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By the descent of calamities are men's virtues proved, and by long absence are their friendships tested.
Virtue may be assailed, but never hurt;
The triumphs that on vice attend
The good man suffers but to gain,
No spicy fragrance while they grow;
Virtue's like gold :—the ore's alloy'd by earth,
And seventimes try'd with new effulgence grows !
And rises from affliction into fame!
Virtue may choose the high or low degree,
Dwell in a monk, or light upon a king,
She is still the same belov'd contented thing.
• From Ancient Iranian and Zoroastrian Morals, by D. J. Medhora.
If I'm traduced by tongues, which neither know
The chronicles of my doing-let me say,
"Tis but the fate of place, and the rough brake That virtue must go through.
Only a sweet and virtuous soul,
Virtue alone, her own sufficient wages,
When frowning fates thy sanguine hopes defeat,
A man's virtues are pearls, and the thread on which they are strung is the fear of God; break the thread, and the pearls are lost one by one.
Moderation is the silken string running through the
pearl chain of all virtues.
* From Lord Chesterfield's Letters to his son.
† From Bewick's Select Fables.
Modesty is the handmaid of virtue.
Modesty is not only an ornament but also a guard to virtue.
Fortitude is the guard and support of all the other
A man's virtuous or vicious disposition can be seen by his actions; though you cannot discern the thoughts of his heart, yet mark the beginning of a man's course, and you may soon discern what he will be.*
Upon any deviation from virtue, every rational creature so deviating should condemn, renounce, and be sorry for every such deviation—that is, repent of it.
Sell not virtue to purchase wealth.
Neither make it your study to secure the applauses of the vulgar, nor rest your hopes of happiness on rewards which men can bestow. Let virtue, by her own native attractions, allure you in the paths of honour. What others may say of you is their concern, not yours; nor is it worth your while to be out of humour for the topics which your conduct may supply to their conversation.
* From Marshman's Works of Confucius.
He would be virtuous for his own sake, though nobody were to know it; as he would be clean for his own sake, though nobody were to see him.
I know not why we should delay our tokens of respect, to those who deserve them, until the heart, that our sympathy could have gladdened, has ceased to beat. As men cannot read the epitaphs inscribed upon the marble that covers them, so the tombs that we erect to virtue often only prove our repentance that we neglected it when with us.
To behold virtue without imitation is of no value.*
Why are bad men so anxious to wear the appearance of virtue, but because, in their hearts, they value and revere it ?
Every excellency and every virtue has its kindred vice or weakness; and if carried beyond certain bounds sinks into the one or the other. Generosity often runs into Profusion, Economy into Avarice, Courage into Rashness, Caution into Timidity, and so on :-in so much that, I believe, there is more judgment required for the proper conduct of our virtues than for avoiding their opposite vices. Vice, in its true light, is so deformed, that it shocks us, at first sight; and would hardly ever seduce us, if it did not at first at first wear the mask of some virtue. But virtue is in itself So beautiful
* From Marshman's Works of Confucius.
that it charms us at first sight; engages us more and more, upon further acquaintance, and, as with other Beauties, we think excess impossible: it is here that judgment is necessary to moderate and direct the effects of an excellent cause.
Between virtue and vice there is no middle path.
With vice allied, however pure,
No virtue can be long secure :
Shun then the traitress and her wiles,
Virtue should be the aim and end
Coarse rice for food, water to drink, and the bended arm for a pillow;-happiness may be enjoyed even in these. Without virtue, both riches and honour, to me, seem like the passing cloud. ‡
I sigh not for beauty, nor languish for wealth;
*From Bewick's Select Fables.
† From Ancient Ballads and Legends of Hindustân.