Hand | Wiscasset, ME | 2018
Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp / Or what’s a heaven for?
— Poet Robert Browning
Florida writer Robert D. Shepherd, a frequent contributor to the question-and-answer website Quora, explains the origin of this famous phrase: “It’s from Robert Browning’s wonderful, sad poem ‘Andrea del Sarto,‘ about an elderly painter married to a young wife. The wife is preparing to go out for the evening. The line is a comment on art and life, offering that yearning and striving — pushing ourselves and not settling — are what make us excel. The artist (Del Sarto) is suggesting that he, in his own work, has not taken enough risk, not pushed himself to the limits of his ability.“