[Outer Temple Court]George Herbert: "The Church-porch"

Day 22: Evening


Towards great persons use respective boldnesse:

That temper gives them theirs, and yet doth take

Nothing from thine: in service, care or coldnesse

Doth ratably thy fortunes marre or make.

   Feed no man in his sinnes: for adulation

   Doth make thee parcell-devil in damnation.

     [When dealing with] great persons, use respectful courage: that balance [of power] gives them theirs [rights and privileges], and yet does not take anything from yours: in service, care or coldness does proportionally harm or help your fortunes. Encourage no man in his sins: for approval makes you part-devil in damnation.

     Notable persons and persons of power and influence should be dealt with with respect, but not submissively, and with spirit but not presumption. This balance of courtesy and determination maintains their position yet confirms your value. Nothing is lost by either of you. In service to someone, where you are in a position of dependent power, care or coolness determines your fate. Your care in your office can make your fortune; your lack of concern may injure your advance. This recognition of the notable person's authority and dignity, confidence in your own worthiness and your care to do the job at hand will always do well toward your future.

     George Herbert spoke of Lords, Kings and masters. We speak of government officials, employers and respected family members. The relation is the same. They have the power and position. You have your own value as a person, with all the talents available. Value all these, yours and theirs. If you give in to their personality and do not make yourself responsible for your part in the business, you give up yourself. In this balance do not encourage sin in anyone, great or small. For if you do, you are his/her accomplice.

© 1997 J. R. Arner

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