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Quotations about Promises

Promises are like babies: easy to make, hard to deliver. ~Author unknown

We promise according to our hopes, and perform according to our fears. ~François VI, duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613–1680)

Oaths are but words, and words but wind... ~Samuel Butler

Those who promise by the cart-load generally pay by the spadeful. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

To promise not to do a thing is the surest way in the world to make a body want to go and do that very thing. ~Mark Twain

...for not the maker of plans and promises, but rather he who offers faithful service in small matters is most welcome to one who would so gladly achieve what is good and lasting. ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1778

All promise outruns the performance. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thou oughtest to be nice, even to Superstition, in keeping thy Promises; and therefore thou shouldest be equally cautious in making them. ~Directions, Counsels, and Cautions, tending to prudent Management of Affairs in Common Life, collected by Thomas Fuller

He loses his thanks who promises and delays. ~Proverb

Eggs and oaths are easily broken. ~Danish proverb

Nothing weights lighter than a promise. ~German proverb

I beg your pardon, my lord; promises and pie-crust are made to be broken. ~Jonathan Swift

An acre of performance is worth the whole Land of promise... ~James Howell

Promises are like the full moon, if they are not kept at once they diminish day by day. ~German proverb

One must have a good memory to be able to keep the promises one makes. ~Friedrich Nietzsche, translated by Alexander Harvey

Better break your Word, than do worse in keeping it. ~Proverb, quoted in Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia

Some persons make promises for the pleasure of breaking them. ~William Hazlitt

Oaths are the fossils of piety. The geologist recognizes in them the relics of a once active devotion, but they are now only counters and pebbles tossed about in the unconscious play of expression. The lighter and more constant their use, the less their meaning. ~George Santayana

A promise is a comfort for a fool. ~Proverb

...he was ever precise in promise-keeping. ~William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, c.1604  [I, 2, Lucio]

When a man repeats a promise again and again, he means to fail you. ~Proverb

A promise is a cloud; fulfillment is rain. ~Arabian proverb

WORD  Something you must keep after giving it to another. ~Charles Wayland Towne, The Foolish Dictionary, Executed by Gideon Wurdz, Master of Pholly, Doctor of Loquacious Lunacy, etc., 1904

As a human being, the best eulogy I can reasonably hope for is "He made his promises sincerely and broke them regretfully." ~Robert Brault,

And be these juggling fiends no more believed,
That palter with us in a double sense;
That keep the word of promise to our ear,
And break it to our hope.
~William Shakespeare, Macbeth, c.1605  [V, 8, Macbeth]

Promise little and do much. ~Hebrew proverb

It's better by far to deliver more than you promise than to promise more than you can deliver. ~Walter E. Weld, 1918

This is the first convention of the Space Age — when a candidate can promise the moon and mean it. ~David Brinkley

Between to-day and to-morrow are graves, and between promising and fulfilling are chasms. ~Friedrich Rückert

Being of no power to make his wishes good:
His promises fly so beyond his state
That what he speaks is all in debt; he owes
For every word...
~William Shakespeare, Timon of Athens, c.1607  [I, 2, Flavius]

...a promise made is a debt unpaid... ~Robert W. Service

Promises make debt, and debt makes promises. ~Dutch proverb

Oft expectation fails and most oft there
Where most it promises, and oft it hits
Where hope is coldest and despair most fits.
~William Shakespeare, All's Well That Ends Well, c.1602  [II, 1, Helena]

Each morning I gaze at the eastern horizon, and if the sun keeps its promise, I keep mine. ~Robert Brault,

Promises may get thee Friends, but Nonperformance will turn them into Enemies. ~Benjamin Franklin, 1740

I never could keep a promise. I do not blame myself for this weakness, because the fault must lie in my physical organization. It is likely that such a very liberal amount of space was given to the organ which enables me to make promises that the organ which should enable me to keep them was crowded out. But I grieve not. I like no half-way things. I had rather have one faculty nobly developed than two faculties of mere ordinary capacity. ~Mark Twain

There is no short cut. For anything worth having one must pay the price, and the price is always work, patience, love, self-sacrifice — no paper currency, no promises to pay, but the gold of real service. ~John Burroughs

Illness is the doctor to whom we pay most heed; to kindness, to knowledge, we make promise only; pain we obey. ~Marcel Proust

In executing the duties of my present important station I can promise nothing but purity of intentions — and in carrying these into effect, fidelity and diligence; if these, under the guidance of a superintending Providence, shall continue to me the approbation and affection of my fellow-citizens of the Union, it will be the highest gratification and the most ample reward that my mind can form any conception of in this life. ~George Washington, 1789

It's all right to break your word if you use a hyphen. ~20,000 Quips & Quotes, Evan Esar, 1968

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