Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

REMARKS OF JOHN SHEPARD KEYES

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, Friends and Fellow Members of the Social Circle :-To-night is Emerson's,

THE SEER.

Alone on his dim heights of song and dream

He saw the dawn, and of its solace told.
We on his brow beheld the luminous gleam
And listened idly, for the night was cold.

66 Then clouds shut out the view, and he was gone,
And though the

way is dubious, dark the night,
And though our dim eyes still await the dawn,

We saw a face that once beheld the light.” This is the third time - and the third time never fails - that the ladies have attended a meeting of the Social Circle. The first occasion was at the Centennial of the Circle, the second was on a summer evening later, and to-night we have a majority of the fair sex with us. I am very glad to be able to present to you the President of the foremost women's college, the daughter of an especial friend of Emerson - Miss Hazard, of Wellesley College.

SPEECH OF CAROLINE HAZARD

MR. CHAIRMAN, and Members of the Social Circle :-I am sure it is a great honor to be accounted a member of this Social Circle for this one evening,

an honor which I prize very highly. I must say, when your Chairman of the day asked me to come here and say a word, I feared that I should be what Mr. Emerson would call "an unauthorized talker." But I have the authority, not only of the kind invitation of your Chairman, but what Mr. Emerson would recognize as the true authority - the authority of the affection and gratitude which I have — which all women must have — for the work which Mr. Emerson did for women as well as for men. It seems to me that that splendid message of the dig. nity of the person and of the worth of personality which he preached and was the preëminent example of — that message which he spoke to all young men and young women comes with an especial force to the young women of to-day. When we think what New England was one hundred years ago, how it was truly a provincial New England, England connected with the mother country by the closest ties, but still connected only with the mother country and not with the great world currents, we also think of what Mr. Emerson did in widening that connection, in making the connection with the whole of German literature, with the revival of the study of Dante, and with all of those other currents of literature which have enriched our lives, and flow from his preaching and his awakening

The dignity which he gave to the individual with his call to awake and arise — this splendid call to per

a New

he says,

sonality - sounded not only for men but for women. “The whole realm of history and biography,"

“ is to increase my self-respect. Then I venture; then I will also essay to be.” And it was to what has been called the misrepresented and neglected sex that this call came with perhaps especial emphasis. It was a call to service. There were many women who were content with their daily round of duty, who found in it certainly all the room they could ask for self-denial; but the call to awaken to their own personality, to a conception of the worth of their own souls and the right that they had to live their own lives, - this call came with an especial force, as it seems to me, to the women of his day. We hope we have learned the lesson. There were some who carried the lesson farther than he ever intended, perhaps, but that call was a call which has aroused all that is best in the women of our land. Mr. Emerson himself, in his own beautiful and gracious life, in his association with women, recognized what the place of women could be in society and in the world. They had been too long merely pretty playthings. The young girl who ruled with an arbitrary authority for a brief hour, and then was consigned to household cares, too often as a housekeeper rather than as a companion of her husband - all that Mr. Emerson saw, and in his own life showed how it need not be. The value of his women friends, the value of the women of his own household, he cher

ished and in every way increased by his own gracious and loving deference and the dignity of his own character. And so his splendid message of the value of personality, is a gift for us women to be especially grateful for.

And with that gift of the recognition of the value of the person came his recognition of the day, — the present moment, this hour, - whether the day came “in bud-crowned spring" or whether the day was —

« Deformed and low, Short and bent by cold and snow.

This day, this present moment, as he said, is the best day that ever was. He said that every day was a doomsday, a day to be filled with work, a day to be filled with all high endeavor. Who of us does not recall with a thrill of joy that wonderful poem of the “Daughters of Time," and the herbs and the apples which were taken, and the solemn scorn with which he saw the day turn and depart silent ? That splendid message comes to each one of us. And with the worth of the person and the value of the day came ever the sounding note of joy, — joy in the present, joy in life, joy in the world! These are his flowers, his rhodora, his pine-trees, his beauty in these Concord meadows that we love and rejoice in. As for the deeper sources of that joy, how full and subtle the intimations are as they gleam on his pages. “Of that Ineffable Essence which we call Spirit,” he says, “ he who thinks most will say least.” He could say

with Sir Thomas Browne, “whoso feels not the warm gales and gentle ventilation of this Spirit, though I feel his pulse, I dare not say he lives, for truly without this there is to me no heat under the tropic nor any light, though I dwelt in the body of the sun."

It was here in these Concord meadows that he taught us that man may have fellowship with God, " that man in the bush with God may meet.” This was the source of his joy; this was the strength of his personality; this was the message which he preached to the men and women of his day, that

over us

“ Soars the eternal sky
Full of light and of Deity.”

THE CHAIRMAN: Emerson had very little to do with the law, but he once got sued. A couple of scamps sold him a piece of land for his Walden garden, and another scamp undertook to contest the title, and the philosopher and poet had to become defendant in a suit. That was a good many years ago, and the lawyers were not perhaps then as brilliant as they are now. If he had only had such a lawyer as we have here to-night, the foremost member of the Suffolk Bar, — I think the result would have been very different. I am very happy to present to you Moorfield Storey, Esq.

[ocr errors]
« НазадПродовжити »