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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
Of the Passions
By Joseph Joubert (1754–1824)
Translation of Thomas Wentworth Higginson

WHATEVER purifies the passions makes them stronger, more lasting, and more enjoyable.  1
  We exhaust in the passions the material that was given us for happiness.  2
  Passions are but nature: it is the not repenting that yields corruption.  3
  Repentance is a natural effort which drives from the soul the elements of its corruption.  4
  Into every kind of excess there enters a certain coldness of soul: it is a thoughtful and deliberate abuse of pleasure.  5
  The blind are cheerful, because their minds are not distracted from dwelling on the things that make them happy, and because they have yet more ideas than we have sights. It is a compensation granted them by Heaven.  6
  We always lose the friendship of those who have lost our esteem.  7
  Often our fine qualities are loved and praised only because our defects temper their brilliancy. It often even happens that we are loved rather for our defects than for our virtues.  8
  We should make ourselves beloved, for men are only just towards those whom they love.  9
  The punishment of those who have loved women too much is to love nothing else.  10
  Tenderness is the calm of passion.  11
  Man is a kind of rash being, who may exist after a fashion half-way, but whose existence is the more delightful the more complete it is.  12
  One likes to do good deeds in one’s own way.  13
  Ambition is pitiless: every merit that it cannot use is contemptible in its eyes.  14
  No one is good, one cannot be useful and deserves not to be loved, if he has not something heavenly, either in his intellect through thoughts, or in his will through affections directed on high.  15
  It is a blessing, a great good fortune, to be born good.  16
  Unless we keep watch on ourselves, we shall find ourselves condemning the unfortunate.  17
  Be gentle and indulgent to all others; be not so to yourself.  18
  The pleasure of giving is essential to true happiness; but the poor may possess it.  19
  When you give, give joyfully and in smiling.  20
  Proud natures love those to whom they do a service.  21
  Ornaments were the inventions of modesty.  22
  “God will punish,” say the Orientals, “him who sees and him who is seen.” Beautiful and formidable recommendation of modesty.  23
  A spider’s web made of silk and light were not more difficult to create than to answer this question, What is modesty?  24

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