Gentle reader: What, for you, is the greatest of all virtues?
I am a great believer in serendipity. It seems serendipitous in the extreme that over the past week I have chanced upon not one but two examples of impeccable gents celebrating the virtue of cheerfulness.
“In the face of adversity, cheerful people become mightily heroic.” So says Stephen Fry in a superb May 2017 interview with Tavis Smiley, which I happened upon the other day. Quoth Fry:
“There are virtues that the older I get, the more I believe in. And they are not the great capital letter virtues like Justice and Mercy and Compassion and so on. They’re smaller things. They are kindness and cheerfulness. I think in the face of adversity, cheerful people become mightily heroic. It’s a great quality. The cheerful person who thinks and is considerate.”
But an empty thing
Just a day or two later, a tweet from Gyles Brandreth brought the following lines from 18th/19th century Irish writer Isaac Bickerstaffe (He lived from 1733 to at least 1812, hence spanning two centuries) to my attention:
“The greatness that would make us grave,
Is but an empty thing.
What more than mirth would mortals have?
The cheerful man’s a king.”
The happy wanderer’s adversary
But while meeting adversity with cheer is undoubtedly a virtue, not everyone appreciates it. Tony Soprano for one had rather strong opinions on (and forgive me for using the language of the streets here) “the happy fuckin’ wanderer”.
Wear that knapsack on your back lightly.
A word of thanks to you
This the 150th post on this here silly blog. I get so much joy from being able to write here. If you have read even one word from this blog – indeed, if you are reading these words – thank you.
Now, I’d love to know: What is the greatest of all virtues for you?
Go on, treat yourself
- A Bit Of Fry & Laurie – Series 2 Stephen Fry at his very best (and Hugh Laurie is rather excellent too, of course).
- Gyles Brandreth – Breaking the Code: Westminster Diaries A superb, beautifully written political diary.
- The Sopranos – The Complete Series One of the greatest television series there has ever been. James Gandolfini’s central performance as Tony Soprano is extraordinary.