Compassion

PITY is both sought for and resented. Those who are unfortunate endeavor to awaken sympathetic grief in the hearts of men by recounting their distresses; yet when they have awakened pity, they find themselves made inferior by the recognition of their weakness and misfortune on the part of those who pity, and this often arouses indignation. The real desire of those who seek pity is to gain special and undeserved favor, and in this how often are they disappointed, getting commiseration instead. "How miserable I am!" is the plaint; and if the reply be, from one standing aloof, "Indeed you are very miserable," what uplift is there?

It has been said that pity as a mere emotion produces almost nothing in the way of benevolence. The sorrows of the unfortunate heroine in a play may be so presented that pity overflows in the hearts of the listeners, yet these same persons who looked at imaginary sorrow with streaming eyes, usually experience a reaction into a state of callousness when genuine sorrow and need call for action.

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Our Literature
July 18, 1903
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