Page:Essays Vol 1 (Ives, 1925).pdf/194

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(c) Stetit aggere fulti
Cespitis, intrepidus vultu; meruitque timeri
Nil metuens.[1]

(b) But it is quite true that this stout self-assurance can not be exhibited to the full and sincerely except by those to whom the idea of death and of the worst that may after all happen causes no terror; for to shew it forth tremblingly, and, while in doubt and uncertainty, to aid in an important pacification, avails nothing. It is an excellent means of gaining the heart and good-will of another, to meet him with submission and trust, provided it be done freely and not compelled by any necessity, and with the obligatory condition that we bring thither a serene and pure confidence, our countenance at least clear of all sign of distrust. I saw in my boyhood a gentleman who governed a large city hard pressed by the commotion of a frenzied populace. To suppress the turmoil at the beginning, he decided to go out from a very safe place where he was, and to meet this rebellious mob, which turned out ill for him, and he was miserably killed; but it does not seem to me that his mistake lay so much in the having gone out, for which his memory is commonly reproached, as in the having adopted the course of submission and mildness, and in the having sought to soothe that fury rather by flattering than by commanding, and by beseeching rather than by remonstrating; and I consider that a gracious severity, with a military word of command full of security and confidence, befitting his rank and the dignity of his office, would have had better issue, at least, with greater honour and becomingness. There is nothing less to be hoped for from that monster when thus aroused than humanity and tractableness;[2] it is much more accessible to[3] respect and fear. I should blame him also because, having formed a resolution, which was to my mind rather brave than rash, of throwing himself, powerless and unarmed,[4] into that tempestuous sea of madmen, he should have held it to the end, and should not have dropped the character he had

  1. He stood firmly on a grassy mound, undaunted in bearing; and he deserved to be feared, for he feared nothing. — Lucan, V, 316.
  2. Douceur.
  3. Il recevra bien plutost.
  4. En pourpoinct.