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


I am the very pink of courtesy.


Approved valor is made precious by natural courtesy.

Sir P. Sidney.

A churlish courtesy rarely comes but either for gain or falsehood.

Sir P. Sidney.

There is no outward sign of courtesy that does not rest on a deep moral foundation.


O dissembling courtesy! how fine this tyrant can tickle where she wounds!


The small courtesies sweeten life; the greater ennoble it.


What fairer cloak than courtesy for fraud?

Earl of Stirling.

Nothing costs less nor is cheaper than compliments of civility.


Civility is a desire to receive civility, and to be accounted well-bred.

La Rochefoucauld.

When my friends are blind of one eye, I look at them in profile.


Whilst thou livest, keep a good tongue in thy head.


Courtesy is a duty public servants owe to the humblest member of the public.

Lord Lytton.

We must be as courteous to a man as we are to a picture, which we are willing to give the advantage of a good light.


There is a courtesy of the heart; it is allied to love. From it springs the purest courtesy in the outward behavior.


If ever I should affect injustice, it would be in this, that I might do courtesies and receive none.


Life is not so short but that there is always time enough for courtesy.


  • A moral, sensible, and well-bred man
  • Will not affront me, and no other can.
  • Cowper.

    A good word is an easy obligation; but not to speak ill requires only our silence, which costs us nothing.


    Courtesy which oft is sooner found in lowly sheds, with smoky rafters, than in tapestry halls and courts of princes, where it first was named.


    When we are saluted with a salutation, salute the person with a better salutation, or at least return the same, for God taketh an account of all things.


    The whole of heraldry and of chivalry is in courtesy. A man of fine manners shall pronounce your name with all the ornament that titles of nobility could ever add.


    By a union of courtesy and talent an adversary may be made to grace his own defeat, as the sandal-tree perfumes the hatchet that cuts it down.


  • This Florentine’s a very saint, so meek
  • And full of courtesy, that he would lend
  • The devil his cloak, and stand i’ th’ rain himself.
  • Davenant.

    As the sword of the best-tempered metal is the most flexible; so the truly generous are most pliant and courteous in their behavior to their inferiors.


  • Ill seemes (sayd he) if he so valiant be,
  • That he should be so sterne to stranger wight;
  • For seldom yet did living creature see
  • That courtesie and manhood ever disagree.
  • Spenser.

    Hail! ye small sweet courtesies of life, for smooth do ye make the road of it, like grace and beauty, which beget inclinations to love at first sight; it is ye who open the door and let the stranger in.


  • Shepherd, I take thy word,
  • And trust thy honest offer’d courtesy,
  • Which oft is sooner found in lowly sheds
  • With smoky rafters, than in tap’stry halls,
  • And courts of princes.
  • Milton.

    When Zachariah Fox, the great merchant of Liverpool, was asked by what means he contrived to realize so large a fortune as he possessed, his reply was: “Friend, by one article alone, and in which thou mayest deal too, if thou pleasest, it is civility.”


  • How sweet and gracious, even in common speech,
  • Is that fine sense which men call Courtesy!
  • Wholesome as air and genial as the light,
  • Welcome in every clime as breath of flowers—
  • It transmutes aliens into trusting friends,
  • And gives its owner passport round the globe.
  • James T. Fields.

    Courtesy, like grace and beauty, that which begets liking and inclination to love one another at the first sight, and in the very beginning of our acquaintance and familiarity; and, consequently, that which first opens the door for us to better ourselves by the example of others, if there be anything in the society worth notice.


    Courtesy is a science of the highest importance. It is, like grace and beauty in the body, which charm at first sight, and lead on to further intimacy and friendship, opening a door that we may derive instruction from the example of others, and at the same time enabling us to benefit them by our example, if there be anything in our character worthy of imitation.


    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.


    Nothing is a courtesy unless it be meant us, and that friendly and lovingly. We owe no thanks to rivers that they carry our boats, or winds that they be favoring and fill our sails, or meats that they be nourishing; for these are what they are necessarily. Horses carry us, trees shade us; but they know it not.

    Ben Jonson.