patience is a virtue?

I need a hand, folks. Can anyone give me the straight dope on the origin of the following (albeit paraphrased) line:

“Patience is a virtue from which all other qualities arise.”

One person has suggested Chaucer, another the Bible. I can’t find it in the former and have never seen it in the latter.

If I can get the exact quotation and a citation I can show up all the snooty professional librarians I work with. That’s not to say all librarians are snooty. Just my coworkers.

Anyone who can help me out gets a gold star.


There’s always a bigger fish.

Will someone HURRY UP and answer this fucking question already?!?!?

Yer pal,

Dunno the origin of that, but ALL librarians are snooty. All you have to do is just recognize that snootiness is a virtue.

Ray (another lesson in virtual reality)

The exit is over here, at the bottom of the ‘File’ menu. Now, without knowing Korean, can you tell me which Gold Star company I’m getting?


Ray: you don’t want the Kum Sung corporation.

I don’t have any virtues.

Canterbury Tales The Franklin’s Tale line 773.

Sorry. That’s the only “patience is a virtue” that I can find. Your quote sounds a bit like Portia in Shakespeare’s Mechant of Venice, but I can’t remember any lines like that in the play.


Thanks, Tom. I’m glad someone is interested in more than Korean holding companies. :wink:

But . . . I don’t think I’m going to impress the coworkers with it. Not that they would know Chaucer if he bit them on the ass. An MLS degree is way overrated these days.


There’s always a bigger fish.

If I remember my Catholic school lessons correctly, Jesus taught the disciples about the 7 virutes of life which they should live by. He said that patience was the first and the most important out of all the virtures.

<font color=“yellow” face=“Wingdings” size=6>«</font> :wink:

“The more beautiful the rose, the more thorns it hides underneath.” - Louie

Sorry, Louie, you must be misremembering your Sunday School lessons 'cause Jesus never said that.

Don’t know who came up with the bon mot the OP queried. Classically, patience isn’t even one of the cardinal virtues.


I give up (for now, at least). The closest I can find is that it might be a paraphrase of Tertullian:

“Patience has been given such pre-eminence in matters pertaining to God that no one can fulfill any precept or perform any work pleasing to the Lord without patience.”

Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue like the original though. :wink: Gregory (Nazianzen?) did a bit about patience as well, but I can’t find that quote from him either.

“Eppur, si muove!” - Galileo Galilei

I don’t know who said it, but it definitely isn’t from Shakespeare.

Shakespeare search engine:

I thought the line comes from the Nestle’s Quik rabbit.

Chaim Mattis Keller

“Sherlock Holmes once said that once you have eliminated the
impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be
the answer. I, however, do not like to eliminate the impossible.
The impossible often has a kind of integrity to it that the merely improbable lacks.”
– Douglas Adams’s Dirk Gently, Holistic Detective

There are a number of proverbs that are closely related, though slightly different wording:
“Patience is a virtue that God gives only to those He loves” (Moroccan proverb)
** there are also German and Italian
proverbs that are very close in meaning

“Patience is the companion of wisdom.”
(St. Augustine, On Patience)

“He that can have patience can have what he will” (Benjamim Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanac, 1757)

All above cited from The New Dictionary of Quotations, ed. H.L. Mencken

Please find other similar quotes (e.g. Seneca, Samuel Johnson, Vergil, etc.) in The Home Book of Quotations, by Stevenson.

No gold star required, but attribution would be nice.

Veb (M.L.S.)

Thanks everyone. I appreciate the help. I’ll run the Tertullian and the Moroccan one past 'em. (With full credit, of course, Veb) Hell, it’s loads better than what the “professionals” came up with.

I’m beginning to think someone is trying to get me to look up soem cheesy “Quotable Quote” or bathroom cross-stitch sampler. Sigh.


“Listen Children Eternal Father Eternally One!” Exceptions? None!
-Doc Bronner

Patience isn’t a virtue because he who hesitates is lost, but he should still measure twice and cut once without forgetting to strike while the iron is hot.
How many cooks’ heads go into the broth again?