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throbs must come out in the arms and on the lips. The wheels of the clock are of chief account, but we tell time by the hands. Let us be heroic by all means.
“Sweet is love's sun within the heavens alone, But not less sweet when tempered by a cloud of daily
It is natural, and it is right, that we should like to live. We justify our desire by living properly. Even when the springs of life are nearly dried, men are seldom ready to turn away from them. I knew of an old woman, very old, feeble, helpless, who asked her minister to pray with her. “What shall I pray for," he inquired, expecting some high spiritual desire which he could tell in commendation of a saint. But she made answer, "I should like to live a little longer.” Ponce de Leon sought in the Bahamas the fountain of perpetual youth, and others have sailed on the same quest. He was wiser who said, “ Give me the fountain of Old Age. The longer I live, the more I enjoy life.” It should be so. He must have been a spendthrift who has not something laid up for age-money perhaps, good thoughts, happy memories, the recollection of usefulness. It was a beautiful tribute which our American Laureate paid to Asa Gray when he was seventyfive years young—to borrow the word.
“Just fate, prolong his life, well spent,
Whose indefatigable hours
And fragrant as his flowers.”
an open door to an eternal morning.” “You can seldom sound with the plummet while standing on the shore. To do this to any purpose, you must launch out on the sea, and brave some risks.” True: and when the sounding is done, you can rest on the shore and hear the rolling of the waves whose depths you know.
“Till evening mowed he with the sword,
And sang the song at night." But we are not quite ready for this. Our work is not done—for which let us give thanks. We ought to be able to do our best work when men begin to speak of us as venerable. To be venerable should be all one with being venerated. It is not always so; then we should be able to venerate ourselves. It is a bad sign when a man is found despising life, or questioning its worth. Something is wrong in the man. He is out of harmony with himself and nature. A Maine fisherman, whose calling was hard, whose conditions were narrow, picked up on a yacht Mallock's book-“Is Life Worth Living? He turned the pages and asked what sort of man the writer was. When he was told, his
comment was, “Well, he must be loony.” A long review could not have come closer to the title. Beware of the man, beware of the books of the man, who questions the worth of Time, the value of Life. In 1485 a marble coffin was found on the Appian way, and in it the well preserved form of a beautiful girl. The description was this. “Here lies Julia Prisca Secunda. She lived twenty-six years and one month. She has committed no fault, except to die."
We smile when we read Bismarck's saying, that the best part of life comes before seventy. The statement is too broad. Sometimes it is true, sometimes it is not true. If one is in good health it should not be true. There is some failing in the mechanism, but the real man may have his vigour. His powers, long in training, may work with greater ease and accuracy. Montaigne wrote that nature has given us time as the sovereign physician of our passions "; but that it supplies “our imaginations with other and new affairs.” If it deadens the vibration of the strings, it does not destroy the melody. There should be better thoughts, nobler feelings, clearer aspirations, when one is removed by a little from the noise and confusion of the world. A very wise and good man held that the great privilege of old age is the getting rid of responsibilities. But it is not so simple as it seems to acquire this freedom, and it may not prove
so great a blessing as it seems in the distance.
Age is opportunity no less
The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.” Let us read from another poet. “At fifty, your vessel is staunch, and you are on deck, with the rest, in all weathers. At sixty, the vessel still floats, and you are in the cabin. At seventy, you, with a few fellow-passengers, are on a raft. At eighty, you are on a spar, to which, possibly one, or two, or three friends of about your own age are still clinging. After that, you must expect soon to find yourself alone, if you are still floating, with only a life-preserver to keep your old white-bearded chin above the water.” That is hard reading. We know what it means, but it is not all true, as we know. A fine old age is not rare, nor is loneliness always its attendant. One who lives long lives to miss many with whom he set out, but he should have joined others on the way. Benjamin Peirce showed
by mathematics that of his college class "the men of superior ability outlasted the average of their fellow-graduates." The poet's figures are not to be depended on. Men of fifty, thirty, twenty, may be found skulking in the cabin, seasick and sad. Men of fifty, sixty, seventy are on deck. At eighty they are not nimble enough to run to the masthead; but there is not much climbing on modern ships. Their eye is bright for the observation at noon, and they can lay a strong hand on the wheel. More of the work of the world than we imagine is done by men who have learned to work quietly. We must be slow to give up. Let youth have its chance, but it is for its good if it have the wisdom of age in kindly companionship. It will be long till a man who still lives finds nothing he can do. The unaccomplished task, the unfinished part of his purpose, allures him.
When that ceases, age has fairly or unfairly begun. It is a very old saying that “While there is life, there's hope.” Theocritus said it before the Child was born in Bethlehem, and Cicero afterwards: Dum anima est, spes est. Many have said it since and made it true. Let us set in opposition the beginning and ending of Terminus.
“ It is time to be old,