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MERIT
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[ Also see Character Excellence Goodness Growth Perfection Success Usefulness Value Virtue Worth ]

Thy father's merit sets thee up to view,
  And shows thee in the fairest point of light,
    To make thy virtues, or thy faults, conspicuous.
      - Joseph Addison, Cato (act I, sc. 2)

Merit is never so conspicuous as when coupled with an obscure origin, just as the moon never appears so lustrous as when it emerges from a cloud.
      - Christian Nestell Bovee

The best evidence of merit is a cordial recognition of it whenever and wherever it may be found.
      - Christian Nestell Bovee

I know not why we should delay our tokens of respect to those who deserve them, until the heart that our sympathy could have gladdened has ceased to beat. As men cannot read the epitaphs inscribed upon the marble that covers them, so the tombs that we erect to virtue often only prove our repentance that we neglected it when with us.
      - Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton

If you wish particularly to gain the good graces and affection of certain people, men or women, try to discover their most striking merit, if they have one, and their dominant weakness, for every one has his own, then do justice to the one, and a little more than justice to the other.
      - 4th Earl of Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope

Real merit of any kind cannot long be concealed; it will be discovered, and nothing can depreciate it, but a man's exhibiting it himself. It may not always be rewarded as it ought; but it will always be known.
      - 4th Earl of Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope

Merit is born with men; happy those with whom it dies!
      - Christiana of Sweden

View the whole scene, with critic judgment scan,
  And then deny him merit if you can.
    Where he falls short, 'tis Nature's fault alone
      Where he succeeds, the merit's all his own.
      - Charles Churchill, The Rosciad (l. 1,023)

It sounds like stories from the land of spirits,
  If any man obtain that which he merits,
    Or any merit that which he obtains.
      - Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Complaint

On their own merits modest men are dumb.
      - George Colman ("The Younger"),
        Epilogue to The Heir-at-Law

Contemporaries appreciate the man rather than his merit; posterity will regard the merit rather than the man.
      - Charles Caleb Colton

Merit challenges envy.
      - John Dryden

There is a proud modesty in merit.
      - John Dryden

There's a proud modesty in merit!
  Averse from asking, and resolv'd to pay
    Ten times the gifts it asks.
      - John Dryden

Real merit requires as much labor, to be placed in a true light, as humbug to be elevated to an unworthy eminence; only the success of the false is temporary, that of the true, immortal.
      - Francis Alexander Durivage

I love the lineage of heroes, but I love merit more.
      - Frederick, the Great (Frederick II)

Merit was ever modest known.
      - John Gay

It never occurs to fools that merit and good fortune are closely united.
      - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

True merit, like a river, the deeper it is, the less noise it makes.
      - Charles Montagu Halifax, Lord Halifax

Distinguished merit will ever rise to oppression, and will draw lustre from reproach. The vapors which gather round the rising sun, and follow him in his course, seldom fail at the close of it to form a magnificent theatre for his reception, and to invest with variegated tints and with a softened effulgence the luminary which they cannot hide.
      - Robert Hall

Good actions crown themselves with lasting baies
  Who deserves wel, needs not anothers praise.
      - Robert Heath

I am told so many ill things of a man, and I see so few in him, that I begin to suspect he has a real but troublesome merit, as being likely to eclipse that of others.
      - Jean de la Bruyere

The favor of princes does not preclude the existence of merit, and yet does not prove that it exists.
  [Fr., La faveur des princes n'exclut pas le merite, et ne le suppose pas aussi.]
      - Jean de la Bruyere, Les Caracteres (XII)

The same principle leads us to neglect a man of merit that induces us to admire a fool.
  [Fr., Du meme fonds dont on neglige un homme de merite l'on sait encore admirer un sot.]
      - Jean de la Bruyere, Les Caracteres (XII)

Merit has rarely risen of itself, but a pebble or a twig is often quite sufficient for it to spring from to the highest ascent. There is usually some baseness before there is any elevation.
      - Walter Savage Landor


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