Nor is this genuine love compatible with a craving for distinction; where the latter predominates, it is sure to betray itself before contemporary excellence, either by silence, or (as a bribe to the conscience) by a modicum of praise.
In the same degree that we overrate ourselves, we shall underrate others; for injustice allowed at home is not likely to be corrected abroad. Never, therefore, expect justice from a vain man; if he has the negative magnanimity not to disparage you, it is the most you can expect.
An original mind is rarely understood, until it has been reflected from some half-dozen congenial with it, so averse are men to admitting the true in an unusual form; whilst any novelty, however fantastic, however false, is greedily swallowed. Nor is this to be wondered at; for all truth demands a response, and few people care to think, yet they must have something to supply the place of thought. Every mind would appear original, if every man had the power of projecting his own into the mind of others.
All effort at originality must end either in the quaint or the monstrous. For no man knows himself as an original; he can only believe it on the report of others to whom he is made known, as he is by the projecting power before spoken of.
There is one thing which no man, however generously disposed, can give, but which every one, however poor, is bound to pay. This is Praise. He cannot give it, because it is not his own,since what is dependent for its very existence on something in another can never become to him a possession; nor can he justly withhold it, when the presence of merit claims it as a consequence.