To understand what many of the winners are feeling. (William Wordsworth, The Prelude, Book XI)
O pleasant exercise of hope and joy!
For mighty were the auxiliars which then stood
Upon our side, us who were strong in love!
Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very Heaven! O times,
In which the meagre, stale, forbidding ways
Of custom, law, and statute, took at once
The attraction of a country in romance!….
Not favoured spots alone, but the whole Earth,
The beauty wore of promise–that which sets
(As at some moments might not be unfelt
Among the bowers of Paradise itself)
The budding rose above the rose full blown.
What temper at the prospect did not wake
To happiness unthought of? The inert
Were roused, and lively natures rapt away!….
Were called upon to exercise their skill,
Not in Utopia,–subterranean fields,–
Or some secreted island, Heaven knows where!
But in the very world, which is the world
Of all of us,–the place where, in the end,
We find our happiness, or not at all!