09:12 PM May 06, 2019 | T.G.L. Iyer

There is that popular poem ‘Don’t Quit’ from an unknown author which says:
“When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you are trudging seems all uphill, when the funds are low and debts are high,
And you have to smile, but you have to sigh,
when care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.”
The poem goes further as: “And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems far; so stick to the fight when you are hardest hit,
It is when things seem worst that you must not quit.”Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the famous 19th century poet and artist was once approached by an elderly man.

The old fellow had some sketches and drawings that he wanted Rossetti to look at and tell him if they were any good, or if they at least showed potential talent. Rossetti looked at them carefully. After the first few, he knew that they were worthless, showing no artistic talent at all. But Rossetti was a kind man and he told the elderly man as gently as possible that the pictures were without much value and showed little talent. The old man was naturally disappointed.


He apologised for wasting Rossetti’s time but asked if he would condescend to look at a few more drawings which were done by a young art student? Rossetti looked over the second batch of sketches and immediately became enthusiastic over the talent they revealed.


Rossetti said “Oh! These are good. This young student has great talent. He should be given every help and encouragement in his career as an artist. He has a great future if he will work hard and stick to it.” After the examination was completed, Rossetti asked the old man, “Who is this fine young artist? Is he your son?”
The old man replied, “No, it is me 40 years ago. If only I had heard your praise then! You see, many people discouraged me and I gave up soon!” The saying is: “Only when you are dying, you suddenly realise that you forgot to live!”

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