Virtues And Vice Quotes

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The problem with people who have no vices is that generally you can be pretty sure they're going to have some pretty annoying virtues.
Elizabeth Taylor
He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire." [On British Labour politician Stafford Cripps.]
Winston S. Churchill (Wealth, War, and Wisdom)
God bless the book people for their boundless knowledge absorbed from having words instead of friends.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
We are not broken things, neither of us. We are cracked pottery mended with laquer and flakes of gold, whole as we are, complete unto each other. Complete and worthy and so very loved.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
No one gossips about other people’s secret virtues.
Bertrand Russell (On Education)
We're not courting trouble," I say. "Flirting with it, at most.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues.
Abraham Lincoln
We have only one story. All novels, all poetry, are built on the neverending contest in ourselves of good and evil. And it occurs to me that evil must constantly respawn, while good, while virtue, is immortal. Vice has always a new fresh young face, while virtue is venerable as nothing else in the world is.
John Steinbeck (East of Eden)
There is perhaps no phenomenon which contains so much destructive feeling as 'moral indignation,' which permits envy or hate to be acted out under the guise of virtue.
Erich Fromm (Man for Himself: An Inquiry into the Psychology of Ethics)
Just thinking about all that blood." I nearly shudder. "Doesn't it make you a bit squeamish?" "Ladies haven't the luxury of being squeamish about blood," she replies, and Percy and I go fantastically red in unison.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice. Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all. It merely required no character.
Joseph Heller (Catch-22)
If you tell a beautiful woman that she is beautiful, what have you given her? It's no more than a fact and it has cost you nothing. But if you tell an ugly woman that she is beautiful, you offer her the great homage of corrupting the concept of beauty. To love a woman for her virtues is meaningless. She's earned it, it's a payment, not a gift. But to love her for her vices is a real gift, unearned and undeserved. To love her for her vices is to defile all virtue for her sake - and that is a real tribute of love, because you sacrifice your conscience, your reason, your integrity and your invaluable self-esteem.
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
In order to know virtue, we must first acquaint ourselves with vice.
Marquis de Sade
The stars dust gold leafing on his skin. And we are looking at each other, just looking, and I swear there are whole lifetimes lived in those small, shared moments.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
The greatest minds are capable of the greatest vices as well as of the greatest virtues.
René Descartes
It's beginning to feel like he's shuffling his way through the seven deadly sins, in ascending order of my favourites.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
It is remarkable how much courage it takes to kiss someone, even when you are almost certain that person would very much like to be kissed by you. Doubt will knock you from the sky every time.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
Love may be a grand thing, but goddamn if it doesn't take up more than its fair share of space inside a man.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
Ugh. Feelings.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice.
Thomas Paine
Men are more easily governed through their vices than through their virtues.
Napoléon Bonaparte
Against the sky, the stars crown him, marking the edges of his silhouette like he is a constellation of himself.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
I swear, you would play the coquette with a well-upholstered sofa." "First, I would not. And second, how handsome is this sofa?
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
What’s the use of temptations if we don’t yield to them?
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
And then Jesus says, 'Well, watch this' - " "Really? Well, watch this?" "That's biblical language." "If your Bible is written by Henry Montague.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
My hate is general, I detest all men; Some because they are wicked and do evil, Others because they tolerate the wicked, Refusing them the active vigorous scorn Which vice should stimulate in virtuous minds.
Molière (The Misanthrope)
But what is liberty without wisdom and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint. Those who know what virtuous liberty is, cannot bear to see it disgraced by incapable heads, on account of their having high-sounding words in their mouths.
Edmund Burke
Hypocrisy is a tribute that vice pays to virtue.
François de La Rochefoucauld (Reflections or Sentences and Moral Maxims)
Of all the knowledge that we can ever obtain, the knowledge of God, and the knowledge of ourselves, are the most important.
Jonathan Edwards (A careful & strict inquiry into the modern prevailing notions of that freedom of the will, which is supposed to be essential to moral agency, virtue & vice, reward & punishment, praise & blame...)
It occurs to me then that perhaps getting my little sister drunk and explaining why I screw boys is not the most responsible move on my part.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
The evil in the world comes almost always from ignorance, and goodwill can cause as much damage as ill-will if it is not enlightened. People are more often good than bad, though in fact that is not the question. But they are more or less ignorant and this is what one calls vice or virtue, the most appalling vice being the ignorance that thinks it knows everything and which consequently authorizes itself to kill. The murderer's soul is blind, and there is no true goodness or fine love without the greatest possible degree of clear-sightedness.
Albert Camus (The Plague)
Why is discipline important? Discipline teaches us to operate by principle rather than desire. Saying no to our impulses (even the ones that are not inherently sinful) puts us in control of our appetites rather than vice versa. It deposes our lust and permits truth, virtue, and integrity to rule our minds instead.
John F. MacArthur Jr.
You hate America, don't you?' That would be as silly as loving it,' I said. 'It's impossible for me to get emotional about it, because real estate doesn't interest me. It's no doubt a great flaw in my personality, but I can't think in terms of boundaries. Those imaginary lines are as unreal to me as elves and pixies. I can't believe that they mark the end or the beginning of anything of real concern to a human soul. Virtues and vices, pleasures and pains cross boundaries at will.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Mother Night)
We should every night call ourselves to an account; What infirmity have I mastered today? What passions opposed? What temptation resisted? What virtue acquired? Our vices will abort of themselves if they be brought every day to the shrift.
Seneca
it’s hard not to see. You’re the kind of pair that makes everyone around them feel as though they’re missing out on a private joke.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion. To attack the first is not to assail the last. To pluck the mask from the face of the Pharisee, is not to lift an impious hand to the Crown of Thorns. These things and deeds are diametrically opposed: they are as distinct as is vice from virtue. Men too often confound them: they should not be confounded: appearance should not be mistaken for truth; narrow human doctrines, that only tend to elate and magnify a few, should not be substituted for the world-redeeming creed of Christ. There is – I repeat it – a difference; and it is a good, and not a bad action to mark broadly and clearly the line of separation between them.
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
Hypocrisy is a fashionable vice, and all fashionable vices pass for virtue.
Molière
I have lived most of my life as a devotee of the philosophy that a man should not see two sevens in one day,
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
Virtue is more to be feared than vice, because its excesses are not subject to the regulation of conscience.
Adam Smith
I’m sorry,” she says. “What for?” “You’ve had a rough go.” “Everyone has a rough go. I’ve had it far easier than most people.” “Maybe. But that doesn’t mean your feelings matter less.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
Our whole life is startlingly moral. There is never an instant's truce between virtue and vice. Goodness is the only investment that never fails.
Henry David Thoreau
I've always been of the mind that subtlety is a waste of time. Fortune favors the flirtatious.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
The great tragic love story of Percy and me is neither great nor truly a love story, and is tragic only for its single-sidedness. It is also not an epic monolith that has plagued me since boyhood, as might be expected. Rather, it is simply the tale of how two people can be important to each other their whole lives, and then, one morning, quite without meaning to, one of them wakes to find that importance has been magnified into a sudden and intense desire to put his tongue in the other's mouth. A long, slow slide, then a sudden impact.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
One doesn’t have to operate with great malice to do great harm. The absence of empathy and understanding are sufficient. In fact, a man convinced of his virtue even in the midst of his vice is the worst kind of man.
Charles M. Blow
Oh no." Percy looks sideways at me. "Oh no what?" I swallow. "I'd first like it to be noted that I am most certainly not a smuggler." "Monty..." he says, my name sopping with dread. "And," I continue overtop him, "I'd like you to both remember just how much you adore me and how dull and gloomy your lives would be without me in them." "What did you do?
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied, And vice sometime by action dignified.
William Shakespeare (Romeo & Juliet)
If the Good Lord didn't want men to play with themselves, we'd have hooks for hands.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!
Barry M. Goldwater
In the east," she says after a time, her gaze still downcast, "there is a tradition known as kintsukuroi. It is the practice of mending broken ceramic pottery using lacquer dusted with gold and silver and other precious metals. It is meant to symbolize that things can be more beautiful for having been broken." "Why are you telling me this?" I ask. At last she looks at me. Her irises are polished obsidian in the moonlight. "Because I want you to know," she says, "that there is life after survival.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
In uncertainty I am certain that underneath their topmost layers of frailty men want to be good and want to be loved. Indeed, most of their vices are attempted shortcuts to love...We have only one story. All novels, all poetry, are built on the neverending contest in ourselves of good and evil. And it occurs to me that evil must constantly respawn, while good, while virtue is immortal. Vice has always a new fresh young face, while virtue is venerable as nothing else in the world is.
John Steinbeck (East of Eden)
I love you, but I don’t know how to help you. I still don’t! I’m an emotional delinquent and I say wrong things all the time, but I want to be better for you. I promise that. It doesn’t matter to me that you’re ill and it doesn’t matter if I have to give up everything, because you’re worth it. You’re worth it all because you are magnificent, you are. Magnificent and gorgeous and brilliant and kind and good and I just . . . love you, Percy. I love you so damn much.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
and the person I most want to run away from is me.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
It is not the responsibility of knights errant to discover whether the afflicted, the enchained and the oppressed whom they encounter on the road are reduced to these circumstances and suffer this distress for their vices, or for their virtues: the knight's sole responsibility is to succour them as people in need, having eyes only for their sufferings, not for their misdeeds.
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (Don Quixote)
I have become a veritable scholar in seemingly innocent ploys to get his skin against mine.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
On the whole, men are more good than bad; that, however, isn't the real point. But they are more or less ignorant, and it is this that we call vice or virtue; the most incorrigible vice being that of an ignorance that fancies it knows everything and therefore claims for itself the right to kill. The soul of the murderer is blind; and there can be no true goodness nor true love without the utmost clear-sightedness.
Albert Camus
He cannot "tempt" to virtue as we do to vice. He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles.
C.S. Lewis
I wish I could be better for you." She looks over at me, and I duck my head, shame sinking its teeth in. "I'm older and I know I'm supposed to be... an example, I don't know. At least someone you aren't embarrassed of." "You do fine." "I don't" "You're right, you don't. But you're getting better. And that isn't nothing.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
Because I want you to know,” she says, “that there is life after survival.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
There is nothing good about watching another man claim your ship because your skin is too dark to do it yourself," he says, each word a glancing wound. "So in future, you needn't demand apologies on my behalf.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
Search others for their virtues, thyself for thy vices.
Benjamin Franklin (Poor Richard's Almanack)
Our virtues are most frequently but vices disguised.
François de La Rochefoucauld
As far as I'm concerned, I prefer silent vice to ostentatious virtue.
Albert Einstein
I prefer an interesting vice to a virtue that bores.
Molière
The happiness and unhappiness of the rational, social animal depends not on what he feels but on what he does; just as his virtue and vice consist not in feeling but in doing.
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
We are not broken things, neither of us. We are cracked pottery mended with lacquer and flakes of gold, whole as we are, complete unto each other. Complete and worthy and so very loved.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
Near this spot are deposited the remains of one who possessed beauty without vanity, strength without insolence, courage without ferocity, and all the virtues of man, without his vices. This praise, which would be unmeaning flattery if inscribed over human ashes, is but a just tribute to the memory of Botswain, a dog.
Lord Byron
There has to be a cut-off somewhere between the freedom of expression and a graphically explicit free-for-all.
E.A. Bucchianeri (Brushstrokes of a Gadfly, (Gadfly Saga, #1))
I am somehow stuck with an obstinate mount that resembles less a horse and more a leggy sausage, and seems fond of ingesting my commands and then ignoring them in their entirety.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
In order to know virtue, we must acquaint ourselves with vice. Only then can we know the true measure of a man.
Marquis de Sade
Virtue lies in our power, and similarly so does vice; because where it is in our power to act, it is also in our power not to act...
Aristotle (The Nicomachean Ethics)
I can't expect others to share my virtues. It's good enough for me if they share my vices.
André Gide (The Immoralist)
Animals are nothing but the portrayal of our virtues and vices made manifest to our eyes, the visible reflections of our souls.
Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)
To be proud of virtue, is to poison yourself with the Antidote.
Benjamin Franklin
Can’t seal up a conversation with a casual Oh, by the way, could you perhaps not touch me the way you always have because each time it puts fresh splinters in my heart? Particularly when what I’d really like to say is Oh, by the way, could you please keep touching me, and perhaps do it all the time, and while we’re at it, would you like to take off all your clothes and climb in bed? They’re both weighted alike.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
He raises his head. "You're nothing like your father, Monty. For a start, you're far more decent than he is." I'm not sure how, after all the terrible things I've done, he can possibly mean that. "You might be the only person left on earth who thinks me decent." Between us, I feel his knuckles brush mine. Perhaps it's by chance, but it feels more like a question, and when I spread my fingers in answer, his hand slides into mine. "Then everyone else doesn't know you.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
There is something deeply attractive, at least to quite a lot of people, about squalor, misery, and vice. They are regarded as more authentic, and certainly more exciting, than cleanliness, happiness, and virtue.
Theodore Dalrymple
Ugh. Feelings.” I take a long drink, then pass her the bottle. She has another delicate sip. “You were right—it’s less horrid now.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
Heaven and Hell suppose two distinct species of men, the Good and the Bad. But the greatest part of mankind float betwixt vice and virtue.
David Hume
A small shift in the gravity between us and suddenly all my stars are out of alignment, planets knocked from their orbits, and I'm left stumbling, without map or heading, through the bewildering territory of being in love with your best friend.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
Never support two weaknesses at the same time. It's your combination sinners - your lecherous liars and your miserly drunkards - who dishonor the vices and bring them into bad repute.
Thornton Wilder
It’s a strange feeling, realizing that other people you don’t know have their own full lives that don’t touch yours. I
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
People who have no vices, have very few virtues.
Abraham Lincoln
And I begin to cry. Though cry seems far too gentle a word. I begin to abso-bloody-lutely sob. Felicity is kind enough to look away. Percy is kind enough not to.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
the problem with people who have no vices is that generally you can be pretty sure there going to have some pretty annoying virtues
Elizabeth Taylor
We do not despise all those with vices, but we do despise all those without a single virtue.
François de La Rochefoucauld (Maxims)
It came to me…that I didn't want to be anywhere else in the world at that moment, that what I was feeling at that moment justified all I had been through, because all I had been through was my being there. I was experiencing…a new self-acceptance, a sense that I had to be this mind and this body, its vices and its virtues, and that I had no other chance or choice.
John Fowles (The Magus)
So does a whole world, with all its greatnesses and littlenesses, lie in a twinkling star. And as mere human knowledge can split a ray of light and analyse the manner of its composition, so, sublimer intelligences may read in the feeble shining of this earth of ours, every thought and act, every vice and virtue, of every responsible creature on it.
Charles Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities)
Yes, for education. An actual education, not finishing school—they’re going to squeeze me into corsets and bully me into silence.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
Are you going to be sick?” I raise my head. The duke is gone, but Helena is on the window seat, twisting her necklace around her fingers. I don’t answer, because I don’t believe a prisoner owes his captors any sort of report on his health. That, and if I’m going to be sick, I’d prefer to do it all over her, and I’d prefer it to be a stealth attack.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
So long as you don’t go falling in love with me.” I don’t know why I say it. Call it battlements around my helpless heart. Percy looks away from me fast, shoulders curling up. It almost looks like a flinch. But then he says, “I’ll try my best.” He
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
There’s really nothing to do but pretend I’m fully clothed and in control of the situation. So I walk up to Percy and say, “There you are. I think we should be going.” They’re
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
So may the outward shows be least themselves: The world is still deceived with ornament. In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt, But, being seasoned with a gracious voice, Obscures the show of evil? In religion, What damned error, but some sober brow Will bless it and approve it with a text, Hiding the grossness with fair ornament? There is no vice so simple but assumes Some mark of virtue on his outward parts.
William Shakespeare (The Merchant of Venice)
There is one vice of which no man in the world is free; which every one in the world loathes when he sees it in someone else; and of which hardly any people, except Christians, ever imagine that they are guilty themselves. […] There is no fault which makes a man more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves.[…]The vice I am talking of is Pride or Self-Conceit: and the virtue opposite to it, in Christian morals, is called Humility.
C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity)
Ladies haven’t the luxury of being squeamish about blood,” she replies, and Percy and I go fantastically red in unison.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
Don’t drink too much.” “Could I get an absolute value on too much?
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
He has made me wary of chronological snobbery. That is, he showed me that newness is no virtue and oldness is no vice. Truth and beauty and goodness are not determined by when they exist. Nothing is inferior for being old, and nothing is valuable for being modern. This has freed me from the tyranny of novelty and opened for me the wisdom of the ages.
John Piper (Don't Waste Your Life)
Heaven preserve me from littleness and pleasantness and smoothness. Give me great glaring vices, and great glaring virtues, but preserve me from the neat little neutral ambiguities. Be wicked, be brave, be drunk, be reckless, be dissolute, be despotic, be a suffragette, be anything you like, but for pity's sake be it to the top of your bent. Live fully, live passionately, live disastrously. Let's live, you and I, as none have ever lived before. (- to Vita Sackville-West, October 25, 1918)
Violet Trefusis (Violet to Vita: The Letters of Violet Trefusis to Vita Sackville-West, 1910-1921)
The vice I am talking of is Pride or Self-Conceit: and the virtue opposite to it, in Christian morals, is called Humility...According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere flea bites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.
C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity)
Each of you will have a chance to play it, and whosoever plays most sweetly, you will have it. For art is more than virtue or vice.
Holly Black (The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2))
Lucky for me as well, or else we might never have met, and then what would have been the point of my life?
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
He seems like he wants to touch me, but we've lost any sense of how men who haven't kissed each other do that.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
Idleness is the beginning of all vice, the crown of all virtues.
Franz Kafka (Blue Octavo Notebooks)
I haven't a particle of confidence in a man who has no redeeming petty vices whatsoever.
Mark Twain (Stories)
Vice is nice, but a little virtue won't hurt you.
Edward Gorey
It is known, to the force of a single pound weight, what the engine will do; but, not all the calculators of the National Debt can tell me the capacity for good or evil, for love or hatred, for patriotism or discontent, for the decomposition of virtue into vice, or the reverse.
Charles Dickens (Hard Times)
Every good quality runs into a defect; economy borders on avarice, the generous are not far from the prodigal, the brave man is close to the bully; he who is very pious is slightly sanctimonious; there are just as many vices to virtue as there are holes in the mantle of Diogenes.
Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)
‎Honoured sir, poverty is not a vice, that's a true saying. Yet I know too that drunkeness is not a virtue, and that's even truer. But beggary, honoured sir, beggary is a vice. In poverty you may still retain your innate nobility of soul, but in beggary--never--no one. For beggary a man is not chased out of human society with a stick, he is swept out with a broom, so as to make it as humiliating as possible; and quite right, too, forasmuch as in beggary as I am ready to be the first to humiliate myself.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (Crime and Punishment)
The act of defending any of the cardinal virtues has today all the exhilaration of a vice.
G.K. Chesterton
[I]t is not by being richer or more powerful that a man becomes better; one is a matter of fortune, the other of virtue. Nor should she deem herself other than venal who weds a rich man rather than a poor, and desires more things in her husband than himself. Assuredly, whomsoever this concupiscence leads into marriage deserves payment rather than affection.
Héloïse d'Argenteuil (The Letters of Abélard and Héloïse)
The superstitious know how to reproach people for their vices better than they know how to teach them virtues, and they strive, not to guide men by reason, but to restrain them by fear, so that they flee the evil rather than love virtues. Such people aim only to make others as wretched as they themselves are, so it is no wonder that they are generally burdensome and hateful to men.
Baruch Spinoza (Ethics)
The modern world is not evil; in some ways the modern world is far too good. It is full of wild and wasted virtues. When a religious scheme is shattered (as Christianity was shattered at the Reformation), it is not merely the vices that are let loose. The vices are, indeed, let loose, and they wander and do damage. But the virtues are let loose also; and the virtues wander more wildly, and the virtues do more terrible damage. The modern world is full of the old Christian virtues gone mad. The virtues have gone mad because they have been isolated from each other and are wandering alone. Thus some scientists care for truth; and their truth is pitiless. Thus some humanitarians only care for pity; and their pity (I am sorry to say) is often untruthful.
G.K. Chesterton (Orthodoxy)
You are my greatest virtue and my deepest vice.
Sylvain Reynard (The Raven (The Florentine, #1))
I want to touch him abso-bloody-lutely evrywhere.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
Love may be a grand thing, but goddamn if it doesn’t take up more than its fair share of space inside a man.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
Has that been your leg all this while?” “What?” He unhooks his foot from around my calf. “I thought it was the chair. Sorry about that. Dear Lord, why didn’t you say something?” Before
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
Man's basic vice, the source of all his evils, is the act of unfocusing his mind, the suspension of his consciousness, which is not blindness, but the refusal to see, not ignorance, but the refusal to know.
Ayn Rand (The Virtue of Selfishness: A New Concept of Egoism)
We are not broken things, neither of us. We are cracked pottery mended with lacquer and flakes of gold, whole as we are, complete unto each other. Complete and worthy and so very loved. “May I kiss you?” I ask. “Abso-bloody-lutely you may,” he says. And so I do.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
Think neither fear nor courage saves us. Unnatural vices are fathered by our heroism. Virtues are forced upon us by our impudent crimes. These tears are shaken from the wrath-bearing tree.
T.S. Eliot (The Waste Land and Other Poems)
The stars dust gold leafing on his skin. And we are looking at each other, just looking, and I swear there are whole lifetimes lived in those small, shared seconds. It
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
It is impossible to explain how you can love someone so much that it’s difficult to be around him. And
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
From my first sighting, I fall in immediate and passionate love with Venice.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
A few vices are sufficient to darken many virtues.
Plutarch
No company is preferable to bad. We are more apt to catch the vices of others than virtues, as disease is far more contagious than health.
Charles Caleb Colton
Show me a man without vice and I'll show you one without virtue!
Pittacus Lore (The Power of Six (Lorien Legacies, #2))
Patience is a virtue not a vice.
Jaachynma N.E. Agu
The problem with a lot of people is that what they think is a virtue is actually a vice in disguise. It's much easier to convince yourself that you're reasonable and civilised, than soft and weak, isn't it?
Kevin Dutton (The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success)
You go on, I presume, with your latin Exercises: and I wish to hear of your beginning upon Sallust who is one of the most polished and perfect of the Roman Historians, every Period of whom, and I had almost said every Syllable and every Letter is worth Studying. In Company with Sallust, Cicero, Tacitus and Livy, you will learn Wisdom and Virtue. You will see them represented, with all the Charms which Language and Imagination can exhibit, and Vice and Folly painted in all their Deformity and Horror. You will ever remember that all the End of study is to make you a good Man and a useful Citizen.—This will ever be the Sum total of the Advice of your affectionate Father, John Adams
John Adams (The Letters of John and Abigail Adams)
I believe that there is one story in the world, and only one, that has frightened and inspired us, so that we live in a Pearl White serial of continuing thought and wonder. Humans are caught - in their lives, in their thoughts, in their hungers and ambitions, in their avarice and cruelty, and in their kindness and generosity too - in a net of good and evil. I think this is the only story we have and that it occurs on all levels of feeling and intelligence. Virtue and vice were warp and woof of our first consciousness, and they will be the fabric of our last, and this despite any changes we may impose on field and river and mountain, on economy and manners. There is no other story. A man, after he has brushed off the dust and chips of life, will have left only the hard, clean questions: Was it good or was it evil? Have I done well - or ill?
John Steinbeck (East of Eden)
Our virtues make us; but virtues are not enough, we must deploy our vices at times.
Hilary Mantel (Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell, #1))
I’m not sure how we are in the middle of a pirate siege and I’m arguing with this bigot about Percy’s nationality.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
It is said that any virtue when taken to an extreme can become a vice. Overscheduling our days would certainly qualify for this. There comes a point where milestones can become millstones and ambitions, albatrosses around our necks.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf
My head's higher than his, but we're close enough that I can see the freckles beneath his eyes. If I had to pick a favorite part of Percy's face - which would be impossible, really, but if held at gunpoint and forced to make a selection - it would be that small star-map across his skin. A part of him it feels as though no one else but me is ever close enough to see.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
The universe is all about balance. The forces of light and darkness are meant to keep a check on one another. If one becomes too powerful and starts overrunning the other, that balance will be upset. For the tyranny of virtue is as unbearable as the stranglehold of vice.
Shatrujeet Nath (The Guardians of the Halahala (Vikramaditya Veergatha, #1))
What do you want me to say? Yes, I’m ill. I’m an epileptic—that’s my lot. It isn’t easy and it isn’t very enjoyable but this is what I’ve got to live with. This is who I am, and I don’t think I’m insane. I don’t think I should be locked up and I don’t think I need to be cured of it for my life to be good. But no one seems to agree with me on that, and I was hoping you’d be different, but apparently you think just the same as my family and my doctors and everyone else.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
The chaplain had mastered, in a moment of divine intuition, the handy technique of protective rationalization, and he was exhilarated by his discovery. It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice. Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all. It merely required no character.
Joseph Heller (Catch-22)
When I look back on it now, I realize that must have been the first time, in all the while we’d known each other, it occurred to me that Percy might actually be rather handsome. Perspective is a goddamn son of a bitch.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
If a man has no vices, he's in great danger of making vices out of his virtues, and there's a spectacle. We've all seen them: men who were monsters of philanthropy and women who were dragons of purity. ... No, no - nurse one vice in your bosom. Give it the attention it deserves and let your virtues spring up modesly around it.
Thornton Wilder (The Matchmaker)
but God bless the book people for their boundless knowledge absorbed from having words instead of friends.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
Dear. Lord. Fortune has well and truly vomited down my front in the form of Mr. Lockwood. As
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
have lost years of my life loving him from afar and I’ll be damned if I’m robbed of him as soon as we realize we’ve both been admiring each other from a distance all this while.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
Teach the ignorant. Study the wise. Avoid the foolish. Embrace the enlightened. Conquer your vices. Exploit your virtues. Release your vices. Embrace your higher self.
Matshona Dhliwayo
Ambrosio was yet to learn, that to an heart unacquainted with her, Vice is ever most dangerous when lurking behind the Mask of Virtue.
Matthew Gregory Lewis (The Monk)
And then he leaves us to our own devices beside a store of gunpowder and flint and a cannon, thereby solidifying our captors’ reputation as the worst pirates in the history of the Mediterranean.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
It is not the stars that make us, Dr. Butts, it is circumstance and necessita, the choices we make under pressure; our virtues make us, but virtues are not enough, we must deploy our vices at times. Or don't you agree?
Hilary Mantel (Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell, #1))
It wasn’t the first time I’d thought it—wouldn’t be the last either, though I didn’t know that then—but it was the first time I’d said it aloud, to anyone. It’s a strange thing, to want to die. Stranger still when you don’t feel you deserve to get away so easily.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
What blurt is this about virtue and about vice? Evil propels me and reform of evil propels me, I stand indifferent, My gait is no fault-finder's or rejecter's gait, I moisten the roots of all that has grown.
Walt Whitman (Song of Myself)
Percy, I could say,I think you are the most beautiful creature on God's green earth and I would very much like to find a hidden corner of this opera house and engage in some behavior that could only be termedsinful.Percy, I could say, I am almost certain that I am in love with you.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
The evil that is in the world always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence, if they lack understanding. On the whole, men are more good than bad; that, however, isn’t the real point. But they are more or less ignorant, and it is this that we call vice or virtue; the most incorrigible vice being that of an ignorance that fancies it knows everything and therefore claims for itself the right to kill. The soul of the murderer is blind; and there can be no true goodness nor true love without the utmost clear-sightedness.
Albert Camus
The evil that is in the world comes out of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence, if they lack understanding. One the whole, men are more good than bad; that, however, isn't the real point. But they are more or less ignorant, and it is this that we call vice or virtue; the most incorrigible vice being that of an ignorance that fancies it knows everything and therefore claims for itself the right to kill.
Albert Camus (The Plague)
brushes his mouth against the corner of mine, and Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, it takes every ounce of the not-inconsiderable restraint I’ve spent years exercising around Percy not to rip all my clothes off right then, passersby be damned. But I am nothing if not a gentleman, and a gentleman does not take his trousers off in a public place, particularly if the great love of his life is asking him to refrain.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
Our country must morally re-arm. We cannot run a country where virtue is vice and vice is virtue. We cannot live in a country where the looters of yester-years assume they have undergone a Pauline conversion because they are in opposition and oppose the Government of the day. Some of our richest men and women are to be found in politics and their creed is, thou shall reap what thou hath not sown.
Patrick L.O. Lumumba
I have attended church regularly since I was less than a week old. I've listened to sermons about virtue, sermons against vice. I have heard about money, time management, tithing, abstinence, and generosity. I've listened to thousands of sermons. But I could count on one hand the number of sermons that were a simple proclamation of the gospel of Christ.
Rich Mullins
The use of fashions in thought is to distract men from their real dangers. We direct the fashionable outcry of each generation against those vices of which it is in the least danger, and fix its approval on the virtue that is nearest the vice which we are trying to make endemic. The game is to have them all running around with fire extinguishers whenever there’s a flood; and all crowding to that side of the boat which is already nearly gone under.
C.S. Lewis (The Screwtape Letters)
Vices are simply overworked virtues, anyway. Economy and frugality are to be commended but follow them on in an increasing ratio and what do we find at the other end? A miser! If we overdo the using of spare moments we may find an invalid at the end, while perhaps if we allowed ourselves more idle time we would conserve our nervous strength and health to more than the value the work we could accomplish by emulating at all times the little busy bee. I once knew a woman, not very strong, who to the wonder of her friends went through a time of extraordinary hard work without any ill effects. I asked her for her secret and she told me that she was able to keep her health, under the strain, because she took 20 minutes, of each day in which to absolutely relax both mind and body. She did not even “set and think.” She lay at full length, every muscle and nerve relaxed and her mind as quiet as her body. This always relieved the strain and renewed her strength.
Laura Ingalls Wilder
They likely would not have been able to be open about it. But the optimist in me likes to believe that the twenty-first century is not the first time in history that queer people have been able to live full romantic and sexual lives with the people they love. And if that makes me anachronistic,
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
It's really very simple. If you tell a beautiful woman that she is beautiful, what have you given her? It's no more than a fact and it has cost you nothing. But if you tell an ugly woman she is beautiful, you offer her great homage of corrupting the concept of beauty. To love a woman for her virtues is meaningless. She's earned it, it's a payment, not a gift. But to love her for her vices is a real gift, unearned and undeserved. To love her for her vices is to defile all virtue for her sake - and that is a real tribute of love, because you sacrifice your conscience, your reason, your integrity and your invaluable self-esteem... What's love, darling, if it's not self-sacrifice?
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
Do you know how horrid it feels to watch my brother get tossed out of the best boarding school of England, then get to travel the Continent as a reward, while I’m stuck behind, not permitted to study the same things or read the same books or even visit the same places while we’re abroad, just because I had the bad luck to be born a girl?
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries. We contend that for a nation to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle. The whole history of the world is summed up in the fact that, when nations are strong, they are not always just, and when they wish to be just, they are no longer strong.
Winston S. Churchill
War, not peace, produces virtue. War, not peace, purges vice. War, and preparation for war, call forth all that is noble and honorable in a man. It unites him with his brothers and binds them in selfless love, eradicating in the crucible of necessity all which is base and ignoble. There in the holy mill of murder the meanest of men may seek and find that part of himself, concealed beneath the corrupt, which shines forth brilliant and virtuous, worthy of honor before the gods. Do not despise war, my young friend, nor delude yourself that mercy and compassion are virtues superior to andreia, to manly valor.
Steven Pressfield (Gates of Fire)
There are a set of religious, or rather moral writers, who teach that virtue is the certain road to happiness, and vice to misery, in this world. A very wholesome and comfortable doctrine, and to which we have but one objection, namely, that it is not true.
Henry Fielding (The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling)
Plato rightly taught that virtue is one. You cannot be kind unless you have all the other virtues. If, being cowardly, conceited, and slothful, you have never yet done a fellow creature great mischief, that is only because your neighbour's welfare has not yet happened to conflict with your safety, self-approval, or ease. Every vice leads to cruelty.
C.S. Lewis (The Problem of Pain)
In uncertainty I am certain that underneath their topmost layers of frailty men want to be good and want to be loved. Indeed, most of their vices are attempted shortcuts to love. When a man comes to die, no matter what his talents and influence and genius, if he dies unloved his life must be a failure to him and his dying a cold horror. It seems to me that if you or I must choose between two courses of thought or action, we should remember our dying and try so to live that our death brings no pleasure to the world. We have only one story. All novels, all poetry, are built on the never-ending contest in ourselves of good and evil. And it occurs to me that evil must constantly re-spawn, while good, while virtue, is immortal. Vice has always a new fresh young face, while virtue is venerable as nothing else in the world is.
John Steinbeck (East of Eden)
Your favourite virtue ... Simplicity Your favourite virtue in man ... Strength Your favourite virtue in woman ... Weakness Your chief characteristic ... Singleness of purpose Your idea of happiness ... To fight Your idea of misery ... Submission The vice you excuse most ... Gullibility The vice you detest most ... Servility Your aversion ... Martin Tupper Favourite occupation ... Book-worming Favourite poet ... Shakespeare, Aeschylus, Goethe Favourite prose-writer ... Diderot Favourite hero ... Spartacus, Kepler Favourite heroine ... Gretchen [Heroine of Goethe's Faust] Favourite flower ... Daphne Favourite colour ... Red Favourite name ... Laura, Jenny Favourite dish ... Fish Favourite maxim ... Nihil humani a me alienum puto [Nothing human is alien to me] Favourite motto ... De omnibus dubitandum [Everything must be doubted].
Karl Marx
Living in the modern age, death for virtue is the wage. So it seems in darker hours. Evil wins, kindness cowers. Ruled by violence and vice we all stand upon thin ice. Are we brave or are we mice, here upon such thin, thin ice? Dare we linger, dare we skate? Dare we laugh or celebrate, knowing we may strain the ice? Preserve the ice at any price?
Dean Koontz
When misguided public opinion honors what is despicable and despises what is honorable, punishes virtue and rewards vice, encourages what is harmful and discourages what is useful, applauds falsehood and smothers truth under indifference or insult, a nation turns it's back on progress and can be restored only by the terrible lessons of catastrophe.
Frédéric Bastiat (Economic Harmonies)
Probity, sincerity, candor, conviction, the idea of duty, are things that, when in error, can turn hideous, but – even though hideous – remain great; their majesty, peculiar to the human conscience, persists in horror. They are virtues with a single vice – error. The pitiless, sincere joy of a fanatic in an act of atrocity preserves some mournful radiance that inspires veneration. Without suspecting it, Javert, in his dreadful happiness, was pitiful, like every ignorant man in triumph. Nothing could be more poignant and terrible than this face, which revealed what might be called all the evil of good. (pg. 291)
Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)
It came to me…that I didn’t want to be anywhere else in the world at that moment, that what I was feeling at that moment justified all I had been through, because all I had been through was my being there. I was experiencing…a new self-acceptance, a sense that I had to be this mind and this body, its vices and its virtues, and that I had no other chance or choice.
John Fowles (The Magus)
It is not true that men never change; they change for the worse, as well as for the better. It is not true they are ungrateful; more often the benefactor rates his favors higher than their worth; and often too he does not allow for circumstances. If few men have the moral force to resist impulses, most men do carry within themselves the germs of virtues as well as of vices, of heroism as well as of cowardice. Such is human nature — education and circumstances do the rest.
Napoléon Bonaparte
So what are you supposed to do? My friends, what I need you to do—just for starters—is not act. Not yet. Not first. First I need you to see. I need you to see the pains and possibilities of black life, its virtues and vices, its strengths and weaknesses, its yeses and nos. I need you to see how the cantankerous varieties of black identity have been distorted by seeing black folk collectively as the nigger. It is not a question of simply not saying nigger; you have to stop believing, no matter what, that black folk are niggers and all the term represents. Instead you must swim in the vast ocean of blackness and then realize you have been buoyed all along on its sustaining views of democracy.
Michael Eric Dyson (Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America)
The superstitious, who know how to reprove vices rather than how to teach virtues, and who strive, not to lead people by reason, but to restrain them by fear in such a way that they flee what is bad rather than love the virtues, simply intend all other people to be as miserable as they are, and so it is not surprising that they are for the most part irksome and hateful to human beings.
Baruch Spinoza (Ethics)
Yes, I laugh at all mankind, and the imposition that they dare to practice when they talk of hearts. I laugh at human passions and human cares, vice and virtue, religion and impiety; they are all the result of petty localities, and artificial situation. One physical want, one severe and abrupt lesson from the colorless and shriveled lip of necessity, is worth all the logic of the empty wretches who have presumed to prate it, from Zeno down to Burgersdicius. It silences in a second all the feeble sophistry of conventional life, and ascetical passion.
Charles Maturin (Melmoth the Wanderer)
Though good and bad men suffer alike, we must not suppose that there is no difference between the men themselves, because there is no difference in what they both suffer. For even in the likeness of the sufferings, there remains an unlikeness in the sufferers; and though exposed to the same anguish, virtue and vice are not the same thing. For as the same fire causes gold to glow brightly, and chaff to smoke; and under the same flail the straw is beaten small, while the grain is cleansed; and as the lees are not mixed with the oil, though squeezed out of the vat by the same pressure, so the same violence of affliction proves, purges, clarifies the good, but damns, ruins, exterminates the wicked.
Augustine of Hippo (City of God)
Thinking is man’s only basic virtue, from which all the others proceed. And his basic vice, the source of all his evils, is that nameless act which all of you practice, but struggle never to admit: the act of blanking out, the willful suspension of one’s consciousness, the refusal to think - not blindness, but the refusal to see; not ignorance, but the refusal to know. It is the act of unfocusing your mind and inducing an inner fog to escape the responsibility of judgment - on the unstated premise that a thing will not exist if only you refuse to identify it, that A will not be A so long as you do not pronounce the verdict ‘It is.
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
For a Monarchy readily becomes a Tyranny, an Aristocracy an Oligarchy, while a Democracy tends to degenerate into Anarchy. So that if the founder of a State should establish any one of these three forms of Government, he establishes it for a short time only, since no precaution he may take can prevent it from sliding into its contrary, by reason of the close resemblance which, in this case, the virtue bears to the vice.
Niccolò Machiavelli (Discourses on the First Decade of Titus Livius)
Well, but you affirm that virtue is only elicited by temptation; - and you think that a woman cannot be too little exposed to temptation, or too little acquainted with vice, or anything connected therewith – It must be, either, that you think she is essentially so vicious, or so feeble-minded that she cannot withstand temptation, - and though she may be pure and innocent as long as she is kept in ignorance and restraint, yet, being destitute of real virtue, to teach her how to sin is at once to make her a sinner...
Anne Brontë (The Tenant of Wildfell Hall)
It is naively assumed that the fact that the majority of people share certain ideas or feelings proves the validity of these ideas and feelings. Nothing is further from the truth. Consensual validation as such has no bearing on reason or mental health. Just as there is a "folie a deux" there is a folie a millions. The fact that millions of people share the same vices does not make these vices virtues, the fact that they share so many errors does not make the errors to be truths, and the fact that millions of people share the same forms of mental pathology does not make these people sane.
Erich Fromm (The Sane Society)
Believe me, Eugenie, the words "vice" and "virtue" supply us only with local meanings. There is no action, however bizarre you may picture it, that is truly criminal; or one that can really be called virtuous. Everything depends on our customs and on the climates we live in. What is considered a crime here is often a virtue a few hundred leagues away; and the virtues of another hemisphere might, quite conversely, be regarded as crimes among us. There is no atrocity that hasn't been deified, no virtue that hasn't been stigmatized.
Marquis de Sade (Philosophy in the Boudoir)
The great tragic love story of Percy and me is neither great nor truly a love story, and is tragic only for its single-sidedness. It is also not an epic monolith that has plagued me since boyhood, as might be expected. Rather, it is simply the tale of how two people can be important to each other their whole lives, and then, one morning, quite without meaning to, one of them wakes to find that importance has been magnified into a sudden and intense desire to put his tongue in the other’s mouth.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
After such knowledge, what forgiveness? Think now History has many cunning passages, contrived corridors And issues, deceives with whispering ambitions, Guides us by vanities. Think now She gives when our attention is distracted And what she gives, gives with such supple confusions That the giving famishes the craving. Gives too late What’s not believed in, or if still believed, In memory only, reconsidered passion. Gives too soon Into weak hands, what’s thought can be dispensed with Till the refusal propagates a fear. Think Neither fear nor courage saves us. Unnatural vices Are fathered by our heroism. Virtues Are forced upon us by our impudent crimes. These tears are shaken from the wrath-bearing tree.
T.S. Eliot (The Waste Land and Other Poems)
To live with tremendous and proud composure; always beyond —. To have and not to have one's affects, one's pro and con, at will; to condescend to them, for a few hours; to seat oneself on them as on a horse, often as on an ass — for one must know how to make use of their stupidity as much as of their fire. To reserve one's three hundred foregrounds; also the dark glasses; for there are cases when nobody may look into our eyes, still less into our "grounds." And to choose for company that impish and cheerful vice, courtesy. And to remain master of one's four virtues: of courage, insight, sympathy, and solitude.
Friedrich Nietzsche (Beyond Good and Evil)
Many people wake up in middle age with the realization that in their youthful romances and early marriages, they were drawn to precisely the kinds of partners they were trying to avoid. All too often we marry stand-ins for our alchoholic fathers, shadowy replacements for our angry mothers, surrogates with whom we try to work out our unfinished childhood dramas. Or we fall in love with someone who incarnates the virtues or vices opposite our own. An orderly man who plans his days marries a spontaneous woman who lets things lie where they fall, lives in the moment, and is perpetually late for appointments.
Sam Keen (To Love and Be Loved)
You may plainly perceive the traitor through his mask; he is well known every-where in his true colors; his rolling eyes and his honeyed tones impose only on those who do not know him. People are aware that this low-bred fellow, who deserves to be pilloried, has, by the dirtiest jobs, made his way in the world; and that the splendid position he has acquired makes merit repine and virtue blush. Yet whatever dishonourable epithets may be launched against him everywhere, nobody defends his wretched honour. Call him a rogue, an infamous wretch, a confounded scoundrel if you like, all the world will say “yea, ” and no one contradicts you. But for all that, his bowing and scraping are welcome everywhere; he is received, smiled upon, and wriggles himself into all kinds of society; and, if any appointment is to be secured by intriguing, he will carry the day over a man of the greatest worth. Zounds! these are mortal stabs to me, to see vice parleyed with; and sometimes times I feel suddenly inclined to fly into a wilderness far from the approach of men.
Molière (The Misanthrope)
[I]f the name of wife appears more sacred and more valid, sweeter to me is ever the word friend, or, if thou be not ashamed, concubine ... And thou thyself wert not wholly unmindful of that ... [as in the narrative of thy misfortunes] thou hast not disdained to set forth sundry reasons by which I tried to dissuade thee from our marriage, from an ill-starred bed; but wert silent as to many, in which I preferred love to wedlock, freedom to a bond. I call God to witness, if Augustus, ruling over the whole world, were to deem me worthy of the honour of marriage, and to confirm the whole world to me, to be ruled by me forever, dearer to me and of greater dignity would it seem to be called thy concubine than his empress.
Héloïse d'Argenteuil (The Letters of Abélard and Héloïse)
If this is vise I want no virtue. ... I know what happiness is possible to me on earth. And my happiness needs no higher aim to vindicate it. My happiness is not the means to any end. It is the end. It is its own goal. It is its own purpose. Neither am I the means to any end others may wish to accomplish. I am not a tool for their use. I am not a servant of their needs. I am not a bandage for their wounds. I am not a sacrifice on their altars. ... But what is freedom? Freedom from what? There is nothing to take a man’s freedom away from him, save other men. To be free, a man must be free of his brothers. That is freedom. That and nothing else.
Ayn Rand
The qualities of character can be arranged in triads, in each of which the first and last qualities will be extremes and vices, and the middle quality a virtue or an excellence. So between cowardice and rashness is courage; between stinginess and extravagance is liberality; between sloth and greed is ambition; between humility and pride is modesty; between secrecy and loquacity, honesty; between moroseness and buffoonery, good humor; between quarrelsomeness and flattery, friendship; between Hamlet’s indecisiveness and Quixote’s impulsiveness is self-control.49 “Right,” then, in ethics or conduct, is not different from “right” in mathematics or engineering; it means correct, fit, what works best to the best result. The
Will Durant (The Story of Philosophy)
Angels can fly because they can take themselves lightly. This has been always the instinct of Christendom, and especially the instinct of Christian art. Remember how Fra Angelico represented all his angels, not only as birds, but almost as butterflies. Remember how the most earnest mediaeval art was full of light and fluttering draperies, of quick and capering feet. It was the one thing that the modern Pre-raphaelites could not imitate in the real Pre-raphaelites. Burne-Jones could never recover the deep levity of the Middle Ages. In the old Christian pictures the sky over every figure is like a blue or gold parachute. Every figure seems ready to fly up and float about in the heavens. The tattered cloak of the beggar will bear him up like the rayed plumes of the angels. But the kings in their heavy gold and the proud in their robes of purple will all of their nature sink downwards, for pride cannot rise to levity or levitation. Pride is the downward drag of all things into an easy solemnity. One "settles down" into a sort of selfish seriousness; but one has to rise to a gay self-forgetfulness. A man "falls" into a brown study; he reaches up at a blue sky. Seriousness is not a virtue. It would be a heresy, but a much more sensible heresy, to say that seriousness is a vice. It is really a natural trend or lapse into taking one's self gravely, because it is the easiest thing to do. It is much easier to write a good Times leading article than a good joke in Punch. For solemnity flows out of men naturally; but laughter is a leap. It is easy to be heavy: hard to be light. Satan fell by the force of gravity.
G.K. Chesterton
Voodou isn’t like that. It isn’t concerned with notions of salvation and transcendence. What it’s about is getting things done. You follow me? In out system, there are many gods, spirits. Part of one big family, with all the virtues, all the vices. There’s a ritual tradition of communal manifestation, understand? Voodou says, there’s a God, sure, Gran Met, but He’s big, too big and too far away to worry Himself if your ass is poor, or you can’t get laid. Come on, man, you know how this works, it’s street religion, came out of dirt poor places a million years ago. Voodou’s like the street. Some duster chops out your sister, you don’t go camp on the Yakuza’s doorstep, do you? No way. You go to somebody, though, who can get the thing done. Right?
William Gibson (Count Zero (Sprawl, #2))
How strange! This bed on which I shall lie has been slept on by more than one dying man, but today it does not repel me! Who knows what corpses have lain on it and for how long? But is a corpse any worse than I? A corpse too knows nothing of its father, mother or sisters or Titus. Nor has a corpse a sweetheart. A corpse, too, is pale, like me. A corpse is cold, just as I am cold and indifferent to everything. A corpse has ceased to live, and I too have had enough of life…. Why do we live on through this wretched life which only devours us and serves to turn us into corpses? The clocks in the Stuttgart belfries strike the midnight hour. Oh how many people have become corpses at this moment! Mothers have been torn from their children, children from their mothers - how many plans have come to nothing, how much sorrow has sprung from these depths, and how much relief!… Virtue and vice have come in the end to the same thing! It seems that to die is man’s finest action - and what might be his worst? To be born, since that is the exact opposite of his best deed. It is therefore right of me to be angry that I was ever born into this world! Why was I not prevented from remaining in a world where I am utterly useless? What good can my existence bring to anyone? … But wait, wait! What’s this? Tears? How long it is since they flowed! How is this, seeing that an arid melancholy has held me for so long in its grip? How good it feels - and sorrowful. Sad but kindly tears! What a strange emotion! Sad but blessed. It is not good for one to be sad, and yet how pleasant it is - a strange state…
Frédéric Chopin
It is not the responsibility of knights errant to discover whether the afflicted, the enchained and the oppressed whom they encounter on the road are reduced to these circumstances and suffer this distress for their vices, or for their virtues: the knight's sole responsibility is to succour them as people in need, having eyes only for their sufferings, not for their misdeeds. I came across a rosary of angry, wretched men, I did with them what my religion requires of me, and nothing else is any concern of mine; and to anyone who thinks ill of it - saving, reverend sir, your holy dignity and honorable person - I say that he is no judge of matters of chivalry, and that he is lying like a bastard and a son of a whore, and I swear by my gospel-oath that I will make him acknowledge this with my sword, at length and in extenso.
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (Don Quixote)
He who the sword of heaven will bear Should be as holy as severe; Pattern in himself to know, Grace to stand, and virtue go; More nor less to others paying Than by self-offences weighing. Shame to him whose cruel striking Kills for faults of his own liking! Twice treble shame on Angelo, To weed my vice and let his grow! O, what may man within him hide, Though angel on the outward side! How may likeness made in crimes, Making practise on the times, To draw with idle spiders' strings Most ponderous and substantial things! Craft against vice I must apply: With Angelo to-night shall lie His old betrothed but despised; So disguise shall, by the disguised, Pay with falsehood false exacting, And perform an old contracting.
William Shakespeare (Measure for Measure)
I remember clearly the deaths of three men. One was the richest man of the century, who, having clawed his way to wealth through the souls and bodies of men, spent many years trying to buy back the love he had forfeited and by that process performed great service to the world and, perhaps, had much more than balanced the evils of his rise. I was on a ship when he died. The news was posted on the bulletin board, and nearly everyone recieved the news with pleasure. Several said, "Thank God that son of a bitch is dead." Then there was a man, smart as Satan, who, lacking some perception of human dignity and knowing all too well every aspect of human weakness and wickedness, used his special knowledge to warp men, to buy men, to bribe and threaten and seduce until he found himself in a position of great power. He clothed his motives in the names of virtue, and I have wondered whether he ever knew that no gift will ever buy back a man's love when you have removed his self-love. A bribed man can only hate his briber. When this man died the nation rang with praise... There was a third man, who perhaps made many errors in performance but whose effective life was devoted to making men brave and dignified and good in a time when they were poor and frightened and when ugly forces were loose in the world to utilize their fears. This man was hated by few. When he died the people burst into tears in the streets and their minds wailed, "What can we do now?" How can we go on without him?" In uncertainty I am certain that underneath their topmost layers of frailty men want to be good and want to be loved. Indeed, most of their vices are attempted short cuts to love. When a man comes to die, mo matter what his talents and influence and genius, if he dies unloved his life must be a failure to him and his dying a cold horror....we should remember our dying and try so to live that our death brings no pleasure to the world.
John Steinbeck (East of Eden)
The hell to be endured hereafter, of which theology tells, is no worse than the hell we make for ourselves in this world by habitually fashioning our characters in the wrong way. Could the young but realize how soon they will become mere walking bundles of habits, they would give more heed to their conduct while in the plastic state. We are spinning our fates, good or evil, and never to be undone. Every smallest stroke of virtue or of vice leaves its never so little scar. The drunken Rip Van Winkle, in Jefferson’s play, excuses himself for every fresh dereliction by saying, “I won’t count this time!” Well! He may not count it, and a kind Heaven may not count it; but it is being counted none the less. Down among his nerve-cells and fibers the molecules are counting it, registering and storing it up to be used against him when the next temptation comes. Nothing we ever do is, in strict scientific literalness, wiped out. Of course this has its good side as well as its bad one. As we become permanent drunkards by so many separate drinks, so we become saints in the moral, and authorities and experts in the practical and scientific spheres, by so many separate acts and hours of work. Let no youth have any anxiety about the upshot of his education, whatever the line of it may be. If he keeps faithfully busy each hour of the working-day, he may safely leave the final result to itself. He can with perfect certainty count on waking up some fine morning, to find himself one of the competent ones of his generation, in whatever pursuit he may have singled out.
William James (The Principles of Psychology)
in heavenly realms of hellas dwelt two very different sons of zeus: one, handsome strong and born to dare --a fighter to his eyelashes-- the other,cunning ugly lame; but as you'll shortly comprehend a marvellous artificer now Ugly was the husband of (as happens every now and then upon a merely human plane) someone completely beautiful; and Beautiful,who(truth to sing) could never quite tell right from wrong, took brother Fearless by the eyes and did the deed of joy with him then Cunning forged a web so subtle air is comparatively crude; an indestructible occult supersnare of resistless metal: and(stealing toward the blissful pair) skilfully wafted over them- selves this implacable unthing next,our illustrious scientist petitions the celestial host to scrutinize his handiwork: they(summoned by that savage yell from shining realms of regions dark) laugh long at Beautiful and Brave --wildly who rage,vainly who strive; and being finally released flee one another like the pest thus did immortal jealousy quell divine generosity, thus reason vanquished instinct and matter became the slave of mind; thus virtue triumphed over vice and beauty bowed to ugliness and logic thwarted life:and thus-- but look around you,friends and foes my tragic tale concludes herewith: soldier,beware of mrs smith
E.E. Cummings
Signs and wonders, eh? Pity if there is nothing wonderful in signs, and significant in wonders! There's a clue somewhere; wait a bit; hist--hark! By Jove, I have it! Look, you Doubloon, your zodiac here is the life of man in one round chapter; and now I'll read it off, straight out of the book. Come, Almanack! To begin: there's Aries, or the Ram--lecherous dog, he begets us; then, Taurus, or the Bull--he bumps us the first thing; then Gemini, or the Twins--that is, Virtue and Vice; we try to reach Virtue, when lo! comes Cancer the Crab, and drags us back; and here, going from Virtue, Leo, a roaring Lion, lies in the path--he gives a few fierce bites and surly dabs with his paw; we escape, and hail Virgo, the Virgin! that's our first love; we marry and think to be happy for aye, when pop comes Libra, or Scales--happiness weighed and found wanting; and while we are very sad about that, Lord! how we suddenly jump, as Scorpio, or the Scorpion, stings us in rear; we are curing the wound, when whang comes the arrows all round; Sagittarius, or the Archer, is amusing himself. As we pluck out the shafts, stand aside! here's the battering-ram, Capricornus, or the Goat; full tilt, he comes rushing and headlong we are tossed; when Aquarius, or the the Waterbearer, pours out his whole deluge and drowns us; and, to wind up, with Pisces, or the Fishes, we sleep. There's a sermon now, writ in high heaven, and the sun goes through it every year, and yet comes out of it all alive and hearty.
Herman Melville (Moby-Dick)
The artist is the creator of beautiful things. To reveal art and conceal the artist is art's aim. The critic is he who can translate into another manner or a new material his impression of beautiful things. The highest as the lowest form of criticism is a mode of autobiography. Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault. Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only beauty. There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all. The nineteenth century dislike of realism is the rage of Caliban seeing his own face in a glass. The nineteenth century dislike of romanticism is the rage of Caliban not seeing his own face in a glass. The moral life of man forms part of the subject-matter of the artist, but the morality of art consists in the perfect use of an imperfect medium. No artist desires to prove anything. Even things that are true can be proved. No artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style. No artist is ever morbid. The artist can express everything. Thought and language are to the artist instruments of an art. Vice and virtue are to the artist materials for an art. From the point of view of form, the type of all the arts is the art of the musician. From the point of view of feeling, the actor's craft is the type. All art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril. Those who read the symbol do so at their peril. It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors. Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital. When critics disagree, the artist is in accord with himself. We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely. All art is quite useless.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
I enjoyed perfect health of body, and tranquillity of mind; I did not feel the treachery or inconstancy of a friend, nor the injuries of a secret or open enemy.  I had no occasion of bribing, flattering, or pimping, to procure the favour of any great man, or of his minion; I wanted no fence against fraud or oppression: here was neither physician to destroy my body, nor lawyer to ruin my fortune; no informer to watch my words and actions, or forge accusations against me for hire: here were no gibers, censurers, backbiters, pickpockets, highwaymen, housebreakers, attorneys, bawds, buffoons, gamesters, politicians, wits, splenetics, tedious talkers, controvertists, ravishers, murderers, robbers, virtuosos; no leaders, or followers, of party and faction; no encouragers to vice, by seducement or examples; no dungeon, axes, gibbets, whipping-posts, or pillories; no cheating shopkeepers or mechanics; no pride, vanity, or affectation; no fops, bullies, drunkards, strolling whores, or poxes; no ranting, lewd, expensive wives; no stupid, proud pedants; no importunate, overbearing, quarrelsome, noisy, roaring, empty, conceited, swearing companions; no scoundrels raised from the dust upon the merit of their vices, or nobility thrown into it on account of their virtues; no lords, fiddlers, judges, or dancing-masters.
Jonathan Swift (Gulliver's Travels: Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World.)
One has to test oneself to see that one is destined for independence and command—and do it at the right time. One should not dodge one’s tests, though they may be the most dangerous game one could play and are tests that are taken in the end before no witness or judge but ourselves. Not to remain stuck to a person—not even the most loved—every person is a prison, also a nook. Not to remain stuck to a fatherland—not even if it suffers most and needs help most—it is less difficult to sever one’s heart from a victorious fatherland. Not to remain stuck to some pity—not even for higher men into whose rare torture and helplessness some accident allowed us to look. Not to remain stuck to a science—even if it should lure us with the most precious finds that seem to have been saved up precisely for us. Not to remain stuck to one’s own detachment, to that voluptuous remoteness and strangeness of the bird who flees ever higher to see ever more below him—the danger of the flier. Not to remain stuck to our own virtues and become as a whole the victim of some detail in us, such as our hospitality, which is the danger of dangers for superior and rich souls who spend themselves lavishly, almost indifferently, and exaggerate the virtue of generosity into a vice. One must know how to conserve oneself: the hardest test of independence.
Friedrich Nietzsche
My Lady, you certainly tell me about wonderful constancy, strength and virtue and firmness of women, so can one say the same thing about men? (...) Response [by Lady Rectitude]: "Fair sweet friend, have you not yet heard the saying that the fool sees well enough a small cut in the face of his neighbour, but he disregards the great gaping one above his own eye? I will show you the great contradiction in what the men say about the changeability and inconstancy of women. It is true that they all generally insist that women are very frail [= fickle] by nature. And since they accuse women of frailty, one would suppose that they themselves take care to maintain a reputation for constancy, or at the very least, that the women are indeed less so than they are themselves. And yet, it is obvious that they demand of women greater constancy than they themselves have, for they who claim to be of this strong and noble condition cannot refrain from a whole number of very great defects and sins, and not out of ignorance, either, but out of pure malice, knowing well how badly they are misbehaving. But all this they excuse in themselves and say that it is in the nature of man to sin, yet if it so happens that any women stray into any misdeed (of which they themselves are the cause by their great power and longhandedness), then it's suddenly all frailty and inconstancy, they claim. But it seems to me that since they do call women frail, they should not support that frailty, and not ascribe to them as a great crime what in themselves they merely consider a little defect.
Christine de Pizan (The Book of the City of Ladies)
Father Brendan Flynn: "A woman was gossiping with her friend about a man whom they hardly knew - I know none of you have ever done this. That night, she had a dream: a great hand appeared over her and pointed down on her. She was immediately seized with an overwhelming sense of guilt. The next day she went to confession. She got the old parish priest, Father O' Rourke, and she told him the whole thing. 'Is gossiping a sin?' she asked the old man. 'Was that God All Mighty's hand pointing down at me? Should I ask for your absolution? Father, have I done something wrong?' 'Yes,' Father O' Rourke answered her. 'Yes, you ignorant, badly-brought-up female. You have blamed false witness on your neighbor. You played fast and loose with his reputation, and you should be heartily ashamed.' So, the woman said she was sorry, and asked for forgiveness. 'Not so fast,' says O' Rourke. 'I want you to go home, take a pillow upon your roof, cut it open with a knife, and return here to me.' So, the woman went home: took a pillow off her bed, a knife from the drawer, went up the fire escape to her roof, and stabbed the pillow. Then she went back to the old parish priest as instructed. 'Did you gut the pillow with a knife?' he says. 'Yes, Father.' 'And what were the results?' 'Feathers,' she said. 'Feathers?' he repeated. 'Feathers; everywhere, Father.' 'Now I want you to go back and gather up every last feather that flew out onto the wind,' 'Well,' she said, 'it can't be done. I don't know where they went. The wind took them all over.' 'And that,' said Father O' Rourke, 'is gossip!
John Patrick Shanley (Doubt, a Parable)
My concern with democracy is highly specific. It begins in observing the remarkable fact that, while democracy means a government accountable to the electorate, our rulers now make us accountable to them. Most Western governments hate me smoking, or eating the wrong kind of food, or hunting foxes, or drinking too much, and these are merely the surface disapprovals, the ones that provoke legislation or public campaigns. We also borrow too much money for our personal pleasures, and many of us are very bad parents. Ministers of state have been known to instruct us in elementary matters, such as the importance of reading stories to our children. Again, many of us have unsound views about people of other races, cultures, or religions, and the distribution of our friends does not always correspond, as governments think that it ought, to the cultural diversity of our society. We must face up to the grim fact that the rulers we elect are losing patience with us. No philosopher can contemplate this interesting situation without beginning to reflect on what it can mean. The gap between political realities and their public face is so great that the term “paradox” tends to crop up from sentence to sentence. Our rulers are theoretically “our” representatives, but they are busy turning us into the instruments of the projects they keep dreaming up. The business of governments, one might think, is to supply the framework of law within which we may pursue happiness on our own account. Instead, we are constantly being summoned to reform ourselves. Debt, intemperance, and incompetence in rearing our children are no doubt regrettable, but they are vices, and left alone, they will soon lead to the pain that corrects. Life is a better teacher of virtue than politicians, and most sensible governments in the past left moral faults to the churches. But democratic citizenship in the twenty-first century means receiving a stream of improving “messages” from politicians. Some may forgive these intrusions because they are so well intentioned. Who would defend prejudice, debt, or excessive drinking? The point, however, is that our rulers have no business telling us how to live. They are tiresome enough in their exercise of authority—they are intolerable when they mount the pulpit. Nor should we be in any doubt that nationalizing the moral life is the first step towards totalitarianism. We might perhaps be more tolerant of rulers turning preachers if they were moral giants. But what citizen looks at the government today thinking how wise and virtuous it is? Public respect for politicians has long been declining, even as the population at large has been seduced into demanding political solutions to social problems. To demand help from officials we rather despise argues for a notable lack of logic in the demos. The statesmen of eras past have been replaced by a set of barely competent social workers eager to take over the risks of our everyday life. The electorates of earlier times would have responded to politicians seeking to bribe us with such promises with derision. Today, the demos votes for them.
Kenneth Minogue (The Servile Mind: How Democracy Erodes the Moral Life)