Page images
PDF
EPUB

head, etc., the finer the flesh thereof;" and what are commonly the world's received fools but such whereof the world is not worthy? And what have been some of the kindliest patterns of our species, but so many darlings of absurdity, minions of the goddess, and her white boys? Reader, if you wrest my words beyond their fair construction, it is you, and

It hain't no use to grumble and complane; It's jest as cheap and easy to rejoice.When God sorts out the weather and sends rain,

W'y rain's my choice.

Men ginerly, to all intents—

Although they're apt to grumble some— Puts most theyr trust in Providence, And takes things as they come— That is, the commonality

N sober verity I will confess a truth to thee, reader. I love a Fool—as naturally as if I were of kith and kin to him. When a child, with childlike apprehensions, that dived not below the surface of the matter, I read those Parables-not guessing at the involved wisdom-I had more yearnings towards that simple architect, that built his house upon the sand, than I entertained for his more cautious neighbor; I grudged at the hard censure pronounced upon the quiet soul that kept his talent; and-prizing their simplicity beyond the more provident and, to my apprehension, somewhat unfeminine wariness of their competitors - I felt a kindness, that almost amounted to a tendre, for those five thoughtless virgins. I have never made an acquaintance since that lasted, or a friend. ship that answered, with any that had

Of men that's lived as long as me
Has watched the world enugh to learn
They're not the boss of this concern.

With some, of course, it's different-
I've saw young men that knowed it all,
And did n't like the way things went
On this terrestchul ball;-

But all the same, the rain, some way,
Rained jest as hard on picnic day;
Er, when they railly wanted it,
It mayby would n't rain a bit!

In this existunce, dry and wet

not I, that are the

April Fool.

-Charles Lamb.

CHOPENHAUER'S character was made up of that combination of seeming contradictions which is the peculiarity of all great men. He had the audacity of childhood, and the timidity of genius He was suspicious of every one, and ineffably kindhearted. With stupidity in every form he was blunt, even to violence; yet his manner and courtesy were such as is attributed to gentlemen of the old school. If he was an egotist, he was also charitable to excess; and who shall say that charity is not the egotism of great natures? He was honesty itself, and yet thought every one wished to cheat him. To mislead a possible thief he labeled his valuables Arcana Medica, put his bank notes in dictionaries and his gold pieces in ink bottles. He slept on the ground floor, that he might escape easily in case of fire. If he heard a noise at night he snatched at a pistol, which he kept loaded at his bedside . . . Kant's biography is full of similar vagaries, and one has but to turn to the history of any of the thinkers whose

Will overtake the best of menSome little skift o' clouds 'll shet The sun off now and then.—

(Concluded on next page)

not some tincture of the absurd in their characters I venerate an honest obliquity of understanding. The more laughable blunders a man shall commit in your company, the more tests he giveth you that he will not betray or overreach you. I love the safety which a palpable hallu cination warrants, the security which a word out of season ratifies. And take my word for this, reader, and say a fool told it you, if you please, that he who hath not a dram of folly in his mixture hath points of much worse matter in his composition. It is observed that "the foolisher the fowl, or fish, woodcocks, dotterels, cod's

[blocks in formation]

Our vices will abate of themselves if they be brought every day to the shrift.Oh the blessed sleep that follows such a diary!

Oh the tranquillity, liberty, and greatness of that mind which is a spy upon itself, and a private censor upon its own manners!

It is my custom every night, so

And you'll be glad you hain't got none!
It aggervates the farmers, too-

They's too much wet, er too much sun,
Er work, er waitin' round to do
Before the plowin' 's done:

And mayby, like as not, the wheat,
Jest as it's lookin' hard to beat,
Will ketch the storm—and jest about
The time the corn's a-jintin' out.
These-here cy-clones a-foolin' round-
And back'ard crops!-and wind and

rain!

And yit the corn that's wallerd down
May elbow up again!—

They hain't no sense, as I can see,
Fer mortuls, sich as us, to be

A-faultin' Natchur's wise intents,
And lockin' horns with Providence!
It hain't no use to grumble and complane;

It's jest as cheap and easy to rejoice.
When God sorts out the weather and

sends rain,

W'y, rain's my choice.

hope and to fear, to vex ourslves and others, and there is no antidote against a common calamity but virtue; for the foundation of true joy is in the conscience

-Seneca.

́N every man's life pilgrimage, however unblest, there are holy places where he is made to feel his kinship with the Divine; where the heavens

bend low over his head and angels come and minister unto him. These are the places of sacrifice, the meeting-ground of mor

"Wet-Weather Talk," by James Whitcomb Riley tal and immortal,

soon as the candle is out, to run over the words and actions of the past day; and I let nothing escape me, for why should I fear the sight of my errors when I can admonish and forgive myself? I was a little too hot in such a dispute; my opinion might well have been withheld, for it gave offence and did no good. The thing was true; but all truths are not to be spoken at all times.

I would I had held my tongue, for there is no contending, either with fools or with our superiors. I have done ill, but it shall be so no more.

If every man would but then look into

the tents of trial

wherein are waged the great spiritual combats of man's life. Here are the tears and agonies and the bloody sweat of Gethsemane Happy the man who, looking back, can say of himself: "Here, too. was the victory!"

-Michael Monahan.

Habit is a cable; we weave a thread of it every day, and at last we can not break it.-Horace Mann.

The highest and most lofty trees have the most reason to dread the thunder. -Charles Rollin.

ECONDLY, I enjoin and require that no ecclesiastic, missionary, or minister of any sect whatsoever, shall ever hold or exercise any station or duty whatsoever in the said College; nor shall any such person ever be admitted for any purpose, or as a visitor, within the premises appropriated to the purposes of the said College: In making this restriction, I do not mean to cast any reflection upon any sect or person whatsoever; but as there is such a multitude of sects, and such a diversity of opinion amongst them, I desire to keep the tender minds of the orphans, who are to derive advantage from this bequest, free from the excitement which clashing doctrines and sectarian controversy are so apt to produce; my desire is, that all the instructors and teachers in the college, shall take pains to instill into the minds of the scholars, the purest principles of morality, so that, on their entrance into active life, they may, from inclination and habit, evince benevolence toward their fellow creatures, and a love of truth, sobriety and industry, adopting at the same time, such religious tenets as their matured reason may enable them to prefer. From the Will of Stephen Girard.

[blocks in formation]

RIENDS: I know how vain it is to gild a grief with words, and yet I wish to take from every grave its fear. Here in this world, where life and death are equal kings, all should be brave enough to meet with all the dead have met. The future has been filled with fear, stained and polluted by the heartless past. From the wondrous tree of life the buds and blossoms fall with ripened fruit, and in the common bed of earth, the patriarchs and babes sleep side by side. Why should we fear that which will come to all that is?

We can not tell, we do not know, which is the greater blessing-life or death. We do not know whether the grave is the end of this life, or the door of another, or whether the night here is not somewhere else a dawn. Neither can we tell which is the more fortunate the child dying in its mother's arms, before its lips have learned to form a word, or he who journeys all the length of life's uneven road, painfully taking the last slow steps with staff and crutch. Every cradle asks us, "Whence?" and every coffin, “Whither?" The poor barbarian, weeping above his dead, can answer these questions as intelligently as the robed priest of the most authentic creed. The tearful ignorance of the one is just as consoling as the learned and unmeaning words of the other. No man, standing where the horizon of a life has touched a grave, has any right to prophesy a future filled with pain and tears. It may be that death gives all there is of worth to life. If those we press and strain against our hearts could never die, perhaps that love would wither from the earth. Maybe this common fate treads from out the paths between our hearts the weeds of selfishness and hate, and I had rather live and love where death is king, than have eternal life where love is not. Another life is naught, unless we know and love again the ones who love us here. They who stand with aching hearts around this little grave need have no fear. The larger and the nobler faith in all that is and is to be, tells us that death, even at its worst, is only perfect

rest. We know that through the common
wants of life-the needs and duties of
each hour-their griefs will lessen day
by day, until at last this grave will be to
them a place of rest and peace-almost
of joy. There is for them this consola-
tion. The dead do not suffer. And if they
live again, their lives will surely be as
good as ours. We have no fear. We are all
children of the same
mother, and the same
fate awaits us all.

We, too, have our re-
ligion, and it is this:
Help for the living
Hope for the dead.
-Robert G. Ingersoll.

T is a mistake to suppose that in planting colonies in the New World the nations of Europe were moved mainly by a philanthropic impulse to ex

under heavy penalties. They became a nation of law-breakers. Nine-tenths of the colonial merchants were smugglers. Nearly half of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were bred to commerce, to the command of ships and to contraband trade. John Hancock was the prince of contraband traders; and with John Adams as his counsel, was on

Out of the dusk a shadow,

Then a spark;

Out of the cloud a silence,

Then, a lark;

Out of the heart a rapture,
Then, a pain,

Life again.

"Evolution," by John Banister Tabb

trial before the admiralty court in Boston, at the exact hour of the shedding of the first blood at Lexington, to answer for a $500,000 penalty alleged to have been incurred as a smuggler.

Half the tonnage of the world was engaged

Out of the dead, cold ashes, in smuggling or piracy. The war of independence was a war against commercial despotism; against an industrial policy which oppressed and tortured the industry of our fathers, and would have reduced them to perpetual vassalage for the gain of England.-James A. Garfield.

tend the area of liberty and civilization. Colonies were planted for the purpose of raising up customers for home trade. It was a matter of business and speculation, carried on by joint stock companies for the benefit of corporations.

While our Revolution was in progress Adam Smith, when discussing and condemning the colonial system, declared that "England had founded an empire in the New World for the sole purpose of raising customers for her trade."

When the colonies had increased in numbers and wealth, the purpose of the mother country was disclosed in the legislation and regulations by which the colonies were governed.

Whatever did not enhance the trade and commerce of England was deemed unfit to be a part of the colonial policy. Worse even than its effects on the industry of the colonies was the influence of this policy on political and commercial morality. The innumerable arbitrary laws enacted to enforce it created a thousand new crimes. Transactions which the colonists thought necessary to the welfare, and in no way repugnant to the moral sense of good men, were forbidden

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

HE life of a people is a tissue of crimes, miseries, and follies. That is no less true of Penguinia than of other nations Gratian, the sage, toured Penguinia in the time of the last of the Draconide dynasty. Travelling one day through a lovely valley where cow bells tinkled in the pure air, he sat down on a bench at the foot of an oak tree, near a thatched cottage. On the doorstep a woman was suckling an infant; a youngster was playing with a big dog; a blind old man, seated in the sun, was drinking in the light of day through half-opened lips.

The master of the house, a robust young man, offered Gratian bread and milk and, the Marsouin philosopher after partaking of this repast, exclaimed, "Kindly inhabitants of a gentle land, I thank you. Everything here breathes joy, concord and peace."

Even as he spoke, however, a shepherd passed, playing a martial air upon his bagpipes

"What is that lively tune?" demanded Gratian Je

"That's our war hymn against the Marsouins," replied the peasant." Everybody here sings it. Little children know it before they can talk. We are all good Penguin patriots."

"You don't like the Marsouins?" "We hate them."

"For what reason do you hate them?" "How can you ask? They are our neighbors, are n't they?" "Undoubtedly."

"Well, that 's the reason the Penguins hate the Marsouins." "Is that a reason?"

"Certainly. Who says neighbors' says 'enemies' Look at the field which touches mine. It belongs to the man I hate most in the world. After him my worst enemies are the people of the village on the other slope of the valley at the foot of that birch wood. In this narrow valley, closed in on all sides, there is only that village and my village. Of course they are enemies. Every time our chaps meet theirs, they exchange insults and blows. And you don't see why

the Penguins should be the enemies of the Marsouins! Don't you know what patriotism means? For me there are only two possible battlecries: 'Long live the Penguins! Death to the Marsouins!'" -Anatole France.

HIS Mahomet, son of Abdallah, was a sublime charlatan. He says in his tenth chapter, "Who but God can have composed the Koran? Do you think Mahomet has forged this book? Well, try and write one chapter resembling it, and call to your aid whomsoever you please." In the seventeenth chapter, he exclaims, "Praise be to him who in a single night transported his servant from the sacred temple of Mecca to that of Jerusalem!"

This was a fine journey, but nothing compared to the one he took that same night from planet to planet. He pretended that it was five hundred years' journey from one to the other, and that he had cleft the moon in twain. His disciples who, after his death, collected in a solemn manner the verses of his Koran, suppressed this celestial journey, for they dreaded raillery and rationalization. After all, they had more delicacy than was needed. They might have trusted to the commentators, who would have found no difficulty in explaining the itinerary Mahomet's friends should have known by experience that the marvelous is the reason of the multitude. The wise contradict in a silence, which the multitude prevents their breaking. But while the itinerary of the planets was suppressed, a few words were retained about the adventure of the moon; one can not forever be on one's guard s

The Koran is a rhapsody, without connection, without order, and without art. . . . It is a poem or a sort of rhymed prose, consisting of about three thousand verses No poem ever advanced the fortunes of its author so much as the Koran

[ocr errors]

He has the humility to confess that he himself will not enter Paradise because of his own merits, but purely by the will of God. Through this same pure Divine

« PreviousContinue »