Quotations about Virtues

Virtue is an angel, but she is a blind one, and must ask Knowledge to show her the pathway that leads to her goal.  ~Horace Mann, "Thoughts for a Young Man," 1859

We are double-edged blades, and every time we whet our virtue the return stroke strops our vice.  ~Henry David Thoreau

Blushing is the color of virtue.  ~Diogenes

Virtue is praised, but hated.  People run from it, for it is ice-cold and in this world you have to keep your feet warm.  ~Denis Diderot, Rameau's Nephew, 1762

Virtue is insufficient temptation.  ~George Bernard Shaw

Beware of making your moral staple consist of the negative virtues.  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Do not be too moral.  You may cheat yourself out of much life so.  Aim above morality.  Be not simply good; be good for something.  ~Henry David Thoreau

He that has energy enough to root out a vice should go further, and try to plant a virtue in its place.  ~Charles Caleb Colton

Modesty and unselfishness - these are virtues which men praise - and pass by.  ~André Maurois, Ariel, 1924

Virtues are dangerous as vices insofar as they are allowed to rule over one as authorities and not as qualities one develops oneself.  ~Friedrich Nietzsche

Virtue is its own revenge.  ~E.Y. Harburn

All of us are experts at practicing virtue at a distance.  ~Theodore M. Hesburgh

The imperfections of a man, his frailties, his faults, are just as important as his virtues.  You can't separate them.  They're wedded.  ~Henry Miller

Virtue would not go to such lengths if vanity did not keep her company.  ~François de la Rochefoucauld

A man hasn't got a corner on virtue just because his shoes are shined.  ~Anne Petry

What most persons consider as virtue, after the age of 40 is simply a loss of energy.  ~Voltaire

Sin is commitable in thought, word or deed; so is virtue.  ~Martin H. Fischer

To many people virtue consists chiefly in repenting faults, not in avoiding them.  ~Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

Any of us can achieve virtue, if by virtue we merely mean the avoidance of the vices that do not attract us.  ~Robert S. Lynd

The excess of virtue is a vice.  ~Greek Proverb

Unless I accept my faults I will most certainly doubt my virtues.  ~Hugh Prather

They who disbelieve in virtue because man has never been found perfect, might as reasonably deny a sun because it is not always day.  ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827

Water which is too pure has no fish.  ~Ts'ai Ken T'an

On the whole, human beings want to be good, but not too good, and not quite all the time.  ~George Orwell

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 or a saint. ~Henry Ward Beecher

It is hardly respectable to be good nowadays.  ~Edith Sitwell

Some folks wear their halos much too tight.  ~Author Unknown

What, after all, is a halo?  It's only one more thing to keep clean.  ~Christopher Fry

We would frequently be ashamed of our good deeds if people saw all of the motives that produced them.  ~La Rochefoucauld, Maxims, 1665
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