C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


By appreciation we make excellence in others our own property.


The applause of a single human being is of great consequence.

Dr. Johnson.

Were she perfect, one would admire her more, but love her less.


Give tribute, but not oblation, to human wisdom.

Sir P. Sidney.

It is only by loving a thing that you can make it yours.

George Macdonald.

Men should allow others’ excellences, to preserve a modest opinion of their own.


To appreciate the noble is a gain which can never be torn from us.


To love her (Lady Elizabeth Hastings) was a liberal education.


Men prize the thing ungained more than it is.


No man ever thought too highly of his nature or too meanly of himself.


It often happens that those of whom we speak least on earth are best known in heaven.


It is common, to esteem most what is most unknown.


Neither the praise nor the blame is our own.


To praise great actions with sincerity may be said to be taking part in them.

La Rochefoucauld.

It is a matter of the simplest demonstration, that no man can be really appreciated but by his equal or superior.


He is a fool who is not for love and beauty. I speak unto the young, for I am of them and always shall be.


We are very much what others think of us. The reception our observations meet with gives us courage to proceed or damps our efforts.


You may fail to shine, in the opinion of others, both in your conversation and actions, from being superior, as well as inferior to them.


It is with certain good qualities as with the senses; those who are entirely deprived of them can neither appreciate nor comprehend them.

La Rochefoucauld.

Our companions please us less from the charms we find in their conversation than from those they find in ours.


You think much too well of me as a man. No author can be as moral as his works, as no preacher is as pious as his sermons.


Next to invention is the power of interpreting invention; next to beauty, the power of appreciating beauty.

Margaret Fuller Ossoli.

The silence that accepts merit as the most natural thing in the world is the highest applause.


There is no surer mark of the absence of the highest moral and intellectual qualities than a cold reception of excellence.

S. Bailey.

Contemporaries appreciate the man rather than the merit; posterity will regard the merit rather than the man.


We never know a greater character until something congenial to it has grown up within ourselves.


He is incapable of a truly good action who knows not the pleasure in contemplating the good actions of others.


I do not know at first what it is that charms me. The men and things of to-day are wont to be fairer and truer in to-morrow’s memory.


Those who, from the desire of our perfection, have the keenest eye for our faults generally compensate for it by taking a higher view of our merits than we deserve.

J. F. Boyes.

In no time whatever can small critics entirely eradicate out of living men’s hearts a certain altogether peculiar reverence for Great Men—genuine admiration, loyalty, adoration.


Men are seldom underrated; the mercury in a man finds its true level in the eyes of the world just as certainly as it does in the glass of a thermometer.

H. W. Shaw.

Were not the eye made to receive the rays of the sun, it could not behold the sun; if the peculiar power of God lay not in us, how could the godlike charm us?


In an audience of rough people a generous sentiment always brings down the house. In the tumult of war both sides applaud an heroic deed.

T. W. Higginson.

Whatever the benefits of fortune are, they yet require a palate fit to relish and taste them; it is fruition, and not possession, that renders us happy.


We are accustomed to see men deride what they do not understand; and snarl at the good and beautiful because it lies beyond their sympathies.


We must never undervalue any person. The workman loves not that his work should be despised in his presence. Now God is present everywhere, and every person is His work.

De Sales.

Praise is a debt we owe unto the virtues of others, and due unto our own from all whom malice hath not made mutes or envy struck dumb.

Sir Thomas Browne.

No good writer was ever long neglected; no great man overlooked by men equally great. Impatience is a proof of inferior strength, and a destroyer of what little there may be.


I pity the man who can travel from Dan to Beersheba, and cry, “’T is all barren!” And so it is, and so is all the world to him who will not cultivate the fruits it offers.


The more enlarged is our own mind, the greater number we discover of men of originality. Your commonplace people see no difference between one man and another.


In this world there is one godlike thing, the essence of all that ever was or ever will be of godlike in this world,—the veneration done to human worth by the hearts of men.


To guard the mind against the temptation of thinking that there are no good people, say to them: “Be such as you would like to see others, and you will find those who resemble you.”


People do not always understand the motives of sublime conduct, and when they are astonished they are very apt to think they ought to be alarmed. The truth is none are fit judges of greatness but those who are capable of it.

Jane Porter.

It is very singular how the fact of a man’s death often seems to give people a truer idea of his character, whether for good or evil, than they have ever possessed while he was living and acting among them.


Every man stamps his value on himself. The price we challenge for ourselves is given us. There does not live on earth the man, be his station what it may, that I despise myself compared with him. Man is made great or little by his own will.


Sometimes a common scene in nature—one of the common relations of life—will open itself to us with a brightness and pregnancy of meaning unknown before. Sometimes a thought of this kind forms an era in life. It changes the whole future course. It is a new creation.


The charming landscape which I saw this morning is indubitably made up of some twenty or thirty farms. Miller owns this field, Locke that, and Manning the woodland beyond. But none of them owns the landscape. There is a property in the horizon which no man has but he whose eye can integrate all the parts, that is, the poet. This is the best part of these men’s farms, yet to this their warranty-deeds give no title.


To feel, to feel exquisitely, is the lot of very many; it is the charm that lends a superstitious joy to fear. But to appreciate belongs to the few; to one or two alone, here and there, the blended passion and understanding that constitute in its essence worship.

Elizabeth Sheppard.

Nature and books belong to the eyes that see them. It depends on the mood of the man, whether he shall see the sunset or the fine poem. There are always sunsets, and there is always genius; but only a few hours so serene that we can relish nature or criticism. The more or less depends on structure or temperament. Temperament is the iron wire on which the beads are strung. Of what use is fortune or talent to a cold and defective nature?


We commend a horse for his strength, and sureness of foot, and not for his rich caparisons; a greyhound for his share of heels, not for his fine collar; a hawk for her wing, not for her jesses and bells. Why, in like manner, do we not value a man for what is properly his own? He has a great train, a beautiful palace, so much credit, so many thousand pounds a year, and all these are about him, but not in him.