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It’s the old things that startle and intoxicate

To each man one soul only is given; to each soul only is given a little power — the power at some moments to outgrow and swallow up the stars.

If age after age that power comes upon men, whatever gives it to them is great. Whatever makes men feel old is mean — an empire or a skin-flint shop. Whatever makes men feel young is great — a great war or a love-story. And in the darkest of the books of God there is written a truth that is also a riddle.

It is of the new things that men tire — of fashions and proposals and improvements and change. It is the old things that startle and intoxicate. It is the old things that are young.

There is no skeptic who does not feel that many have doubted before. There is no rich and fickle man who does not feel that all his novelties are ancient. There is no worshipper of change who does not feel upon his neck the vast weight of the weariness of the universe. But we who do the old things are fed by nature with a perpetual infancy. No man who is in love thinks that any one has been in love before. No woman who has a child thinks that there have been such things as children.

G. K. Chesterton, The Napoleon of Notting Hill

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