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About Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885 | View Entire Issue (Dec. 1, 1875)
THE HESPERIAN STUDENT.
of Toil; but just upon (lie left is a beauti
ful walk through the verdant and shady
lawn of Leisure, by the charming brook
of Pleasure. The one leads to an elevated
plain where the inhabitants breathe the
empyrean air of reward and pluck, the
ambrosial fruit from the tree of Fume.
The other leads the wanderer down to a
vast and densely populated valley, where
the dwellers are stilled in an atmosphere
of regret and diet on the bitter fruit of
But here man is notleftwithouta guide.
He is not required to take that decisive
step in the lurid darkness of uncertainty.
If lie sec his patli well defined, his work
in plain view before him, and the sacred
lire burning within his breast urges him
forward, let him not hesitate, let him not
Inquire the oh-t-ieles in his course, nor ask
the opinions of men.
' Great men of all ages have followed the
guiding star which a divine hand hul
placed in their intellectual sky. Hut all
are not thus positive in their predilection.
To some the stars of the llrmament shine
with equal brilliancy. Hut this is no
evidence that for them there is no work
this does not show that they have no part
in the drama of life. On the contrary it
indicates that a broader field from w.iich
to choose is open to lliem. The fire of
ambition may be kindled, but the charac
ter of its flame must bo determined by the
fuel with which it is led. Then let such
choose from the callings to which they arc
eligible, that which to them is preferable.
And having made their choice, let it be fi
nal. Let them not turn back to the day
when they might have taken another path.
Let them never permit themselves to think
on what they might have been had they
chosen another course of life. An humble
calling followed earnestly and persistentl
with a noble purpose will bring a greater
reward, than a more ostentatious one fol
lowed out through selfish pruriency with
shame and remorse. If then it be ours to
till the soil, stand at the forge or ply the
needle, let us not shrink from the heat of
the day, nor grow weary in the toilsome
hours of night. Or if kind Heaven lias
marked out a higher course, given us a
higher place in the eyes of the world, let
us not shrink from the responsibility thus
imposed upon us. If to us are given
places of honor and trust, may it not be
ours to betray the hand that bestowed
. Hut it is asked " Can wn not educate
men for the various vocations of life?
Can we not take the crude material and
mould it into whatever shape we choose V"
Not so! As in nature each element is as
signed its function, so among men each is
allotted to ills particular sphere. It is as
Impossible for the instructor to make a
musician out of nature's mathematician
or a poet out of natuie's painter, as for the
alchemist to transmute thocopperof Lake
Superior into the gold of the mountain, or
the chemist to convert the dingy coal of
the valley into the sparkling diamond of
Brazil. It is not the province of educa
tion to bestow upon man that which a di
j vine hand has seen fit to wlthold. Hut it
, Is to discover and load o- the talents,
.golden gems of genius, which nature has
.hidden, it may bo under a rough exterior.
Although the scientist cannot make the
, diamond he may take it from the hidden
.. lied, polish it, and make it worthy of a
..place in tlm royal crown, so, nlthough ed.
ucation cannot give talent, It may expand
and polish that which was bestowed by a
higher power, make it ub'o to cope sue
cessfully with this world and shine with
effulgence In that to come.
Hut it is a lamentable met that the
present system of education too often fails
to accomplish this ideal result. The His
torian may tell us of him who has reached
this ideal, but who shall record the name
of his unfortunate ennpanion f r whom
the course of study was entirely unlit,
whoso talent it hebilated and whose genius
it consigned to oblivion.
Our educational system is too much like
the famous Procrustes of Attica, the mind
of the student is strapped upon the iron
bed of the college curriculum and like
the victims of that ancient monster it is
made to conform to its dimensions. Hut
the day is beginning to dawn vhen, it
may be hoped, the tendencies of tiie mind
rather than a schedule of authors will be
the educational guardian when the aim
will be to bring out what there is in man
and not to force into him that for which
lie has no taste.
Man is endowed with ti distinct individ
uality and to develop it within proper
limits and to keep it forever firm should
bo one of the chief ends of life. That ed
ucation alone is a benefactor which pre
serves the individuality of man, while that
which would destroy it must forever be a
curse. It gives that self-respect, that con
sciousness of power, that independence of
character without which success in life is
impossible. It lias been said that educa.
tion makes rogues and villians. If this
bo true, it can only be when it places
before man the rewards of victory and
robs him of the weapons of battle. And
of all the weapons wielded in tliebattlcof
life there are none so potent as a well de
II. II. Wilson.
Adelphian Society, Nov. 11).
Gfutho'H Wilhelm Meistcr.
We will not consider it amiss to take tin
again the discussions between Serlo, the
manager, and Wilhelm, concerning (lie
play of Hamlet. Before putting the play
upon the stage, these two naturally deem
it their duty thoroughly to analyze the
characters. Wilhelm is to personify the
melancholy Dane. In his sincerity of
soul the incarnation of a oftv Hmnwo.r
Wilholm could not stop short of a full
analysis of the play. And this spirit of
honesty G(Ctlie makes the most of in the
hero of this novel. A fullness of the man
that will swallow all that comes to him,
as unconscious of performance as though
it were a regular routine. But though
Wilhelm entered into tho spirit of Hamlet
as only Gojlho .( lleridgo could' have
miulo him to do, it i hard to abide by his
disfigurement of the play. Where could
Laertes have gotten his courtliness nod hit.
fencing, had lie gone to Norway instead
of to Paris? Surely there would have
been no need of that fine piece of advice
Polonlus gives him on his departure for
the gayest city of nil time, if the youth
had been going instead to the slaidness of
the north men. Nor can It bo mado very
plausible, that plan of having Horatio
come from Norway, in place of Witten
berg and the College. Ho and Hamlet
are fresh from study, from classics, and
doubtless rooted well in tlio poets. More,
over, lliis flavor of College associations
gives a tinge of meditation to the piece.
Either of them arc yet unused to notion!
Fresh from culture. Just stepping from
t'10 threshold of Aristotle and Socrates, ot
the platform of Collides--leaving philoso
phy for action. And therein is tlio hesi
tancy of tiie prince. Horatio hastening
preparations! building a licet ! acting as
a soil of commissariat. That is activity
itself. Action lias no sympathy with mel
ancholy. Manifestly, Iloialio must drop
the licet, or Hamlet drop melancholy, to
preserve their intimacy. But it is proposed
that Hamlet shall play tlio courtier to the
army, and go with tlio licet to Norway,
and thus undermine his Uncle. But that
is a direct, blow at Hamlet. Either lie
must adopt tlio adulation of tlio courtier;
and arrange to grasp the details, multi
tudiuous though they be,--of a ruse with
tlio soldiery; which would certainly be
the deathblow to all his mclaiichoh, and
destroy utterly Iho sublimity of his cau
tiousness; or lie nn st renrain as ho is.
Meditation. There would have been little
of that had lie been in association with a
Secretary of tlio Navy. Besides, to have
adopted a course of action, would have
been to wipe out the hesitation that gave
him his melancholy. And then, by such
a course lie would have taken more a tinge
of revenge and ambition. And with such
attributes lie would hardly have ventured
the play scene that so starts King Claudius
and the Queen from their seats. Would
lie not rather have feared dial the result of
such a ruse would he his decapitation on
the instant V For they could but see his
growing popularity with the people, had
he been pleased to flatter them, as "Wil
helm proposed. No. Let Hamlet stand.
There can be no erasures, if the unity of
the characters is to be pros rved. Gojlho's
plan might have made a meditative Talley
rand, but never a Hamlet. And then,
where would the effect of those unseen
proceedings of young Fortinbras that
Serlo so much objected to, have shown
itself. There would be no background for
such sparks as "the time is out of joint,"
and "that thou dead corse, encased in
complete steel, icvisit'st thus the glimpses
of (he moon V" All these, and such as
these, are set in bold relief by tha black
melancholy of the general outlines. Sec
Eneas' tale to Dido, as the player recites
it. There is melancholy there, -too, that
would put tears in almost anybody's eyes.
"Oat, nut, thou strampct, Fortune I All you sod,
In K!ioril Hynoil. t iko uwny her power;
ItrtMik nil thi) spokes unit follooH from her wheel,
And bowl tin- r jiuid imvo down tlio hill of heaven,
Ah low u to tint tlemNl"
It is such us this that sound-like tlio
booming of the thunder in a pitch of
clouds, from which tlio lightning steals
lorth anon, in "time is out of joint," and
rondois the gloom more fearful from its
own radiance and the deep-tliroaled roar
of such as the above quotation.
But the play is at last presided, and
Wilholm receives such applause ax suits
him, and sucli as every young amateur is
conceded, at II rut, if lie ho at all talented.
When the season is over, lie betakes him.
self to. i search after Amelia's faithless
lover. Ho meets him and others, and re
turns their friend, with an invitation from
Lotlmir tlio lover to visit him at his
Lolhair.b castle. When ho arrived at
the theatre to assume his duties as before,
lie finds that Molina, whom he had so often
befriended, had mado such arrangements
witli Serlo as would dispense with Wil
helm's services. And hero for tlio first
time, ho discovered that the world could
live without him. And hero ho finds Felix
to be his own son.
His farewell to tlio stago, brings to his
recollection old friends, and he opens cor-
respondenco with Werner, the fellow of
his boyhood, now bin brother-in-law. In
the meantime, ho visits Lothario. Anil
here It is that apprenticeship to life ends
He "cuts his oye teeth." By some means
or other, Jarno takes upon himself the du
ty f ushering Wilhelm from the domain
of contemplation to tlio klnirdom of no
tion. When he becomes a master median.
Ic. There is a mystery about all t I1I3
castle machinery and cliaractery. thate.in
only be allied to the mystery of nu niory,
or reminiscence. For when .Tamo, after
welcoming him as "one of ourselves,"
shoves him unceremoniously through n
nnrrow passage Into a dark chamber:
Wilhelm recognizes before him (lie stnui.
ger with whom lie conversed, some years
before, when in love witli Mariana,
concerning Art, Destiny and Character.
This stranger suggested to Wilhelm that
they may possibly better agree now, and
then vanishes. "And can what we term
Destiny be nothing more than Chancer'1
mused Wilhelm. As if he favored Dc
inosthenes. "Good Fortune." rather than
Napoleon's "Child of Destiny." Then
the clergyman who had sailed with him
on tlio pleasure-boat, some time before,
with Philina and the rest of the party,
comes before him, and lets on that, "Ho
who only tastes his error will dally witli it
long, and enjoy it as a rare delight; buthe
who exhausts it completely, will learn its
worthlessncss, if lie bo not wholly senso;
loss." As if lie had said, wo have many
affectations, but only as we require sturdi.
ness and strength do wo rub out our fool
Ishness; or, as we wipe out our affectations,
so we climb to solidity. But "to what er
ror can the man allude," thought Wilhelm,
" but that which lias pursued mo throgh
my whole life, and has Induced me to seek
for instruction where it was not to be
found to fancy that I possessed a talent,
to which I had not the smallest preten.
sions " Ho had always conceived himself
capable of greatness in acting. But the
puppet shows hud perhaps mado it too
vain a delusion. Once lie was warned to
beware of Jarno, as lie was only a recruit
ing olllcer for the army. And now, m the
darkness of this mysterious chamber, tlio
young olllcer who had volunteered such
warning, comes before him, mid pertly
says: "Learn to know the men in whom
you may confide." The mystery of so
much interest in his fortunes, by so many
persons, only now made known to him,
gives him a touch of impatience. " If so
many persons," lie mused, "feel interested
in you, and know your way of lite, and
how It should have oceu pursued, why
have they not guided you with a firmer
and a stricter hand I Why have they tilth,
or encouraged than forbade your folly"
"Argue not with us," cried a voice, "you
are saved, and on tlio road to happim-si.
You will never repent nor repeat your fol
lies and tliL is the happiest destiny that
can be allotted to man." Wisdom! And
yot we have screamed in our ears, cleaving
our hours of meditation in twain, by tlio
puny. throated dis-quisdlions of every by.
way poet.ofno philosophy but wondrous?)'
intuition ; to shun tho past. As If export ,
enco must never be reviewed in order bet.
tor to hew our way out of to-day. Experi
enco gives us knowledge; knowledge,
courage; courage, strength; strength, suc
cess; and virtuous success, happiness.
For what else do wo live. For lias not
Socrates demonstrated to Polus that only
tlio good are happy v And does not tho
good come only from a perfect iuteliigencp
creative intelligence ? Iudeed, the piyjt
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