Youth is a beautiful dream, on whose brightness books shed a blinding dust. Will ever the day come when the wise link the joy of knowledge to youth's dream? Will ever the day come when Nature becomes the teacher of man, humanity his book and life his school? Youth's joyous purpose cannot be fulfilled until that day comes. Too slow is our march toward spiritual elevation, because we make so little use of youth's ardor.
The langour of Youth - how unique and quintessential it is! How quickly, how irrecoverably, lost! The zest, the generous affections, the illusions, the despair, all the traditional attributes of Youth - all save this come and go with us through life...These things are a part of life itself; but languor - the relaxation of yet unwearied sinews, the mind sequestered and self-regarding, the sun standing still in the heavens and the earth throbbing to our own pulse - that belongs to Youth alone and dies with it.
In youth it is the outward aspect of things that most engages us; while in age, thought or reflection is the predominating qualityof the mind. Hence, youth is the time for poetry, and age is more inclined to philosophy. In practical affairs it is the same: a man shapes his resolutions in youth more by the impression that the outward world makes upon him; whereas, when he is old, it is thought that determines his actions.
I do not regret my youth and its beliefs. Up to now, I have wasted my time to live. Youth is the true force, but it is too rarely lucid. Sometimes it has a triumphant liking for what is now, and the pugnacious broadside of paradox may please it. But there is a degree in innovation which they who have not lived very much cannot attain. And yet who knows if the stern greatness of present events will not have educated and aged the generation which to-day forms humanity's effective frontier? Whatever our hope may be, if we did not place it in youth, where should we place it?
This fighting-shy of every obligation partly explains the phenomenon, half ridiculous, half disgraceful, Of the setting-up in our days of the platform of "youth" as youth. ... In comic fashion people call themselves "young," because they have heard that youth has more rights than obligations, since it can put off the fulfilment of these latter to the Greek Kalends of maturity. ...[T]he astounding thing at present is that these take it as an effective right precisely in order to claim for themselves all those other rights which only belong to the man who has already done something.
Enjoy the blessing of strength while you have it and do not bewail it when it is gone, unless, forsooth, you believe that youth must lament the loss of infancy, or early manhood the passing of youth. Life's race-course is fixed; Nature has only a single path and that path is run but once, and to each stage of existence has been allotted its own appropriate quality; so that the weakness of childhood, the impetuosity of youth, the seriousness of middle life, the maturity of old age.. each bears some of Nature's fruit, which must be garnered in its own season.
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