Marginalia, no.260

It cannot be inherited, and if you want it you must obtain it by great labour.

~ T.S. Eliot, ‘Tradition and the Individual Talent’

Some things require work. Building toothpick castles, say, or draining wetlands, or participating in a literary tradition. Thankfully, as Eliot proves, trading Old Glory for the Union Jack is as simple as putting on “the French livery” (Webster’s phrase) and spelling labor with a u.

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