Friday, December 04, 2015


Catalog of Virtues

In the second chapter ("Benjamin Franklin") of Studies in Classic American Literature, D.H. Lawrence quotes Franklin's list of thirteen virtues and corresponding rules of conduct, and later follows it with his own list. I've interleaved the two lists here, with Franklin's rule of conduct first, Lawrence's second, under each virtue:

Eat not to fulness; drink not to elevation.

Eat and carouse with Bacchus, or munch dry bread with Jesus, but don't sit down without one of the gods.


Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.

Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you've got to say, and say it hot.


Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.

Know that you are responsible to the gods inside you and to the men in whom the gods are manifest. Recognize your superiors and your inferiors, according to the gods. This is the root of all order.


Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.

Resolve to abide by your own deepest promptings, and to sacrifice the smaller thing to the greater. Kill when you must, and be killed the same: the must coming from the gods inside you, or from the men in whom you recognize the Holy Ghost.


Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself, i.e., waste nothing.

Demand nothing; accept what you see fit. Don't waste your pride or squander your emotion.


Lose no time, be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary action.

Lose no time with ideals; serve the Holy Ghost; never serve mankind.


Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.

To be sincere is to remember that I am I, and that the other man is not me.


Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.

The only justice is to follow the sincere intuition of the soul, angry or gentle. Anger is just, and pity is just, but judgement is never just.


Avoid extremes, forbear resenting injuries as much as you think they deserve.

Beware of absolutes. There are many gods.


Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.

Don't be too clean. It impoverishes the blood.


Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.

The soul has many motions, many gods come and go. Try and find your deepest issue, in every confusion, and abide by that. Obey the man in whom you recognize the Holy Ghost; command when your honour comes to command.


Rarely use venery but for health and offspring, never to dulness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.

Never 'use' venery at all. Follow your passional impulse, if it be answered in the other being; but never have any motive in mind, neither offspring nor health nor even pleasure, nor even service. Only know that 'venery' is of the great gods. An offering-up of yourself to the very great gods, the dark ones, and nothing else.


Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

See all men and women according to the Holy Ghost that is within them. Never yield before the barren.

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