When the day is done – when the work of a life is finished – when the gold of evening meets the dusk of night, beneath the silent stars the tired laborer should fall asleep. To outlive usefulness is a double death. “Let me not live after my flame lacks oil, to be the snuff of younger spirits.”
When the old oak is visited in vain by Spring – when light and rain no longer thrill – it is not well to stand leafless, desolate, and alone. It is better far to fall where Nature softly covers all with woven moss and creeping vine.
How little, after all, we know of what is ill or well! How little of this wondrous stream of cataracts and pools – this stream of life, that rises in a world unknown, and flows to that mysterious sea whose shore the foot of one who comes has never pressed! How little of this life we know – this struggling ray of light ‘twixt gloom and gloom – this strip of land by verdure clad, between the unknown wastes – this throbbing moment filled with love and pain – this dream that lies between the shadowy shores of sleep and death!
We stand upon this verge of crumbling time. We love, we hope, we disappear. Again we mingle with the dust, and the “knot intrinsicate” forever falls apart.
But this we know: A noble life enriches all the world.
In the drama of human life, all are actors, and no one knows his part. In this great play the scenes are shifted by unknown forces, and the commencement, plot and end are still unknown – are still unguessed. One by one the players leave the stage, and others take their places. There is no pause – the play goes on. No prompter’s voice is heard, and no one has the slightest clue to what the next scene is to be.
Will this great drama have an end? Will the curtain fall at last? Will it rise again upon some other stage? Reason says perhaps, and Hope still whispers yes.