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[ Also see Baseness Bribery Conspiracy Crime Dishonesty Fraud Gold Government Guilt Honesty Politics Pollution Public Trust Purity Reform Statesmanship Sun Treachery Vice Wickedness Wrong ]

I have been young and am now old, and have not yet known an untruthful man to come to a good end.
      - Berthold Auerbach

The spiritual virtue of a sacrament is like light; although it passes among the impure, it is not polluted.
  [Lat., Spiritalis enim virtus sacramenti ita est ut lux: etsi per immundos transeat, non inquinatur.]
      - Saint Aurelius Augustine (Augustine of Hippo),
        Works (vol. III)

Corruption is a tree, whose branches are
  Of an immeasurable length: they spread
    Ev'rywhere; and the dew that drops from thence
      Hath infected some chairs and stools of authority.
      - Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher,
        Honest Man's Fortune (act III, sc. 3)

The first sign of corruption in a society that is still alive is that the end justifies the means.
      - Georges Bernanos

I either want less corruption, or more chance to participate in it.
      - Ashleigh Brilliant

Among a people generally corrupt liberty cannot long exist.
      - Edmund Burke

But though bare merit might in Rome appear
  The strongest plea for favour, 'tis not here;
    We form our judgment in another way;
      And they will best succeed, who best can pay;
        Those, who would gain the votes of British tribes,
          Must add to force of merit, force of bribes.
      - Charles Churchill

Men by associating in large masses, as in camps, and in cities, improve their talents, but impair their virtues and strengthen their minds, but weaken their morals; thus a retrocession in the one is too often the price they pay for a refinement in the other.
      - Charles Caleb Colton

Examine well his milk-white hand, the palm is hardly clean,--but here and there an ugly smutch appears. Foh! It was a bribe that left it. He has touched corruption.
      - William Cowper

Whoso seeks an audit here
  Propitious, pays his tribute, game or fish,
    Wild fowl or venison, and his errand speeds.
      - William Cowper

. . . thieves at home must hang; but he that puts
  Into his overgorged and bloated purse
    The wealth of Indian provinces, escapes.
      - William Cowper, Task (bk. I, l. 736)

'Tis the most certain sign, the world's accurst
  That the best things corrupted, are the worst;
    'Twas the corrupted Light of knowledge, hurl'd
      Sin, Death, and Ignorance o'er all the world;
        That Sun like this (from which our sight we have)
          Gaz'd on too long, resumes the light he gave.
      - Sir John Denham, Progress of Learning

Corruption never has been compulsory.
      - Anthony Eden

I know, when they prove bad, they are a sort of the vilest creatures: yet still the same reason gives it: for Optima corrupta pessima: the best things corrupted become the worst.
      - Owen Felltham (Feltham), Resolves
         (XXX, Of Woman, p. 70),
        (Pickering's Reprint of Fourth Edition)

When rogues like these (a sparrow cries)
  To honours and employments rise,
    I court no favor, ask no place,
      For such preferment is disgrace.
      - John Gay, Fables (pt. II, fable 2)

Here let those reign, whom pensions can incite,
  To vote a patriot black, a courtier white,
    Explain their country's dear-bought rights away
      And plead for pirates in the face of day.
      - Samuel Johnson (a/k/a Dr. Johnson) ("The Great Cham of Literature")

Be certain that he who has betrayed thee once will betray thee again.
      - Johann Kaspar Lavater (John Caspar Lavater)

Hence, wretched nation! all thy woes arise,
  Avow'd corruption, licens'd perjuries,
    Eternal taxes, treaties for a day,
      Servants that rule, and senates that obey.
      - Lord George Lyttelton, 1st Baron Lyttelton ("The Good Lord Lyttelton")

The impious man, who sells his country's freedom
  Makes all the guilt of tyranny his own.
    His are her slaughters, her oppressions his;
      Just heav'n! reserve your choicest plagues for him,
        And blast the venal wretch.
      - Henry Martyn

If, ye powers divine!
  Ye mark the movements of this nether world
    And bring them to account! Crush, crush, those vipers,
      Who singled out by a community
        To guard their rights, shall, for a grasp of air,
          Or paltry office, sell them to the foe.
      - James Miller, Mahomet

He who tempts, though in vain, at last asperses
  The tempted with dishonor foul, supposed
    Not incorruptible of faith, not proof
      Against temptation.
      - John Milton

And conscience, truth and honesty are made
  To rise and fall, like other wares of trade.
      - Thomas Moore

Where is something in corruption which, like a jaundiced eye, transfer the color of itself to the object it looks upon, and sees everything stained and impure.
      - Thomas Paine

At length corruption, like a general flood
  (So long by watchful ministers withstood),
    Shall deluge all; and avarice, creeping on,
      Spread like a low-born mist, and blot the sun.
      - Alexander Pope, Moral Essays
         (ep. III, l. 135)

The corruption of the best is the worst.
  [Lat., Corruptio optimi pessima.]
      - Proverb, (Latin)

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