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[ Also see Ability Capacity Character Efficiency Genius Greatness Intellect Mind ]

Talent of the highest order, and such as is calculated to command admiration, may exist apart from wisdom.
      - Robert Hall

Talent is the capacity of doing anything that depends on application and industry and it is a voluntary power, while genius is involuntary.
      - William Hazlitt (1)

Talent is some one faculty unusually developed; genius commands all the faculties.
      - Frederic Henry Hedge

The most fertile soil does not necessarily produce the most abundant harvest. It is the use we make of our faculties which renders them valuable. Talent, like other things, may lie fallow.
      - Thomas Wentworth Higginson

The world is always ready to receive talent with open arms. Very often it does not know what to do with genius. Talent is a docile creature. It bows its head meekly while the world slips the collar over it. It backs into the shafts like a lamb.
      - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

And sure the Eternal Master found
  The single talent well employ'd.
      - Samuel Johnson (a/k/a Dr. Johnson) ("The Great Cham of Literature"),
        Verses on the On the Death of Mr. Robert Levet
         (st. 7)

Everyone has a talent, what is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads.
      - Erica Jong, The Craft of Poetry

We believe that if men have the talent to invent new machines that put men out of work, they have the talent to put those men back to work.
      - John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Let us not overstrain our talents, lest we do nothing gracefully: a clown, whatever he may do, will never pass for a gentleman.
  [Fr., Ne forcons point notre talent;
    Nous ne ferions rien avec grace:
      Jamais un lourdaud, quoi qu'il fasse,
        Ne saurit passer pour galant.]
      - Jean de la Fontaine, Fables (IV, 5)

Talent in that which is in a man's power! Genius is that in whose power a man is.
      - James Russell Lowell,
        Among my Books--Rousseau and the Sentimentalists

Talk not of genius baffled. Genius is master of man.
  Genius does what it must, and Talent does what it can.
    Blot out my name, that the spirits of Shakespeare and Milton and Burns
      Look not down on the praises of fools with a pity my soul yet spurns.
      - Lord Edward Robert Bulwer Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton ("Owen Meredith"),
        Last Words of a Sensitive Second-rate Poet,
        published in "Cornhill Magazine", p. 516

Now this is how I define talent; it is a gift God has given us in secret, which we reveal without knowing it.
      - Charles de Montesquieu (Charles-Louis de Secondat)

Great talents have some admirers, but few friends.
      - Reinhold Niebuhr

Able people can do more.
      - Proverb, (Chinese)

Talent counts thirty percent; appearance counts seventy.
      - Proverb, (Chinese)

Talents constitute our very essence.
      - Charles Rollin

Talents give a man a superiority far more agreeable than that which proceeds from riches, birth, or employments, which are all external. Talents constitute our very essence.
      - Charles Rollin

Talent rules without a sceptre.
      - Marcus Caelius Rufus

Talent is something, but tact is everything. Talent is serious, sober, grave, and respectable; tact is all that, and more, too. It is not a seventh sense, but is the life of all the five. It is the open eye, the quick ear, the judging taste, the keen smell, and the lively touch; it is the interpreter of all riddles, the surmounter of all difficulties, the remover of all obstacles.
      - William Pitt Scargill

We must despise no sort of talents; they all have their separate duties and uses, all the happiness of man for their object; they all improve, exalt, and gladden life.
      - Sydney Smith

Whatever you are from nature, keep to it; never desert your own line of talent. Be what Nature intended you for, and you will succeed; be anything else, and you will be ten thousand times worse than nothing.
      - Sydney Smith

Have you not observed that there is a lower kind of discretion and regularity, which seldom fails of raising men to the highest station in the court, the church, and the law?
      - Jonathan Swift

It is an uncontrolled truth that no man ever made an ill figure who understood his own talents, nor a good one who mistook them.
      - Jonathan Swift

Men of splendid talents are generally too quick, too volatile, too adventurous, and too unstable to be much relied on; whereas men of common abilities, in a regular, plodding routine of business act with more regularity and greater certainty. Men of the best intellectual abilities are apt to strike off suddenly, like the tangent of a circle, and cannot be brought into their orbits by attraction or gravity--they often act with such eccentricity as to be lost in the vortex of their own reveries. Brilliant talents in general are like the ignes fatui; they excite wonder, but often mislead. They are not, however, without their use; like the fire from the flint, once produced, it may be converted, by solid, thinking men, to very salutary and noble purposes.
      - John Trusler

Use the talents you possess--for the woods would be silent if no birds sang but the best.
      - Henry Jackson van Dyke (2)

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