The Greeks invented the idea of nemesis to show how any single virtue, stubbornly maintained gradually changes into a destructive vice. Our success, our industry, our habit of work have produced our economic nemesis. Work made modern men great, but now threatens to usurp our souls, to inundate the earth in things and trash, to destroy our capacity to love and wonder.
Gentleness and cheerfulness, these come before all morality: they are the perfect duties. If your morals make you dreary, depend on it they are wrong. I do not say, 'give them up,' for they may be all you have; but conceal them like a vice, lest they should spoil the lives of better men
I hear you reproach, "But delay was best, For their end was a crime." Oh, a crime will do As well, I reply, to serve for a test As a virtue golden through and through, Sufficient to vindicate itself And prove its worth at a moment's view! . . . . . . Let a man contend to the uttermost For his life's set prize, be it what it will! The counter our lovers staked was lost As surely as if it were lawful coin; And the sin I impute to each frustrate ghost Is-the unlit lamp and the ungirt loin, Though the end in sight was a vice, I say.