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We were a poor and diminutive people with a great past behind us and ambitions for the future which we were unable to fulfil; so we were looked upon with scorn.
We were thought incapable of intellectual independence; even the socalled best among us thought the same. A Norwegian literature was thought an impossibility, even with its then rich beginnings; the idea of an independent Norwegian school of history was something to laugh at; our language was rough and unrefined, and not to be listened to unless spoken with the Danish accent; the development of Norwegian dramatic art was something too absurd to be thought of.
In politics it was the same. We had been newly bought and sold; and the freedom which we dared to take and which we had dared both to hold and to extend, even that gave us no security. We dared not show even “ official ” gladness, as it could be made uncomfortable for us in high places. .
Then a new generation came up, bred in those first years of our national life, which had not shared the burden of its elders nor sympathized with their forbearance and silence. On the contrary, it was inspired by a feeling of resentment; it was aggressive and restless as the sea. It revelled in the morning feeling of freedom; and just at this time Ole Bull's music came as the first gleams of the sun on the mountain's summit.
Our folk melodies were just beginning to be recognized as music; the democratic element was slowly leavening the aristocracy; a national feeling was being born.
When we talk with old people of the time when Ole Bull suddenly came before the world, of how he stood before emperors and kings; of how the great opera houses of Europe were thronged to listen to his music; how he played with a wild and mysterious power, a power peculiar
to himself, which was heartfelt, was Norwegian; when they read to us how his violin sang the Norwegian folk melodies while his audiences laughed and cried, and behind all rose visions of our people and our magnificent country,-one can understand the promise, the feeling of self-dependence, of strength, of pride he awakened-he first-in Norwegian bearts.
When he came home from his first tour abroad, only to see him was a feast; when he played the old airs which had lain hidden in the hearts of the people, but which had been listened to with delight by kings and princes, then young Norway felt itself lifted to the supremest height of existence. To his immortal honor, he gave us the gift which at that time we most needed-self-confidence. It
may be asked how did it happen that Ole Bull was the one set apart to accomplish this work. He came of a musical race, but that would have availed little had it not been for his burning patriotism. He was a child in the time of our war for independence, and his young voice mingled with the first hurrah for our new freedom. When he was a lad his violin sang in jubilant tones our first national songs at the student quarters of Henrik Wergeland. Patriotism was the creative power in his life. When he established the Norwegian theatre; when he supported and encouraged Norwegian art; when he gave his help to the National museum; when he played for every patriotic object; when he stretched out a helping hand, wherever he went, to his countrymen in need, -it was not so much for the person or object as for Norway. He always in all places and under all conditions felt himself our representative.
There was something näive, something jealous about his patriotism, born of the peculiar conditions of the time. But
it was something for us that our
fresh from the courts and intellectual circles of Europe, could and would go arm-in-arm with our poor beginnings which were even less fine than now.
It was this steadfast devotion to the things in which he believed that made Ole Bull dear to the people.
When he talked about his art he used to say, that he learned to play from the Italians. That was in a measure true. The outward form, the technique, was learned in Italy, but that in his playing which touched the heart and brought smiles and tears was born in his own soul, and its direct messenger was the folk song, tinged and permeated with the love of the fatherland.
[Special translation by Charles E. Hurd.]
AYNE MACVEAGH, a distinguished Pennsylvania lawyer and poli
tician, was born at Phenixville, Pennsylvania, April 19, 1833, and graduated at Yale College in the class of 1853. Three years later he was admitted to the bar, and from 1859 until 1864 he was district attorney of Chester County. During the war, when the Confederate forces threatened to invade Pennsylvania, he served as captain of infantry. In 1863 he was chairman of the Pennsylvania Republican State Committee. In 1870-71 he was minister to Turkey, and on his return served as a member of the Pennsylvani. Constitutional Convention for two ears. In 1877 he was head of the so-called MacVeagh Commission sent to Louisiana to adjust party troubles in that State. During the presidency of Rutherford B. Hayes he was United States attorney-general, but 1881 he resigned and resumed the practice of his profession in Philadelphia, supporting Grover Cleveland for the presidency the following year. From 1893 until 1897 he was ambassador to Italy, and on his return settled in Washington. He was prominent in reform movements, having been chairman of the Civil Service Reform Association of Philadelphia, and also of the Indian Rights Association of that city,
IDEALS IN AMERICAN POLITICS
DELIVERED BEFORE THE PHI BETA KAPPA SOCIETY AT CAMBRIDGE
MASSACHUSETTS, JUNE 27, 1901
HE yearly observance of academic festivals in America
has always seemed to me to be one of the most gra
cious and the most useful of the time-honored customs of our national life. They bring us together in the full beauty of our midsummer, with its wealth of fragrance and of bloom; and, while persuading us to lay aside the anxious cares, the absorbing pursuits, the engrossing ambitions which so easily beset us and fill far too large a part of our daily lives, they enable us to breathe a purer and serener air, to refresh ourselves with unaccustomed joys and a nobler reach of
vision, and to live through these days of June less in the spirit of the age and more in the spirit of the ages.
Such an occasion is inspiring alike to the older alumni and to the younger. It is inspiring to those of us who in serenity of spirit bring hither a long retrospect of a life of labor passed in fairly good ways and in works which, if not filled with benediction, have been at least reasonably free from harm to our fellow men.
It is inspiring also to the ardent graduates of yesterday, who are just crossing the threshold which divides youth from manhood, and have before them a long prospect of days yet to be passed, let us hope, in ways and works at least equally free from blame--a prospect now seen through
Magic casements opening on the foam
of perilous seas in faëry lands." And such a festival at the seat of this ancient and honored university is necessarily fraught with the buoyant and generous hopefulness born of her splendid history. In the grateful shade of these old elms, surrounded by these noble halls dedicated to the culture alike of character and of intelligence, the history of Harvard unrolls itself as on a golden page as we follow the slow procession of the fruitful years from its small beginnings to its present measure of renown and usefulness.
It is indeed impossible to measure the measureless bounty of this seat of liberal learning in that long interval to America. We cannot even recount the names of her illustrious dead, the priests and the poets, the scholars and the statesmen, the jurists and the soldiers, who received here for the first time the sign of the cross upon their foreheads, consecrating them as servants of mankind unto their life's end.
This uplifting work for the nation has gone steadily on,