„At court, far from regarding ambition as a sin, people regard it as a virtue, or if it passes for a vice, then it is regarded as the vice of great souls, and the vices of great souls are preferred to the virtues of the simple and the small.“

as quoted in The Bourgeois: Catholicism vs. Capitalism in Eighteenth-Century France (1927), p. 137

Louis Bourdaloue photo
Louis Bourdaloue6
1632 - 1704

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Sallustius photo

„The doctrine of virtue and vice depends on that of the soul.“

—  Sallustius Roman philosopher and writer

X. Concerning Virtue and Vice.
On the Gods and the Cosmos
Contexto: The doctrine of virtue and vice depends on that of the soul. When the irrational soul enters into the body and immediately produces fight and desire, the rational soul, put in authority over all these, makes the soul tripartite, composed of reason, fight, and desire. Virtue in the region of reason is wisdom, in the region of fight is courage, in the region of desire is temperance; the virtue of the whole soul is righteousness. It is for reason to judge what is right, for fight in obedience to reason to despise things that appear terrible, for desire to pursue not the apparently desirable, but, that which is with reason desirable. When these things are so, we have a righteous life; for righteousness in matters of property is but a small part of virtue. And thus we shall find all four virtues in properly trained men, but among the untrained one may be brave and unjust, another temperate and stupid, another prudent and unprincipled. Indeed, these qualities should not be called virtues when they are devoid of reason and imperfect and found in irrational beings. Vice should be regarded as consisting of the opposite elements. In reason it is folly, in fight, cowardice, in desire, intemperance, in the whole soul, unrighteousness.
The virtues are produced by the right social organization and by good rearing and education, the vices by the opposite.

Marquis de Sade photo

„Benevolence is more a vice of pride than a true virtue of the soul.“

—  Marquis de Sade, A Filosofia na Alcova

First Dialogue, Delmonce
Philosophy in the Bedroom (1795)

Theodore Dalrymple photo
Louis Antoine de Saint-Just photo

„You who make the laws, the vices and the virtues of the people will be your work.“

—  Louis Antoine de Saint-Just military and political leader 1767 - 1794

(Autumn 1792) [Source: Oeuvres Complètes de Saint-Just, vol. 1 (2 vols., Paris, 1908), p. 380]

Michel De Montaigne photo

„Ambition is not a vice of little people.“

—  Michel De Montaigne (1533-1592) French-Occitan author, humanistic philosopher, statesman 1533 - 1592

Book III, Ch. 10
Attributed

„More people are flattered into virtue than bullied out of vice.“

—  Robert Smith Surtees English writer 1805 - 1864

The Analysis of the Hunting Field (1846) ch. 1

Abraham Lincoln photo

„People who have no vices, have very few virtues.“

—  Abraham Lincoln 16th President of the United States 1809 - 1865

According to The Inner Life of Abraham Lincoln (1867) by F. B. Carpenter, Lincoln quoted this as having been said to him by a fellow-passenger in a stagecoach. See also "Washington during the War", Macmillan's Magazine 6:24 http://books.google.com/books?id=rB4AAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA24&dq=folks (May 1862)
Posthumous attributions
Variante: It's my experience that folks who have no vices have generally very few virtues.

Samuel Johnson photo

„I am a great friend to public amusements; for they keep people from vice.“

—  Samuel Johnson English writer 1709 - 1784

1772
Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919)

William Byrd photo

„Care for thy soul as thing of greatest price,
Made to the end to taste of power divine,
Devoid of guilt, abhorring sin and vice“

—  William Byrd British composer 1543 - 1623

Poem: Care for Thy Soul as Thing of Greatest Price http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/care-for-thy-soul-as-thing-of-greatest-price/

Étienne de La Boétie photo
Elizabeth Taylor photo
Bertrand Russell photo
Francois Mauriac photo

„One can touch a living soul through a curtain of vice and crime no matter how dense and dark: but vulgarity is an insurmountable barrier.“

—  Francois Mauriac, livro Vipers' Tangle

On atteint aisément une âme vivante à travers les crimes, les vices les plus tristes, mais la vulgarité est infranchissable.
Le Nœud de vipères (1932), cited from Oeuvres romanesques, vol. 2 (Paris: Flammarion, 1965) p. 190; Gerard Hopkins (trans.) Knot of Vipers (Harmondsworth: Penguin, [1951] 1985) p. 193.

Raymond Radiguet photo

„Translation: The uncounscious actions of a pure soul are even more strange than the vice's schemes.“

—  Raymond Radiguet French writer 1903 - 1923

Les manoeuvres inconscientes d'une âme pure sont encore plus singulières que les combinaisons du vice
Raymond Radiguet: Le bal du comte d'Orgel. Paris 1924. P. 1.

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Bernard Mandeville photo
Julian (emperor) photo

„With regard to which, though we are dull of sight, yet let us strive to clear away the mist from the eyes of the soul.“

—  Julian (emperor) Roman Emperor, philosopher and writer 331 - 363

Upon The Mother Of The Gods (c. 362-363)
Contexto: To what purpose, pray, exist all these things that be born? Whence come male and female? Whence the difference in kind of all things that be, amongst visible species, unless there be certain pre-existing and previously established Reasons and Causes subsisting beforehand, in the nature of a pattern? With regard to which, though we are dull of sight, yet let us strive to clear away the mist from the eyes of the soul.

Benjamin Disraeli photo

„Moderation has been called a virtue to limit the ambition of great men, and to console undistinguished people for their want of fortune and their lack of merit.“

—  Benjamin Disraeli British Conservative politician, writer, aristocrat and Prime Minister 1804 - 1881

Not Disraeli but La Rochefoucauld; it is Maxim 308 in his Reflections.
Misattributed

François de La Rochefoucauld photo

„Moderation has been called a virtue to limit the ambition of great men, and to console undistinguished people for their want of fortune and their lack of merit.“

—  François de La Rochefoucauld, livro Reflections; or Sentences and Moral Maxims

On a fait une vertu de la modération pour borner l’ambition des grands hommes, et pour consoler les gens médiocres de leur peu de fortune, et de leur peu de mérite.
Maxim 308.
Reflections; or Sentences and Moral Maxims (1665–1678)

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“