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- Thy father's merit sets thee up to view,
And shows thee in the fairest point of light,
To make thy virtues, or thy faults, conspicuous.
- Joseph Addison, Cato, A Tragedy (1713), Act I, scene 2.
- View the whole scene, with critic judgment scan,
And then deny him merit if you can.
Where he falls short, 'tis Nature's fault alone
Where he succeeds, the merit's all his own.
- Charles Churchill, The Rosciad (1761), line 1,023.
- ...Fatherland without freedom and merit is a large word with little meaning.
- Anders Chydenius, For What Reason do so Many Swedes Emigrate Every Year?, 1765.
- He who thinks to be justified by any strength or merit of his own, and not by faith, puts himself in the place of God.
- William Farel, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 409.
- Transforming hereditary privilege into ‘merit,’ the existing system of educational selection, with the Big Three [Harvard, Princeton, Yale] as its capstone, provides the appearance if not the substance of equality of opportunity. In so doing, it legitimates the established order as one that rewards ability over the prerogatives of birth. The problem with a ‘meritocracy,’ then, is not only that its ideals are routinely violated (though that is true), but also that it veils the power relations beneath it. For the definition of ‘merit,’ including the one that now prevails in America’s leading universities, always bears the imprint of the distribution of power in the larger society. Those who are able to define ‘merit’ will almost invariably possess more of it, and those with greater resources—cultural, economic and social—will generally be able to ensure that the educational system will deem their children more meritorious.”
- Jerome Karabel, The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton (Houghton Mifflin: 2005), pp. 549-550.
- Merit is a work for the sake of which Christ gives rewards. But no such work is to be found, for Christ gives by promise. Just as if a prince should say to me, "Come to me in my castle, and I will give you a hundred florins." I do a work, certainly, in going to the castle, but the gift is not given me as the reward of my work in going, but because the prince promised it to me.
- Martin Luther, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 409.
- A man is perhaps ungrateful, but often less chargeable with ingratitude than his benefactor is.
- François de La Rochefoucauld Reflections; or Sentences and Moral Maxims (1665–1678) maxim 95.
- The art of being able to make a good use of moderate abilities wins esteem and often confers more reputation than real merit.
- Also translated as: "The art of using moderate abilities to advantage wins praise, and often acquires more reputation than real brilliancy."
- François de La Rochefoucauld Reflections; or Sentences and Moral Maxims (1665–1678) maxim 162.
- Le monde récompense plus souvent les apparences de mérite que le mérite même.
- The world oftener rewards the appearance of merit than merit itself.
- François de La Rochefoucauld Reflections; or Sentences and Moral Maxims (1665–1678) maxim 166.
- Il y a du mérite sans élévation mais il n'y a point d'élévation sans quelque mérite.
- There is merit without elevation, but there is no elevation without some merit.
- François de La Rochefoucauld Reflections; or Sentences and Moral Maxims (1665–1678) maxim 400.
- Also translated as: "There may be talent without position, but there is no position without some kind of talent".
- We must treat each man on his worth and merits as a man. We must see that each is given a square deal, because he is entitled to no more and should receive no less.
- The spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes.
- The force of his own merit makes his way.
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 510-11.
- It sounds like stories from the land of spirits,
If any man obtain that which he merits,
Or any merit that which he obtains.
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Good, Great Man.
- On their own merits modest men are dumb.
- George Colman the Younger, Epilogue to The Heir-at-Law.
- La faveur des princes n'exclut pas le mérite, et ne le suppose pas aussi.
- The favor of princes does not preclude the existence of merit, and yet does not prove that it exists.
- Jean de La Bruyère, Les Caractères, XII.
- Du même fonds dont on néglige un homme de mérite l'on sait encore admirer un sot.
- The same principle leads us to neglect a man of merit that induces us to admire a fool.
- Jean de La Bruyère, Les Caractères, XII.
- Le mérite des hommes a sa saison aussi bien que les fruits.
- There is a season for man's merit as well as for fruit.
- François de La Rochefoucauld, Maximes, 291.
- Virtute ambire oportet, non favitoribus.
Sat habet favitorum semper, qui recte facit.
- We should try to succeed by merit, not by favor. He who does well will always have patrons enough.
- Plautus, Amphitruo, Prologue, LXXVIII.
- The sufficiency of merit is to know that my merit is not sufficient.
- Francis Quarles, Emblems, Book II. Em. I.