The Cotman Collection | 46

Arthur Dixon letters

Archive: SDK Sydney Decimus Kitson Archive
Reference Number: SDK/1/3/1/1
Page: 24 recto

  • Description

    Letter [1] of Arthur Dixon to John Joseph Cotman, 1 September 1834

    See summary at 23r

    Date: 1834

  • Transcription

    If we do but go on, some unseen path will open among the hills. We must not allow ourselves to be discouraged by the apparent disproportion between the result of single efforts, and the magnitude of the obstacles to be encountered. Nothing good or great is to be obtained without courage and industry: but courage and industry must have sunk in despair, and the world must have remained unor[na]mented and unimproved if men had nicely compared the effect of a single stroke of the chisel with the pyramid to be raised, or of a single impression of the spade with the mountain to be levelled. All exertion too is in itself delightful, and active amusements seldom tire us. Helvetius owns that he could hardly listen to a concert for two hours, though he could play on an instrument all day long. The chase we know has always been the favorite amusement of kings and nobles. – Not only fame and fortune but pleasure is to be earned. Efforts it must not be forgotten are as indispensable as desires. – The globe is not to be circumnavigated by one wind. – We should never do nothing. – "It is better to wear out than to rust out" says Bishop Cumberland. "There will be time enough [for... - word crossed out] for repose in the grave" said Nicole to Pascal. As a young man, you should be mindful of the unspeakable importance of early industry, since in youth habits are easily formed and there is time to recover from defeats. An Italian sonnet justly as well as elegantly, compares procrastination to the folly of a traveller who pursues a brook till it widens into a river and is lost in the sea. – The toils as well as risks of an active life are commonly overrated, so much may be done by the diligent use of ordinary opportunities, but they must not always be waited for. We must not only strike the iron while it is hot, but strike it till it is made hot. – Herschel the great astronomer declares that ninety or one hundred hours, clear enough for observations, cannot be called an unproductive year. The lazy, the dissipated and the fearful should patiently see the active and the bold pass them in their course. – They must bring down their pretensions to the level of their talents. – Those who

Letter [1] of Arthur Dixon to John Joseph Cotman, 1 September 1834