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When I behold what pleasure is Pursuit,
What life, what glorious eagerness it is,
Then mark how full Possession falls from this,
How fairer seems the blossom than the fruit,--
I am perplext, and often stricken mute.
Wondering which attained the higher bliss,
The wing'd insect, or the chrysalis
It thrust aside with unreluctant foot.
- Thomas Bailey Aldrich,
Sonnet--Pursuit and Possession
Man should not consider his material possession his own, but as common to all, so as to share them without hesitation when others are in need.
- Saint Thomas Aquinas
The only test of possession is use. The talent that is buried is not owned. The napkin and the hole in the ground are far more truly the man's property, because they are accomplishing something for him, slothful and shameful though it be. And what is a lost soul? Is it not one that God cannot use, or one that cannot use God? Trustless, prayerless, fruitless, loveless--is it not so far lost? So may a man have a soul that is lost and be dead while he lives.
- Maltbie Davenport Babcock
All our possessions are as nothing compared to health, strength, and a clear conscience.
- Hosea Ballou
Women are happy to possess a man whom all women covet.
- Honore de Balzac
As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
- Bible, II Corinthians (ch. VI, v. 10)
Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?
- Bible, Matthew (ch. XX, v. 15)
For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
- Bible, Matthew (ch. XXV, v. 29)
That possession was the strongest tenure of the law.
- Bidpai (Pilpay), The Cat and the Two Birds
(chap. v, fable iv)
Exclusive property is a theft against nature.
[Fr., La propriete exclusive est un vol dans la nature.]
- Jean Pierre Brissot de Warville
When we have not what we love, we must love what we have.
[Fr., Quand on n'a pas ce que l'on aime,
Il faut aimer ce que l'on a.]
- Roger de Bussy-Rabutin (de Bussy),
Lettre a Mme. de Sevigne
I die,--but first I have possess'd,
And come what may, I have been bless'd.
- Lord Byron (George Gordon Noel Byron),
The Giaour (l. 1,114)
Britannia needs no bulwarks
No towers along the steep;
Her march is o'er the mountain wave,
Her home is on the deep.
- Thomas Campbell, Ye Mariners of England
Providence has given to the French the empire of the land, to the English that of the sea, to the Germans that of--the air!
- Thomas Carlyle, Essays--Richter
This is the truth as I see it, my dear,
Out in the wind and the rain:
They who have nothing have little to fear,
Nothing to lose or to gain.
- Madison Julius Cawein, The Bellman
What is dishonestly got vanishes in profligacy.
- Cicero (Marcus Tullius Cicero) (often called "Tully" for short)
What is dishonorably got, is dishonorably squandered.
[Lat., Male parta, male dilabuntur.]
- Cicero (Marcus Tullius Cicero) (often called "Tully" for short),
Philippicoe (II, 27)
We only begin to realize the value of our possessions when we commence to do good to others with them. No earthly investment pays so large an interest as charity.
- Joseph Cook
Ah, yet, e'er I descend to th' grave,
May I a small House and a large Garden have.
And a few Friends, and many Books both true,
Both wise, and both delightful too.
And since Love ne'er will from me flee,
A mistress moderately fair,
And good as Guardian angels are,
Only belov'd and loving me.
- Abraham Cowley, The Wish (st. 2)
All the good things of this world are no further good than as they are of use; and whatever we may heap up to give to others, we enjoy only as much of as we can use.
- Daniel Defoe
Of a rich man who was mean and niggardly, he said, "That man does not possess his estate, but his estate possesses him."
- Laertius Diogenes,
Lives of Eminent Philosophers
Property has its duties as well as its rights.
- Thomas Drummond,
Letter to the Tipperary Magistrates
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, "Good fences make good neighbors."
- Robert Lee Frost, Mending Wall
It may be said of them [the Hollanders], as of the Spaniards, that the sun never sets upon their Dominions.
- Thomas Gage,
New Survey of the West Indies--Epistle Dedicatory,
For what one has in black and white,
One can carry home in comfort.
[Ger., Denn was man schwarz auf weiss besitzt,
Kann man getrost nach Hause tragen.]
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust
(I, 4, 42)
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