Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Tell Me What They Require

From all evil against which the law bars you, you should be barred, at an infinite distance, by honour, by conscience, and nobility.  Does the law require patriotism, philanthropy, self-abnegation, public service, purity of purpose, devotion to the needs of others who have been placed in the world below you?  The law is a great thing, -- because men are poor and weak, and bad.  And it is great, because where it exists in its strength, no tyrant can be above it.  But between you and me there should be no mention of law as the guide of conduct.  Speak to me of honour, of duty, and of nobility; and tell me what they require of you.

-- Anthony Trollope (1815 - 1882), one of the most successful, prolific and respected English novelists of the Victorian era, The Duke's Children, Ch. 61 (1879)

No comments: