"When one is very young, to read is as it were to pour a continuous stream of water on a parched and virginal plain. The soil seemsto have an endless capacity to drink up the stream, sometimes with prolonged perpetual rapture, sometimes with impartial calm indifference.... But when one is no longer young, to read is a very different matter. The parched plain has become a luxuriant forest with lakes and streams in the midst of it. Every image which enters it evokes ancient visions from the depth of its waters, and every tone rustles among the trees with a music so rich in haunting memories that one grows faint beneath their burden."
"The delicious faces of children, the beauty of school-girls, "the sweet seriousness of sixteen," the lofty air of well-born, well-bred boys, the passionate histories in the looks and manners of youth and early manhood, and the varied power in all that well-known company that escort us through life,--we know how these forms thrill, paralyze, provoke, inspire, and enlarge us."
"We see young men who owe us a new world, so readily and lavishly they promise, but they never acquit the debt; they die young anddodge the account: or if they live, they lose themselves in the crowd."
"When he became all eye when one was present, and all memory when one was gone; when the youth becomes the watcher of windows, andstudious of a glove, a veil, a ribbon, or the wheels of a carriage, when no place is too solitary, and none too silent."
"A third felicity of age is that it has found expression. The youth suffers not only from ungratified desires, but from powers untried, and from a picture in his mind of a career which has as yet no outward reality. He is tormented with the want of correspondence between things and thoughts."
"Do not think the youth has no force, because he cannot speak to you and me. Hark! in the next room his voice is sufficiently clearand emphatic. It seems he knows how to speak to his contemporaries. Bashful or bold then, he will know how to make us seniors very unnecessary."
"Our young people are diseased with the theological problems of original sin, origin of evil, predestination, and the like. These never presented a practical difficulty to any man,--never darkened across any man's road, who did not go out of his way to seek them. These are the soul's mumps, and measles, and whooping- coughs, and those who have not caught them cannot describe their health or prescribe a cure. A simple mind will not know these enemies."
"Young men of the fairest promise, who begin life upon our shores, inflated by the mountain winds, shined upon by all the stars ofGod, find the earth below not in unison with these,--but are hindered from action by the disgust which the principles on which business is managed inspire, and turn drudges, or die of disgust,--some of them suicides."
"We are often made to feel that there is another youth and age than that which is measured from the year of our natural birth. Somethoughts always find us young, and keep us so. Such a thought is the love of the universal and eternal beauty."
"The most serious thing about war is the slaughter of boys. It is the boys of the country who must face the enemy. They lose education. They risk the vices of camp life, they encounter the diseases that swoop down on them, and generally bring home enough of the evils to wreck physical and moral health for all time. They are the "seed corn" of any nation and the crop fails. The political leaders force a country into bloody strife and three- fourths of the army are young men and boys who had absolutely nothing to do with bringing it on, without any real knowledge of the evils resented or principles fought for."