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


Virtue is the beauty of the soul.


Virtue alone is true nobility.


Virtue is beauty.


Virtue is to herself the best reward.

Henry Moore.

Virtue, the greatest of all monarchies.


Virtue alone is happiness below.


Heaven made virtue; man, the appearance.


The only reward of virtue is virtue.


He who dies for virtue does not perish.


Virtue’s a stronger guard than brass.

Edmund Waller.

Virtue is not hereditary.

Thomas Paine.

Virtue is like a rich stone, best plain set.


Virtue is health, vice is sickness.


Assume a virtue, if you have it not.


Virtue by calculation is the virtue of vice.


Our virtues are commonly disguised vices.

La Rochefoucauld.

Virtue’s office never breaks men’s troth.


A heart unspotted is not easily daunted.


Virtue is praised and freezes.


Our virtues and vices spring from one root.


Virtue is bold, and goodness never fearful.


Hang virtue!

Ben Jonson.

They only have lived long who have lived virtuously.


The greatest offence against virtue is to speak ill of it.


Sometimes virtue starves while vice is fed.


Virtue is the truest liberty.

Owen Feltham.

The good hate sin because they love virtue.


It is easy to be virtuous in prospective.

J. Petit-Senn.

Virtue is voluntary, vice involuntary.


All great virtues become great men.


Virtue is necessary to a republic.


Virtue withers away if it has no opposition.


Virtue is chok’d with foul ambition.


Virtue is in the mind, not in the appearance.


Integrity of life is fame’s best friend.

John Webster.

Most virtue lies between two vices.


Virtue has many preachers, but few martyrs.


Virtue will catch as well as vice by contact.


God looks at pure, not full hands.


And even his failings leaned to virtue’s side.


All bow to virtue and then walk away.

De Finod.

The whole of virtue consists in its practice.


Virtue is, like health, the harmony of the whole man.


Sweet are the slumbers of the virtuous man.


We need greater virtues to sustain good than evil fortune.

La Rochefoucauld.

I wrap myself up in my virtue.


Birth is nothing where virtue is not.


Honor is the reward of virtue.


Virtue is safe only when it is inspired.

Charles H. Parkhurst.

Virtue, for us, is obedience to God in Christ.

Roswell D. Hitchcock.

For virtue only finds eternal fame.


Virtue often trips and falls on the sharp-edged rock of poverty.

Eugene Sue.

Silver is less valuable than gold, gold than virtue.


Virtue maketh men on the earth famous, in their graves illustrious, in the heavens immortal.


  • O let us still the secret joy partake,
  • To follow virtue even for virtue’s sake.
  • Pope.

    If you can be well without health, you can be happy without virtue.


    Live virtuously, my lord, and you cannot die too soon, nor live too long.

    Lady Rachel Russell.

    Recommend to your children virtue; that alone can make happy, not gold.


    No one dies too soon who has finished the course of perfect virtue.


    Virtue is everywhere the same, because it comes from God, while everything else is of men.


    What is virtue but a medicine, and vice but a wound?


  • Well may your heart believe the truths I tell;
  • ’Tis virtue makes the bliss where’er we dwell.
  • Collins.

    Virtue is like precious odors, most fragrant when they are incensed or crushed.


    Some, by admiring other mon’s virtues, become enemies to their own vices.


    I believe that Virtue shows quite as well in rags and patches as she does in purple and fine linen.


    Virtue is a state of war, and to live in it we have always to combat with ourselves.


    I am no herald to inquire of men’s pedigrees; it sufficeth me, if I know their virtues.

    Sir P. Sidney.

    If our virtues did not go forth of us, it were all alike as if we had them not.


    Virtue consisteth of three parts,—temperance, fortitude, and justice.


    In the truly great, virtue governs with the sceptre of knowledge.

    Sir P. Sidney.

    There are some persons on whom virtue sits almost as ungraciously as vice.


    It is difficult to persuade mankind that the love of virtue is the love of themselves.


    Virtue is that which must tip the preacher’s tongue and the ruler’s sceptre with authority.


    Nothing is more easy than irreproachable conduct.

    Mme. de Maintenon.

    The soul’s calm sunshine, and the heartfelt joy, is virtue’s prize.


    Parley and surrender signify the same thing where virtue is concerned.

    Mme. de Maintenon.

    Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied, and vice sometimes by action dignified.


    Virtue in distress, and vice in triumph make atheists of mankind.


    Virtue, vain word, futile shadow, slave of chance! Alas! I believe in thee!


  • Virtue preserv’d from fell destruction’s blast,
  • Led on by heaven, and crown’d with joy at last.
  • Shakespeare.

    The only amaranthine flower on earth is virtue.


    Is virtue a thing remote? I wish to be virtuous; and lo! virtue is at hand.


    Whilst shame keeps its watch, virtue is not wholly extinguished in the heart.


    The four cardinal virtues are prudence, fortitude, temperance, and justice.


    But virtue too, as well as vice, is clad in flesh and blood.


    ’T is virtue which they want; and, wanting it, honor no garment to their backs can fit.

    Ben Jonson.

    Virtue must be the result of self-culture; the gods do not take pupils.

    Mme. de Krudener.

  • Virtue and sense are one; and, trust me, still
  • A faithless heart betrays the head unsound.
  • Armstrong.

    And virtue, though in rags, will keep me warm.


    Virtue is not a thing you can have by halves; it is or it is not.


    Most men admire virtue, who follow not her lore.


    Of the two, I prefer those who render vice lovable to those who degrade virtue.


  • Virtue is not malicious; wrong done her
  • Is righted even when men grant they err.
  • George Chapman.

    The virtue which has never been attacked by temptation is deserving of no monument.

    Mlle. de Scudéri.

    Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder.

    George Washington.

    Virtue, thou in rags, may challenge more than vice set off with all the trim of greatness.


    Beware of the virtue which a man boasts is his.

    Marie Ebner-Eschenbach.

    It is easier to be virtuous than it is to appear so, and it pays better.

    H. W. Shaw.

  • According to his virtue let us use him,
  • With all respect and rites of burial.
  • Shakespeare.

    The true ornament of matrons is virtue, not apparel.


  • And he by no uncommon lot
  • Was famed for virtues he had not.
  • Cowper.

  • My heart laments that virtue cannot live
  • Out of the teeth of emulation.
  • Shakespeare.

    Virtue is not left to stand alone. He who practices it will have neighbors.


  • For in the fatness of these pursy times
  • Virtue itself of vice must pardon beg.
  • Shakespeare.

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

  • Only a sweet and virtuous soul,
  • Like seasoned timber, never gives.
  • Herbert.

    Virtue does not consist in the absence of the passions, but in the control of them.

    H. W. Shaw.

    Our virtues live upon our incomes; our vices consume our capital.

    J. Petit-Senn.

    Good company and good discourse are the very sinews of virtue.

    Izaak Walton.

    O virtue, I have followed you through life, and find you at last but a shade.


    Virtue is like the polar star, which keeps its place, and all stars turn towards it.


  • The firste vertu, sone, if thou wolt lerne,
  • Is to restreyne, and kepe wel thy tonge.
  • Chaucer.

    She who is more ashamed of dishonesty than of poverty will not be easily overcome.


    Our virtues, as well as our vices, are often scourges for our own backs.

    Miss Braddon.

    Virtue with some is nothing but successful temerity.


    An effort made with ourselves for the good of others, with the intention of pleasing God alone.

    Bernardin de St. Pierre.

    Virtues that shun the day and lie concealed in the smooth seasons and the calm of life.


  • Virtuous and vicious every man must be,
  • Few in th’ extreme, but all in the degree.
  • Pope.

  • Weak is that throne, and in itself unsound,
  • Which takes not solid virtue for its ground.
  • Churchill.

  • Whatever farce the boastful hero plays,
  • Virtue alone has majesty in death.
  • Young.

  • Know then this truth, enough for man to know,
  • Virtue alone is happiness below.
  • Pope.

    Positive virtues are of all others the severest and most sublime.


    Or, if virtue feeble were, heaven itself would stoop to her.


    True greatness is sovereign wisdom. We are never deceived by our virtues.


    All virtue lies in a power of denying our own desires where reason does not authorize them.


    Virtue in its grandest aspect is neither more nor less than following reason.


    Virtue dwells at the head of a river, to which we cannot get but by rowing against the stream.


    I find that the best virtue I have has in it some tincture of vice.


  • Her virtues, graced with external gifts,
  • Do breed love’s settled passions in my heart.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Virtue alone outbuilds the Pyramids;
  • Her monuments shall last, when Egypt’s fall.
  • Young.

    Can virtue hide itself? Go to, mum, you are he; graces will appear, and there’s an end.


    When men grow virtuous in their old age, they only make a sacrifice to God of the devil’s leavings.


    Virtue is its own reward. There’s a pleasure in doing good which sufficiency pays itself.


  • Men’s evil manners live in brass; their virtues
  • We write in water.
  • Shakespeare.

    Some virtue is needed, but not too much. Excess in anything is a defect.


    I prefer an accommodating vice to an obstinate virtue.


    Virtue alone is the unerring sign of a noble soul.


    That virtue we appreciate is as much ours as another’s. We see so much only as we possess.


    To show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and presence.


    Adversity tries men; but virtue struggles after fame regardless of the adverse heights.

    Silius Italicus.

    The more virtuous any man is, the less easily does he suspect others to be vicious.


    Virtue is the health of the soul. It gives a flavor to the smallest leaves of life.


    The regular path of virtue is to be pursued without any bend, and from no view to emolument.


    Nature has placed nothing so high that virtue cannot reach it.

    Quintus Curtius Rufus.

    True virtue, wheresoever it moves, still carries an intrinsic worth about it.


    Virtue were a kind of misery if fame were all the garland that crowned her.

    Owen Feltham.

    It is virtue that gives glory; that will endenizen a man everywhere.

    Ben Jonson.

    We hate virtue when it is safe; when removed from our sight we diligently seek it.


    Let them (the wicked) see the beauty of virtue, and pine at having forsaken her.


    It is not the business of virtue to extirpate the affections of the mind, but to regulate them.


    Every generous action loves the public view; yet no theatre for virtue is equal to a consciousness of it.


    Fewer possess virtue than those who wish us to believe that they possess it.


    There was never yet a truly great man that was not at the same time truly virtuous.

    Benjamin Franklin.

    Virtue consists in avoiding vice, and is the highest wisdom.


    We seldom speak of the virtue which we have, but much oftener of that which we lack.


  • But virtue never will be mov’d,
  • Though lewdness court it in a shape of heaven.
  • Shakespeare.

    The ages of greatest public spirit are not always eminent for private virtue.


    Moderation is the silken string running through the pearl chain of all virtues.

    Bishop Hall.

    That virtue which requires to be ever guarded is scarce worth the sentinel.


    Hast thou virtue? acquire also the graces and beauties of virtue.

    Benjamin Franklin.

    Virtue alone is sufficient to make a man great, glorious, and happy.

    Benjamin Franklin.

    Virtue, though clothed in a beggar’s garb, commands respect.


    It is not enough merely to possess virtue, as if it were an art; it should be practised.


  • Virtue alone is sweet society,
  • It keeps the key to all heroic hearts,
  • And opens you a welcome in them all.
  • Emerson.

    The virtue of a man ought to be measured not by his extraordinary exertions, but by his every-day conduct.


    When we pray for any virtue, we should cultivate the virtue as well as pray for it; the form of your prayers should be the rule of your life.

    Jeremy Taylor.

    To be ambitious of true honor, of the true glory and perfection of our natures, is the very principle and incentive of virtue.

    Sir P. Sidney.

    There is nothing that is meritorious but virtue and friendship; and, indeed, friendship itself is only a part of virtue.


    Virtue is not to be considered in the light of mere innocence, or abstaining from harm; but as the exertion of our faculties in doing good.

    Bishop Butler.

  • What nothing earthly gives, or can destroy,
  • The soul’s calm sunshine, and the heart-felt joy,
  • Is virtue’s prize.
  • Pope.

    I would be virtuous for my own sake, though nobody were to know it; as I would be clean for my own sake, though nobody were to see me.


    Good sense, good health, good conscience, and good fame,—all these belong to virtue, and all prove that virtue has a title to your love.


    The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs.


    Although virtue receives some of its excellencies from nature, yet it is perfected by education.


    Every man has his appointed day; life is brief and irrevocable; but it is the work of virtue to extend our fame by our deeds.


    It is the stain and disgrace of the age to envy virtue, and to be anxious to crush the very flower of dignity.


    Virtue can see to do what virtue would by her own radiant light, though sun and moon were in the flat sea sunk.


    The paths of virtue, though seldom those of worldly greatness, are always those of pleasantness and peace.

    Sir Walter Scott.

    The advantage to be derived from virtue is so evident that the wicked practise it from sinister motives.


    The thirst for fame is much greater than that for virtue; for who would embrace virtue itself if you take away its rewards?


    Sincerely to aspire after virtue is to gain her, and zealously to labor after her wages is to receive them.


    I willingly confess that it likes me better when I find virtue in a fair lodging than when I am bound to seek it in an ill-favored creature.

    Sir P. Sidney.

    Virtue does not truly reward her votary if she leaves him sad and half doubtful whether it would not have been better to serve vice.

    George William Curtis.

    The best perfection of a religious man is to do common things in a perfect manner. A constant fidelity in small things is a great and heroic virtue.

    St. Bonaventura.

    The virtues, like the muses, are always seen in groups. A good principle was never found solitary in any breast.

    Jane Porter.

    Virtue hath no virtue if it be not impugned; then appeareth how great it is, of what value and power it is, when by patience it approveth what it works.


    Charity and good-nature give a sanction to the most common actions; and pride and ill-nature make our best virtues despicable.


    Virtue that transgresses is but patched with sin; and sin that amends is but patched with virtue.


    Virtue is an angel: but she is a blind one, and must ask of Knowledge to show her the pathway that leads to her goal.

    Horace Mann.

    I have known persons without a friend—never any one without some virtue. The virtues of the former conspired with their vices to make the whole world their enemies.


    Even virtue is an art; and even its devotees are divided into those who practise it and those who are merely amateurs.

    Marie Ebner-Eschenbach.

    Let this great maxim be my virtue’s guide,—in part she is to blame that has been tried; he comes too near that comes to be denied.

    Mary Wortley Montagu.

    The measure of any man’s virtue is what he would do if he had neither the laws nor public opinion, nor even his own prejudices, to control him.


    The glory of riches and of beauty is frail and transitory; virtue remains bright and eternal.


    Virtues, like essences, lose their fragrance when exposed. They are sensitive plants, which will not bear too familiar approaches.


    Virtue that wavers is not virtue, but vice revolted from itself, and after a while returning. The actions of just and pious men do not darken in their middle course.


    Content not thyself that thou art virtuous in the general; for one link being wanting, the chain is defective.

    William Penn.

    Virtue, without talent is a coat of mail without a sword; it may indeed defend the wearer, but will not enable him to protect his friend.


    No man is born wise; but wisdom and virtue require a tutor; though we can easily learn to be vicious without a master.


    There are odious virtues; such as inflexible severity, and an integrity that accepts of no favor.


    It must be admitted that the conception of virtue cannot be separated from the conception of happiness-producing conduct.

    Herbert Spencer.

    O virtue! virtue! as thy joys excel, so are thy woes transcendent; the gross world knows not the bliss or misery of either.


    Virtue is that perfect good, which is the complement of a happy life; the only immortal thing that belongs to mortality.


    The most virtuous of all men is he that contents himself with being virtuous without seeking to appear so.


    All virtue lies in individual action, in inward energy, in self-determination. The best books have most beauty.


    Woman’s virtue is the music of stringed instruments, which sounds best in a room; but man’s that of wind instruments, which sounds best in the open air.


    Virtue, the more it is exposed, like purest linen, laid in open air, will bleach the more, and whiten to the view.


    To worthiest things, virtue, art, beauty, fortune, now I see, rareness of use, not nature value brings.


    Good sense, good health, good conscience, and good fame,—all these belong to virtue, and all prove that virtue has a title to your love.


    Virtue and vice are both prophets; the first, of certain good; the second, of pain or else of penitence.

    R. Venning.

    Our virtues would be proud if our faults whipped them not; and our crimes would despair if they were not cherished by our virtues.


    God sure esteems the growth and completing of one virtuous person, more than the restraint of ten vicious.


    They who disbelieve in virtue because man has never been found perfect, might as reasonably deny the sun because it is not always noon.


    A virtuous name is the only precious good for which queens and peasants’ wives must contest together.


    Virtues go ever in troops; they go so thick, that sometimes some are hid in the crowd; which yet are, but appear not.

    Bishop Hall.

    The more tickets you have in a lottery, the worse your chance. And it is the same of virtues, in the lottery of life.


    As they suspect a man in the city who is ostentatious of his riches, so should the woman he who makes the most noise of her virtue.


    Virtue, which breaks through opposition and all temptation can remove, most shines, and most is acceptable above.


    However virtuous a woman may be, a compliment on her virtue is what gives her the least pleasure.

    Prince de Ligne.

    It is a great deal easier for a man to find a pedigree to fit his virtues than virtues to fit his pedigree.

    H. W. Shaw.

    As many as are the difficulties which Virtue has to encounter in this world, her force is yet superior.


    Is any one able for one day to apply his strength to virtue? I have not seen the case in which his strength would be sufficient.


    Most people are so constituted that they can only be virtuous in a certain routine; an irregular course of life demoralizes them.


    Wealth is a weak anchor, and glory cannot support a man; this is the law of God, that virtue only is firm, and cannot be shaken by a tempest.


    To be discontented with the divine discontent, and to be ashamed with the noble shame, is the very germ of the first upgrowth of all virtue.

    Chas. Kingsley.

    If we should cease to be generous and charitable because another is sordid and ungrateful, it would be much in the power of vice to extinguish Christian virtues.


    To be able under all circumstances to practise five things constitutes perfect virtue: these five are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.


  • Sweet drop of pure and pearly light;
  • In thee the rays of Virtue shine;
  • More calmly clear, more mildly bright,
  • Than any gem that gilds the mine.
  • Sam’l Rogers.

    The only impregnable citadel of virtue is religion; for there is no bulwark of mere morality which some temptation may not overtop, or undermine and destroy.

    Sir P. Sidney.

  • His virtues
  • Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against
  • The deep damnation of his taking-off.
  • Shakespeare.

    Though virtue give a ragged livery, she gives a golden cognizance; if her service make thee poor, blush not. Thy poverty may disadvantage thee, but not dishonor thee.


    It is the edge and temper of the blade that make a good sword, not the richness of the scabbard, and so it is not money or possessions that make men considerable, but virtue.


    There is no community or commonwealth of virtue; every man must study his own economy, and erect these rules unto the figure of himself.

    Sir Thomas Browne.

    Virtue is uniform, conformable to reason, and of unvarying consistency; nothing can be added to it that can make it more than virtue; nothing can be taken from it, and the name of virtue be left.


    No virtue fades out of mankind. Not over-hopeful by inborn temperament, cautious by long experience, I yet never despair of human virtue.

    Theodore Parker.

    That which leads us to the performance of duty by offering pleasure as its reward, is not virtue, but a deceptive copy and imitation of virtue.


  • Count all th’ advantage prosperous Vice attains,
  • ’Tis but what Virtue flies from and disdains:
  • And grant the bad what happiness they would,
  • One they must want—which is, to pass for good.
  • Pope.

  • Virtue may choose the high or low degree,
  • ’Tis just alike to Virtue and to me;
  • Dwell in a monk, or light upon a king,
  • She’s still the same belov’d contented thing.
  • Pope.

    The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together: our virtues would be proud if our faults whipped them not; and our crimes would despair if they were not cherished by our virtues.


  • Believe the muse, the wintry blast of death
  • Kills not the buds of virtue; no, they spread,
  • Beneath the heavenly beams of brighter suns,
  • Thro’ endless ages, into higher powers.
  • Thomson.

  • Virtue may be assail’d, but never hurt;
  • Surpris’d by unjust force, but not enthrall’d;
  • Yea, even that which mischief meant most harm,
  • Shall in the happy trial prove most glory.
  • Milton.

    He who talks much about virtue in the abstract, begins to be suspected; it is shrewdly guessed that where there is great preaching there will be little almsgiving.


    Virtue and vice are not arbitrary things; but there is a natural and eternal reason for goodness and virtue, and against vice and wickedness.


    Some virtuous women are too liberal in their insults to a frail sister; but virtue can support itself without borrowing any assistance from the vices of other women.


    True virtue, when she errs, needs not the eyes of men to excite her blushes; she is confounded at her own presence, and covered with confusion of face.

    Jane Porter.

    The Great slight the men of wit, who have nothing but wit; the men of wit despise the Great, who have nothing but greatness; the good man pities them both, if with greatness or wit they have not virtue.

    La Bruyère.

    Many new years you may see, but happy ones you cannot see without deserving them. These virtue, honor, and knowledge alone can merit, alone can produce.


    Virtue consists in doing our duty in the several relations we sustain, in respect to ourselves, to our fellow-men, and to God, as known from reason, conscience, and revelation.


    I cannot worship the abstractions of virtue; she only charms me when she addresses herself to my heart, speaks through the love from which she springs.


  • Virtue, our present peace, our future prize,
  • Man’s unprecarious, natural estate,
  • Improvable at will, in virtue lies;
  • Its tenure sure; its income is divine.
  • Young.

  • Virtue, the strength and beauty of the soul,
  • Is the best gift of heaven; a happiness
  • That, even above the smiles and frowns of fate,
  • Exalts great Nature’s favorites; a wealth
  • That ne’er encumbers, nor can be transferr’d.
  • Armstrong.

  • What, what is virtue, but repose of mind,
  • A pure ethereal calm, that knows no storm;
  • Above the reach of wild ambition’s wind,
  • Above those passions that this world deform
  • And torture man.
  • Thomson.

    Virtue is more to man than either water or fire. I have seen men die from treading on water and fire, but I have never seen a man die from treading the course of virtue.


  • I’ll leave my son my virtuous deeds behind;
  • And would my father had left me no more!
  • For all the rest is held at such a rate,
  • As brings a thousandfold more care to keep,
  • Than in possession any jot of pleasure.
  • Shakespeare.

    Virtue may be said to steal, like a guilty thing, into the secret haunts of vice and infamy; it clings to their devoted victim, and will not be driven quite away. Nothing can destroy the human heart.


    No virtue can be real that has not been tried. The gold in the crucible alone is perfect; the loadstone tests the steel, and the diamond is tried by the diamond, while metals gleam the brighter in the furnace.


    Virtue is only a conflict by which we get the mastery of our failings; that, by which every man proves his peculiar power of understanding the will and spirit of God, is only a silent working of the inner man.


    There have been men who could play delightful music on one string of the violin, but there never was a man who could produce the harmonies of heaven in his soul by a one-stringed virtue.


    A virtuous and well-disposed person, like a good metal, the more he is fired, the more he is fined; the more he is opposed, the more he is approved: wrongs may well try him, and touch him, but cannot imprint in him any false stamp.


    A man that hath no virtue in himself ever envieth virtue in others; for men’s minds will either feed upon their own good or upon others’ evil; and who wanteth the one will prey upon the other.


    Virtue is despotic; life, reputation, every earthly good, must be surrendered at her voice. The law may seem hard, but it is the guardian of what it commands; and is the only sure defence of happiness.

    Jane Porter.

    Virtue is shut out from no one; she is open to all, accepts all, invites all, gentlemen, freedmen, slaves, kings, and exiles; she selects neither house nor fortune; she is satisfied with a human being without adjuncts.


    It would not be easy even for an unbeliever, to find a better translation of the rule of virtue from the abstract into the concrete, than to endeavor so to live that Christ would approve our life.

    J. Stuart Mill.

    There is no virtue which does not rejoice a well-descended nature; there is a kind of I know not what congratulation in well-doing, that gives us an inward satisfaction, and a certain generous boldness that accompanies a good conscience.


    Verily, virtue must be her own reward, as in the Socratic creed; for she will bring no other dower than peace of conscience in her gift to whosoever weds her. “I have loved justice, and fled from iniquity; wherefore here I die in exile,” said Hlldebrand upon his death-bed.


    There is but one pursuit in life which it is in the power of all to follow, and of all to attain. It is subject to no disappointments, since he that perseveres makes every difficulty an advancement and every contest a victory; and this is the pursuit of virtue.


    What we take for virtues is often nothing but an assemblage of different actions, and of different interests, that fortune or our industry know how to arrange; and it is not always from valor and from chastity that men are valiant, and that women are chaste.

    La Rochefoucauld.

    Virtue is nothing but an act of loving that which is to be beloved, and that act is prudence, from whence not to be removed by constraint is fortitude; not to be allured by enticements is temperance; not to be diverted by pride is justice.


    The recognition of virtue is not less valuable from the lips of the man who hates it, since truth forces him to acknowledge it; and though he may be unwilling to take it into his inmost soul, he at least decks himself out in its trappings.


    If thou takest virtue for the rule of life, and valuest thyself upon acting in all things comfortably thereto, thou wilt have no cause to envy lords and princes; for blood is inherited, but virtue is common property, and may be acquired by all; it has, moreover, an intrinsic worth, which blood has not.


    A vice sanctioned by the general opinion is merely a vice. The evil terminates in itself. A vice condemned by the general opinion produces a pernicious effect on the whole character. The former is a local malady; the latter, constitutional taint. When the reputation of the offender is lost, he too often flings the remainder of his virtue after it in despair.


  • I have ever thought,
  • Nature doth nothing so great for great men,
  • As when she’s pleas’d to make them lords of truth.
  • Integrity of life is fame’s best friend,
  • Which nobly, beyond death, shall crown the end.
  • John Webster.

  • Court-virtues bear, like gems, the highest rate,
  • Born where Heav’n’s influence scarce can penetrate.
  • In life’s low vale, the soil the virtues like,
  • They please as beauties, here as wonders strike.
  • Pope.

    Virtue will catch as well as vice by contact; and the public stock of honest manly principle will daily accumulate. We are not too nicely to scrutinize motives as long as action is irreproachable. It is enough (and for a worthy man perhaps too much) to deal out its infamy to convicted guilt and declared apostasy.


    Do not be troubled because you have not great virtues. God made a million spears of grass where he made one tree. The earth is fringed and carpeted, not with forests, but with grasses. Only have enough of little virtues and common fidelities, and you need not mourn because you are neither a hero nor a saint.


    The height and value of true virtue consists in the facility, utility, and pleasure of its exercise; so far from difficulty, that boys, as well as men, and the innocent as well as the subtle, may make it their own; and it is by order and good conduct, and not by force, that it is to be acquired.


    By great and sublime virtues are meant those which are called into action on great and trying occasions, which demand the sacrifice of the dearest interests and prospects of human life, and sometimes of life itself; the virtues, in a word, which, by their rarity and splendor, draw admiration, and have rendered illustrious the character of patriots, martyrs, and confessors.

    Robert Hall.

    Virtue is as little to be acquired by learning as genius; nay, the idea is barren, and is only to be employed as an instrument, in the same way as genius in respect to art. It would be as foolish to expect that our moral and ethical systems would turn out virtuous, noble, and holy beings, as that our æsthetic systems would produce poets, painters, and musicians.


    Where is the reward of virtue? and what recompense has nature provided for such important sacrifices as those of life and fortune, which we must often make to it? O sons of earth! Are ye ignorant of the value of this celestial mistress? And do ye meanly inquire for her portion, when ye observe her genuine beauty?


    Virtue is the nursing-mother of all human pleasures, who, in rendering the just, renders them also pure and permanent; in moderating them, keeps them in breath and appetite; in interdicting those which she herself refuses, whets our desires to those that she allows; and, like a kind and liberal mother, abundantly allows all that nature requires, even to satiety, if not to lassitude.


  • Ah! whither now are fled
  • Those dreams of greatness? those unsolid hopes
  • Of happiness? those longings after fame?
  • Those restless cares? those busy bustling days?
  • Those gay-spent, festive nights? those veering thoughts,
  • Lost between good and ill, that shared thy life?
  • All now are vanished! Virtue sole survives,
  • Immortal never-failing friend of man,
  • His guide to happiness on high.
  • Thomson.

  • The virtuous to those mansions go
  • Where pleasures unembitter’d flow,
  • Where, leading up a jocund band,
  • Vigor and Youth dance hand in hand,
  • Whilst Zephyr, with harmonious gales,
  • Pipes softest music through the vales,
  • And Spring and Flora, gaily crown’d,
  • With velvet carpet spread the ground;
  • With livelier blush where roses bloom,
  • And every shrub expires perfume.
  • Churchill.

  • Virtue and sense are one; and trust me still
  • A faithless heart betrays the head unsound.
  • Virtue (for meree good nature is a fool)
  • Is sense and spirit with humanity.
  • ’Tis sometimes angry, and its frown confounds;
  • ’Tis even vindictive, but in vengeance just,
  • Knaves fain would laugh at it; some great ones dare
  • But at his heart the most undaunted son
  • Of Fortune dreads its name and awful charms.
  • Armstrong.