Page images

Tis undeniable that the great quest of humanity is happiness. But was the world created to be happy? How

HE great voice of America does not

come from the seats of learning. It comes in a murmur from the hills and woods and farms and factories and the mills, rolling and gaining volume until it comes to us from the homes of common men. Do these murmurs echo in the corridors of the universities? I have not heard them. The universities would make

For each and every joyful thing,
For twilight swallows on the wing,
For all that nest and all that sing,—

For fountains cool that laugh and leap,
For rivers running to the deep,
For happy, care-forgetting sleep,-

many are truly happy? I 've studied people in all classes and conditions, and everywhere I have found, when you get below the surface, that it is mostly the insincere individual who says, "I am happy." Nearly everybody wants something he has n't got, and as things are constructed, what he wants is moneymore money than he has in his pocket! But after all, money can buy only a few things Why should any one envy the captains of industry? Their lives are made up of those vast, incessant worries from which the average individual is happily

For stars that pierce the sombre dark,
For morn, awaking with the lark,
For life new-stirring 'neath the bark,—

For sunshine and the blessed rain,
For budding grove and blossomy lane,
For the sweet silence of the plain,—

For bounty springing from the sod,
For every step by beauty trod,-
For each dear gift of joy, thank God!
"For Joy," by Florence Earle Coates

spared. Worry, worry, that is the evil of life

What do I consider the nearest approximation to happiness of which the present human nature is capable? Why, living on a farm which is one's own, far from the hectic, artificial conditions of the city-a farm where one gets directly from one's own soil what one needs to sustain life, with a garden in front and a healthy, normal family to contribute those small domestic joys which relieve a man from business strain.-Edison.

AM not so lost in lexicography as to

I forget that words are the daughters

men forget their common origins, forget their universal sympathies, and join a class-and no class can ever serve America. I have dedicated every power there is in me to bring the colleges that I have anything to do with to an absolutely democratic regeneration in spirit, and I shall not be satisfied until America shall know that the men in the colleges are saturated with the same thought, the same sympathy, that whole great body

pulses through the politic.-Woodrow Wilson.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

MERICA has furnished to the

of earth, and that things are the sons of world the character of Washington,

heaven. Samuel Johnson.

There exists no cure for a heart wounded with the sword of separation.


and if our American institutions had done nothing else, that alone would have entitled them to the respect of mankind. -Daniel Webster.

UR world is pervaded and deeply moved by the power of ideals. There is no perfect statesman, or poet, or artist, but the virtues of many persons in each one of these great pursuits become detached, and like stardust, they form a new and perfect star in the expanse of thought. The orator that stands before us in our moments of reflection and dream is not Cicero, or Burke, or Webster, but always some nameless one with a wisdom, a language and a presence better than were found in those actual incarnations.

Our statesman is not Alfred, nor Napoleon, nor even Washington, but he is some yet mightier being with an infinite power and unknown name, his features not yet fully visible, as though he had not yet emerged from the shadows of old forums and the lonely columns of ruined states. All around our hearts stand these final shapes of the powerful, the perfect and the sublime-the aggregations of long ages of thought and admiration.

Our earth is great not only because of what it has, but also because of what lies within its reach.

The quest after ideals is the central reason of life. This pursuit abandoned, life need not run along any longer. The pitcher is broken at the fountain. The idealists are creating a human world after the pattern shown them in the Mount. Each art stands as a monument to a host of idealists who in their own day perhaps toiled hopelessly and amid the sneers of those who were only the children of dust. Music, now so infinite in extent and sweetness, is such a monument. The first rude harps are broken and lost; dead the hands that smote them; but the art is here with no enchantment lost. We do not know the names of those singers. Like us they were pilgrims.

They had to pass into the beyond, but they left an art which the world loves. It was so of liberty, temperance, justice and all the higher forms of human life. Some speak of ideals as being only girls' dreams. On the opposite, high ideals are lifelike portraits seen in advance. Only

[ocr errors]

the greatest minds living in an age of tyranny could see in prophecy the portrait of a free people. Instead of being a romantic dream an ideal is often a long mathematical calculation by an intellect as logical as that of Euclid. Idealism is not the ravings of a maniac, but it is the calm geometry of life. Ideals try our faith, as though to show us that nothing is too good to be true. In noble ideals there is something aggressive. They are not aggressive like an army with gun and spear, but aggressive like the sun which coaxes a June out of a winter. All great truths are persistent. Each form of right is a growing form. All high ideals will be realized. This one perceives who takes a long view-the triumph of ideality over apathy, indolence and dust. There is nothing in history, dark as much of it is, to check the belief that man will at last be overcome by his highest ideals o


-David Swing.

AM aware that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as Truth, and as uncompromising as Justice. On this subject I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation. No! No! Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen-but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest-I will not equivocate-I will not excuse I will not retreat a single inch-and I will be heard. The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal and hasten the resurrection of the dead.

-William Lloyd Garrison.

E live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths;

In feelings, not in figures on a dial. We should count time by heart-throbs.

He most lives

Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best.-Philip James Bailey.

MAN'S Thanksgiving: God

of commonsense, I give The LTHOUGH imitation is one of the

Ye stars! which are the poetry of

If in your bright leaves we

would read the fate

Of men and empires-'t is to be

thanks for the heavy blows of pain that drive me back from perilous ways into harmony with the laws of my being; for stinging whips of hunger and cold that urge to bitter strivings and glorious achievement; for steepness and roughness of the way and staunch virtues gained by climbing over jagged rocks of hardship and stumbling through dark and pathless sloughs of discouragement; for the acid blight of failure that has burned out of me all thought of easy victory and toughened my sinews for fiercer battles and greater triumphs; for mistakes I have made, and the priceless lessons I have learned from them; for disillusion and disappointment that have cleared my vision and spurred

great instruments used by Providence in bringing our nature toward its perfection, yet if men gave themselves up to imitation entirely, and each followed the other, and so on in an eternal circle, it is easy to see that there could never be any improvement among them. Men must remain as brutes do, the same at the end that they are at this day, and that they were at the beginning of the world. To prevent this, God has implanted in man, a sense of ambition, and a satisfaction arising from the contemplation of his excelling his fellows in something deemed valuable among them. It is this passion that drives men to all the ways we see in use of signalizing themselves, and that tends to make whatever excites in a man the idea of this distinction so very pleasant. It

That in our aspirations to be

Our destinies o'erleap their
mortal state,

And claim a kindred with you;
for ye are

A beauty and a mystery, and

In us such love and reverence
from afar,

That fortune, fame, power, life,
have named themselves a star.

"Stars," by Lord Byron

my desire; for strong appetites and passions and the power they give when under pressure and control; for my imperfections that give me the keen delight of striving toward perfection.

God of common good and human brotherhood, I give Thee thanks for siren songs of temptation that lure and entangle and the understanding of other men they reveal; for the weaknesses and failings of my neighbors and the joy of lending a helping hand; for my own shortcomings, sorrows and loneliness, that give me a deeper sympathy for others; for ingratitude and misunderstanding and the gladness of service without other reward than self-expression.-Arthur W. Newcomb.

has been so strong as to make very miserable men take comfort that they were supreme in misery; where we can not distinguish ourselves by something excellent, we take complacency in some singular infirmity, folly or defect.

-Edmund Burke.

HE first and best victory is to conquer self; to be conquered by self is, of all things, the most shameful and vile.-Plato.

HE only way in which one human being can properly attempt to influence another is the encouraging him to think for himself, instead of endeavoring to instil ready-made opinions into his head.-Sir Leslie Stephen.

HAT we have a right to expect of the American boy is that he shall turn out to be a good American man. The boy can best become a good

the principle to follow is: Hit the line hard; don't foul and don't shirk, but hit the line hard.-" The American Boy," by Theodore Roosevelt.


the beginning, men went forth

man by being a good boy-not a goody-each day some to do battle, some

to the chase; others, again, to dig and to delve in the field-all that they might

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the Shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

goody boy, but just a plain good boy. I do not mean that he must love only the negative virtues; I mean that he must love the positive virtues also. "Good," in the largest sense, should include whatever is fine, straight forward, clean, brave, and manly. The best boys I know-the best men I knoware good at their studies or their business, fearless and stalwart, hated and feared by all that is wicked and depraved, incapable of submitting to wrongdoing, and equally incapable of being aught but tender to the weak and helpless. Of course the effect that a thoroughly manly, thoroughly straight and upright boy can have upon the companions of his own age, and upon those who are younger, is incalculable. If he is not thoroughly manly, then they will not respect him, and his good qualities will count for but little; while, of course, if he is mean, cruel or wicked, then his physical strength and force of mind merely make him so much the more objectionable a member of society. He can not do good work if he is not strong and does not try with his whole heart and soul to count in any contest; and his strength will be a curse to himself and to every one else if he does not have a thorough command over himself and over his own evil passions, and if he does not use his strength on the side of decency, justice and fair dealing.


Invictus," by W. E. Henley

In short, in life, as in a football-game,

gain and live, or lose and die. Until there was found among them one, differing from the rest, whose pursuits attracted him not, and so he staid by the tents with the women, and traced strange devices with a burnt stick upon a gourd.

This man, who took no joy in the ways of his brethrenwho cared not for conquest, and fretted in the fieldthis designer of quaint patterns— this deviser of the beautiful-who

perceived in Nature about him curious curvings, as faces are seen in the firethis dreamer apart, was the first artist.

We have then but to wait-until, with the mark of the gods upon him-there come among us again the chosen-who shall continue what has gone before. Satisfied that, even were he never to appear, the story of the beautiful is already complete-hewn in the marbles of the Parthenon-and broidered, with the birds, upon the fan of Hokusai-at the foot of Fuji-Yama.

-J. McNeill Whistler.

HERE is but one virtue: to help human beings to free and beautiful life; but one sin: to do them indifferent or cruel hurt; the love of humanity is the whole of morality. This is Goodness, this is Humanism, this is the Social Conscience.-J. William Lloyd.

ELFISHNESS is not living as one

wishes to live; it is asking others to live as one wishes to live. And unselfishness is letting other people's lives alone, not interfering with them. Selfishness always aims at creating around it an absolute uniformity of type. Unselfishness recognizes infinite variety of type as a delightful thing, accepts it, acquiesces in it, enjoys it.-Oscar Wilde.

God, we don't like to complain—

We know that the mine is no lark—
But there's the pools from the rain:
But-there's the cold and the dark.

O man has earned the right to intellectual ambition until he has learned to lay his course by a star which he has never seen-to dig by the divining-rod for springs which he may never reach. In saying this, I point to that which will make your study heroic. For I say to you in all sadness of conviction, that to think great thoughts you must be heroes as well as idealists. Only when you have worked alonewhen you have felt around you a black gulf of solitude more isolating than that which surrounds the dying man, and in hope and in despair have trusted to your own unshaken willthen only will you have achieved. Thus only can you gain the secret isolated joy of the thinker, who knows

God, You don't know what it is

You, in Your well-lighted sky,
Watch the meteors whizz;

Warm, with the sun always by.

God, if You had but the moon

Stuck in Your cap for a lamp,
Even You'd tire of it soon,

Down in the dark and the damp.

Nothing but blackness above,

And nothing that moves but the cars—
God, if You wish for our love,

Fling us a handful of stars!


HE tree which

moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing which stands in the way. Some see Nature all ridicule and deformity, and by these I shall not regulate my proportions; and

some scarce see Nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination Nature is Imagination itself. As a man is, so he sees.-William Blake.

"Caliban in the Coal Mines," by Louis Untermeyer

that, long after he is dead and forgotten,
men who never heard of him will be
moving to the measure of his thought—
the subtile rapture of a postponed power,
which the world knows not because it has
no external trappings, but which to his
prophetic vision is more real than that
which commands an army. And if this
joy should not be yours,-still it is only
thus that you can know that you have
done what it lay in you to do,—can say
that have lived, and be ready for the
end.-Oliver Wendell Holmes.


N enlightened mind is not hoodwinked; it is not shut up in a gloomy prison till it thinks the walls of its own dungeon the limits of the universe, and the reach of its own chain the outer verge of intelligence.

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »