صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

it might tell truly what we had seen, and make man the soul's-brother of man; or only that it might utter vain sounds, jargon, soul-confusing, and so divide man, as by enchanted walls of Darkness, from union with man?

4. Thou who wearest that cunning, heaven-made organ, a Tongue, think well of this. Speak not, I passionately entreat thee, till thy thought have silently matured itself, till thou have other than mad and mad-making noises to emit: hold thy tongue till some meaning lie behind, to set it wagging

5. Consider the significance of SILENCE: it is boundless, never by meditating to be exhausted, unspeakably profitable to thee! Cease that chaotic hubbub, wherein thy own soul runs to waste, to confused suicidal dislocation and stupor; out of Silence comes thy strength. “Speech is silvern, Silence is golden; Speech is human, Silence is divine.

6. Fool! thinkest thou that because no one stands near with parchment and blacklead to note thy jargon, it therefore dies and is harmless ? Nothing dies, nothing can die.

No idlest word thou speakest but is a seed cast into Time, and grows through all Eternity! The Recording Angel, consider it well, is no fable, but the truest of truths.

- THOMAS CARLYLE.

OPPORTUNITY

This I beheld, or dreamed it in a dream:
There spread a cloud of dust along a plain,
And underneath the cloud, or in it, raged
A furious battle, and men yelled, and swords
Shocked upon swords and shields. A prince's banner
Wavered, then staggered backward, hemmed by foes.
A craven hung along the battle's edge,
And thought: “Had I a sword of keener steel —
That blue blade that the king's son bears — but this
Blunt thing

he snapped and flung it from his
hand,
And, lowering, crept away and left the field.
Then came the king's son, wounded, sore bestead,
And weaponless, and saw the broken sword,
Hilt-buried in the dry and trodden sand,
And ran and snatched it, and with battle shout
Lifted afresh, he hewed his enemy

down And saved a great cause that heroic day.

- EDWARD ROWLAND SILL.

THERE is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.

SHAKESPEARE.

THE MYSTERY OF LIFE

Though I am no poet, I have dreams sometimes : -I dreamed I was at a child's May-day party, in which every means of entertainment had been provided for the children by a wise and kind host. It was in a stately house, with beautiful gardens attached to it; and the children had been set free in the rooms and gardens, with no care whatever but how to pass their afternoon rejoicingly.

They did not, indeed, know much about what was to happen next day; and some of them, I thought, were a little frightened, because there was a chance of their being sent to a new school where there were examinations ; but they kept the thoughts of that out of their heads as well as they could, and resolved to enjoy themselves. The house, I said, was in a beautiful garden, and in the garden were all kinds of flowers; sweet, grassy banks for rest; and smooth lawns for play; and pleasant streams and woods; and rocky places for climbing.

And the children were happy for a little while, but presently they separated themselves into parties; and then each party declared it would have a piece of the garden for its own, and that none of the others should have anything to do with that piece. Next, they quarreled violently, which pieces they would have; and at last the boys took up the thing, as boys should do, “practically,” and fought in the flower beds till there was hardly a flower left standing; then they trampled down each other's bits of the garden out of spite ; and the girls cried till they could cry no more; and so they all lay down at last breathless in the ruin, and waited for the time when they were to be taken home in the evening.

Meanwhile, the children in the house had been making themselves happy also in their manner. For them, there had been provided every kind of indoors pleasure: there was music for them to dance to; and the library was open, with all manner of amusing books; and there was a workshop, with lathes and carpenter's tools for the ingenious boys; and there were pretty fantastic dresses, for the girls to dress in; and a table, in the dining room, loaded with everything nice to eat.

But in the midst of all this, it struck two or three of the more practical children, that they would like some of the brass-headed nails that studded the chairs; and so they set to work to pull them out. Presently, the others, who were reading, or looking at shells, took a fancy to do the like; and, in a little while, all the children, nearly, were spraining their fingers in pulling out brass-headed nails. With all that they could pull out, they were not satisfied; and then, everybody wanted some of somebody else's. The really practical and sensible ones declared, that nothing was of any real consequence, that afternoon, except to get plenty of brass-headed nails; and that the books, and the cakes, and the microscopes were of no use at all in themselves, but only if they could be exchanged for nail-heads.

And at last they began to fight for nail-heads, as the others fought for the bits of garden. Only here and there, a despised one shrank away into a corner, and tried to get a little quiet with a book, in the midst of the noise ; but all the practical ones thought of nothing else but counting nailheads all the afternoon — even though they knew they would not be allowed to carry so much as one brass knob away with them.

But no — it was “ Who has most nails? I have a hundred, and you have fifty;” or, “I have a thousand and you have two. I must have as many as you before I leave the house, or I cannot possibly go home in peace.” At last they made so much noise that I awoke, and thought to myself, “ What a false dream that is, of children. The child is the father of the man; and wiser. Children never do such foolish things. Only men do.”

-John RUSKIN.

« السابقةمتابعة »