Reference > Quotations > Hoyt & Roberts, comps. > Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations
Hoyt & Roberts, comps.  Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations.  1922.
The wisdom of our ancestors.
        Bacon—(According to Lord Brougham).
  I am a gentleman, though spoiled i’ the breeding. The Buzzards are all gentlemen. We came in with the Conqueror.
        Richard Brome—The English Moor. Act II. 4.
I look upon you as a gem of the old rock.
        Sir Thomas Browne—Dedication to Urn Burial.
  People will not look forward to posterity, who never look backward to their ancestors.
        Burke—Reflections on the Revolution in France. Vol. III. P. 274.
  The power of perpetuating our property in our families is one of the most valuable and interesting circumstances belonging to it, and that which tends the most to the perpetuation of society itself. It makes our weakness subservient to our virtue; it grafts benevolence even upon avarice. The possession of family wealth and of the distinction which attends hereditary possessions (as most concerned in it,) are the natural securities for this transmission.
        Burke—Reflections on the Revolution in France. (1790) Vol. III. P. 298.
  Some decent regulated pre-eminence, some preference (not exclusive appropriation) given to birth, is neither unnatural, nor unjust, nor impolitic.
        Burke—Reflections on the Revolution in France. (1790) Vol. III. P. 299.
  A degenerate nobleman, or one that is proud of his birth, is like a turnip. There is nothing good of him but that which is underground.
        Samuel Butler—“Characters.” A Degenerate Nobleman.
Born in the garret, in the kitchen bred.
        Byron—A Sketch. L. 1.
  Odiosum est enim, cum a prætereuntibus dicatur:—O domus antiqua, heu, quam dispari dominare domino.
  It is disgraceful when the passers-by exclaim, “O ancient house! alas, how unlike is thy present master to thy former one.”
        Cicero—De Officiis. CXXXIX.
  I came up-stairs into the world; for I was born in a cellar.
        Congreve—Love for Love. Act II. Sc. 1.
D’Adam nous sommes tous enfants,
  La prouve en est connue,
Et que tous, nos premier parents
  Ont mené la charrue.

Mais, las de cultiver enfin
  La terre labourée,
L’une a dételé le matin,
  L’autre l’après-dinée.
        De Coulanges—L’Origine de la Noblesse.
Great families of yesterday we show,
And lords whose parents were the Lord knows who.
        Daniel Defoe—The True-Born Englishman. Part I. L. 372.
Born in a Cellar,  *  *  *  and living in a Garret.
        Foote—The Author. Act II. Sc. 1. L. 375.
Primus Adam duro cum verteret arva ligone,
  Pensaque de vili deceret Eva colo:
Ecquis in hoc poterat vir nobilis orbe videri?
  Et modo quisquam alios ante locandus erir?
Say, when the ground our father Adam till’d,
  And mother Eve the humble distaff held,
Who then his pedigree presumed to trace,
  Or challenged the prerogative of place?
        Grobianus. Bk. I. Ch. IV. (Ed. 1661).
  No, my friends, I go (always other things being equal) for the man that inherits family traditions and the cumulative humanities of at least four or five generations.
        O. W. Holmes—Autocrat of the Breakfast Table. Ch. I.
  Few sons attain the praise of their great sires, and most their sires disgrace.
        Homer—Odyssey. Bk. II. L. 315. Pope’s trans.
Fortes creantur fortibus et bonis;
Est in juvencis, est in equibus patrum
  Virtus; nec imbellem feroces
    Progenerant aquilæ columbam.
  The brave are born from the brave and good. In steers and in horses is to be found the excellence of their sires; nor do savage eagles produce a peaceful dove.
        Horace—Carmina. Bk. IV. 4.
  “My nobility,” said he, “begins in me, but yours ends in you.”
        Iphicrates. See Plutarch’s Morals. Apothegms of Kings and Great Commanders. Iphicrates.
  Ah, ma foi, je n’en sais rien; moi je suis mon ancetre.
  Faith, I know nothing about it; I am my own ancestor.
        Junot, Duc d’Abrantes, when asked as to his ancestry.
Stemmata quid faciunt, quid prodest, Pontice, longo,
Sanguine censeri pictosque ostendere vultus.

Of what use are pedigrees, or to be thought of noble blood, or the display of family portraits, O Ponticus?
        Juvenal—Satires. VIII. 1.
Sence I’ve ben here, I’ve hired a chap to look about for me
To git me a transplantable an’ thrifty fem’ly-tree.
        Lowell—Biglow Papers. 2d series. No. 3. III.
  Sire, I am my own Rudolph of Hapsburg. (Rudolph was the founder of the Hapsburg family.)
        Napoleon to the Emperor of Austria, who hoped to trace the Bonaparte lineage to a prince.
  The man who has not anything to boast of but his illustrious ancestors is like a potato,—the only good belonging to him is under ground.
        Sir Thomas Overbury—Characters.
Nam genus et proavos et quæ non fecimus ipsi
Vix ea nostra voco.
  Birth and ancestry, and that which we have not ourselves achieved, we can scarcely call our own.
        Ovid—Metamorphoses. XIII. 140.
What can ennoble sots, or slaves, or cowards?
Alas! not all the blood of all the Howards.
        Pope—Essay on Man. Ep. IV. L. 215.
  If there be no nobility of descent, all the more indispensable is it that there should be nobility of ascent,—a character in them that bear rule so fine and high and pure that as men come within the circle of its influence they involuntarily pay homage to that which is the one pre-eminent distinction,—the royalty of virtue.
        Bishop Henry C. Potter—Address. Washington Centennial Service in St. Paul’s Chapel, New York, Apr. 30, 1889.
That all from Adam first begun,
  None but ungodly Woolston doubts,
And that his son, and his son’s sons
  Were all but ploughmen, clowns and louts.

Each when his rustic pains began,
  To merit pleaded equal right,
’Twas only who left off at noon,
  Or who went on to work till night.
        Prior—The Old Gentry.
On garde toujours la marque de ses origines.
  One always retains the traces of one’s origin.
        Joseph Ernest Renan—La Vie de Jésus.
  Majorum gloria posteris lumen est, neque bona neque mala in occulto patitur.
  The glory of ancestors sheds a light around posterity; it allows neither their good nor bad qualities to remain in obscurity.
        Sallust—Jugurtha. LXXXV.
  Stemma non inspicit. Omnes, si ad primam originem revocentur, a Diis sunt.
  It [Philosophy] does not pay attention to pedigree. All, if their first origin be in question, are from the Gods.
        Seneca—Epistles. XLIV.
          Qui genus jactat suum
Aliena laudat.
  He who boasts of his descent, praises the deeds of another.
        Seneca—Hercules Furens. Act II. 340.
  Our ancestors are very good kind of folks; but they are the last people I should choose to have a visiting acquaintance with.
        Sheridan—The Rivals. Act IV. Sc. 1.
  I make little account of genealogical trees. Mere family never made a man great. Thought and deed, not pedigree, are the passports to enduring fate.
        General Skobeleff—In Fortnightly Review. Oct., 1882.
  The Smiths never had any arms, and have invariably sealed their letters with their thumbs.
        Sydney Smith—Lady Holland’s Memoir. Vol. I. P. 244.
  Each has his own tree of ancestors, but at the top of all sits Probably Arboreal.
        R. L. Stevenson—Memories and Portraits.
  ’Tis happy for him that his father was born before him.
        Swift—Polite Conversation. Dialogue III.
  From yon blue heavens above us bent,
The gardener Adam and his wife
  Smile at the claims of long descent.
Howe’er it be, it seems to me
  ’Tis only noble to be good.
Kind hearts are more than coronets,
  And simple faith than Norman blood.
        Tennyson—Lady Clara Vere de Vere. St. 7. (“The Grand Old Gardener” in 1st Ed.).
He seems to be a man sprung from himself.
        Tiberius. See Annals of Tacitus. Bk. XI. Sc. 21.
As though there were a tie,
And obligation to posterity!
We get them, bear them, breed and nurse.
What has posterity done for us,
That we, lest they their rights should lose,
Should trust our necks to grip of noose?
        John Trumbull—McFingal. Canto II. L. 121.
  Bishop Warburton is reported to have said that high birth was a thing which he never knew any one disparage except those who had it not, and he never knew any one make a boast of it who had anything else to be proud of.
        Whately—Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Nobility.
Rank is a farce: if people Fools will be
A Scavenger and King’s the same to me.
        John Wolcot—(Peter Pindar). Title Page. Peter’s Prophecy.
He stands for fame on his forefather’s feet,
By heraldry, proved valiant or discreet!
        Young—Love of Fame. Satire I. L. 123.
They that on glorious ancestors enlarge,
Produce their debt, instead of their discharge.
        Young—Love of Fame. Satire I. L. 147.
Like lavish ancestors, his earlier years
Have disinherited his future hours,
Which starve on orts, and glean their former field.
        Young—Night Thoughts. Night III. L. 310.

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