22 April 2014

Why Go the Lonelier Way?

W. Compton Leith (pseudonym of Ormonde Maddock Dalton, 1866-1945), Sirenica (London: John Lane, 1913), pp. 104-106:
If in young life the Sirens' music float towards you over still waters, put the helm about while it is yet an uncertain sound; let those whose ears are closed lash you to the mast until the echoes are heard no longer. Beware lest for a moment's heedlessness your days be consumed away, lest kindred, fatherland, and friends be lost to you, and your bones lie bleaching upon that shore. Believe it not, when pride or flattery would persuade that you are of a force to meet the insidious danger; none are of that force, not even the heroes and the slayers of many dragons. If fortune offers peace of happiness, with all its estimable solid gain, its neighbourhood of minds and profitable communions, why go the lonelier way, consorting with shadows, feeding upon vanity of dreams? You are like to become among men as the poplar among the trees, too sensitive to dwell in commonality, whitening the wayside with a floss that none shall spin. Be wise, return among the happy of mankind for whom laws are framed and politics constructed; who, trenching themselves within a pale and taming down ambitions, receive their certain wages in the weighed gold of tranquillity.
Otto Greiner, Odysseus und die Sirenen (c. 1900)