Modesty Quotes


  • A just and reasonable modesty does not only recommend eloquence, but sets off every great talent which a man can be possessed of. It heightens all the virtues which it accompanies; like the shades in paintings, it raises and rounds every figure, and makes the colours more beautiful, though not so glaring as they would be without it.
    o Joseph Addison, The Spectator No. 231 24 November 1711

  • In short, if you banish modesty out of the world, she carries away with her half the virtue that is in it.
    o Joseph Addison, The Spectator No. 231 24 November 1711

  • True modesty avoids everything that is criminal; false modesty everything that is unfashionable.
    o Joseph Addison, The Spectator No. 458 15 August 1712

  • The mark of the man of the world is absence of pretension. He does not make a speech; he takes a low business-tone, avoids all brag, is nobody, dresses plainly, promises not at all, performs much, speaks in monosyllables, hugs his fact. He calls his employment by its lowest name, and so takes from evil tongues their sharpest weapon.
    o Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Conduct of Life 1860

  • On the contrary, modesty seldom resides in a breast that is not enriched with nobler virtues.
    o Oliver Goldsmith, She Stoops to Conquer (1771), act I scene I

  • A modest person seldom fails to gain the goodwill of those he converses with, because nobody envies a man who does not appear to be pleased with himself.
    o Richard Steele, The Guardian No. 24 8 April 1713

  • Modesty never rages, never murmurs, never pouts; when it is ill-treated, it pines, it beseeches, it languishes.
    o Richard Steele, The Tatler No. 217 29 August 1710


  • The man who is ostentatious of his modesty is twin to the statue that wears a figleaf.
    o Mark Twain

  • You little know what you have done, when you have first broke the bounds of modesty; you have set open the door of your fancy to the devil, so that he can, almost at his pleasure ever after, represent the same sinful pleasure to you anew.
    o Baxter

  • God intended for women two preventatives against sin, modesty and remorse; in confession to a mortal priest the former is removed by his absolution, the latter is taken away.
    o Miranda of Piedmont

  • Modesty once extinguished knows not how to return.
    o Seneca

  • Modesty is the shortest route to obscurity. But once famous, you can afford to become modest.
    o Leonid S. Sukhorukov

  • The first of all virtues is innocence; the next is modesty.
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