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


The die was now cast; I had passed the Rubicon. Swim or sink, live or die, survive or perish with my country was my unalterable determination.
John Adams—Works. Vol. IV. P. 8. In a conversation with Jonathan Sewell. (1774). (Peele in Edward I [1584?] used the phrase “Live or die, sink or swim.”)

Who would not be that youth? What pity is it
That we can die but once to save our country!
Addison—Cato. Act IV. Sc. 4.

Our ships were British oak,
And hearts of oak our men.
S. J. Arnold—Death of Nelson.

From distant climes, o’er wide-spread seas we come,
Though not with much éclat or beat of drum;
True patriots all; for be it understood
We left our country for our country’s good.
No private views disgraced our generous zeal,
What urged our travels was our country’s weal.
George Barrington—Prologue for the Opening of the Playhouse at Sydney, New South Wales, Jan. 16, 1796. Dr. Young’s Revenge was played by convicts.

The unbought grace of life, the cheap defence of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and heroic enterprise, is gone!
Burke—Reflections on the Revolution in France. Vol. III. P. 331.

Be Briton still to Britain true,
Among oursel’s united;
For never but by British hands
Maun British wrangs be righted.
Burns—Dumfries Volunteers.

Again to the battle, Achaians!
Our hearts bid the tyrants defiance!
Our land, the first garden of liberty’s tree—
It has been, and shall yet be, the land of the free.
Campbell—Song of the Greeks.

God save our gracious king,
Long live our noble king,
God save the king.
Henry Carey—God Save the King.

I realize that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred toward any one.
Edith Cavell. Quoted by the Newspapers as her last words before she was shot to death by the Germans in Brussels, Oct. 12, 1915.

“My country, right or wrong,” is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, “My mother, drunk or sober.”
G. K. Chesterton—The Defendant.

We join ourselves to no party that does not carry the flag and I keep step to the music of the Union.
Rufus Choate—Letter to a Worcester Whig Convention. Oct. 1, 1855.

Patria est communis omnium parens.
Our country is the common parent of all.
Cicero—Orationes in Catilinam. I. 7.

I have heard something said about allegiance to the South: I know no South, no North, no East, no West, to which I owe any allegiance.
Henry Clay—In the U. S. Senate. (1848).

I hope to find my country in the right: however I will stand by her, right or wrong.
John J. Crittenden. In Congress, when President Polk sent a message after the defeat of the Mexican General Arista by General Taylor. May, 1846.

Our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations, may she always be in the right; but our country, right or wrong.
Stephen Decatur—Toast given at Norfolk, April, 1816. See Mackenzie’s Life of Stephen Decatur. Ch. XIV.

I wish I was in de land ob cotton,
Ole times dar am not forgotten,
Look-a-way! Look-a-way! Look-a-way, Dixie Land!
Den I wish I was in Dixie, Hooray! Hooray!
In Dixie Land I’ll take my stand
To lib and die in Dixie.
Daniel D. Emmett—Dixie Land. See account in Century, Aug., 1887. A Southern version was written by Albert Pike.

’Twas for the good of my country that I should be abroad. Anything for the good of one’s country—I’m a Roman for that.
Geo. Farquhar—The Beaux’ Stratagem. Act III. Sc. 2. L. 89.

Liberté, égalité, fraternité.
Liberty, equality, fraternity.
Watchword of French Revolution.

And bold and hard adventures t’ undertake,
Leaving his country for his country’s sake.
Charles Fitzgeffrey—Life and Death of Sir Francis Drake. St. 213. (1600).

Our country is the world—our countrymen are all mankind.
William Lloyd Garrison—Motto of the Liberator. 1837–1839. “My country” originally—later changed to “Our country.”

Such is the patriot’s boast, where’er we roam,
His first best country ever is at home.
Goldsmith—The Traveler. L. 73.

I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.
Nathan Hale—His Last Words, Sept. 22, 1776. Stewart’s Life of Capt. Nathan Hale. Ch. VII.

Strike—for your altars and your fires;
Strike—for the green graves of your sires;
God—and your native land!
Fitz-Greene Halleck—Marco Bozzaris.

And have they fixed the where, and when?
And shall Trelawny die?
Here’s thirty thousand Cornish men
Will know the reason why!
Robert Stephen Hawker—Song of the Western Men. Mr. Hawker asserts that he wrote the ballad in 1825, all save the chorus and the last two lines, which since the imprisonment by James II, 1688, of the seven Bishops, have been popular throughout Cornwall. (Trelawny was Bishop of Bristol.) First appearance in the Royal Devonport Telegram and Plymouth Chronicle, Sept. 2, 1826. Story of the ballad in Macaulay’s History of England. Footnote for Hawker.

He serves his party best who serves the country best.
Rutherford B. Hayes. Inaugural Address, March 5, 1877.

I am not a Virginian but an American.
Patrick Henry—In the Continental Congress, Sept. 5, 1774.

One flag, one land, one heart, one hand,
One Nation evermore!
Holmes—Voyage of the Good Ship Union. Poems of the Class of ’29.

He serves me most who serves his country best.
Homer—Iliad. Bk. X. L. 206. Pope’s trans.

And for our country ’tis a bliss to die.
Homer—Iliad. Bk. XV. L. 583. Pope’s trans.

Who fears to speak of Ninety-eight?
Who blushes at the name?
When cowards mock the patriot’s fate,
Who hangs his head for shame?
John K. Ingram—In The Dublin Nation. April 1, 1843. Vol. II. P. 339.

Our federal Union: it must be preserved.
Andrew Jackson—Toast given at the Jefferson Birthday Celebration in 1830. See W. J. Sumner’s Life of Jackson.

Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
Samuel Johnson—Boswell’s Life of Johnson. (1775).

That man is little to be envied, whose patriotism would not gain force upon the plain of Marathon, or whose piety would not grow warmer among the ruins of Iona.
Samuel Johnson—A Journey to the Western Islands. Inch Kenneth.

Pater patriæ.
Father of his country.
Juvenal—Sat. VIII. 244. Title bestowed on Cicero (B.C. 64) after his consulship, “a mark of distinction which none ever gained before.” Plutarch—Life of Cicero. Pliny. Bk. VII, calls Cicero “Parens patriæ.” Title conferred on Peter the Great by the Russian Senate. (1721). See Post-Boy, Dec. 28–30, 1721. Also applied to Augustus Cæsar and Marius.

Je meurs content, je meurs pour la liberté de mon pays.
I die content, I die for the liberty of my country.
Attributed to Le Pelletier, also to Marshal Lannes.

The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.
Lincoln—Inaugural Address. March 4, 1861.

Is it an offence, is it a mistake, is it a crime to take a hopeful view of the prospects of your own country? Why should it be? Why should patriotism and pessimism be identical? Hope is the mainspring of patriotism.
D. Lloyd George—House of Commons, Oct. 30, 1919.

And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers
And the temples of his gods?
Macaulay—Horatius keeps the Bridge.

’Twere sweet to sink in death for Truth and Freedom!
Yes, who would hesitate, for who could bear
The living degradation we may know
If we do dread death for a sacred cause?
Terence McSwiney—Lines written when a boy. In the Nation, Nov. 3, 1920.

Our spirit is … to show ourselves eager to work for, and if need be, to die for the Irish Republic. Facing our enemy we must declare an attitude simply…. We ask for no mercy and we will make no compromise.
Terence McSwiney, Lord Mayor of Cork. From a document in his possession when he was sentenced, in August, 1920.

Vox diversa sonat: populorum est vox tamen una,
Cum verus PATRIÆ diceris esse PATER.
There are many different voices and languages; but there is but one voice of the peoples when you are declared to be the true “Father of your country.”
Martial—De Spectaculis. III. 11.

We, that would be known
The father of our people, in our study
And vigilance for their safety, must, not change
Their ploughshares into swords, and force them from
The secure shade of their own vines, to be
Scorched with the flames of war.
Massinger—The Maid of Honour. Act I. 1.

Nescio qua natale solum dulcedine captos
Ducit, et immemores non sinit esse sui.
Our native land charms us with inexpressible sweetness, and never allows us to forget that we belong to it.
Ovid—Epistolæ Ex Ponto. I. 3. 35.

Omne solum forti patria est.
The whole earth is the brave man’s country.
Ovid—Fasti. I. 501.

Patria est, ubicunque est bene.
Our country is wherever we are well off.
Pacuvius, quoted by Cicero—Tusculan. Disputations. V. 37. Aristophanes. Plautus. Euripides—Fragmenta Incerta. Phipiskus—Dion Cassius. I. 171.

My country is the world, and my religion is to do good.
Thos. Paine—Rights of Man. Ch. V.

They know no country, own no lord,
Their home the camp, their law the sword.
Free rendering of passage in Silvio Pellico’s Enfernio de Messina. Act V. Sc. 2.

Millions for defence, but not one cent for tribute.
Attributed to Chas. C. Pinckney when Ambassador to the French Republic. (1796). Denied by him. Said to have been “Not a penny—not a sixpence.” Attributed also to Robert Goodloe Harper, of South Carolina. “I have ten thousand for defense, but none to surrender; if you want our weapons, come and get them.” The response of an ancient General.

If I were an American, as I am on Englishman, while a foreign troop was landed in my country I never would lay down my arms, never! never! never!
William Pitt (Earl of Chatham)—Speech. Nov. 18, 1777.

Socrates said he was not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world.
Plutarch—On Banishment.

Patria est ubicumque vir fortis sedem elegerit.
A brave man’s country is wherever he chooses his abode.
Quintus Curtius Rufus—De Rebus Gestis Alexandri Magni. VI. 4. 13.

Our country, right or wrong! When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right!
Carl Schurz—Speech in U. S. Senate. (1872).

Where’s the coward that would not dare
To fight for such a land?
Scott—Marmion. Canto IV. St. 30.

Servare cives, major est virtus patriæ patri.
To preserve the life of citizens, is the greatest virtue in the father of his country.
Seneca—Octavia. 444.

Had I a dozen sons,—each in my love alike,***I had rather have eleven die nobly for their country, than one voluptuously surfeit out of action.
Coriolanus. Act I. Sc. 3. L. 24.

I do love
My country’s good with a respect more tender,
More holy and profound, than mine own life.
Coriolanus. Act III. Sc. 3. L. 111.

Where liberty is, there is my country.
Algernon Sidney’s motto.

He held it safer to be of the religion of the King or Queen that were in being, for he knew that he came raw into the world, and accounted it no point of wisdom to be broiled out of it.
John Taylor—The Old, Old, Very Old Man. (Parr.)

A saviour of the silver-coasted isle.
Tennyson—Ode on Death of Duke of Wellington. Pt. VI.

Put none but Americans on guard tonight.
Attributed to Washington. The only basis for this order seems to be found in Washington’s circular letter to regimental commanders, dated April 30, 1777, regarding recruits for his body guard. “You will therefore send me none but natives.” A few months before, Thomas Hickey, a deserter from the British army, had tried to poison Washington, had been convicted and hanged.

Hands across the sea,
Feet on English ground,
The old blood is bold blood, the wide world round.
Byron Webber—Hands Across the Sea.

Let our object be, our country, our whole country, and nothing but our country.
Daniel Webster—Address at the Laying of the Corner-Stone of the Bunker Hill Monument. June 17, 1825.

Thank God, I—I also—am an American!
Daniel Webster—Completion of Bunker Hill Monument. June 17, 1843.

Sink or swim, live or die, survive or perish, I give my hand and heart to this vote.
Daniel Webster—Eulogy on Adams and Jefferson.

I was born an American; I live an American; I shall die an American!
Daniel Webster—Speech. July 17, 1850.

Patriotism has become a mere national self assertion, a sentimentality of flag-cheering with no constructive duties.
H. G. Wells—Future in America.

The lines of red are lines of blood, nobly and unselfishly shed by men who loved the liberty of their fellowmen more than they loved their own lives and fortunes. God forbid that we should have to use the blood of America to freshen the color of the flag. But if it should ever be necessary, that flag will be colored once more, and in being colored will be glorified and purified.
Woodrow Wilson—Flag Day Speech. May 7, 1915.

Our country—whether bounded by the St. John’s and the Sabine, or however otherwise bounded or described, and be the measurements more or less;—still our country, to be cherished in all our hearts, and to be defended by all our hands.
Robt. C. Winthrop—Toast at Faneuil Hall. July 4, 1845. “Our country, however bounded.” Toast founded on the speech of Winthrop.

There are no points of the compass on the chart of true patriotism.
Robt. C. Winthrop—Letter to Boston Commercial Club. June 12, 1879.

Our land is the dearer for our sacrifices. The blood of our martyrs sanctifies and enriches it. Their spirit passes into thousands of hearts. How costly is the progress of the race. It is only by the giving of life that we can have life.
Rev. E. J. Young—Lesson of the Hour. In Mag. of History. Extra. No. 43. Originally pub. in Monthly Religious Mag., Boston, May, 1865.

America is the crucible of God. It is the melting pot where all the races are fusing and reforming … these are the fires of God you’ve come to…. Into the crucible with you all. God is making the American.
Zangwill—The Melting Pot.