I learned and memorized The True Gentleman when I pledged SAE my first semester at college. It is taught to members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, but applies to all men. Written over 100 years ago (1899), The True Gentleman is rather idealistic in today’s society, however most try to strive to portray as many traits as possible of The True Gentleman. Many, like myself, keep a copy close by to remind us to strive to be good people, and perhaps to work on some of the traits that we don’t fully follow.
“The True Gentleman is the man whose conduct proceeds from good will and an acute sense of propriety, and whose self-control is equal to all emergencies; who does not make the poor man conscious of his poverty, the obscure man of his obscurity, or any man of his inferiority or deformity; who is himself humbled if necessity compels him to humble another; who does not flatter wealth, cringe before power, or boast of his own possessions or achievements; who speaks with frankness but always with sincerity and sympathy; whose deed follows his word; who thinks of the rights and feelings of others, rather than his own; and who appears well in any company, a man with whom honor is sacred and virtue safe.”
- John Walter Wayland (Virginia 1899)