Hymn to Virtue

I thought that, the better to kick off my new life of virtue, I’d better write a hymn to virtue itself. Why, you might ask, to virtue itself? Why not simply write a hymn to virtue? The answer is essentially (I can’t go into all the ins and outs just now) that it just sounds tougher. Virtue, sure — but why not virtue itself — The whole deal!

“Virtue is being wise,” I begin, “virtue is loving being wise. Like some people love a particular person, like another person will fall into raptures when they hear a certain song, that’s how the virtuous person feels as he’s treading the paths of pure wisdom! You can imagine how dejected this lover feels when he’s being false and foolish!”

You will tell me that is not a bad start for a hymn, with which I concur completely, with one caveate: that this hymn, I don’t imagine, is the sort you’ll find on your popular music stations of today, howsoever wonderful it may be in all other imaginable respects. For one thing, it doesn’t have a rocking beat (except for the rocking beat of pure goodness!); for another thing it doesn’t come with a flashy video (unless you consider Reality a good enough video for you!); nor is there a faddish dance associated with this song (saving those dance steps required for the performance of good and noble deeds!). But enough of this. Now we want to hear more of the hymn.

“Virtue is moderation! Virtue is courage! Virtue is gazing at a point you can’t fully make out and yet must!!” (I admit that with this last remark I embarked on some original research, giving vent to an idea I’ve had recently that is actually pretty weird: that when I try and gaze upward to a point actually located behind my eyes and within my head I’m striving to attain to virtue, albeit in a curious way.) “Virtue is a sense of urgency! Virtue is a sense of stillness! An urgency to do and not to do! Why should any time be wasted? Why should any of life be spared from being bent upon life’s purpose? Always always always virtue!”

It may pain the reader-enthusiast of my work to know I was half-tempted not to commit to paper this song. This from the fear, the nagging fear I have had, that I might render ridiculous, through my Hymn, the very thing I mean so earnestly to exalt by it. But the stakes, in this case, were too exceedingly high; for just as a lullaby may bring many a child to sleep, I had hopes –and I think quite reasonably– that with this, my own hymn, I would bring many a person, and myself too, to virtue. But enough of this nonsense. Let us hear more of the song we love:

“Virtue: not being a phony. Virtue: remaining oneself under pressure, under scrutiny (for what have we to fear?) Virtue: which begins with self-respect. Always always self-respect! always always virtue!”

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