Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Labor

"Industry is not only the instrument of improvement, but the foundation of pleasure. He who is a stranger to it may possess, but cannot enjoy; for it is labor only which gives relish to pleasure. It is the appointed vehicle of every good to man. It is the indispensable condition of possessing a sound mind in a sound body." - Hugh Blair

"The confirmed prejudices of a thoughtful life are as hard to change as the confirmed habits of an indolent life; and as some must trifle away age because they trifled away youth, others must labor on in a maze of error because they have wandered there too long to find their way out." - Henry St John, Lord Bolingbroke, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke

"The true Indian sets no price upon either his property or his labor. His generosity is limited only by his strength and ability. He regards it as an honor to be selected for a difficult or dangerous service, and would think it shameful to ask for any reward, saying rather: “Let the person I serve express his thanks according to his own bringing up and his sense of honor.”" - Charles Alexander Eastman, first named Ohiyesa

"Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom." - Albert Einstein

"I respect the man who knows distinctly what he wishes. The greater part of all the mischief in the world arises from the fact that men do not sufficiently understand their own aims. They have undertaken to build a tower, and spend no more labor on the foundation than would be necessary to erect a hut." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"What delight will it afford to renew the sweet counsel we have taken together, to recount the toils, the combats, and the labor of the way, and to approach, not the house, but the throne of God, in company, in order to join in the symphonies of heavenly voices, and lose ourselves amidst the splendors and fruitions of the beatific vision." - Robert Hall

"To meditate is to labor; to think is to act." - Victor Hugo

"There’ll be no night in Heav’n, In that blest world above; No anxious toil, no weary hours; For labor there is love. There’ll be no sorrow there, There’ll be no sorrow there, In Heav’n above, where all is love, There’ll be no sorrow there. There’ll be no grief in Heav’n, For life is one glad day, And tears are those of former things Which all have passed way. There’ll be no sin in Heav’n; Behold that blessèd throng, All holy in their spotless robes, All holy in their song." - Frederick Dan Huntington

"Mankind have a great aversion to intellectual labor, but, even supposing knowledge to be easily attainable, more people would be content to be ignorant than would take even a little trouble to acquire it." -

"To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition, the end to which every enterprise and labor tends and of which every desire prompts the prosecution." -

"To better understand one another, we should all swap places for a while with each other. Every doctor should have an operation, every policeman and minister spend a number of months in jail and every industrialist become a labor-union member." -

"The desire of one man to live on the fruits of another's labor is the original sin of the world." - John O'Brien

"Love labor: for if thou dost not want it for food, thou mayest for physic. It is wholesome for the body and good for thy mind." - William Penn

"Withdraw into yourself and look. And if you do not find yourself beautiful yet, act as does the creator of a statue that is to be made beautiful: he cuts away here, he smoothes there, he makes this line lighter, this other purer, until a lovely face has grown upon his work. so do you also: cut away all that is excessive, straighten all that is crooked, bring light to all that is overcast, labor to make all one glow of beauty and never cease chiseling your statue, until there shall shine out on you from it the godlike splendor of virtue, until you shall see the perfect goodness surely established in the stainless shrine." - Plotinus NULL

"No labor is hard, no time is long, wherein the glory of eternity is the mark we level at." - Francis Quarles

"We hear in these days a great deal respecting rights - the rights of labor, the rights of property, and the rights of man. Rights are grand things, divine things in this world of God’s; but the way in which we expound these rights, alas! seems to me to be the very incarnation of selfishness. I can see nothing very noble in a man who is forever going about calling for his own rights. Alas! alas! for the man who feels nothing more grand in this wondrous, divine world than his own rights." -

"Temperance and labor are the two best physicians; the one sharpens the appetite - the other prevents indulgence to excess." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"The confirmed prejudices of a thoughtful life, are as hard to change as the confirmed habits of an indolent life: and as some must trifle away age, because they trifled away youth, others must labor on in a maze of error, because they have wandered there too long to find their way out." - Henry St John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke

"If any young man expects without faith, without thought, without study, without patient, persevering labor, in the midst of and in spite of discouragement, to attain anything in this world tht is worth attaining, he will simply wake up, by-and-by, and find that he has been playing the part of a fool." - Minot Judson Savage

"Difficulties strengthen the mind, as well as labor does the body." -

"That charity alone endures which flows from a sense of duty and a hope in God. this is the charity that treads in secret those paths of misery from which all but the lowest of human wretches have fled; this is that charity which no labor can weary, no ingratitude detach, no horror disgust; that toils, that pardons, that suffers; that is seen by no man, and honored by no man, but, like the great laws of Nature, does the work of God in silence, and looks to a future and better world for its reward." - Sydney Smith

"Nothing in this life, after health and virtue, is more estimable than knowledge, nor is there anything so easily attained, or so cheaply purchased, the labor, only sitting still, and the expense but time, which, if we do not spend, we cannot save." - Lawrence Sterne, alternatively Laurence Sterne

"A man who raises himself by degrees to wealth and power, contracts, in the course of this protracted labor, habits of prudence and restraint which he cannot afterwards shake off. A man cannot gradually enlarge his mind as he does his house." -

"Employment gives health, sobriety, and morals. Constant employment and well-paid labor produce in a country like ours, general prosperity, content and cheerfulness." - Daniel Webster

"In activity we must find our joy as well as glory; and labor, like everything else, that is good, is its own reward." - Edwin Percy Whipple

"We must be knit together in this work as one man; we must entertain each other in brotherly affection; we must uphold a familiar commerce together in all meekness, gentleness, patience and liberality. We must delight in each other, make others’ conditions our own, rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together; always having before our eyes our commission and community as members of the same body." - John Winthrop

"Machines are beneficial to the degree that they eliminate the need for labor, harmful to the degree that they eliminate the need for skill." - W. H. Auden, fully Wystan Hugh Auden

"Fires can't be made with dead embers, nor can enthusiasm be stirred by spiritless men. Enthusiasm in our daily work lightens effort and turns even labor into pleasant tasks." - Stanley Baldwin, 1st Earl of Bewdley

"Idleness is a constant sin, and labor is a duty. Idleness is the devil's home for temptation and for unprofitable, distracting musings; while labor profiteth others and ourselves." - Anne Baxter

"From labor, health; from health, contentment springs." - James Beattie

"Having once decided to achieve a certain task, achieve it at all costs of tedium and distaste. The gain in self-confidence of having accomplished a tiresome labor is immense." - Arnold Bennett, fully Enoch Thomas Arnold Bennett

"Industry is not only the instrument of improvement, but the foundation of pleasure. He who is a stranger to it may possess, but cannot enjoy, for it is labor only which give relish to pleasure. It is the indispensable condition of possessing a sound mind in a sound body, and is the appointed vehicle of every good to man." -

"Keep the middle path of strength and virtue, lest you be overwhelmed by misfortune or corrupted by pleasant fortune. All that falls short or goes too far ahead, has contempt for happiness, and gains not the reward for labor done. It rests in your own hands what shall be the nature of the fortune which you choose to form for yourself. For all fortune which seems difficult, either exercises virtue, or corrects or punishes vice." - Boethius, fully Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius NULL

"The confirmed prejudices of the thoughtful life, are as hard to change as the confirmed habits of an indolent life; and as most must trifle away age, because they trifled away youth, others must labor on the maze of error, because they have wandered there too long to find their way." - Henry Bolingbroke, Henry IV of England

"In these days half our diseases come from neglect of the body, and the over work of the brain. In this railway age the wear and tear of labor and intellect go on without pause or self-pity. We live longer than our forefathers; but we suffer more, from a thousand artificial anxieties and cares. They fatigued only the muscles; we exhaust the finer strength of the nerves." - Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, fully Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, Lord Lytton

"What men want is not talent, it is purpose; in other words, not the power to achieve, but will to labor. I believe that labor judiciously and continuously applied becomes genius." - Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, fully Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, Lord Lytton

"As dogs in a wheel, or squirrels in a cage, ambitious men still climb and climb, with great labor and incessant anxiety, but never reach the top." -

"Luck relies on chance. Labor on character." - Richard Cobden

"Enthusiasm is the element of success in everything. It is the light that leads and the strength that lifts men on and up in the great struggles of scientific pursuits and of professional labor. It robs endurance of difficulty, and makes a pleasure of duty." - William Croswell Doane

"Real merit requires as much labor, to be placed in a true light, a humbug to be elevated to an unworthy eminence; only the success of the false is temporary that of the true, immortal." - Francis Alexander "F.A." Durivage, wrote under pen name "Old Un"

"There is no expedient to which a man will not go to avoid the real labor of thinking." -

"When I want to discover something, I begin by reading up everything that has been done along that line in the past, that's is what all these books in the library are for. I see what has been accomplished at great labor and expense in the past. I gather the data of many thousands of experiments as a starting point, and then I make thousands of more." -

"If by saying that all men are born free and equal, you mean that they are all equally born; it is true, but true in no other sense; birth, talent, labor, virtue, and providence, are forever making differences." - David Eugene Edwards

"In war it serves that we may poison and mutilate each other. In peace it has made our lives hurried and uncertain. Instead of freeing us in great measure from spiritually exhausting labor, it has made men into slaves of machinery, who for the most part complete their monotonous long days' work with disgust and must continually tremble for their poor rations." - Albert Einstein

"There is no expedient to which a man will not go to avoid the real labor of thinking." - Albert Einstein

"What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined for life - to strengthen each other in all labor, to rest on each other in all sorrow, to minister to each other in all pain, to be one with each other in silent, unspeakable memories at the moment of the last parting." - George Eliot, pen name of Mary Ann or Marian Evans

"Providence has decreed that those common acquisitions - money, gems, plate, noble mansions and dominion - should be sometimes bestowed on the indolent and unworthy; but those things which constitute our true riches, and which are properly our own, must be procured by our own labor." -

"Sweet is the memory of past labor." - Euripedes NULL

"Beware of fatiguing them by ill-judged exactness. If virtue offers itself to the child under a melancholy and constrained aspect, while liberty and license present themselves under an agreeable form, all is lost, and your labor is in vain." - François Fénelon, fully Francois de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon

"Wine is the source of the greatest evils among communities. It causes diseases, quarrels, seditions, idleness, aversion to labor, and family disorders... It is s species of poison that causes madness. It does not make a man die, but it degrades him into a brute. Men may preserve their health and vigor without wine; with wine they run the risk of ruining their health and losing their morals." - François Fénelon, fully Francois de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon