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CHARACTER
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[ Also see Ability Ancestry Attitude Audacity Bravery Capacity Circumstance Class Cleverness Conscience Consistency Daring Decision Dignity Disposition Distinction Duty Eloquence Enthusiasm Environment Ethics Example Fame Faults Genius Goodness Honor Individuality Innocence Integrity Kindness Man Men Merit Modesty Morality Names Nature Nobility Obedience Perfection Personality Principles Quality Rashness Recklessness Reform Reformation Reputation Resolution Responsibility Sportsmanship Talent Temper Temperament Virtue Women Worth ]

Sae true his heart, sae smooth his speech,
  His breath like caller air,
    His very foot has music in 't,
      As he comes up the stair.
      - William Julius Mickle,
        Ballad of Cumnor Hall--Mariner's Wife

In men whom men condemn as ill
  I find so much of goodness still,
    In men whom men pronounce divine
      I find so much of sin and blot
        I do not dare to draw a line
          Between the two, where God has not.
      - Joaquin Miller (pseudonym of Cincinnatus Hiner Miller),
        Byron (st. 1)

He that has light within his own clear breast
  May sit i' the centre, and enjoy bright day:
    But he that hides a dark soul and foul thoughts
      Benighted walks under the mid-day sun;
        Himself his own dungeon.
      - John Milton, Comus (l. 381)

Yet, where an equal poise of hope and fear
  Does arbitrate the event, my nature is
    That I incline to hope rather than fear,
      And gladly banish squint suspicion.
      - John Milton, Comus (l. 410)

Quips and Cranks and wanton Wiles,
  Nods and Becks and wreathed Smiles.
      - John Milton, L'Allegro (l. 27)

Unrespited, unpitied, unreprieved.
      - John Milton, Paradise Lost
         (bk. II, l. 185)

Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall.
      - John Milton, Paradise Lost
         (bk. III, l. 99)

For contemplation he and valor formed,
  For softness she and sweet attractive grace.
      - John Milton, Paradise Lost
         (bk. IV, l. 297)

Adam the goodliest man of men since born
  His sons, the fairest of her daughters, Eve.
      - John Milton, Paradise Lost
         (bk. IV, l. 323)

Her virtue and the conscience of her worth,
  That would be wooed, and not unsought be won.
      - John Milton, Paradise Lost
         (bk. VIII, l. 502)

Men, who are rogues individually, are in the mass very honorable people.
  [Fr., Les hommes, fripons en detail, sont en gros de tres-honnetes gens.]
      - Charles de Montesquieu (Charles-Louis de Secondat),
        De l'Esprit (XXV, c. 2)

Good at a fight, but better at a play;
  Godlike in giving, but the devil to pay.
      - Thomas Moore, On a Cast of Sheridan's Hand

To those who know thee not, no words can paint;
  And those who know thee, know all words are faint!
      - Hannah More, Sensibility

To see the Cause above renown,
  To love the game beyond the prize,
    To honour, while you strike him down,
      The foe that comes with fearless eyes;
        To count the like of battle good,
          And dear the land that gave you birth;
            And dearer yet the brotherhood
              That binds the brave of all the earth.
      - Henry John Newboldt,
        The Island Race--Clifton Chapel

Character is determined more by the lack of certain experiences than by those one has had.
      - Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Live your life while you have it. Life is a splendid gift. There is nothing small in it. For the greatest things grow by God's Law out of the smallest. But to live your life you must discipline it. You must not fritter it away in "fair purpose, erring act, inconstant will" but make your thoughts, your acts all work to the same end and that end, not self but God. That is what we call character.
      - Florence Nightingale

Character is a perfectly educated will.
      - Novalis (pseudonym of Frederich Leopold von Hardenberg)

I see and approve better things, I follow the worse.
  [Lat., Video meliora proboque,
    Deteriora sequor.]
      - Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso), Metamorphoses
         (VII, 20)

Character is much easier kept than recovered.
      - Thomas Paine

Every man has at times in his mind the ideal of what he should be, but is not. This ideal may be high and complete, or it may be quite low and insufficient; yet in all men that really seek to improve, it is better than the actual character. . . . Man never falls so low that he can see nothing higher than himself.
      - Theodore Parker,
        Critical and Miscellaneous Writings
         (essay I, A lesson for the Day)

Thou art moist and soft clay; thou must instantly be shaped by the glowing wheel.
  [Lat., Udum et molle lutum es: nunc, nunc properandus et acri
    Fingendus sine fine rota.]
      - Persius (Aulus Persius Flaccus), Satires
         (III, 23)

Retire within thyself, and thou will discover how small a stock is there.
  [Lat., Tecum habita, et noris quam sit tibi curta supellex.]
      - Persius (Aulus Persius Flaccus), Satires
         (IV, 52)

Grand, gloomy and peculiar, he sat upon the throne, a sceptred hermit, wrapped in the solitude of his awful orginality.
      - Charles Phillips, Character of Napoleon I

Brains and character rule the world. The most distinguished Frenchman of the last century said: "Men succeed less by their talents than their character." There were scores of men a hundred years ago who had more intellect than Washington. He outlives and overrides them all by the influence of his character.
      - Wendell Phillips

The highest of characters, in my estimation, is his, who is as ready to pardon the moral errors of mankind, as if he were every day guilty of some himself; and at the same time as cautious of committing a fault as if he never forgave one.
  [Lat., Optimum et emendatissimum existimo, qui ceteris ita ignoscit, tanquam ipse quotidie peccet; ita peccatis abstinet, tanquam nemini ignoscat.]
      - Pliny the Younger (Caius Caecilius Secundus),
        Epistles (VIII, 22)


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