and if you are dead

July 12, 2017

You have been reading Byron. You have been marking the passages that seem to approve of your own character. I find marks against all those sentences which seem to express a sardonic yet passionate nature; a moth-like impetuosity dashing itself against hard glass. You thought, as you drew your pencil there, ‘I too throw off my cloak like that. I too snap my fingers in the face of destiny.’ Yet Byron never made tea as you do, who fill the pot so that when you put the lid on the tea spills over. There is a brown pool on the table – it is running among your books and papers. Now you mop it up, clumsily, with your pocket-handkerchief. You then stuff your handkerchief back into your pocket – that is not Byron; that is you; that is so essentially you that if I think of you in twenty years’ time, when we are both famous, gouty and intolerable, it will be by that scene: and if you are dead, I shall weep.

Virginia Woolf
The Waves

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