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“On Virtue”

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Allegory of Virtues by Antonio da Correggio

Sometimes the virtues we strive for seem like they are impossibly out of reach. No matter how hard we try to make ourselves patient, wise, or forbearing, we constantly fall short of our expectations.

Part of self-reflection is learning to know our own short-comings. To recognize the things that try our patience the most. To predict the times our tempers are likely to flare.

But knowing that we are flawed doesn’t excuse us from trying to be better. Virtue is closer and more attainable than we might think. Phillis Wheatley, a black slave and the first African-American woman to publish a book, writes a beautiful allegory about just how easy virtue is to find for those that go looking for it.

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