Hoyt & Roberts, comps. Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations. 1922.


Good, to forgive;
Best to forget.
Robert Browning—La Saisiaz. Prologue.

The fairest action of our human life
Is scorning to revenge an injury;
For who forgives without a further strife,
His adversary’s heart to him doth tie:
And ’tis a firmer conquest, truly said,
To win the heart than overthrow the head.
Lady Elizabeth Carew—Chorus from “Maxiam.”

Qui pardonne aisément invite à l’offenser.
He who forgives readily only invites offense.
Corneille—Cinna. IV. 4.

We read that we ought to forgive our enemies; but we do not read that we ought to forgive our friends.
Attributed to Cosmus, Duke of Florence, by Bacon. Apothegms. No. 206.

Thou whom avenging pow’rs obey,
Cancel my debt (too great to pay)
Before the sad accounting day.
Wentworth Dillon—On the Day of Judgment. St. 11.

Forgiveness to the injured does belong,
But they ne’er pardon who have done the wrong.
Dryden—Conquest of Granada. Pt. II. Act I. Sc. 2.

She hugged the offender, and forgave the offense,
Sex to the last.
Dryden—Cymon and Iphigenia. L. 367.

His heart was as great as the world, but there was no room in it to hold the memory of a wrong.
Emerson—Letters and Social Aims. Greatness.

Bear and forbear.
Epictetus. See Gellius. Bk. XVII. 6.

The offender never pardons.
Herbert—Jacula Prudentum. No. 563.

Æquum est
Peccatis veniam poscentem reddere rursus.
It is right for him who asks forgiveness for his offenses to grant it to others.
Horace—Satires. I. 3. 74.

Ex humili magna ad fastigia rerum
Extollit, quoties voluit fortuna jocari.
Whenever fortune wishes to joke, she lifts people from what is humble to the highest extremity of affairs.
Juvenal—Satires. III. 39.

Know all and you will pardon all.
Thomas à Kempis—Imitation of Christ.

For ’tis sweet to stammer one letter
Of the Eternal’s language;—on earth it is called Forgiveness!
Longfellow—The Children of the Lord’s Supper. L. 214.

These evils I deserve, and more
Justly, yet despair not of his final pardon,
Whose ear is ever open, and his eye
Gracious to re-admit the suppliant.
Milton—Samson Agonistes. L. 1,170.

Oh Thou, who Man of baser Earth didst make,
And ev’n with Paradise devise the snake;
For all the Sin wherewith the Face of Man
Is blackened—Man’s forgiveness give and take!
Omar Khayyam—Rubaiyat. St. 81. (later ed.) Stanza an interpolation of FitzGerald’s own.

Forgiveness is better than revenge.
Pittacus—Quoted by Heraclitus.

Humanum amare est, humanum autem ignoscere est.
To love is human, it is also human to forgive.
Plautus—Mercator. II. 2. 46.

Good-nature and good-sense must ever join;
To err is human, to forgive, divine.
Pope—Essay on Criticism. L. 522.

What if this cursed hand
Were thicker than itself with brother’s blood
Is there not rain enough in the sweet heaves
To wash it white as snow?
Hamlet. Act III. Sc. 3. L. 43.

I pardon him, as God shall pardon me.
Richard II. Act V. Sc. 3. L. 131.

Tout comprendre rend tres-indulgent.
To understand makes one very indulgent.
Madame de Staël—Corinne.—Bk. XVIII. Ch. V.

Pardon, not wrath, is God’s best attribute.
Bayard Taylor—Poems of the Orient. Temptation of Hassan Ben Khaled. St. 11. L. 31.

The sin
That neither God nor man can well forgive.
Tennyson—Sea Dreams.

Ignoscito sæpe alter, nunquam tibi.
Forgive others often, yourself never.

Menschlich ist es bloss zu strafen
Aber göttlich zu verzeihn.
It is manlike to punish but godlike to forgive.
P. von Winter.