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Full text of "Selected Essays Of Robert Louis Stevenson"

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AES TRIPLEX                             29

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, 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 tiptoe 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,
this happy-starred, full-blooded spirit shoots into the
spiritual land.