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HERE is an ancient legend 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. -Kipling
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 againstHim, 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 deliver us, to open the Infinite to us.-Victor Hugo.
tints are gone, as if the autumnal rains had washed them out. Orange, yellow and scarlet, all are changed to one melancholy russet hue ☛ The birds, too, have taken wing, and have left their roofless dwellings. Not the whistle of a robin, not the twitter of an eavesdropping swallow, not the carol of one sweet, familiar voice. All gone. Only the dis
Serene, I fold my hands and wait,
I stay my haste, I make delays:
T is not possible to have the
Asleep, awake, by night or day,
What matter if I stand alone?
The waters know their own, and draw
The stars come nightly to the sky,
Nor time nor space, nor deep nor high,
mal cawing of a crow, as he sits and curses that the harvest is over; or the chit-chat of an idle squirrel, the noisy denizen of a hollow tree, the mendicant friar of a large parish, the absolute monarch of a dozen acorns. -Longfellow.
opening leaf, warm perfection in every stirring egg, hope and fear and beauty beyond computation in every forest tree; and in the autumn before the snows come they have all gone-of all that incalculable abundance of life, of all that hope and adventure, excitement and deliciousness, there is scarcely more to be found than a soiled twig, a dirty seed, a dead leaf, black mould, or a rotting feather. -H. G. Wells.
Speech is the index of the mind.-Seneca.
I do abhor;
And yet how sweet
tuppence worth of social position, piety, comfort, and domestic affection, of which he, too, is often ironically defrauded by Fate.-George Bernard Shaw.
The sound along the marching street
WAS passing along the street when a beggar, a decrepit old man, stopped me. Swollen, tearful eyes, blue lips, bristling rags, unclean sores. . . .. Oh, how horribly had poverty gnawed that unhappy being! He stretched out to me a red, bloated, dirty hand... He moaned, he bellowed for help. I began to rummage in all my pockets. . Neither purse, nor watch, nor even handkerchief did I find... I had taken nothing with me.
Without a soul-save this bright treat
HE tradition of the stage is a tradition of villains and heroes. Shakespeare was a devout believer in the existence of the true villain-the man whose terrible secret is that his fundamental moral impulses are by some freak of nature inverted, so that not only are love, pity, and honor loathsome to him, and the affectation of them which society imposes on him a constant source of disgust, but cruelty, destruction, and perfidy are his most luxurious passions. This is a totally different phenomenon from the survivals of the ape and tiger in the normal man. The average normal man is covetous, lazy, selfish; but he is not malevolent, nor capable of saying to himself, "Evil: be thou my good." He only does wrong as a means to an end, which he always represents to himself as a right end. The case is exactly reversed with a villain; and it is my melancholy duty to add that we sometimes find it hard to avoid a cynical suspicion that the balance of social advantage is on the side of gifted villainy, since we see the able villain, Mephistopheles-like, doing a huge amount of good in order to win the power to do a little daring evil, out of which he is as likely as not to be cheated in the end; whilst your normal respectable man will countenance, connive at, and grovel his way through all sorts of meanness, baseness, servility, and cruel indifference to suffering in order to enjoy a miserable
Oh, it is wickedness to clothe
Till good men love the thing they loathe;
But not an infamy like this.
O, snap the fife and still the drum,
And the beggar still waited. . .and extended his hand, which swayed and trembled feebly. Bewildered, confused, I shook that dirty, tremulous hand heartily. . . . "Blame me not, brother; I have nothing, brother." The beggar man fixed his swollen eyes upon me; his blue lips smiled-and in his turn he pressed my cold fingers. "Never mind, brother," he mumbled. "Thanks for this also, brother.-This also is an alms, brother."
"The Illusions of War," by Richard Le Gallienne
O make my readers realize what a philosopher is, I can only say that I am a philosopher. If you ask incredulously," 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 materials— humanity 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 s
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 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
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
It is the price of progress; and, after all, it is the philosopher, and not you, who will burn for it.
-George Bernard Shaw.