The road to hell is paved with good intentions

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The road to hell is paved with good intentions is a proverb or aphorism. The exact origin of this proverb is unknown and its form has evolved over time.


Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 362-64.
  • Hell is paved with good intentions.
    • Quoted as Richard Baxter's saying by Coleridge. Notes Theol., Polit. and Miscel, p. 259. Ed. 1853
  • Hell is paved with infants' skulls.
    • Baxter. In Hazlitt—Table Talk. He was stoned by the women of Kidderminster for quoting this in the pulpit.
  • L'enfer est plein de bonnes volontés ou désirs.
  • Do not be troubled by St. Bernard's saying that "Hell is full of good intentions and wills."
    • Francis de Sales, letter to Madame de Chantal. (1605). Letter XII, p. 70. Selections from the Spiritual Letters of S. Francis de Sales. Translation by the author of "A Dominican Artist." Letter LXXIV in Blaise ed. Quoted also in Letter XXII, Book II. of Leonard's ed. (1726). Collet's La Vraie et Solide Piété, Part I, Chapter LXXV
  • Hell is paved with the skulls of great scholars, and paled in with the bones of great men.
    • Giles Firmin, The Real Christian (1670). Quoted as a proverb.
  • El infierno es lleno de buenas intenciones.
    • Hell is full of good intentions.
    • Adapted probably from a saying of Antonio Guevara, quoted by the Portuguese as "Hell is paved with good intentions, and roofed with lost opportunities".
  • Hell is paved with good intentions.
  • It has been more wittily than charitably said that hell is paved with good intentions; they have their place in heaven also.
  • Die Helle ist mit Mönchskappen, Pfaffenfalten, und Pickelhauben gepflastert.
    • Hell is paved with monks' cowls, priests' drapery, and spike-helmets.
    • Wander traces the saying to 1605

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