along year after year, overcoming trifles and worn away by cares, till, dusty and tired with our weary march, we are glad to sink into our graves? I suppose, though, we ought to consider it only a harder fight, and nerve ourselves to struggle long and well; for to a stout heart victory is certain at last, and in proportion will be the more glorious. I feel strong enough for the fight. ‘I hope to find some lucrative position as a teacher before I graduate, for I want to commence my “good fight” the very day after my college course ends.’
——, 1862.My course after college I cannot now determine. I am afraid I shall never be settled enough in my theological views to be a minister, if there were no other objection, though I have thought seriously of it; but I have faith to believe that I shall find my station, or rather my field, for I do not wish to be stationary. Give me an object to live for, to labor for, to die for, something definite and tangible; or must we plod along, only grubbing up the weeds that are around us, one after another, slowly?
Midnight, June, 1862.We passed our last examination to-day,—one by one the ties that bound us to the dear old University and knit us so closely together are being sundered. “I would that my tongue could utter the thoughts that arise in me.” But “the thoughts of my youth are long, long thoughts.” My experience to-day has been a varied one. I have rehearsed parts of all my deepest experiences for the last four years. In the examination this morning my college life turned its wan face once more towards me from the verge of its grave. This evening . . . . .our student's life awakened merrily, yet sadly, for it was our parting; we formed the ring with clasped hands, singing “Auld Lang Syne,” hand to hand, then closer, breast to breast; a few heartfelt words, three cheers, and we separated Some of us walked into the yard and sat down on the steps of Holworthy, looking through the old familiar elms at the stars, as we have done how many times before! One by one the lights went out in the windows, till the buildings were dark about us, as we sat there sad and thoughtful; and then we went silently to our rooms, feeling that soon we are to be scattered and turned adrift in the world, each man to enter the valley alone and fight for himself,— no, not for self, but for truth, justice, right,—and so for God, as his soldiers.
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Ode recited at the Harvard commemoration, July 21 , 1865 .
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