My friend and I were talking this morning, and she mentioned a quote from Jane Austen that said something about a marriage not lasting because of passion outstripping virtue. I looked online and here’s the quote I think she was referring to. I found it over at Jane Austen’s Quote of the Day.
Passion and Virtue“How Wickham and Lydia were to be supported in tolerable independence, she could not imagine. But how little of permanent happiness could belong to a couple who were only brought together because their passions were stronger than their virtue, she could easily conjecture.”
Lizzy reflecting on Lydia and Wickham’s hasty marriage
Pride and Prejudice, volume 3, chapter 8
“Because their passions were stronger than their virtue.”
Passion and virtue.
Given a couple of assumptions, let’s ask a question to help us through today’s work.
- Assumption #1: Passion and virtue are not the same thing. They are not exclusively separate, may have a certain overlap, but that overlap needs to be defined.
- Assumption #2: Passion in this Austen passage is primarily referring to romantic passions.
- Assumption #3: Even so, our more general use of the word “passion” to refer to those things we care most about and “passionately serve” may still have meaning in the scope of Austen’s insight.
Here’s the question: At the end of the day, what will you have done that will allow you to say that you have served your virtue at least as well as your passion? And if there is a showdown between the two, to which are you more “passionately” committed; your passion or your virtue?