Our desires presage the capacities within us; they are harbingers of what we shall be able to accomplish. What we can do and want to do is projected in our imagination, quite outside ourselves, and into the future. We are attracted to what is already ours in secret. Thus passionate anticipation transforms what is indeed possible into dreamt-for reality.
He that compares what he has done with what he has left undone, will feel the effect which must always follow the comparison of imagination with reality; he will look with contempt on his own unimportance, and wonder to what purpose he came into the world; he will repine that he shall leave behind him no evidence of his having been, that he has added nothing to the system of life, but has glided from youth to age among the crowd, without any effort for distinction.
A minute analysis of life at once destroys that splendor which dazzles the imagination. whatsoever grandeur can display, or luxury enjoy, is procured by offices of which the mind shrinks from the contemplation. all the delicacies of the table may be traced back to the shambles and the dunghill; all magnificence of building was hewn from the quarry, and all the pomp of ornament dug from among the damps and darkness of the mine.