Ung och gammal

Adam Smith skriver i Theory of Moral Sentiments (s 201–202) om hur man bör, och inte bör, vara som ung och gammal:

The different periods of life have, for the same reason, different manners assigned to them. We expect in old age, that gravity and sedateness which its infirmities, its long experience, and its worn-out sensibility seem to render both natural and respectable; and we lay our account to find in youth that sensibility, that gaiety and sprightly vivacity which experience teaches us to expect from the lively impressions that all interesting objects are apt to make upon the tender and unpractised senses of that early period of life. Each of those two ages, however, may easily have too much of the peculiarities which belong to it. The flirting levity of youth, and the immovable insensibility of old age, are equally disagreeable. The young, according to the common saying, are most agreeable when in their behaviour there is something of the manners of the old, and the old, when they retain something of the gaiety of the young. Either of them, however, may easily have too much of the manners of the other. The extreme coldness, and dull formality, which are pardoned in old age, make youth ridiculous. The levity, the carelessness, and the vanity, which are indulged in youth, render old age contemptible.

Javisst: hur trist och beklämmande är det inte med det lillgamla barnet, och hur löjeväckande och tragiska är inte gamla som försöker posera som unga? Dessutom: Smith beskriver verkligen det lockande med ungdomen. Liv och rörelse! Det är definitivt att föredra framför åldrandets tragik.