Clarifications/Reminders 5

And what there is to conquer
By strength and submission, has already been discovered
Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
To emulate —but there is no competition—
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.

T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets

2 responses

  1. Reminds me that Henry James ends a story with a writer confessing:

    We work in the dark — we do what we can –
    we give what we have.
    Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task.
    The rest is the madness of art.

    [ “The Middle Years,” 1893 ]

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