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William Penn. (1644–1718). Fruits of Solitude.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

Part II

Of Envy

80. It is the Mark of an ill Nature, to lessen good Actions, and aggravate ill Ones.

81. Some men do as much begrutch others a good Name, as they want one themselves; and perhaps that is the Reason of it.

82. But certainly they are in the Wrong, that can think they are lessened, because others have their Due.

83. Such People generally have less Merit than Ambition, that Covet the Reward of other Men’s; and to be sure a very ill Nature, that will rather Rob others of their Due, than allow them their Praise.

84. It is more an Error of our Will, than our Judgment: For we know it to be an Effect of our Passion, not our Reason; and therefore we are the more culpable in our Partial Estimates.

85. It is as Envious as Unjust, to underrate another’s Actions where their intrinsick Worth recommends them to disengaged Minds.

86. Nothing shews more the Folly, as well as Fraud of Man, than Clipping of Merit and Reputation.

87. And as some Men think it an Allay to themselves, that others have their Right; so they know no End of Pilfering to raise their own Credit.

88. This Envy is the Child of Pride and Misgives, rather than Mistakes.

89. It will have Charity, to be Ostentation; Sobriety, Covetousness; Humility, Craft; Bounty, Popularity: In short, Virtue must be Design, and Religion, only Interest. Nay, the best of Qualities must not pass without a BUT to allay their Merit and abate their Praise. Basest of Tempers! and they that have them, the Worst of Men!

90. But Just and Noble Minds Rejoice in other Men’s Success, and help to augment their Praise.

91. And indeed they are not without a Love to Virtue, that take a Satisfaction in seeing her Rewarded, and such deserve to share her Character that do abhor to lessen it.