Brave Men and Women - Their Struggles, Failures, And Triumphs
by O.E. Fuller
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Again, old men are valuable, not only as relics of the past, but as guides and prophets for the future. They know the pattern of every turn of life's kaleidoscope. The colors merely fall into new shapes; the ground-work is just the same. The good which a calm, kind, and cheerful old man can do is incalculable. And whilst he does good to others, he enjoys himself. He looks not unnaturally to that which should accompany old age—honor, love, obedience, troops of friends; and he plays his part in the comedy or tragedy of life with as much gusto as any one else. Old Montague, or Capulet, and old Polonius, that wise maxim-man, enjoy themselves quite as well as the moody Hamlet, the perturbed Laertes, or even gallant Mercutio or love-sick Romeo. Friar Lawrence, who is a good old man, is perhaps the happiest of all in the dramatis personae—unless we take the gossiping, garrulous old nurse, with her sunny recollections of maturity and youth. The great thing is to have the mind well employed, to work whilst it is yet day. The precise Duke of Wellington, answering every letter with "F.M. presents his compliments;" the wondrous worker Humboldt with his orders of knighthood, stars, and ribbons, lying dusty in his drawer, still contemplating Cosmos, and answering his thirty letters a day—were both men in exceedingly enviable, happy positions; they had reached the top of the hill, and could look back quietly over the rough road which they had traveled. We are not all Humboldts or Wellingtons; but we can all be busy and good. Experience must teach us all a great deal; and if it only teaches us not to fear the future, not to cast a maundering regret over the past, we can be as happy in old age—ay, and far more so—than we were in youth. We are no longer the fools of time and error. We are leaving by slow degrees the old world; we stand upon the threshold of the new; not without hope, but without fear, in an exceedingly natural position, with nothing strange or dreadful about it; with our domain drawn within a narrow circle, but equal to our power. Muscular strength, organic instincts, are all gone; but what then? We do not want them; we are getting ready for the great change, one which is just as necessary as it was to be born; and to a little child perhaps one is not a whit more painful—perhaps not so painful as the other. The wheels of Time have brought us to the goal; we are about to rest while others labor, to stay at home while others wander. We touch at last the mysterious door—are we to be pitied or to be envied?

The desert of the life behind, Has almost faded from my mind, It has so many fair oases Which unto me are holy places.

It seems like consecrated ground, Where silence counts for more than sound, That way of all my past endeavor Which I shall tread no more forever.

And God I was too blind to see, I now, somewhat from blindness free, Discern as ever-present glory, Who holds all past and future story.

Eternity is all in all; Time, birth and death, ephemeral— Point where a little bird alighted, Then fled lest it should be benighted.

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As free as fancy and reason, And writ for many a season; In neither spirit nor letter To aught but beauty a debtor.


The reader knows His woes. How oft "someone has blundered!" How oft a thought Is caught, And rhyme and reason sundered! With line and hook, Just look! And see a swimming hundred— A school of rhymes And chimes As free as summer air. So, if you wish To fish, Please angle anywhere.


Thou pet of modern art, Since I the spell have broken, Now on thy journey start, And gather many a token From many an honest heart, The best or thought or spoken.


Go forth, thou little book, And seek that wondrous treasure, Affection's word and look, Which only heaven can measure.


This Album comes a-tapping At many a friendly door; Yea, gently, gently rapping— "Hast aught for me in store? Dear Love and Truth I show, To point a life's endeavor— Thanks for thy heart! I go And bear it on forever."


"Whose name was writ in water!" It was not so of Keats. How many a son and daughter His gentle name repeats! And Friendship and Affection Will keep thy name as bright, If Beauty give protection And wed thee to the Right.


So you desire my heart! Well, take it—and depart. It is not cold and heavy, It is not light, Seeks to be right, And answers Beauty's levy.


Be it a fable or rumor, Or an old device, 'Tis true; gentle wit and humor Are as good as cold advice.


This dainty little Album thine Is of a quality so fine That happy Laughter here may write, And all the pages still be white.


There is no open mart In which to sell a heart, For none the price can pay; So mine I give away, Since I with it must part— 'Tis thine, my friend, for aye. "Do I not feel the lack. And want to get it back?" No, no! for kindly Heaven A better one has given.


There is a cup, I know, Which, full to overflow, Has yet the space to hold Its measure many fold; And when from it I drink, It is so sweet to think— What it retains is more Than all it held before. If you my riddle guess, You surely will confess The greater in the less, Which is our blessedness.


Dost give away thy heart, With all its sweet perfume? Angels dwell where thou art, The more, the greater room.


A life lost in a life— True husband or true wife— A life come back again As with a shining train.


A cheery maiden's love As large as heaven and earth— That were a gift to prove How much this life is worth.


Fast by Eternal Truth, And on a sunny mountain, Springs that perennial fountain Which gives immortal youth; And all who bathe therein Are washed from every sin.


It is to do the best, Unmindful of reward, Which brings the sweetest rest And nearness to the Lord; And this has been thy aim, And will be to the end, Knows she who writes her name As thy unchanging friend.


Words—words—and pen and ink, But not a thought to think! And yet, perhaps, perchance, Who knows his ignorance Is not the greatest fool, Although long out of school.


Our greatest glory, friend, Is chiefly found herein— That when we fall, offend, We quickly rise from sin, And make the very shame, Which gathered round our name Like many scorpion rings, The stairs to better things In that high citadel Which has a warning bell.


Whence honor, wealth, or fame, Which God delights to see? Out of a blameless name, Born of Eternity. And these are prizes At God's assizes, Reported day by day, Which no man takes away.


Life is movement, action, Joy, and benefaction. Rest is bravely doing, While the past reviewing, Still the years forecasting With the Everlasting. Such be days of thine, Such thy rest divine.


The brook's joy Does not cloy. Too much sun, Too much rain; Work is done Not in vain. Sun receives And cloud leaves Just enough. Skies are black And winds rough, Yet no lack Of good will; For 'tis still Understood God is good.


The brook's rest Is rest indeed; The brook's quest Is daily need. Thoughts of to-morrow They bring no sorrow; And so it babbles away, And does the work of to-day.


The brook knows the joy Down in the heart of a boy, And the swallow kens the whirl Up in the head of a girl.


How many a psalm is heard From yon rejoicing bird, That finds its daily food And feels that God is good! That little life's employ Is toil and song and joy. Hast music in thy heart, O toiler day by day, Along life's rugged way? Then what thou hast thou art.


True, Good, and Beautiful! A perfect line Of love and sainthood full— And it is thine.


Thou doest well, dear friend, Thy labor is not lost. As notes in music blend, So here Affection's host. Their names thy book within, Their thoughts of love and truth, Are worth the cost to win— First trophies of thy youth. This little Album thine Suggests to Book Divine— The Book of Life, God's own. What names are written there! What names are there unknown! Hast thou no thought or care? I do thee wrong to ask— God speed the nobler task Until thy labor prove Indeed a work of love!


True friends Are through friends To the next world— That unvexed world. What will friends be good for When the witness is needless they stood for?


Wouldst have another gem In Friendship's diadem? Then take this name of mine; Thy light will make it shine.


Thou comest beauty-laden, Thou sprightly little maiden, And dancing everywhere Like sunbeams in the air; And for thy cheery laugh Here is my autograph.


Something for nothing? No! A false device. For all things here below We pay the price. For even grace we pay, Which is so free; And I have earned to-day A smile from thee.


Friend, make good use of time! Eternity sublime Is cradled in its use, And Time allows no truce. The past, with shadowy pall, Is gone beyond recall; To-morrow is not thine; 'To-day is all thou hast, Which will not always last: Make thou to-day divine!


Every hour a duty Brings thee from the courts on high. Every hour a beauty Waits her transit to the sky; Waits till thou adorn her With the glory of thy heart, Or until thou scorn her— Shall she with thy sin depart?


If you seek in life success, Own yourself the instrument Which the Lord alone can bless, And the world as helper meant; Perseverance as your friend And experience your eyes, Onward press to reach your end, Resting not with any prize; Counting it a joy to lend Unto Him who sanctifies.


That day is lost forever, Whose golden sun Beholds through thine endeavor No goodness done.


Count not thy life by heart-throbs; He thinks and lives the most Who with the noblest actions Adorns his chosen post.


The secret of the world, Although in light impearled, No one can e'er discover, No one—except a lover. To him are given new eyes In self's true sacrifice.


If Love is blind And overlooks small things, He has a mind To apprehend all things.


As Love sails down life's river He from his gleaming quiver Shoots into every heart A strange and nameless smart. How is thy heart protected? The wound is unsuspected!


Dost thou truly love? Nothing hard can prove, All the stress and rigor Doth thy heart transfigure.


Love is the key of joy Which keeps the man a boy When outward things decay And all his locks are gray.


Of Heaven below Which is so sweet to know, And Heaven above, The title-deed is love.


Who is bravest Of my four friends? Thou that slavest, And self all spends; Thou that savest, And usest never; Thou that cravest, With no endeav-or, Thou that gavest, And hast forever?


Numen Lumen, I can do without praise, I can do without money: I have found other honey To sweeten my days; And the Kaiser may wear his gold crown While I on his splendor look down.


God thy Light! Then is Right Life's own polar star; All thy fortunes are Gifts that come from Him, Filling to the brim Life's great golden cup, And thy heart looks up!


A debtor to hate, A debtor to money, Forever may wait And never have honey. A debtor to love And sweet benefaction, Hath treasures above, A heart's satisfaction.


God is a liberal lender To those who use, But not abuse, And daily statements render; And here's the beauty of it— He lends again the profit!


Days of heroic will Which God and duty fill, Are evermore sublime Memorials of Time. That such thy days may be Is my best wish for thee.


Self-sacrifice Finds Paradise; Hearts that rebel Are gates of Hell. Goals of all races Are these two places.


The blushes of roses And all that reposes Sublime in a hero Affixed by his zero— Ah, you will complete him, As soon as you meet him.


Maidens passing into naught, What a work by them is wrought! Not prefixes, But affixes On the better side of men— See! they multiply by ten.


The golden key of life, True maiden crowned a wife. What then are toil and trouble, With strength to meet them, double?


True Heaven begins on earth Around a common hearth, Or in a humble heart— Thy faith means what thou art, And that which thou wouldst be; Thou makest it, it thee.


No Heaven in Truth and Love? Then do not look above.

Yet Truth and Love have wings, Although the highest things; Therewith to mount, dear friend, Is life that has no end.


Art thou a mourner here? But One can give thee cheer: Affliction turns to grace Before the Master's face.


My friend, my troubled friend, If true, Love has not found you, Then I can comprehend That Duty has not bound you.


Love is the source of duty, The parent of all life, Which Heaven pronounces beauty, The crown of man and wife, Beginning and the end To hero, saint, and friend; An inspiration which Is so abundant, rich, That from the finger-tips And from the blooming lips, Yea, from the voiceful eyes, In questions and replies— From every simple action And hourly benefaction It pours itself away, A gladness day by day, Exhaustless as the sun, Work done and never done. And I have painted you, O maiden fair and true!


The voice of God is love, As all who listen prove. Be thou assured of this, Or life's chief comfort miss.


"O is not love a marvel Which one can not unravel? Behold its bitter fruit! Ah, that kind does not suit." My friend, I'm not uncivil— Self makes of love a devil, And it is love no more; His guise love never wore, But Satan steals the guise Of love for foolish eyes— Therein the danger lies, But do not be too wise. Dost wait for perfect good In man or womanhood? Then thou must onward press In single blessedness, And find, perhaps too late, Love dies without a mate— Perhaps this better fate When love a banquet makes Which all the world partakes, Proved never out of date.


Prove all things—even love Thou must needs prove. But let the touch be fine That tests a thing divine. Yea, let the touch be tender; True love will answer render.


'Tis Give-and-take, Not Take-and-give, That seeks to make Folk blessed live. Where is he now? Invisible. Yet on thy brow His name I spell.


Bear-and-forbear, To make folk blest, Seeks everywhere To be a guest. Angelic one, Who art so near, Thy will be done, Both now and here.


Comes knowledge At college; Wisdom comes later, And is the greater. Art thou of both possessed? Then art thou richly blest.


What can I wish thee better Than that through all thy days, The spirit, not the letter, Invite thy blame or praise? Seek ever to unroll The substance or the soul; If that be fair and pure, It will, and must endure; And lo! the homely dress Grows into loveliness.


Into the heart of man The things that bless or ban; Out of the life he lives, The boon or curse he gives. Guard well thy open heart, What enters must depart.


Is this—is this thine album? 'Tis nothing but a sign Of something more divine. Thou art the real album, And on its wondrous pages Is writ thy daily wages. Thou canst not blot a word, Much less tear out a leaf. But all thy prayers are heard, And every pain and grief May be to thee as stairs To better things, until Thou reachest, unawares, The Master's mind and will.


Seek thou for true friends, Aim thou at true ends, With God above them all; Then, as the shadows lengthen, Will thy endurance strengthen, With heaven thy coronal.


Ten thousand eyes of night, One Sovereign Eye above; Ten thousand rays of light, One central fire of Love. No eyes of night appear, God's Eye is never closed; No rays of light to cheer, For self hath interposed. Yet Love's great fire is bright By day as well as night.


O we remember In leafy June, And white December Love's gentle tune; For nevermore, On any shore, Is life the same As ere love came.


And this is the day My child came down from heaven, And this is the way The sweetest kiss is given.


Thy natal day, my dear! Good heart, good words for cheer, And kisses now and here, With love through many a year!


Earthly duty, Heavenly beauty.


Truth! her story Is God's glory; Her triumph on the earth, Man's heavenly birth.


What's in a name? A symbol of reality, All human fame, And God's originality.


Thou art so neat and trim, So modest and so wise, Such gladness in thine eyes, Thou art a prize—for him, And for the world, I think; So here thy health I drink, O mother Eve's fair daughter, In this good cup of water.


All, all thou art Is in thy heart; Thy mind is but a feeder, Thy heart alone the leader,


If you want a fellow. Not too ripe and mellow, Just a little green, Courteous, never mean, One who has a will For the steepest hill, And can rule a wife, Love her as his life, And from fortune's frown Weave a blessed crown, Then you want the best; Win him, and be blest.


If you wish a dandy, Moustache curled and sandy, Just the thing for parties, Who, so trim and handy, Knows not where his heart is, Whether with your banker, Or for you it hanker, Why, then take the dude; Naught is void of good.


His faults are many— Hast thou not any? But how will the bundles mix? Is a question for Doctor Dix, For both were picked up at Ann Arbor.


I can not wish thee better In a world of many a sorrow, Than that thou be a debtor To only love and to-morrow. Then pain has little anguish, And life no time to languish, When debts are paid to Heaven, And grace sufficient for thee Thy daily strength has given; For all is bright before thee.


Seek not for happiness, But just to do thy duty; And then will blessedness Impart her heavenly beauty.


Indulge no selfish ease, Each golden hour employ, Seek only God to please, And thou shalt life enjoy; Yea, thou shalt then please all, And blessings on thee fall.


To use thy time discreetly, To show forbearance sweetly, To do thy duty neatly, To trust in God completely, Is good advice to give, And best of all to live.


If words are light as cloud foam, So too is mountain air; If in the air is beauty, So too may words be fair. If in the air contagion, Distemper words may bear. Our words are real things, And full of good or ill; The tongue that heals or stings, So needs the Master's will!


The world has many a fool, The schemer many a tool; A mirror shows them, The wise man knows them. Ten thousand disguises, Ten thousand surprises. In wisdom is detection, In righteousness protection.


To do good to another Is thy self to well serve; And to succor thy brother For thyself is fresh nerve And new strength for the battle, In the dash and the rattle, When thy foes press thee hard, And thy all thou must guard.


Canst show a finer touch, A grain of purer lore— "I could not love thee, dear, so much, Loved I not honor more?"


Frittered away, Grace to begin Duty to-day— Wages of sin! Truth out of sight, Falsehood crept in, Wrong put for right— Wages of sin. Self become god, Eager to win All at its nod— Wages of sin. Scorn of the seer, Vanity's grin, Darkness grown dear— Wages of sin. Trouble without, Canker within, Fear, hate, and doubt— Wages of sin. What is to be, All that has been, Shadows that flee— Wages of sin. Loss of the soul, Wrangle and din, Tragedy's dole— Wages of sin. Warning enough! (Mortals are kin) Ragged and rough Wages of sin!


Words great to express Him, Revealer And Healer, By these ye confess Him. Enough, this beginning? Before ye The glory Known only in winning. In deed-bearing Duty Behold Him, Enfold Him, The King in his Beauty; Until ye discover How meetly, How sweetly He rules as a Lover! And then will confession, O new men, Now true men, Be one with possession.


O wouldst thou know The rarity Of Charity? Thyself forego! Then will the field, To God inviting, To man requiting, Sweet harvest yield.


In consecration To single-hearted toil Is animation, Yea, life's true wine and oil; And that vocation Which heart and mind secures Hath consolation That verily endures.


To fast and pray The live-long day Is preparation— O doubt it not! For some high lot, But in thy deed, Not in thy creed, Is consummation.


It is the cheerful heart That finds the key of gold, The bravely-acted part Which gets the grip and hold. And opens wide the door Where treasures are unrolled Thine eager eyes before. Then life is evermore A strife for wealth untold. God keep thee true and bold!


Sometimes our failures here Are God's successes; And things that seemed so drear His sweet caresses. It is our Father's hand That gives our wages, Before us many a land And all the ages. And shall we forfeit hope Because the fountains Are up the mighty slope Of yonder mountains?


The storm is raging. The sun is shining, And both presaging Some true refining; Through them are passing The hosts forever, All wealth amassing Through brave endeavor.


O trees, rejoicing trees, Along my path to-day I hear your quiet melodies, And care all charmed away, I catch your mood, Dear forest brotherhood.

O trees, rejoicing trees, Arrayed in springtide dress, How full ye are of prophecies Of everlastingness! I find a balm In your rejoicing psalm.

O trees, rejoicing trees, In living green so grand, Like saints with grateful memories, Ye bless the Father's hand; Which stripped you bare To make you now so fair.

O trees, rejoicing trees, Who have another birth, Through you my bounding spirit sees The day beyond the earth, Eternity So calm, so fair, so free.

O trees, rejoicing trees, Dear children of the Lord, I thank you for the ministries Which ye to me accord; New life and light Burst from my wintry night!

O friend, rejoicing friend, A better poem thou To hint the joys that have no end Through gladness here and now. Be thou to me Perpetual prophecy!


The battle is set, The field to be won; What foes have you met, What work have you done? To courage alone Does victory come; To coward and drone Nor country nor home!


For thee, of blessed name, I ask not wealth or fame, Nor that thy path may be From toil and trouble free; For toil is everywhere, Some trouble all must bear, And wealth and fame are naught, With better stuff unwrought— I crave for thy dear heart Eternal Duty's part. For then indeed I know Thy pathway here below Will bloom with roses fair, And beauty everywhere; And this will be enough When winds are wild and rough, To keep thy heart in peace.


All things to-day have voices, To tell the joy of heaven, Which unto earth is given; This Winter flower rejoices, This snowy hellebore Which blooms for evermore On merry Christmas Day, Reminding us of One Here born a Virgin's Son, To take our sins away. The death its leaves within Is but the death of sin; Which death to die was born The pure and guiltless Child Who Justice reconciled And oped the gates of morn, What time a crimson flame Throughout a word of shame Did purge away the dross, And leave the blood-red gold, Whose worth can not be told, He purchased on the cross! And thus a prophecy Of Him on Calvary, Who takes our sins away, Is this fair snow-white flower Which has of death the power, And blooms on Christmas Day.


True friendship writes thee here A birthday souvenir: All blessings on thee, dear, For this and many a year!


A myth that grew within the brain Relates that Eden's bowers Did not, 'mid all their wealth, contain The glory of the flowers;

Because there were no opened eyes To take that glory in, The sweet and innocent surprise Which looks rebuke to sin;

For Love, and Innocence, and Truth There made their dwelling-place, Than which fair three immortal Youth Required no other grace.

But when through sin the happy seat Was lost to wretched man, Our Lord, redeeming love to meet, Redeeming work began:

The flowers, which have a language now, Shall deck the weary earth, And, while men 'neath their burdens bow, Remind them of their birth;

And, with their vernal beauty rife, To all the Gospel preach, The Resurrection and the Life, In sweet, persuasive speech.


Reader! if thou hast found Thy life to reach and sound, Some thought among these rhymes, My school of rhymes and chimes, Then this, I pray thee, con: Somewhat to feed upon It has—a kind of lunch, Served with Olympian punch, To brace thee every night, And make thy mornings bright— Complines at even-song To make thee brave and strong:


Thou, Father, givest sleep So calm, so sweet, so deep; And all Thy children share Thy goodness everywhere, And to Thy likeness grow Who love to others show. Grant me more love, I pray, Than I have shown to-day. O Father, Son, and Dove, Dear Trinity of Love, Hear Thou my even-song And keep me brave and strong.


Before I go to sleep, That I in joy may reap, Lord, take the tares away Which I have sown to-day, Productive make the wheat, For Thine own garner meet, And give me grace to-morrow To sow no seeds of sorrow. O Father, Son, and Dove, Dear Trinity of Love, Hear Thou my even-song And keep me brave and strong.


While I am wrapped in sleep, And others watch and weep, Dear Lord, remember them, Their flood of sorrow stem, Take all their grief away, Turn Thou their night to day, Until in Thee they rest Who art of friends the best. O Father, Son, and Dove, Dear Trinity of Love, Hear Thou my even-song And keep me brave and strong.


Night is for prayer and sleep! Behind the western steep Now has the sun gone down With his great golden crown. O Sun of Righteousness, Arise! Thy children bless; With healing in thy wings Cure all our evil things. O Father, Son, and Dove, Dear Trinity of Love, Hear Thou my even-song And keep me brave and strong.


While I am safe asleep, Good Shepherd of the sheep, If some poor lamb of Thine Stray from the Fold Divine Into the desert night, In the sweet morning light, Choose me to bring it thence Through Thy dear providence. O Father, Son, and Dove, Dear Trinity of Love, Hear Thou my even-song And keep me brave and strong.


That I may sweetly sleep, Thy child, O Father, keep To wake and love thee more Than I have done before. And do Thou prosper all Who on Thy goodness call, And take their sins away Who have not learned to pray. O Father, Son, and Dove, Dear Trinity of Love, Hear Thou my even-song And keep me brave and strong.


If death upon me creep While I in darkness sleep, Dear Lord! whose time is best, Be Thou my bed and rest! Then at Thy smile of light Will my dark cell grow bright, And angel-sentinels Ring the sweet morning bells. O Father, Son, and Dove, Dear Trinity of Love, Hear Thou my even-song And keep me brave and strong.


There is no bitterness Without some lump of sweet; Without some blessedness There is no sad defeat.

And there is no confusion Without some order fair, No infinite diffusion But unity is there.

The goodness of the Lord Is round about us here; Beholding it reward To fill the heart with cheer.

All things are ever tending To some divine event, The sweet and bitter blending With some divine intent.

All things are ever tending To some divine event, The sweet to have no ending— Avaunt! O Discontent.

Brave men and women all, How are we comforted With honey out of gall, Served with our daily bread!


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Footnote 1: The way of the cross the way of light.

Footnote 2: O Liberty! how they have counterfeited thee!

It is generally understood, however, that her last words were: O Liberte! que de crimes on commet en ton nom! (O Liberty! what crimes are committed in thy name!)

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