plaudits of the people to animate their generous constancy

gil12345

Senior Member
chinese
Hi there,

" In such a popular persecution, individual sufferers are in a much more deplorable condition than in any other. Under a cruel prince they have the balmy compassion of mankind to assuage the smart of their wounds, they have the plaudits of the people to animate their generous constancy under their sufferings: but those who are subjected to wrong under multitudes are deprived of all external consolation; they seem deserted by mankind, overpowered by a conspiracy of their whole species."

The Project Gutenberg eBook of Burke's Writings and Speeches, Volume the Third, by Edmund Burke. (397)

I am not completely clear about the underlined bold part. Is it that approval of other people incite people's generous and stead-fasted affection to suffered ones, or that the approval of other people incite suffered people to be generous and stead-fasted in their beliefs?


Thanks

Gil
 
  • Pertinax

    Senior Member
    BrE->AuE
    they have the plaudits of the people to animate their generous constancy

    This is hard to understand because several of the words are used in rare or obsolete senses.
    animate = imbue with spirit
    generous = principled, courageous
    constancy = steadfastness

    So - they have the applause and respect of other people to encourage them to remain true to their principles.
    This is close to what you suggest (the approval of other people incite suffered people to be generous and stead-fasted in their beliefs), but perhaps "incite" is a little strong, and "suffered" can be omitted.
     

    gil12345

    Senior Member
    chinese
    they have the plaudits of the people to animate their generous constancy

    This is hard to understand because several of the words are used in rare or obsolete senses.
    animate = imbue with spirit
    generous = principled, courageous
    constancy = steadfastness

    So - they have the applause and respect of other people to encourage them to remain true to their principles.
    This is close to what you suggest (the approval of other people incite suffered people to be generous and stead-fasted in their beliefs), but perhaps "incite" is a little strong, and "suffered" can be omitted.
    Thanks. But I only saw the entry of "generous" as noble, which is close to courageous, I guess.
     

    Pertinax

    Senior Member
    BrE->AuE
    The OED lists two obsolete senses of "generous" which I drew on, and one example of (by Burke himself) of the latter:
    2a. Noble of spirit, honourable, principled. Now in weakened sense: unselfish, magnanimous, kind.
    3. Gallant, courageous, valiant. Obs.

    1796 E. Burke Let. to Noble Lord in Wks. (1815) VIII. 46 He had in himself a salient, living spring, of generous and manly action.

    There are two sets of people here, suzi br, the general population on the one hand, and minority groups on the other. Under a monarchy or dictatorship, Burke argues, minority groups are treated better than in a democracy.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top