Sunday, October 16, 2011

Live as well as you dare.....

I happened upon the Letter from Sydney Smith to Lady Georgianna Morpeth, 1820, and it so aptly advises what to do in the melancholoy times that come to all of us. My favorite advice is "live as well as you dare". Going about one's business and making life sing again always shows our personal perpetrators that they cannot send us to the abyss no matter how hard they may try.

Sydney Smith was a charming cleric known for his wonderfully clever letters of hope, faith, and chatty news sent to various friends of social standing. His letter here gives me great inspiration and instructs me to take good care when the melancholies come to visit. It also teaches me to carry on and keep the focus on my own good life when others want to see me falter. I hope if the melancholies are your guest for a time, Rev. Smith will assist you. And remember, living well is the best revenge (blazing fires, notwithstanding)...
Dear Georginna,
Nobody has suffered more from low spirits than I have done, so I feel for you.
1st Live as well as you dare.
2nd Go into the shower-bath with a small quantity of water at a temperature low enough to give you a slight sensation of cold.
3rd Amusing books.
4th Short views of human life - not further than dinner or tea.
5th Be as busy as you can.
6th See as much as you can of those friends who respect and like you.
7th And of those acquaintances who amuse you.
8th Make no secret of low spirits to friends but talk of them freely - they are always worse for dignified concealment.
9th Attend to the effects tea and coffee produce on you.
10th Compare your lot with that of other people.
11th Don't expect too much from human life - a sorry business at the best.
12th Avoid poetry, dramatic representations (except comedy), music, serious novels, melancholoy sentimental people, and everything likely to excite feeling or emotion ending in active benevolence.
13th Do good, and edeavor to please everybody of every degree.
14th Be as much as you can in the open air without fatigue.
15th Make the room where you commonly sit, gay and pleasant.
16th Struggle by little and little against idleness.
17th Don't be too severe upon yourself, or underrate yourself, but do yourself justice.
18th Keep good blazing fires.
19th Be firm and constant in the exercise of rational religion.
20th Believe me, Dear Lady Geogianna.
Very truly yours,
Sydney Smith

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you, how very inspiring this letter of advice is! We all need a template to get through the tough times, and this is one of the best ones I've seen. Very charming and very true. Thanks for sharing this!