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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Aug. 18, 1905)
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AUGUST 18, 1906
THE DREAMS THAT COME TRUE
Two business men were spending an evening
together. One asked the other, "How do you
manage to break away from your work in thought
as well as in deed?" His companion replied:
"One method I will describe by a little story.
The other day was a very busy one to me, and
when 1 was ready to go home I found my mind
full of my work. I put one million dollars in my
pocket, stepped on the rear platform of a street
car, lighted a good cigar, and proceeded to spend
the money according to the methods which I
hope I would employ if I really had a fortune
I dil not awake from my dream until I stepped
across the threshold of my home and was greeted
by the children. I had left my work entirely
behind me, and had had all the pleasures of dis
tributing the million dollars without any of tho
Tho first speaker asked: "Do you often in
dulge in such dreams?"
The other replied, "Not too often, but just
The first speaker said: "I'm glad you have
made that confession. I have indulged in that
pastime myself frequently and I began to fear for
my mental condition."
While we are told by one of the old poets that
hearts have been broken and heads have been
crushed by giving fancy such a free rein, we know-'
that in tho language of that same poet "there's
mony a mighty mon buildin' castles i' the air."
These dreams are doubtless indulged in by men
ir. every walk of life. With some the dream never
goes higher than fancy, but with others it is of
that order that entitles it to rank as imagination.
Emerson gave us the distinction when ho
said: "Fancy amuses; imagination expands and
exhausts. Imagination is the vision of an inspired
soul, but as the soul is released a little from its
passion and at leisure plays with tLj resemblances
and types for amusement, and not for its moral
end, we call its action fancy."
Edward G. Maggi, ono of Nebraska's well
known orators, has drawn the distinction in this
way: "imagination is the stellar system moving
on in silent grandeur; fancy the transient meteors
flashing athwart the sky. Imagination is the
eagle soaring on eager wing, the lark whose song
filters down from the skies; fancy is the humming
bird flitting from flower to flower, the butterfly
fluttering in a field of fragrant clover."
One great poet has called the air built castle
"th j fool's paradise," but another poet has pro
vided for those who at times yield to the tempta
tion to roam in that 'paradise the apology that
"we figure to ourselves the thing we like; and
then we build it up, as chance will have it, on
the rock or sand for thought is tired of, wander
ing o'er the world, and home-bound fancy runs
her bark ashore."
Even though one would not be willing to
condemn the practice of building air castles such
as were constructed by our million dollar philan
thropist, there will be little disposition to deny
the propriety of the plain admonition contained in
the statement of his companion to the effect
that such fancies should not be indulged in
"too often," and vwe are all, perhaps, prepared
to agree with him that "often enough" is, indeed,
A man upon whom fortune had not always
smiled purchased on one occasion a ticket in
a lottery. It had been the hope of the mem
bers of this man's household to have at some
time a horse and carriage, and the kind hearted
parent returning to his home proudly displayed
his lottery ticket and calling wife and children
around him told them that the capital prize was
$15,000. He then drew a fine picture of the car
riage which he intended to purchase with his
The children were of course delighted with
the prospect and little "ecky" exclaimed "I'm
going to ride on the front seat with papa!"
But i'lkey," the older brother, put in. "No,
I'm going to ride on the front seat!"
The father undertook to pacify "Ikey," but
he seemed bent upon having the front seat; and
finally the father bending down, as it were, from
the heights of his air castle exclaimed: "Ikey,
get right down out of the carriage !"-
Perhaps this is even a better illustration than
that given by our million dollar philanthropist of
the kind of air castles the construction of which
may be mere waste of time. But if in these day
dreams we can obtain that recreation which
many men say they do obtain from such fancies,
without tho danger of becoming an idle dreamer,
there is little harm in tho pastime Indeed it
may become beneficial If by yielding to fancy
we prepare ourselves for that Imagination which
plays not for amusement but for moral ond. Wo
have been told that "as imagination delights in
presenting to the mind scones and characters
more perfect than those which wo aro acquainted
with, it prevents us from ever being completely
satisfied with our present condition, or with our
past attainments, and engages us continually in
tho pursuit of some untried enjoyment or of
some ideal excellence;" and further: "Destroy
this faculty and the condition of man will become
as stationary as that of the brutes."
Goschen, the English statesman, gave, in an
address delivered at Edinburgh college, an inter
esting description of the uses of tho Imagina
tion. He declared that one of tho most precious
faculties ' which Providence has planted In tho
human breast is "tho faculty of wise, sympa
thetic, disciplined, prospective imagination." Ho
referred to "constructive imagination," which
having the power of picturing absent things
"takes its start from facts but supplements them
and does not contradict them." Ho contrasted
constructive imagination with analysis, saying
that tho latter eliminates, separates, strips off,
reduces, while tho former proceeds in the oppo
Coleridge said that Tom Moore had fancy,
but no imagination; but Poo explained that
Moore's fancy "so far predominated over all his
other faculties and over the fancy of all other
men as to have induced, very naturally, the idea
that he was fanciful only." And Poo declared
that by Coleridge's estimate "never was a greater
wrong done the fame of a truo poet."
One of the world's greatest word builders
has told us that the man of imagination is merely
the man of genius that that man having seen a
leaf and a drop of water can construct the for
ests, tho rivers, and the seas, and that in his
presence all the cataracts fall and foam, tho
mists rise, the clouds form and float; that he
has lived tho life of all people, of. all races; that
he knows all crimes and all regrets, all virtues
and their rich rewards; that he has been victim
and victor, pursuer and pursued, outcast and
king has heard tho applauses and curses of tho
world, and on his heart have fallen all the nights
and noons of failure and success; that ho knows
tho unspoken thoughts, tho dumb desires, tho
wants and ways of beasts; that he has knelt
with awe and dread at every shrine, has offered
every sacrifice and every prayer; that he has
lived all lives, and '"through his blood and brain
'Se THE DREAMS AHEAD &
5 What would we do In this world of ours S
6 Were it not for the dreams ahead? &
& For thorns are mixed with the blooming &
& flowers, &
& No matter which path we tread.
tj? And each of us has his golden goal, .'
& Stretching far into the years, &
& And ever he climbs with a hopeful soul, &
& With alternate smiles and tears.
j5 That dream ahead is what holds him up &
& Through the storms of a ceaseless &
& fight; &
& When his lips are pressed to the worm- &
& wood's cup &
& And clouds shut out the light. &
5 To some it's a dream of high estate, &
6 To some it's a dream of wealth; &
S To some it's a dream of a truce with Fate &
5 In a constant search for health.
& To some it's a dream of home and wife;
& To some it's a crown above, &
8 The dreams ahead are what make each &
& life &
& The dreams and faith and love! &
J, Edwin Carlisle Litsey In the House- &
& keeper. &
liavo crept tho shadow and tho chill of ovory
death, while his soul, Mazoppa-llko, ha been
lashed naked to tho wild horso or ovory fear and
love and hale. And tho grentost castle-builder
among all tho architects of tho air, tho greatest
dreamer of all tho dreamers of tho world con
cluded this powerful description: "Tho imagina
tion hath a stage within tho brain, whereon ho
sets all scones that lie between tho morn of
laughtor and the night of tours, and where bis
players body forth tho false and truo, the Joy
and griefs, tho careless shallow, and the tragic
doopH of every life."
Tho man who slept and dreamed that llfo
was beauty awoko and found that llfo won duty.
Hia was of the dreams thnt como true. Tolling
on unceasingly ho discovered that men who lonrn
that life Is duty, and act accordingly, find la
fact that life Ik beauty.
What would llfo be without It dreams?
What would humanity do without Its dreamers?
The value of our contributions to the world aro
to be guaged by tho character of our drowns. Tho
man who Imagined that ho had ono million dol
lars and found pleasuro In dreaming that he was
spending it for tho benefit of his follows Is not
likely to spoil his own character by his dreams
or to Injure society by tho cultivation of fancies
of that order. Tho man who, having Invested
In a lottery ticket, found his greatest delight In
anticipating the pleasuro ho might glvo to his
wife and little children had In him tho stuff out
of which good dreamers aro made. Ho needed
but to separate himself from tho notion that
outsldo tho charmed circle of "fren.lod finance"
something can be obtainod for nothing, or that
tho parent can bring happiness to his loved ones
without an effort. Had that dream been roallzod
upon through tho medium of a lottery ticket, It
would have been like Dead Sea fruit that tempts
tho oyc but turns to ashes on the lips. It would
have becii like a victory without a strugglo, an
achievement without an effort, a prize without a
contest, a token of love without a sacrifice. Such
victories, achievements; prizes and tokens aro
The best of all dreams are those to which,
perhaps, wo attach not the greatest importance.
But they are of the sort that como true and aro
true just as "the best portion of a good man's
life" aro "the little, nameless, unromembered acts
of kindness and of love."
Tho dreams of lovo, of humanity, of righteous
ness, como true. They are, in fact, true In tho
very dreaming. Every thought that contemplates
help to the helpless, that deals with tho uplift
ing of the fallen, tho advancement of humanity,
tho dispensation of charity, the sacrifice of tho
strong for the weak, the checking of the orphan's
sobs, the drying of the widow's tears, the restora
tion of manhood and womanhood to those who
have lost hope, the winning of the world to
truth these are the dreams that make life worth
living, these are the dreams that come true.
It Is as old as the hills, but It Is always good:
When Abou Ben Adhem awoke one night from
a deep dream of peace he saw an angel writing
in a book of gold, and to the presence in tho
room he said:
"What wrltest thou?" The vision raised its
And with a look made of all sweet accord
Answered "The names of those who love tho
"And Is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so,"
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low
But cheerily still; and said "I pray thee, then,
Write mo as one that loves his fellow men."
The angel wrote and vanished. The next nisht
It came again with a great wakening light.
And showed the names whom love of God
And Io! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.
RICHARD L. METCALFE.
&&&&&&&&&& ' &. & &.
WHAT ABOUT OTHER COMPANIES?
What about the other big Insurance com
panies? Is tho Equitable the only one that haa
sinned? It is highly Improbable that the Equlta
ble vas an exception. Why don't the Jnvestl
gators investigate the Now York Life and other
big insurance companies? They have all been
paying big salaries and they have wheels within
Those who administer trust funds must Jo
so with clean hands. It will be a marvel if tho
directors of other large insurance ' companies
have avoided the methods which have brought
, odium on. the Equitable management
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