Page:The Idea of Progress.djvu/38

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34
THE IDEA OF PROGRESS

gathered round this gate; 'few there be that find it'. For this reason, we must cut down our hopes for our nation, for Europe, and for humanity at large, to a very modest and humble aspiration. We have no millennium to look forward to; but neither need we fear any protracted or widespread retrogression. There will be new types of achievement which will enrich the experience of the race; and from time to time, in the long vista which science seems to promise us, there will be new flowering-times of genius and virtue, not less glorious than the age of Sophocles or the age of Shakespeare. They will not merely repeat the triumphs of the past but will add new varieties to the achievements of the human mind.

Whether the human type itself is capable of further physical, intellectual, or moral improvement, we do not know. It is safe to predict that we shall go on hoping, though our recent hopes have ended in disappointment. Our lower ambitions partly succeed and partly fail, and never wholly satisfy us; of our more worthy visions for our race we may perhaps cherish the faith that no pure hope can ever wither, except that a purer may grow out of its roots.







Printed in England at the Oxford University Press