Some things never change

Reflections of István Bársony, hunter, writer, journalist, from his book Erdőn-mezőn (Through Forests and Meadows), published in 1894.

"It is hard to make a living today.

Bread and passions are in constant struggle with each other; except for the wealthy class, there are very few who can bring their inclinations, their abilities, their passions into full harmony with the search for daily bread.

Not one man in a hundred, perhaps only one man in a thousand, is so favoured by fate and fortune, to lead him into the career best suited to him; hance plays a capricious game with the vast majority of society, showing a piece of bread to the hungry; and the hungry man does not have time to think much, to choose much, to wait: he goes in the direction in which he sees his livelihood best secured.

That is why there is so much mediocrity in the world.

Those who are in another orbit, from which they may be for ever shut out, soul with all their fervor, with all the power of their wills, desires, and enthusiasms, would have pushed forward to the goal, and would have wrought wonders by the love of their craft: they pursue with great difficulty, and even then not always with any serious success, a deceptive light which cannot fill their spiritual world, cannot excite their desires, and always leaves their curiosity and interests cold. It is fortunate if such a deluded man has the resolution, the will to strive; the power of satisfaction which will help him to be content with a faint result, if his conscience does not reproach him with it, and accuse him of conscious omission.

But there are many who, on the bumpy road they are on, soon begin to feel the exhaustion of their strength, and come to the despairing certainty that the splendor of their fancies to a monotonous drabness, which no sun can beautify, nor brighten with new rainbow colors. Only a shadow, only a bad moment, separates them from decay, by which I mean the loss of harmony in one's soul, which leads to the death of life by its own regular decline.

Happy are they who can shake off all their troubles, and follow the promptings of their hearts, even at the cost of sacrifice. They are not tormented by cruel desires, and their hopes are not unattainable stars. If, throwing off a host of externals, they seem to renounce: the melody of harmony swings within them, and this song of eternal beauty glorifies before them all their lives the satisfaction that is theirs."

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