Nobility (from Latin nobilitas, the abstract noun of the adjective nobilis, "well-known, famous, notable") refers to a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The word is also often used to indicate such virtues or qualities as are generally associated with official forms of nobility, or expected of those with the privileges or powers of nobility.
- Il sangue nobile è un accidente della fortuna; le azioni nobili caratterizzano il grande.
- to men and women there falls the task of exploring truth with their reason, and in this their nobility consists.
- Be noble in every thought
And in every deed!
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Christus, The Golden Legend (1872), Part II.
- Noble by birth, yet nobler by great deeds.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Tales of a Wayside Inn (1863-1874), Part III. The Student's Tale. Emma and Eginhard, line 82.
- As one lamp lights another, nor grows less,
So nobleness enkindleth nobleness.
- James Russell Lowell, "Yussouf", lines 17–18, The Complete Poetical Works of James Russell Lowell (1900), p. 376. Selected by Charles W. Eliot, president of Harvard, to be inscribed above the statue of Art, Main Reading Room, Library of Congress.
- Be NOBLE! and the nobleness that lies
In other men, sleeping, but never dead,
Will rise in majesty to meet thine own.
- James Russell Lowell, "Sonnet IV", The Complete Poetical Works of James Russell Lowell (1900), p. 20. Inscribed, with some changes in capitalziation and line breaks, on the south facade of Union Station, Washington, D.C.
- Be aristocracy the only joy:
Let commerce perish — let the world expire.
- Anonymous, Modern Gulliver's Travels (1796), p. 192.
- Almost all the noblest things that have been achieved in the world, have been achieved by poor men; poor scholars, poor professional men, poor artisans and artists, poor philosophers, poets, and men of genius.
- Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry (1871), Ch. XXII : Knight of the Royal Axe, or Prince of Libanus, p. 347.
- Take heed that ye love not human glory in any respect, lest your portion also be reckoned among those to whom it was said, "How can ye believe, who seek glory, one from another?" and of whom it is said through the prophet, "Increase evils to them; increase evils to the boastful of the earth"; and elsewhere, "Ye are confounded from your boasting, from your reproaching in the sight of the Lord." For I do not wish you to have regard to those, who are virgins of the world, and not of Christ; who unmindful of their purpose and profession, rejoice in delicacies, are delighted with riches, and boast of their descent from a merely carnal nobility; who, if they assuredly believed themselves to be the daughters of God, would never, after their divine ancestry, admire mere human nobility, nor glory in any honored earthly father: if they felt that they had God as their Father, they would not love any nobility connected with the flesh.
- Sulpicius Severus, "Take Heed that Ye Love not Human Glory in any Respect," A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. 11, p. 65
- His nature is too noble for the world:
He would not flatter Neptune for his trident,
Or Jove for's power to thunder.
- This was the noblest Roman of them all:
All the conspirators save only he
Did that they did in envy of great Cæsar;
He only, in a general honest thought
And common good to all, made one of them.
- The Chauci are the noblest of the German races, a nation who would maintain their greatness by righteous dealing. Without ambition, without lawless violence, they live peaceful and secluded, never provoking a war or injuring others by rapine and robbery. Indeed, the crowning proof of their valor and their strength is, that they keep up their superiority without harm to others. Yet all have their weapons in readiness, and an army if necessary, with a multitude of men and horses; and even while at peace they have the same renown of valor.
- Tacitus, Germania, chapter 35
- Better not to be at all
Than not be noble.
- Alfred Tennyson, The Princess (1847), Part II, line 79.
- Titles are marks of honest men, and wise:
The fool or knave that wears a title lies.
- Edward Young, Love of Fame (1725-28), Satire I, line 145.
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 559-60.
- If there is anything good about nobility it is that it enforces the necessity of avoiding degeneracy.
- From the Latin of Böethius
- Inquinat egregios adjuncta superbia mores.
- The noblest character is stained by the addition of pride.
- Claudianus, De Quarto Consulatu Honorii Augustii Panegyris, 305.
- Ay, these look like the workmanship of heaven;
This is the porcelain clay of human kind,
And therefore cast into these noble moulds.
- John Dryden, Don Sebastian, Act I, scene 1.
- O lady, nobility is thine, and thy form is the reflection of thy nature!
- Euripides, Ion, 238.
- There are epidemics of nobleness as well as epidemics of disease.
- James Anthony Froude, Short Studies on Great Subjects, Calvinism.
- Ein edler Mensch zieht edle Menschen an,
Und weiss sie fest zu halten, wie ihr thut.
- A noble soul alone can noble souls attract;
And knows alone, as ye, to hold them.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Torquato Tasso, I. 1. 59.
- A noble soul alone can noble souls attract;
- Par nobile fratrum.
- A noble pair of brothers.
- Horace, Satires, II. 3. 243.
- Fond man! though all the heroes of your line
Bedeck your halls, and round your galleries shine
In proud display; yet take this truth from me—
Virtue alone is true nobility!
- Juvenal, Satire VIII, line 29. Gifford's translation. "Virtus sola nobilitat," is the Latin of last line.
- Noblesse oblige.
- There are obligations to nobility.
- Variant translation: Nobility brings obligations.
- Comte de Laborde, in a notice to the French Historical Society in 1865, attributes the phrase to Duc de Levis, who used it in 1808, apropos of the establishment of the nobility.
- Let wealth and commerce, laws and learning die,
But leave us still our old nobility.
- Lord John Manners, England's Trust, Part III, line 227.
- Whoe'er amidst the sons
Of reason, valor, liberty, and virtue
Displays distinguished merit, is a noble
Of Nature's own creating.
- James Thomson, Coriolanus, Act III, scene 3.