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joys, that we become human and truly live. Let us draw closer together, that we may feel the pulsings of divine sympathy and love in one another's hearts. If we stand apart we shall be stranded in the great river, we shall miss the good of living, we shall lose God. Life is communion and helpfulness; death is disintegration and impotence. A spiritual empire, a heavenly kingdom can be constituted and sustained only by the moral and mental union and communion of its citizens, and this can be brought about and kept vital only by right education. When a noble faith and great thoughts strike root in the heart and mind of a people, it is held together by bonds which no catastrophe, no conquest, no dismemberment or dispersion can loosen; and without a noble faith and great thoughts neither military power nor vast territory nor wealth can give to a people a permanent place in history or a lasting influence on the progress of the race. All else passes and becomes as though it had not been, but what the world once recognizes and accepts as a vital truth, as an ideal of human perfection which cannot be outgrown, remains a possession forever to purify and enrich life.
Opportunity in the highest sense of the word is opportunity for education, for making ourselves men. This end every occasion should serve, since for this we are born. "We should, as far as it is possible," says Aristotle, “make ourselves immortal, and strive to live by that part of ourselves which is most excellent.” Now, the testimony of the wise of all ages agrees that a virtuous life is the best and the happiest. Choose and follow it then though thou find it hard; for custom will make it easy and pleasant. Piety nourishes faith, hope, and love, and therefore sustains life. If thou seekest for what is new and also permanently interesting, live with the old truths, until they strike root in thy being and break into new light and power. The happenings of the day and year are but novelties, but bubbles that burst in the vacant air; that which is forever new is ancient as God. It is that whereby the soul lives. It was with the first man when first he blossomed forth from eternity; it is with thee now and shall be with all men until the end. It is the source whence thy being springs: its roots dip into infinity; its flowers make the universe glad and sweet; it is the power which awakens the soul to the consciousness of its kinship with Him who is all in all, who is life and truth and love, who the more He is sought and loved doth seem to be the more divinely beautiful and good. Learn to live with the thoughts which are symbols of His Eternal Being, and thou shalt come to feel that nothing else is so fresh or fair. As a sound may suggest light and color, a perfume recall forgotten worlds; as a view, disclosed by a turn in the road may carry us across years and oceans to scenes and friends long unvisited; as a bee weaving his winding path from flower to flower may bring back the laughter of children, the songs of birds, and the visionary clouds fallen asleep in the voluptuous sky of June; so the universe will come to utter for us the voice of the Creator. who is our Father. Nothing touches the soul but leaves its impress, and thus, little by little, we are fashioned into the image of all we have seen and heard, known and meditated; and if we learn to live with all that is fairest and purest and best, the love of it all will in the end become our very life.
EDMUND CLARENCE STEDMAN
THE WORK OF ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON
[Address by Edmund Clarence Stedman, poet and critic (born in Hartford, Conn., October 8, 1833; -), delivered in Carnegie Hall, New York City, January 4, 1895, at a memorial meeting held to do honor to the memory of Robert Louis Stevenson. The meeting was given under the auspices of the Uncut Leaves Society. Mr. Stedman presided, and the list of fisty vice-presidents included many notable names.]
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN :_Such an assemblage--in the chief city of the Western World—is impressive from the fact that we have not come together for any civic, or political, or academic purpose. I have been thinking, too, of its significance in view of considerations quite apart from the sorrowful cause of our gathering. But of these this is not the time to speak. On its face, this demonstration is a rare avowal of the worth of literary invention. It shows a profound regard for the career of a writer who delighted us, a sense of loss instantaneously awakened by the news of his taking-off. For the moment we realize how thoroughly art and song and letters have become for us an essential part of life--a common ground whereupon we join our human love and laughter and tears, and at times forego all else to strew laurel and myrtle for one who has moved us to these signs and emotions.
Yes, we are brought together by tidings, almost from the antipodes, of the death of a beloved writer in his early prime. The work of a romancer and poet, of a man of insight and feeling, which may be said to have begun but fifteen years ago, has ended, through fortune's sternest cynicism, just as it seemed entering upon even more splendid achievement. A star surely rising, as we thought, has suddenly gone out. A radiant invention shines no more; the voice is hushed of a creative mind, expressing its fine imaginings in this, our peerless English tongue. His expression was so original and fresh from Nature's treasurehouse, so prodigal and various its too brief flow, so consummate through an inborn gift made perfect by unsparing toil that mastery of the art by which Robert Louis Stevenson conveyed those imaginings to us: so picturesque, yet wisely ordered, his own romantic life-and now, at last, so pathetic a loss, which renews
The Virgilian cry,
that this assemblage has gathered, at the first summons, in tribute to a beautiful genius, and to avow that with the putting out of that bright intelligence the reading world experiences a more than wonted grief.
Stevenson was not of our own people, though he sojourned with us and knew our continent from east to west as few of this large audience can know it. But a British author now, by statutory edict, is of our own. Certainly his fame is often made by the American people-yes, and sometimes unmade. Theirs is the great amphitheatrum. They are the ultimate court of review. All the more we are here "for the honor of literature"; and so much the more it is manifest that the writer who lightens our hearts, who takes us into some new wonderland of his discovery, belongs, as I say, to the world. His name and fame are, indeed, a special glory of the country that bore him, and a vantage to his native tongue. But by just so much as his gift is absolute, and therefore universal, he belongs in the end to the world at large. Above all, it is the recounter—and the Greeks were clear-headed in deeming him a maker, whether his story be cast in prose or versewho becomes the darling of mankind. This has been so whether among the Grecian isles, or around the desert camp-fires, or in the gardens of Italy; and is so when he brings us his romance, as in our modern day, from our Pacific Eldorado, or from Indian barracks and jungle, or from the land of the Stuarts, or, like Stevenson and our own Melville before him, from palm-fringed beaches of the Southern Seas.
Judged by the sum of his interrupted work, Stevenson had his limitations. But the work was adjusted to the scale of a possibly long career. As it was, the good fairies brought all gifts, save that of health, to his cradle, and the gift-spoiler wrapped them in a shroud. Thinking of what his art seemed leading to—for things that would be the crowning efforts of other men seemed 'prentice-work in his case-it was not safe to bound his limitations. And now it is as if Sir Walter, for example, had died at forty-four, with the “Waverley Novels ” just begun! In originality, in the conception of action and situation, which, however fantastic, are seemingly within reason, once we breathe the air of his Fancyland; in the union of bracing and heroic character and adventure; in all that belongs to talewriting pure and simple, his gift was exhaustless. No other such charmer, in this wise, has appeared in his generation. We thought the stories, the fairy tales, had all been told, but “Once upon a time" meant for him our own time, and the grave and gay magic of Prince Florizel in dingy London or sunny France. All this is but one of his provinces, however distinctive. Besides, how he buttressed his romance with apparent truth! Since Defoe, none had a better right to say: “There was one thing I determined to do when I began this long story, and that was to tell out everything as it befel.”
One or two points are made clear as we look at the shining calendar of Stevenson's productive years. It
gthens one in the faith that work of the first order cannot remain obscure. If put forth undernanded it will be found out and will make its way. In respect of dramatic force, exuberant fancy, and ceaselessly varying imagination on the one hand, and on the other of a style wrought in the purest, most virile and most direct temper of English narrative prose, there has been no latter-day writing more effective than that of Stevenson's longer fictions“Kidnapped,” with its sequel,“ David Balfour”; “The Master of Ballantrae,” and that most poetic of absolute romances, “ Prince Otto." But each of his shorter tales as well, and of his essays—charged with individuality—has a quality, an air of distinction, which, even though the