Updated: May 3
"Men, as a rule, sally forth from their homes seeking beauty and joy, truth and love; and are glad to be able to say to their children, on their return, that they have met nothing. To be forever complaining argues much pride; and those who accuse love and life are the ones who imagine that these should bestow something more than they can acquire for themselves. Love, it is true, like all else, claims the highest possible ideal; but every ideal that conforms not with some strenuous inward reality is nothing but falsehood - sterile and futile, obsequious falsehood. Two or three ideals, that lie out of our reach, will suffice to paralyze life. It is wrong to believe that loftiness of soul is governed by the loftiness of desire or dream. The dreams of the weak will be often more numerous, lovelier, than are those of the strong; for these dreams absorb all their energy, all their activity. The perpetual craving for loftiness does not count in our moral advancement if it be not the shadow thrown by the life we have lived, by the firm and experienced will that has come in close kinship with man. Then, indeed, as one places a rod at the foot of the steeple to tell of its height by the shadow, so may we lead forth this craving of ours to the midst of the plain that is lit by the sun of external reality, that thus we may tell what relation exists between the shadow thrown by the hour and the dome of eternity." - page 336
Wisdom and Destiny by Maurice Maeterlinck.
Translated by Alfred Sutro
New York, Dodd, Mead and Company, 1911