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To the thought of the preceding poem we have here a direct answer. No matter how a man may have failed in the past, the door of opportunity is always open to him. He should not give way to useless regrets; he should know that the future is within his control, that it will be what he chooses to make it.
HEY do me wrong who say I come no more
When once I knock and fail to find you in; For every day I stand outside your door,
And bid you wake, and rise to fight and win.
Wail not for precious chances passed away,
Laugh like a boy at splendors that have sped,
Though deep in mire, wring not your hands and weep;
Dost thou behold thy lost youth all aghast?
Art thou a mourner? Rouse thee from thy spell; Art thou a sinner? Sins may be forgiven; Each morning gives thee wings to flee from hell, Each night a star to guide thy feet to heaven. Walter Malone.
Mrs. Ella Malone Watson.
In this poem yet another view of opportunity is presented. The recreant or the dreamer complains that he has no real chance. He would succeed, he says, if he had but the implements of success-money, influence, social prestige, and the like. But success lies far less in implements than in the use we make of them. What one man throws away as useless, another man seizes as the best means of victory at hand. For every one of us the materials for achievement are sufficient. The spirit that prompts us is what ultimately counts.
THIS here spread a cloud of dust along a plain;
HIS I beheld, or dreamed it in a dream:
And underneath the cloud, or in it, raged
A furious battle, and men yelled, and swords
Wavered, then staggered backward, hemmed by
A craven hung along the battle's edge,
And thought, "Had I a sword of keener steel-
Blunt thing!" he snapt and flung it from his
And lowering crept away and left the field.
Edward Rowland Sill,
Though dogs persist in barking at the moon, the moon's business is not to answer the dogs or to waste strength placating them, but simply to shine. The man who strives or succeeds is sure to be criticized. Is he therefore to abstain from all effort? We are responsible for our own lives and cannot regulate them according to other people's ideas. "Whoso would be a man," says Emerson, "must be a nonconformist."
It's natchurl enugh, I guess,
And I've knowed some to lay and wait,
My doctern is to lay aside
Jest do your best, and praise er blame
Is mixed with troubles, more er less,
From the Biographical Edition
James Whitcomb Riley.
Of the Complete Works of James Whitcomb Riley,
Used by special permission of the publishers,
The Bobbs-Merrill Co.
This volume consists chiefly of contemporary or very recent verse. But it could not serve its full purpose without the presence, here and there, of older poems-of "classics." These express a truth, a mood, or a spirit that is universal, and they express it in words of noble dignity and beauty. They are not always easy to understand; they are crops we must patiently cultivate, not crops that volunteer. But they wear well; they grow upon us; we come back to them again and again, and still they are fresh, living, significant-not empty, meaningless, and weather-worn, like a last year's crow's nest.
Such a poem is Ulysses. It is shot through and through with the spirit of strenuous and never-ceasing endeavor-a spirit manifest in a hero who has every temptation to rest and enjoy. Ulysses is old. After ten long years of warfare before Troy, after endless misfortunes on his homeward voyage, after travels and experiences that have taken him everywhere and shown him everything that men know and do, he has returned to his rude native kingdom. He is reunited with his wife Penelope and his son Telemachus. He is rich and famous. Yet he is unsatisfied. The task and routine of governing a slow, materially minded people, though suited to his son's temperament, are unsuited to his. He wants to wear out rather than to rust out. He wants to discover what the world still holds. He wants to drink life to the lees. The morning has passed, the long day has waned, twilight and the darkness are at hand. But scant as are the years left to him, he will use them in a last, incomparable quest. He rallies his old comrades-tried men who always
"With a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine"
and asks them to brave with him once more the hazards and the hardships of the life of vast, unsubdued enterprise.
T little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
Life to the lees. All times I have enjoy'd
Thro' scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
Little remains; but every hour is saved