Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885, November 01, 1878, Page 467, Image 12

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y. j. -I:
tent power over them, ami which prevents
their independent notions. Not Unit we
would in any way intimate that a grand
and nohlo ideal does not tend to elevate
the mind which contemplates it, not that
having some worthy end in view, and he
lug guided in its accomplishment by a
high example, does not render the victory
more probable, hut that too often does this
degenerate into a false subservency, de
trimental to the accomplishment of the
very end sought.
How to educate the people to fearless
independence in all things, to spur them
on to grand and noble deeds, to high and
true living, is the problem to be solved.
M. B. P.
I hear the statements so often made,
that the present generation is so much
more corrupt than the former; that dis
honesty is so much more prevalent; that
young men and women luck so much
more in reverence and respect for their
elders; that pride and vanity have so much
greater hold upon the people ;lhat society
in general is such a mere sham ; I say, 1
hear such statements so often, and from so
many quarters, that sometimes 1 am al
most led to believe them. Hut when I
look back and see that each generation
has made the same lamentations over the
decay of virtue, has equally mourned the
loss of honor and probity, and has praised
the good old times with the same zeal, I
am led to ask myself, is this cry of in
creasing evil true? May it not he dis
taucc that lends enchantment? Like some
painting that charms the soul ami thrills
witli pleasure every fibre of our being,
when seen at a distance; but which he
comes a mere mass of paints, rough and
unseemly when closely examined; so it
may bo with the past, charming when
looked back to, but, when minutely scan
ed, harsh and unrefined.
And, again, if wo are to accept the views
of the satirists and the croakers of each
generation, and admit that their ago and
time has fallen from the nobility of their
ancestors, must we not necessarily con
elude that each period in the world's his
tory is a little more corrupt than the pre
ceedlng? and that we, instead of living in
the noble nineteenth century, are group
ing our way through the darkest time in
the world's history?
Then must we admit that man lias al
ready passed the zenith of his glory, and
that his oud will bo shrouded in darkness
more terrible, and more gloomy than any
Unit has passed.
But no, it is impossible. Tlio ago of
the rack and the thumbscrew, the stake
and the fagot, can not be better than the
present with its free speech and free press.
The time when thousands and tens of
thousands gathered in the arena to see the
contests between wild beasts, or, what is
worse, to see the gladiatorial combats, can
not be compared to the nineteenth century
with its refinement and tenderness of feel
ing. But, as the writings of any age de
termine to a great extent the character of
its people, I will notice the difference be.
tween the writings of a fow authors of
former times and some of the present age.
First, take some of the old dramatists, as
Beaumont and Fletcher; and, while we
find in them much that is grand and ele
vating, I think we Unci much more that
had better be left unread.
For while they by the greatness of their
imagination, and their skill in weaving
the plot, and by tho sudden and unex
pected turns in tho fortune of their char
acters, keep the mind of tho reader inter
ested; still there is a coarseness, a lack of
refinement in much of it that can not pos
sibry have any other tendency than the
blunting of that delicacy of feeling and
thought that should exist in every man's
mind. Of all their many plays I have not
found one, as far as 1 have read, that I
should call refined. And what is
true of them is true of nearly all tho great
dramatists of their day. In tho ago that
imine. I lately followed, or the period of