London ; New York:
J. Lane the Bodley Head,
Text on page 158
terminate equation," it cannot matter much whether you write to me in terms of hate or love. If, however, you consider where you are and where I am, and if, when this lies in your hand, you are on good terms with your pride and your conscience, you may be able to spare, from the abundance you lavish on them, a grain of sympathy for me in my loneliness. Is it a crime for the humble worshipper to seek to assure the deity of his unaltered devotion? It used not to be so; and though the temple has infinite attractions for me, the tavern none, I could say with the Persiana
"And this I know : whether the one True Light Kindle to love, or Wrath-consume me quite, One Flash of It within the Tavern caught Better than in the Temple lost outright."
Life is too short, and too full of storm and stress, to induce any one to stake it on a proved uncertainty, however attractive. It is better never to take ship at all than to be constantly meeting disaster on the shoals and rocks of the loveliest summer sea. Of the end of such a venture there is no uncertainty. The bravest craft that ever left port will be reduced to a few rotting timbers, while the sea smiles anew on what is but a picturesque effect.