Excerpt from The Confessions of Jean Jacques Rousseau, Vol. 2: Now for the First Time Completely Translated Into English Without Expurgation
After two years of silence and patience, in spite Of my resolutions, I again take up my pen. Reader, suspend your judg ment upon the reasons which force me to do so; you cannot judge of them until you have read the story of my life.
You have seen my peaceful youth pass away in a tolerably uniform and agreeable manner, without great disappointments or remarkable prosperity. This absence of extremes was in great part the result of my passionate but weak disposition, which, more easily discouraged than prompt to undertake, only quitted its state of repose when rudely shocked, but fell back into it again from weariness and natural inclination; and which, while keeping me away from great virtues, and still further from great vices, led me back steadily to the indolent and peaceful life for which I felt Nature intended me, and never permitted me to attain to greatness in anything, either good or bad. What a different picture I shall soon have to draw! Destiny, which for thirty years favoured my inclinations, during a second thirty thwarted them, and this continued opposition between my position and inclinations will be seen to have produced monstrous errors, unheard-oi misfortunes, and all the virtues that can render adversity honourable, with the exception of strength of character.
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