Hoyt & Roberts, comps. Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations. 1922.


Curse on his virtues! they’ve undone his country.
Addison—Cato. Act IV. Sc. 4.

If there’s a power above us, (and that there is all nature cries aloud
Through all her works) he must delight in virtue.
Addison—Cato. Act V. Sc. 1.

Sweet are the slumbers of the virtuous man!
Addison—Cato. Act V. Sc. 4.

One’s outlook is a part of his virtue.
Amos Bronson Alcott—Concord Days. April Outlook.

Virtue and sense are one; and, trust me, still
A faithless heart betrays the head unsound.
Armstrong—Art of Preserving Health. Bk. IV. L. 265.

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 favourites: a wealth
That ne’er encumbers, nor can be transferr’d.
Armstrong—Art of Preserving Health. Bk. IV. L. 284.

Certainly virtue is like precious odours, most fragrant when they are incensed or crushed.
Bacon—Essays. Of Adversity.

Virtue is like a rich stone, best plain set.
Bacon—Essays. Of Beauty.

La vertu d’un cœur noble est la marque certaine.
Virtue alone is the unerring sign of a noble soul.
Boileau—Satires. V. 42.

Whilst shame keeps its watch, virtue is not wholly extinguished in the heart.
Burke—Reflections on the Revolution in France.

Virtue is not malicious; wrong done her
Is righted even when men grant they err.
George Chapman—Monsieur D’Olive. Act I. Sc. 1. L. 127.

Nam quæ voluptate, quasi mercede aliqua, ad officium impellitur, ea non est virtus sed fallax imitatio simulatioque virtutis.
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.
Cicero—Academici. IV. 46.

Honor est præmium virtutis.
Honor is the reward of virtue.
Cicero—Brutus. LXXXI.

Virtute enim ipsa non tam multi præditi esse, quam videri volunt.
Fewer possess virtue, than those who wish us to believe that they possess it.
Cicero—De Amicitia. XXVI.

Nam ut quisque est vir optimus, ita difficillime esse alios improbos suspicatur.
The more virtuous any man is, the less easily does he suspect others to be vicious.
Cicero—Epistolæ Ad Fratrem. I. 1.

In virtute sunt multi adscensus.
In the approach to virtue there are many steps.
Cicero—Oratio Pro Cnœo Plancio. XXV.

Est haec sæculi labes quædam et macula virtuti invidere, velle ipsum florem dignitatis infringere.
It is the stain and disgrace of the age to envy virtue, and to be anxious to crush the very flower of dignity.
Cicero—Oratio Pro Lucio Cornelio Balbo. VI.

Virtue is a habit of the mind, consistent with nature and moderation and reason.
Cicero—Rhetorical Invention. Bk. II. Sc. LIII.

Ipsa quidem pretium virtus sibi.
Virtue is indeed its own reward.
Claudianus—De Consulatu Malli. Theodorii Panegyris. V. I.

Vile latens virtus.
Virtue when concealed is a worthless thing.
Claudianus—De Quarto Consulatu Honorii Augusti Panegyris. 222.

Well may your heart believe the truths I tell;
’Tis virtue makes the bliss, where’er we dwell.
Collins—Eclogue I. L. 5. Selim.

Is virtue a thing remote? I wish to be virtuous, and lo! virtue is at hand.
Confucius—Analects. Bk. I. Ch. IV.

Virtue is not left to stand alone. He who practices it will have neighbors.
Confucius—Analects. Bk. IV. Ch. XXV.

Toutes grandes vertus conviennent aux grands hommes.
All great virtues become great men.
Corneille—Notes de Corneille par La Rochefoucauld.

The only amaranthine flower on earth
Is virtue.
Cowper—Task. Bk. III. L. 268.

And he by no uncommon lot
Was famed for virtues he had not.
Cowper—To the Rev. William Bull. L. 19.

Virtue alone is happiness below.
Crabbe—The Borough. Letter XVI.

Virtue was sufficient of herself for happiness.
Diogenes Laertius—Plato. XLII.

And virtue, though in rags, will keep me warm.
Dryden—Imitation of Horace. Bk. I. Ode XXIX. L. 87.

The only reward of virtue is virtue.
Emerson—Essays. Friendship.

The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs.
Emerson—Essays. First Series. Self-Reliance.

Shall ignorance of good and ill
Dare to direct the eternal will?
Seek virtue, and, of that possest,
To Providence resign the rest.
Gay—The Father and Jupiter.

Yet why should learning hope success at court?
Why should our patriots’ virtues cause support?
Why to true merit should they have regard?
They know that virtue is its own reward.
Gay—Epistle to Methuen. L. 39.

Thus to relieve the wretched was his pride,
And e’en his failings lean’d to virtue’s side.
Goldsmith—The Deserted Village. L. 163.

The virtuous nothing fear but life with shame,
And death’s a pleasant road that leads to fame.
Geo. Granville (Lord Lansdowne). Verse written 1690. L. 47.

Only a sweet and virtuous soul,
Like season’d timber, never gives;
But though the whole world turn to coal,
Then chiefly lives.
Herbert—The Church. Vertue.

Virtus repulsæ nescia sordidæ,
Intaminatis fulget honoribus;
Nec sumit aut ponit secures
Arbitrio popularis auræ.
Virtue knowing no base repulse, shines with untarnished honour; nor does she assume or resign her emblems of honour by the will of some popular breeze.
Horace—Carmina. III. 2. 17.

Virtus, recludens immeritis mori
Cælum, negata tentat iter via.
Virtue, opening heaven to those who do not deserve to die, makes her course by paths untried.
Horace—Carmina. III. 2. 21.

Virtutem incolumem odimus,
Sublatam ex oculis quærimus.
We hate virtue when it is safe; when removed from our sight we diligently seek it.
Horace—Carmina. III. 24. 31.

Mea virtute me involvo.
I wrap myself up in my virtue.
Horace—Carmina. III. 29. 55.

Virtus est vitium fugere, et sapientia prima.
Virtue consists in avoiding vice, and is the highest wisdom.
Horace—Epistles. I. 1. 41.

Vilius argentum est auro virtutibus aurum.
Silver is less valuable than gold, gold than virtue.
Horace—Epistles. I. 1. 52.

Oderunt peccare boni virtutis amore.
The good hate sin because they love virtue.
Horace—Epistles. I. 16. 52.

Virtue, dear friend, needs no defence,
The surest guard is innocence:
None knew, till guilt created fear,
What darts or poison’d arrows were.
Horace—Odes. Bk. I. Ode XII. St. 1. Wentworth Dillon’s trans.

Some of ’em [virtues] like extinct volcanoes, with a strong memory of fire and brimstone.
Douglas Jerrold—The Catspaw. Act III. Sc. 1.

His virtues walked their narrow round,
Nor made a pause, nor left a void;
And sure th’ Eternal Master found
The single talent well employed.
Samuel Johnson—On the Death of Mr. Robert Lovett.

Probitas laudatur et alget.
Virtue is praised and freezes.
Juvenal—Satires. I. 74.

Nobilitas sola est atque unica virtus.
Virtue is the only and true nobility.
Juvenal—Satires. VIII. 20.

Tanto major famæ sitis est quam
Virtutis: quis enim virtutem amplectitur ipsam
Præmia si tollas.
The thirst for fame is much greater than that for virtue; for who would embrace virtue itself if you take away its rewards?
Juvenal—Satires. X. 140.

Semita certe
Tranquillæ per virtutem patet unica vitæ.
The only path to a tranquil life is through virtue.
Juvenal—Satires. X. 363.

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—Health and Education. The Science of Health.

Our virtues are most frequently but vices disguised.
La Rochefoucauld—Maxims. 179. (Ed. 1665). In 4th Ed. at head of Reflexions.

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—A Few Thoughts for a Young Man.

God sure esteems the growth and completing of one virtuous person, more than the restraint of ten vicious.
Milton—Areopagitica. A Speech for the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing.

Virtue could see to do what Virtue would
By her own radiant light, though sun and moon
Were in the flat sea sunk.
Milton—Comus. L. 373.

Virtue may be assailed, but never hurt,
Surprised by unjust force, but not inthralled;
Yea, even that which mischief meant most harm
Shall in the happy trial prove most glory.
Milton—Comus. L. 589.

Or, if Virtue feeble were,
Heaven itself would stoop to her.
Milton—Comus. L. 1,022.

J’aime mieux un vice commode
Qu’une fatigante vertu.
I prefer an accommodating vice to an obstinate virtue.
Molière—Amphitryon. I. 4.

La naissance n’est rien où la vertu n’est pas.
Birth is nothing where virtue is not.
Molière—Don Juan. IV. 6.

Où la vertu va-t-elle se nicher?
Where does virtue go to lodge?
Exclamation of Molière.

I find that the best virtue I have has in it some tincture of vice.
Montaigne—Essays. That we Taste Nothing Pure.

Faut d’la vertu, pas trop n’en faut,
L’excès en tout est un défaut.
Some virtue is needed, but not too much. Excess in anything is a defect.
Monvel. From a comic opera. Erreur d’un Moment. Quoted by Desaugiers. See Fournier—L’Esprit des Autres. Ch. XXXV.

Judice te mercede caret, per seque petenda est
Externis virtus incomitata bonis.
In your judgment virtue requires no reward, and is to be sought for itself, unaccompanied by external benefits.
Ovid—Epistolæ Ex Ponto. Bk. II. 3. 35.

Virtutem videant, intabescantque relicta.
Let them (the wicked) see the beauty of virtue, and pine at having forsaken her.
Persius—Satires. III. 38.

For virtue only finds eternal Fame.
Petrarch—The Triumph of Fame. Pt. I. L. 183.

Virtus præmium est optimum.
Virtus omnibus rebus anteit profecto.
Libertas, salas, vita, res, parentes,
Patria et prognati tutantur, servantur;
Virtus omnia in se habet; omnia assunt bona, quem penes est virtus.
Virtue is the highest reward. Virtue truly goes before all things. Liberty, safety, life, property, parents, country and children are protected and preserved. Virtue has all things in herself; he who has virtue has all things that are good attending him.
Plautus—Amphitruo. Act II. 2. 17.

Qui per virtutem peritat, non interit.
He who dies for virtue, does not perish.
Plautus—Captivi. III. 5. 32.

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—Epilogue to Satires. Dialogue I. L. 137.

But sometimes virtue starves while vice is fed.
What then? Is the reward of virtue bread?
Pope—Essay on Man. Ep. IV. L. 149.

The soul’s calm sunshine and the heartfelt joy,
Is virtue’s prize.
Pope—Essay on Man. Ep. IV. L. 168.

Know then this truth (enough for man to know)
“Virtue alone is happiness below.”
Pope—Essay on Man. Ep. IV. L. 309.

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—Moral Essays. Ep. I. L. 141.

Virtue she finds too painful an endeavour,
Content to dwell in decencies forever.
Pope—Moral Essays. Ep. II. L. 163.

There is nothing that is meritorious but virtue and friendship; and indeed friendship itself is only a part of virtue.
Pope—On his Death-Bed. Johnson’s Life of Pope.

O let us still the secret joy partake,
To follow virtue even for virtue’s sake.
Pope—Temple of Fame. L. 364.

Virtus, etiamsi quosdam impetus a natura sumit, tamen perficienda doctrina est.
Although virtue receives some of its excellencies from nature, yet it is perfected by education.
Quintilian—De Institutione Oratoria. XII. 2. 1.

Nihil tam alte natura constituit quo virtus non possit eniti.
Nature has placed nothing so high that virtue can not reach it.
Quintus Curtius Rufus—De Rebus Gestis Alexandri Magni. VII. 11. 10.

Divitiarum et formæ gloria fluxa atque fragilis; virtus clara æternaque habetur.
The glory of riches and of beauty is frail and transitory; virtue remains bright and eternal.
Sallust—Catilina. I.

Marcet sine adversario virtus.
Virtue withers away if it has no opposition.
Seneca—De Providentia. II.

Virtus secundum naturam est; vitia inimica et infesta sunt.
Virtue is according to nature; vices are hostile and dangerous.

To show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure.
Hamlet. Act III. Sc. 2. L. 25.

For in the fatness of these pursy times
Virtue itself of vice must pardon beg.
Hamlet. Act III. Sc. 4. L. 153.

Assume a virtue, if you have it not.
Hamlet. Act III. Sc. 4. L. 160.

My heart laments that virtue cannot live
Out of the teeth of emulation.
Julius Cæsar. Act II. Sc. 3. L. 13.

According to his virtue let us use him,
With all respect and rites of burial.
Julius Cæsar. Act V. Sc. 5. L. 76.

His virtues
Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against
The deep damnation of his taking-off.
Macbeth. Act I. Sc. 7. L. 18.

Virtue is bold, and goodness never fearful.
Measure for Measure. Act III. Sc. 1. L. 215.

The trumpet of his own virtues.
Much Ado About Nothing. Act V. Sc. 2. L. 87.

I hold it ever,
Virtue and cunning were endowments greater
Than nobleness and riches: careless heirs
May the two latter darken and expend;
But immortality attends the former,
Making a man a god.
Pericles. Act III. Sc. 2. L. 27.

Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied;
And vice sometimes by action dignified.
Romeo and Juliet. Act II. Sc. 3. L. 21.

Virtue that transgresses is but patched with sin; and sin that amends is but patched with virtue.
Twelfth Night. Act I. Sc. 5. L. 52.

Explorant adversa viros. Perque aspera dura
Nititur ad laudem virtus interrita clivo.
Adversity tries men; but virtue struggles after fame regardless of the adverse heights.
Silius Italicus—Punica. IV. 605.

Ipsa quidem virtus sibimet pulcherrima merces.
Virtue herself is her own fairest reward.
Silius Italicus—Punica. Bk. XIII. L. 663. Dryden—Tyrannic Love. Act II. Sc. 3. Home—Douglas. Act III. Sc. 1. L. 294. Henry Moore—Cupid’s Conflict. Prior—Ode in Imitation of Horace. III. Ode 2. L. 146. Plato—Republic.

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

Virtue, the greatest of all monarchies.
Swift—Ode. To the Hon. Sir William Temple.

Non tamen adeo virtutum sterile seculum, ut non et bona exempla prodiderit.
Yet the age was not so utterly destitute of virtues but that it produced some good examples.
Tacitus—Annales. Bk. I. 2.

Forgive what seem’d my sin in me;
What seem’d my worth since I began.
Tennyson—In Memoriam. Introduction.

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—Castle of Indolence. Canto I. St. 16.

Stat sua cuique dies; breve et irreparabile tempus
Omnibus est vitæ; set famam extendere factis
Hoc virtutis opus.
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.
Vergil—Æneid. X. 467.

Virtue’s a stronger guard than brass.
Edmund Waller—Epigram Upon the Golden Medal. L. 14.

Good company and good discourse are the wry sinews of virtue.
Izaak Walton—Compleat Angler. Pt. I. Ch. II.

To Virtue’s humblest son let none prefer
Vice, though descended from the conqueror.
Young—Love of Fame. Satire I. L. 141.

Virtue alone outbuilds the pyramids:
Her monuments shall last, when Egypt’s fall.
Young—Night Thoughts. Night VI. L. 314.

His crimes forgive; forgive his virtues too.
Young—Night Thoughts. Night IX. L. 2,290.