quotations about modesty
Modesty is fear.
LJUPKA CVETANOVA, The New Land
Darkness spoils modesty: no man blushes in the dark.
BENJAMIN WHICHCOTE, Moral and Religious Aphorisms
A great man is always willing to be little.
RALPH WALDO EMERSON, "Compensation", Select Essays and Poems
Thy modesty's a candle to thy merit.
HENRY FIELDING, Tom Thumb the Great
It does not suit all persons to be modest; none but great men ought to be so.
STANISLAW II, "Reflections on different Subjects of Morality", The Universal Magazine, November 1764
Modesty is only arrogance by stealth.
TERRY PRATCHETT, The Long Earth
Modesty answers not the crude how of femininity, but the beautiful why.
WENDY SHALIT, A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue
In general, one must have value oneself in order freely and willingly to acknowledge value in another. This is the basis for the requirement that modesty accompany all merits, as well as the disproportionately loud praise for this virtue which alone, among all its sisters, is always added to the praise of anyone distinguished in some way by the person who dares to praise him, so as to conciliate the worthless and silence their wrath. For what is modesty if not false humility which someone with merits and advantages in a world teeming with perfidious envy uses to beg the pardon of those who have none? Someone who does not lay claim to merit because he in fact has none is being honest, not modest.
ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER, The World as Will and Representation
From the time of the flood to the present period, not one man ever derived any benefit from modesty, and not one woman any harm from it.
MME. AUGUSTE VON PAALZOW, attributed, Day's Collacon
Modesty is the richest ornament of a woman ... the want of it is her greatest deformity.
CHARLES CALEB COLTON, Lacon
True modesty conceals whatever is offensive to decency; false modesty, that which is disagreeable to fashion: the one is silent and natural, the other protrusive and impertinent.
NORMAN MACDONALD, Maxims and Moral Reflections
What is modesty but inverted pride?
CHINUA ACHEBE, A Man of the People
False modesty is the most decent of all deceptions.
NICOLAS CHAMFORT, The Cynic's Breviary
There is nothing in the female sex more graceful or becoming than Modesty. It adds charm to their beauty, and gives a new softness to their sex. Without it simplicity and innocence appear rude; reading and good sense, masculine; wit and humour, lascivious. This is so necessary a quality for pleasing, that the loose part of the sex, whose study it is to ensnare men's hearts, never fail to support the appearance of what they know is essential to that end.
WELLINS CALCOTT, Thoughts Moral and Divine
The affected modesty of most women is a decoy for the generous, the delicate, and unsuspecting; while the artful, the bold, and unfeeling either see or break through its slender disguises.
WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics
Modesty, that perennial flower planted instinctively in the human breast, blooms therein only as continence guards and virtue keeps.
AMOS BRONSON ALCOTT, Table Talk
Great Modesty often hides great Merit.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, Poor Richard's Almanack, 1758
Modesty, if it were to be recommended for nothing else, this were enough, that the pretending to little leaves a man at ease; whereas boasting requires a perpetual labour to appear what he is not.
ALEXANDER POPE, "Thoughts on Various Subjects"
The beauty of modesty ... a virtue the world doesn't have much truck with: one ordinary flower in a vase, as opposed to a bouquet.
ANNE LAMOTT, Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith
Modesty is not only an ornament, but also a guard to virtue.
JOSEPH ADDISON, The Spectator, November 24, 1711