The firm, the enduring, the simple,
and the modest are near to virtue.



Virtue is not to be considered in the light of mere innocence, or abstaining from harm; but as the exertion of our faculties in doing good.

Joseph Butler
We value virtue but do not discuss it. The honest bookkeeper, the faithful wife, the earnest scholar get little of our attention compared to the embezzler, the tramp, the cheat.

John Steinbeck
Travels with Charley

There is plenty of evidence for an Original Virtue underlying Original Sin. . . .The knowledge that there is a central chamber of the soul, blazing with the light of divine love and wisdom, has come, in the course of history, to multitudes of human beings.

Aldous Huxley

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


The fragrance of the flower is never borne against the breeze;
but the fragrance of human virtues diffuses itself everywhere.



To be able to practice five things everywhere under heaven constitutes
perfect virtue. . . gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.



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It has been my experience that people who have no vices have very few virtues.

Abraham Lincoln


Superior virtue is not conscious of itself as virtue, and so really
is a virtue.  Inferior virtue cannot let go of being virtuous, and so is
not virtue.  Superior virtue does not seem to be busy, and yet there
is nothing which it does not accomplish.  Inferior virtue is
always busy, and yet in the end leaves things undone.



Virtues are virtues because they give joy once they are practiced.
If a virtue does not give joy, it is not a virtue.

Hazrat Inayat Khan


Absolute virtue is as sure to kill a person as absolute vice is,
let alone the dullness of it and the pomposities of it.

Samuel Butler

Whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things
are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever
things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if
there be any praise, think of these things.

Philippians 4:8



I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and
unheeded, that never sallies out and sees her adversary, but slinks
out of the race, where that immortal garland is to be run for,
not without dust and heat.

John Milton


Crusaders for virtue are an awkward embarrassment for any society;
they force us to make choices:  either side with them, which is difficult
and dangerous, or condemn them, which leads to self-betrayal.

Edward Abbey


To bring forth and preserve, to produce without possessing, to act without
hope of reward, and to expand without waste, this is the supreme virtue.


Beauty without virtue is a flower without perfume.

French proverb

The moral virtues are habits, an habits are formed by acts.

Robert M. Hutchins


Suffering--how divine it is, how misunderstood!  We owe to it all
that is good in us, all that gives value to life; we owe to it
pity, we owe to it courage, we owe to it all the virtues.

Anatole France
The Garden of Epicurus


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Virtue is the art of the whole life.



Virtue is its own reward, but it's very satisfactory when
Providence throws in some little additional bonus.

Woman's Home Companion


I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after
and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.

Ernest Hemingway


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Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without
courage, you can't practice any other virtue consistently.

Maya Angelou

The virtuous person contents him- or herself with dreaming
that which the wicked person does in actual life.

Sigmund Freud
The Interpretation of Dreams


It is an infantile superstition of the human spirit that virginity would be
thought a virtue and not the barrier that separates ignorance from knowledge.


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 MisÚrables

When even one virtue becomes our nature, the mind becomes clean
and tranquil. Then there is no need to practice meditation;
we will automatically be meditating always.

Swami Satchidananda
The Yoga Sutras


Few are those who wish to be endowed with virtue rather than to seem so.

Marcus Tullius Cicero
De Amicitia

People of virtue think beyond personal interests and consider how
their actions affect the whole.  They are less concerned with what
they can get for themselves, and more concerned with
how they can contribute to the community.

Alan Cohen
The Tao Made Easy