Tales of Hearsay

Tales of Hearsay

Tales of Hearsay

Tales of Hearsay


Genius needs no Old Mortality to clear the lichen from the letters on its tomb.

Even if the moss does gather tenderly about the stone, it only adds another grace, as traceries of frost upon a window pane render the clearest glass more beautiful.

My task is easy and I do not come to it weighed down by the sense or my inadequacy to do justice to the theme, for it will justify itself, no matter how inadequately I write.

The gulf between a man of genius and a man of talent is deeper far (width does not seem to matter) than that between a man of talent and a good craftsman working industriously upon the medium of his craft. Him we honour, partly no doubt, as says the writer of Ecclesiastes, for the need we have of him. The man of talent we admire; but genius, like the afterglow on the white cones of El Ruiz and Purace, leaves us amazed at nature's great achievement, when she puts out her strength.

When genius disappears, or when the afterglow has faded in the short tropic twilight, there comes a feeling as of a darkness in the soul.

Standing on a ship's deck, nearing the Line, when the Great Bear is setting for the last time, one knows when he has set that he has gone for good, at least, whilst that voyage lasts. Next night, although the Southern Cross is hanging overhead, we feel that there is something lacking in the sky, that all the stars, for all their brilliancy, do not make up to us.

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