Critical Miscellanies, Vol. III

Critical Miscellanies, Vol. III
Essay 7: A Sketch

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Critical Miscellanies, Vol. III by John Morley

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1904

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Critical Miscellanies, Vol. III
Essay 7: A Sketch

By

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Book Excerpt

or some kind of life more suited to man's lofty passions and his glorious destiny. How can one bear to know how much is to be seen and learned, and yet sit down content without ransacking every corner of the earth for knowledge and wonder and beauty? And after all, what is picking a few skulls (the occupation which gives me the greatest pleasure now), when compared with gaining an intimate and practical acquaintance with all the varieties of man, all the varying phases of his character, all the peculiarities of his ever-changing situations?'[2]

[Footnote 2: August 28, 1828]

We may smile at the youthful rhetoric, as the writer proceeds to describe how shameful it would be to remain inactive in the sight of exertion, to be satisfied with ignorance when in full view of the temple of knowledge, and so forth. But it is the language of a generous ardour for pure aims, and not the commoner ambition for the glittering prizes of life. This disinterested preference remained with Greg from the beginning to

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