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Envy

  • An envious heart makes a treacherous ear.

  • The happiness of others is never bearable for very long ...

  • And then, of course, so many of our little lot seem to be running love-affairs. And a continual atmosphere of hectic passion is very trying if you haven't got any of your own.

  • ... is there not an Arabick Proverb which goes, 'No one throws Stones at a Barren Tree'?

  • Some folk are always thirsting for water from other people's wells.

  • Loyal? As loyal as anyone who plays second fiddle ever is.

  • Hatred is a prolific vice; envy, a barren vice.

  • ... do you know the hallmark of the second-rater? It's resentment of another man's achievement.

  • There is a natural limit to the success we wish our friends, even when we have spurred them on their way.

    • Agnes Repplier,
    • "When Lalla Rookh Was Young," A Happy Half-Century ()
  • Need drives men to envy as fullness drives them to selfishness.

  • ... how Envy dogs success ...

    • L.E. Landon,
    • "A History of the Lyre," The Venetian Bracelet ()
  • Anger is a violent act, envy a constant habit — no one can be always angry, but he may be always envious ...

    • Hannah More,
    • "On Envy," Essays on Various Subjects ()
  • A slowness to applaud betrays a cold temper or an envious spirit.

    • Hannah More,
    • in William Roberts, Memories of the Life of Mrs Hannah More ()
  • Pity that gold should always bring with it the canker — covetousness.

  • When I heard that people were talking about me, I consoled myself with what my mother, Ruthie, used to say: 'Birds peck at the best fruit.'

    • Bette Davis,
    • in Charlotte Chandler, The Girl Who Walked Home Alone: Bette Davis ()
  • To envy is to draw circles that isolate us from others, to take small, bitter trips that diminish the traveler.

  • A competitive society is a society of envy.

  • You're so young you make me sick! I have blouses older than you!

    • Cindy Adams,
    • to another columnist, in Susan Mulcahy, My Lips Are Sealed ()
  • Eugenio knew a number of old ladies whose circumstances reminded him of all he had lost, and in whose houses his cold sycophancy, his careful foreigner's diction, his elaborate courtliness screened the cupidity, the longing, with which he noted every teacup, every bibelot, every scrap of evidence of the blissful oblivion which money only can bring.

  • He conceded that there must still be hope for a species which had produced Mozart.

  • ... envy, as a rule, is of success rather than of merit. No one would have objected to his talent deserving recognition — only to his getting it.

  • ... it is more to my personal happiness and advantage to indulge the love and admiration of excellence, than to cherish a secret envy of it.

    • Elizabeth Montagu,
    • letter (1774), in Anna Letitia Le Breton, Memoir of Mrs. Barbauld ()
  • No woman is envious of another's virtue who is conscious of her own.

  • She liked to make others' lives as drab as possible, perhaps so as not to feel too much regret at the dissolution of her own.

  • ... she wished all the faculties she did not share to be looked on as diseases.

  • Nothing gives small minds a better handle for hatred than superiority ...

  • Greatness is always envied — it is only mediocrity that can boast of a host of friends.

  • When is enough enough? In envy's eyes, enough never is. Somebody else always has something we want.

  • The antidote to envy is one's own work. Always one's own work. Not the thinking about it. Not the assessing of it. But the doing of it. The answers you want can come only from the work itself.

  • ... envy is one of the scorpions of the mind, often having little to do with the objective, external world ...

  • Not the bite of a serpent, nor the blow of a sword, nor any other sharp thrust was ever as dangerous as the tongue of an envious person.

    • Christine de Pisan,
    • "Le livre des trois vertus" (1405), in Charity Cannon Willard, trans., and Madeleine Pelner Cosman, ed., A Medieval Woman's Mirror of Honor ()
  • We are savages insides. We all want to be the chosen, the beloved, the esteemed. There isn't a person reading this who hasn't at one point or another had that why not me? voice pop into the interior mix when something good has happened to someone else.

  • ... there is that wish, in the name of democracy, to level down, because high cultural standards are despised and rejected, and even feared, in our Western Democracies. Don't let anyone else have what I've not got, or can't enjoy! — is the secret theory. A very large number of writers in the British and American popular press profess to be preaching democracy when in fact they are only trying to make envy respectable!

  • Ambition, that lawless Thirst of Power which inspires in some Mens Breasts such unwarrantable Designs, we easily perceive the Approaches of, by those restless Wishes which rob our Nights of Sleep, and Days of Ease, whenever we chance to see a Person greater than our selves.

    • Eliza Haywood,
    • "The Tea-Table: or, A Conversation Between Some Polite Persons of Both Sexes" (1725), in Alexander Pettit et al., eds, Fantomina and Other Works ()
  • 'I should not like Aubrey to die,' said Dudley. 'I only nearly died, and it would give him the immediate advantage.'

  • ... envy and hatred fascinate the eyes and never make them see things as they are.

  • Envy has always hidden behind moral indignation.

  • Nothing ever seems interesting when it belongs to you — only when it doesn't.

  • ... the truly covetous have never enough!

  • When I was young they used to say people only threw stones at the tree that was loaded with fruit.

  • Every time you envy someone you use a muscle in your face to disadvantage. If you do it only once or twice, it can be erased. But over a period of years, those muscles will tighten your mouth, narrow your eyes, and help destroy your attractiveness.

  • Do we want laurels for ourselves most, / Or most that no one else shall have any?

    • Amy Lowell,
    • "La Ronde du Diable," What's O'Clock ()
  • Envy is that tawdry emotion one never becomes totally immune to here in L.A.; at any given moment, most of us have our noses flat-pressed against one windowpane or another. Everywhere you turn, there's something or someone bigger, better, more beautiful. There's always a blonder blond, a buxomer babe, a hotter award on the mantelpiece.

  • Whereas envy leads to a hateful attitude toward those who have what is believed to be unavailable to the self, it also leads to attitudes that keep that which is envied unavailable.

    • Althea Horner,
    • The Wish for Power and the Fear of Having It
    • ()
  • The trials and tribulations of the great are often the support and stimulus of the weak.

  • She would not measure living by the many who had less but always by the few who had more than she had.

  • Envy coexists only too easily with righteous disapproval.