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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Striving and Failing
By Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–1894)
 
From ‘A Christmas Sermon’

LIFE is not designed to minister to a man’s vanity. He goes upon his long business most of the time with a hanging head, and all the time like a blind child. Full of rewards and pleasures as it is,—so that to see the day break, or the moon rise, or to meet a friend, or to hear the dinner call when he is hungry, fills him with surprising joys,—this world is yet for him no abiding city. Friendships fall through, health fails, weariness assails him; year after year he must thumb the hardly varying record of his own weakness and folly. It is a friendly process of detachment. When the time comes that he should go, there need be few illusions left about himself. “Here lies one who meant well, tried a little, failed much,”—surely that may be his epitaph, of which he need not be ashamed.  1
 
 
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