Passing along what’s inherited

F.L. Lucas is an unremembered man who wrote this in an out-of-print book:

It is unlikely that many of us will be famous, or even remembered. But not less important than the brilliant few that lead a nation or a literature to fresh achievements, are the unknown many whose patient efforts keep the world from running backward; who guard and maintain the ancient values, even if they do not conquer new; whose inconspicuous triumph it is to pass on what they inherited from their fathers, unimpaired and undiminished, to their sons. Enough, for almost all of us, if we can hand on the torch, and not let it down; content to win the affection, if it may be, of a few who know us and to be forgotten when they in their turn have vanished. The destiny of mankind is not governed wholly by its “stars.”

This reminded me of the dedication by W.H.H. Murray that appears in The Legends of the Nittany Valley:

It is not likely that much, if indeed any part, of what I may write will be granted a permanent place in the literature of my country, nor am I stirred to effort by any ambition or dream that it may. I shall be well satisfied if, by what I write, some present entertainment be afforded to the reader, a love of nature inculcated, and encouragement given to a more manly or womanly life.

Stars shine in the firmament of space. We don’t think about that firmament; it’s just there. But it’s what stars need to do their thing, and so it seems to be with people.