Magazine article The Nation

Beautiful Loser

Magazine article The Nation

Beautiful Loser

Article excerpt

BEAUTIFUL LOSER

Nineteenth-century family picture

The menance of success, the likelihoodof failure--things I don't dare get near. A man sits at a desk for thirty years: detail on detail, resolving into years . . . "Only success makes confidence and only confidence" is handsome, tall, well-spoken, dressed to kill. Your Strength was in your look: illusory. But even in your photograph I see the eyebrows sag, the mouth about to give, a blur of helpless hands: which prove you can be talented and be in love and lose and disappear. That was your program: promise and demise, ambition foundered on a tide of claims. Young you were golden, favored cousin, eldest son of elder brother. And you carried it with grace: cupidity, angelic on your face, made them love you. Mother has the note her grandmother's Aunt Ethel wrote saying in Bath they thought you were a "card. …

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