸς δεῖσθαι ἢ μόλις, ὑπηρετεῖν δὲ προθύμως, καὶ πρὸς μὲν τοὺς ἐν ἀξιώματι καὶ εὐτυχίαις μέγαν εἶναι, πρὸς δὲ τοὺς μέσους μέτριον: τῶν μὲν γὰρ ὑπερέχειν χαλεπὸν καὶ σεμνόν, τῶν δὲ ῥᾴδιον, καὶ ἐπ᾽ ἐκείνοις μὲν σεμνύνεσθαι οὐκ ἀγεννές, ἐν δὲ τοῖς ταπεινοῖς φορτικόν, ὥσπερ εἰς τοὺς ἀσθενεῖς ἰσχυρίζεσθαι.]

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Nicomachean Ethics [Ἠθικὰ Νικομάχεια], Book 4, ch. 3 (4.3.26) / 1124b.18 (c. 325 BC) [tr. Irwin (1999)]
    (Source)

The core word Aristotle is using is μεγαλοψυχία (translated variously as high-mindedness, great-mindedness, pride, great-soulness, magnanimity). (Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

Further, it is characteristic of the Great-minded man to ask favours not at all, or very reluctantly, but to do a service very readily; and to bear himself loftily towards the great or fortunate, but towards people of middle station affably; because to be above the former is difficult and so a grand thing, but to be above the latter is easy; and to be high and mighty towards the former is not ignoble, but to do it towards those of humble station would be low and vulgar; it would be like parading strength against the weak.
[tr. Chase (1847)]

It would seem, too, that the high-minded man asks favours of no one, or, at any rate, asks them with the greatest reluctance, but that he is always eager to do good offices to others; and that towards those in high position and prosperity he bears himself with pride, but towards ordinary men with moderation; for in the former case it is difficult to show superiority, and to do so is a lordly mater; whereas in the latter case it is easy. To be haughty among the great is no proof of bad breeding, but haughtiness among the lowly is as base-born a thing as it is to make trial of great strength upon the weak.
[tr. Williams (1869)]

It is characteristic too of the high-minded man that he never, or hardly ever, asks a favor, that he is ready to do anybody a service, and that, although his bearing is stately towards person of dignity and affluence, it is unassuming toward the middle class; for while it is a difficult and dignified thing to be superior to the former, it is easy enough to be superior to the latter, and while a dignified demeanour in dealing with the former is a mark of nobility, it is a mark of vulgarity ind ealing with the latter, as it like a display of physical strength at the expense of an invalid.
[tr. Welldon (1892), ch. 8]

It is characteristic of the high-minded man, again, never or reluctantly to ask favours, but to be ready to confer them, and to be lofty in his behaviour to those who are high in station and favoured by fortune, but affable to those of the middle ranks; for it is a difficult thing and a dignified thing to assert superiority over the former, but easy to assert it over the latter. A haughty demeanour in dealing with the great is quite consistent with good breeding, but in dealing with those of low estate is brutal, like showing off one’s strength upon a cripple.
[tr. Peters (1893)]

It is a mark of the proud man also to ask for nothing or scarcely anything, but to give help readily, and to be dignified towards people who enjoy high position and good fortune, but unassuming towards those of the middle class; for it is a difficult and lofty thing to be superior to the former, but easy to be so to the latter, and a lofty bearing over the former is no mark of ill-breeding, but among humble people it is as vulgar as a display of strength against the weak.
[tr. Ross (1908)]

It is also characteristic of the great-souled man never to ask help from others, or only with reluctance, but to render aid willingly; and to be haughty towards men of position and fortune, but courteous towards those of moderate station, because it is difficult and distinguished to be superior to the great, but easy to outdo the lowly, and to adopt a high manner with the former is not ill-bred, but it is vulgar to lord it over humble people: it is like putting forth one's strength against the weak.
[tr. Rackham (1934)]

It is also characteristic of a great-souled person to ask for nothing or hardly anything but to offer his services eagerly, and to exhibit his greatness to those with a reputation for great worth or those who are enjoying good luck, but to moderate his greatness to those in the middle. For it is a difficult and a dignified thing to show oneself superior to the former, but an easy one to do so to the latter, and, while adopting a dignified manner toward the former is not ill-bred, to do so toward humble people is vulgar, like displaying strength against the weak.
[tr. Reeve (1948)]

It is the mark of a high-minded man, too, never, or hardly ever, to ask for help, but to be of help to others readily, and to be dignified with men of high position or of good fortune, but unassuming with those of middle class, for it is difficult and impressive to be superior to the former, but easy to be so to the latter; and whereas being impressive to the former is not a mark of a lowly man, being so to the humble is crude -- it is like using physical force against the physically weak.
[tr. Apostle (1975)]

Another mark of the magnanimous man is that he never, or only reluctantly, makes a request, whereas he is eager to help others. He his haughty toward those who are influential and successful, but moderate toward those who have an intermediate position in society, because in the former case to be superior is difficult and impressive, but in the latter it is easy' and to create an impression at the expense of the former is not ill-bred, but to do so among the humble is vulgar.
[tr. Thomson/Tredennick (1976)]

It is also characteristic of a great-souled person to ask for nothing, or almost nothing, but to help others readily; and to be dignified in his behavior towards people of distinction or the well-off, but unassuming toward people at the middle level. Superiority over the first group is difficult and impressive, but over the second it is easy, and attempting to impress the first group is not ill-bred, while in the case of humble people it is vulgar, like a show of strength against the weak.
[tr. Crisp (2000)]

It belongs to the great-souled also to need nothing, or scarcely anything, but to be eager to be of service, and to be great in the presence of people of worth and good fortune, but measured toward those of a middling rank. For it is a difficult and august thing to be superior among the fortunate, but easy to be that way among the middling sorts; and to exalt oneself among the former is not a lowborn thing, but to do so among the latter is crude, just as is using one's strength against the weak.
[tr. Bartlett/Collins (2011)]

Sometimes paraphrased:

It is not ill-bred to adopt a high manner with the great and the powerful, but it is vulgar to lord it over humble people.

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Blessed is he who has never been tempted; for he knows not the frailty of his rectitude.

Christopher Morley (1890-1957) American journalist, novelist, essayist, poet
Inward Ho!, ch. 1 (1923)
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Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength — carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.

Corrie ten Boom (1892-1983) Dutch evangelist, concentration camp survivor
He Cares, He Comforts (1977)
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See Spurgeon.
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In general, every evil to which we do not succumb is a benefactor. As the Sandwich Islander believes that the strength and valor of the enemy he kills passes into himself, so we gain the strength of the temptation we resist.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Compensation,” Essays: First Series (1841)
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There is nothing softer and weaker than water.
And yet there is nothing better for attacking hard and strong things.
For this reason there is no substitute for it.
All the world knows that the weak overcomes the strong and the soft overcomes the hard.
But none can practice it.

Lao-tzu (604?-531? BC) Chinese philosopher, poet [also Lao-tse, Laozi]
Tao-te Ching, ch. 78 [tr. Wing-Tsit Chan]
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Terrorism and deception are weapons not of the strong but of the weak.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
In Young India (22 Sep 1920)
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Individual liberty is individual power, and as the power of a community is a mass compounded of individual powers, the nation which enjoys the most freedom must necessarily be in proportion to its numbers the most powerful nation.

John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) US President (1825-29)
Letter to James Lloyd (1 Oct 1822)
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“Charm” — which means the power to effect work without employing brute force — is indispensable to women. Charm is a woman’s strength just as strength is a man’s charm.

Havelock Ellis (1859-1939) British sexologist, physician, social reformer [Henry Havelock Ellis]
The Task of Social Hygiene (1912)
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The humblest citizen of all the land, when clad in the armor of a righteous cause, is stronger than all the hosts of Error.

William Jennings Bryan (1860–1925) American lawyer, statesman, politician, orator
Speech, National Democratic Convention, Chicago (Jul 1896)
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Never complain and never explain.

Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) English politician and author
(Attributed)

Regarding attacks on him in Parliament. Quoted in John Morley, Life of William Ewart Gladstone (1903).
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When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.

Audre Lorde (1934-1992) American writer, feminist, civil rights activist
The Cancer Journals (1997)
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Although men are accused of not knowing their own weakness, yet perhaps as few know their own strength. It is in men as in soils, where sometimes there is a vein of gold, which the owner knows not of.

Swift - vein of gold - wist_info

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) English writer and churchman
“Thoughts on Various Subjects” (1706)
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Law and Justice play no role in the relations of peoples of unequal strength.

Gustave LeBon (1841-1931) German psychologist
Aphorisms of Present Times, 2.6 (1913)
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The turning point in the process of growing up is when you discover the core of strength within you that survives all hurt.

Maxwell "Max" Lerner (1902-1992) American journalist, columnist, educator
The Unfinished Country (1959)
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So, why do you write these strong female characters?

Because you’re still asking me that question.

Joss Whedon (b. 1964) American screenwriter, author, producer [Joseph Hill Whedon]
Equality Now Tribute Address (15 May 2006)
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Rain was coming down in sheets. I could hear it, on the concrete outside and on the old building above me. It creaked and swayed in the spring thunderstorm and the wind, timbers gently flexing, wise enough with age to give a little, rather than put up stubborn resistance until they broke. I could probably stand to learn something from that.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Storm Front, ch. 17 (2000)
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The weak have one weapon: the errors of those who think they are strong.

Georges Bidault (1899-1983) French politician, diplomat
In The Observer (15 Jul 1962)
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Gentle in manner, strong in deed.

[Suaviter in modo, fortirer in re.]

(Other Authors and Sources)
Latin proverb

Pres. Dwight Eisenhower kept a small wooden sign with this proverb on his desk at the White House.
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Man’s greatest strength is shown in standing still.

Edward Young (1683-1765) English poet
“The Complaint: or, Night-Thoughts on Life, Death, & Immortality,” Part 8 “Virtue’s Apology,” l. 922 (1742–1745)
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When we are strong, we are always much greater than the things that happen to us.

Thomas Merton (1915-1968) French-American religious and writer [a.k.a. Fr. M. Louis]
No Man Is an Island, 7.7 (1955)
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Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
In Young India (11 Aug 1920)
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We acquire the strength we have overcome.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Considerations by the Way,” The Conduct of Life, ch. 7 (1860)
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He who has the most friends and the fewest enemies is the strongest.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (11 Nov 1752)
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I was too weak to defend, so I attacked.

Robert E. Lee (1807-1870) American military leader
(Attributed)

On his strategy at the Battle of Chancellorsville (1863).
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I git thar fustest with the mostest.

Nathan Bedford Forrest (1821-1877) American / Confederate military leader
(Attributed)

Sometimes "corrected" as "I get there firstest with the mostest men," first found in print in a New York Tribune article about Civil War generals. The New York Times (28 May 1918) speculatively corrected this to "Ma'am, I get thar first with the most men." Elsewhere given as "I always make a rule to get there first with the most men."
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The strong do what they can, and the weak suffer what they must.

Thucydides (c. 460-400 BC) Greek historian
History of the Peloponnesian War, Book 5, ch. 89 [tr. Crawley and Wick (1982)]
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The moral dilemma that is presented to the weak in a world governed by the strong: Break the rules or perish.

George Orwell (1903-1950) English writer [pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair]
“Such, Such Were the Joys” (1947)
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Let us speak, though we show all our faults and weaknesses — for it is a sign of strength to be weak, to know it, and out with it — not in a set way and ostentatiously, but incidentally and without premeditation.

Herman Melville (1819-1891) American writer
Letter to Nathaniel Hawthorne (29 Jun 1851)
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