He had not the least pride of birth and rank, that common narrow notion of little minds, that wretched mistaken succedaneum of merit.
(Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. Characters of Chesterfield, 1778, repr. Augustan Reprint Society, nos. 259-260, p. 43, University of California, Los Angeles (1990).
Character of Lord Scarborough, one of Chesterfield's closest friends.)
Not a single man on earth knows from his own experience the how and where of his birth, only from tradition, which is often very uncertain.
(E.T.A.W. (Ernst Theodor Amadeus Wilhelm) Hoffmann (1776-1822), German author, composer. "The Life and Opinions of Kater Murr," Selected Writings, vol. 2, p. 14, ed. and trans. by Leonard J. Kent and Elizabeth C. Knight, University of Chicago Press (1969).
The novel's autobiographical tomcat to his readers about the circumstances of his birth.)