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quotations about duty

Men equally honest, equally devoted to their fatherland, are momentarily separated by different conceptions of their duty.


When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty.

GEORGE BERNARD SHAW, Caesar and Cleopatra

Do your duty and leave the rest to the gods.


He who is false to present duty breaks a thread in the loom, and will find the flaw when he may have forgotten its cause.


Beauty, strength, youth, are flowers but fading seen;
Duty, faith, love, are roots, and ever green.

GEORGE PEELE, Polyhymnia

I slept, and dreamed that life was Beauty;
I woke, and found that life was Duty.


Stern daughter of the voice of God!
O Duty! if that name thou love
Who art a light to guide, a rod
To check the erring and reprove.


In doing what we ought we deserve no praise, because it is our duty.


O hard, when love and duty clash!


For duty, duty must be done;
The rule applies to everyone.

W.S. GILBERT, Ruddigore

There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy.

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON, Virginibus Puerisque

That famous ring that pricked its owner when he forgot duty and followed desire--I wonder if it pricked very hard when he set out on the chase, or whether it pricked but lightly then, and only pierced to the quick when the chase had long been ended, and hope folding her wings, looked backward and became regret?

GEORGE ELIOT, Silas Marner

Three things prompt men to a regular discharge of their duty in time of action: natural bravery, hope of reward, and fear of punishment.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter to the President of Congress, Feb. 9, 1776

Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith let us to the end dare to do our duty as we understand it.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, speech, Feb. 27, 1860

Obligation may be stretched till it is no better than a brand of slavery stamped on us when we were too young to know its meaning.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

Families are nothing other than the idolatry of duty.

ANN OAKLEY, Taking It Like a Woman

Though Duty's face is stern, her path is best:
They sweetly sleep who die upon her breast.

HENRY ABBEY, "The Roman Sentinel"

Who gives his life to duty
Will hardships ever find,
And many, many crosses,
And roads that devious wind.
Awaiting him seems Pleasure
At every turn of road;
But Duty stands as sentinel,
With lash and whip to goad.


A man who refuses a duty ... is not punished ... but forsaken. And he will never know love or honor or happiness again.

S. M. STIRLING, The Sunrise Lands

The superior man is the man who fulfils his duty.


Oh righteous doom, that they who make
Pleasure their only end,
Ordering the whole life for its sake,
Miss that whereto they tend.
While they who bid stern duty lead,
Content to follow, they,
Of duty only taking heed,
Find pleasure by the way.


Duty is obligation, the bastard child of loyalty and the will to serve; when you think about it, just another roundabout way of saying love. No wonder it causes so much pointless damage.

K. J. PARKER, Evil for Evil

The idea of duty, that recognition of something to be lived for beyond the mere satisfaction of self, is to the moral life what the addition of a great central ganglion is to animal life. No man can begin to mould himself on a faith or an idea without rising to a higher order of experience: a principle of subordination, of self-mastery, has been introduced into his nature; he is no longer a mere bundle of impressions, desires, and impulses.

GEORGE ELIOT, Janet's Repentance

If you lay duties upon people and give them no rights, you must pay them well.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

A man who does his duty because it is the custom, like the man who abstains because of other men's opinions and practices, simply reflects what exists around him--it is not his own duteous act or virtue; it lies on the surface, it has not penetrated his soul.

JAMES PLATT, Platt's Essays

Obedience and resignation are our personal offerings upon the altar of duty.

HOSEA BALLOU, Edge-Tools of Speech

Every duty is great; great, because it tries our principle; great, because for the time being it tries our loyalty to conscience, and our energy and will.

E. H. CHAPIN, Living Words

The journey of life is plain and straight enough if people were trained to make principle their watchword and duty their rule.

JAMES PLATT, Platt's Essays

Accomplishing the impossible means only that the boss will add it to your regular duties.

DOUG LARSON, attributed, Great Funny Quotes

All the slaves of duty dig their own graves sooner or later.

K. J. PARKER, Evil for Evil

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