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Quotations about Virtues

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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

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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