An aphorism is nothing else but the slightest
form of writing raised to the highest level of expressive communication. Carl William Brown





The line of life is a ragged diagonal between duty and desire.


William R. Alger (1822-1905, American writer)


He who is false to present duty breaks a thread in the loom, and will find the flaw when he may have forgotten its cause.


Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887, American preacher, orator, writer)


Duty. That which sternly impels us in the direction of profit, along the line of desire.


Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914, American author, editor, journalist, "The Devil's Dictionary")


Do the duty which lies nearest to you, the second duty will then become clearer.


Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881, Scottish philosopher, author)


Our duty, as men and women, is to proceed as if limits to our ability did not exist. We are collaborators in creation.


Pierre Teilhard De Chardin (1881-1955, French Christian mystic, author)


When one has come to accept a certain course as duty he has a pleasant sense of relief and of lifted responsibility, even if the course involves pain and renunciation. It is like obedience to some external authority; any clear way, though it lead to death, is mentally preferable to the tangle of uncertainty.


Charles Horton Cooley (1864-1929, American sociologist)


Do your duty and leave the rest to heaven.


Pierre Corneille (1606-1684, French dramatist)


Duty cannot exist without faith.


Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881, British statesman, Prime Minister)


Love can do much, but duty more.


Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832, German poet, dramatist, novelist)


The reward of one's duty is the power to fulfill another.


George Eliot (1819-1880, British novelist)


Do that which is assigned to you and you cannot hope too much or dare too much.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


Oh! Duty is an icy shadow. It will freeze you. It cannot fill the heart's sanctuary.


Augusta Jane Evans (1835-1909, American writer)


Duty largely consists of pretending that the trivial is critical.


John Fowles (1926-, British novelist)


I sighed as a lover, I obeyed as a son.


Edward Gibbon (1737-1794, British historian)


How can we know ourselves? Never by reflection, but only through action. Begin at once to do your duty and immediately you will know what is inside you.


Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832, German poet, dramatist, novelist)


But in his duty prompt at every call, he watched and wept, he prayed and felt for all.


Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774, Anglo-Irish author, poet, playwright)


The rule of joy and the law of duty seem to me all one.


Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (1841-1935, American judge)


I slept, and dreamed that life was beauty; I woke, and found that life was Duty.


Ellen Sturgis Hooper (1816-1841, American poet)


It is not enough for us to prostrate ourselves under the tree which is Creation, and to contemplate its tremendous branches filled with stars. We have a duty to perform, to work upon the human soul, to defend the mystery against the miracle, to worship the incomprehensible while rejecting the absurd; to accept, in the inexplicable, only what is necessary; to dispel the superstitions that surround religion -- to rid God of His Maggots.


Victor Hugo (1802-1885, French poet, dramatist, novelist)


Without duty, life is sort of boneless; it cannot hold itself together.


Joseph Joubert (1754-1824, French moralist)


Activate yourself to duty by remembering your position, who you are, and what you have obliged yourself to be.


Thomas a Kempis (1379-1471, German monk, mystic, religious writer)


Consult duty, not events.


Walter Savage Landor (1775-1864, British poet, essayist)


Duty is the sublimest word in the language. You can never do more than your duty. You should never wish to do less.


Robert E. Lee (1807-1870, American confederate army commander)


The sense of obligation to continue is present in all of us. A duty to strive is the duty of us all. I felt a call to that duty.


Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865, American President (16th))


The sense of obligation to continue is present in all of us. A duty to strive is the duty of us all. I felt a call to that duty.


Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865, American President (16th))


It is an achievement for a man to do his duty on earth irrespective of the consequences.


Nelson Mandela (1918-, South African president)


Possession without obligation to the object possessed approaches felicity.


George Meredith (1828-1909, British author)


Duty is a very personal thing. It is what comes from knowing the need to take action and not just a need to urge others to do something.


Mother Teresa (1910-1997, Albanian-born Roman Catholic missionary)


Rank imposes obligation.




A duty dodged is like a debt unpaid; it is only deferred, and we must come back and settle the account at last.


Joseph Fort Newton


The most beautiful things in the universe are the starry heavens above us and the feeling of duty within us.


Indian Proverb (Sayings of Indian origin)


Let others laugh when you sacrifice desire to duty, if they will. You have time and eternity to rejoice in.


Theodore Parker (1810-1860, American minister)


Let us do our duty, in our shop in our kitchen, in the market, the street, the office, the school, the home, just as faithfully as if we stood in the front rank of some great battle, and knew that victory for mankind depends on our bravery, strength, and skill. When we do that, the humblest of us will be serving in that great army which achieves the welfare of the world.


Theodore Parker (1810-1860, American minister)


Who escapes a duty, avoids a gain.


Theodore Parker (1810-1860, American minister)


Never step over one duty to perform another.


English Proverb (Sayings of British origin)


Where there are no rights, there are no duties.


Henri Benjamin Rebecque (1767-1830, French writer, orator, statesman)


Every right implies a responsibility; Every opportunity, an obligation, Every possession, a duty.


John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937, American industrialist, philanthropist, founder Exxon)


Much has been given us, and much will rightfully be expected from us. We have duties to others and duties to ourselves; and we can shirk neither.


Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919,  American President (26th))


The first requisite of a good citizen in this republic of ours is that he shall be able and willing to pull his weight.


Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919,  American President (26th))


A sense of duty is useful in work but offensive in personal relations. People wish to be liked, not to be endured with patient resignation.


Bertrand Russell (1872-1970, British philosopher, mathematician, essayist)


It is wonderful what strength of purpose and boldness and energy of will are roused by the assurance that we are doing our duty.


Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832, British novelist, poet)


When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty.


George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950, Irish-born British dramatist)


No eulogy is due to him who simply does his duty and nothing more.


St. Augustine (354-430, Numidian-born bishop of Hippo, theologian)


There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy.


Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1895, Scottish essayist, poet, novelist)


When we can say no not only to things that are wrong and sinful, but also to things pleasant, profitable, and good which would hinder and clog our grand duties and our chief work, we shall understand more fully what life is worth, and how to make the most of it.


Charles A. Stoddard


It is easier to do one's duty to others than to one's self. If you do your duty to others, you are considered reliable. If you do your duty to yourself, you are considered selfish.


Thomas Szasz (1920-, American psychiatrist)


For many years I was a self-appointed inspector of snowstorms and rainstorms and did my duty faithfully, though I never received payment for it.


Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862, American essayist, poet, naturalist)


Do something every day that you don't want to do. This is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain.


Mark Twain (1835-1910, American humorist, writer)


Duties are not performed for duty's sake, but because their neglect would make the man uncomfortable. A man performs but one duty -- the duty of contenting his spirit, the duty of making himself agreeable to himself.


Mark Twain (1835-1910, American humorist, writer)


Oh, duty is what one expects from others, it is not what one does oneself.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


The first duty of life is to be as artificial as possible. What the second duty is no one as yet discovered.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


 Back to Daimon Library English Quotes Search Page


website tracking