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


Birth is a shadow. Courage, self-sustained, outlords succession’s phlegm, and needs no ancestors.

Aaron Hill.

We forget the origin of a parvenu if he remembers it; we remember it if he forgets it.

J. Petit-Senn.

A noble birth and fortune, though they make not a bad man good, yet they are a real advantage to a worthy one, and place his virtues in a fairer light.


Called to the throne by the voice of the people, my maxim has always been, A career open to talent without distinction of birth. It is this system of equality for which the European oligarchy detests me.


  • While man is growing, life is in decrease;
  • And cradles rock us nearer to the tomb.
  • Our birth is nothing but our death begun.
  • Young.

  • No distinction is ’tween man and man,
  • But as his virtues add to him a glory
  • Or vices cloud him.
  • Habbington.

    What is birth to a man if it shall be a stain to his dead ancestors to have left such an offspring?

    Sir P. Sidney.

    When real nobleness accompanies that imaginary one of birth, the imaginary seems to mix with real, and becomes real, too.


    High birth is a gift of fortune which should never challenge esteem towards those who receive it, since it costs them neither study nor labor.

    La Bruyère.

    Custom forms us all; our thoughts, our morals, our most fixed belief, are consequences of our place of birth.

    Aaron Hill.

    Verily, I swear, it is better to be lowly born, and range with humble livers in content, than to be perked up in a glistering grief, and wear a golden sorrow.


  • I’ve learned to judge of men by their own deeds;
  • I do not make the accident of birth
  • The standard of their merit.
  • Mrs. Hale.

    Whatever strengthens our local attachments is favorable both to individual and national character, our home, our birthplace, our native land. Think for a while what the virtues are which arise out of the feelings connected with these words, and if you have any intellectual eyes, you will then perceive the connection between topography and patriotism.


  • Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;
  • The soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
  • Hath had elsewhere its setting,
  • And cometh from afar;
  • Not in entire forgetfulness,
  • And not in utter nakedness,
  • But trailing clouds of glory, do we come
  • From God, who is our home.
  • Heaven lies about us in our infancy.
  • *****
  • At length the man perceives it die away,
  • And fade into the light of common day.
  • Wordsworth.

    Those who wish to forget painful thoughts do well to absent themselves for a while from the ties and objects that recall them; but we can be said only to fulfill our destiny in the place that gave us birth.