Of the great soul there are two characteristics, irony and pity.
By irony I mean nothing hard or cruel, but only that gentle laugher which arises from the realization that most things make no matter. Most tempests are in a teapot, much of the world’s ado is about nothing, most frantic medicines are for diseases that would best cure themselves if let alone.
With irony, a sense of removal, comes pity, a sense of nearness. We may be far from men but we are nearer than ever before. We pity because we no longer condemn. We have come down from the judge’s bench and are a friend at court, because we have found out that human hearts do not need judgment, but help…….
Once we criticized; now we see it is not worth while; the essential is sympathy. We dealt damnation right and left, we divided sheep from goats with a thorny stick, we had heroes and villains.
Time has budded our staff, has blunted our sword……
Pity weeps and makes life sacred. Irony smiles and makes life amiable. And irony is gentle and kind. “It teaches us to smile at wicked men and fools whom, without it, we might have the weakness to hate.” Dr. Frank Crane photo from the Internet
No question, as I read this in my sixties, I see much of it developing within; I like that, wish it were more. Being raised up in evangelical churches I have experienced much "damnation right and left, dividing sheep from goats with a thorny stick, having heroes and villains". Surely you know God hates the wicked....... Or so I used to think, but I see so much evil in the best of men and good in the worst of men I find my judgments at best premature and as I evaluate this soul of mine flowing with the nature of Angels, but alas, also of beasts I think I will work more on pity, forgiveness, love and leave the balance sheet to someone else.