Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

A Backward Glance at Eighty by Charles A. Murdock

Part 4 out of 4

Adobe PDF icon
Download A Backward Glance at Eighty pdf
File size: 0.4 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

first time reposed upon the breast of Mother Earth failed to find her
charm. One father awoke in the morning, sat up promptly, pointed his
hand dramatically to the zenith, and said, "Never again!" But he lived
to revel in the open-air caravansary, and came home a tougher and a
wiser man.

A ride of fifteen miles through a finely wooded country brought us to
the Lake Eleanor dam-site and the municipal camp, where general
preparations are being made and runoff records are being taken. In a
comfortable log house two assistants to the engineer spent the winter,
keeping records of rainfall and other meteorological data.

While we were in camp here, Lake Eleanor, a mile distant, was visited
and enjoyed in various ways, and those who felt an interest in the main
purpose of the trip rode over into the Cherry Creek watershed and
inspected the sites and rights whose purchase is contemplated. Saturday
morning we left Lake Eleanor and climbed the steep ridge separating its
watershed from that of the Tuolumne. From Eleanor to Hetch-Hetchy as the
crow would fly, if there were a crow and he wanted to fly, is five
miles. As mules crawl and men climb, it takes five hours. But it is well
worth it for association with granite helps any politician.

Hetch-Hetchy Valley is about half as large as Yosemite and almost as
beautiful. Early in the season the mosquitoes make life miserable, but
as late as August the swampy land is pretty well dried up and they are
few. The Tuolumne tumbles in less effectively than the Merced enters
Yosemite. Instead of two falls of nine hundred feet, there is one of
twenty or so. The Wampana, corresponding to the Yosemite Falls, is not
so high nor so picturesque, but is more industrious, and apparently
takes no vacation. Kolana is a noble knob, but not quite so imposing as
Sentinel Rock.

We camped in the valley two days and found it very delightful. The
dam-site is not surpassed. Nowhere in the world, it is said, can so
large a body of water be impounded so securely at so small an expense.

There is an admirable camping-ground within easy distance of the valley,
and engineers say that at small expense a good trail, and even a
wagon-road, can be built along the face of the north wall, making
possible a fine view of the magnificent lake.

With the argument for granting the right the city seeks I am not here
concerned. The only purpose in view is the casual recital of a good
time. It has to do with a delightful sojourn in good company, with songs
around the camp-fire, trips up and down the valley, the taking of
photographs, the appreciation of brook-trout, the towering mountains,
the moon and stars that looked down on eyes facing direct from welcome
beds. Mention might be made of the discovery of characters--types of
mountain guides who prove to be scholars and philosophers; of mules,
like "Flapjack," of literary fame; of close intercourse with men at
their best; of excellent appetites satisfactorily met; of genial sun and
of water so alluring as to compel intemperance in its use.

The climbing of the south wall in the early morning, the noonday stop at
Hog Ranch, and the touching farewell to mounts and pack-train, the
exhilarating ride to Crocker's, and the varied attractions of that
fascinating resort, must be unsung. A night of mingled pleasure and rest
with every want luxuriously supplied, a half-day of good coaching, and
once more Yosemite--the wonder of the West.

Its charms need no rehearsing. They not only never fade, but they grow
with familiarity. The delight of standing on the summit of Sentinel
Dome, conscious that your own good muscles have lifted you over four
thousand feet from the valley's floor, with such a world spread before
you; the indescribable beauty of a sunrise at Glacier Point, the beauty
and majesty of Vernal and Nevada falls, the knightly crest of the Half
Dome, and the imposing grandeur of the great Capitan--what words can
even hint their varied glory!

All this packed into a week, and one comes back strengthened in body and
spirit, with a renewed conviction of the beauty of the world, and a
freshened readiness to lend a hand in holding human nature up to a
standard that shall not shame the older sister.


There are many lovely spots in New England when June is doing her best.
Rolling hills dotted with graceful elms, meadows fresh with the greenest
of grass, streams of water winding through the peaceful stretches,
robins hopping in friendly confidence, distant hills blue against the
horizon, soft clouds floating in the sky, air laden with the odor of
lilacs and vibrant with songs of birds. There are many other spots of
great historic interest, beautiful or not--it doesn't matter much--where
memorable meetings have been held which set in motion events that
changed the course of history, or where battles have been fought that no
American can forget. There are still other places rich with human
interest where some man of renown has lived and died--some man who has
made his undying mark in letters, or has been a source of inspiration
through his calm philosophy. But if one would stand upon the particular
spot which can claim supremacy in each of these three respects, where
can he go but to Concord, Massachusetts!

It would be hard to find a lovelier view anywhere in the gentle East
than is to be gained from the Reservoir Height--a beautifully broken
landscape, hill and dale, woodland, distant trees, two converging
streams embracing and flowing in a quiet, decorous union beneath the
historic bridge, comfortable homes, many of them too simple and
dignified to be suspected of being modern, a cluster of steeples rising
above the elms in the center of the town, pastures and plowed fields,
well-fed Jerseys resting under the oaks, an occasional canoe floating on
the gentle stream, genuine old New England homes, painted white, with
green blinds, generous wood-piles near at hand, comfortable barns, and
blossoming orchards, now and then a luxurious house, showing the
architect's effort to preserve the harmonious--all of these and more, to
form a scene of pastoral beauty and with nothing to mar the picture--no
uncompromising factories, no blocks of flats, no elevated roads, no
glaring signs of Cuban cheroots or Peruna bitters. It is simply an ideal
exhibit of all that is most beautiful and attractive in New England
scenery and life, and its charm is very great.

Turning to its historic interest, one is reminded of it at every side.
Upon a faithful reproduction of the original meeting-house, a tablet
informs the visitor that here the first meeting was held that led to
national independence. A placard on a quaint old hostelry informs us
that it was a tavern in pre-Revolutionary times. Leaving the "common,"
around which most New England towns cluster, one soon reaches Monument
Street. Following it until houses grow infrequent, one comes to an
interesting specimen which seems familiar. A conspicuous sign proclaims
it private property and that sightseers are not welcome. It is the "Old
Manse" made immortal by the genius of Hawthorne. Near by, an interesting
road intersects leading to a river. Soon we descry a granite monument at
the famous bridge, and across the bridge "The Minute Man." The
inscription on the monument informs us that here the first British
soldier fell. An iron chain incloses a little plot by the side of a
stone wall where rest those who met the first armed resistance. Crossing
the bridge which spans a dark and sluggish stream one reaches French's
fine statue with Emerson's noble inscription,--

"By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world."

No historic spot has a finer setting or an atmosphere so well fitted to
calm reflection on a momentous event.

On the way to Concord, if one is so fortunate as to go by trolley, one
passes through Lexington and catches a glimpse of its bronze "Minute
Man," more spirited and lifelike in its tense suspended motion than
French's calm and determined farmer-soldier. In the side of a farmhouse
near the Concord battle-field--if such an encounter can be called a
battle--a shot from a British bullet pierced the wood, and that historic
orifice is carefully preserved; a diamond-shaped pane surrounds it. Our
friend, Rev. A.W. Jackson, remarked, "I suppose if that house should
burn down, the first thing they would try to save would be that

But Concord is richest in the memory of the men who have lived and died
there, and whose character and influence have made it a center of
world-wide inspiration. One has but to visit Sleepy Hollow Cemetery to
be impressed with the number and weight of remarkable names associated
with this quiet town, little more than a village. Sleepy Hollow is one
of a number of rather unusual depressions separated by sharp ridges that
border the town. The hills are wooded, and in some instances their steep
sides make them seem like the half of a California canyon. The cemetery
is not in the cuplike valley, but on the side and summit of a gentle
hill. It is well kept and very impressive. One of the first names to
attract attention is "Hawthorne," cut on a simple slab with rounded top.
It is the sole inscription on the little stone about a foot high.
Simplicity could go no farther. Within a small radius are found the
graves of Emerson, Thoreau, Alcott, John Weiss, and Samuel Hoar.
Emerson's monument is a beautiful boulder, on the smoothed side of which
is placed a bronze tablet. The inscriptions on the stones placed to the
memory of the different members of the family are most fitting and
touching. This is also true of the singularly fine inscriptions in the
lot where rest several generations of the Hoar family. A good article
might be written on monumental inscriptions in the Concord
burial-ground. It is a lovely spot where these illustrious sons of
Concord have found their final resting-place, and a pilgrimage to it
cannot but freshen one's sense of indebtedness to these gifted men of
pure lives and elevated thoughts.

The most enjoyable incident of the delightful Decoration Day on which
our trip was made was a visit to Emerson's home. His daughter was in New
York, but we were given the privilege of freely taking possession of the
library and parlor. Everything is as the sage left it. His books are
undisturbed, his portfolio of notes lies upon the table, and his
favorite chair invites the friend who feels he can occupy it. The
atmosphere is quietly simple. The few pictures are good, but not
conspicuous or insistent. The books bear evidence of loving use.
Bindings were evidently of no interest. Nearly all the books are in the
original cloth, now faded and worn. One expects to see the books of his
contemporaries and friends, and the expectation is met. They are mostly
in first editions, and many of them are almost shabby. Taking down the
first volume of _The Dial_, I found it well filled with narrow strips
of paper, marking articles of especial interest. The authors' names not
being given, they were frequently supplied by Mr. Emerson on the margin.
I noticed opposite one article the words "T. Parker" in Mr. Emerson's
writing. The books covered one side of a good-sized room and ran through
the connecting hall into the quaint parlor, or sitting-room, behind it.
A matting covered the floor, candlesticks rested on the chimney-piece,
and there was no meaningless bric-a-brac, nor other objects of suspected
beauty to distract attention. As you enter the house, the library
occupies the large right-hand corner room. It was simple to the verge of
austerity, and the farthest possible removed from a "collection." There
was no effort at arrangement--they were just books, for use and for
their own sake. The portfolio of fugitive notes and possible material
for future use was interesting, suggesting the source of much that went
to make up those fascinating essays where the "thoughts" often made no
pretense at sequence, but rested in peaceful unregulated proximity, like
eggs in a nest. Here is a sentence that evidently didn't quite satisfy
him, an uncertain mark of erasure leaving the approved portion in doubt:
"Read proudly. Put the duty of being read invariably on the author. If
he is not read, whose fault is it? I am quite ready to be charmed--but I
shall not make believe I am charmed." Dear man! he never would "make
believe." Transparent, sincere soul, how he puts to shame all
affectation and pretense! Mr. Jackson says his townsmen found it hard to
realize that he was great. They always thought of him as the kindly
neighbor. One old farmer told of his experience in driving home a load
of hay. He was approaching a gate and was just preparing to climb down
to open it, when an old gentleman nimbly ran ahead and opened it for
him. It was Emerson, who apparently never gave it a second thought. It
was simply the natural thing for him to do.

Walden Pond is some little distance from the Emerson home, and the time
at our disposal did not permit a visit. But we had seen enough and felt
enough to leave a memory of rare enjoyment to the credit of that
precious day in Concord.


There are several degrees of rest, and there are many ways of resting.
What is rest to one person might be an intolerable bore to another, but
when one finds the ultimate he is never after in doubt. He knows what
is, to him, _the real thing_. The effect of a sufficient season, say
five days, to one who had managed to find very little for a
disgracefully long time, is not easy to describe, but very agreeable to

My friend [Footnote: Horace Davis] has a novel retreat. He is fond of
nature as manifested in the growth of trees and plants, and some
seventeen years ago he bought a few acres, mostly of woods, in the Santa
Cruz Mountains. There was a small orchard, a few acres of hillside
hayfield, and a little good land where garden things would grow.

There was, too, a somewhat eccentric house where a man who was trying to
be theosophical had lived and communed with his mystified soul. To
foster the process he had more or less blue glass and a window of Gothic
form in the peak of his rambling house. In his living-room a round
window, with Sanskrit characters, let in a doubtful gleam from another
room. In the side-hill a supposedly fireproof vault had been built to
hold the manuscript that held his precious thoughts. In the gulch he had
a sacred spot, where, under the majestic redwoods, he retired to write,
and in a small building he had a small printing-press, from which the
world was to have been led to the light. But there was some failure of
connection, and stern necessity compelled the surrender of these high
hopes. My friend took over the plant, and the reformer reformed and went
off to earn his daily bread.

His memory is kept alive by the name Mahatma, given to the gulch, and
the blue glass has what effect it may on a neighbor's vegetables. The
little house was made habitable. The home of the press was comfortably
ceiled and made into a guest-chamber, and apples and potatoes are
stored in the fireproof vault. The acres were fairly covered with a
second growth of redwood and a wealth of madronos and other native
trees; but there were many spaces where Nature invited assistance, and
my friend every year has planted trees of many kinds from many climes,
until he has an arboretum hardly equaled anywhere. There are pines in
endless variety--from the Sierra and from the seashore, from New
England, France, Norway, and Japan. There flourish the cedar, spruce,
hemlock, oak, beech, birch, and maple. There in peace and plenty are the
sequoia, the bamboo, and the deodar. Eucalypts pierce the sky and
Japanese dwarfs hug the ground.

These children of the woodland vary in age from six months to sixteen
years, and each has its interest and tells its story of struggle, with
results of success or failure, as conditions determine. At the entrance
to the grounds an incense-cedar on one side and an arbor-vitae on the
other stand dignified guard. The acres have been added to until about
sixty are covered with growing trees. Around the house, which wisteria
has almost covered, is a garden in which roses predominate, but
hollyhocks, coreopsis, and other flowers not demanding constant care
grow in luxuriance. There is abundance of water, and filtered sunshine
gives a delightful temperature. The thermometer on the vine-clad porch
runs up to 80 in the daytime and in the night drops down to 40.

A sympathetic Italian lives not far away, keeping a good cow, raising
amazingly good vegetables, gathering the apples and other fruit, and
caring for the place. The house is unoccupied except during the five
days each month when my friend restores himself, mentally and
physically, by rest and quiet contemplation and observation. He takes
with him a faithful servitor, whose old age is made happy by these
periodical sojourns, and the simple life is enjoyed to the full.

Into this Resthaven it was my happy privilege to spend five-sevenths of
a week of August, and the rare privilege of being obliged to do nothing
was a great delight. Early rising was permissible, but not encouraged.
At eight o'clock a rich Hibernian voice was heard to say, "Hot water,
Mr. Murdock," and it was so. A simple breakfast, meatless, but including
the best of coffee and apricots, tree-ripened and fresh, was enjoyed at
leisure undisturbed by thought of awaiting labor. Following the pleasant
breakfast chat was a forenoon of converse with my friend or a friendly
book or magazine, broken by a stroll through some part of the wood and
introduction to the hospitably entertained trees from distant parts. My
friend is something of a botanist, and was able to pronounce the court
names of all his visitors. Wild flowers still persist, and among others
was pointed out one which was unknown to the world till he chanced to
find it.

[Illustration: OUTINGS IN THE SIERRAS, 1910 IN HAWAII, 1914]

Very interesting is the fact that the flora of the region, which is a
thousand feet above sea-level, has many of the characteristics of beach
vicinity, and the reason is disclosed by the outcropping at various
points of a deposit of white sand, very fine, and showing under the
microscope the smoothly rounded form that tells of the rolling waves.
This deposit is said to be traceable for two hundred miles easterly, and
where it has been eroded by the streams of today enormous trees have
grown on the deposited soil. The mind is lost in conjecture of the time
that must have elapsed since an ancient sea wore to infinitesimal bits
the quartz that some rushing stream had brought from its native

Another interesting feature of the landscape was the clearly marked
course of the old "Indian trail," known to the earliest settlers, which
followed through this region from the coast at Santa Cruz to the Santa
Clara Valley. It followed the most accessible ridges and showed
elemental surveying of a high order. Along its line are still found bits
of rusted iron, with specks of silver, relics of the spurs and bridles
of the caballeros of the early days.

The maples that sheltered the house are thinned out, that the sun may
not be excluded, and until its glare becomes too radiant the
steamer-chair or the rocker seeks the open that the genial page of
"Susan's Escort, and Others," one of the inimitable books of Edward
Everett Hale, may be enjoyed in comfort. When midday comes the denser
shade of tree or porch is sought, and coats come off. At noon dinner is
welcome, and proves that the high cost of living is largely a
conventional requirement. It may be beans or a bit of roast ham brought
from home, with potatoes or tomatoes, good bread and butter, and a
dessert of toasted crackers with loganberries and cream. To experience
the comfort of not eating too much and to find how little can be
satisfying is a great lesson in the art of living. To supplement, and
dispose of, this homily on food, our supper was always baked potatoes
and cream toast,--but such potatoes and real cream toast! Of course,
fruit was always "on tap," and the good coffee reappeared.

In the cool of the afternoon a longer walk. Good trails lead over the
whole place, and sometimes we would go afield and call on some neighbor.
Almost invariably they were Italians, who were thriving where
improvident Americans had given up in despair. Always my friend found
friendly welcome. This one he had helped out of a trouble with a
refractory pump, that one he had befriended in some other way. All were
glad to see him, and wished him well. What a poor investment it is to
quarrel with a neighbor!

Sometimes my friend would busy himself by leading water to some
neglected and thirsty plant, while I was re-reading "Tom Grogan" or
Brander Matthews' plays, but for much of the time we talked and
exchanged views on current topics or old friends. When the evening came
we prudently went inside and continued our reading or our talk till we
felt inclined to seek our comfortable beds and the oblivion that blots
out troubles or pleasures.

And so on for five momentous days. Quite unlike the "Seven Days" in the
delightful farce-comedy of that name, in which everything happened, here
nothing seemed to happen. We were miles from a post-office, and
newspapers disturbed us not. The world of human activity was as though
it were not. Politics as we left it was a disturbing memory, but no
fresh outbreaks aggravated our discomfort. We were at rest and we
rested. A good recipe for long life, I think, would be: withdraw from
life's turmoil regularly--five days in a month.


The Humboldt County business established and conducted on honor by Alex.
Brizard was continued on like lines by his three sons with conspicuous
success. As the fiftieth anniversary approached they arranged to fitly
celebrate the event. They invited many of their father's and business
associates to take part in the anniversary observance in July, 1913.
With regret, I was about to decline when my good friend Henry Michaels,
a State Guard associate, who had become the head of the leading house in
drugs and medicines with which Brizard and his sons had extensively
dealt, came in and urged me to join him in motoring to Humboldt. He
wanted to go, but would not go alone and the double delight of his
company and joining in the anniversary led to prompt acceptance of his
generous proposal. There followed one of the most enjoyable outings of
my life. I had never compassed the overland trip to Humboldt, and while
I naturally expected much the realization far exceeded my anticipations.

From the fine highway following the main ridge the various branches of
the Eel River were clearly outlined, and when we penetrated the
world-famous redwood belt and approached the coast our enjoyment seemed
almost impious, as though we were motoring through a cathedral.

We found Arcata bedecked for the coming anniversary. The whole community
felt its significance. When the hour came every store in town closed.
Seemingly the whole population assembled in and around the Brizard
store, anxious to express kindly memory and approval of those who so
well sustained the traditions of the elders. The oldest son made a
brief, manly address and introduced a few of the many who could have
borne tribute. It was a happy occasion in which good-will was made very
evident. A ball in the evening concluded the festivities, and it was
with positive regret that we turned from the delightful atmosphere and
retraced our steps to home and duty.



(After Bret Harte)

On the south fork of Yuba, in May, fifty-two,
An old cabin stood on the hill,
Where the road to Grass Valley lay clear to the view,
And a ditch that ran down to Buck's Mill.

It was owned by a party that lately had come
To discover what fate held in store;
He was working for Brigham, and prospecting some,
While the clothes were well cut that he wore.

He had spruced up the cabin, and by it would stay,
For he never could bear a hotel.
He refused to drink whiskey or poker to play,
But was jolly and used the boys well.

In the long winter evenings he started a club,
To discuss the affairs of the day.
He was up in the classics--a scholarly cub--
And the best of the talkers could lay.

He could sing like a robin, and play on the flute,
And he opened a school, which was free,
Where he taught all the musical fellows to toot,
Or to join in an anthem or glee.

So he soon "held the age" over any young man
Who had ever been known on the bar;
And the boys put him through, when for sheriff he ran,
And his stock now was much above par.

In the spring he was lucky, and struck a rich lead,
And he let all his friends have a share;
It was called the New Boston, for that was his breed,
And the rock that he showed them was rare.

When he called on his partners to put up a mill,
They were anxious to furnish the means;
And the needful, of course, turned into his till
Just as freely as though it was beans.

Then he went to the Bay with his snug little pile--
There was seventeen thousand and more--
To arrange for a mill of the most approved style,
And to purchase a Sturtevant blower.

But they waited for Boston a year and a day,
And he never was heard of again.
For the lead he had opened was salted with pay,
And he'd played 'em with culture and brain.


O God of battles, who sustained
Our fathers in the glorious days
When they our priceless freedom gained,
Help us, as loyal sons, to raise
Anew the standard they upbore,
And bear it on to farther heights,
Where freedom seeks for self no more,
But love a life of service lights.


Is God our Father? So sublime the thought
We cannot hope its meaning full to grasp,
E'en as the Child the gifts the wise men brought
Could not within his infant fingers clasp.

We speak the words from early childhood taught.
We sometimes fancy that their truth we feel;
But only on life's upper heights is caught
The vital message that they may reveal.

So on the heights may we be led to dwell,
That nearer God we may more truly know
How great the heritage His love will tell
If we be lifted up from things below.


The stricken city lifts her head,
With eyes yet dim from flowing tears;
Her heart still throbs with pain unspent,
But hope, triumphant, conquers fears.

With vision calm, she sees her course,
Nor shrinks, though thorny be the way.
Shall human will succumb to fate,
Crushed by the happenings of a day?

The city that we love shall live,
And grow in beauty and in power;
Her loyal sons shall stand erect,
Their chastened courage Heaven's dower.

And when the story shall be told
Of direful ruin, loss, and dearth,
There shall be said with pride and joy:
"But man survived, and proved his worth."


O "city loved around the world,"
Triumphant over direful fate,
Thy flag of honor never furled,
Proud guardian of the Golden Gate;

Hold thou that standard from the dust
Of lower ends or doubtful gain;
On thy good sword no taint of rust;
On stars and stripes no blot or stain.

Thy loyal sons by thee shall stand,
Thy highest purpose to uphold;
Proclaim the word, o'er all the land,
That truth more precious is than gold.

Let justice never be denied,
Resist the wrong, defend the right;
Where West meets East stand thou in pride
Of noble life,--a beacon-light.


The past is gone beyond recall,
The future kindly veils its face;
Today we live, today is all
We have or need, our day of grace.

The world is God's, and hence 'tis plain
That only wrong we need to fear;
'Tis ours to live, come joy or pain,
To make more blessed each New Year.


We tarry in a foreign land,
With pleasure's husks elate,
When robe and ring and Father's hand
At home our coming wait.


Fierce Boreas in his wildest glee
Assails in vain the yielding tree
That, rooted deep, gains strength to bear,
And proudly lifts its head in air.

When loss or grief, with sharp distress,
To man brings brunt of storm and stress,
He stands serene who calmly bends
In strength that trust, deep-rooted, lends.


The sun still shines, and happy, blithesome birds
Are singing on the swaying boughs in bloom.
My eyes look forth and see no sign of gloom,
No loss casts shadow on the grazing herds;
And yet I bear within a grief that words
Can ne'er express, for in the silent tomb
Is laid the body of my friend, the doom
Of silence on that matchless voice. Now girds
My spirit for the struggle he would praise.
A leader viewless to the mortal eye
Still guides my steps, still calls with clarion cry
To deeds of honor, and my thoughts would raise
To seek the truth and share the love on high.
With loyal heart I'll follow all my days.

NEW YEAR, 1919

The sifting sand that marks the passing year
In many-colored tints its course has run
Through days with shadows dark, or bright with sun,
But hope has triumphed over doubt and fear,
New radiance flows from stars that grace our flag.
Our fate we ventured, though full dark the night,
And faced the fatuous host who trusted might.
God called, the country's lovers could not lag,
Serenely trustful, danger grave despite,
Untrained, in love with peace, they dared to fight,
And freed a threatened world from peril dire,
Establishing the majesty of right.
Our loyal hearts still burn with sacred fire,
Our spirits' wings are plumed for upward flight.

NEW YEAR, 1920

The curtain rises on the all-world stage,
The play is unannounced; no prologue's word
Gives hint of scene, or voices to be heard;
We may be called with tragedy to rage,
In comedy or farce we may disport,
With feverish melodrama we may thrill,
Or in a pantomimic role be still.
We may find fame in field, or grace a court,
Whate'er the play, forthwith its lines will start,
And every soul, in cloister or in mart,
Must act, and do his best from day to day--
So says the prompter to the human heart.
"The play's the thing," might Shakespear's Hamlet say.
"The thing," to us, is playing well our part.


*Walking in the Way*

To hold to faith when all seems dark
to keep of good courage when failure follows failure
to cherish hope when its promise is faintly whispered
to bear without complaint the heavy burdens that must be borne
to be cheerful whatever comes
to preserve high ideals
to trust unfalteringly that well-being follows well-doing
this is the Way of Life
To be modest in desires
to enjoy simple pleasures
to be earnest
to be true
to be kindly
to be reasonably patient and ever-lastingly persistent
to be considerate
to be at least just
to be helpful
to be loving
this is to walk therein.

Charles A. Murdock

Facebook Google Reddit Twitter Pinterest