Rightly Or Wrongly, One Is Apt To Associate That
Time Of Life With Stern Resolve.
A young man, it appears to me, should
hold himself well in hand.
Youth has so much to spare! Youth can afford
to be virtuous. With such stores of joy looming ahead, it should be a
period of ideals, of self-restraint and self-discipline, of earnestness
of purpose. How well the Greek Anthology praises "Temperance, the nurse
of Youth!" The divine Plato lays it down that youngsters should not
touch wine at all, since it is not right to heap fire on fire. He adds
that older men like ourselves may indulge therein as an ally against the
austerity of their years - agreeing, therefore, with Theophrastus who
likewise recommends it for the "natural moroseness" of age.
Observe in this connection what happened to Craufurd Tait Ramage, LL.D.,
at Trebisacce. Here was a poor old coastguard who had been taken
prisoner by the Corsairs thirty years earlier, carried to Algiers, and
afterwards ransomed. Having "nothing better to do" (says our author) "I
confess I furnished him with somewhat more wine than was exactly
consistent with propriety"; with so liberal a quantity, indeed, that the
coastguard became quite "obstreperous in his mirth"; whereupon Ramage
hops on his mule and leaves him to his fate. Here, then, we have a young
fellow deliberately leading an old man astray. And why? Because he has
"nothing better to do."  It is not remarkably edifying. True, he
afterwards makes a kind of apology for "causing my brother to sin by
But if we close our eyes to the fact that Ramage, when he gave way to
these excesses, was a young man and ought to have known better, what an
agreeable companion we find him!
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