If you're coasting, you're either losing momentum or else you're headed downhill.
Hither the heroes and nymphs resort,To taste awhile the pleasures of a court;In various talk th' instuctive hours they past,Who gave the ball, or paid the visit last;One speaks the glory of the British Queen,And one describes a charming Indian screenA third interprets motions, looks and eyes;At every word a reputation dies.
The shades of night were falling fast,As though an Alpine village passedA youth, who bore, 'mid snow and ice,A banner with the strange device,Excelsior!His brow was sad; his eye beneath,Flashed like a falchion from its sheath,And like a silver clarion rungThe accents of that unknown tongue,Excelsior!
The dancing pair that simply sought renown,By holding out to tire each other down;The swain mistrustless of his smutted face,While secret laughter titter'd round the place;The bashful virgin's side-long looks of love,The matrons glance that would those looks reprove:These were thy charms, sweet village; sports like these,With sweet succession, taught e'en toil to please;These were thy bowers their cheerful influence shed,These were thy charms -- but all these charms are fled.
Every living sentence which shows a mind at work for itself is to be welcomed. It is not the first use but the tiresome repetition of inadequate catch words which I am observingphrases which originally were contributions, but which, by their very felicity, delay further analysis for fifty years. That comes from the same source as dislike of noveltyintellectual indolence or weaknessa slackening in the eternal pursuit of the more exact.
The riders in a race do not stop short when they reach the goal. There is a little finishing canter before coming to a standstill. There is time to hear the kind voice of friends and to say to ones self: The work is done. But just as one says that, the answer comes: The race is over, but the work never is done while the power to work remains. The canter that brings you to a standstill need not be only coming to rest. It cannot be while you still live. For to live is to function. That is all there is in living.