Monday, February 7, 2011
happiness is a very demure lady...
"His (Channing's) own Idea of Happiness. — And indeed, in one of his letters of this first decade of his ministry, he gives an admirably discriminating definition of happiness. He describes true happiness as "the uniform serenity of a well-governed mind, of disciplined affections, of a heart steadily devoted to objects which reason and religion recommend. According to my tame imagination, Happiness is a very demure lady, almost as prim as the wives of the Pilgrims of New England. She smiles indeed, most benignantly, but very seldom laughs; she may sigh, but very seldom sobs; the tear may start in her eye, the tear of gratitude and of sympathy, but it seldom streams down the cheek. Her step is sometimes quickened, but she does not waste her spirits and strength in violent and unnatural efforts. She cultivates judgment more than fancy. She employs imagination, not to dress up airy fictions, not to throw a false, short-lived lustre over the surrounding scenery, but to array in splendor distant objects, which reason assures her are most glorious and excellent, but which, from their distance, are apt to fade away before the eye, and to lose their power over the heart."
Posted by slt at 7:52 AM