hour, that shall live.
After the few great reputations there is perhaps no better anchorage in the vast sea of fame than a single sonnet like that of Blanco White
Since, at the best, one's reputation is to be determined by one's high-water mark, why not be content with that alone?
If all but the one best work must surely be forgotten, why should the rest be called into existence?
Let it perish with prize poems and Commencement orations, if one can only determine in advance which is the single and felicitous offspring possessing that precise quality which the physicians name ‘viability’ —the capacity to keep itself alive.
Happily, this is not so difficult as one might suppose.
It often takes a great while to determine the comparative merit of authors,— indeed, the newspapers are just now saying that the late Mr. Tupper
had a larger income from the sales of his works than Browning
, and Lowell
jointly received,—but it does not take so long to determine which among an author's works are the best; and it is probable that the ‘Descent of Neptune
’ in the Iliad, and the ‘Vision of Helen’ in the Agamemnon