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


To refine and polish is a part of our work in this world.

J. T. Headley.

Refinement is superior to beauty.


Too great refinement is false delicacy.

La Rochefoucauld.

A woman must be truly refined to incite chivalry in the heart of a man.

Mme. Necker.

Refinement that carries us away from our fellow-men is not God’s refinement.


It is in refinement and elegance that the civilized man differs from the savage.

Dr. Johnson.

Refinement is the delicate aroma of Christianity.

Charlotte M. Yonge.

That only can with propriety be styled refinement which, by strengthening the intellect, purifies the manners.


That alone can be called true refinement which elevates the soul of man, purifying the manners by improving the intellect.

Hosea Ballou.

Refinement is just as much a Christian grace in a man as in a woman; but he is not such a hateful, unsexed creature without it as a woman is.

Charlotte M. Yonge.

Among all the accomplishments of life none are so important as refinement; it is not, like beauty, a gift of Nature, and can only be acquired by cultivation and practice.

James Ellis.

The expressive word “quiet” defines the dress, manners, bow, and even physiognomy of every true denizen of St. James and Bond street.

N. P. Willis.

True delicacy, as true generosity, is more wounded by an offence from itself—if I may be allowed the expression—than to itself.


Far better, and more cheerfully, I could dispense with some part of the downright necessaries of life, than with certain circumstances of elegance and propriety in the daily habits of using them.

De Quincey.

Refinement creates beauty everywhere. It is the grossness of the spectator that discovers anything like grossness in the object.


Refinement is the lifting of one’s self upwards from the merely sensual; the effort of the soul to etherealize the common wants and uses of life.


If refined sense, and exalted sense, be not so useful as common sense, their rarity, their novelty, and the nobleness of their objects, make some compensation, and render them the admiration of mankind.


Ages of ignorance and simplicity are thought to be ages of purity. But the direct contrary I believe to be the case. Rude periods have that grossness of manners, which is as unfriendly to virtue as luxury itself. Men are less ashamed as they are less polished.


No improvement that takes place in either sex can possibly be confined to itself. Each is a universal mirror to each, and the respective refinement of the one will always be in reciprocal proportion to the polish of the other.