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


Modesty is the conscience of the body.


Praise thyself never.


Modesty is of the color of virtue.


Modesty is the citadel of beauty and virtue.


Modesty is policy, no less than virtue.


Everything that is exquisite hides itself.

Joseph Roux.

’T is modesty that makes them seem divine.


Virtue which shuns the day.


A modest man never talks of himself.

La Bruyère.

Avoid pretension; Nature never pretends.


True modesty is a discerning grace.


Modesty is not only an ornament, but also a guard to virtue.


What can be found equal to modesty, uncorrupt faith, the sister of justice, and undisguised truth?


No padlocks, bolts, or bars can secure a maiden so well as her own reserve.


  • Immodest words admit of no defence;
  • For want of decency is want of sense.
  • Wentworth Dillon.

    The woman and the soldier who do not defend the first pass will never defend the last.


    Modesty is a sweet song-bird no open cage-door can tempt to flight.


    Modesty is a diamond setting to female beauty.

    Fanny Kemble Butler.

    Modesty is bred of self-reverence. Fine manners are the mantle of fair minds.


    Modesty once extinguished knows not how to return.


  • Her modest looks the cottage might adorn,
  • Sweet as the primrose peeps beneath the thorn.
  • Goldsmith.

    True modesty avoids everything that is criminal; false modesty everything that is unfashionable.


    I think that few people are aware how early it is right to respect the modesty of an infant.

    Harriet Martineau.

    Nothing can atone for the want of modesty, without which beauty is ungraceful and wit detestable.


    No age, sex, or condition is above or below the absolute necessity of modesty; but without it one is vastly beneath the rank of man.


    That chastity of look which seems to hang, a veil of purest light, over all her beauties, and by forbidding most inflames desires.


  • The crimson glow of modesty o’erspread
  • Her cheek, and gave new lustre to her charms.
  • Dr. Thomas Franklin.

    “God will punish,” say the Orientals, “him who sees and him who is seen.” Beautiful and terrible recommendation of modesty!


    Modesty never rages, never murmurs, never pouts when it is ill-treated; it pines, it beseeches, it languishes.


    Modesty is silent when it would be improper to speak; the humble, without being called upon, never recollects to say anything of himself.


    Let us be careful to distinguish modesty, which is ever amiable, from reserve, which is only prudent.


    Modesty is a bright dish-cover, which makes us fancy there is something very nice underneath it.

    Douglas Jerrold.

    Modesty is a kind of shame or bashfulness proceeding from the sense a man has of his own defects compared with the perfections of him whom he comes before.


    The greatest ornament of an illustrious life is modesty and humility, which go a great way in the character even of the most exalted princes.


    The modest man has everything to gain, and the arrogant man everything to lose; for modesty has always to deal with generosity, and arrogance with envy.


    Be simple and modest in your deportment, and treat with indifference whatever lies between virtue and vice. Love the human race; obey God.

    Marcus Antoninus.

    Women and men of retiring timidity are cowardly only in dangers which affect themselves, but the first to rescue when others are endangered.


    Modesty in women has two special advantages,—it enhances beauty and veils uncomeliness.


    How beautiful is modesty! It winneth upon all beholders; but a word or a glance may destroy the pure love that should have been for thee.


    Modesty is the lowest of the virtues, and is a confession of the deficiency it indicates. He who undervalues himself is justly undervalued by others.


    God intended for women two preventatives against sin, modesty and remorse; in confession to a mortal priest the former is removed by his absolution, the latter is taken away.

    Miranda of Piedmont.

    The first of all virtues is innocence; the next is modesty. If we banish modesty out of the world, she carries away with her half the virtue that is in it.


    You little know what you have done, when you have first broke the bounds of modesty; you have set open the door of your fancy to the devil, so that he can, almost at his pleasure ever after, represent the same sinful pleasure to you anew.


    Wrap thyself in the decent veil that the arts or the graces weave for thee, O human nature! It is only the statue of marble whose nakedness the eye can behold without shame and offence!


  • Virtue she finds too painful an endeavor,
  • Content to dwell in decencies for ever.
  • Pope.

  • Can it be that modesty may more betray
  • Our sense than woman’s lightness?
  • Shakespeare.

    It is often found that modesty and humility not only do no good, but are positively hurtful, when they are shown to the arrogant who have taken up a prejudice against you, either from envy or from any other cause.


  • The violet droops its soft and bashful brow,
  • But from its heart sweet incense fills the air;—
  • So rich within—so pure without—art thou,
  • With modest mien and soul of virtue rare.
  • Mrs. Osgood.

  • True modesty is a discerning grace
  • And only blushes in the proper place;
  • But counterfeit is blind, and skulks through fear,
  • Where ’tis a shame to be asham’d t’ appear:
  • Humility the parent of the first,
  • The last by vanity produc’d and nurs’d.
  • Cowper.

    The mark of the man of the world is absence of pretension. He does not make a speech; he takes a low business tone, avoids all brag, is nobody, dresses plainly, promises not at all, performs much, speaks in monosyllables, hugs his fact. He calls his employment by its lowest name, and so takes from evil tongues their sharpest weapon.


    A just and reasonable modesty does not only recommend eloquence, but sets off every great talent which a man can be possessed of; it heightens all the virtues which it accompanies; like the shades in paintings, it raises and rounds every figure and makes the colors more beautiful, though not so glaring as they would be without.


    The gravest events dawn with no more noise than the morning star makes in rising. All great developments complete themselves in the world, and modestly wait in silence, praising themselves never, and announcing themselves not at all. We must be sensitive, and sensible, if we would see the beginnings and endings of great things. That is our part.


    Bashfulness is not so much the effect of an ill education, as the proper gift and provision of wise nature. Every stage of life has its own set of manners, that is suited to it, and best becomes it. Each is beautiful in its season; and you might as well quarrel with the child’s rattle, and advance him directly to the boy’s top and span-farthing, as expect from diffident youth the manly confidence of riper age.

    Bishop Hurd.

  • The chariest maid is prodigal enough
  • If she unveil her beauty to the moon:
  • Virtue itself scapes not calumnious strokes:
  • The canker galls the infants of the Spring,
  • Too oft before their buttons be disclosed;
  • And in the morn and liquid dew of Youth,
  • Contagious blastments are most imminent.
  • Be wary then: best safety lies in fear.
  • Shakespeare.