|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 BromeThe English Moor. Act II. 4.
|I look upon you as a gem of the old rock.|
Sir Thomas BrowneDedication to Urn Burial.
| People will not look forward to posterity, who never look backward to their ancestors.|
BurkeReflections 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.|
BurkeReflections 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.|
BurkeReflections 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 ButlerCharacters. A Degenerate Nobleman.
|Born in the garret, in the kitchen bred.|
ByronA 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.
CiceroDe Officiis. CXXXIX.
| I came up-stairs into the world; for I was born in a cellar.|
CongreveLove for Love. Act II. Sc. 1.
|DAdam 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,
Lune a dételé le matin,
De CoulangesLOrigine de la Noblesse.
|Great families of yesterday we show,|
And lords whose parents were the Lord knows who.
Daniel DefoeThe True-Born Englishman. Part I. L. 372.
|Born in a Cellar, * * * and living in a Garret.|
FooteThe 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 tilld,
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. HolmesAutocrat of the Breakfast Table. Ch. I.
| Few sons attain the praise of their great sires, and most their sires disgrace.|
HomerOdyssey. Bk. II. L. 315. Popes 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.
HoraceCarmina. Bk. IV. 4.
| My nobility, said he, begins in me, but yours ends in you.|
Iphicrates. See Plutarchs Morals. Apothegms of Kings and Great Commanders. Iphicrates.
| Ah, ma foi, je nen sais rien; moi je suis mon ancetre.|
Faith, I know nothing about it; I am my own ancestor.
Junot, Duc dAbrantes, 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?
JuvenalSatires. VIII. 1.
|Sence Ive ben here, Ive hired a chap to look about for me|
To git me a transplantable an thrifty femly-tree.
LowellBiglow 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 OverburyCharacters.
|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.
OvidMetamorphoses. XIII. 140.
|What can ennoble sots, or slaves, or cowards?|
Alas! not all the blood of all the Howards.
PopeEssay 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. PotterAddress. Washington Centennial Service in St. Pauls Chapel, New York, Apr. 30, 1889.
|That all from Adam first begun,|
None but ungodly Woolston doubts,
And that his son, and his sons 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.
PriorThe Old Gentry.
|On garde toujours la marque de ses origines.|
One always retains the traces of ones origin.
Joseph Ernest RenanLa 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.
| 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.
| Qui genus jactat suum|
He who boasts of his descent, praises the deeds of another.
SenecaHercules 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.|
SheridanThe 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 SkobeleffIn Fortnightly Review. Oct., 1882.
| The Smiths never had any arms, and have invariably sealed their letters with their thumbs.|
Sydney SmithLady Hollands Memoir. Vol. I. P. 244.
| Each has his own tree of ancestors, but at the top of all sits Probably Arboreal.|
R. L. StevensonMemories and Portraits.
| Tis happy for him that his father was born before him.|
SwiftPolite Conversation. Dialogue III.
| From yon blue heavens above us bent,|
The gardener Adam and his wife
Smile at the claims of long descent.
Howeer it be, it seems to me
Tis only noble to be good.
Kind hearts are more than coronets,
And simple faith than Norman blood.
TennysonLady 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 TrumbullMcFingal. 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.|
WhatelyAnnot. on Bacons Essay, Of Nobility.
|Rank is a farce: if people Fools will be|
A Scavenger and Kings the same to me.
John Wolcot(Peter Pindar). Title Page. Peters Prophecy.
|He stands for fame on his forefathers feet,|
By heraldry, proved valiant or discreet!
YoungLove of Fame. Satire I. L. 123.
|They that on glorious ancestors enlarge,|
Produce their debt, instead of their discharge.
YoungLove 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.
YoungNight Thoughts. Night III. L. 310.