Posted by: Democratic Thinker | May 24, 2011

Dodsley: On Anger

American Thought

In 1750, Robert Dodsley of London publishes anonymously The Economy of Human Life—a collection of moral precepts composed in the manner of a translation “from an Indian Manuscript written by an ancient Bramin.” Reprinted frequently and popular on both sides of the Atlantic, many of the maxims entered the popular tradition.

Do nothing in a passion. Why wilt thou put to sea in the violence of a storm?

The Economy of Human Life.

Of the First Part—Duties that Relate to Man, Considered as an Individual.

BOOK II. The Passions.


CHAP. III. Anger.

AS the whirlwind in its fury teareth up the trees, and deformeth the face of nature, or, as an earthquake, in its convulsions, overturneth cities; so the rage of an angry man throweth mischief around him; danger and destruction wait on his hand.

But consider, and forget not thine own weakness; so shalt thou pardon the failings of others.

Indulge not thyself in the passion of anger; it is whetting a sword to wound thine own breast, or murder thy friend.

If thou bearest slight provocations with patience, it shall be imputed unto thee for wisdom; and if thou wipest them from thy remembrance, thy heart shall feel rest, and thy mind shall not reproach thee.

Seest thou not that the angry man loseth his understanding? Whilst thou art yet in thy senses, let the wrath of another be a lesson to thyself.

Do nothing in a passion. Why wilt thou put to sea in the violence of a storm?

If it be difficult to rule thine anger, it is wise to prevent it; avoid therefore all occasions of falling into wrath, or guard thyself against them whenever they occur.

A fool is provoked with insolent speeches, but a wise man laugheth them to scorn.

Harbour not revenge in thy breast; it will torment thy heart, and discolour its best inclinations.

Be always more ready to forgive than to return an injury: He that watches for an opportunity of revenge, lieth in wait against himself, and draweth down mischief on his own head.

A mild answer to an angry man, like water cast upon the fire, abateth his heat, and from an enemy he shall become thy friend.

Consider how few things are worthy of anger, and thou wilt wonder that any but fools should be wrath.

In folly or weakness it always beginneth; but remember, and be well assured, it seldom concludeth without repentances.

On the heels of folly treadeth shame; at the back of anger standeth remorse.