better be envied than pitied

Cf. PINDAR Pythian Odes I. 163 κρέσσων γὰρ οἰκτιρμοῦ φθόνος, envy is stronger than pity; HERODOTUS Hist. iii. 52 φθονέεσθαι κρέσσον ἐστὶ ἢ οἰκτείρεσθαι, it is better to be envied than to be pitied; mid 15th-cent. Fr. trop plus vaut estre envié que plaint, it is much better to be envied than pitied; ERASMUS Adages IV. iv. 87 praestat invidiosum esse quam miserabilem.

1546 J. HEYWOOD Dialogue of Proverbs i. xi. D2v Sonne, better be envied then pitied, folke sey.

a 1631 DONNE Poems (1633) 94 Men say, and truly, that they better be Which be envyed then pittied.

1902 G. W. E. RUSSELL Onlooker’s Note-Book xxxiii. Her friend responded sympathetically, ‘My dear, I’d much rather be envied than pitied.’


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