O my friend! why is it that the torrent of genius so seldom bursts forth, so seldom rolls in full-flowing stream, overwhelming your astounded soul? Because, on either side of this stream, cold and respectable persons have taken up their abodes, and, forsooth, their summer-houses and tulip-beds would suffer from the torrent; wherefore they dig trenches, and raise embankments betimes, in order to avert the impending danger.
Napoleon Bonaparte must have loved this passage. The Sorrows of Young Werther is said to have been one of his favorite books (he carried the book in his pocket during his campaigns in Egypt and boasted of having read it seven times), and the passage surely has a Napoleonic ring to it.