Disguise it as we may, we live in a frightful world, with evils, with enemies, on every side. From the hedges along the path of life, leap the bandits that murder and destroy; and every human being, no matter how often he escapes, at last will fall beneath the assassin’s knife.
To put it another way: We are all passengers on the train of life. The tickets give the names of the stations where we boarded the car, but the destination is unknown. At every station some passengers, pallid, breathless, dead, are put away, and some with the light of morning in their eyes, get on.
To put it yet another way: On the wide sea of life we are all on ships or rafts or spars, and some by friendly winds are borne to the fortunate isles, and some by storms are wrecked on the cruel rocks. And yet upon the isles the same as upon the rocks, death waits for all. And death alone can truly say, “All things come to him who waits.”
And yet, strangely enough, there is in this world of misery, of misfortune and of death, the blessed spirit of mirth. The travelers on the path, on the train, on the ships, the rafts and spars, sometimes forget their perils and their doom.
All blessings on the man whose face was first illuminated by a smile!
All blessings on the man who first gave to the common air the music of laughter – the music that for the moment drove fears from the heart, tears from the eyes, and dimpled cheeks with joy!
All blessings on the man who sowed with merry hands the seeds of humor, and at the lipless skull of death snapped the reckless fingers of disdain!
Who are the friends of the human race? They who hide with vine and flower the cruel rocks of fate – the children of genius, the sons and daughters of mirth and laughter, of imagination, those whose thoughts, like moths with painted wings, fill the heaven of the mind.