25 February 2014

Life After Forty

Charles Caleb Colton, Lacon, or Many Things in Few Words to Those Who Think (New York: William Gowans, 1849), pp. 170-171:
It is a serious doubt, whether a wise man ought to accept of a thousand years of life, even provided that those three important advantages of health, youth, and riches, could be securely guaranteed unto him. But this is an offer that can never be refused, for it will never be made. Taking things as they really are, it must be confessed that life, after forty, is an anti-climax, gradual indeed, and progressive with some, but steep and rapid with others. It would be well if old age diminished our perceptibilities to pain, in the same proportion that it does our sensibilities to pleasure; and if life has been termed a feast, these favoured few are the most fortunate guests, who are not compelled to sit at the table, when they can no longer partake of the banquet. The misfortune is that body and mind, like man and wife, do not always agree to die together. It is bad when the mind survives the body; and worse still when the body survives the mind; but, when both these survive our spirits, our hopes, and our health, this is worst of all.