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


Nobility should be elective, not hereditary.


Noblest minds are easiest bent.


All nobility in its beginnings was somebody’s natural superiority.


Nobility, without virtue, is a fine setting without a gem.

Jane Porter.

He who is lord of himself, and exists upon his own resources, is a noble but a rare being.

Sir E. Brydges.

O lady, nobility is thine, and thy form is the reflection of thy nature!


What is highest and noblest in man conceals itself.


Nature makes all the noblemen; wealth, education, or pedigree never made one yet.

H. W. Shaw.

  • For he who is honest is noble,
  • Whatever his fortunes or birth.
  • Alice Cary.

  • We’ll shine in more substantial honours,
  • And to be noble we’ll be good.
  • Thomas Percy.

    Noble blood is an accident of fortune; noble actions characterize the great.


    Noble by birth, yet nobler by great deeds.


    The noblest character is stained by the addition of pride.


    If a man be endued with a generous mind, this is the best kind of nobility.


    A noble life crowned with heroic death rises above and outlives the pride and pomp and glory of the mightiest empire of the earth.

    James A. Garfield.

  • Be noble! and the nobleness that lives
  • In other men, sleeping, but never dead,
  • Will rise in majesty to meet thine own.
  • Lowell.

  • Howe’er it be, it seems to me,
  • ’Tis only noble to be good.
  • Kind hearts are more than coronets,
  • And simple faith than Norman blood.
  • Tennyson.

  • Fond man! though all the heroes of your line
  • Bedeck your halls, and round your galleries shine
  • In proud display; yet take this truth from me—
  • Virtue alone is true nobility!
  • Gifford.

  • Whene’er a noble deed is wrought,
  • Whene’er is spoken a noble thought,
  • Our hearts, in glad surprise,
  • To higher levels rise.
  • Longfellow.

  • Be good, sweet maid, and let who will be clever;
  • Do noble things, not dream them, all day long:
  • And so make life, death and that vast forever,
  • One grand, sweet song.
  • Charles Kingsley.

    Nobility of birth does not always ensure a corresponding nobility of mind; if it did, it would always act as a stimulus to noble actions; but it sometimes acts as a clog, rather than a spur.


    Of all vanities of fopperies, the vanity of high birth is the greatest. True nobility is derived from virtue, not from birth. Title, indeed, may be purchased, but virtue is the only coin that makes the bargain valid.


  • Noble souls, through dust and heat,
  • Rise from disaster and defeat
  • The stronger;
  • And conscious still of the divine
  • Within them, lie on earth supine
  • No longer.
  • Longfellow.

    Nobility is a river that sets with a constant and undeviating current directly into the great Pacific Ocean of time; but, unlike all other rivers, it is more grand at its source than at its termination.


    Talent and worth are the only eternal grounds of distinction. To these the Almighty has affixed His everlasting patent of nobility. Knowledge and goodness,—these make degrees in heaven, and they must be the graduating scale of a true democracy.

    Miss Sedgwick.

    Nature’s noblemen are everywhere,—in town and out of town, gloved and rough-handed, rich and poor. Prejudice against a lord, because he is a lord, is losing the chance of finding a good fellow, as much as prejudice against a ploughman because he is a ploughman.


  • Vain-glorious man, when fluttering wind does blow
  • In his light wings, is lifted up to sky;
  • The scorn of knighthood and true chivalry,
  • To think, without desert of gentle deed
  • And noble worth, to be advanced high,
  • Such praise is shame, but honour, virtue’s meed,
  • Doth bear the fairest flower in honourable seed.
  • Spenser.

    We must have kings, we must have nobles; nature is always providing such in every society; only let us have the real instead of the titular. In every society some are born to rule, and some to advise. The chief is the chief all the world over, only not his cap and plume. It is only this dislike of the pretender which makes men sometimes unjust to the true and finished man.