Work not begun
His master replied, “You wicked, lazy servant!” Matthew 25:26.
Can anything be sadder than work left unfinished? Yes: work never begun.
“Well begun is half done,” says our English proverb.
Whilst the Italians say: “Il più duro passo è quello della soglia” (The hardest step is at the threshold); and again, “Cosa fatta capo ha” (That which is done has a beginning).
True, the final verdict depends on the ending: but neither good nor bad ending can ensue except from some manner of beginning.
I have heard tell of a painter who sought far and wide for an atmosphere wherein to paint. At last he found an available atmosphere in Italy: and returning thither he worked? Not so: he died.
A bad beginning may be retrieved and a good ending achieved. No beginning, no ending.
It is bad to work loiteringly: it may be worse to loiter instead of beginning to work at all.
About the author and the source
Christina Rossetti (1830–1894) earned recognition as one of England’s finest poets. Unlike her more sensual brother, Dante Gabriel Rossetti (leader of the pre-Raphalite painters) she was deeply imbued with Christian sensibility and wrote such books as Called to be Saints. Today’s selection is from her daily readings, Time Flies.
Christina Georgina Rossetti. Time Flies, a Reading Diary. Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1886.