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About Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885 | View Entire Issue (June 12, 1889)
THE HESPERIA tt.
Tho eighteenth annual Coimnencoinont of tho Univer
sity of Nebraska occured on Wednesday, Juno 1 2, at 10
a.m., in tho Opera House. A largo and interested audi
ence listened to a very onjoyablo program.
An overture by tho cadet band was tho lirst number,
and tho boys played well. After an invocation, tho Uni
versity chorus, accompanied by tho University orchestra,
rendered " Tho Heavens aro Telling Hnydn," in a very
Miss Helen Aughoy delivered tho first oration.
l'OETIO ELKMKNT IN HCIK.NCK.
Tho poetry of Naturo Ib voluminous. Kvory poot sings of tloworn
and HklcH, of winds and clouds, of birds and stars. Appreciation ot
Natitru and an Insight Into hor workings Is tho recognized merit ot
tho distinguished poots. Wordsworth lived with Nature. Iturns
was lior natural Interpreter. Shelley talkud with hor faco to face.
Thoio men would havob'on poets It thoy had novor written; for thoy
thought poetry. There Is poetry In thought as woll as In rythmic
expression. Without poetic thought thoro can ho no pootry. l'oo
try Is only tho musical, rythmic oxp.-8sIon of poetic thought.
Hut keen as has been tho appreciation ol Naturo shown by tho
poets, their observation has boen suporllelal and limited. Instruct
lo ns their sympathy with hor Ims been, thoy havo not thoroughly
known hor. Theirs has been tho admiration ot an acquaintance
rather than tho affection of a lover. Naturo, to bo appreciated,
must bo known. It Is not onough simply to see her. She Is beauti
ful oven to tlu mott passing glaneo; but her dlvlno boauty can only
bo known by those who understand her most secret operations, and
are admitted Into her Inner sanctuary. Kor this roason tho poots
havo expressed only tin suporllelal poetry ot Nature. What thoy
have seen Is, to what they havo not seen, as a drop to tho ocean.
Who can tell what unwritten pouns Nature has provided for him
who Is able to read them ? To the scientist, the student of Nature,
this vast Meld of unwritten poetry Is open.
ltuskln defines poetry as "the suggestion by tho Imagination of
noble grounds for tho uoblo emotions." Hut tho Imagination doos
not work Independently. It must luivii somo stimulus to action.
The subject upon which It works must hnvo in It some olemont of In
spiration, of nobility. An algebraic formula cannot furnish food
for the poetic Imagination. Tho suporllelal thlnkor may regard
Bclenco as bolng as dry and prosaic as mnthomatlcs. Hut no field of
human investigation furnishes better or more abundant poetic ma
terial. Hugh Miller declared that thu creation, as unfolded by the
rocks, furnished tho poetle elements for an epic, greater than the
Iliad, tho .Knold, or the I'aradlse l.oU ; and ho regrot tod that Mil
ton had not lived lateenough to have had tho aid of geology in pro
ducing an heroic poem for all men In all time. No one can go out on
a starry night and look up without being tilled with an Idea of his
own littleness, and overcome by a sense of tho sublime; but what
mind can conceive or what language adequately express whst rises
before the Imagination of tho student of science, ns he gazes Into tho
Infinite star-depths? "Yonder Ursa Major paces slowly around the
pole, and Imagination faints In traveling across one of his eye
lashes." Tho Milky Way, to tho common observer, Is a broad band
.of light extending across tho heavens. It Is tho wonder of childhood;
to mat urer years It fades to a mere strip of ordinary white light.
Hut I lersehel tumod his telescope upon It, and brought before the
Held of vision what he estimated to bo 11(1,000 llxed stars, each of
them the central sun of a solar system like our own. What poet
can give expression to tho noble amotions suggested by such a sight
as this? The revelations of tho microscoo, of the spectroscope, aro
not less inspiring. To tho meteorologist, tho dark-browed thunder
cloud Is an epic, and the light, fleecy, cirrus-clouds are lyrics. Bo
every field of scleutlllc Investigation furnishes abundant material for
tho poet who has genius enough to express It. (lod alono Is tho per
fect poot. and his works aro an Intlnlto epic. Tho man who comes
nearest to the heart ot nature, comes nearest to the)thought of God,
neurest to reading tho unread manuscripts of (lod.
Hut while naturo furnishes nbundnnt pootlc material, this can be
apprehondod fully, ntul utilized only by him who has a genuine po
etic Instinct. Tho scientist must havo eyes that, seo and ears that
hear. Of him It must never be said ns Wordsworth suld of I'oter
"A prlmroao by tho river's brim,
A yellow primrose was to him,
And It was nothing more."
- It Is not onough that ho namo and classify tho phenomena of Na
turo. Ho must not bo satisfied with simply learning what othor men
havo learned. Such a man would bo only a clork In science. Ho
must bo au Invostlgator, an original discoverer. Ho must discover
now facts, and from theso draw now conclusions. His search begins
whore other men havo stopped. Sclouco is in Its Infancy. Tho first
letter otitA alphabet has scarcely been loarned. IJoforo ovory Htu
dent lies a vast unknown. It Is his work to tnakoa part of this
known ; to find adequnto cannon for unexplained phonomona; to de
duce tho laws that govern mysterious forces, and mako a hotter ap
plication ot them to tho common wants of humanity; to help all
men in tho common struggle for oxlstonce. Ho must ask naturo, not
onjy "What?" but "Why?" and compel hor to give au answer.
To meet this demand, ho needs the Imagination ot tho poot. Imagi
nation Is tho necossnry fororunnor of discovery, as It Is of Invention.
Only the poot has a perception for the pootlc.
The scientist If he is to perceive tho surpassing art of Nature, If ho
Is to read her unread poems, to solvo her enigmas, to display her
marvels, must havo tho brain, tho heart, tho Imagination ot tho
poot. (lod has endowed him with all tho faculties needed for this
work. Hut tho cultivation of thorn lies with tho Individual. If ho
sordidly Ignores thorn, If ho neglect to mako tho most of thorn, he
will become a more collocation of facts. Nature will not admit him
to her temples. Hut oqulppcd with well trained, fully developed fac
ulties, all possibilities aro In his hands. Hcfore him, Nature will bo
more and more as au opon book. Hefore her unfoldlngmysterles, his
heart will expand with admiration, reverence, and love. To such a
devotee, Naturo will prove to bo full of poetry.
Miss Aughoy presented a graceful and attractive ap
pearance Hor delivery was earnest oven enthusiastic
and her articulation excellent. Sho woro a dress of
cream crepo cloth, mndo with poBtilion waist and Gre
cian draped skirt. Dark red roses were her flowers.
Tho second orator wus E. 11. Tingloy, who spoko of
In Russia then) lives a man that is attracting world-wide atten
tl on. Ills notoriety depends, not on somo great deed ho has accom
plished, or on some exhibition of skill or of wisdom, but on tho prin
ciples that ho teaches and puts Into practice In his every day life.
For thlrty-llvo years ho was a nihilist and a pessimist. Then a great
change came over his life. There was a rift In tho clouds that
overshadowed his mind, and ho caught a gleam of tho sunlight of
truth. This light came from Christianity, and though, ho seemed to
grasp but a single truth of the great system, ho made that tho guid
ing principle of his lire. Happiness become to him tho aim and end
of life; and self-abnegation, the only means to gain this end, Ho
said: " Die to yourself, live for others, hove other men hotter than
yourself, and other men will love you better than they love them
selves Happiness will then be complete. Under this law. wars will
cease, court of Justice bo abolished, and prisons lie needless. Kvll
will disappear In unlversul altrulslm." Theso nrw tho truths that ho
Impresses upon men to Increase tlielr happiness, anil theso are the
maxlnw by which ho governs his own life. Thu change In his life from
pessimism to Christian optimism brought other changes. Tho
popular novelist became tlio religious and political reformer. Liv
ing In humble circumstances among the peasants, ho to-day tills the
soli, and by working for others, putH into practice tho principles
that ho so earnestly tenches. Ho is loved ami honored by those (lint
he reaches through personal contact, or through his writings, Much
Is the lire of Count Tolstoi, the Russian reformer.
America has dovelopod a counterpart of the Itusslan radical, nu
American Tolstoi. Ho dlffero from Tolstoi only as an American
differs from an Husslnn. He makes social and political Improve
ment more prominent than religious reform. Hut ho differs only In
degree, not lu kind. His methods are the same. To him, selfishness
Is tho dominant characteristic or human nature, and tho root of all
social and political evils. "Ilohlud tho problems of social life lies
tho problem ot Individual life." To correct social evils, then, tho
Individual must bo Induced to live, not for his own good, but for tho
good of tho community. Self must bo sacrificed for tho common
good. Self-ronunclatlon Is the Indispensable pro-requlslte to common
happiness. Like Tolstoi "ho behoves that land Is tho basis ot tho
social relation, and that It should bo held In common. Tilling tho
soil Is tho God given work for man; and labor with tho hands, tho
only legitimate basis for tho division of wealth. Tho namo of tho
great Amorlcun radical Is Henry (Joorgo.
How under circumstances so different, IdonB so similar, and
theories of reform bo essentially the sumo can bo doyejopod, Is a
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