Page:My Life and Loves.djvu/22

This page has been validated.

sciousness or be able to repay our debt to humanity. No Anglo-Saxon, so far as I know, has ever advocated this ideal or dreamed of regarding it as a duty. In fact, no teacher so far has even thought of helping men and women to find out the particular power which constitutes their essence and inbeing and justifies their existence. And so nine men and women out of ten go through life without realising their own special nature: they cannot lose their souls for they have never found them.

For every son of Adam, for every daughter of Eve, this is the supreme defeat, the final disaster. Yet no one, so far as I know, has ever warned of the danger or spoken of this ideal.

That's why I love this book in spite of all its shortcomings and all its faults: it is the first book ever written to glorify the body and its passionate desires and the soul as well and its sacred, climbing sympathies.

Give and forgive, I always say, is the supreme lesson of life.

I only wish I had begun the book five years ago, before I had been half drowned in the brackish flood of old age and become conscious of failing memory; but notwithstanding this handicap, I have tried to write the book I have always wanted to read, the first chapter in the Bible of Humanity. And so I front this foreword with the lovely figure of Venus Queen, and I close it with the face of Christ as seen by Rubens when He forgave the adulterous woman.

Hearken to good counsel:

"Live out your whole free life, while yet on earth,
Seize the quick Present, prize your one sure boon:
Though brief, each day a golden sun has birth;
Though dim, the night is gemmed with stars and moon."