— 151 —
      §5. Thus many of those Ideas, which were produced in the Minds
of Children, in the beginning of their Sensation (some of which,
perhaps, as of some Pleasures and Pains, were before they were
born, and others in their Infancy) if in the future Course of their
Lives, they are not repeated again, are quite lost, without the least
glimpse remaining of them. This may be observed in those, who by
some Mischance have lose their sight, when they were very Young;
in whom the Ideas of Colours, having been but slightly taken notice
of, and ceasing to be repeated, do quite wear out; so that some years
after, there is no more Notion, nor Memory of Colours left in their
Minds, than in those of People born blind. The Memory in some
Men, ’tis true, is very tenacious, even to a Miracle: But yet there
seems to be a constant decay of all our Ideas, even of those which are
struck deepest, and in Minds the most retentive; so that if they
be not sometimes renewed by repeated Exercise of the Senses, or
Reflection on those kind of Objects, which at first occasioned them,
the Print wears out, and at last there remains nothing to be seen.
Thus the Ideas, as well as Children, of our Youth, often die before
us: And our Minds represent to us those Tombs, to which we are
approaching; where though the Brass and Marble remain, yet the
— 152 —
Inscriptions are effaced by time, and the Imagery moulders away.
The Pictures drawn in our Minds, are laid in fading Colours; and if not
sometimes refreshed, vanish and disappear. How much the Con-
stitution of our Bodies, and the make of our animal Spirits, are
concerned in this; and whether the Temper of the Brain make this
difference, that in some it retains the Characters drawn on it like
Marble, in others like Free-stone, and in others little better than
Sand, I shall not here enquire, though it may seem probable, that
the Constitution of the Body does sometimes influence the Memory;
since we oftentimes find a Disease quite strip the Mind of all its
Ideas, and the flames of a Fever, in a few days, calcine all those
Images to dust and confusion, which seem’d to be as lasting, as if
graved in Marble.
Locke Hum II, 10, §5, pp. 151-152