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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

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Cash and Credit                179

the other as death is for that of organic life. We fight
against it as long as we can, and often stave it off success-
fully both for ourselves and others, but there is nothing
so great—not Homer, Shakespeare, Handel, Rembrandt,
Giovanni Bellini, De Hooghe, Velasquez and the goodly
company of other great men for whose lives we would gladly
give our own—but it has got to go sooner or later and leave
no visible traces, though the invisible ones endure from ever-
lasting to everlasting. It is idle to regret this for ourselves
•or others, our effort should tend towards enjoying and being
enjoyed as highly and for as long time as we can, and then
chancing the rest.


Inspiration is never genuine if it is known as inspiration
at the time. True inspiration always steals on a person ; its
importance not being fully recognised for some time. So
men of genius always escape their own immediate belongings,
and indeed generally their own age.


Dullness is so much stronger than genius because there is
so much more of it, and it is better organised and more
naturally cohesive inter se. So the arctic volcano can do
nothing against arctic ice.


America will have her geniuses, as every other country
has, in fact she has already had one in Walt Whitman, but
I do not think America is a good place in which to be a genius.
A genius can never expect to have a good time anywhere, if
he is a genuine article, but America is about the last place
in which life will be endurable at all for an inspired writer of
any kind.

Great Things

All men can do great things, if they know what great
things are. So hard is this last that even where it exists the
knowledge is as much unknown as known to them that have it
and is more a leaning upon the Lord than a willing of one
that willeth. And yet all the leaning on the Lord in Christen-
dom fails if there be not a will of him that willeth to back it
up. God and the man are powerless without one another.