Reference > Quotations > S. Austin Allibone, comp. > Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay
S. Austin Allibone, comp.  Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay.  1880.
  Annihilate not the mercies of God by the oblivion of ingratitude: for oblivion is a kind of annihilation; and for things to be as though they had not been, is like unto never being. Make not thy head a grave, but a repository of God’s mercies…. Register not only strange, but merciful occurrences. Let ephemerides, not olympiads, give thee account of His mercies; thy diaries stand thick with dutiful mementos and asterisks of acknowledgment.
Sir Thomas Browne: Christian Morals, Pt. I., xxi.    
  He that forgets his friend is ungrateful to him; but he that forgets his Saviour is unmerciful to himself.
John Bunyan.    
  How many examples have we seen of men that have been picked up and relieved out of starving necessities afterwards conspire against their patrons!
Roger L’Estrange.    
  Ingratitude is abhorred by God and man.
Roger L’Estrange.    
  High minds are as little affected by such unworthy returns for services, as the sun is by those fogs which the earth throws up between herself and his light.
Thomas Moore: Life of Sheridan, vol. ii., ch. iv.    
  Do you know what is more hard to bear than the reverses of fortune? It is the baseness, the hideous ingratitude, of man. I turn my head in disgust from their cowardice and selfishness. I hold life in horror: death is repose,—repose at last. What I have suffered for the last twenty days cannot be comprehended.
Napoleon I., in 1814: Recollections of Caulaincourt.    
  One great cause of our insensibility to the goodness of our Creator is the very extensiveness of his bounty.
William Paley.    
  We seldom find people ungrateful as long as we are in a condition to render them services.  8
  As there are no laws extant against ingratitude, so it is utterly impossible to contrive any that in all circumstances shall reach it. If it were actionable, there would not be courts enough in the whole world to try the causes in. There could be no setting a day for the requiting of benefits as for the payment of money; nor any estimate upon the benefits themselves; but the whole matter rests in the conscience of both parties: and then there are so many degrees of it, that the same rule will never serve all.
  There is no benefit so large but malignity will still lessen it; none so narrow which a good interpretation will not enlarge. No man can ever be grateful that views a benefit on the wrong side, or takes a good office by the wrong handle. The avaricious man is naturally ungrateful, for he never thinks he has enough, but, without considering what he has, only minds what he covets. Some pretend want of power to make a competent return, and you shall find in others a kind of graceless modesty, that makes a man ashamed of requiting an obligation, because it is a confession that he has received one.
  Two vices I shall mention as being of near cognation to ingratitude: pride, and hard-heartedness, or want of compassion.
Robert South.    
  How black and base a vice ingratitude is may be seen in those vices which it is always in combination with, pride, and hard-heartedness, or want of compassion.
Robert South.    
  Ingratitude and compassion never cohabit in the same breast; which shows the superlative malignity of this vice, and the baseness of the mind in which it dwells.
Robert South.    
  All examples represent Ingratitude as sitting in its throne, with Pride at its right hand, and Cruelty at its left,—worthy supporters of such a reigning impiety.
Robert South.    
  There is not any one vice incident to the mind of man against which the world has raised such a loud and universal outcry as against ingratitude.
Robert South.    
  I may truly say of the mind of an ungrateful person, that it is kindness-proof. It is impenetrable, unconquerable; unconquerable by that which conquers all things else, even by love itself. Flints may be melted,—we see it daily,—but an ungrateful heart cannot; no, not by the strongest and the noblest flame.
Robert South.    
  By an exact parity of reason, we may argue, if a man has no sense of those kindnesses that pass upon him from one like himself, whom he sees and knows, how much less shall his heart be affected with the grateful sense of His favours whom he converses with only by imperfect speculations, by the discourses of reason, or the discoveries of faith?
Robert South.    
  The unthankful stand reckoned among the most enormous sinners; which evinces the virtue opposite to unthankfulness to bear the same place in the rank of duties.
Robert South.    
  The greatest evils in human society are such as no law can come at; as in the case of ingratitude, where the manner of obliging very often leaves the benefactor without means of demanding justice, though that very circumstance should be the more binding to the person who has received the benefit.
Sir Richard Steele: Tatler, No. 61.    
  He that calls a man ungrateful sums up all the evil that a man can be guilty of.
Jonathan Swift.    
  One ungrateful man does an injury to all who stand in need of aid.
Publius Syrus.    
  With some minds of a baser nature, there is a difficulty, proverbially, in forgiving those whom one is conscious of having injured; and, again, those (especially if equals or inferiors) who have done very great and important services, beyond what can ever receive an adequate return. Rochefoucault even says that “to most men it is less dangerous to do hurt than to do them too much good.” But then it was his system to look on the dark side only of mankind.  22
  Tacitus also, who is not very unlike him in this respect, says that “benefits are acceptable as far as it appears they may he repaid; but that when they far exceed this, hatred takes the place of gratitude.” It is only, however, as has been said, the basest natures to whom any of these last-mentioned trials can occur as trials.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Revenge.    

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