Friday, 12 October 2012

Weekend Quote #14

“'Tis better to be vile than vile esteemed,
When not to be, receives reproach of being,
And the just pleasure lost, which is so deemed,
Not by our feeling, but by others' seeing.”

Just a thought that crossed my mind while I was reading Hugo's Les Miserables. No, not because I agree with the quote, but because the sentence expresses the bitterness of being wrongly accused.

The quote is taken from Shakespeare's Sonnet 121. It has been a long while since the last time I read it, but reading Les Miserables brought it back to my mind. (You can read my ramblings about each volume of Les Miserables here in my blog.)

The quote itself is quite self-explanatory. I don't say that being accused of doing something bad is a good reason to actually do it, quite the contrary. Doing good is rewarding in itself – 'just pleasure lost not by our feeling'. But being accused of doing something bad, while what you do is actually an honourable thing based on a pure motive is hurtful.

In reading, it's one of the things I find most hard to accept: that people might not see our motive and our deeds, and so judging that we have done awful things towards them.


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  1. That reminds me a lot of a Sherlock Holmes quote, where he says (again, bitterly) what you make people believe you have done is more important than what you have actually done. Sad, but it happens so much in real life.

  2. When does he say that? I vaguely remember him saying something like that but can't point out where and when.