D.H. Lawrence Revises Benjamin Franklin’s 13 Virtues

In his Autobiography, Benjamin Franklin inventoried his thirteen virtues:

1. TEMPERANCE
Eat not to fulness; drink not to elevation.

2. SILENCE
Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.

3. ORDER
Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.

4. RESOLUTION
Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.

5. FRUGALITY
Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself i.e., waste nothing.

6. INDUSTRY
Lose no time, be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary action.

7. SINCERITY
Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.

8. JUSTICE
Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.

9. MODERATION
Avoid extremes, forbear resenting injuries as much as you think they deserve.

10. CLEANLINESS
Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.

11. TRANQUILLITY
Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.

12. CHASTITY
Rarely use venery but for health and offspring, never to dulness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.

13. HUMILITY
Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

D.H. Lawrence revised them—for himself, of course—in Studies in Classic American Literature:

1. TEMPERANCE
Eat and carouse with Bacchus, or munch dry bread with Jesus, but don’t sit down without one of the gods.

2. SILENCE
Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you’ve got to say, and say it hot.

3. ORDER
Know that you are responsible to the gods inside you and to the men in whom the gods are manifest. Recognize your superiors and your inferiors, according to the gods. This is
the root of all order.

4. RESOLUTION
Resolve to abide by your own deepest promptings, and to sacrifice the smaller thing to the greater. Kill when you must, and be killed the same: the must coming from the gods inside you, or from the men in whom you recognize the Holy Ghost.

5. FRUGALITY
Demand nothing; accept what you see fit. Don’t waste your pride or squander your emotion.

6. INDUSTRY
Lose no time with ideals; serve the Holy Ghost; never serve mankind.

7. SINCERITY
To be sincere is to remember that I am I, and that the other man is not me.

8. JUSTICE
The only justice is to follow the sincere intuition of the soul, angry or gentle. Anger is just, and pity is just, but judgement is never just.

9. MODERATION
Beware of absolutes. There are many gods.

10. CLEANLINESS
Don’t be too clean. It impoverishes the blood.

11. TRANQUILITY
The soul has many motions, many gods come and go. Try and find your deepest issue, in every confusion, and abide by that. Obey the man in whom you recognize the Holy Ghost; command when your honour comes to command.

12. CHASTITY
Never ‘use’ venery at all. Follow your passional impulse, if it be answered in the other being; but never have any motive in mind, neither offspring nor health nor even pleasure, nor even service. Only know that ‘venery’ is of the great gods. An offering-up of yourself to the very great gods, the dark ones, and nothing else.

13. HUMILITY
See all men and women according to the Holy Ghost that is within them. Never yield before the barren.

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