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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 some virtue. But virtue is in
the mask of
* 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.
When age shall steal on me, and youth is no more,
That peace I'll preserve then, as pure as was given,
And when long I the burden of life shall have borne,
Virtue can alone bestow
Bliss above and bliss below:
If to virtue thou take heed,
Those who virtue's path forsake.
Virtue how thou may'st attain,
Ever strive with might and main :
All thy days to virtue lend,
All thy pow'rs for her expend.
Where a heart, from sin exempt,
All besides is empty sound.
Would'st thou, what is virtue, know?
Malice shun; thy wrath restrain;
Keep thy tongue from words that pain.
Leave not virtue till the last,
Choose her ere a day be past.
Raptures true from virtue flow,
Whatsoe'er is meet to do,
That is virtue; that pursue:
Whatsoe'er is meet to shun,
That is vice, and best undone.*
Salt of the earth, ye virtuous few,
Who season human kind;
Light of the world, whose cheering ray
Where misery spreads her deepest shade,
By dying beds, in prison glooms,
To bind the stranger's wound.
* A Cural Song, from the Folk-songs of Southern India, by Charles E. Gover.