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Consenting Zephyr sighs; the weeping rill
THE PLEASURES ARISING FROM A CULTIVATED
BLEST of Heav'n, whom not the languid songs
His the city's pomp,
Ascends, but whence bis bosom can partake
Hark! heard ye not that piercing cry,
E'en now, e'en now, on yonder Western shores
No radiant pearl, which crested Fortune wears,
Question. WHETHER Anger ought to be suppressed entirely, or only to be confined within the bounds of moderation ?
Those who maintain, that resentment is blamable only in the excess, support their opinion with such arguments as these :
Since Anger is natural and useful to man, entirely to banish it from our breast would be an equally foolish and vain . attempt; for as it is difficult, and next to impossible, to oppose nature with success; so it were imprudent, if we had it in our power, to cast away the weapons, with which she has furnished us for our defence. The best armour against injustice is a proper degree of spirit, to repel the wrongs that are done, or designed against us; but if we divest ourselves of all resentment, we shall perhaps prove too irresolute and languid, both in resisting the attacks of injustice, and inflicting punishment upon those who have committed it. We shall therefore sink into contempt, and, by the tameness of our spirit, shall invite the malicious to abuse and affront us. Nor will others fail to deny us the regard which is due from them, if once they think us incapable of resentment. To remain unmoved at gross injuries has the appearance of stupidity, and will make us despicable and mean in the eyes of many, who are not to be influenced by any thing but their fears.
And as a moderate share of resentment is useful in it's effects, so it is innocent in itself, nay often commendable. The virtue of mildness is no less remote from insensibility, on the one hand, than from fury on the other. It implies, that we are angry only upon proper occasions, and in a due degree; that we are never transported beyond the bounds of decency, or indulge a deep and lasting resentment; that we do not follow, but lead our passion, governing it as our servant, not submitting ourselves to it as our master. Under these regulations it is certainly excusable, when moved only by private wrongs: and being excited by the injuries which others suffer, it bespeaks a generous mind, and deserves commendation. Shall a good man feel no indignation against injustice and barbarity? not even when he is witness to shocking instances of them when he sees a friend basely and cruelly treated; when he observes,
Th’ oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
That patient merit of th' unworthy takes; shall he still enjoy himself in perfect tranquillity? Will it be a crime, if he conceive the least resentment? Will it not be rather somewhat criminal, if he be destitute of it? In such cases we are commonly so far from being ashamed of our anger, as of something mean, that we are proud of it, and confess it openly, as what we count laudable and meritorious.
The truth is, there seems to be something manly, and, we are bold to say, something virtuous, in a just and well-conducted resentment. In the mean time, let us not be suspected of endeavouring to vindicate rage, and peevishness, and implacable resentment. No; such is their deformity, so horrid and so manifest are the evils they produce, that they do not admit of any defence or justification. We condemn, we detest them, as unnatural, brutish, unmanly, and monstrous. All we contend for is, that it is better to be moderate in our resentment, than to suppress it altogether. Let us therefore keep it under a strict discipline, and carefully restrain it within the bounds which reason prescribes, with