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DISCONTENT
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[ Also see Complaining Contentment Despondency Disappointment Dissatisfaction Grumbling Misery Moroseness Rebellion Resentment Restlessness Satisfaction Unhappiness ]

'T is not my talent to conceal my thoughts, or carry smiles and sunshine in my face when discontent sits heavy at my heart.
      - Joseph Addison

Discontent is the source of all trouble, but also of all progress in individuals and in nations.
      - Berthold Auerbach

In such a strait the wisest may well be perplexed, and the boldest staggered.
      - Edmund Burke,
        Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents
         (vol. I, p. 516)

It's hardly in a body's power
  To keep at times, frae being sour,
    To see how things are shar'd;
      How best o' chiels are whyles in want,
        While coofs on countless thousands rant,
          And ken na how to wear't.
      - Robert Burns

Whoe'er was edified, themselves were not.
      - William Cowper, Task
         (bk. II, The Time Piece, l. 444)

Discontent is the want of self-reliance: it is infirmity of will.
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Discontents are sometimes the better part of our life. I know not well which is the most useful; joy I may choose for pleasure, but adversities are the best for profit; and sometimes those do so far help me, as I should, without them, want much of the joy I have.
      - Owen Felltham (Feltham)

To the discontented man no chair is easy.
      - Benjamin Franklin

The malcontent is neither well, full nor fasting; and though he abounds with complaints, yet nothing dislikes him but the present; for what he condemns while it was, once passed, he magnifies and strives to recall it out of the jaw of time. What he hath he seeth not, his eyes are so taken up with what he wants; and what he sees he careth not for, because be cares so much for that which is not.
      - Joseph Hall

Who with a little cannot be content, endures an everlasting punishment.
      - Robert Herrick

The best things beyond their measure cloy.
      - Homer ("Smyrns of Chios"), The Iliad
         (bk. XIII, l. 795), (Pope's translation)

How does it happen, Maecenas, that no one is content with that lot in life which he has chosen, or which chance has thrown in his way, but praises those who follow a different course?
  [Lat., Qui fit, Maecenas, ut nemo quam sibi sortem,
    Seu ratio dederit, seu fors objecerit, illa
      Contentus vivat? laudet diversa sequentes.]
      - Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus), Satires
         (I, 1, 1)

Such is the emptiness of human enjoyment that we are always impatient of the present. Attainment is followed by neglect, and possession by disgust.
      - Samuel Johnson (a/k/a Dr. Johnson) ("The Great Cham of Literature")

Unhappy man! He frets at the narrow limits of the world.
  [Lat., Aestuat infelix angusto limite mundi.]
      - Juvenal (Decimus Junius Juvenal), Satires
         (X, 168)

It happens as with cages; the birds without despair to get in, and those within despair of getting out.
      - Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

To sigh, yet feel no pain,
  To weep, yet scarce know why;
    To sport an hour with Beauty's chain,
      Then throw it idly by.
      - Thomas Moore,
        Songs from M.P.; or, The Blue Stocking

Against our peace we arm our will;
  Amidst our plenty something still,
    For horses, houses, pictures planting,
      To thee, to me, to him is wanting;
        That cruel something unpossest
          Corrodes and leavens all the rest,
            That something if we could obtain,
              Would soon create a future pain.
      - Matthew Prior

Men are merely on a lower or higher stage of an eminence, whose summit is God's throne infinitely above all; and there is just as much reason for the wisest as for the simplest man being discontent with his position, as respects the real quantity of knowledge he possesses.
      - John Ruskin

O thoughts of men accurst! Past and to come seems best; things present, worst.
      - William Shakespeare

What is more miserable than discontent?
      - William Shakespeare

Past and to come seems best, things present worst.
      - William Shakespeare,
        King Henry the Fourth, Part II
         (Scroop, Archbishop of York at I, iii)

I see your brows are full of discontent,
  Your hearts of sorrow, and your eyes of tears.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Tragedy of King Richard the Second
         (Abbot at V, i)

I know a discontented gentleman
  Whose humble means match not his haughty spirit:
    Gold were as good as twenty orators,
      And will, no doubt, tempt him to anything.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Tragedy of King Richard the Third
         (Page at IV, ii)

Man hath a weary pilgrimage,
  As through the word he wends;
    On every stage, from youth to age,
      Still discontent attends.
      - Robert Southey

Woman's discontent increases in exact proportion to her development.
      - Elizabeth Cady Stanton


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