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Brave Men and Women

Brave Men and Women

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Publicado porDharmsen Soni

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Published by: Dharmsen Soni on Jan 26, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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with a finger to stop Ixion's wheel, or to dam up the current of the Thames
with a child's foot.

Since the matter is inevitable, we may as well sit down and reason it out. Is
it so dreadful to grow old? Does old age need its apologies and its
defenders? Is it a benefit or a calamity? Why should it be odious and
ridiculous? An old tree is picturesque, an old castle venerable, an old
cathedral inspires awe--why should man be worse than his works?

Let us, in the first place, see what youth is. Is it so blessed and happy and
flourishing as it seems to us? Schoolboys do not think so. They always
wish to be older. You cannot insult one of them more than by telling him
that he is a year or two younger than he is. He fires up at once: "Twelve,
did you say, sir? No, I'm fourteen." But men and women who have reached
twenty-eight do not thus add to their years. Amongst schoolboys,
notwithstanding the general tenor of those romancists who see that every
thing young bears a rose-colored blush, misery is prevalent enough.
Emerson, Coleridge, Wordsworth, were each and all unhappy boys. They
all had their rebuffs, and bitter, bitter troubles; all the more bitter because
their sensitiveness was so acute. Suicide is not unknown amongst the
young; fears prey upon them and terrify them; ignorances and follies
surround them. Arriving at manhood, we are little better off. If we are poor,
we mark the difference between the rich and us; we see position gains all
the day. If we are as clever as Hamlet, we grow just as philosophically
disappointed. If we love, we can only be sure of a brief pleasure--an April
day. Love has its bitterness. "It is," says Ovid, an adept in the matter, "full
of anxious fear." We fret and fume at the authority of the wise heads; we
have an intense idea of our own talent. We believe calves of our own age to
be as big and as valuable as full-grown bulls; we envy whilst we jest at the
old. We cry, with the puffed-up hero of the _Patrician's Daughter_:

"It may be by the calendar of years You are the elder man; but 'tis the sun
Of knowledge on the mind's dial shining bright, And chronicling deeds and
thoughts, that makes true time."

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