BOOK II. OLD AND YOUNG.
15. CHAPTER XV.
"Black eyes you have left, you say,
Blue eyes fail to draw you;
Yet you seem more rapt to-day,
Than of old we saw you.
"Oh, I track the fairest fair
Through new haunts of pleasure;
Footprints here and echoes there
Guide me to my treasure:
"Lo! she turns--immortal youth
Wrought to mortal stature,
Fresh as starlight's aged truth--
A great historian, as he insisted on calling himself, who had the
happiness to be dead a hundred and twenty years ago, and so to take
his place among the colossi whose huge legs our living pettiness
is observed to walk under, glories in his copious remarks and
digressions as the least imitable part of his work, and especially
in those initial chapters to the successive books of his history,
where he seems to bring his armchair to the proscenium and chat with
us in all the lusty ease of his fine English. But Fielding lived
when the days were longer (for time, like money, is measured by our
needs), when summer afternoons were spacious, and the clock ticked
slowly in the winter evenings. We belated historians must not linger
after his example; and if we did so, it is probable that our chat would
be thin and eager, as if delivered from a campstool in a parrot-house.
I at least have so much to do in unraveling certain human lots,
and seeing how they were woven and interwoven, that all the light
I can command must be concentrated on this particular web, and not
dispersed over that tempting range of relevancies called the universe.