It is the character of a man that counts, not the nobility of his descent. The proverb is a quotation from Lady Clara Vere de Vere, a poem by Alfred Tennyson, a Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom during much of Queen Victoria’s reign and remains one of the most popular poets in the English language.
From you blue heavens above us bent,
The gardener Adam and his wife
Smile at the claims of long descent.
Howe’er it be, it seems to me
‘Tis only noble to be good.
Kind hearts are more than coronets,
And simple faith than Norman blood.