Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/256

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states of society. The wisest men, perhaps, while they would continue to feel some love of honour and some interest in their image in other minds, would yet wish that posterity might praise them as Sallust praises Cato by saying: Esse quam videri bonus maluit; he preferred worth to reputation.

The fact that value is attributed to absent experience according to the value experience has in representation appears again in one of the most curious anomalies in human life—the exorbitant interest which thought and reflection take in the form of experience and the slight account they make of its intensity or volume. Sea-sickness and child-birth when they are over, the pangs of despised love when that love is finally forgotten or requited, the travail of sin when once salvation is assured, all melt away and dissolve like a morning mist leaving a clear sky without a vestige of sorrow. So also with merely remembered and not reproducible pleasures; the buoyancy of youth, when absurdity is not yet tedious, the rapture of sport or passion, the immense peace found in a mystical surrender to the universal, all these generous ardours count for nothing when they are once gone. The memory of them cannot cure a fit of the blues nor raise an irritable mortal above some petty act of malice or vengeance, or reconcile him to foul weather. An ode of Horace, on the other hand, a scientific monograph, or a well-written