June 21

HE who is greedy of credit and reputation after his death, doth not consider, that they themselves by whom he is remembered, shall soon after every one of them be dead : And they likewise that succeed those ; until at last all memory, which hitherto by the succession of men admiring and soon after dying hath had its course, be quite extinct. But suppose that both they that shall remember thee, and thy memory with them should be immortal, what is that to thee? I will not say to thee after thou art dead but even to thee living, what is thy praise? That which is fair and goodly, whatsoever it be, and in what respect soever it be, that it is fair and goodly, it is so of itself, and terminates in itself, not admitting praise as a part or member ; that therefore which is praised, is not thereby made either better or worse. This I understand even of those things, that are commonly called fair and good, as those which are commended either for the matter itself, or for curious workmanship. As for that which is truly good, what can it stand in need of more, than either Justice or Truth; or more than either kindness and modesty? Which of all those, either becomes good or fair, because commended; or dispraised suffers any damage?



  1. This reading strikes at the heart of Western Status Anxiety, where we measure our self-worth not by what we have and are, but by the difference between what we have and what our neighbour has. By recognizing the true good in the lives we currently lead, would we really need to aspire to more?

  2. We need to live our lives based on the Virtues. In three generations we will more than likely not be remembered. What does this matter? We must take solace in the fact that we lived by the virtues and had a good life.

    At the risk of sounding trite... we must be good for Goodness sake.

  3. Paraphrase: Justice, courage, kindness, modesty. Which of these becomes better because it is praised or by being dispraised suffers any damage?

    Though the memory of our reputation last 10,000 years, the praise does not add to our goodness, nor does the blame remove from our virtue. We are who we are, and our intentions and actions will and can speak for themselves. More likely, the memory of our lives will likely disappear within a mere generation or two. Thus we are to act virtuously for today, to help today, to create a more just, courageous, temperate and kind world, today.