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[ Also see Dignity Distinction Excellence Fame Glory Honor Littleness Mediocrity Nobility Power Reputation Size Sublimity Success Talent ]

It's great to be great, but it's greater to be human.
      - Will Rogers

Great souls are harmonious.
      - Joseph Roux

As if Misfortune made the Throne her Seat,
  And none could be unhappy but the Great.
      - Nicholas Rowe, The Fair Penitent--Prologue
         (l. 3)

Greatness is not a teachable nor gainable thing, but the expression of the mind of a God-made great man.
      - John Ruskin

Greatness is the aggregation of minuteness; nor can its sublimity be felt truthfully by any mind unaccustomed to the affectionate watching of what is least.
      - John Ruskin

No great intellectual thing was ever done by great effort; a great thing can only be done by a great man, and he does it without effort.
      - John Ruskin

I will not go so far as to say, with a living poet, that the world knows nothing of its greatest men; but there are forms of greatness, or at least of excellence, which "die and make no sign"; there are martyrs that miss the palm, but not the stake; heroes without the laurel, and conquerors without the triumph.
      - George Augustus Henry Sala

Human greatness is a rather difficult thing to account for, and more often than not one is mistaken in one's hunches about somebody one has met.
      - William Saroyan

The curse of greatness:
  Ears ever open to the babbler's tale.
    [Ger., Es ist der Fluch der Hohen, dass die Niedern
      Sich ihres offnen Ohrs bemachtigen.]
      - Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller,
        Die Braut von Messina (I)

He that makes himself famous by his eloquence, justice or arms illustrates his extraction, let it be never so mean; and gives inestimable reputation to his parents. We should never have heard of Sophroniscus, but for his son, Socrates; nor of Ariosto and Gryllus, if it had not been for Xenophon and Plato.
      - Seneca (Lucius Annaeus Seneca)

The greatest man is he who chooses right with the most invincible resolution.
      - Seneca (Lucius Annaeus Seneca)

If thou art a man, admire those who attempt great things, even though they fail.
  [Lat., Si vir es, suspice, etiam si decidunt, magna conantes.]
      - Seneca (Lucius Annaeus Seneca),
        De Brevitate (XX)

Great men, great events, great epochs, it has been said, grow as we recede from them; and the rate at which they grow in the estimation of men is in some sort a measure of their greatness.
      - John Campbell Shairp

Great men may jest with saints: 'tis wit in them,
  But in the less, foul profanation.
 * * * * *
That in the captain's but a choleric word,
  Which in the soldier is flat blasphemy.
      - William Shakespeare

Greatness, once fallen out with fortune, must fall out with men too.
      - William Shakespeare

Heaven knows, I had no such intent;
  But that necessity so bow'd the state,
    That I and greatness were compell'd to kiss.
      - William Shakespeare

Nay, then, farewell!
  I have touch'd the highest point of all my greatness;
    And from that full meridian of my glory,
      I haste now to my setting. I shall fall
        Like a bright exhalation in the evening,
          And no man see me more.
      - William Shakespeare

O, be sick, great greatness, and bid thy ceremony give thee cure! Thinkest thou the fiery fever will go out with titles blown from adulation?
      - William Shakespeare

Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
  Like a Colossus, and we petty men
    Walk under his huge legs and peep about
      To find ourselves dishonorable graves.
      - William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
         (Cassius at I, ii)

Are yet two Romans living such as these?
  The last of all the Romans, fare thee well!
      - William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
         (Brutus at V, iii)

He presently, as greatness knows itself,
  Steps me a little higher than his vow
    Made to my father, while his blood was poor,
      Upon the naked shore at Ravenspurgh;
        And now, forsooth, takes on him to reform
          Some certain edicts and some strait decrees
            That lie too heavy on the commonwealth;
              Cries out upon abuses, seems to weep
                Over his country's wrongs; and by this face,
                  This seeming brow of justice, did he win
                    The hearts of all that he did angle for;
                      Proceeded further--cut me off the heads
                        Of all the favorites that the absent king
                          In deputation left behind him here
                            When he was personal in the Irish war.
      - William Shakespeare,
        King Henry the Fourth, Part I
         (Hotspur at IV, iii)

Worthy Montano, you were wont to be civil;
  The gravity and stillness of your youth
    The world hath noted, and your name is great
      In mouths of wisest censure.
      - William Shakespeare,
        Othello the Moor of Venice
         (Othello at II, iii)

But thou art fair, and at thy birth, dear boy,
  Nature and fortune joined to make thee great.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Life and Death of King John
         (Constance at III, i)

I have touched the highest point of all my greatness,
  And from that full meridian of my glory
    I haste now to my setting.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Life of King Henry the Eighth
         (Wolsey at III, ii)

So farewell to the little good you bear me.
  Farewell? a long farewell to all my greatness!
    This is the state of man: to-day he puts forth
      The tender leaves of hopes; to-morrow blossoms
        And bears his blushing honors thick upon him;
          The third day comes a frost, a killing frost,
            And when he thinks, good easy man, full surely
              His greatness is a-ripening, nips his root,
                And then he falls as I do.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Life of King Henry the Eighth
         (Wolsey at III, ii)

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