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


To excel is to live.


There is no excellence uncoupled with difficulties.


The variation of excellence among men is rather in degree than in kind.


It is the witness still of excellency to put a strange face on his own perfection.


If you want enemies, excel others; if you want friends, let others excel you.


When a man appreciates only eating and sleeping, what excellence has he over the reptiles?


The more we sympathize with excellence, the more we go out of the self, the more we love, the broader and deeper is our personality.


A man that is desirous to excel should endeavor it in those things that are in themselves most excellent.


Those who attain any excellence commonly spend life in one common pursuit; for excellence is not often gained upon easier terms.


He who excels in his art so as to carry it to the utmost height of perfection of which it is capable may be said in some measure to go beyond it: his transcendent productions admit of no appellations.

La Bruyère.

  • Born to excel, and to command!
  • As by transcendent beauty to attract
  • All eyes, so by pre-eminence of soul
  • To rule all hearts.
  • Congreve.

  • What is excellent,
  • As God lives, is permanent;
  • Hearts are dust, hearts’ loves remain,
  • Heart’s love will meet thee again.
  • Emerson.

    There is a moral excellence attainable by all who have the will to strive after it; but there is an intellectual and physical superiority which is above the reach of our wishes, and is granted to a few only.


    Human excellence, parted from God, is like a fable flower, which, according to Rabbis, Eve plucked when passing out of paradise—severed from its native root, it is only the touching memorial of a lost Eden; sad, while charming—beautiful, but dead.

    C. Stanford.

    Excellence is never granted to man, but as the reward of labor. It argues, indeed, no small strength of mind to persevere in the habits of industry, without the pleasure of perceiving those advantages which, like the hands of a clock, whilst they make hourly approaches to their point, yet proceed so slowly as to escape observation.

    Sir Joshua Reynolds.

    The desire of excellence is the necessary attribute of those who excel. We work little for a thing unless we wish for it. But we cannot of ourselves estimate the degree of our success in what we strive for; that task is left to others. With the desire for excellence comes, therefore, the desire for approbation. And this distinguishes intellectual excellence from moral excellence; for the latter has no necessity of human tribunal; it is more inclined to shrink from the public than to invite the public to be its judge.