A broad, fine, honest sun lighted up the green pastures and dimpled water with the semblance of summer, while it left the travellers all the invigorating freshness of that early time of year. The ground seemed elastic under their feet; the sheep-bells were music to their ears; and exhilarated by exercise, and stimulated by hope, they pushed onward with the strength of lions.Photo: Roger Rees and David Threllfall as Nicholas and Smike in the 1982 Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Nicholas Nickleby
The day wore on, and all these bright colours subsided, and assumed a quieter tint, like young hopes softened down by time, or youthful features by degrees resolving into the calm and serenity of age. But they were scarcely less beautiful in their slow decline, than they had been in their prime; for nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own; and from morning to night, as from the cradle to the grave, is but a succession of changes so gentle and easy, that we can scarcely mark their progress.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Scarcely Less Beautiful In Decline
In Charles Dickens' The Life And Adventures Of Nicholas Nickleby, a young man has freed an adolescent orphan from an abusive Yorkshire schoolmaster. They're now bound for Portsmouth, fleeing London to avoid causing Nicholas's mother and sister more grief, and we get some masterly reflections on aging: