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NOBILITY
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[ Also see Ancestry Aristocracy Baseness Character Courtiers Dignity Distinction Gentlemen Greatness Position Rank Responsibility Royalty Station Sublimity Titles Worth ]

Be aristocracy the only joy:
  Let commerce perish--let the world expire.
      - Unattributed Author,
        Modern Gulliver's Travels (p. 192),
        (ed. 1796)

Noble hearts are neither jealous nor afraid because jealousy spells doubt and fear spells pettiness.
      - Honore de Balzac

Today nobility is gone: there is only a peerage.
      - Honore de Balzac

If there is anything good about nobility it is that it enforces the necessity of avoiding degeneracy.
      - Boethius, from the Latin

He who is lord of himself, and exists upon his own resources, is a noble but a rare being.
      - Egerton Brydges

Of all varieties of fopperies, the vanity of high birth is the greatest. True nobility is derived from virtue, not from birth. Title, indeed, may be purchased, but virtue is the only coin that makes the bargain valid.
      - Robert Burton

For he who is honest is noble,
  Whatever his fortunes or birth.
      - Alice Cary

The noblest character is stained by the addition of pride.
  [Lat., Inquinat egregios adjuncta superbia mores.]
      - Claudian (Claudianus),
        De Quarto Consulatu Honorii Augustii Panegyris
         (305)

Nobility is a river that sets with a constant and undeviating current directly into the great Pacific Ocean of time; but, unlike all other rivers, it is more grand at its source than at its termination.
      - Charles Caleb Colton

Nobility of birth does not always ensure a corresponding nobility of mind; if it did, it would always act as a stimulus to noble actions; but it sometimes acts as a clog, rather than a spur.
      - Charles Caleb Colton

Ay, these look like the workmanship of heaven;
  This is the porcelain clay of human kind,
    And therefore cast into these noble moulds.
      - John Dryden, Don Sebastian (act I, sc. 1)

All nobility in its beginnings was somebody's natural superiority.
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson

We must have kings, we must have nobles; nature is always providing such in every society; only let us have the real instead of the titular. In every society some are born to rule, and some to advise. The chief is the chief all the world over, only not his cap and plume. It is only this dislike of the pretender which makes men sometimes unjust to the true and finished man.
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson

O lady, nobility is thine, and thy form is the reflection of thy nature!
      - Euripides, Ion (238)

There are epidemics of nobleness as well as epidemics of disease.
      - James Anthony Froude,
        Short Studies on Great Subjects--Calvinism

A noble life crowned with heroic death, rises above and outlives the pride and pomp and glory of the mightiest empire of the earth.
      - James Abram Garfield

Fond man! though all the heroes of your line
  Bedeck your halls, and round your galleries shine
    In proud display; yet take this truth from me--
      Virtue alone is true nobility!
      - Humphrey Gifford

A noble soul alone can noble souls attract;
  And knows alone, as ye, to hold them.
    [Ger., Ein edler Mensch zieht edle Menschen an,
      Und weiss sie fest zu halten, wie ihr thut.]
      - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Torquato Tasso
         (I, 1, 59)

Noble blood is an accident of fortune; noble actions characterize the great.
      - Carlo Goldoni

Noble bold is an accident of fortune; noble actions characterize the great.
  [It., Il sangue nobile e un accidente della fortuna; le azioni nobili caratterizzano il grande.]
      - Carlo Goldoni, Pamela (I, 6)

Noblest minds are easiest bent.
      - Homer ("Smyrns of Chios")

A noble pair of brothers.
  [Lat., Par nobile fratum.]
      - Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus), Satires
         (II, 3, 243)

My nobility begins in me, but yours ends in you.
      - Iphicrates

Fond man! though all the heroes of your line
  Bedeck your halls, and round your galleries shine
    In proud display; yet take this truth from me--
      Virtue alone is true nobility!
      - Juvenal (Decimus Junius Juvenal),
        Satire VIII (l. 29),
        (Gifford's translation)

There are obligations to nobility.
  [Lat., Noblesse oblige.]
      - Duc de Levis, Gaston Pierre Marc,
        attributed to him by Comte de Laborde in a 1865 notice to the French Historical Society


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