Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sesame and Lilies

"The chance and scattered evil that may here and there haunt, or hide itself in, a powerful book, never does any harm to a noble girl; but the emptiness of an author oppresses her, and his amiable folly degrades her.  And if she can have access to a good library of old and classical books, there need be no choosing at all.  Keep the modern magazine and novel out of your girl's way; turn her loose into the old library every day, and let her alone.  She will find what is good for her; you cannot; for there is just this difference between the making of the girl's character and a boy's: you may chisel a boy into shape, as you would a rock, or hammer him into it, if he be of a better kind, as you would a piece of bronze; but you cannot hammer a girl into anything.  She grows as a flower does, - she will wither without sun; she will decay in her sheath as a narcissus will if you do not give her air enough; she may fall and defile her head in dust if you leave her without help at some moments in her life, but you cannot fetter her; she must take her own fair form and way if she take any, and in mind as in body, must have always -
'Her household motions light and free,
And steps of virgin liberty.'
Let her loose in the library, I say as you do a fawn in the field.  It knows the bad weed twenty times better than you, and the good ones too, and will eat some bitter and prickly ones good for it which you had not the slightest thought would have been so."

No comments:

Post a Comment