“The originators, the exuberant men, are extinct and in their place subsists and modestly flourishes a generation notable for elegance and variety of contrivance.”
Evelyn Waugh, The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold, A Conversation Piece, 1957.
This is about Waugh’s generation, but at the back of his mind he is probably thinking of the literature of the Augustan peace, compared with that of the last century BC.
Another sentence from the same grim self-portrait:
“The tiny kindling of charity which came to him through his religion sufficed only to temper his disgust and change it to boredom.”