The Glory of the Imperfect

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Houghton Mifflin, 1906 - Conduct of life - 32 pages

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Page 14 - To-day's brief passion limits their range; It seethes with the morrow for us and more. They are perfect — how else ? they shall never change: We are faulty — why not ? we have time in store. The Artificer's hand is not arrested With us; we are rough-hewn, nowise polished: They stand for our copy, and, once invested With all they can teach, we shall see them abolished.
Page 18 - After puzzling long about the charm of Homer, I once applied to a learned friend and said to him, "Can you tell me why Homer is so interesting? Why can't you and I write as he wrote? Why is it that his art was lost with him, and that today it is impossible for us to quicken such interest as he?
Page 18 - Homer is so interesting? Why can't you and I write as he wrote? Why is it that his art was lost with him, and that today it is impossible for us to quicken such interest as he?" "Well," said my friend, "I have meditated on that a great deal, but it seems to me it comes to about this: Homer looked long at a thing. Why...
Page 18 - Do you strip away your own likings and dislikings, your own previous notions of what it ought to be ? Do you come face to face with things ? If you do, the hardest situation in life may well be to you a delight. For you will not regard hardships, but only opportunities. Possibly you may even feel, ' Yes, here are just the difficulties I like to explore. How can one be interested in easy things ? The hard things of life are the ones for which we ought to give thanks.
Page 19 - My eyes were dulled to tbit long ago ; I cannot observe it. Beware, do not let yourselves grow dull. Observe, observe, observe in every direction ! Keep your eyes open. Go forward, understanding that the world was made for your knowledge, that you have the right to enter into and possess it.
Page 1 - Through him we have learned the charm of simplicity, the refinement of exactitude, the strength of finished form ; we have learned calmness in trial too, the patience of duty, ability to wait when in doubt ; in short, we have learned dignity, and he who teaches us dignity is not a man lightly to be forgotten or disparaged.
Page 17 - The first rule shall be — observe! A simple matter — one, I dare say, which it will seem to you difficult not to follow. You have a pair of eyes; how can you fail to observe? Ah, but eyes can only look; that is not observing. You want to observe, not to look only. You want to penetrate into things, to find out what is there. There is nothing on earth which, when observed, is not of enormous interest. You cannot find anything so destitute of the principles of life that, when you come to study...
Page 22 - You should respect yourself as a part of all, and not as of independent worth. To call this wide world our own larger self is not too extravagant an expression. But if we are to count it so, then we must count the particular thing which we are capable of doing as merely our special contribution to the great self. And we must understand that many are making similar contributions. What I want you to feel, therefore, is the profound conception of mutual helpfulness and resulting individual dignity which...
Page 21 - Do not stand apart from the movements of the country,—the political, charitable, religious, scientific, literary movements,—however distastefully they may strike you. Identify yourself with them, sympathize with them. They all have a noble side; seek it out and claim it as your own. Throw yourself into all life and make it nobly yours.

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