Punishment is the authoritative imposition of something negative or unpleasant on a person or animal in response to behavior deemed wrong by an individual or group. The authority may be either a group or a single person, and punishment may be carried out formally under a system of law or informally in other kinds of social settings such as within a family.
- Do not hurry over punishments and do not be pleased and do not be proud of your power to punish.
- Some have been beaten till they know
What wood a cudgel's of by th' blow:
Some kick'd until they can feel whether
A shoe be Spanish or neat's leather.
- Samuel Butler, Hudibras, Part II (1664), Canto I, line 221.
- Cavendum est ne major pœna quam culpa sit; et ne iisdem de causis alii plectantur, alii ne appellentur quidem.
- Care should be taken that the punishment does not exceed the guilt; and also that some men do not suffer for offenses for which others are not even indicted.
- Cicero, De Officiis (44 B.C.), I. 23.
- Hail, hieroglyphic State machine,
Contrived to punish fancy in;
Men that are men in thee can feel no pain,
And all thy insignificance disdain!
- Daniel Defoe, Hymn to the Pillory (1703).
- My object all sublime I shall achieve in time —
To let the punishment fit the crime —
The punishment fit the crime;
And make each prisoner pent
A source of innocent merriment.
- Something lingering with boiling oil in it…. something humorous but lingering—with either boiling oil or melted lead.
- The wolf must die in his own skin.
- George Herbert, Jacula Prudentum (1651).
- Unrespited, unpitied, unrepriev'd.
- John Milton, Paradise Lost (1667, 1674), Book II, line 185.
- Our torments also may in length of time
Become our elements.
- John Milton, Paradise Lost (1667, 1674), Book II, line 274.
- Back to thy punishment,
False fugitive and to thy speed add wings.
- John Milton, Paradise Lost (1667, 1674), Book II, line 699.
- Thou shalt be whipp'd with wire, and stew'd in brine,
Smarting in ling'ring pickle.
- Vex not his ghost: Oh; let him pass! he hates him,
That would upon the rack of this tough world
Stretch him out longer.
- Some of us will smart for it.
- Off with his head! so much for Buckingham!
- A testy babe will scratch the nurse,
And presently all humbled kiss the rod.
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 649-652.
- See they suffer death,
But in their deaths remember they are men,
Strain not the laws to make their tortures grievous.
- Joseph Addison, Cato, Act III, Sc 5.
- Let them stew in their own grease (or juice).
- Otto von Bismarck, at the time of the Franco-German war, to Mr. Malet at Meaux. See Labouchere — Diary of a Besieged Resident. Stewing in our own gravy. Ned Ward — London Spy, Part DC, pg. 219. (1709) (Describing a Turkish bath.) Idea in Viautus, Captives, Act I. Ver. 80-84. Teubner's ed.
- Frieth in his own grease.
- Noxiæ pœna par esto.
- Let the punishment be equal with the offence.
- Cicero, De Legibus, Book III. 20.
- Diis proximus ille est
Quem ratio non ira movet: qui factor rependens
Consilio punire potest.
- He is next to the gods whom reason, and not passion, impels; and who, after weighing the facts, can measure the punishment with discretion.
- Claudinaus, De Consulatu Malii Theodori Panegyris, CCXXVII.
- I stew all night in my own grease.
- Nathaniel Cotton, Virgil Travestie, p. 35. (Ed. 1807). Fat enough to be stewed in their own liquor. Fuller]], Holy State and the Profane State, p. 396. (Ed. 1840).
- Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.
- Deuteronomy, XIX. 21.
- 'Tis I that call, remember Milo's end,
Wedged in that timber which he strove to rend.
- Wentworth Dillon, Essay on Translated Verse. Ovid.
- That is the bitterest of all, to wear the yoke of our own wrong-doing.
- George Eliot, Daniel Deronda, Book V, Chapter XXXVI.
- Send them into everlasting Coventry.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays, Manners. During the Civil War in England officers were sent for punishment to the garrison at Coventry.
- Vengeance comes not slowly either upon you or any other wicked man, but steals silently and imperceptibly, placing its foot on the bad.
- Euripides, Fragment.
- My punishment is greater than I can bear
- Genesis, IV. 13.
- Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed.
- Genesis, IX. 6.
- Culpam pœna premit comes.
- Punishment follows close on crime.
- Horace, Carmina, IV. 5. 24.
- Ne scutica dignum horribili sectere flagello.
- Do not pursue with the terrible scourge him who deserves a slight whip.
- Horace, Satires. I. 3. 119.
- For whoso spareth the spring [switch] spilleth his children.
- William Langland, Piers Ploughman.
- Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth.
- Leviticus, XXIV. 20.
- Quidquid multis peccatur inultum est.
- The sins committed by many pass unpunished.
- Lucan, Pharsalia. V. 260.
- It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea.
- Luke, XVII. 2.
- The object of punishment is, prevention from evil; it never can be made impulsive to good.
- Horace Mann, Lectures and Reports on Education. Lecture VII.
- Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
- Mark, IX. 44.
- Just prophet, let the damn'd one dwell
Full in the sight of Paradise,
Beholding heaven and feeling hell.
- Thomas Moore, Lalla Rookh, Fire Worshippers, line 1,028.
- Ay—down to the dust with them, slaves as they are,
From this hour, let the blood in their dastardly veins,
That shrunk at the first touch of Liberty's war,
Be wasted for tyrants, or stagnant in chains.
- Thomas Moore, Lines on the Entry of the Austrians into Naples (1821).
- Die and be damned.
- Thomas Mortimer, Against the Calvinistic doctrine of eternal punishment.
- Æquo animo pœnam, qui meruere, ferant.
- Let those who have deserved their punishment, bear it patiently.
- Ovid, Amorum (16 BC), II. 7. 12.
- Paucite paucarum diffundere crimen in omnes.
- Do not lay on the multitude the blame that is due to a few.
- Ovid, Ars Amatoria, III. 9.
- Estque pati pœnas quam meruisse minus.
- It is less to suffer punishment than to deserve it.
- Ovid, Epistolæ Ex Ponto, I. 1. 62.
- Deos agere curam rerum humanarum credi, ex usu vitæ est: pœnasque maleficiis, aliquando seras, nunquam autem irritas esse.
- It is advantageous that the gods should be believed to attend to the affairs of man; and the punishment for evil deeds, though sometimes late, is never fruitless.
- Pliny the Elder, Historia Naturalis, II. 5. 10.
- Heaven is not always angry when he strikes,
But most chastises those whom most he likes.
- John Pomfret, To a Friend Under Affliction, line 89.
- But if the first Eve
Hard doom did receive
When only one apple had she,
What a punishment new
Must be found out for you,
Who eating hath robb'd the whole tree.
- Alexander Pope, To Lady Montague.
- He that spareth his rod hateth his son.
- Proverbs, XIII. 24.
- To kiss the rod.
- History of Reynard the Fox. William Caxton's translation., printed by him. (1481). Arber's English Scholar's Library, Chapter XII.
- Quod antecedit tempus, maxima venturi supplicii pars est.
- The time that precedes punishment is the severest part of it.
- Seneca, De Beneficiis, II. 5.
- Corrigendus est, qui peccet, et admonitione et vi, et molliter et aspere, meliorque tam sibi quam alii faciendus, non sine castigatione, sed sine ira.
- He, who has committed a fault, is to be corrected both by advice and by force, kindly and harshly, and to be made better for himself as well as for another, not without chastisement, but without passion.
- Seneca, De Ira, I. 14.
- Maxima est factæ injuriæ pæna, fecisse: nec quisquam gravius adficitur, quam qui ad supplicium pœnitentiæ traditur.
- The severest punishment a man can receive who has injured another, is to have committed the injury; and no man is more severely punished than he who is subject to the whip of his own repentance.
- Seneca, De Ira, III. 26.
- Nec ulla major pœna nequitiæ est, quam quod sibi et suis displicet.
- There is no greater punishment of wickedness than that it is dissatisfied with itself and its deeds.
- Seneca, Epistolæ Ad Lucilium, XLII.
- Sequitur superbos ultor a tergo deus.
- An avenging God closely follows the haughty.
- Seneca, Hercules Furens, 385.
- Minor in parvis fortuna furit,
Leviusque ferit leviora Deus.
- Fortune is less severe against those of lesser degree, and God strikes what is weak with less power.
- Seneca, Hippolytus, Act IV. 1124.
- There is nothynge that more dyspleaseth God
Than from theyr children to spare the rod.
- Ike Skelton, Magnyfycence, line 1,954.
- Punitis ingeniis, gliscit auctoritas.
- When men of talents are punished, authority is strengthened.
- Tacitus, Annales (AD 117), IV. 35.
- * Habet aliquid ex iniquo omne magnum exemplum, quod contra singulos, utilitate publica rependitus.
- Every great example of punishment has in it some injustice, but the suffering individual is compensated by the public good.
- Tacitus, Annales, XIV. 44.
- The woman, Spaniel, the walnut tree,
The more you beat them the better they be.
- John Taylor. From an early song. Same idea in Gilbertus Cognatus, Adagia. Included in Grynæus]], Adagia, p. 484. (Ed. 1629).
- Verbera sed audi.
- Strike, but hear.
- Themistocles, when Eurybiades, commander of the Spartan fleet, raised his staff to strike him. In Plutarch's Life of Themistocles, Chapter XI.
- Ah, miser! et si quis primo perjuria celat,
Sera tamen tacitis Pœna venit pedibus.
- Ah, wretch! even though one may be able at first to conceal his perjuries, yet punishment creeps on, though late, with noiseless step.
- Tibullus, Carmina. I. 9. 3.
- They spare the rod, and spoyle the child.
- Ralph Venning, Mysteries and Revelations (1649), p. 5.
- What heavy guilt upon him lies!
How cursed is his name!
The ravens shall pick out his eyes,
And eagles eat the same.
- Isaac Watts, Obedience.
- Du spottest noch? Erzittre! Immer schlafen
Des Rächers Blitze nicht.
- Thou mockest? Tremble! the avenger's lightning bolts do not forever dormant lie.
- Christoph Martin Wieland, Oberon, I. 50.
- Hanging was the worst use a man could be put to.
- Sir Henry Wotton, The Disparity between Buckingham and Essex.
- Jupiter is late in looking into his note-book.
- Zenobius, Cent, IV. 11. Same idea in Horace]], Odes, III. 2. 30. Persius]], Satires, II. 24.
- By an odd amalgam of liberal economic theory and Beccaria on punishment, nineteenth-century thinkers would replicate this exceptional relationship between markets and punishment: natural orderliness in the economic sphere, but government intervention in the penal realm. This is most evident in Jeremy Bentham’s work. The contrast between Bentham’s presumption of quietism in economic matters and his arch-interventionism in the penal domain effectively reproduced and reiterated the Physiocratic duality of economy and police. On the public economy side, Bentham tended toward Adam Smith’s liberalism. His Manual of Political Economy, written in the mid-1790s, rehearsed a presumption of governmental quietism based on his stringent belief in the superiority of individuals’ information and self-interest. But on the punishment side, Bentham embraced Beccaria’s philosophy whole cloth—especially Beccaria’s notion that policing is a sphere of human activity that must be shot through with government intervention. In fact, the criminal code, for Bentham, was precisely a “grand catalogue of prices” by means of which the government set the value of deviance. The penal code was a menu of fixed prices—the polar opposite of laissez-faire.
- Bernard Harcourt, The Illusion of Free Markets: Punishment and the Myth of Natural Order (2011), p. 36
The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904)
- Quotes reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 215-217.
- I have heard that it was the perfection of the administration of criminal justice to take care that the punishment should come to few and the example to many.
- Lord Kenyon, Eaton's Case (1793), 22 How. St. Tr. 820.
- Punishment is intended for example; but a person insane can have no design; and to punish him can be no example.
- Lord Swinton, Kinloch's Case (1795), 25 How. St. Tr. 1001.
- It is a duty not only to punish, but to prevent all manner of evil.
- Lord Swinton, Kinloch's Case (1795), 25 How. St. Tr. 1001.
- Furiosus absentis loco est. Non multum distant a brutis qui ratione carent: A madman is like a man who is absent. Those who want reason are not far removed from brutes.
- 4 Co. 126.
- Furiosus solo furore punitur: Let a madman be punished by his madness alone.
- Co. Litt. 247.
- "The execution of an offender is by way of example, ut poena ad paucos, metus ad omnes perveniat" (Co. 3 Inst. 6): but so it is not when a madman is executed: but should be a miserable spectacle, both against law, and of extreme inhumanity and cruelty, and can be of no example to others.
- Steph. Com. Vol. IV. (8th ed.), Book VI., c. ii, 27.
- Multiplicata trasgressione crescat poena inflictis: Let infliction of punishment increase with multiplied crime.
- 2 Inst. 479.
- The wishes of every human man are, that guilt may not be fixed upon any man; but I confess I am one of those who have not the weakness—which weakness, a Judge at least, and a jury, must get rid of, before they fit themselves to fill the respective stations which they are to fill in the administration of the justice of the country— I say, therefore, I am not one of those who wish under false compassion, inconsistent with the administration of criminal justice, that a person on whom guilt is fairly fixed, should escape the punishment which the law annexes to his guilt.
- Lord Kenyon, Stone's Case (1796), 25 How. St. Tr. 1423.
- In dispensing the criminal justice of the country, we have sometimes an arduous task to perform. It is not a pleasant thing, most certainly, to condemn any one of our fellow creatures to punishment; but those who are entrusted with the administration of the criminal justice of a country, must summon up their fortitude, and render justice to the public, as well as justice tempered with mercy to the individual.
- Lord Kenyon, Trial of the Earl of Thanet, and others (1799), 27 How. St. Tr. 939.
- . . . —a Court where neither favour nor interest can protect you; but where punishment will be impartially inflicted, according to every man's demerit . . . examples become necessary, pro salute reipuhlicm. It is not in the power of this supreme Court of criminal jurisdiction, considering the venality of the times, to cleanse the Augean stable, and therefore our only consolation must be "est aliquod prodire tenus si non datur ultra."
- Willes, J., R. v. Bembridge (1783), 22 How. St. Tr. 157.
- Pane potius molliendce quam exasperandee sunt: Punishments should rather be softened than aggravated.
- 3 Inst. 220.
- Melior est justitia vere prteveniens, quam severe puniens: Justice truly preventing is better than severely punishing.
- 3 Inst. Epil.
- Praestat cautela quam medela: Caution is better than cure.
- Co. Litt. 304.
- Prevention is better than cure.
- I shall temper so justice with mercy.
- John Milton, " Paradise Lost," Bk. 10, line 77.
- Mercy seasons justice.
- Shaks., "Merchant of Venice," Act IV., Bc. i. The beautiful lines in the same play: "The quality of mercy is not strained; It droppeth like the gentle dew from Heaven," are but an echo of Ecclus. xxx v., 20.
- No legal punishment is inflicted for revenge; all are for correction of the individual delinquent or others. All are pro salute animarum.
- Brett, L.J., Martin v. Mackonochie (1879), L. R. 4 Q. B. 753.
- A power to imprison does not give a power to fine. I cannot accede to the proposition that in England in penal jurisdiction the admitted power to award a particular punishment involves the power of awarding every lesser punishment.
- Brett, L.J., Martin v. Mackonochie (1879), L. R. 4 Q. B. D. 754.
- A learned county court judge told me that at first he used to make orders of committal for a short time and he found that the people went to prison. He then lengthened the period, and he found that fewer people went to prison; and he found that the longer the period for which he committed people to prison for not paying, the shorter was the total amount of imprisonment suffered by debtors, because when they were committed for the whole six weeks they moved heaven and earth among their friends to get the funds and pay; whereas if the term was a short one, they underwent the punishment.
- Lord Bramwell, Stonor v. Fowle (1887), L. R. 13 Ap. Ca. 28.
- We cannot explore any mode of sentencing a man to imprisonment, who is imprisoned already, but by tacking one imprisonment to the other.
- Wilmot, L.C.J., Wilkes' Case (1763), 19 How. St/jTr. 1134.
- Violent courses are like to hot waters that may do good in an extremity, but the use of them doth spoil the stomach, and it will require them stronger and stronger, and by little and little they will lessen their own operation.
- Co. 4 Inst. 47.