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Excerpt: ...conjectures, run adrift on the sea of doubt, the shoals of expediency, bereft of faith in themselves as in things unseen and ideal. "See gifted youths rush out to feed on whims; Fashion craves their hours, low hopes their aim, To win not noble women for their brides, But titled slaves, heirs to some teasing caste, For beauty without culture seems mere show; As if great nature laid not on her tints With more contrivance than the brush of art; Or schools where grammars hide the place of sense, And shallow stammering drowns the native voice." Not letters but life chiefly educate if we are educatable. But experience follows oftenest too late for most and too distant from the work to help us directly without an interpreter to assist in making timely use of it. Fortunate will it be, if by instinct and mother wit we take life at first hand, converting it forthwith into thought and habit. Character comes of temperament far more than of acquirement. And the most that culture performs is the drawing forth, fashioning and polishing the natural gifts. But we cannot create what is not inborn. A fine brain is a spiritual endowment, as from the head of Jove sprang Minerva. Centuries of culture pass into pure power; piety and genius are parents of piety and genius. But less discriminating than were the ancient carvers in wood and ivory, who, when they had an order for a head of Hermes, or any ordinary god even, searched carefully for substances adapted to receive the proper form, states attempt to fashion saints and rulers out of any materials that chance brings to hand. Omitting mind, or overriding it in our haste to come at immediate and superficial results, we ignore ideas and principles altogether. Aiming at little we attain little. For while our country opens the freest scope for the exercise of the higher gifts of genius and character, we cherish these but feebly in our public or private training. The highest prizes held forth to youth are not only more

Product details

  • Paperback | 38 pages
  • 189 x 246 x 2mm | 86g
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1236717635
  • 9781236717634