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HERE is an ancientlegend which tells us that when a man first achieved a most notable deed he wished to explain to his tribe
what he had done. As soon as he began to speak, however, he was smitten with dumbness, he lacked words, and sat down. Then there arose-according to the story—a masterless man, one who had taken no part in the action of his fellow, who had no special virtues, but afflictedthat is the phrase—with the magic of the necessary words. He saw, he told, he described the merits of the notable deed in such a fashion, we are assured, that the words became alive and walked up and down in the hearts of all his hearers. Thereupon, the tribe seeing that the words were certainly alive, and fearing lest the man with the words would hand down untrue tales about them to their children, they took and killed him. But later they saw that the magic was in the words, not in the man.
ELBERT HUBBARD'S SCRAP BOOK
HE other evening I was a little late in going down to dinner, and this was the reason: I noticed a number of dead bees lying on the floor of the lookout where I am accustomed to work-a sight that I encounter every spring. The poor things had come in through the open window. When the windows were closed they found themselves prisoners. Unable to see the transparent obstacle, they had hurled themselves against the glass panes on all sides, east, north, south and west, until at last they fell to the floor exhausted, and
died. But, yesterday, I noticed among the bees, a great drone, much stronger than the bees, who was far from being dead, who, in fact, was very much alive and was dashing himself against the panes with all his might, like the great beast that he was. “Ah! my fine friend," said I, “it would have been an evil day for you had I not come to the rescue. You would have been done for, my fine fellow; before nightfall you would be lying dead, and on coming up-stairs, in the evening with my lamp, I would have found your poor little corpse among those of the other bees.” Come, now, like the Emperor Titus I shall mark the day by a good deed: let us save the insect's life. Perhaps in the eyes of God a drone is as valuable as a man, and without any doubt it is more valuable than a prince.
I threw open the window, and, by means of a napkin, began chasing the insect toward it; but the drone persisted in flying in the opposite direction. I then tried to capture it by throwing the napkin over it. When the drone saw that I wished to capture it, it lost its head completely; it bounded furiously against the glass panes, as though it would smash them, took a fresh start, and dashed itself again and again against the glass. Finally it flew the whole length of the apartment, maddened and desperate.“ Ah, you tyrant!" it buzzed. “ Despot! you would deprive me of liberty! Cruel executioner, why do you not leave me alone? I am happy, and why do you persecute me?” After trying very hard, I brought it down and, in seizing it with the napkin, I involuntarily hurt it. Oh, how it tried to avenge itself! It darted out its sting; its little nervous body, contracted by my fingers, strained itself with all its strength in an attempt to sting me. But I ignored its protestations, and, stretching my hand out the window, opened the napkin. For a moment the drone seemed stunned, astonished; then it calmly took flight out into the infinite.
Well, you see how I saved the drone. I was its Providence. But (and here is the moral of my story) do we not, stupid drones that we are, conduct ourselves in the same manner toward the providence of God? We have our petty and absurd projects, our small and narrow views, our rash designs, whose accomplishment is either impossible or injurious to ourselves. Seeing no farther than our noses and with our eyes fixed on our immediate aim, we plunge ahead in our blind infatuation, like madmen. We would succeed, we would triumph; that is to say, we would break our heads against an invisible obstacle.
And when God, who sees all and who wishes to save us, upsets our designs, we stupidly complain against Him, we accuse His Providence.We do not comprehend that in punishing us, in overturning our plans and causing us suffering, He is doing all this to delive us, to open the Infinite to us.—Victor Hugo.
T is not possible to have the tints are gone, as if the autumnal rains true pictures or statues of had washed them out. Orange, yellow Cyrus, Alexander, Cæsar, and scarlet, all are changed to one melanno, nor of the kings or great choly russet hueso The birds, too, have
personages of much later taken wing, and have left their roofless years; for the originals can not last, and dwellings. Not the whistle of a robin, the copies can not but leese of the life not the twitter of an eavesdropping and truth. But the images of men's wits swallow, not the carol of one sweet, and knowledges remain in books, ex- familiar voice. All gone. Only the disempted from the
mal cawing of a wrong of time, and Serene, I fold my hands and wait,
crow, as he sits capable of perpet- Nor care for wind nor tide nor sea:
and curses that the ual renovation so I rave no more 'gainst time or fate,
harvest is over; or Neither are they For, lo! my own shall come to me.
the chit-chat of an fitly to be called
idle squirrel, the images, because I stay my haste, I make delays:
noisy denizen of a they generate still, For what avails this eager pace?
hollow tree, the and cast their seeds I stand amid the eternal ways,
mendicant friar of in the minds of And what is mine shall know my face. a large parish, the others, provoking
absolute monarch and causing infinite Asleep, awake, by night or day,
of a dozen acorns. actions and opin- The friends I seek are seeking me;
-Longfellow. ions in succeeding No wind can drive my bark astray, ages: so that, if the Nor change the tide of destiny.
HAT moods, invention of the
what passions, ship was thought What matter if I stand alone?
what nights of desso noble, which carI wait with joy the coming years:
pair and gathering rieth riches and My heart shall reap where it has sown, storms of anger, commodities from And garner up the fruit of tears.
what sudden cruelplace to place, and
ties and amazing consociateth the The waters know their own, and draw tendernesses are mostremote The brook that springs in yonder heights. buried and hidden regions in partici- So flows the good with equal law
and implied in pation of their Unto the soul of pure delights.
every love story! fruits, how much
What a waste is more are letters to The stars come nightly to the sky,
there of exquisite be magnified, The tidal wave unto the sea;
things! So each which as ships, Nor time nor space, nor deep nor high, spring sees a milpass through the Can keep my own away from me.
lion glorious bevast sea of time, "Waiting,” by John Burroughs
ginnings, a sunlit and make ages so
heaven in every distant to participate of the wisdom, opening leaf, warm perfection in every illuminations, and inventions the one of stirring egg, hope and fear and beauty bethe other?- Francis Bacon.
yond computation in every forest tree;
and in the autumn before the snows come T is the Indian summer. The rising they have all gone-of all that incal
sun blazes through the misty air culable abundance of life, of all that hope like a conflagration. A yellowish, smoky and adventure, excitement and delicioushaze fills the atmosphere, and a filmy ness, there is scarcely more to be found mist lies like a silver lining on the sky. than a soiled twig, a dirty seed, a dead The wind is soft and low. It wafts to us leaf, black mould, or a rotting feather. the odor of forest leaves, that hang
-H. G. Wells. wilted on the dripping branches, or drop into the stream. Their gorgeous Speech is the index of the mind.-Seneca.
HE tradition of the stage is tuppence worth of social position, piety, a tradition of villains and comfort, and domestic affection, of which heroes. Shakespeare was a he, too, is often ironically defrauded by devout believer in the exis- Fate.-George Bernard Shaw.
tence of the true villain-the man whose terrible secret is that his fundamental moral impulses are by some
WAS passing along the street when freak of nature inverted, so that not only
a beggar, a decrepit old man, are love, pity, and honor loathsome to stopped me. I Swollen, tearful eyes, blue him, and the affec
lips, bristling rags, tation of them War
unclean sores. which society im- I do abhor;
Oh, how horribly poses on him a con- And yet how sweet
had poverty stant source of dis- The sound along the marching street gnawed that ungust, but cruelty, Of drum or fife, and I forget
happy being! destruction, and Broken old mothers, and the whole
He stretched out perfidy are his Dark butchering without a soul.
to me a red, bloatmost luxurious
ed, dirty hand... passions. This is a Without a soul-save this bright treat He moaned, he beltotally different Of heady music, sweet as hell;
lowed for help. phenomenon from And even my peace-abiding feet
I began to rumthe survivals of the Go marching with the marching street, mage in all my ape and tiger in the For yonder goes the fife,
pockets . . Neither normal man. The And what care I for human Life!
purse, nor watch, average normal The tears fill my astonished eyes,
nor even handkerman is covetous, And my full heart is like to break,
chief did I find ... lazy, selfish; but he And yet it is embannered lies,
I had taken nothing is not malevolent, A dream those drummers make.
with me. nor capable of say
And the beggar ing to himself, Oh, it is wickedness to clothe
still waited ...and “ Evil: be thou my
Yon hideous, grinning thing that stalks extended his hand, good.” He only Hidden in music like a queen
which swayed and does wrong as That in a garden of glory walks,
trembled feebly. means to an end, Till good men love the thing they loathe; Bewildered, conwhich he always Art, thou hast many infamies,
fused, I shook that represents to him- But not an infamy like this.
dirty, tremulous self as a right end. O, snap the fife and still the drum, hand heartily .... The case is exactly And show the monster as she is.
“ Blame me not, reversed with a “The Illusions of War," by Richard Le Gallienne brother; I have villain; and it is my
nothing, brother." melancholy duty to add that we some- ( The beggar man fixed his swollen eyes times find it hard to avoid a cynical upon me; his blue lips smiled and in suspicion that the balance of social his turn he pressed my cold fingers. advantage is on the side of gifted vil- “ Never mind, brother,” he mumbled. lainy, since we see the able villain, “ Thanks for this also, brother. This Mephistopheles-like, doingahugeamount also is an alms, brother.” of good in order to win the power to do I understood that I had received an alms a little daring evil, out of which he is as from my brother.—“ The Beggar Man,” likely as not to be cheated in the end; by Turgenef. whilst your normal respectable man will countenance, connive at, and grovel his Drudgery is as necessary to call out the way through all sorts of meanness, base- treasurers of the mind as harrowing and ness, servility, and cruel indifference to planting those of the earth. suffering in order to enjoy a miserable
O make my readers realize what a philosopher is, I can only say that I am a
philosopher. If you ask in
is credulously,"How, then, are your articles so interesting?" I reply that there is nothing so interesting as philosophy, provided its materials are not spurious. For instance, take my own materialshumanity and the fine arts. Any studious, timorously ambitious bookworm can run away from the world with a few shelves full of history, essays, descriptions, and criticisms, and, having pieced an illusory humanity and art out of the effects produced by his library upon his imagination, build some silly systematization of his worthless ideas over the abyss of his own nescience. Such a philosopher is as dull and dry as you please; it is he who brings his profession into disrepute, especially when he talks much about art, and so persuades people to read him. Without having looked at more than fifty pictures in his life, or made up his mind on the smallest point about one of the fifty, he will audaciously take it upon himself to explain the development of painting from Zeuxis and Apelles to Raphael and Michelangelo se se As to the way he will go on about music, of which he always has an awe-stricken conceit, it spoils my temper to think of it, especially when one remembers that musical composition is taught (a monstrous pretension) in this country by people who read scores, and never by any chance listen to performances. Now, the right way to go to workstrange as it may appear-is to look at pictures until you have acquired the power of seeing them. If you look at several thousand good pictures every year, and form some sort of practical judgment about every one of themwere it only that it is not worth troubling over-then at the end of five years or so you will, if you have a wise eye, be able to see what is actually in a picture, and not what you think is in it. Similarly, if you listen critically to music every day for a number of years, you will, if you
have a wise ear, acquire the power of hearing music. And so on with all the arts de de When we come to humanity it is still the same: only by intercourse with men and women can we learn anything about it. This involves an active life, not a contemplative one; for, unless you do something in the world, you can have no real business to transact with men; and unless you love and are loved, you can have no intimate relations with them. And you must transact business, wirepull politics, discuss religion, give and receive hate, love, and friendship with all sorts of people before you can acquire the sense of humanity. If you are to acquire the sense sufficiently to be a philosopher, you must do all these things unconditionally. You must not say that you will be a gentleman and limit your intercourse to this class or that class; or that you will be a virtuous person and generalize about the affections from a single instance unless, indeed, you have the rare happiness to stumble at first upon an all-enlightening instance. You must have no convictions, because as Nietzsche puts it, convictions are prisons.” Thus, I blush to add, you can not be a philosopher and a good man, though you may be a philosopher and a great one. You will say, perhaps, that if this be so, there should be no philosophers; and perhaps you are right; but though I make you this handsome concession, I do not defer to you to the extent of ceasing to exist. After all, if you insist on the hangman, whose pursuits are far from elevating, you may very well tolerate the philosopher, even if philosophy involves philandering; or, to put it another way, if, in spite of your hangman, you tolerate murder within the sphere of war, it may be necessary to tolerate comparatively venial irregularities within the sphere of philosophy so se It is the price of progress; and, after all, it is the philosopher, and not you, who will burn for it.
- George Bernard Shaw.