Quotations about:
    integrity


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I certainly had not the smallest reason to fear that the execution of this murderer of Roman citizens would cause me to be blamed by posterity. And indeed, even if this were a serious danger, I have always been convinced that unpopularity earned by honourable actions is not unpopularity at all, but renown.
 
[Certe verendum mihi non erat, ne quid hoc parricida civium interfecto invidiae mihi in posteritatem redundaret. Quodsi ea mihi maxime inpenderet tamen hoc animo fui semper, ut invidiam virtute partam gloriam, non invidiam putarem.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Orationes in Catilinam [Catilinarian Orations], No. 1, § 12, cl. 29 (1.12.29) (63-11-08 BC) [tr. Grant (1960)]
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(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Truly I have no reason to fear, least this Murderer of the Citizens being slain, any envy should rise against me for the future. But if never so much did hang over me, yet I was alwayes of this Judgment, to think Envy gotten by Vertue to be no Envy but Glory.
[tr. Wase (1671)]

I could have no reason to fear; that for the execution of a traitor and a parricide I should stand condemned by the voice of posterity. But let me add, were the severest censure to be the certain consequence, it has ever been my settled opinion, that reproach, when earned by virtue, is not reproach, but the truest glory.
[tr. Sydney (1795)]

Surely I had no cause to fear lest for slaying this parricidal murderer of the citizens any unpopularity should accrue to me with posterity. And if it did threaten me to ever so great a degree, yet I have always been of the disposition to think unpopularity earned by virtue and glory, not unpopularity.
[tr. Yonge (1856)]

Surely it was not to be dreaded by me, lest, if this parricide of the citizens were slain, any odium might redound for me to posterity. But if that impended over myself in particular, yet I have always been of this opinion, that I should consider the odium acquired by merit as glory and not as odium.
[tr. Mongan (1879)]

Certainly it was not to be feared to (by) me, lest any (thing) of unpopularity might redound to me unto posterity, this parricide of citizens being slain. But if it might impend (threaten) to me mostly (very much), yet I have been always with this mind, that I might think envy produced by virtue, glory, not envy.
[tr. Underwood (1885)]

Certainly it was not to be feared by me, lest any ill-will should redound to [affect] me for posterity, this parricide of citizens having been slain. But if this should threaten me very much, yet I have been always with [of] this mind, that I should think ill will produced by virtue, glory, not ill will.
[tr. Dewey (1916)]

Certainly I did not have to fear, lest with this parricide of citizens having been killed, anything of unpopularity might run over in posterity. And yet, if these were to threaten me especially, however, I have always been in this mind, so that I thought that unpopularity obtained by virtue is an honour, not unpopularity at all.
[IB Notes]

I have always been of the opinion that infamy earned by doing what is right is not infamy at all, but glory.
[E.g.]

 
Added on 22-Feb-24 | Last updated 22-Feb-24
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More quotes by Cicero, Marcus Tullius

HERMIONE: Since what I am to say must be but that
Which contradicts my accusation, and
The testimony on my part no other
But what comes from myself, it shall scarce boot me
To say “Not guilty.” Mine integrity,
Being counted falsehood, shall, as I express it,
Be so received. But thus: if powers divine
Behold our human actions, as they do,
I doubt not then but innocence shall make
False accusation blush and tyranny
Tremble at patience.

Shakespeare
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Winter’s Tale, Act 3, sc. 2, l. 23ff (3.2.23-33) (1611)
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Added on 29-Jan-24 | Last updated 29-Jan-24
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My daddy always told me to just do the best you knew how and tell the truth. He said there was nothin to set a man’s mind at ease like wakin up in the morning and not havin to decide who you were.

Cormac McCarthy (1933-2023) American novelist, playwright, screenwriter
No Country for Old Men (2007)
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Added on 18-Jan-24 | Last updated 18-Jan-24
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The truth is I’ve never fooled anyone. I’ve let men sometimes fool themselves. Men sometimes didn’t bother to find out who and what I was. Instead they would invent a character for me. I wouldn’t argue with them. They were obviously loving somebody I wasn’t. When they found this out, they would blame me for disillusioning them — and fooling them.

Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962) American actress, sex symbol
My Story, ch. 24 “Another Love Affair Ends” (1974) [with Ben Hecht]
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Added on 30-Aug-23 | Last updated 30-Aug-23
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All men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it. I myself deny it.

H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
A Little Book in C Major, ch. 2, § 16 (1916)
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Added on 10-Aug-23 | Last updated 10-Aug-23
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Mirth pleaseth some, to others ’tis offence,
Some commend plain conceit, some profound sense;
Some wish a witty Jest, some dislike that,
And most would have themselves they know not what.
Then he that would please all, and himself too,
Takes more in hand than he is like to do.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher, aphorist
Poor Richard (1733)
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Added on 18-Jul-23 | Last updated 18-Jul-23
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Do not be deceived by appearances. The virtue of a man is not to be measured by what he does while his wife is watching.

H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
A Little Book in C Major, ch. 1, § 19 (1916)
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Added on 22-Jun-23 | Last updated 22-Jun-23
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The proof of gold is fire, the proof of woman, gold; the proof of man, a woman.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher, aphorist
Poor Richard (1733)
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Added on 20-Jun-23 | Last updated 20-Jun-23
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Self-respect cannot be hunted. It cannot be purchased. It is never for sale. It cannot be fabricated out of public relations. It comes to us when we are alone, in quiet moments, in quiet places, when we suddenly realize that, knowing the good, we have done it; knowing the beautiful, we have served it; knowing the truth, we have spoken it.

Whitney Griswold
Whitney Griswold (1906–1963) American historian, educator [Alfred Whitney Griswold]
“Society’s Need for Man,” Baccalaureate Address, Yale University (1957-06-09)
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Added on 2-May-23 | Last updated 2-May-23
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You see, there’s a fundamental connection between seeming and being. Every Fae child knows this, but you mortals never seem to see. We understand how dangerous a mask can be. We all become what we pretend to be.

Patrick Rothfuss
Patrick Rothfuss (b. 1973) American author
The Name of the Wind, ch. 92 “The Music That Plays” [Bast] (2007)
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Added on 6-Apr-23 | Last updated 6-Apr-23
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If I valued fame, I should flatter received opinions, which have gathered strength by time, and will yet wear longer than any living works to the contrary. But, for the soul of me, I cannot and will not give the lie to my own thoughts and doubts, come what may. If I am fool, it is, at least, a doubting one; and I envy no one the certainty of his self-approved wisdom.

Lord Byron
George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824) English poet
Journal (1813-11-27)
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Added on 16-Mar-23 | Last updated 27-Mar-23
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Politeness comes from within, from the heart: but if the forms of politeness are dispensed with, the spirit and the thing itself soon die away.

John Hall
John Hall (1829-1898) Irish-American clergyman, academician (b. John Hall Magowan)
(Attributed)
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Added on 13-Feb-23 | Last updated 13-Feb-23
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MENENIUS: His nature is too noble for the world.
He would not flatter Neptune for his trident
Or Jove for ‘s power to thunder. His heart’s his mouth;
What his breast forges, that his tongue must vent,
And, being angry, does forget that ever
He heard the name of death.

Shakespeare
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Coriolanus, Act 3, sc. 1, l. 326ff (3.1.326-331) (c. 1608)
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Speaking of the title character.
 
Added on 30-Nov-22 | Last updated 19-Jan-24
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Your conscience is the measure of the honesty of your selfishness. Listen to it carefully.

Richard Bach (b. 1936) American writer
Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, ch. 13, epigraph (1977)
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Added on 29-Nov-22 | Last updated 29-Nov-22
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Politeness is the art of choosing among one’s real thoughts.

Germaine de Staël (1766-1817) Swiss-French writer, woman of letters, critic, salonist [Anne Louise Germaine de Staël-Holstein, Madame de Staël, Madame Necker]
Quoted in Abel Stevens, Madame de Staël, Vol. 1, ch. 4 “Early Character” (1880)
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Stated as a possible paraphrase: "It was a maxim with her that politeness is the art of choosing among one's real thoughts."
 
Added on 28-Nov-22 | Last updated 28-Nov-22
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Two tests of integrity: finding money and losing money.

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Marcelene Cox (1900-1998) American writer, columnist, aphorist
“Ask Any Woman” column, Ladies’ Home Journal (1963-03)
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Added on 4-Oct-22 | Last updated 27-Mar-23
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The superior man in everything considers righteousness to be essential. He performs it according to the rules of propriety. He brings it forth in humility. He completes it with sincerity. This is indeed a superior man.

[君子義以為質,禮以行之,孫以出之,信以成之,君子哉]

Confucius (c. 551- c. 479 BC) Chinese philosopher, sage, politician [孔夫子 (Kǒng Fūzǐ, K'ung Fu-tzu, K'ung Fu Tse), 孔子 (Kǒngzǐ, Chungni), 孔丘 (Kǒng Qiū, K'ung Ch'iu)]
The Analects [論語, 论语, Lúnyǔ], Book 15, verse 18 (15.18) (6th C. BC – 3rd C. AD) [tr. Legge (1861), 15.17]
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(Source (Chinese)). Alternate translations, noting where Legge's numbering is used:

When the "superior man" regards righteousness as the thing material, gives operation to it according to the rules of propriety, lets it issue in humility, and become complete in sincerity, -- there indeed is your superior man!
[tr. Jennings (1895), 15.17]

A wise and good man makes Right the substance of his being; he cries it out with judgment and good sense; he speaks it with modesty; and he attains it with sincerity: -- such a man is a really good and wise man!
[tr. Ku Hung-Ming (1898), 15.17]

The noble man takes the Right as his foundation principle, reduces it to practice with all courtesy, carries it out with modesty, and renders it perfect with sincerity, -- such is the noble man.
[tr. Soothill (1910), 15.17]

When a princely man makes the Right his fundamental principle, makes Courtesy his rule in evolving it, Modesty his rule for exhibiting it, and Sincerity his rule for effectuating it perfectly, -- what a princely man he is!
[tr. Soothill (1910), 15.17, alternate]

The proper man gives substance to his acts by equity. He proceeds according to the rites, puts them forth modestly, and makes them perfect by sticking to his word. That's the proper man (in whom's the voice of his forebears).
[tr. Pound (1933), 15.17]

The gentleman who takes the right as his material to work upon and ritual as the guide in putting what is right into practice, who is modest in setting out his projects and faithful in carrying them to their conclusions, he indeed is a true gentleman.
[tr. Waley (1938), 15.17]

He whose very substance is justice; whose actions are governed by the rites; whose participation in affairs is compliant; and whose crowning perfection is truthfulness -- that man is a perfect gentleman.
[tr. Ware (1950)]

The gentleman has morality as his basic stuff and by observing the rites puts it into practice, by being modest gives it expression, and by being trustworthy in word brings it to completion. Such is a gentleman indeed!
[tr. Lau (1979)]

Righteousness the gentleman regards as the essential stuff and the rites are his means of putting it into effect. If modesty is the quality with which he reveals it and good faith is his method of bringing it to completion, he is indeed a gentleman.
[tr. Dawson (1993)]

A gentleman takes justice as his basis, enacts it in conformity with the ritual, expounds it with modesty, and through good faith, brings it to fruition. That is how a gentleman proceeds.
[tr. Leys (1997)]

A gentleman considers righteousness his major principle; he practices it in accordance with the rituals, utters it in modest terms, and fulfils it with truthfulness. A gentleman indeed!
[tr. Huang (1997)]

A gentleman takes the righteousness as his essence, practices with the rituals, words with modesty, and gets achievement with honesty. It is the gentleman.
[tr. Cai/Yu (1998), v. 402]

Having a sense of appropriate conduct [yi] as one's basic disposition [zhi], developing it in observing ritual propriety [li], expressing it with modesty, and consummating it in making good on one's word [xin]; this then is an exemplary person [junzi].
[tr. Ames/Rosemont (1998)]

If a gentleman has right as his substance, and puts it in practice with propriety, promulgates it with lineality, and brings it to a conclusion with fidelity, he is a gentleman indeed!
[tr. Brooks/Brooks (1998), LY17 c0270 addition]

The noble-minded make Duty their very nature. They put it into practice through Ritual; they make it shine through humility; and standing by their words, they perfect it. Then they are noble-minded indeed!
[tr. Hinton (1998)]

The gentleman takes rightness as his substance, puts it into practice by means of ritual, gives it expression through modesty, and perfects it by being trustworthy. Now that is a gentleman!
[tr. Slingerland (2003)]

The gentleman makes rightness the substance, practices it through ritual, displays it with humility, brings it to completion with trustworthiness. That’s the gentleman.
[tr. Watson (2007)]

The gentleman makes rightness the substance. He works at it through ritual propriety; he expresses it with modesty; he brings it to completion by being trustworthy. Now that is a gentleman!
[tr. Annping Chin (2014)]

A Jun Zi regards righteousness and honor as fundamental bases, acts in line with Li, shows humility, delivers promises, and completes contracts with sincerity and trust. If so, he is indeed a Jun Zi.
[tr. Li (2020)]

A leader takes rightness as their essence, puts it into practice through ritual, manifests it through humility, and brings it to fruition through trustworthiness. This is how a leader behaves.
[tr. Brown (2021)]

 
Added on 19-Jul-22 | Last updated 8-May-23
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Act like the person you are, not the way they make you act.

[Cada uno ha de obrar como quien es, no como le obligan.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 165 (1647) [tr. Maurer (1992)]
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On waging war honorably. (Source (Spanish)). Alternate translation:

All men ought to act according to what they themselves are, and not to what others are.
[Flesher ed. (1685)]

Every one must needs act as he is, not as others would make him to be.
[tr. Jacobs (1892)]

Each must act for what he is, and not for what he is held.
[tr. Fischer (1937)]

 
Added on 18-Apr-22 | Last updated 11-Dec-23
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We should be sure, when we rebuke a want of charity, to do it with charity.

Christian Nestell Bovee (1820-1904) American epigrammatist, writer, publisher
Intuitions and Summaries of Thought, Vol. 1, “Charity” (1862)
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Added on 31-Mar-22 | Last updated 31-Mar-22
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People are egregiously mistaken if they think they ever can attain to permanent popularity by hypocrisy, by mere outside appearances, and by disguising not only their language but their looks. True popularity takes deep root and spreads itself wide; but the false falls away like blossoms; for nothing that is false can be lasting.

[Quodsi qui simulatione et inani ostentatione et ficto non modo sermone, sed etiam voltu stabilem se gloriam consequi posse rentur, vehementer errant. Vera gloria radices agit atque etiam propagatur, ficta omnia celeriter tamquam flosculi decidunt, nee simulatum potest quicquam esse diuturnum.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Officiis [On Duties; On Moral Duty; The Offices], Book 2, ch. 12 (2.12) / sec. 43 (44 BC) [tr. Edmonds (1865)]
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(Source (Latin)). Alternate translation:

Those people therefore are highly mistaken, who think of obtaining a solid reputation by vain shows and hypocritical pretences; by composed countenances and studied forms of words: for true glory takes deep root, and grows and flourishes more and more; but that which is only in show and mere outside, quickly decays and withers like flowers; nor can anything be lasting that is only counterfeit.
[tr. Cockman (1699)]

But if any suppose, that they can obtain a stable reputation by pretences, empty ostentation, hypocritical conversation, and even artificial looks, they are extremely mistaken. True fame takes deep root, and extends its shoots. Every counterfeit appearance, like blossoms, quickly falls off; and no pretense can be lasting.
[tr. McCartney (1798)]

If there be those who think to obtain enduring fame by dissembling and empty show, and by hypocrisy, not only of speech, but of countenance also, they are utterly mistaken. True fame strikes its roots downward, and sends out fresh shoots; all figments fall speedily, like blossoms, nor can anything feigned be lasting.
[tr. Peabody (1883)]

It is a delusion to suppose that glory can be founded on dissimulation, vain ostentation, and studied words and looks. True glory strikes root and spreads, everything unreal soon falls like the blossoms, a lie cannot last.
[tr. Gardiner (1899)]

True glory strikes roots, and grows: ill-founded reputations, like flowers, soon wither, nor can anything last long which is based on pretence.
[ed. Harbottle (1906)]

For if anyone thinks that he can win lasting glory by pretence, by empty show, by hypocritical talk and looks, he is very much mistaken. True glory strikes deep root and spreads its branches wide; but all pretences soon fall to the ground like fragile flowers, and nothing counterfeit can be lasting.
[tr. Miller (1913)]

If anyone thinks he can attain lasting glory by mimicry, by empty shows, by pretense in his looks and his conversation, he is far from correct. Genuine glory puts down roots and even sends out new growth; any pretense dies down quickly, like fragile flowers. Nothing simulated can be long-lasting.
[tr. Edinger (1974)]

 
Added on 24-Mar-22 | Last updated 11-Aug-22
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More quotes by Cicero, Marcus Tullius

True character arises from a deeper well than religion. It is the internalization of moral principles of a society, augmented by those tenets personally chosen by the individual, strong enough to endure through trials of solitude and adversity. The principles are fitted together into what we call integrity, literally the integrated self, wherein personal decisions feel good and true. Character is in turn the enduring source of virtue. It stands by itself and excites admiration in others. It is not obedience to authority, and while it is often consistent with and reinforced by religious belief, it is not piety.

E. O. Wilson (1929-2021) American biologist, naturalist, writer [Edward Osborne Wilson]
Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, ch. 11 “Ethics and Religion” (1998)
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Added on 14-Jan-22 | Last updated 14-Jan-22
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For justice knows few so completely dedicated to her. Many praise her, but not for themselves; others follow her until danger threatens; and then the false deny her, and the political betray her.

[Que tiene pocos finos la entereza. Celébranla muchos, mas no por su casa; síguenla otros hasta el peligro; en él los falsos la niegan, los políticos la dissimulan.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 29 (1647) [tr. Fischer (1937)]
    (Source)

(Source (Spanish)). Alternate translations:

Sure, [Reason] has not many Adherents. There are many who publish her praises, but will not admit her into their Houses. Others follow her as far as danger will permit; but when they come to that, some like false Friends deny her; and the rest, like Politicians, pretend they know her not.
[Flesher ed. (1685)]

What a scanty following has rectitude! Many praise it indeed, but -- for others. Others follow it till danger threatens; then the false deny it, the politic conceal it.
[tr. Jacobs (1892)]

Few are devoted to righteousness. Many celebrate her, but few visit her. Some follow her until things get dangerous. In danger, the false disown her and politicians cunningly disguise her.
[tr. Maurer (1992)]

 
Added on 13-Dec-21 | Last updated 20-Jun-23
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At some point I believe one has to stop holding back for fear of alienating some imaginary reader or real relative or friend, and come out with personal truth. If we are to understand the human condition, and if we are to accept ourselves with all the complexity, self-doubt, extravagance of feeling, guilt, joy, the slow freeing of the self to its full capacity for action and creation, both as human being and as artist, we have to know all we can abou each other, and we have to be willing to go naked.

May Sarton
May Sarton (1912-1995) Belgian-American poet, novelist, memoirist [pen name of Eleanore Marie Sarton]
Journal of a Solitary, “January 5th” (1973)
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Added on 16-Nov-21 | Last updated 16-Nov-21
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We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.

May Sarton
May Sarton (1912-1995) Belgian-American poet, novelist, memoirist [pen name of Eleanore Marie Sarton]
Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing (1965)
 
Added on 3-Aug-21 | Last updated 3-Aug-21
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Those who so act and so live as to give proof of loyalty and uprightness, of fairness and generosity; who are free from all passion, caprice, and insolence, and have great strength of character — men like those just mentioned — such men let us consider good, as they were accounted good in life, and also entitled to be called by that term because, in as far as that is possible for man, they follow Nature, who is the best guide to good living.

[Qui ita se gerunt, ita vivunt, ut eorum probetur fides integritas aequitas1 liberalitas, nec sit in eis ulla cupiditas libido audacia, sintque magna constantia, ut ei fuerunt, modo quos nominavi, hos viros bonos, ut habiti sunt, sic etiam appellandos putemus, quia sequantur, quantum homines possunt, naturam optimam bene vivendi ducem.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Laelius De Amicitia [Laelius on Friendship], ch. 5, part 3 (5.3) / sec. 19 (44 BC) [tr. Falconer (1923)]
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Original Latin. Alternate translations:

Those who so conduct themselves, and so live that their honor, their integrity, their justice, and liberality are approved; so that there is not in them any covetousness, or licentiousness, or boldness; and that they are of great consistency, as those men whom I have mentioned above; -- let us consider these worthy of the appellation of good men, as they have been accounted such because they follow (as far as men are able) nature, which is the best guide of a good life.
[tr. Edmonds (1871)]

Those who so conduct themselves, so live, that their good faith, integrity, equity, and kindness win approval, who are entirely free from avarice, lust, and the infirmities of a hasty temper, and in whom there is perfect consistency of character; in fine, men like those whom I have named, while they are regarded as good, ought to be so called, because to the utmost of human capacity they follow Nature, who is the best guide in living well.
[tr. Peabody (1887)]

We mean then by the "good" those whose actions and lives leave no question as to their honour, purity, equity, and liberality; who are free from greed, lust, and violence; and who have the courage of their convictions. The men I have just named may serve as examples. Such men as these being generally accounted “good,” let us agree to call them so, on the ground that to the best of human ability they follow nature as the most perfect guide to a good life.
[tr. Shuckburgh (1909)]

Those who comport themselves in such a way, who live in such a way that their loyalty, integrity, fairness and generosity are proven, such that there is no desire, lust, and insolence in them, and such that they have great steadfastness of character (like those whom I named just before), we consider ought indeed to be called good men (as is customary), because they follow (as much as humans can) nature -- the best leader in proper living.
[Source]

 
Added on 19-Apr-21 | Last updated 11-Aug-22
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More quotes by Cicero, Marcus Tullius

For my part, I prefer a man without money to money without a man.

[Ego vero, malo virum, qui pecunia egeat, quam pecuniam, quae viro.]

Themistocles (c. 524-459 BC) Athenian politician and general
Quoted in Cicero, De Officiis [On Duties; On Moral Duty; The Offices], Book 2, ch. 20 / sec. 71 (44 BC) [tr. Miller (1913)]
    (Source)

Original Latin (of Cicero). When asked whether he would choose for his daughter a poor but honest husband or a wealthy but disreputable one.

Alternate translations:

  • "I had rather have a man without an estate, than to have an estate without a man." [tr. Cockman (1699)]
  • "I would rather have a man without money, than money without a man." [tr. McCartney (1798)]
  • "I certainly would rather she married a man without money, than money without a man." [tr. Edmonds (1865)]
  • "I, indeed, prefer the man who lacks money to the money that lacks a man." [tr. Peabody (1883)]
The comment is also recorded in Plutarch, Parallel Lives, "Themistocles," ch. 18, sec. 5 [tr. Dryden (1653), rev. Clough (1859)]:

Of two who made love to his daughter, he preferred the man of worth to the one who was rich, saying he desired a man without riches, rather than riches without a man.

Original Greek: τῶν δὲ μνωμένων αὐτοῦ τὴν θυγατέρα τὸν ἐπιεικῆ τοῦ πλουσίου προκρίνας ἔφη ζητεῖν ἄνδρα χρημάτων δεόμενον μᾶλλον ἢ χρήματα ἀνδρός.

Alternate translations:

  • "When two men paid their addresses to his daughter, he chose the more agreeable instead of the richer of the two, saying that he preferred a man without money to money without a man." [tr. Stewart/Long (1894)]
  • "Of two suitors for his daughter's hand, he chose the likely man in preference to the rich man, saying that he wanted a man without money rather than money without a man." [tr. Perrin (1914)]
 
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The public does not like you to mislead or represent yourself to be something you’re not. And the other thing that the public really does like is the self-examination to say, you know, I’m not perfect. I’m just like you. They don’t ask their public officials to be perfect. They just ask them to be smart, truthful, honest, and show a modicum of good sense.

Ann Richards (1933-2006) American politician [Dorothy Ann Willis Richards]
“Ann Richards Discusses Texas, Politics and Humor,” Larry King Live, CNN (23 Jan 2001)
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The men who succeed best in public life are those who take the risk of standing by their own convictions.

James A. Garfield (1831-1881) US President (1881), lawyer, lay preacher, educator
“Gustave Schleicher,” Speech, House of Representatives (17 Feb 1879)
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It is not easy to be sure that being yourself is worth the trouble, but we do know it is our sacred duty.

Florida Scott-Maxwell (1883-1979) American-British playwright, author, psychologist
The Measure of My Days (1968)
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It may be necessary temporarily to accept a lesser evil, but one must never label a necessary evil as good.

Margaret Mead (1901-1978) American anthropologist
(Attributed)
 
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Necessity may well be called the mother of invention — but calamity is the test of integrity.

Samuel Richardson (1689-1761) English writer and printer
Clarissa, or, The History of a Young Lady, Letter 47 (1748)
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A candid admission of a blunder is refreshing and not often heard in human affairs. It is the saint alone who is large-minded enough to think and speak in this way. This is part of his authenticity.

Thomas Dubay (1921-2020) American Catholic priest, author, spiritual director
Authenticity: A Biblical Theology of Discernment, Part 2, ch. 6 (1977)
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What makes it so plausible to assume that hypocrisy is the vice of vices is that integrity can indeed exist under the cover of all other vices except this one. Only crime and the criminal, it is true, confront us with the perplexity of radical evil; but only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core.

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) German-American philosopher, political theorist
On Revolution, ch. 2 (1963)
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The dividing line between those who want to think and therefore have to judge by themselves, and those who do not, strikes across all social and cultural or educational differences. In this respect, the total moral collapse of respectable society during the Hitler regime may teach us that under such circumstances those who cherish values and hold fast to moral norms and standards are not reliable: we now know that moral norms and standards can be changed overnight, and that all that then will be left is the mere habit of holding fast to something. Much more reliable will be the doubters and skeptics, not because skepticism is good or doubting wholesome, but because they are used to examine things and to make up their own minds. Best of all will be those who know only one thing for certain: that whatever else happens, as long as we live we shall have to live together with ourselves.

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) German-American philosopher, political theorist
“Personal Responsibility Under Dictatorship” (1964)
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In youth, it was a way I had
To do my best to please,
And change, with every passing lad,
To suit his theories.

But now I know the things I know,
And do the things I do;
And if you do not like me so,
To hell, my love, with you!

Dorothy Parker (1893-1967) American writer
“Indian Summer,” Enough Rope (1926)
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It is only hypocrites who cannot forgive hypocrisy, whereas those who search for truth are too conscious of the maze to be hard on others.

E. M. Forster (1879-1970) English novelist, essayist, critic, librettist [Edward Morgan Forster]
“Albergo Empedocle” (1903)
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Today we give our thanks, most of all, for the ideals of honor and faith we inherit from our forefathers — for the decency of purpose, steadfastness of resolve and strength of will, for the courage and the humility, which they possessed and which we must seek every day to emulate. As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) US President (1961-63)
Thanksgiving Day Proclamation (4 Nov 1963)
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The 1963 Proclamation was written, finalized, and distributed prior to Kennedy's assassination, six days before Thanksgiving.
 
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One mustn’t criticize other people on grounds where he can’t stand perpendicular himself.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, ch. 26 “The First Newspaper” (1889)
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Men speak the truth of one another when each reveres the truth in his own mind and in the other’s mind; but how shall my friend revere the truth in my mind when I myself am careless about it, when I believe things because I want to believe them, and because they are comforting and pleasant?

William Kingdon Clifford (1845-1879) English mathematician and philosopher
“The Ethics of Belief,” Contemporary Review (Jan 1877)
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I was thinking I’d want my daughters to know how much I love them, but I’d also want them to know that being a strong man includes being kind. That there’s nothing weak about kindness and compassion. There’s nothing weak about looking out for others. There’s nothing weak about being honorable. You’re not a sucker to have integrity, and to treat others with respect.

Barack Obama (b. 1961) American politician, US President (2009-2017)
Speech, Funeral of Elijah Cummings, Washington, DC (25 Oct 2019)
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The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office. If a man’s associates find him guilty of phoniness, if they find that he lacks forthright integrity, he will fail. His teachings and actions must square with each other. The first great need, therefore, is integrity and high purpose.

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) American general, US President (1953-61)
(Attributed)
 
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One must be fond of people and trust them if one is not to make a mess of life, and it is therefore essential that they should not let one down. They often do. The moral of which is that I must, myself, be as reliable as possible, and this I try to be. But reliability is not a matter of contract — that is the main difference between the world of personal relationships and the world of business relationships. It is a matter for the heart, which signs no documents. In other words, reliability is impossible unless there is a natural warmth. Most men possess this warmth, though they often have bad luck and get chilled. Most of them, even when they are politicians, want to keep faith. And one can, at all events, show one’s own little light here, one’s own poor little trembling flame, with the knowledge that it is not the only light that is shining in the darkness, and not the only one which the darkness does not comprehend.

E. M. Forster (1879-1970) English novelist, essayist, critic, librettist [Edward Morgan Forster]
“What I Believe,” The Nation (16 Jul 1938)
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Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.

John Wooden (1910-2010) American basketball player and coach
They Call Me Coach, ch. 9, epigram (1972)
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The amount of temptation required differentiates the honest from the dishonest.

Paul Eldridge (1888-1982) American educator, novelist, poet
Maxims for a Modern Man, #1095 (1965)
 
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That fortitude which has encountered no dangers, that prudence which has surmounted no difficulties, that integrity which has been attacked by no temptations, can at best be considered but as gold not yet brought to the test, of which therefore the true value cannot be assigned.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
The Rambler, #150 (24 Aug 1751)
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Talking much about oneself can also be a means to conceal oneself.

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) German philosopher and poet
Beyond Good and Evil, 169 (1886) [tr. Kaufmann (1966)]
 
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Sin is a queer thing. It isn’t the breaking of divine commandments. It is the breaking of one’s own integrity.

lawrence-sin-is-a-queer-thing-wist_info-quote

David Herbert "D. H." Lawrence (1885-1930) English novelist
Studies in Classic American Literature, ch. 8 (1923)
 
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God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose. Take which you please — you can never have both.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Intellect,” Essays: First Series (1841)
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The only guide to a man is his conscience, the only shield to his memory is the rectitude and the sincerity of his actions. It is very imprudent to walk through life without this shield, because we are so often mocked by the failure of our hopes and the upsetting of our calculations; but with this shield, however the fates may play, we march always in the ranks of honour.

Winston Churchill (1874-1965) British statesman and author
Eulogy for Neville Chamberlain (1940)

In The Second World War, Vol. 2: Their Finest Hour (1949)
 
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There are few mortals so insensible that their affections cannot be gained by mildness; their confidence by sincerity; their hatred by scorn or neglect.

Johann Georg Zimmermann (1728-1795) Swiss philosophical writer, naturalist, physician
Aphorisms and Reflections on Men, Morals and Things (1800)
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The best foreign policy is to live our daily lives in honesty, decency, and integrity; at home, making our own land a more fitting habitation for free men; and abroad, joining with those of like mind and heart, to make of the world a place where all men can dwell in peace.

Eisenhower - honesty decency integrity - wist_info quote

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) American general, US President (1953-61)
Inaugural Gabriel Silver lecture, Columbia University (23 Mar 1950)

Eisenhower was President of Columbia University at the time. The quote was widely used in an "I Believe" advertisement for Eisenhower during the 1956 election.

(Sources 1 and 2)
 
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All men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it. I myself deny it.

H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
A Little Book in C Major (1916)
 
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He who is mistaken in an action which he sincerely believes to be right may be an enemy, but retains our esteem.

[Celui qui se trompe dans une intention qu’il croit bonne, on peut le combattre, on ne cesse pas de l’estimer.]

Jules Verne (1828-1905) French novelist, poet, playwright
The Mysterious Island, Part 3, ch. 16 (1874)
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There is but one way I know of conversing safely with all men; that is, not by concealing what we say or do, but by saying or doing nothing that deserves to be concealed.

Pope - deserves to be concealed - wist_info quote

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
Letter to H. Cromwell (28 Oct 1710)
 
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Wherever the truth is injured, defend it.

Emerson - truth is injured - wist_info quote

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
Journal (1834)
 
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