Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Virtue

"Just as a tested and rugged virtue of the moral hero is worth more than the lovely, tender, untried innocence of the child, so is the massive strength of a soul that has conquered truth for itself worth more than the soft peach-bloom faith of a soul that takes truth on trust." - Francis Ellington Abbot

"A wise man will always be contented with his condition, and will live rather according to his precepts of virtue, than according to the customs of his country." - Antisthenes NULL

"Virtue is a weapon that cannot be taken away." - Antisthenes NULL

"A great estate is a great disadvantage to those who do not know hot to use it, for nothing is more common than to see wealthy persons live scandalously and miserably; riches do them no service in order to virtue and happiness; it is precept and principle, not an estate, that makes a man good for something." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"Be simple and modest in your deportment, and treat with indifference whatever lies between virtue and vice." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts, therefore guard accordingly; and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"Honor is not that reward of virtue, for which the virtuous work, but they receive honor from men by way of reward, as from those who have nothing greater to offer. But virtue’s true reward is happiness itself, for which the virtuous work, whereas if they worked for honor, it would no longer be virtue, but ambition." -

"Man is judged to be good or bad chiefly according to the pleasure of the human will; for that man is good and virtuous who takes pleasure in the works of virtue, and that man evil who takes pleasure in evil works." -

"Moral virtue can be without some of the intellectual virtues, namely, wisdom, science and art, but not without understanding and prudence. Moral virtue cannot be without prudence, because moral virtue is habit of choosing, that is, making us choose well." -

"No being can be spoken of as evil, in so far as it is being, but only so far as it lacks being. Thus a man is said to be evil because he lacks the being of virtue; and an eye is said to be evil because it lacks the power to see well." -

"The happy man needs friends... not, indeed, not make use of them, since he suffices himself, nor to delight in them, since he possesses perfect delight in the operation of virtue, but for the purpose of a good operation, namely, that he may do good to them, that he may delight in seeing them do good, and again that he may be helped by them in his good work." -

"Virtue and sense are one; and, trust me, still a faithless heart betrays the head unsound." - John Armstrong

"Virtue, the strength and beauty of the soul, is the best gift of heaven; a happiness that, even above the smiles and frowns of fate, exalts great Nature’s favorites; a wealth that ne’er encumbers, nor can be transferr’d." - John Armstrong

"Affliction is a school of virtue: it corrects levity, and interrupts the confidence of sinning." - Francis Atterbury

"He that does not respect confidence will never find happiness in his path. The belief in virtue vanishes from his heart; the source of nobler actions becomes extinct in him." - Joseph von Auffenberg

"The recompense of virtue is virtue, and sin, sin." - Simeon ben Azai, sometimes Ben Azai

"Virtue, when 'tis praised, groweth like a tree." - Bacchylides NULL

"Keep thy spirit pure from worldly taint by the repellent strength of virtue." - Gamaliel Bailey

"Beauty, like truth and justice, lives within us; like virtue, and like moral law, it is a companion of the soul." - George Bancroft

"Temperance to be a virtue must be free, and not forced." -

"Let us cherish sympathy. By attention and exercise it may be improved in every man. It prepares the mind for receiving the impressions of virtue; and without it there can be no true politeness. Nothing is more odious than that insensibility which wraps a man up in himself and his own concerns, and prevents his being moved with either the joys or the sorrows of another." - James Beattie

"Recommend to your children virtue; that alone can make them happy, not gold." -

"Candor is the seal of a noble mind, the ornament and pride of man, the sweetest charm of woman, the scorn of a rascal and the rarest virtue of sociability." - Martin Bentzel von Sternau und Hohenau

"Gentleness, which belongs to virtue, is to be carefully distinguished from the mean spirit of cowards and the fawning assent of sycophants." - Hugh Blair

"Sentiment and principle are often mistaken for each other, though, in fact, they widely differ. Sentiment is the virtue of ideas; principle the virtue of action. Sentiment has its seat in the had; principle, in the heart. Sentiment suggest fine harangues and subtle distinctions; principle conceives just notions, and performs good actions in consequence of them. Sentiment refines away the simplicity of truth, and the plainness of piety; and "gives us virtue in words, and vice in deeds."" - Hugh Blair

"Virtues are not honored by dignities, but dignities by virtue." - Boethius, fully Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius NULL

"Virtue alone is the unerring sign of a noble soul." -

"When we envy another, we make their virtue our vice." -

"Cunning pays no regard to virtue, and is but the low mimic of reason." - Henry St John, Lord Bolingbroke, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke

"It is a very easy thing to devise good laws; the difficulty is to make them effective. The great mistake is that of looking upon men as virtuous, or thinking that they can be made so by laws; and consequently the greatest art of a politician is to render vices serviceable to the cause of virtue." - Henry St John, Lord Bolingbroke, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke

"The best perfection of a religious man is to do common things in a perfect manner. A constant fidelity in small things is a great and heroic virtue." -

"Courage is a quality so necessay for maintaining virtue, that it is always respected, even when it is associated with vice." - James Boswell

"Strict punctuality is, perhaps, the cheapest virtue which can give force to an otherwise utterly insignificant character." -

"What makes woman lovely? Virtue, Faith, and gentleness in suffering, an endurance through scorn or trial; then has it the stamp celestial, and is admitted to sisterhood with angels." -

"False modesty is the masterpiece of vanity: showing the vain man in such an illusory light that he appears in the reputation of the virtue quite opposite to the vice which constitutes his real character; it is a deceit." - Jean de La Bruyère

"If it is usual to be deeply moved by rare things, why are we so little moved by virtue?" - Jean de La Bruyère

"There is a false modesty, which is vanity; a false glory which is levity; a false grandeur, which is meanness; a false virtue, which is hypocrisy, and a false wisdom, which is prudery." - Jean de La Bruyère

"Remorse is virtue's root; its fair increase are fruits of innocence and blessedness." - William Cullen Bryant

"He who seeks repentance for the past, should woo the angel virtue for the future." -

"If there is a virtue in the world at which we should always aim, it is cheerfulness." -

"Punctuality is the stern virtue of men of business, and the graceful courtesy of princes." -

"Remorse is the echo of a lost virtue." -

"The only perfection I know of is a hearty love of god, and to love one’s neighbour as oneself. Charity is the only virtue which rightly unites us to God and man. Such union is our final aim and end, and all the rest is mere delusion." - Jean-Pierre Camus de Pontcarré

"Active beneficence is a virtue of easier practice than forbearance after having conferred, or than thankfulness after having received a benefit. I know not, indeed, whether it be a greater and more difficult exercise of magnanimity for the one party to act as if he had forgotten, or for the other as if he constantly remembered the obligation." - George Canning

"To live a life of pleasure is impossible without living a life of virtue and justice." - Cassius, fully Gaius Cassius Longinus NULL

"If thou takes virtue for the rule of life, and valuest thyself upon acting in all things comfortably thereto, thou wilt have no cause to envy lords and princes; for blood is inherited, but virtue is common property and may be acquired by all; it has, moreover, an intrinsic worth, which blood has not." - Miguel de Cervantes, fully Miguel de Cervantes Saaversa

"Acts of virtue ripen into habits; and the goodly and permanent result is the formation or establishment of a virtuous character." - Thomas Chalmers

"Enthusiasm is a virtue rarely to be met with in seasons of calm and unruffled prosperity.—It flourishes in adversity, kindles in the hour of danger, and awakens to deeds of renown.—The terrors of persecution only serve to quicken the energy of its purposes.—It swells in proud integrity, and, great in the purity of its cause, it can scatter defiance amidst hosts of enemies." - Thomas Chalmers

"Live for something. Do good, and leave behind you a monument of virtue that the storm of time can never destroy. Write you name, in kindness, love, and mercy, on the hearts of thousands you come in contact with year by year; you will never be forgotten. No, your name, your deeds, will be as legible on the hearts you leave behind as the stars on the brow of evening. Good deeds will shine as the stars of heaven." - Thomas Chalmers

"Thousands of men breathe, move, and live, pass off the stage of life, and are heard of no more. Why? they do not partake of good in the world, and none were blessed by them; none could point to them as the means of their redemption; not a line they wrote, not a word they spake, could be recalled; and so they perished: their light went out in darkness, and they were not remembered more than insects of yesterday. Will you thus live and die, O man immortal? Live for something. Do good, and leave behind you a monument of virtue that the storm of time can never destroy. Write your name, in kindness, love, and mercy, on the hearts of thousands you come in contact with year by year: you will never be forgotten. No! your name, your deeds, will be as legible on the hearts you leave behind you as the stars on the brow of evening. Good deeds will shine as the stars of heaven." - Thomas Chalmers