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date: 15 June 2024


see also Money, Wealth
  1. Make poverty history.
    Anonymous: slogan of a campaign launched in 2005 by a coalition of charities and other groups to pressure governments to take action to reduce poverty
  2. She was poor but she was honest
    Victim of a rich man's game.
    First he loved her, then he left her,
    And she lost her maiden name…
    It's the same the whole world over,
    It's the poor wot gets the blame,
    It's the rich wot gets the gravy.
    Ain't it all a bleedin' shame?
    Anonymous: ‘She was Poor but she was Honest’; sung by British soldiers in the First World War
  3. Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.
    James Baldwin 1924–87 American novelist and essayist: Nobody Knows My Name (1961) ‘Fifth Avenue, Uptown: a letter from Harlem’
  4. Come away; poverty's catching.
    Aphra Behn 1640–89 English dramatist, poet, and novelist: The Rover pt. 2 (1681) act 1
  5. The poor always ye have with you.
    The Bible (Authorized Version, 1611): St John ch. 12, v. 8
  6. When I give food to the poor they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food they call me a communist.
    Helder Camara 1909–99 Brazilian priest: attributed
  7. The poor are Europe's blacks.
    Nicolas-Sébastien Chamfort 1741–94 French writer: Maximes et Pensées (1796) ch. 8
  8. They [the poor] have to labour in the face of the majestic equality of the law, which forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.
    Anatole France 1844–1924 French novelist and man of letters: Le Lys rouge (1894) ch. 7
  9. Laws grind the poor, and rich men rule the law.
    Oliver Goldsmith 1728–74 Irish writer, poet, and dramatist: The Traveller (1764) l. 386
  10. Let not ambition mock their useful toil,
    Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
    Nor grandeur hear with a disdainful smile,
    The short and simple annals of the poor.
    Thomas Gray 1716–71 English poet: Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard (1751) l. 29
  11. Brother can you spare a dime?
    E. Y. (‘Yip’) Harburg 1898–1981 American songwriter: title of song (1932)
  12. I want there to be no peasant in my kingdom so poor that he is unable to have a chicken in his pot every Sunday.
    Henri IV 1553–1610 French monarch, King from 1589: Hardouin de Péréfixe Histoire de Henry le Grand (1681); see Hoover
  13. Oh! God! that bread should be so dear,
    And flesh and blood so cheap!
    Thomas Hood 1799–1845 English poet and humorist: ‘The Song of the Shirt’ (1843)
  14. It's no disgrace t'be poor, but it might as well be.
    Frank McKinney (‘Kin’) Hubbard 1868–1930 American humorist: Short Furrows (1911)
  15. Resolve not to be poor: whatever you have, spend less. Poverty is a great enemy to human happiness; it certainly destroys liberty, and it makes some virtues impracticable, and others extremely difficult.
    Samuel Johnson 1709–84 English poet, critic, and lexicographer: James Boswell Life of Samuel Johnson (1791) letter to Boswell, 7 December 1782
  16. The misfortunes of poverty carry with them nothing harder to bear than that it makes men ridiculous.
    Juvenal c.ad 60–c.140 Roman satirist: Satires no. 3, l. 152
  17. There's nothing surer,
    The rich get rich and the poor get children.
    Gus Kahn 1886–1941 and Raymond B. Egan 1890–1952: ‘Ain't We Got Fun’ (1921 song)
  18. Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice.
    Nelson Mandela 1918–2013 South African statesman: speech in Trafalgar Square, London, 3 February 2005
  19. Rattle his bones over the stones;
    He's only a pauper, whom nobody owns!
    Thomas Noel 1799–1861 English poet: ‘The Pauper's Drive’ (1841)
  20. The biggest deception of the past thousand years is this: to confuse poverty with stupidity.
    Orhan Pamuk 1952–  Turkish novelist: Snow (2004)
  21. The greatest of evils and the worst of crimes is poverty.
    George Bernard Shaw 1856–1950 Irish dramatist: Major Barbara (1907) preface
  22. Born down in a dead man's town
    The first kick I took was when I hit the ground.
    Bruce Springsteen 1949–  American rock singer and songwriter: ‘Born in the USA’ (1984 song)
  23. A hungry man is not a free man.
    Adlai Stevenson 1900–65 American Democratic politician: speech at Kasson, Minnesota, 6 September 1952
  24. Cleanliness and comfort are two of the costliest items in a modest budget.
    Edith Wharton 1862–1937 American novelist: The Age of Innocence (1920) ch. 14