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quotations about humility

Life is a long lesson in humility.

J.M. BARRIE, The Little Minister

Humility is a virtue all preach, none practice; and yet everybody is content to hear.


If you see any thing in yourself which may make you proud, look a little further, and you will find enough to make you humble.

WELLINS CALCOTT, Thoughts Moral and Divine

Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues: hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.

AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO, Michael Oren Fitzgerald's Christian Spirit

Pride juggles with her toppling towers,
They strike the sun and cease,
But the firm feet of humility
They grip the ground like trees.

G.K. CHESTERTON, The Ballad of the White Horse

What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left.

OSCAR LEVANT, The Educator's Book of Quotes

Humility is a grace that shines in a high condition but cannot, equally, in a low one because a person in the latter is already, perhaps, too much humbled.


Poverty is a noose that strangles humility and breeds disrespect for God and man.


Humility is not my forte, and whenever I dwell for any length of time on my own shortcomings, they gradually begin to seem mild, harmless, rather engaging little things, not at all like the staring defects in other people’s characters.

MARGARET HALSEY, With Malice Toward Some

Early in life I had to choose between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility. I chose the former and have seen no reason to change.

FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT, Chicago Tribune, Sep. 26, 2004

Humility is often merely feigned submissiveness assumed in order to subject others, an artifice of pride which stoops to conquer, and although pride has a thousand ways of transforming itself it is never so well disguised and able to take people in as when masquerading as humility.

LA ROCHEFOUCAULD, Sentences et Maximes Morales

And the Devil did grin, for his darling sin
Is pride that apes humility.


The artist alone among men knows what true humility means. His reach forever exceeds his grasp. He can never be satisfied with his work. He knows when he has done well, but he knows he has never attained his dream. He knows he never can.


Many persons, when exalted, assume an insolent humility, who behaved before with an insolent haughtiness.

WILLIAM SHENSTONE, Essays on Men and Manners

Humility provides everyone, even him who despairs in solitude, with the strongest relationship to his fellow man, and this immediately, though, of course, only in the case of complete and permanent humility.

FRANZ KAFKA, notebook, Feb. 24, 1918

When stepped on, the worm curls up. That is a clever thing to do. Thus it reduces its chances of being stepped on again. In the language of morality: humility.

FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE, "Maxims and Arrows," Twilight of the Idols

Through failure, we learn a lesson in humility which is probably needed, painful though it is.

BILL WILSON, As Bill Sees It

It is very difficult for the prosperous to be humble.


In the intellectual order, the virtue of humility is nothing more nor less than the power of attention.

SIMONE WEIL, Gravity and Grace

Humility must always be the portion of any man who receives acclaim earned in the blood of his followers and the sacrifices of his friends.

DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, speech, Jul. 12, 1945

Nothing is more deceitful than the appearance of humility. It is often only carelessness of opinion, and sometimes an indirect boast.

JANE AUSTEN, Pride and Prejudice

Humility, that low, sweet root
From which all heavenly virtues shoot.

THOMAS MOORE, The Loves of the Angels

True humility is the certain mark of a bright reason, and elevated soul, as being the natural consequence of them. When we come to have our minds cleared by reason from those thick mists that our disorderly passions cast about them; when we come to discern more perfectly, and consider more nearly, the immense power and goodness, the infinite glory and duration of God; and, to make a comparison between these perfections of his, and our own frailty and weakness, and the shortness and uncertainty of our beings, we should humble ourselves even unto the dust before him.

WELLINS CALCOTT, Thoughts Moral and Divine

Humiliation scars deeper than the lash.

TOBSHA LEARNER, The Witch of Cologne

Humility is the softening shadow before the stature of Excellence,
And lieth lowly on the ground, beloved and lovely as the violet.

MARTIN FARQUHAR TUPPER, Proverbial Philosophy

Humility is a virtue when you have no other.

EDWARD ABBEY, A Voice Crying in the Wilderness

I am afraid humility to genius is as an extinguisher to a candle.

WILLIAM SHENSTONE, Essays on Men and Manners

Humility is the luxurious art of reducing ourselves to a point, not to a small thing or a large one, but to a thing with no size at all, so that to it all the cosmic things are what they really are — of immeasurable stature. That the trees are high and the grasses short is a mere accident of our own foot-rules and our own stature. But to the spirit which has stripped off for a moment its own idle temporal standards the grass is an everlasting forest, with dragons for denizens; the stones of the road are as incredible mountains piled one upon the other; the dandelions are like gigantic bonfires illuminating the lands around; and the heath-bells on their stalks are like planets hung in heaven each higher than the other.

G. K. CHESTERTON, "A Defence of Humilities," The Defendant

He that places himself neither higher nor lower than he ought to do, exercises the truest humility.


Browse Humility Quotes II

Read William McEwen's essay: On Humility


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