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quotations about modesty

Modesty is the richest ornament of a woman ... the want of it is her greatest deformity.


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.

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.


Darkness spoils modesty: no man blushes in the dark.

BENJAMIN WHICHCOTE, Moral and Religious Aphorisms

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, Nov. 24, 1711

Read T. Augustus Forbes Leith's short essay: On Modesty


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