We are not fond of praising, and never praise any one except from interested motives. Praise is a clever, concealed, and delicate flattery, which gratifies in different ways the giver and the receiver. The one takes it as a recompense of his merit, and the other bestows it to display his equity and discernment.
The joys of parents are secret; and so are their griefs and fears. They cannot utter the one; nor they will not utter the other. Children sweeten labors; but they make misfortunes more bitter. They increase the cares of life; but they mitigate the remembrance of death. The perpetuity by generation is common to beasts; but memory, merit, and noble works are proper to men.
To delight in war is a merit in the soldier, a dangerous quality in the captain, and a positive crime in the statesman.
Change a virtue in its circumstances and it becomes a vice; change a vice in its circumstances, and it becomes a virtue. Regard the same quality from two sides; on one it is a fault, on the other a merit. The essential of a man is found concealed far below these moral badges.
Praise in the beginning is agreeable enough; and we receive it as a favor; but when it comes in great quantities, we regard it only as a debt, which nothing but our merit could extort.
Merit challenges envy.
The painter will produce pictures of little merit if he takes the works of others as his standard.
Great merit or great failings will make you respected or despised; but trifles, little attentions, mere nothings, either done or neglected, will make you either liked or disliked, in the general run of the world. Examine yourself, why you like such and such people and dislike such and such others; and you will find that those different sentiments proceed from very slight causes.
If you wish particularly to gain the good graces and affection of certain people, men or women, try to discover their most striking merit, if they have one, and their dominant weakness, for every one has his own, then do justice to the one and a little more than justice to the other.
Real merit of any kind cannot long be concealed; it will be discovered, and nothing can depreciate it, but a man’s exhibiting it himself. It may not always be rewarded as it ought; but it will always be known.
It is not a merit to tolerate, but rather a crime to be intolerant.
The noble art of losing face may one day save the human race and turn into eternal merit what weaker minds would call disgrace.
Those who are greedy of praise prove that they are poor in merit.
Perpetual moderness is the measure of merit in every work of art.
Always judge your fellow with a leaning to the side of merit.
He who shares the afflictions of others will merit to behold the comforting of humanity.
The merit of originality is not novelty; it is sincerity. The believing man is the original man; whatsoever he believes, he believes it for himself, not for another.
To be an object of hatred and aversion to their contemporaries has been the usual fate of all those whose merit has raised them above the common level. The man who submits to the shafts of envy for the sake of noble objects pursues a judicious course for his own lasting fame. Hatred dies with its object, while merit soon breaks forth in full splendor, and his glory is handed down to posterity in never-dying strains.
Society - the only field where the sexes have ever met on terms of equality, the arena where character is formed and studied, the cradle and the realm of public opinion, the crucible of ideas, the world’s university, at once a school and a theater, the spur and the crown of ambition, the tribunal which unmasks pretension and stamps real merit, the power that gives government leave to be, and outruns the lazy Church in fixing the moral sense of the eye.
Of all virtues, magnanimity is the rarest. There are a hundred persons of merit for one who willingly acknowledges it in another.