virtue


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Now that Meno has been made to understand the nature of a general definition, he answers in the spirit of a Greek gentleman, and in the words of a poet, 'that virtue is to delight in things honourable, and to have the power of getting them.
After Socrates has given this specimen of the true nature of teaching, the original question of the teachableness of virtue is renewed.
For those who have some specific habit may be said also, in virtue of that habit, to be thus or thus disposed; but those who are disposed in some specific way have not in all cases the corresponding habit.
Another sort of quality is that in virtue of which, for example, we call men good boxers or runners, or healthy or sickly: in fact it includes all those terms which refer to inborn capacity or incapacity.
Even at present, to be sure, there are some like this preacher of virtue, and not always so honourable: but their time is past.
Few people know it, but one must have all the virtues in order to sleep well.
You see the fault becomes a virtue when it is hers, the treason prospers; wherefore, no doubt, the impossibility of imagining it.
Moreover, much about the same time as Firenzuola was writing, Botticelli's blonde, angular, retrousse women were breaking every one of that beauty- master's canons, perfect in beauty none the less; and lovers then, and perhaps particularly now, have found the perfect beauty in faces to which Messer Firenzuola would have denied the name of face at all, by virtue of a quality which indeed he has tabulated, but which is far too elusive and undefinable, too spiritual for him truly to have understood,--a quality which nowadays we are tardily recognising as the first and last of all beauty, either of nature or art,--the supreme, truly divine, because materialistically unaccountable, quality of Charm!
This honest purpose you have been pleased to think I have attained: and to say the truth, it is likeliest to be attained in books of this kind; for an example is a kind of picture, in which virtue becomes, as it were, an object of sight, and strikes us with an idea of that loveliness, which Plato asserts there is in her naked charms.
Besides displaying that beauty of virtue which may attract the admiration of mankind, I have attempted to engage a stronger motive to human action in her favour, by convincing men, that their true interest directs them to a pursuit of her.
By purifying and regenerating our members we try, thirdly, to improve the whole human race, offering it in our members an example of piety and virtue, and thereby try with all our might to combat the evil which sways the world.
In the seventh place, try, by the frequent thought of death," the Rhetor said, "to bring yourself to regard it not as a dreaded foe, but as a friend that frees the soul grown weary in the labors of virtue from this distressful life, and leads it to its place of recompense and peace.