Most of us, shrinking from the difficulties and dangers which beset the seeker after original answers to these riddles, are contented to ignore them altogether, or to smother the investigating spirit under the featherbed of respected and respectable tradition. But, in every age, one or two restless spirits, blessed with that constructive genius, which can only build on a secure foundation, or cursed with the mere spirit of scepticism, are unable to follow in the well-worn and comfortable track of their forefathers and contemporaries, and unmindful of thorns and stumbling-blocks, strike out into paths of their own.
Good to the heels the well-worn slipper feels When the tired player shuffles off the buskin; A page of Hood may do a fellow good After a scolding from Carlyle or Ruskin.
Rap, rap! upon the well-worn stone, How falls the polished hammer! Rap, rap! the measured sound has grown A quick and merry clamor. Now shape the sole! now deftly curl The glassy vamp around it, And bless the while the bright-eyed girl Whose gentle fingers bound it!john greenleaf whittier