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There is one thing on which I shall not cease from giving you advice, nor will I, as far as in me lies, allow your praise to be spoken of with a reservation. For all who come from your province do make one reservation in the extremely high praise which they bestow on your virtue, integrity, and kindness—it is that of sharpness of temper. That is a fault which, even in our private and everyday life, seems to indicate want of solidity and strength of mind; but nothing, surely, can be more improper than to combine harshness of temper with the exercise of supreme power. Wherefore I will not undertake to lay before you now what the greatest philosophers say about anger, for I should not wish to be tedious, and you can easily ascertain it yourself from the writings of many of them: but I don't think I ought to pass over what is the essence of a letter, namely, that the recipient should be informed of what he does not know. Well, what nearly everybody reports to me is this: they usually say that, as long as you are not out of temper, nothing can be pleasanter than you are, but that when some instance of dishonesty or wrong-headedness has stirred you, your temper rises to such a height that no one Can discover any trace of your usual kindness. Wherefore, since no mere desire for glory, but circumstances and fortune have brought us upon a path of life which makes it inevitable that men will always talk about us, let us be on our guard, to the utmost of our means and ability, that no glaring fault may be alleged to have existed in us. And I am not now urging, what is perhaps difficult in human nature generally, and at our time of life especially, that you should change your disposition and suddenly pluck out a deeply-rooted habit, but I give you this hint: if you cannot completely avoid this failing, because your mind is surprised by anger before cool calculation has been able to prevent it, deliberately prepare yourself beforehand, and daily reflect on the duty of resisting anger, and that, when it moves your heart most violently, it is just the time for being most careful to restrain your tongue. And that sometimes seems to me to be a. greater virtue than not being angry at all. For the latter is not always a mark of superiority to weakness, it is sometimes the result of dullness; but to govern temper and speech, however angry you may be, or even to hold your tongue and keep your indignant feelings and resentment under control, although it may not be a proof of perfect wisdom, yet requires no ordinary force of character. And, indeed, in this respect they tell me that you are now much more gentle and less irritable. No violent outbursts of indignation on your part, no abusive words, no insulting language are reported to me: which, while quite alien to culture and refinement, are specially unsuited to high power and place. For if your anger is implacable, it amounts to extreme harshness; if easily appeased, to extreme weakness. The latter, however, as a choice of evils, is, after all, preferable to harshness.

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