NEW YEAR: LOOKING BACK.

“To look back upon the past year, and see how little we have striven and to what small purpose: and how often we have been cowardly and hung back, or temerarious and rushed unwisely in; and how every day and all day long we have transgressed the law of kindness;—it may seem a paradox, but in the bitterness of these discoveries, a certain consolation resides. Life is not designed to minister to a man’s vanity. He goes upon his long business most of the time with a hanging head, and all the time like a blind child. Full of rewards and pleasures as it is—so that to see the day break or the moon rise, or to meet a friend, or to hear the dinner-call when he is hungry, fills him with surprising joys—this world is yet for him no abiding city. Friendships fall through, health fails, weariness assails him; year after year, he must thumb the hardly varying record of his own weakness and folly. It is a friendly process of detachment. When the time comes that he should go, there need be few illusions left about himself. Here lies one who meant well, tried a little, failed much:—surely that may be his epitaph, of which he need not be ashamed. Nor will he complain at the summons which calls a defeated soldier from the field: defeated, ay, if he were Paul or Marcus Aurelius!—but if there is still one inch of fight in his old spirit, undishonoured. The faith which sustained him in his life-long blindness and life-long disappointment will scarce even be required in this last formality of laying down his arms. Give him a march with his old bones; there, out of the glorious sun-coloured earth, out of the day and the dust and the ecstasy—there goes another Faithful Failure!”
    —Robert Louis Stevenson (via wood s lot)
I wish the very best of new years to all my readers.

Comments

  1. -and happy new year to you, LH! Thanks to for the link to that parallel Bible, which is much better than the one I’ve been using.

  2. Happy new year 2005 to you, too!
    Being a professional linguist and lover of languages, I always enjoy reading your blog. Thanks so much for the inspiration!
    By the way, I hope you already found a new job where you can exercise your talents…

  3. Not yet — too busy moving. Thank you both for your good wishes!

  4. Baseer Ahmed says:

    Happy New Year to you. With the celebration of the New Year I would like to add some comments about the Friendship as my message. My own personal “OPINION” about friendship is a little different. To me peoples “WHO GIVES POSITIVE SIGNAL, HAVE FRIENDLY WAYS, AND KEEP FRIENDLY ATTITUDE” are only considered to be friends and worthy of friendship. To the peoples whoever DON’T AGREE, for them this is all I have to say, “stay the hell away from me okay and keep the gap. I DON’T KNOW YOU.”

  5. Baseer Ahmed says:

    Happy New Year to you. With the celebration of the New Year I would like to add some comments about the Friendship as my message. My own personal “OPINION” about friendship is a little different. To me peoples “WHO GIVES POSITIVE SIGNAL, HAVE FRIENDLY WAYS, AND KEEP FRIENDLY ATTITUDE” are only considered to be friends and worthy of friendship. To the peoples whoever DON’T AGREE, for them this is all I have to say, “stay the hell away from me okay and keep the gap. I DON’T KNOW YOU.”

  6. scarabaeus stercus says:

    Happy New Year and write a book on the semi-colon and other misuses of punctuation.

  7. And a great 2005 to you; the perfect year to start a new and successful career!

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