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A Victorian Scrapbook

A Scrapbook of Newspaper Articles Compiled by George Burgess (1829-1905)

Victorian Culture and Life

Contentment

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Transcript from original newspaper article: -
CONTENTMENT.

“Distance lends enchantment to the view.”

ContentmentHOW much of truth are in these words of the Poet! Who has not, from the top of some mountain, when viewing a delightful scenery, been charmed by the beauties of a distant landscape of a far-off hill, and wished for wings that they might fly to the beautiful spot. How lovely everything about has appeared, when contrasted with the objects near, and we are filled with regrets that we cannot be there to enjoy it the more. And yet, if we were transported to the place, we should fail to discover what had so much pleased us. ‘Tis only in the distance that such loveliness is discerned.

How often, in our younger days, do we aspire to some station differing from our own, and think if it was but ours we should be completely happy. And yet, when such a one fails to our lot, we are no more happy than before. ‘Tis only the distance that has rendered it desirable.

And so it is all through life; we are ever striving for a change. Not content with what is given us, we cast it aside as worthless, and endeavour to gain something beyond our reach, which distance paints in glowing colors, that vanish as we grasp them. And when that is obtained we are no more satisfied than before.

“The mind still feels an aching void,
And wants for something new.”

And here lies one of the great causes of the unhappiness of the world. This aspiring after what is beyond our reach leaves us neither time nor inclination to enjoy the present. Contrasted with the dazzling light of the distance it sinks into mere nothingness. We would be much happier if we would but cultivate, a contented mind. “Contented with the present, whilst seeking for more,” it a motto which it would be well to follow. Doing this, we shall enjoy life in reality as well as in perspective.

Carl Mains.