How impious is the title of “sacred majesty” applied to a worm, who, in the midst of his splendor, is crumbling into dust!
—Thomas Paine (1737–1809) American Nationalist, Author, Pamphleteer, Radical, Inventor
Virtue is the first title of nobility.
—Moliere (1622–73) French Playwright
Where there is no difference in men’s worths, titles are all jests.
—Francis Beaumont (1584–1616) English Dramatist
The wise sometimes condescend to accept of titles; but none but a fool would imagine them of any real importance. We ought to depend upon intrinsic merit, and not on the slender helps of a title.
—Oliver Goldsmith (1730–74) Irish Novelist, Playwright, Poet
Title and ancestry render a good man more illustrious, but an ill one more contemptible. Vice is infamous, though in a prince; and virtue honorable, though in a peasant.
—Joseph Addison (1672–1719) English Essayist, Poet, Playwright, Politician
The three highest titles that can be given a man are those of a martyr, hero, saint.
—William Ewart Gladstone (1809–98) English Liberal Statesman, Prime Minister
Titles distinguish the mediocre, embarrass the superior, and are disgraced by the inferior.
—George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950) Irish Playwright
Titles of honor are like the impressions on coin, which add no value to gold and silver, but only render brass current.
—Laurence Sterne (1713–68) Irish Anglican Novelist, Clergyman
Titles, instead of exalting, debase those who act not up to them.
—Francois de La Rochefoucauld (1613–80) French Writer
Man is a name of honor for a king; additions take away from each chief thing.
—George Chapman (c.1560–1634) English Poet, Playwright
Titles of honor add not to his worth, who is himself an honor to his title.
—John M. Ford (1957–2006) American Novelist, Writer, Poet
It is not titles that reflect honor on men, but men on their titles.
—Niccolo Machiavelli (1469–1527) Florentine Political Philosopher