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Ira furor brevis est animum rege qui nisi parat imperat.
Horace, Lib. I. Epist. Il.
THERE is no passion so dreadful in its effects as anger. Horace, very properly, calls it a temporary madness : a man who suffers himself to be long under its dominion, knows not what dreadful deeds he may be jueited to commit, and of which he is sure to repent whey, he becomes cool; we should, therefore, always endeavour to suppress our anger directly we find it rising, lest it become too powerful for us.
Ovid thus forcibly describes the effects of anger on the countenance :
Ora tument ira , nigrescunt sanguine venæ,
Ovid, Lib. III. De arte amandi. " Anger swells the countenance, the veins grow black with blood, the eyes glare more fiercely than the snakes of the gorgons."
Were I to enumerate the fatal effects of anger from the page of history they would fill volumes.
Alexander, the conqueror of the world, became a slave to this dreadful passion, and, while under its influence, murdered Clitus, one of his best generals, and who formerly had saved bis life. Even Elizabeth, a queen justly celebrated iu history, and admired by succeeding ages, in a fit of passion, struck her favourite Essex, thereby making herself upon a level with her meanest subject.
A mau who can command his passion is, in my opinion, a greater conqueror than either Alexander or Cæsar. There may be some cases, indeed, where it is almost impossible to withhold our anger; but then we ought to keep it within due bounds, and not let it take such possession of us, as to make us look and act like madmen. There are some people who suffer themselves to be put in a violent passion by mere trifles; the lives of such people must be a continual scene of disquietude, and when we meet with such, we may be assured they have but weak minds.
Polydore and Eucrates were two young men united in the strictest bonds of friendship, but, unfortunately, both possessed violent tempers. Happening one day, as they were walking in the fields together, to dispute about some trifle, Polydore suffered his anger so far to get the better of him, that he struck Eucrates, who, enraged at this insult, returned the blow, and Polydoré fell to rise no more. Eucrates immediately fled to France, and so shocked was he at his inhuman conduct towards his friend, that, unable to bear the stings of conscience, that he shortly after pat an end to his existence. How often may be read in the newspapers similar effects of angovernable passion : sons have killed their fathers, daughters their mothers, while under its dreadful influence. I would advise every one to follow the example of my friend Benignus, who, being the other day in company with some friends, among whom was Iratus, a man of most irrascible temper, fell into an argument with him about politics, when, finding Iratus becoming extremely warm, he mildly said to him." Well, well, I perceive we cannot agree, you are gettiug angry, and if we continue, 1 may become so too, and our quarrelling cannot, I think, entertain our frieuds ;” and he immediately changed the conversation. Every one present could not but admire the mildness and politeness of Beuignus, and even Iratus immediately became cool, and he and Benignus were excellent friends the rest of the evening.. To conclude, whenever any one finds his anger rising, let him remember that “ a soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up an
TALES OF THE HALL, VOL. I.
“ Nay—but thus she proved
Elder Brother, Book VII. page 164.