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And then drift back again; but Amen-Rah
Her god is dead. The tumbling waters roar
And bring their harvest to Nilotic fields.
I peer far back into the shadowy past,
But see no vision, no transcendent light
To tell me when the sun first glorified
The east, or man awoke from speechless stone:
I hear no voice proclaiming when nor where
This time tossed bark shall reach the shore;
Nor what the mission of its passage is;
Nor whence the soul shall go when night
Eternal gives it final anchorage.
O dews and zephyrs of this silent lour !
Though you have kissed the massive brow of him
Who sang on Avon's banks of hearts distressed;
Or soothed the darkened eyes of him who dreamed
Of Paradise ; or haply quieted
The Grecian hand that gave to voiceless stone
The power to tell the dreams, the high ideals
And steadfast potent faith of Doric heart;
And though you may have kissed the pallid brow
Of some worn sleeper as you came this way,
Whose cheek but yester-noon was flushed with youth,
But which today is sullen with the gray
Of dissipation and of midnight hours,
Of revelry, whose youthful promise and
Ideals lie wrecked through mortal restlessness;
You tell me not why home at close of day
Beckons to its hearth the toiling throng,
Nor why, amid the burdens that press in
And weigh me down, I feel I once had lived
In heaven, but had strayed and lost my way.
Full well do I remember that sad day When twilight first did sink about her grave,
Whose love for me can ne'er again be known.
Too early did the shuttle shoot the weft,
The fell, that brought her life's web to its close;
While I, a youth with breaking heart, went forth
To struggle with the sea which social life
Presents each soul to brave, to rise, to drift.
My cup was bitter and my thirsting heart
So longed for peace that this fell solitude
Was sought and here I've lived through dragging years
And found it not. I wander, watch and wait;
Could I but feel again the heat of youth
Pulse through my time-worn veins, I'd say:
"Farewell, farewell! majestic hills, farewell!
Now have you passed, O solitude sublime,
Into a revery, an ungrateful dream,
More full of bitter and unceasing pain
Than those fair days when life had lost its hope.
And though the path of life looked hard, severe,
Yet ever in advance lay victory,
Or else defeat; the one to be assuaged
With cadent tears of those whom most we love,
The other to be crowned with smiles of happiness.”
O could I live it all again! I'd choose
The way where action zests each troubled day,
For then I know my heart would be so full
Of love for God and life and man
That there would be no room within my breast
For human longings and the soul's unrest.
Stay, night winds, stay! I feel some presence near!
A longing soul within this solitude !
And measured breathing guides my feet to where
He lies in sweet repose. He sleeps as one within
The sweet embrace of immortality.
But I'll arouse within his passive breast
A love for action, hate for solitude;
And thereby send him back to conquer worlds
Within the soul, to live, to die triumphant,
Or in calm defeat to feel a good fight lost
Is better than a life-long search for peace.
Awake! insentient youth, awake, awake!
Thy curved lips the pleasure of thy dreams
Partake! Thy peaceful brow, besprent
With evening's pearls and shadows of the night
Proclaims the peace of revery, not of life.
Awake! put on thy armor for the fight!
Arouse! thou must away at dawn of day!
Already doth the east begin to smile.
Thou needst not tell me why thou camest here; The longings, cravings of thy mortal heart Have urged and pressed thee and this solitude Thou sought'st to soothe and heal ambition's wounds; To wipe away the sorrows and the gloom Of disappointments which the world hath forced On thy young breast, to dwell in peace and live With nature, free as are the birds that make This lonely dale resound with sweetest melody: And ne'er again to feel the cold gray gleam Of eyes distrustful, glad to criticise. To live in peace has been and is The consummation of mortality.
The future holds our hopes and happiness, Our fears and apprehensions dire; but there Is God above the soul and that within Which prophesies another life; and yet We know not what nor where; but saddest heart Ne'er lost its hope. The great sun comes and goes But breathes no word of what we feel we know ;
The crescent moon her nightly passage makes
Across the upper deep, but ne'er displays
One signal light nor tosses overboard
One note to tell from whence, nor where we go.
The silent stars give challenge as they pass,
But give no impulse of the countersign
That gives us entrance to the heavenly camp;
Imagination unto realms unknown
Makes flight, wings over restless waters of this life,
And wearily returns and bears us back
No olive leaf as token of emerging life
Beyond the mystic shades which close our eyes;
The gentle friend whose lids we closed last night,
Whose hands lay folded o'er triumpliant heart
Can send us back no word, nor intimate
What glorious vision brought atoning peace.
'Tis well we know not what the future holds; What joys or sorrows lie before, but this We know, the things we covet most, obtained No longer satisfy, for we have grown And reach far out toward future goals in hope That they will bring us peace and happiness. And so each milestone only serves to teach The lesson hard to learn that peace of heart, A will-'o-the-wisp, lies just beyond our reach. And so man lives and trusts what is to be. His faith builds bridges and doth weave him wings, The web of which hath for its weft, a thread Of gold, but not a product of this side, It comes from over there beyond the dews And damps of yonder hazy line of blue Which shuts faith's world from mortal eyes.
Awake. The noctuary that hath soothed Thy sleep is not one high born chord of peace.
And blessed the man who knows his own and builds
A manhood fortified with love and faith;
So come what may, serene and steadfastly
Enthroned he may abide unto the end.
He sleeps and hears me not. Too old, too old.
I idly sought for peace. The world moved on
And dropped me from the race. Sleep on, sleep on.
But may the morning light cause thee to feel
That joy which bringeth happiness is made
Of that delightful discontent, which hope
Of better things inspires ;
And though man fails of reaching longed-for goals,
His final estimate is not appraised
By what he is but what he wished to be;
That restlessness will bring the world from darkness into
That underneath it all, there lies the sweet
And glorifying harmony of truth.
BOY AND SOME OF HIS CHARACTERISTICS.* Genus Pueri is an extraordinary animal in that he is born into the world with desires. It is this characteristic which marks his distinction from the four-footed animals.
First, the desire to break and destroy. This is the imperious period; the genus, with true eastern and regal air lies under his canopy top, and from this position controls even the most complicated of households.
Next, he has the desire to crawl or to fly; he does not know which. At any rate, it is the longing to get somewhere.
Following the desire to rise to his feet and to stretch out his arms, he examines his hands and studies their mechanism. He begins to use blocks and to build. This is the point in the taming of the animal where curiosity, which is the beginning of intelli
*Extract of Free Oration delivered June 14, 1901, byKingsbury Foster.