Temperament

Father Geiermann defines temperament and enumerates the characteristics of four general types of temperament:

“Temperament is the disposition resulting from the combination of man’s mental and physical constitution. . . . It is said there are no two creatures exactly alike in the visible world. . . . The same remark, for example, addressed to several persons, may cause one to laugh, another to weep, a third to grow angry, and make no apparent impression on a fourth.”

“Temperaments are usually divided into four general classes. They are the sanguine, the choleric, the melancholic, and the phlegmatic. There is no fixed boundary between them. They are rather like so many shades blending imperceptibly, though sometimes two or even more temperaments unite in the same individual. . . . Temperaments have their good as well as their bad characteristics.”

“A sanguine person is naturally amiable, generous, sociable, tractable, and happy on the one hand; and frivolous, vain, flighty, distracted, roguish, wanton, and desirous of pleasure on the other.”

“A choleric person is open, magnanimous, generous, sagacious, and noted for force of will; but he is also inclined to be self-willed, proud, presumptuous, obstinate, critical, ambitious, rebellious, hard-hearted, and revengeful.”

“A melancholic person is earnest, patient, methodical, and resigned when in good humor; but inclined to be morose, jealous, envious, irresolute, retiring, and dejected when out of sorts.”

“A phlegmatic person is naturally calm, patient, agreeable, and circumspect; but dull, indolent, unsympathetic, and a lover of ease, comfort, and good cheer.”

Quotations from Peter Geiermann, The Narrow Way (New York: Benziger, 1914).

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