It seems that Shakespeare did take many old themes and other people’s plots and ideas to re-create in his own way. And what a way! Surely he who best uses an idea is most entitled to the credit.
There is nothing new under the sun, but there is always the new audience. For the majestic old poem of Spring, bound over in new covers of green, God creates fresh, eager young eyes and hearts each year. And not yet has he said to the year, “Do not attempt another spring—there have been so many before, you can but repeat their beauties.” Then why should any mortal say to the poet or the author, “Do not try to write—it has all been said before.”
Proceed, my young friend, and write what is in your heart. Nothing quite the same was ever in any heart before, and yet the greater part of it has been in all hearts, and will be in all hearts, so long as the world lasts.
Remember that when you write from the heart, it will go to the hearts of your readers: and when you write from your head it will go no lower than the head.
And if the critics score or ridicule you, consider yourself on the path to success.
If you have a message for the world, nothing and nobody can prevent you from delivering it.
He only fails who has nothing to say.
To Mrs. McAllister
Concerning Her Little Girl
How strange it seems that your daughter is ten years old.
It is such a brief hour since you wrote me you were eighteen and had entered Vassar. Having no children of my own to stand as milestones on life’s highway, and keeping a very young heart in my breast all these years, it seems at times little less than impertinent in the children I have known to develop so rapidly into matrons and fathers.
I am glad for you that the doctor has reached the desirable goal where he can rest from his laborious profession for two years, and take that journey abroad you have so long contemplated. And I am glad that you feel the satisfaction you say you do, in never having left him alone for a whole season as you once thought of doing.
A satisfied conscience is a better comrade to journey along beside, than a remembered pleasure.
But now about Genevieve.
You tell me she is to be left with your sister, and that she will, for the first time, attend the public school.
You are right in thinking this will make her more American in spirit than an education gained through home teaching or private schools.
The girl who attends private schools only, is almost invariably inoculated with the serum of aristocracy.
She believes herself a little higher order of being than the children who attend public schools, and it requires continual association with people of broad common sense to counteract this influence. I know you and the doctor have exerted this influence, but your sister might not realize the necessity of making a special effort in that direction.