Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The Hesperian / (Lincoln, Neb.) 1885-1899 | View Entire Issue (June 1, 1892)
T II E H ESl'ERI A N.
for eblleue men to take an active part in the affairs
of the state and the nation. Let us all sec to it that
our loral clubs permit no grass to grow under our
A l'KKSUMAX Til KM K.
Woild pool, wc now of lliis latter day
Who have known failure ami have felt defeat,
The dwarfed children of earth's sterile age,
Who feel our weakness weighing on our limbs
Unbicakablc as bonds of adamant,
Turn to thee once again, O sun born bard:
o i est our weary souls a little space
Beneath the shadow of infinitude.
As weak men who have fallen very low,
Look tow.ird high heaven and find some comfort there,
Knowing, however low themselves may fall,
The great blue reaches on, forever up.
0 Mster unsearchable', at times
We seek to find thy great soul's secret out,
And when some light streams like the setting sun
Across a water)- waste, like swimmers lold
We plunge into that path of quivering gold,
And with long strokes we cleave the glowing wave
Straight toward ihe sun. Hut when its last caress
1 .caves the horizon dark, alwut us steals
The awful horror of the open sea.
Thy mystery is great as is thy powc,
And those who love thee most know only this,
As long since knew the men of Ithaca:
Within te grvMt hill of our arm ory
Where hangie weapons of ou ancient chiefs
Ami mighty men of old, there hangs a bow
Of clanging silver, which today no man,
He he of mortal mother or the son
Of some sea goddess, can its tense drawn cord
Loosen, or liend at all its mass ve frame.
Hcncath it hang the bronze shod shafts which none
1 lave cunning to in these days to fit thereto,
AIkivc it all the sun stands still in heaven,
Pierced there long centuries with a shaft of song.
A Scotch Peasant.
I This week we have the pleasure of publishing the essay
which won for Miss Hullock, the Knight prize.
Perhaps no other man of letters has been so variously titled
as Thomas Carlylc. lie is called preacher, censor, sage, phil
osopher, prophet. These names all make of him a grand pic
ture, and it is not, perhaps, a poor likeness. Hut loo often it
is left cold and colorless, a Steele engraving, with no touch of
human life or human warmth. It is surely a deplorable mis
take thus to consider Carlylc. He was a genius; that carnot
be forgotten. Hut he was none the less a man, a en- 'x.ncbt
noble man, who would have been as truly noble had u always
remained a poor unlettered peasant It is well t .onsidcr
that Carlylc's virtues and faults were human, w & earthly, if
for nothing more than to make the man a litt more intelli
gible, to bring him down from his high place "alone with the
stars" to the common earth. It is often a relief to know,
when wc see the electric wonder of the night hanging like a
spark from hcacns forge, that there are poles, and wires, and
other earthly trappings connected with it. In spite of them
all, it is still recognizable that the spark o come from
Heaven, is mysterious, is wonderful. Carlylc, considered in
any way, cannot be fully understood. Hut unless it is recog
nized that he was, after all, only a man, that he had a man's
reasons for suffering as lie did, he cannot be understood at all.
The good neighbors of James Cailyle, in the little Scotch
village of Ecclefcchan, advised him not to send his son to
Edinburgh University. They predicted that if the lad should
be educated, he would srorn his humble home and his peasant
kinsmen, and would follow the ways of learned, worldly men.
The proud, stubborn fatlicr would not heed the friendly
advice. A small divine prompting . within the honest mason
impelled him to send his son off to the great university. He
cherished the hope that "Tom" would some day have clergy
man's orders, should lead the honored, peaceful life of a vil
lage minister. The hope was not fulfilled. Thomas Carlylc
never wore the flowing robes of priest, never read the prayers
at some small Scottish kirk. He did preach, and even proph
ecy, but this great earth was the only temple that could hold
his listeners. Well might these wise friends at Ecclefcchan
have shaken their heads, as if they had but dreamt how
learned 'lorn Carlylc was to lecoine. Yet never did he fulfill
their evil prophecy. No learning, no fame, ever changed his
honest peasant heart. He never ceased to love his plain kins
men, never thought himself better than his parents who gave
him life. The bleak hills, the desolate blackened moors, the
music-making burns of his early home never lost their charm.
England may proudly claim Carlylc, the author, and place his
lmoks among her classics. Hut Carlylc, the man, in the life
he lived, in manner, in speech, in heart, was always a true
son of Scotland.
He was a most tender-hearted man. He could feel for,
could suffer with everything that suffered. The sight if the
idle Glasgow masons making their noon meal of water and
water-cresses made him heart -sick and miserable. He could
not refuse a beggar's plea, nor question the honesty of it. He
himself kne what poverty was, though far too proud to beg,
or to accept kindly meant assistance. Necessity forced him
to write for the pages of cheap magazines, f Ic cared little
what it was he wrote; only it must be true, must be something
he had in his heart to sa, something that men ought to hear.
No threatening dinner of water and wattr-crcsscs could have
made him say what did he not believe. No refusal of articles
could lessen his "terrible carncstucs."
He seldom complained of his poverty. It was the only
one of his trials that he could bear with any patience at all.
He wrote calmly enough when there were but five pounds ster
ling on hand and poor prospect for more. Vet, trials that to
most men would seem trivial were to Carlylc causes for bitter,
unrestrained complaint. His correspondents arc told of every
renewed attack of dyspepsia or insomania, arc kept advised as
to every atrocity of the neighbor's crowing cock or barking
dog. His ill health, his "nerves," his naturally gloomy temper
anient, and his bad habit of exaggerating ever)' petty annoy
ance, made him always "ill to live with," as his mother said.
He often thought that if he could only escape from the city
and its many irritating circumstances, he might be contented,
even happy. Yet in his heart he knew that there was no con
tentment for him anywhere on. earth. The seven years he
spent at Craigenputtock, "the most desolate spot in all Scot
land," were carcely less stormy than the rest of his life. His
misery, though exaggerated, was real; it was not affected. It
was a part of himself, a sequence, perhaps an inevitable one,
of a great feature of his genius, his Christ-like faculty of see
ing the miser)- that lies hidden under the gay shows of life, of
feeling that misery with all the strength of his own suffering
heart. Had he been less a genius, he might have been a hap
pier, less pitiable man. Hut he could never have written a
"French Revolution." He could never have pictured out
that great wild tumult if his own soul had not been full of a
tumult almost as wild.
" ct Carlylc was a Scotchman, and it was not possible for
him to be always gloomy and complaining. He had a very
true sense of humor, could laugh with as honest enjoyme
Powered by Open ONI