“I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”

Etienne de Grellet Quaker missionary


Courtesy
Pass It On®
Pass It On®

  email   print

Your Comments
Reba S Rotondo from New Jersey JUNE 30, 2022
Love this quote

Lesley Dunlop from Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales MAY 26, 2022
The passage is on a torn-off piece of newspaper I have that my father carried with him during World War II whilst serving in India and Burma. A passage that everyone should read and reflect upon; now more relevant than ever. It's so very very meaningful.

Anonymous MAY 22, 2022
Well, this really took me way back to my childhood. My late dad had this on the wall. Over the years as l grew up l forgot the rest of the lines but for the first and half of the second. So glad l found this again. It's like a connection once again with my dad.

Nancy from Jacksonville, FL. APRIL 2, 2022
My twin sister would often recite this passage. It’s how she lived her life. She was loved by all

rod from castlemaine, australia MARCH 20, 2022
These words hung on my grandparents wall in melbourne. They have stuck with me, happy to find them here.

Barb from Arizona MARCH 14, 2022
I choose to live this way. Wouldn't it be a beautiful world when more people live a life filled with positive hope and take a few minutes to help another? I believe it is possible.

Anonymous MARCH 14, 2022
This is a way of life that all mankind was meant to live.

Christina Arneson MARCH 7, 2022
this is the quote we used to recite every morning before class

Bill Perryman from South Yorkshire JANUARY 13, 2022
I remember this poem on a wall at home in London, a small callender beneath it. I suppose we didn't have many pictures and the few things on walls were memorable. The callender lasted the year and was taken off, redundant, a new year had begun, leaving the small cardboard poster to inspire and remind us to be helpful...a little like 'paying forward'. It came to mind today, just randomly and i was pleased to find its complete text. I can still imagine it on the wall, the wallpaper behind it looked like stones and the adjacent wall imitated wood planks. It would look hideous today! i left home five decades ago, and the house has different occupants, but those words live on.

Josie Giamboy from Haddonfield NJ DECEMBER 26, 2021
Absolutely beautiful I wish more people could feel that in their heart

DrinkinDiva from USA SEPTEMBER 18, 2021
I'm rough around the edges but I love all living souls, my preference are animals, always has been. They stay true to their character and nature, you know your place with them, respect them and them you

Mary Elliott from Avon SEPTEMBER 9, 2021
My dear aunt and Mum would quote this poem to me when I was in my teens,which at the time did not mean that much. But now in my latter years it has become meaningful in every sense.

Robert van Eekeres from Sydney, Australia JUNE 14, 2021
I used to sing this song with my band, inspired by the Glen Campbell version. I was then about 20-odd while now in my 78th year, and remember that I had to stop singing this, since it invariably brought me to tears.

Anonymous JUNE 10, 2021
I am 75 years old but I remember this poem from my childhood. It still inspires me. A great way to look at life and other people that you meet, no matter who they are.

Mutale from Luasaka Zambia MAY 25, 2021
My favourite and quiding quote.

sophia from calawan an MAY 25, 2021
thank u so much

John Robinson from Evanston, IL APRIL 22, 2021
I found this quote in a small diary that my father kept with him in India during WWII, where he served with the RAF. All the inspirational sayings and quotations are in his own handwriting. His version says “ to my fellow creatures”, rather than “any human being”. The poem describes exactly how my father lived his whole life. He never hurt a soul, neither human or animal and was the kindest man I have ever known.

Nancy Höstmeyer from St. Louis , Missouri, USA JANUARY 27, 2021
I have this yellowed cut out from some magazine decades ago that I keep plastered in full view on daily book. It is amazing how many comments I get on this. It brings tears in this day and age; as I’m sure it has in The past. Seems more poignant now. So true. If I could- I would include ‘acts of kindness toward any animal’ in this pearl of wisdom. With Mr. de Grellets’ permission.

J.E. Angelie D. Genovia from Dumalinao Zamboanga del Sur JANUARY 19, 2021
always do good things, and show kindness

Josie from South Carolina  DECEMBER 5, 2020
My mom had this quote above her kitchen sink. So every day upon doing dishes, I was faced with it. And the quote sunk into my heart. It changed my heart to focus on the gift of giving - and not receiving.

Carmelita S. Gatcgalian from Philipoines OCTOBER 2, 2020
I love meditating the meaning of this poem. Thank you for inspiring your readers.

TOM FULLER from TORONTO cANADA SEPTEMBER 20, 2020
VERY WISE

JOAN from MEDFORD, MA USA AUGUST 23, 2020
i came across this quote as a young mother and have started saying it again I am planning on making copies and sending them out as a kindness to those in need. Thank you for your help. xo

Wendy from Sydney NSW Australia JULY 22, 2020
My dear departed Dad aged 83 would often say part of this very meaningful quote (by Etienne de Grellet - QUAKER MISSIONARY) and ensured our family lived by it. My Mum and I wanted to know where it came from and what it meant so now I can let her know.

Doreen Nordlund from Berkshire, England. JUNE 30, 2020
I read this many, many years ago and from time to time I silently repeat it to myself. I just love the simplicity of it and the deep meaning it has. I wish it was taught in schools for there is no better philosophy than do to simple kindnesses in our everyday life.

Helen from Australia JUNE 26, 2020
This quote is an entry in my 1960s autograph book from my grandmother, serves to remind me of our brief existence on earth and what we can leave as a legacy to others.

Arilla Kay from Illinois  MAY 26, 2020
My great aunt also had this on her dressing table! For 40 years I thought she was my grandmother

Gaye from England APRIL 7, 2020
My grandmother had this quotation on her dressing table, as did my aunt. I’m over 70 and carrying on the tradition. There’s no better philosophy.

Col Gilroy from The Entrance NSW Australia NOVEMBER 7, 2019
If the whole world lived by this philosophy, there would be no violence.

Charmaine from Houston, Texas (Jamaican born & raised) OCTOBER 28, 2019
This memory gem I learnt as a very young child has shaped my life.

Frank Heino from Buffalo, MN OCTOBER 3, 2019
One of my favorite quotes!!!! I try to live by this!!!

Shehla from Birmingham  AUGUST 6, 2019
When I was nine my mother asked me to learn these lines by heart. I'm fifty now. The world seems a very, very cruel place, much more so than it was then. Kindness.....all we can truly give each other.

Jim from Tulsa ,OK AUGUST 5, 2019
In the early 1950s a restaurant owner had this saying over the exit doobr- it has stuck with since

Tita Copuyoc. Philippines. from Facebook MAY 25, 2019
My favorite quotation - it has inspired me and I know it by heart 😊

Anonymous MAY 17, 2019
My father used to quote these words to me too and I have never forgotten them. I try to live by this wisdom and believe it relates to how we treat animals too.

Anonymous APRIL 28, 2019
Wonderful words to live by

Nancy P. from Illinois APRIL 17, 2019
I cannot believe how quickly it came up on the screen. My Daddy used to quote parts of it to me and I never forgot it but I did not get the full sentiment. Thank you for having this little word of wisdom available. I hope more people would carry out the message it portrays.

Marione D. from Philippines APRIL 4, 2019
We have this quote in our bedroom wall way back my childhood, I didn't know what it means back then since we don't speak English as our native language. Turns out that it was about random kindness, which is something that I always take pride in doing. Not sure if I was able to permanently tattoo the quote in my subconscious mind or what, but I'm glad I was able to remember this as an adult.

Anonymous MARCH 22, 2019
I am 60 years old and was sitting here considering a situation where I could act...and in my mind, I heard my high school social studies teacher, Dr. Meredith, reading those words.....which have come to me over and over again since then....Powerful!

Jani Sorrentino from Springfield Illinois MARCH 7, 2019
I first read this poem in college, in a hallway, and every day I read it on the wall, and was captivated by it. It was an all women's college, run by the Sisters of the Humility of Mary, and it's stamped on my heart forever. I try to live this every day of my life still. And I am so grateful for the reminder.

Lynette from Sydney,Australia MARCH 5, 2019
These beautiful words are very special to me...When I was in Bombay, India, I was on my way to Church one morning, long ago, and found a card on the road which I picked up (it was from one priest to another) and when I read the words I realised that this was meant for me too and have tried to live my life accordingly.

Anonymous FEBRUARY 14, 2019
One of my favorite quotes.

Elaine DECEMBER 3, 2018
For much that is given much is required open up and live to the death, life is good and each of us in someway can make it better for the next.

Tito Aliga from Philippines DECEMBER 2, 2018
A lesson for the all ages!

Gillian Amarteifio from Kent. UK NOVEMBER 25, 2018
I love this and try to live my life this way.

Will Bates from Poteet Texas NOVEMBER 13, 2018
These word mean much to me right now.

Syntiche B. Javier from Sampaloc, Manila  NOVEMBER 12, 2018
Giving when you have enough for you is love. And in so doing, there is kindness in love.

Barbara from U.K  OCTOBER 5, 2018
love it !! and so true

Gregory W Knowles from South Eleuthera, Bahamad SEPTEMBER 16, 2018
Make every moment count! Don't waste time, value it.

Heather from Cumbria, UK.  SEPTEMBER 1, 2018
My father frequently said this and he was a man who showed kindness to many. I am delighted to have discovered its origin. It's a wonderful motto to live one's life by.

Dr. Geneva Robertsis from California AUGUST 28, 2018
This is the way I have tried to live my life. I found this saying when I was very young. IF individuals in our society would implement this in their live, the world would be a better place.

Mark from Scotia,NY AUGUST 9, 2018
My mother spoke this to me several dozen times as a boy, I would love to hear her say it again, she would be 101 now. She lived everyday in this way. R.I.P. Mom.........you earned it.

Siva from UK AUGUST 6, 2018
This is my father ‘s favourite quotation and the way he lived his life. I hope I could follow this rule.

Sheila from SCC, Florida JULY 3, 2018
I have loved this quote since I was a young woman. I want to have this printed and framed as I am older now and never want to forget it!

SLO from Utah JUNE 28, 2018
A favorite quote of my sister in law who has recently passed away. It is a tribute to how she lived her life.

Elsje Kok from Westerbork, Holland JUNE 23, 2018
I red this quote many years ago. I kept it but lost it eventually. The phrase "I shall not pass this way again" came to mind suddenly and internet provided me with the rest. I am old now and have time for reflection. It teaches me now to come to peace and understanding with the people I know. I am grateful for this recognision.

Anonymous Lady from California  JUNE 6, 2018
I stumbled across this quote a few months ago and to be honest when I first read it I didn’t really understand what it was referring to so I had to google it. And WOW. This quote is so beautiful, and while it was always a philosophy of mine to be kind to everyone, this has inspired me to take more action and be less hesitant about it. In addition, it spoke volumes to me about the person who lead me to this quote. I hope to get to know this person much better in future.

J G Gaviola from Comembo, Makati City, Philippines  JUNE 2, 2018
I first heard this quoted statement in 1975 and has since been influenced by its substance; it's 2018 now, I'm older and have seen the statement's power in my life in an astrnomical degree.... Still applying it with vigor.

Anonymous MAY 31, 2018
Awesome

+T+ from China MAY 29, 2018
My Primary Six teacher wrote this in my yearbook and I have remembered this every since. Thanks, Miss Wong.

Rebecca Kagura from Zimbabwe MAY 24, 2018
I have kept this poem for a very long time...it has helped me shape the way I talk to others..and how u treat my life's journey.... So much has changed.

Angelo from Philippines MAY 9, 2018
Read it on Dale Carnegie's book how to win friends and influence people. A must read for any of you out there seeking wisdom and self-improvement. Let's continue to show kindness and understand each other's situation.

Hector D Luna from Lake wales florida  MAY 4, 2018
I saw it posted in a wall at a drug store 55 years ago and i never forgotten it.

Anonymous APRIL 26, 2018
I have always found this quote a source of inspiration and a guideline that helps me as I come accross the lonesome, poor and destitude. It assists me to appreciate what I have and opens my mind to share.

Jan from Amelia, ohio APRIL 20, 2018
This quote has been a part of my life from the time I first read it many years ago. I believe that we are our brothers keeper. I want to try to make good use of the time allotted to me on this earth. We can make a difference and random acts of kindness are not forgotten. Having the objective to be positive yields enormous benefits to ourselves, our community, our nation. I want to give back and pay forward to All living creatures of this world. This quote reminds me of my choice in this journey.

Wildlifeguy from Northern California  MARCH 14, 2018
I have tried to live my life by this saying with the removal of the word “human”. I find it more complete, a realization of the connectedness of ALL life without restricting my kindness to just humans. We are all related. All life is related.

Dave D. from Pittsburgh, PA MARCH 9, 2018
I read this many years ago. It was shared by the late Jerry Lewis and has always resonated with me. When I got into EMS, it really spoke to me, and helped me to give all of my patients the kindness and compassion they sorely needed. I had it printed out and tucked away on every shift and with me on every call. 10 yrs later and out of the game but it still resonates.

Anonymous JANUARY 28, 2018
When it's all about the "me" we cease being human.

Roberti from Azusa, Calif. JANUARY 26, 2018
"The Wisdom of the world, is but foolishness to God."

Anonymous JANUARY 26, 2018
The hell with politics! There are no colors , there are no races! There's just us, One. One race, the human race, made in God's image! To care for each other, worry about each other, and most of all to Love each other, Period. Together we can achieve what's eluded mankind since the dawn of time, peace on Earth, true everlasting peace, true everlasting love for each other.

Alfredo from West Covina, Calif. JANUARY 26, 2018
Such a profound saying, I saw it over my grandfather's bed. it has stayed with me all the 65 yrs.of my life. Which I will continue to practice till I'm gone.

Anonymous JANUARY 12, 2018
I shall pas through this world again

Limtekhoi from Singapore  JANUARY 9, 2018
Today is the day. Tomorrow is yet to come. Make today count, as if your life ends today.

Mary Ann from Round Rock , Texas JANUARY 1, 2018
I used this as part of my graduation speech from Nursing School.

Mary Ann from Round Rock , Texas JANUARY 1, 2018
Will use this as my New Years Resolution

Paulette from Massachusetts DECEMBER 29, 2017
My father-in-law also who passed away in 2015 also had this saying as his favorite. he served our country in World war 2 and always was helping one person or another and doing good deeds during the years after. Inspiring and motivation quote

Sue from Shropshire NOVEMBER 3, 2017
My mother and her five sisters went to a small school in Ludlow, where every morning at Assembly they all recited various "wise words". This quotation was among them.

Rhett from Charleston AUGUST 23, 2017
My Grandmother who passed in 1963 stated this was her favorite poem.

Ann from Bridgend South Wales AUGUST 22, 2017
my grandmother had this verse in a very tattered frame more than fifty five years ago and I always wondered what happenend to it and indeed where the verse originated. I am delighted to have found it as I read it every time I visited my grandmother.

Joseph from Diamond head  MAY 3, 2017
Beautiful

JJ from New Mexico  JANUARY 28, 2017
This has become my philosophy for life.

Mita Pretty from California  JANUARY 18, 2017
This is the best passage I have ever read and if we could put this into action then this world would be a great place to live.

Consuelo from Manila, Philippines JANUARY 13, 2017
Reninds me of my maternal grandmama

Mike from Queens, NY JANUARY 6, 2017
My old barber, who was a font of wisdom and who lived and worked into his nineties had this on the mirror in his shop.

Joann from North carolina DECEMBER 12, 2016
My mother put this quote in my bedroom. I have known it since I was a child growing up in war torn Liberia. I will continue the tradition and put it in my children's room along with the poem by pavel Friedman - the butterfly

Jen from Abbey DECEMBER 3, 2016
Very true quote! Wish more people would practice it, then there would be more peace in the world.

Anonymous NOVEMBER 26, 2016
My favorite.

Michelle from Portland, OR NOVEMBER 23, 2016
I first learned this quotation in high school - way back in the 70's. I woke up thinking them this morning and discovered your lovely website. Beautiful inspiration!

Tony from Los Angeles, CA OCTOBER 20, 2016
I learned this quotation when I was in college way back half a century ago. I was touched by it and somehow I tried to "practice and apply" in my own little way teaching others.

Cheryl SEPTEMBER 18, 2016
I read this when I was a youngster and I never forgot it. I've lived my life in this manner and I'm now in my in my fifties.

yethwe from yangon, Myanmar AUGUST 21, 2016
simple words, but very meaningful, touching and could well understand only if you read with your kind heart.

Kipruto from Kenya JUNE 16, 2016
For some reason, it feels like what I understand yoga does to the mind. I can't quite describe it.

Njonjo from Kenya  JUNE 16, 2016
Very inspirational!

Anderson from Trinidad MARCH 21, 2016
Very touching, very deep. Open your eyes and grasp that one chance. You shall not pass here again.

greg from south africa MARCH 13, 2016
The way we should all be!

Danette Jackson from Savannah, GA  MARCH 12, 2016
Words to live by.

laurie from new york MARCH 1, 2016
I remember my mom talking about this when I was very small,somehow the importance and bare beauty of it stayed with me always. It is the reason I love poetry, and try to be the kindest peron I can,its also the reason in times that I am anoyed withy mom or we have had words,I pause and let it go.The day she told me of this saying she became a saint in my eyes and how could you.say anoyed at a saint?

Virginia from Ridge,ny FEBRUARY 24, 2016
So inspirational. Want to live it.

Jim from AR FEBRUARY 23, 2016
This is sooooooooooooooo true!

Donnie Sorey from Maine FEBRUARY 22, 2016
I have followed this since I was 20...I'm over 50 now. I tell my daughter it often.

Ozzie Dawkins from USA FEBRUARY 18, 2016
Do some today

Ozzie Dawkins from USA FEBRUARY 7, 2016
Wonderful quotes

Ozzie Dawkins FEBRUARY 6, 2016
I hope many people all over the world will read this quote. Life is too short let us start to do better starting today.

LUTHER from DALLAS, TX JANUARY 15, 2016
GREAT POEM

Richard B from Toronto, Canada DECEMBER 10, 2015
In memory of my father...his favourite saying to me...!!!

Helgard from South Africa NOVEMBER 26, 2015
Our headmaster taught us the de Grellet verse. That was 80 years ago. I still remember and practice is.

NULL from NULL JUNE 7, 2015
A high school teacher insisted we write this in our book. I've lived by it and now I am 68 years old, and recite it to my children.

NULL from NULL DECEMBER 14, 2014
My Dad was born on Dec. 12, 1912 & he passed away four months shy of his 100th birthday on Dec. 12, 2012 - his voice remains in my heart & soul with these words he always quoted.

M. VarKonda from Buffalo,N.Y. SEPTEMBER 12, 2014
My father lived his life by these words.

Lois Kornfeld from Saint Charles Mo AUGUST 29, 2014
Has always been one of my favorite quotes

james tomry from lagos, Nigeria AUGUST 9, 2014
A great word for great mind

Elizabeth McCoy from Newcastle NSW  AUGUST 2, 2014
This was my late grandmas fav saying and had it on her fridge.the last time I saw her she reminded me of it.

Al Phelps from El Paso, TX JULY 31, 2014
Just hope I can live up to this.

Maria Linda from Philippines JULY 30, 2014
I really love this quote since my high school days because it reminds me not to procrastinate. Thanks.

CHARLES CLOPTON from Valley Village, CA 91607 JULY 29, 2014
I heard this many decades ago and it keeps coming back to my mind.

Pamela Gordon from Chennai, India JULY 28, 2014
I like this quote because it teaches people not to defer any act of kindness, whether it be in word, in kind or action to do it now...for the person for whom it was meant may not be there when you choose to do or may neither you may be there to do it. Don't postpone acts of kindntesses, do it now

Jin Harmer from North Adelaide Autstralia JULY 10, 2014
I lived my life this way

Alan from Australia JUNE 22, 2014
I too try to live by this quote. It is the simplest yet the best.

Lucinda from Haverhill JUNE 17, 2014
This has been my mantra since I read this 50 years ago. It simply says it all!

Robert E. Smith from Washington,DC JUNE 14, 2014
I first learned this quote in 10th grade in Mr. Williamson class.I don't know wheather he was a Quaker but I thank him for giving it to us.I has been words for which I try to live by.And thank you P. Chaffin for helping me reconnect with it.

haniff mohmoodally from London / Mauriyus JUNE 2, 2014
If all humanity follows this phiposophy in life and behave like this , what a wonderful it would be indeed tp pive in

Norma from Scotland APRIL 30, 2014
This was a saying my Dad would say and he lived by..he passed it to me and i to my son...such a beautiful way to be in life. I also was a Nurse and totally agree with Suzanne`s comment.

Mary from US APRIL 25, 2014
I worked 29 years at the University of Notre Dame and kept this quote taped to my computer screen to remind me every day of my mission to help every student to the best of my ability. Many of my ancestors were also Quaker, a very peaceful people.

Nathan from US APRIL 15, 2014
Thanks so much for posting this quote & also the website. Some of my ancestors were Quakers (1600's). If they lived by this and other such ideals, what a great blessing they were, and have passed it on to generations of their descendants.

Suzanne from England MARCH 12, 2014
As a nurse I remember this every day, I feel it should be part of our Professional Code of Conduct- if this is not how you feel as a nurse then change your occupation.

Retha from Cape Town, South Africa MARCH 12, 2014
I have always loved this quote... So beautiful. If only humans would adhere. It is so sad that humans are so scared of each other. It breaks my heart.

J Vanbar from UK MARCH 1, 2014
This was written on the back of the Saturday morning cinema club card. circa 1944

Jasmine D. Adams from Barbados FEBRUARY 19, 2014
Heard this as a child and it has always stuck with me. It's my philosophy. I remain humble not matter what the crisis it

Peggy Kaseta from Berlin, Ct FEBRUARY 3, 2014
My philosophy of living is reflected in this quotation. I have always loved this sentiment

Peter Grooby from Boston.UK JANUARY 16, 2014
I have always tried help other people and got into trouble as well. But never mind, I enjoyed doing it ,love to all.

Janitha from Camada JANUARY 8, 2014
I could only remember the last verse, and Presto! Google delivers.

Robert Densmore Brill, J.D. from Jomtien Beach, Thailand NOVEMBER 22, 2013
I ended the Index of my book about Poe's Scottish connections with some of these thoughts: "We pass this way but once, and as I pass, I build a bridge for him who follows."

Marianne from Boston NOVEMBER 16, 2013
When I was 15years old I bought a poster with this quote and 43years later I still go by it

Robert from Bonny, Nigeria NOVEMBER 10, 2013
You only get one shot at life, make it count!

Nancy from Charleston NOVEMBER 8, 2013
For all my friends that I hold dear in my heart~and to friends I have yet to meet!

sylvia from moravec OCTOBER 30, 2013
To my beloved Greenbay Packers....

SJ Moshirian from San Diego, CA OCTOBER 29, 2013
I have always loved this poem. It is so meaningful and I pray that I can live up to to message.

Donna Floyd from San Antonio, Tx OCTOBER 28, 2013
My dad had a plaque on the wall with this quote. I thought I remembered it being anonymous but I see here it was given credit to this missionary. I memorized it as a child and will always remember it.

Helen from Quincy, MA SEPTEMBER 21, 2013
not always easy, but so true...

Mercy Røder from Virum, Denmark JULY 28, 2013
Meritorious quote!

Iris Botnik from Burbank, CA JUNE 2, 2013
I have always loved this quote, I had it printed in the front of all my books.

Edgar Houseman from Bellmawr NJ APRIL 24, 2013
This quote was my Mom's, and its mine till I die. I have always tried to help ANYONE that I've known Thank you

Here are some other inspiring quotes you might like.