I went through the 16th edition of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations and have drafted the following quotes relevant to the 12 points of the BSA scout Law (and other things).

Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, Reverent
And other topics such as: Nature, Travel, Perspective   ... and my favorite.


The man that hath no music in himself
Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, strategems, and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus:
Let no such man be trusted.
Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice

What is truth? said jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an answer
Bacon, Essays 1625

Put your trust in God, my boys, and keep your powder dry!
Valentine Blacker, Oliver's advice in Ballads of Ireland 1856.

A few honest men are better than numbers.
Oliver Cromwell, Letter to Sir W. Spring, 1643.

Let It Be.
John Lennon & Paul McCartney, song title, 1970.

Liars when they speak the truth are not believed.
Aristotle, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, 384-322 B.C.


It is not book learning young men need, nor instruction about this and that, but a stiffening of the vertebrae which will cause them to be loyal to a trust, to act promptly, concentrate their energies, do a thing.
Elbert Hubbard, A message to Garcia, 1899.

One finds many companions for food and drink, but in a serious business a man's companions are very few.
Theognis, Elegies, l, 149, 545 B.C.

The sum of human happiness would not necessarily be reduced if for ten years every physical and chemical laboratory were closed and the patient and resourceful energy displayed in them transferred to the lost art of getting on together and finding the formula for making both ends meet in the scale of human life.
Edward Arthur Burroughs, Bishop of Ripon, Sermon to the British Association for the Advancement of Science, 1927.

We're poor little lambs who've lost our way,
Baa! Baa! Baa!
We're little black sheep who've gone astray,
Gentlemen rankers out on the spree,
Damned from here to Eternity,
God ha' mercy on such aas we,
Baa! Yah! Baa!
Rudjard Kipling, Gentle Rankers, refrain, 1865-936.

When Pack meets with Pack in the Jungle, and neither will go from the trail,
Lie down til the leaders have spoken-it may be fair words shall prevail.
Rudjard Kipling, The Law of the Jungle, 1895.

You're either part of the solution or part of the problem.
[Leroy] Eldridge Cleaver, Speech, 1968.


Oh I get by with a little help from my friends.
Mmm get high with a little help from my friends
John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Song title, 1967.

The gods help them that help themselves
Aesop, Hercules and the Wagoner, 550 B.C.

People often grudge others what they cannot enjoy themselves.
Aesop, The Dog in the Manger, 550 B.C.


True happiness is of a retired nature, and an enemy to pomp and noise; it arises, in the first place, from the enjoyment of one's self; and, in the next, from the friendship and conversation of a few select companions.
Joseph Addison, The Spectator, 1711.

Have no friends not equal to yourself.
Confucius, The Confucian Analects, 551-479 B.C.

I had three chairs in my house: one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.
Henry David Thoreau, Walden 1, 1817-1862.

What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies.
Aristotle, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, 384-322 B.C.


If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world, and that his heart is no island cut off from other lands, but a continent that joins to them.
Francis Bacon, Of Goodness and Goodness of Nature, 1622.

A youth, when at home, should be filial, and, abroad, respectful to his elders.
Confucius, The Confucian Analects, 551-479 B.C.

He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good.
Confucius, The Confucian Analects, 551-479 B.C.


They say best men are molded out of faults,
And for the most, become much more the better
For being a little bad.
Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, 1604.

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.
Aesop, The Lion and the Mouse, 550 B.C.

You're going to learn that one of the most brutal things in the world is your average nineteen-year-old American boy.
Philip Joseph Caputo, A Rumor of War, 1977.

Recompense injury with justice, and recompense kindness with kindness.
Confucius, The Confucian Analects, 551-479 B.C.


Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.
Francis Bacon, Novum Organum, 1620.

We cannot all be masters.
Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, 1604.

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
Henry David Thoreau, The Pond in Winter, 1857.

Now this is the Law of the Jungle-as old and as true as the sky; And the Wolf that shall break it must die. ...
Now these are the Laws of the Jungle, and many and mighty are they; But the head and the hoof of the Law and the haunch and the hump is: Obey!
Rudyard Kipling, The Second Jungle Book, 1895.

***This is my favorite***:
The young need old men. They need men who are not ashamed of age, not pathetic imitations of themselves. ... Parents are the bones on which children sharpen their teeth.
Peter Ustinov, Dear Me, 1977.

Circumstances rule men; men do not rule circumstances.
Herodotus, Histories, 485-425 B.C.

Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.
Reinholt Niebuhr, The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness.


It Don't Mean a Thing It It Ain't Got That Swing.
Duke [Edward Kennedy] Ellington, Song title, 1932.

Fire is the test of gold; adversity, of strong men.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Moral Essays On Providence, 65 A.D.

Bad men live that they may eat and drink, wheras good men eat and drink that they may live.
Socrates, from Plutarch, 399 B.C.

To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive.
Robert Louis Stevenson, El Dorado, 1882.

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.
Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854.

People are always blaming their circumstances, for what they are, I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, make them.
George Bernard Shaw, Mrs. Warren's Profession, 1893


Riches are for spending.
Bacon, Of Expense, 1625.

With coarse rice to eat, with water to drink, and my bended arm for a pillow-I have still joy in the midst of these things. Riches and honors acquired by unrighteousness are to me as a floating cloud.
Confucius, The Confucian Analects, 551-479 B.C.

Our life is frittered away by detail. . Simplify, simplify.
Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

The swiftest traveler is he that goes afoot.
Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854.

Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.
Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854.

I got plenty of nothin',
An nothin's plenty for me.
Ira Gershwin, Porgy and Bess, 1935.

Use it up, wear it out;
Make it do, or do withoug.
Anonymous, New England maxim.

A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.
Henry David Thoreau, Where I Lived and What I Lived For, 1855.

I like to walk about amidst the beautiful things that adorn the world; but private wealth I should decline, or any sort of personal possessions, because they would take away my liberty.
George Santayana, The Irony of Liberalism, 1922


Life is short, the art is long, opportunity fleeting, experiment treacherous, judgment difficult.
Hippocrates, Aphorisms, 460-377 B.C.

When you have faults, do not fear to abandon them.
Confucius, The Confucian Analects, 551-479 B.C.

The superior man . does not set his mind either for anything, or against anything; what is right he will follow.
Confucius, The Confucian Analects, 551-479 B.C.

This is the Law of the Yukon, that only the strong shall thrive; Dissolute, damned and disrespectful, crippled and palsied and slain, This is the Law of the Yukon-Lo, how she makes it plain.
Robert William Service, The Law of the Yukon, 1906.

No human thing is of serious importance.
The soul of man is immortal and imperishable.
Plato, Republic, 428-348 B.C.

They helped every one his neighbor; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage.
Behold, I have refined theee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.
Bible, Isaiah

There is no defense against reproach but obscurity.
Joseph Addison, The Spectator, 1711


The earth is the Lords's, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therin.
For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.
Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?
He that hath clean hands, and a pure hart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.
Bible, Psalms 24

Bid them wash their faces,
And keep their teeth clean.
... The mutable, rank-scented many
Shakespeare, Coriolanus, 1607

I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.
Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon, 1932.


The most common trait of all primitive peoples is a reverence for the lifegiving earth, and the native American shared this elemental ethic: the land was alive to his loving touch, and he, its son, was brother to all creatures.
Stewart Lee Udall, The Quite Crisis, 1963.

Prayer indeed is good, but while calling on the gods a man should himself lend a hand.
Hippocrates, Regimen, 460-377 BC

Every man is his own doctor of divinity, in the last resort.
Robert Louis Stevenson, An Inland Voyage, 1878.

My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky;
So was it when life began;
Sit is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The child is the father of the man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.
William Wordsworth, My Heart Leaps Up, 1807

My country is the world and my religion is to do good.
Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man, 1791

Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.
Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

Other quotes of interest


This country is geology by day and astronomy by night.
John Boynton Priestley, Midnight on the Desert. 1937


I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverges in a wood, and I-
I took the one lass traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken, 1916

A traveler has a right to relate and embellish his adventures as he pleases, and it is very impolite to refuse that deference and applause they deserve.
Rudolf Raspe, Travels of Baron Munchausen, 1785

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

They change their skies above them,
But not their hearts that roam.
Rudyard Kipling, The Nativeborn, 1895


We are not content with the life we have in ourselves, and in our individual being;   we wish to live an imaginary life in the thoughts of others, and for this purpose, strive to make a figure in the world.  We labour incessantly to cherish and adorn this imaginary being, and neglect the real one;  and if we possess tranquillity, or generosity, or fidelity, we are eager to make it known, that such virtues may be transferred to this creature of the imagination;  in order to effect their union with it, we are willing to detach them from our selves, and would be content to be cowards, if we could only gain the repute of being valiant.  What a proof of the nothingness of our real being, that it will not satisfy us without the other, for which, indeed, we often relinquish it!...Glory is so very delightful that with whatever tit is combined, even with death itself, we still love it
Pascal Pensees, (1623-1662)


The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand
they wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand
If this were only cleared away
They said, "it would be grand!"
Lewis Carroll

Al Best
ASM Troop 700
1995 Philmont Crew Leader 624-N-1