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About The Hesperian / (Lincoln, Neb.) 1885-1899 | View Entire Issue (Oct. 1, 1892)
There nrc such queer arrangements here anyway,
I really don't like them at all.
There's a flag on the steeple
To announce to the people
When the First Prep, lessons arc bad .
I'm much grieved to say
It's been there every day,
It makes all us good students mad.
And though I've had every lesson just right,
Not a single blue mark have I had.
There's a classical specimen in the front yard,
From the botanical gardens, I think,
It's the old Plymouth rock,
Though I don't take much stock
In the stories that Cwc seniors told,
Right in it is put.
It cost two million dollars in gold.
Miles Standish's writing I read there quite plain,
Though it's a hundred and fifty years old.
1 haven't joined any society yet,
Though the girls arc all crazy foi me.
All three clubs are good,
Though it's well understood,
That the Palladian is always the best.
Their hall is immense,
They have spared no expense,
They arc miles ahead of the rest.
Indeed it's the finest society I've seen;
It's glories can't be expressed.
Th Palls have the jollicst times, 'tis said,
The gayest old larks in the Uni.
There picnic this summer
I'm sure was a hummer,
'T was arranged by Lewis et al.
Of couples were eight,
The girls paid the freight,
The ice cream consumed was five gal.
So, considering all these advantages,
I've decided to join the Pall.
Oh! I've met the prettiest girl to-day,
As sweet as rosy peaches;
With teeth like pearl!
Oh! my head's in a whirl;
The boys vulgarly call it a "mash."
I really adore her,
The other boys bore her;
Still I shall do nothing rash.
liut I really must treat her to ice cream real soon.
By the way, can't you send me some cash?
On September 7, 1892. this nation was turned from joy and
peace to sorrow and mourning. It was not the scholar nor
the philosopher, not the statesman nor the philanthropist, that
came nearest to the hearts of the American people. It was to
a plain, sweet, simple, but strong man that was paid this last
tribute of respect. The sweet singer who had given to com
mon life its ennobling touch and interpretation, -was no more.
The man whose soul rang out in the pure music of his verse
had yielded to the inevitable. A poet, a thinker, yea, more
than that, a reformer, had passed away. John Grecnleaf
Whittier was dead.
His memory will long be cherished in the valley of the
Merrimack, but his influence extended beyond his birthplace.
To the West, his songs were an inspiration to duty. To the
South, that once knew his voice only as the trumpet tone of a
hostile force, he was as dear as to those who sat at his feet as
he sung. He was an old and welcomed friend, not only to
the student in his study, to the workers in the shop and fac
tory, but to the whole people. He was loved and cherishec
as prophet, apostle and pastor.
His songs have brought joy and peace to the searching, t! 1
suffering and the sorrowing. The simplicity of faith, t
calm spirit of trustfulness, the peaceful .llin.j; u- ) wait 1 1 -
til mysteries should be made clear and hidden things brought
to light all these have been a support to the weak, a blessed
companionship to the strong. Exerting such an influence, the
multitudes were comforted by his confidence. They believed
in that which he believed and loved that which he loved.
Whittier's life was free from personal adventure. The
youth did not indicate the future poet, for the poet, beyond
all other men, thrives best when he is least called upon to
struggle, and puts forth his choicest gems while living at case
and in meditation. With the exception of one year, his edu
cation was obtained in the common schools. Limited, also,
was his opportunity for self improvement. Too poor to buy
books, he borrowed them from the few libraries the neighbor
hood afforded. He was all his life a stranger to the influences
of college culture and of foieign travel. While at the acad
emy, he borrowed a volume of Burn's poems. These were
a revelation to him a heaven upon earth. His life as a poet
dates from this time. The valley around him was now pco
pled with life. The woods made him a partaker in their
mysteries. The stars looked down upon him kindly. He
continued to labor for others, but his thoughts were his own.
When twenty two years of age, he entered upon his life
work as editor. Political and moral questions first occupied
his attention, but these broadened in the direction of literature.
In all his work, he was ever ready to help the needy, to sooth
the sorrowing, and to aid the oppressed. The voice of duty
was to him the voice of God.
He became deeply interested in the slavery question, and
in him the slave found a ready advocate. It needed a man of
unlimited versatility and of strong human sympathy to face
public sentiment on this question. It needed a man who
could not only be a Jew to the Jews, a Greek to the Greeks,
but a Roman to the Romans; a man who could encounter not
only rabbis in their synagogues, but proud magistrates in their
courts of justice and philosophers in their haunts of learning.
Such a man was found in John Grecnleaf Whttticr. He had
the conviction to do right and the courage to be true. His
office was sacked and burned and his personal property de
stroyed. It was a heavy penalty to pay for the expression of
free speech in a free country. But he paid it without a mur
mur, comforted by the consciousness of duty performed and
sustained by the certainty of the ultimate triumph of princi
ples for which he contended. His paper might be destroyed,
but while he lived the voice of freedom should be heard. He
had the faith that right makes might, and in that faith he
dared to do his duty.
Whittier, the poet, did not differ from Whittier, the man.
There has been no contradiction between the two. The man
was loved through the poet. For the general appreciation of
his artistic merits, the poet had to wait for the success of his
co-laborer. It was not until after the war, that he was every
where acclaimed as one of the chief lyrical representatives of
his country. He was not. however, a conscious advocate of
art for art's sake. His whole nature was steeped in a sense
of duty and responsibility. It is doubtful if he could compre
hend beauty divorced from goodness. His conception of the
poet was rather that of the bard, who elevates, than that of
the maker, whose only purpose is to please. With him the
possession of artistic powers implied a divine commission to
lift, to invigorule and to purify mankind.
He loved nature as much as he loved man. It was a
Measure to paint the scenes of hit childhood; the fields in
yhich he had played, the hills which he had climbed, and the
nods through which he had roamed in search of wild flowers,
ith such high ideals, and Mich noble simplicity, what wond
r that his songs have given strength and courage, that his
) w tes earth w.th heaven?
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