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It is not that there may be relief for others and hardship for you, but it is a question of equality. ~ Paul of Tarsus

Philanthropy is the conduct of private initiatives for the public good. The term literally means "the love of humanity" — love in the sense of caring for, nourishing, developing, or enhancing; humanity in the sense of "what it is to be human," or "human potential".


  • O proud philanthropist, your hope is vain
    To get by giving what you lost by gain.
    • Ambrose Bierce, "Epigrams" in The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce, Vol. 8 (1911), p. 349.
  • Let your alms sweat in your hands, until you know to whom you should give.
  • His house was known to all the vagrant train,
    He chid their wanderings but reliev'd their pain;
    The long remembered beggar was his guest,
    Whose beard descending swept his aged breast.
  • Steal the hog, and give the feet for alms.
  • It is not that there may be relief for others and hardship for you, but it is a question of equality .
  • For this relief, much thanks: 'tis bitter cold,
    And I am sick at heart.
  • Speak with me, pity me, open the door:
    A beggar begs that never begg'd before.
  • You find people ready enough to do the Samaritan, without the oil and twopence.
    • Sydney Smith, Lady Holland's Memoir (1855), Volume I, p. 261.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 595-96.
  • Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.
    • Acts, IX. 36.
  • Gifts and alms are the expressions, not the essence, of this virtue.
  • He scorn'd his own, who felt another's woe.
  • Our sympathy is cold to the relation of distant misery.
    • Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chapter XLIX.
  • A kind and gentle heart he had,
    To comfort friends and foes;
    The naked every day he clad
    When he put on his clothes.
  • Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere,
    Heaven did a recompense as largely send;
    He gave to misery (all he had) a tear,
    He gain'd from Heaven ('twas all he wish'd) a friend.
  • Scatter plenty o'er a smiling land.
  • By Jove the stranger and the poor are sent,
    And what to those we give, to Jove is lent.
    • Homer, The Odyssey, Book VI, line 247. Pope's translation.
  • It never was our guise
    To slight the poor, or aught humane despise.
    • Homer, The Odyssey, Book XIV, line 65. Pope's translation.
  • In every sorrowing soul I pour'd delight,
    And poverty stood smiling in my sight.
    • Homer, The Odyssey, Book XVII, line 505. Pope's translation.
  • Alas! for the rarity
    Of Christian charity
    Under the sun.
    Oh! it was pitiful!
    Near a whole city full,
    Home had she none.
  • He is one of those wise philanthropists who, in a time of famine, would vote for nothing but a supply of toothpicks.
  • I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame.
    • Job, XXIX. 15.
  • In Misery's darkest caverns known,
    His useful care was ever nigh,
    Where hopeless Anguish pour'd his groan,
    And lonely want retir'd to die.
    • Samuel Johnson, On the Death of Mr. Robert Levet, Stanza 5. In Boswell's Life of Johnson (1782). ("Useful care" reads "ready help" in first ed.).
  • Shut not thy purse-strings always against painted distress.
    • Charles Lamb, Complaint of the Decay of Beggars in the Metropolis.
  • Help thi kynne, Crist bit (biddeth), for ther bygynneth charitie.
  • Who gives himself with his alms feeds three,
    Himself, his hungering neighbor, and me.
  • Nec sibi sed toti genitum se credere mundo.
    • He believed that he was born, not for himself, but for the whole world.
    • Marcus Annaeus Lucanus, Pharsalia, II. 383.
  • To pity distress is but human; to relieve it is Godlike.
  • Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them.
    • Matthew, VI. 1.
  • When thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.
    • Matthew, VI. 3.
  • Pity the sorrows of a poor old man,
    Whose trembling limbs have brought him to your door.
  • The organized charity, scrimped and iced,
    In the name of a cautious, statistical Christ.
  • Misero datur quodcunque, fortunæ datur.
  • 'Tis a little thing
    To give a cup of water; yet its draught
    Of cool refreshment, drain'd by fever'd lips,
    May give a shock of pleasure to the frame
    More exquisite than when nectarean juice
    Renews the life of joy in happiest hours.
  • Non ignara mali miseris succurrere disco.
    • Being myself no stranger to suffering, I have learned to relieve the sufferings of others.
    • Virgil, Æneid (29-19 BC), I. 630.
  • The poor must be wisely visited and liberally cared for, so that mendicity shall not be tempted into mendacity, nor want exasperated into crime.

See also[edit]

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