Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Civility

"Politeness is a mixture of discretion, civility, complaisance and circumspection spread over all we do and say." - Charles de Saint-Évremond, fully Charles Marguetel de Saint-Denis, seigneur de Évremond

"Perhaps the summary of good-breeding may be reduced to this rule. “Behave unto all men as you would they should behave to you.” This will most certainly oblige us to treat all mankind with the utmost civility and respect, there being nothing that we desire more than to be treated so by them." - Henry Fielding

"Friendship cannot live with ceremony, nor without civility." - Charles Montagu Halifax, 1st Earl of Halifax, Lord Halifax

"Politeness is a mixture of discretion, civility, complaisance, and circumspection spread over all we do and say." - Charles de Saint-Évremond, fully Charles Marguetel de Saint-Denis, seigneur de Évremond

"There is nothing that we an properly call our own but our time, and yet everybody fools us out of it who has a mind to do it. If a man borrows a paltry sum of money, there must needs be bonds and securities, and every common civility is presently charged upon account. But he who has my time thinks he owes me nothing for it, though it be a debt that gratitude itself can never repay." -

"Men and women are biological facts. Ladies and gentleman - citizens - are social artifacts, works of political art. They carry the culture that is sustained by wise laws, and traditions of civility. A the end of the day we are right to judge a society by the character of the people it produces. That is why statecraft is, inevitably, soulcraft." - George Frederick Will

"Civility costs nothing and buys everything." -

"Great talents, such as honor, virtue, learning, and parts, are above the generality of the world, who neither possess them themselves, nor judge of them rightly in others; but all people are judges of the lesser talents, such as civility, affability, and an obliging, agreeable address and manner, because they feel the good effects of them, as making society easy and pleasing." - Lord Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield

"There can be no high civility without a deep morality." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Beside the general infusion of wit to heighten civility, the direct splendor of intellectual power is ever welcome in fine society, as the costliest addition to its rule and its credit." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Most adults would not dream of belittling, humiliating, or bullying (verbally or physically) another adult. But many of the same adults think nothing of treating their adolescent child like a nonperson. . . . Adolescents deserve the same civility their parents routinely extend to total strangers." - Laurence Steinberg

"Politeness and civility are the best capital ever invested in business. Large stores, gilt signs, flaming advertisements, will all prove unavailing if you or your employees treat your patrons abruptly." - P.T. Barnum, fully Phineas Taylor Barnum

"The reflection that strikes the heart is not that the evils before us are real evils but that they are evils to which we ourselves may be exposed... The delight of tragedy proceeds from our consciousness of fiction; if we thought murders and treasons real, they would please no more." - Samuel Johnson, aka Doctor Johnson

"When he hung over the death-bed of his infant son Ibrahim, resignation to the Will of God was exhibited in his conduct under this keenest of afflictions; and the hope of soon rejoining his child in paradise was his consolation. When he followed him to the grave, he invoked his spirit, in the awful examination of the tomb, to hold fast to the foundations of the faith, the Unity of God, and his own mission as a Prophet." - Washington Irving

"Parla come magni,' It means, 'Speak the way you eat,' or in my personal translation: 'Say it like you eat it.' It's a reminder - when you're making a big deal out of explaining something, when you're searching for the right words - to keep your language as simple and direct as Roman rood. Don't make a big production out of it. Just lay it on the table." - Elizabeth Gilbert