Reference > Quotations > S. Austin Allibone, comp. > Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay
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S. Austin Allibone, comp.  Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay.  1880.
 
Equanimity
 
  This watch over a man’s self, and the command of his temper, I take to be the greatest of human perfections, and is the effect of a strong and resolute mind. It is not only the most expedient practice for carrying on our designs, but is also very deservedly the most amiable quality in the sight of others. It is a winning deference to mankind which creates an immediate imitation of itself wherever it appears, and prevails upon all who have to do with a person endued with it, either through shame or emulation. I do not know how to express this habit of mind, except you will let me call it equanimity. It is a virtue which is necessary at every hour, in every place, and in all conversations; and it is the effect of a regular and exact prudence. He that will look back upon all the acquaintances he has had in his whole life will find he has seen more men capable of the greatest employments and performances, than such as could, in the general bent of their carriage, act otherwise than according to their own complexion and humour.
Sir Richard Steele: Tatler, No. 176.    
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  There is a particular fault which I have observed in most of the moralists in all ages, and that is, that they are always professing themselves, and teaching others, to be happy. This state is not to be arrived at in this life; therefore I would recommend to you to talk in a humbler strain than your predecessors have done, and, instead of presuming to be happy, instruct us only to be easy. The thoughts of him who would be discreet, and aim at practicable things, should turn upon allaying our pain, rather than promoting our joy. Great inquietude is to be avoided, but great felicity is not to be attained. The great lesson is equanimity, a regularity of spirit, which is a little above cheerfulness and below mirth. Cheerfulness is always to be supported if a man is out of pain, but mirth to a prudent man should always be accidental. It should naturally arise out of the occasion, and the occasion seldom be laid for it; for those tempers who want mirth to be pleased are like the constitutions which flag without the use of brandy. Therefore, I say, let your precept be, “be easy.”
Sir Richard Steele: Spectator, No. 196.    
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