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    Aes Triplex

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    Chapter 4
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    AES TRIPLEX[1]

    The changes wrought by death are in themselves so sharp and final, and
    so terrible and melancholy in their consequences, that the thing
    stands alone in man's experience, and has no parallel upon earth. It
    outdoes all other accidents because it is the last of them. Sometimes
    it leaps suddenly upon its victims, like a Thug;[2] sometimes it lays
    a regular siege and creeps upon their citadel during a score of years.
    And when the business is done, there is sore havoc made in other
    people's lives, and a pin knocked out by which many subsidiary
    friendships hung together. There are empty chairs, solitary walks, and
    single beds at night. Again in taking away our friends, death does not
    take them away utterly, but leaves behind a mocking, tragical, and
    soon intolerable residue, which must be hurriedly concealed. Hence a
    whole chapter of sights and customs striking to the mind, from the
    pyramids of Egypt to the gibbets and dule trees[3] of mediaeval
    Europe. The poorest persons have a bit of pageant going towards the
    tomb; memorial stones are set up over the least memorable; and, in
    order to preserve some show of respect for what remains of our old
    loves and friendships, we must accompany it with much grimly ludicrous
    ceremonial, and the hired undertaker parades before the door. All
    this, and much more of the same sort, accompanied by the eloquence of
    poets, has gone a great way to put humanity in error; nay, in many
    philosophies the error has been embodied and laid down with every
    circumstance of logic; although in real life the bustle and swiftness,
    in leaving people little time to think, have not left them time enough
    to go dangerously wrong in practice.

    As a matter of fact, although few things are spoken of with more
    fearful whisperings than this prospect of death, few have less
    influence on conduct under healthy circumstances. We have all heard of
    cities in South America built upon the side of fiery mountains, and
    how, even in this tremendous neighbourhood, the inhabitants are not a
    jot more impressed by the solemnity of mortal conditions than if they
    were delving gardens in the greenest corner of England. There are
    serenades and suppers and much gallantry among the myrtles overhead;
    and meanwhile the foundation shudders underfoot, the bowels of the
    mountain growl, and at any moment living ruin may leap sky-high into
    the moonlight, and tumble man and his merry-making in the dust. In the
    eyes of very young people, and very dull old ones, there is something
    indescribably reckless and desperate in such a picture. It seems not
    credible that respectable married people, with umbrellas, should find
    appetite for a bit of supper within quite a long distance of a fiery
    mountain; ordinary life begins to smell of high-handed debauch when it
    is carried on so close to a catastrophe; and even cheese and salad, it
    seems, could hardly be relished in such circumstances without
    something like a defiance of the Creator. It should be a place for
    nobody but hermits dwelling in prayer and maceration, or mere
    born-devils drowning care in a perpetual carouse.

    And yet, when one comes to think upon it calmly, the situation of
    these South American citizens forms only a very pale figure for the
    state of ordinary mankind. This world itself, travelling blindly and
    swiftly in overcrowded space, among a million other worlds travelling
    blindly and swiftly in contrary directions, may very well come by a
    knock that would set it into explosion like a penny squib. And what,
    pathologically looked at, is the human body with all its organs, but a
    mere bagful of petards? The least of these is as dangerous to the
    whole economy as the ship's powder-magazine to the ship; and with
    every breath we breathe, and every meal we eat, we are putting one or
    more of them in peril. If we clung as devotedly as some philosophers
    pretend we do to the abstract idea of life, or were half as frightened
    as they make out we are, for the subversive accident that ends it all,
    the trumpets might sound[4] by the hour and no one would follow them
    into battle--the blue-peter might fly at the truck,[5] but who would
    climb into a sea-going ship? Think (if these philosophers were right)
    with what a preparation of spirit we should affront the daily peril of
    the dinner-table: a deadlier spot than any battlefield in history,
    where the far greater proportion of our ancestors have miserably left
    their bones! What woman would ever be lured into marriage, so much
    more dangerous than the wildest sea? And what would it be to grow old?
    For, after a certain distance, every step we take in life we find the
    ice growing thinner below our feet, and all around us and behind us we
    see our contemporaries going through. By the time a man gets well into
    the seventies, his continued existence is a mere miracle; and when he
    lays his old bones in bed for the night, there is an overwhelming
    probability that he will never see the day. Do the old men mind it, as
    a matter of fact? Why, no. They were never merrier; they have their
    grog at night, and tell the raciest stories; they hear of the death of
    people about their own age, or even younger, not as if it was a grisly
    warning, but with a simple childlike pleasure at having outlived
    someone else; and when a draught might puff them out like a fluttering
    candle, or a bit of a stumble shatter them like so much glass, their
    old hearts keep sound and unaffrighted, and they go on, bubbling with
    laughter, through years of man's age compared to which the valley at
    Balaclava[6] was as safe and peaceful as a village cricket-green on
    Sunday. It may fairly be questioned (if we look to the peril only)
    whether it was a much more daring feat for Curtius[7] to plunge into
    the gulf, than for any old gentleman of ninety to doff his clothes and
    clamber into bed.

    Indeed, it is a memorable subject for consideration, with what
    unconcern and gaiety mankind pricks on along the Valley of the Shadow
    of Death. The whole way is one wilderness of snares, and the end of
    it, for those who fear the last pinch, is irrevocable ruin. And yet we
    go spinning through it all, like a party for the Derby.[8] Perhaps the
    reader remembers one of the humorous devices of the deified
    Caligula:[9] how he encouraged a vast concourse of holiday-makers on
    to his bridge over Baiae[10] bay; and when they were in the height of
    their enjoyment, turned loose the Praetorian guards[11] among the
    company, and had them tossed into the sea. This is no bad miniature of
    the dealings of nature with the transitory race of man. Only, what a
    chequered picnic we have of it, even while it lasts! and into what
    great waters, not to be crossed by any swimmer, God's pale Praetorian
    throws us over in the end!

    We live the time that a match flickers; we pop the cork of a
    ginger-beer bottle, and the earthquake swallows us on the instant. Is
    it not odd, is it not incongruous, is it not, in the highest sense of
    human speech, incredible, that we should think so highly of the
    ginger-beer, and regard so little the devouring earthquake? The love
    of Life and the fear of Death are two famous phrases that grow harder
    to understand the more we think about them. It is a well-known fact
    that an immense proportion of boat accidents would never happen if
    people held the sheet in their hands instead of making it fast; and
    yet, unless it be some martinet of a professional mariner or some
    landsman with shattered nerves, every one of God's creatures makes it
    fast. A strange instance of man's unconcern and brazen boldness in the
    face of death!

    We confound ourselves with metaphysical phrases, which we import into
    daily talk with noble inappropriateness. We have no idea of what death
    is, apart from its circumstances and some of its consequences to
    others; and although we have some experience of living, there is not a
    man on earth who has flown so high into abstraction as to have any
    practical guess at the meaning of the Word _life_. All literature,
    from Job and Omar Khayyam to Thomas Carlyle or Walt Whitman,[12] is
    but an attempt to look upon the human state with such largeness of
    view as shall enable us to rise from the consideration of living to
    the Definition of Life. And our sages give us about the best
    satisfaction in their power when they say that it is a vapour, or a
    show, or made out of the same stuff with dreams.[13] Philosophy, in
    its more rigid sense, has been at the same work for ages; and after a
    myriad bald heads have wagged over the problem, and piles of words
    have been heaped one upon another into dry and cloudy volumes without
    end, philosophy has the honour of laying before us, with modest pride,
    her contribution towards the subject: that life is a Permanent
    Possibility of Sensation.[14] Truly a fine result! A man may very well
    love beef, or hunting, or a woman; but surely, surely, not a Permanent
    Possibility of Sensation. He may be afraid of a precipice, or a
    dentist, or a large enemy with a club, or even an undertaker's man;
    but not certainly of abstract death. We may trick with the word life
    in its dozen senses until we are weary of tricking; we may argue in
    terms of all the philosophies on earth, but one fact remains true
    throughout--that we do not love life, in the sense that we are greatly
    preoccupied about its conservation; that we do not, properly speaking,
    love life at all, but living. Into the views of the least careful
    there will enter some degree of providence; no man's eyes are fixed
    entirely on the passing hour; but although we have some anticipation
    of good health, good weather, wine, active employment, love, and
    self-approval, the sum of these anticipations does not amount to
    anything like a general view of life's possibilities and issues; nor
    are those who cherish them most vividly, at all the most scrupulous of
    their personal safety. To be deeply interested in the accidents of our
    existence, to enjoy keenly the mixed texture of human experience,
    rather leads a man to disregard precautions, and risk his neck against
    a straw. For surely the love of living is stronger in an Alpine
    climber roping over a peril, or a hunter riding merrily at a stiff
    fence, than in a creature who lives upon a diet and walks a measured
    distance in the interest of his constitution.

    There is a great deal of very vile nonsense talked upon both sides of
    the matter: tearing divines reducing life to the dimensions of a mere
    funeral procession, so short as to be hardly decent; and melancholy
    unbelievers yearning for the tomb as if it were a world too far away.
    Both sides must feel a little ashamed of their performances now and
    again when they draw in their chairs to dinner. Indeed, a good meal
    and a bottle of wine is an answer to most standard works upon the
    question. When a man's heart warms to his viands, he forgets a great
    deal of sophistry, and soars into a rosy zone of contemplation. Death
    may be knocking at the door, like the Commander's statue;[15] we have
    something else in hand, thank God, and let him knock. Passing bells
    are ringing all the world over. All the world over, and every
    hour,[16] someone is parting company with all his aches and ecstasies.
    For us also the trap is laid. But we are so fond of life that we have
    no leisure to entertain the terror of death. It is a honeymoon with us
    all through, and none of the longest. Small blame to us if we give our
    whole hearts to this glowing bride of ours, to the appetites, to
    honour, to the hungry curiosity of the mind, to the pleasure of the
    eyes in nature, and the pride of our own nimble bodies.

    We all of us appreciate the sensations; but as for caring about the
    Permanence of the Possibility, a man's head is generally very bald,
    and his senses very dull, before he comes to that. Whether we regard
    life as a lane leading to a dead wall--a mere bag's end,[17] as the
    French say--or whether we think of it as a vestibule or gymnasium,
    where we wait our turn and prepare our faculties for some more noble
    destiny; whether we thunder in a pulpit, or pule in little atheistic
    poetry-books, about its vanity and brevity; whether we look justly for
    years of health and vigour, or are about to mount into a Bath-chair,
    as a step towards the hearse; in each and all of these views and
    situations there is but one conclusion possible: that a man should
    stop his ears against paralysing terror, and run the race that is set
    before him with a single mind. No one surely could have recoiled with
    more heartache and terror from the thought of death than our respected
    lexicographer; and yet we know how little it affected his conduct, how
    wisely and boldly he walked, and in what a fresh and lively vein he
    spoke of life. Already an old man, he ventured on his Highland tour;
    and his heart, bound with triple brass, did not recoil before
    twenty-seven individual cups of tea.[18] As courage and intelligence
    are the two qualities best worth a good man's cultivation, so it is
    the first part of intelligence to recognise our precarious estate in
    life, and the first part of courage to be not at all abashed before
    the fact. A frank and somewhat headlong carriage, not looking too
    anxiously before, not dallying in maudlin regret over the past, stamps
    the man who is well armoured for this world.

    And not only well armoured for himself, but a good friend and a good
    citizen to boot. We do not go to cowards for tender dealing; there is
    nothing so cruel as panic; the man who has least fear for his own
    carcass, has most time to consider others. That eminent chemist who
    took his walks abroad in tin shoes, and subsisted wholly upon tepid
    milk, had all his work cut out for him in considerate dealings with
    his own digestion. So soon as prudence has begun to grow up in the
    brain, like a dismal fungus, it finds its first expression in a
    paralysis of generous acts. The victim begins to shrink spiritually;
    he develops a fancy for parlours with a regulated temperature, and
    takes his morality on the principle of tin shoes and tepid milk. The
    care of one important body or soul becomes so engrossing, that all the
    noises of the outer world begin to come thin and faint into the
    parlour with the regulated temperature; and the tin shoes go equably
    forward over blood and rain. To be overwise is to ossify; and the
    scruple-monger ends by standing stockstill. Now the man who has his
    heart on his sleeve, and a good whirling weathercock of a brain, who
    reckons his life as a thing to be dashingly used and cheerfully
    hazarded, makes a very different acquaintance of the world, keeps all
    his pulses going true and fast, and gathers impetus as he runs, until,
    if he be running towards anything better than wildfire, he may shoot
    up and become a constellation in the end. Lord look after his health,
    Lord have a care of his soul, says he; and he has at the key of the
    position, and swashes through incongruity and peril towards his aim.
    Death is on all sides of him with pointed batteries, as he is on all
    sides of all of us; unfortunate surprises gird him round; mim-mouthed
    friends[19] and relations hold up their hands in quite a little
    elegiacal synod about his path: and what cares he for all this? Being
    a true lover of living, a fellow with something pushing and
    spontaneous in his inside, he must, like any other soldier, in any
    other stirring, deadly warfare, push on at his best pace until he
    touch the goal. "A peerage or Westminster Abbey!"[20] cried Nelson in
    his bright, boyish, heroic manner. These are great incentives; not for
    any of these, but for the plain satisfaction of living, of being about
    their business in some sort or other, do the brave, serviceable men of
    every nation tread down the nettle danger,[21] and pass flyingly over
    all the stumbling-blocks of prudence. Think of the heroism of Johnson,
    think of that superb indifference to mortal limitation that set him
    upon his dictionary, and carried him through triumphantly until the
    end! Who, if he were wisely considerate of things at large, would ever
    embark upon any work much more considerable than a halfpenny post
    card? Who would project a serial novel, after Thackeray and Dickens
    had each fallen in mid-course?[22] Who would find heart enough to
    begin to live, if he dallied with the consideration of death?

    And, after all, what sorry and pitiful quibbling all this is! To
    forego all the issues of living in a parlour with a regulated
    temperature--as if that were not to die a hundred times over, and for
    ten years at a stretch! As if it were not to die in one's own
    lifetime, and without even the sad immunities of death! As if it were
    not to die, and yet be the patient spectators of our own pitiable
    change! The Permanent Possibility is preserved, but the sensations
    carefully held at arm's length, as if one kept a photographic plate in
    a dark chamber. It is better to lose health like a spendthrift than to
    waste it like a miser. It is better to live and be done with it, than
    to die daily in the sickroom. By all means begin your folio; even if
    the doctor does not give you a year, even if he hesitates about a
    month, make one brave push and see what can be accomplished in a week.
    It is not only in finished undertakings that we ought to honour useful
    labour. A spirit goes out of the man who means execution, which
    outlives the most untimely ending. All who have meant good work with
    their whole hearts, have done good work,[23] although they may die
    before they have the time to sign it. Every heart that has beat strong
    and cheerfully has left a hopeful impulse behind it in the world, and
    bettered the tradition of mankind. And even if death catch people,
    like an open pitfall, and in mid-career, laying out vast projects, and
    planning monstrous foundations, flushed with hope, and their mouths
    full of boastful language, they should be at once tripped up and
    silenced: is there not something brave and spirited in such a
    termination? and does not life go down with a better grace, foaming in
    full body over a precipice, than miserably straggling to an end in
    sandy deltas? When the Greeks made their fine saying that those whom
    the gods love die young,[24] I cannot help believing they had this
    sort of death also in their eye. For surely, at whatever age it
    overtake the man, this is to die young. Death has not been suffered to
    take so much as an illusion from his heart. In the hot-fit of life, a
    tip-toe on the highest point of being, he passes at a bound on to the
    other side. The noise of the mallet and chisel is scarcely quenched,
    the trumpets are hardly done blowing, when, trailing with him clouds
    of glory,[25] this happy-starred, full-blooded spirit shoots into the
    spiritual land.

    NOTES

    This essay, which is commonly (and justly) regarded as Stevenson's
    masterpiece of literary composition, was first printed in the
    _Cornhill Magazine_ for April 1878, Vol. XXXVII, pp. 432-437. In 1881
    it was published in the volume _Virginibus Puerisque_. For the success
    of this volume, as well as for its author's relations with the editor
    of the _Cornhill_, see our note to _An Apology for Idlers_. It was
    this article which was selected for reprinting in separate form by the
    American Committee of the Robert Louis Stevenson Memorial Fund; to
    every subscriber of ten dollars or more, was given a copy of this
    essay, exquisitely printed at the De Vinne Press, 1898. Copies of this
    edition are now eagerly sought by book-collectors; five of them were
    taken by the Robert Louis Stevenson Club of Yale College, consisting
    of a few undergraduates of the class of 1898, who subscribed fifty
    dollars to the fund.

    Stevenson's cheerful optimism was constantly shadowed by the thought
    of Death, and in _Aes Triplex_ he gives free rein to his fancies on
    this universal theme.

    [Note 1: The title, _AEs Triplex_, is taken from Horace, _aes triplex
    circa pectus_, "breast enclosed by triple brass," "aes" used by Horace
    as a "symbol of indomitable courage."--Lewis's Latin Dictionary.]

    [Note 2: _Thug_. This word, which sounds to-day so slangy, really
    comes from the Hindoos (Hindustani _thaaa_, deceive). It is the name
    of a religious order in India, ostensibly devoted to the worship of a
    goddess, but really given to murder for the sake of booty. The
    Englishmen in India called them _Thugs_, hence the name in its modern
    general sense.]

    [Note 3: _Pyramids ... dule trees_. For pyramids, see our note 25 of
    chapter II above... _Dule trees_. More properly spelled "dool." A dool
    was a stake or post used to mark boundaries.]

    [Note 4: _The trumpets might sound_. "For if the trumpet give an
    uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?" I _Cor_.
    XIV, 8.]

    [Note 5: _The blue-peter might-fly at the truck_. The blue-peter is a
    term used in the British navy and widely elsewhere; it is a blue flag
    with a white square employed often as a signal for sailing. The word
    is corrupted from _Blue Repeater_, a signal flag. _Truck_ is a very
    small platform at the top of a mast.]

    [Note 6: _Balaclava_. A little port near Sebastopol, in the Crimea.
    During the Crimean War, on the 25 October 1854, occurred the cavalry
    charge of some six hundred Englishmen, celebrated by Tennyson's
    universally known poem, _The Charge of the Light Brigade_. It has
    recently been asserted that the number reported as actually killed in
    this headlong charge referred to the horses, not to the men.]

    [Note 7: _Curtius_. Referring to the story of the Roman youth, Metius
    Curtius, who in 362 B.C. leaped into a chasm in the Forum, in order to
    save his country. The chasm immediately closed over him, and Rome was
    saved. Although the truth of the story has naturally failed to survive
    the investigations of historical critics, its moral inspiration has
    been effective in many historical instances.]

    [Note 8: _Party for the Derby_. Derby Day, which is the occasion of
    the most famous annual running race for horses in the world, takes
    place in the south of England during the week preceding Whitsunday.
    The race was founded by the Earl of Derby in 1780. It is now one of
    the greatest holidays in England, and the whole city of London turns
    out for the event. It is a great spectacle to see the crowd going from
    London and returning. The most faithful description of the event, the
    crowds, and the interest excited, may be found in George Moore's
    novel, _Esther Waters_ (1894).]

    [Note 9: _The deified Caligula_. Caius Caligula was Roman Emperor from
    37 to 41 A. D. He was brought up among the soldiers, who gave him the
    name Caligula, because he wore the soldier's leather shoe, or
    half-boot, (Latin _caliga_). Caligula was deified, but that did not
    prevent him from becoming a madman, which seems to be the best way to
    account for his wanton cruelty and extraordinary caprices.]

    [Note 10: _Baiae_ was a small town on the Campanian Coast, ten miles
    from Naples. It was a favorite summer resort of the Roman
    aristocracy.]

    [Note 11: The _Praetorian Guard_ was the body-guard of the Roman
    emperors. The incident Stevenson speaks of may be found in Tacitus.]

    [Note 12: _Job_ ... _Walt Whitman_. The book of _Job_ is usually
    regarded as the most poetical work in the Bible, even exceeding
    _Psalms_ and _Isaiah_ in its splendid imaginative language and
    extraordinary figures of speech. For a literary study of it, the
    student is recommended to Professor Moulton's edition. Omar Khayyam
    was a Persian poet of mediaeval times, who became known to English
    readers through the beautiful paraphrase of some of his stanzas by
    Edward Fitzgerald, in 1859. If any one will take the trouble to
    compare a literal prose rendering of Omar (as in N.H. Dole's variorum
    edition) with the version by Fitzgerald, he will speedily see that the
    power and beauty of the poem is due far more to the skill of "Old
    Fitz" than to the original. Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) was perhaps the
    foremost writer of English prose in the nineteenth century. Although a
    consummate literary artist, he was even more influential as a moral
    tonic. His philosophy and that of Omar represent as wide a contrast as
    could easily be found. Walt Whitman, the strange American poet
    (1819-1892), whose famous _Leaves_ _of Grass_ (1855) excited an uproar
    in America, and gave the author a much more serious reputation in
    Europe. Stevenson's interest in him was genuine, but not partisan, and
    his essay, _The Gospel According to Walt Whitman (The New Quarterly
    Magazine_, Oct. 1878), is perhaps the most judicious appreciation in
    the English language of this singular poet. Job, Omar Khayyam, Carlyle
    and Whitman, taken together, certainly give a curious collection of
    what the Germans call _Weltanschauungen_.]

    [Note 13: _A vapour, or a show, or made out of the same stuff with
    dreams_. For constant comparisons of life with a vapour or a show, see
    Quarles's _Emblems_ (1635), though these conventional figures may be
    found thousands of times in general literature. The latter part of the
    sentence refers to the _Tempest_, Act IV, Scene I.

    "We are such stuff
    As dreams are made on, and our little life
    Is rounded with a sleep."]

    [Note 14: _Permanent Possibility of Sensation_. "Matter then, may be
    defined, a Permanent Possibility of Sensation."--John Stuart Mill,
    _Examination of Sir William Hamilton's Philosophy_, Vol. I. Chap. XI.]

    [Note 15: _Like the Commander's Statue_. In the familiar story of Don
    Juan, where the audacious rake accepts the Commander's invitation to
    supper. For treatments of this theme, see Molière's play _Don Juan_,
    or Mozart's opera _Don Giovanni_; see also Bernard Shaw's paradoxical
    play, _Man and Superman_.... _We have something else in hand, thank
    God, and let him knock_. It is possible that Stevenson's words here
    are an unconscious reminiscence of Colley Cibber's letter to the
    novelist Richardson. This unabashed old profligate celebrated the
    Christmas Day of his eightieth year by writing to the apostle of
    domestic virtue in the following strain: "Though Death has been
    cooling his heels at my door these three weeks, I have not had time to
    see him. The daily conversation of my friends has kept me so agreeably
    alive, that I have not passed my time better a great while. If you
    have a mind to make one of us, I will order Death to come another
    day."]

    [Note 16: _All the world over, and every hour_. He might truthfully
    have said, "every second."]

    [Note 17: _A mere bag's end, as the French say. A cul de sac._]

    [Note 18: _Our respected lexicographer ... Highland tour ... triple
    brass ... twenty-seven individual cups of tea._ Dr. Samuel Johnson's
    Dictionary appeared in 1755. For his horror of death, his fondness for
    tea, and his Highland tour with Boswell, see the latter's _Life of
    Johnson_; consult the late Dr. Hill's admirable index in his edition
    of the _Life_.]

    [Note 19: _Mim-mouthed friends_. See J. Wright's _English Dialect
    Dictionary_. "Mim-mouthed" means "affectedly prim or proper in
    speech."]

    [Note 20: "_A peerage or Westminster Abbey!_" Horatio Nelson
    (1758-1805), the most famous admiral in England's naval history, who
    won the great battle of Trafalgar and lost his life in the moment of
    victory. Nelson was as ambitious as he was brave, and his cry that
    Stevenson quotes was characteristic.]

    [Note 21: _Tread down the nettle danger_. Hotspur's words in _King
    Henry IV_, Part I, Act II, Sc. 3. "Out of this nettle, danger, we
    pluck this flower, safety."]

    [Note 22: _After Thackeray and Dickens had each fallen in mid-course?_
    Thackeray and Dickens, dying in 1863 and in 1870 respectively, left
    unfinished _Denis Duval_ and _The Mystery of Edwin Drood_. Stevenson
    himself left unfinished what would in all probability have been his
    unquestioned masterpiece, _Weir of Hermiston_.]

    [Note 23: _All who have meant good work with their whole hearts, have
    done good work_. See Browning's inspiring poem, _Rabbi Ben Ezra_,
    XXIII, XXIV, XXV:--

    "Not on the vulgar mass
    Called "work," must sentence pass,
    Things done, which took the eye and had the price;
    O'er which, from level stand,
    The low world laid its hand,
    Found straightway to its mind, could value in a trice:

    But all, the world's coarse thumb
    And finger failed to plumb,
    So passed in making up the main account;
    All instincts immature,
    All purposes unsure,
    That weighed not as his work, yet swelled the man's amount:

    Thoughts hardly to be packed
    Into a narrow act,
    Fancies that broke through language and escaped;
    All I could never be,
    All, men ignored in me,
    This, I was worth to God, whose wheel the pitcher shaped."]

    [Note 24: _Whom the Gods love die young._ "Quem di diligunt adolescens
    moritur."--Plautus, _Bacchides_, Act IV, Sc. 7.]

    [Note 25: _Trailing with him clouds of glory._ This passage, from
    Wordsworth's _Ode on the Intimations of Immortality_ (1807), was a
    favorite one with Stevenson, and he quotes it several times in various
    essays.]
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