Count No Man Happy Until He Is Dead, “Call No Man Happy Until He Is Dead”

Herodotus actually attributes this to Solon in a conversation with King Crœsus.Variants:Deem no man happy, until he passes the end of his life without suffering griefMany very wealthy men are not happy, while many who have but a moderate living are fortunate; and in truth the very rich man who is not happy has two advantages only as compared with the poor man who is fortunate, whereas this latter has many as compared with the rich man who is not happy. The rich man is able better to fulfil his desire, and also to endure a great calamity if it fall upon him; whereas the other has advantage over him in these things which follow: — he is not indeed able equally with the rich man to endure a calamity or to fulfil his desire, but these his good fortune keeps away from him, while he is sound of limb, free from disease, untouched by suffering, the father of fair children and himself of comely form; and if in addition to this he shall end his life well, he is worthy to be called that which thou seekest, namely a happy man; but before he comes to his end it is well to hold back and not to call him yet happy but only fortunate. Now to possess all these things together is impossible for one who is mere man, just as no single land suffices to supply all things for itself, but one thing it has and another it lacks, and the land that has the greatest number of things is the best: so also in the case of a man, no single person is complete in himself, for one thing he has and another he lacks; but whosoever of men continues to the end in possession of the greatest number of these things and then has a gracious ending of his life, he is by me accounted worthy, O king, to receive this name. The History of Herodotus Book I, Chapter 32

You are watching: Count no man happy until he is dead

Adopted from Wikiquote. Last update Aug. 14, 2021. History


Herodotus41ancient Greek historian, often considered as the first hist… -484 – -425 BC

Related quotes


„Account no man happy till he dies.“

— Euripidés ancient Athenian playwright -480 – -406 BC

Sophocles in Oedipus RexVariant in Herodotus 1.32: Count no man happy until he is dead.Misattributed



„Call no man happy until he is dead.“

— Solón Athenian legislator -638 – -558 BC

Happiness, Dead


„Call no day happy 'til it is done; call no man happy til he is dead.“

— Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, book The Oak and the Calf

Solzhenitsyn here seems to be paraphrasing Sophocles who expresses similar ideas in Oedipus Rex. This is also a direct reference to Plutarch's line, “call no man fortunate until he is dead,” from his “Parallel Lives”.The Oak and the Calf (1975)


„Man comes and tills the field and lies beneath,And after many a summer dies the swan.“

— Alfred, Lord Tennyson British poet laureate 1809 – 1892

” Tithonus”, st. 1 (1860)Context: The woods decay, the woods decay and fall,The vapours weep their burthen to the ground,Man comes and tills the field and lies beneath,And after many a summer dies the swan.Me only cruel immortalityConsumes: I wither slowly in thine arms,Here at the quiet limit of the world,A white-hair'd shadow roaming like a dreamThe ever-silent spaces of the East,Far-folded mists, and gleaming halls of morn.

„A man isn't really alive till he has something bigger than himself and his own little happiness, for which he'd gladly die.“

— Poul Anderson American science fiction and fantasy writer 1926 – 2001

“Ghetto” (1954)Short fiction

„Yes, and how many deaths will it take till he knows that too many people have died?“

— Bob Dylan American singer-songwriter, musician, author, and artist 1941

Song lyrics, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan (1963), Blowin' in the Wind

„Happy the man, and happy he alone,He who can call today his own;He who, secure within, can say,Tomorrow, do thy worst, for I have lived today.“

— John Dryden English poet and playwright of the XVIIth century 1631 – 1700

Book III, Ode 29, lines 65–68.Imitation of Horace (1685)

See more: What Substance Would You Add To Kf(Aq) To Form A Buffer Solution? ?

„Text in Swedish, roughly translated “Here beneath is the ashes of a man who was in habit of always postponing everything till the day after. However, at last he improved and really died Jan 31 1972.”“

— Fritiof Nilsson Piraten Swedish writer 1895 – 1972

Original: (sv) “Här under är askan av en man som hade vanan att skjuta allt till morgondagen. Dock bättrades han på sitt yttersta och dog verkligen den 31 januari 1972”

„An unlucky rich man is more capable of satisfying his desires and of riding out disaster when it strikes, but a lucky man is better off than him…He is the one who deserves to be described as happy. But until he is dead, you had better refrain from calling him happy, and just call him fortunate.“

— Solón Athenian legislator -638 – -558 BC

Herodotus (trans. Robin Waterfield) The Histories Bk. 1, ch. 32, pp. 15-16.

„It would seem from this fact, that man is naturally a wild animal, and that when taken from the woods, he is never happy in his natural state, 'till he returns to them again.“

— Benjamin Rush American physician, educator, author 1745 – 1813

Source: A Memorial Containing Travels Through Life or Sundry Incidents in the Life of Dr Benjamin Rush

„This next song is about… fish… just one singular fish… he was a lonely fish, but he died happy.“

— Daniel Johns Australian musician 1979

31st of August, 2007 at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, introducing “Tuna in the brine”On Stage

„Till Phoebus' rising from his evening fallTo her, for her, he mourns, he calls, he cries.“

— Torquato Tasso Italian poet 1544 – 1595

Lei nel partir, lei nel tornar del SoleChiama con voce stanca, e prega, e plora.Canto XII, stanza 90 (tr. Fairfax)Gerusalemme Liberata (1581)

„The education of a man is never completed until he dies.“

— Robert E. Lee Confederate general in the Civil War 1807 – 1870

As quoted in Peter's Quotations: Ideas for Our Time (1977) by Laurence J. Peter, p. 175

„A death-blow is a life-blow to someWho, till they died, did not alive become;Who, had they lived, had died, but whenThey died, vitality begun.“

— Emily Dickinson American poet 1830 – 1886

Time and Eternity, p. 204Collected Poems (1993)

„We're ne'er like angels till our passion dies.“

— John Denham English poet and courtier 1615 – 1669

Not by Denham, as often stated, but by Thomas Dekker. It is in his The Honest Whore Part 2, Act I, scene 2.Misattributed

„A man is happy so long as he chooses to be happy.“

— Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, book Cancer Ward

Source: Cancer Ward

„This is the Imus in the Morning program, We're not happy 'till you're not happy.“

— Don Imus Radio personality 1940 – 2019

Imus in the Morning, (15 June 2006)

„We are ne’er like angels till our passion dies.“

— Thomas Dekker, The Honest Whore

The Honest Whore (1604), Part ii, Act i. Sc. 2.

„No one can be perfectly free till all are free; no one can be perfectly moral till all are moral; no one can be perfectly happy till all are happy.“

— Herbert Spencer, book Social Statics

Pt. IV, Ch. 30 : General ConsiderationsSocial Statics (1851)

„Before the day of his last departure no man is to be called happy.“

— Francesco Petrarca, Il Canzoniere

Canzone 56, st. 4Il Canzoniere (c. 1351–1353), To Laura in Life

Happiness, Departure

Related topics

Popular topics

See more: Dji'S Phantom 3 4K Compare With Yuneec Q500 4K Vs Dji Phantom 3 Pro Vs

Quotes about a smile Quotes about sadness Quotes about love Quotes about family Quotes about life Quotes about happiness

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button