- What pity is it
That we can die but once to serve our country!
Cato (1713) act 4, sc. 1, l. 258 1672–1719 English poet, dramatist, and essayist:
- If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England.
1887–1915 English poet: ‘The Soldier’ (1914)
- Standing, as I do, in view of God and eternity, I realize that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.
on the eve of her execution for helping Allied soldiers to escape from occupied Belgium
Times 23 October 1915 1865–1915 English nurse: in
- ‘My country, right or wrong’, is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, ‘My mother, drunk or sober’.
The Defendant (1901) ‘Defence of Patriotism’ 1874–1936 English essayist, novelist, and poet:
- Our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations, may she always be in the right; but our country, right or wrong.
Adams, Schurz 1779–1820 American naval officer: Decatur's toast at Norfolk, Virginia, April 1816; see
- Never was patriot yet, but was a fool.
Absalom and Achitophel (1681) pt. 1, l. 968 1631–1700 English poet, critic, and dramatist:
- If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.
Two Cheers for Democracy (1951) ‘What I Believe’ 1879–1970 English novelist:
- You think you are dying for your country; you die for the industrialists.
L'Humanité 18 July 1922 1844–1924 French novelist and man of letters: in
- That this House will in no circumstances fight for its King and Country. 1911–99 British broadcaster: motion worded by Graham for a debate at the Oxford Union, of which he was Librarian, 9 February 1933 (passed by 275 votes to 153)
- I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.
prior to his execution by the British for spying, 22 September 1776
Nathan Hale, 1776 (1914) ch. 7; see Addison 1755–76 American revolutionary: Henry Phelps Johnston
- Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.
Lovely and honourable it is to die for one's country.
bc Roman poet: Odes bk. 3, no. 2, l. 13; see Owen, Pound 65–8
- We don't want to fight, but, by jingo if we do,
We've got the ships, we've got the men, we've got the money too.
c.1829–1904 English composer of music-hall songs: ‘We Don't Want to Fight’ (1878 music hall song)
- Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
Life of Samuel Johnson (1791) 7 April 1775 1709–84 English poet, critic, and lexicographer: James Boswell
- And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.
Gibran, Holmes 1917–63 American Democratic statesman, 35th President 1961–3: inaugural address, 20 January 1961; see
- I would die for my country but I could never let my country die for me. 1942– British Labour politician: speech at Labour Party Conference, 30 September 1986
- Actually our love of fatherland is largely a matter of recollection of the keen sensual pleasures of our childhood.
commonly quoted as ‘What is patriotism but the love of the good things we ate in our childhood?’, as paraphrased by W. H. Auden and Louis Kronenberger in The Viking Book of Aphorisms (1962)
My Country and My People (1936) 1895–1976 Chinese writer and philologist:
- I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's. 1936– American Republican politician: speech at Republican National Convention, Minneapolis-St Paul, 4 September 2008
- These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of men and women.
The Crisis (December 1776) introduction 1737–1809 English political theorist:
- My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right!
Decatur 1829–1906 American soldier and politician: speech, US Senate, 29 February 1872; see
- Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!
The Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805) canto 6, st. 1 1771–1832 Scottish novelist and poet:
- You'll never have a quiet world till you knock the patriotism out of the human race.
O'Flaherty V.C. (1919) 1856–1950 Irish dramatist:
- I vow to thee, my country—all earthly things above—
Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love,
The love that asks no question: the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best:
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.
1859–1918 British diplomat: ‘I Vow to Thee, My Country’ (written 1918)
- The cricket test—which side do they cheer for?…Are you still looking back to where you came from or where you are?
on the loyalties of Britain's immigrant population
Los Angeles Times, reported in Daily Telegraph 20 April 1990 1931– British Conservative politician: interview in