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This essay appeared in the December 1794 edition of the Massachusetts Magazine
under the name "Constantia." In it, Judith discusses the dangers of praise and self-love.
The Repository. No. XXVII.
AN undue elevation must always be painful to an ingenuous mind. The trembling spirit, perturbed and anxious, surveys the picture, by a luxuriant fancy portrayed; it beholds it upon a lofty eminence; it compares it with the original; even self-love hesitates to acknowledge a striking conformity of lineaments, and honest veracity will hardly admit a resemblance. The delicately susceptible subject of too high wrought panegyrick, catches a glance at the star-wreathed summit, on which imagination hath placed him; he snatches an agitated look; the conscious blush is upon his cheek, and, all abashed, he sinks to the valley below. It is true that praise is undoubtedly sweet to the ear: It is like the gently murmuring stream, to the traveller emerging from the desert, who, spent by a fatiguing march through a long, barren, and sandy waste, blesses the limpid flow of the restoring waters. Yet reason assures us, that time will awake our eulogist: that we shall not always be viewed through false optiks, but that sooner or later, our abilities being impartially appreciated, our genuine character, with all its real powers, yea, and all its imbecilities too, will in its proper colours be disclosed.
2007 © Bonnie Hurd Smith
Independent scholar and author Bonnie Hurd Smith is the president and CEO of History Smiths
a marketing company that works with businesses to incorporate history
-- their own and their community's -- into their branding, marketing, and community
outreach to attract customers, boost customer loyalty, and secure a high status reputation in the communities they serve.