Mr. Robinson's Oration.
He Defends the South and tells of the Howitzers' deeds.
As Mr. Robinson
walked down the stage he was warmly received.
He has a clear, musical voice and enunciated with a distinctness which made every word he uttered heard in all parts of the building.
My Friends and Fellow-Howitzers
I cannot better introduce what I have to say than by the words of a legend of the East
: ‘When the lofty and barren mountain was first upheaved into the sky, and from its elevation looked down on the plains below and saw the valley and less elevated hills covered with verdant and fruitful trees, it sent up to Brahma something like a murmur of complaint: “Why thus barren?
Why these scarred and naked sides exposed to the eye of man?”
And Brahma answered: “The very light shall clothe thee, and the shadow of the passing cloud shall be as a royal mantle.
More verdure would be less light.
Thou shalt share in the azure of heaven, and the youngest and whitest cloud of a summer's sky shall nestle in thy bosom.
Thou belongest half to us.”
‘So was the mountain dowered, and so, too,’ adds the legend, ‘have the loftiest minds of men been in all ages dowered.
To lower elevations have been given the pleasant verdure, the vine, and the olive.
Light, light alone—and the deep shadow of the passing cloud—these are the gifts of the prophets of the race.’
And so, I will add, so is it with the eminence of self-sacrifice.
Out of convulsive wrestle are they lifted.
The winds and the rains contemn them.
The hail strips them bare.
The lightning by which they are torn is their only sceptre.
The tents of the tempest are pitched on all their summits of endeavor, and the deep scar of the tempest signed upon their brow is their diadem.
And yet as the mountains are the backbone of the earth, and put their own chains on the continents which anchor to them, making our earth an earth of mountains, so
from age to age the true heart rallies to the moral eminences of which I speak.
All that is soundest in us clings with a voluntary homage to the suffering heights.
Consciously or unconsciously, the high instinct of mankind receives their lofty yoke.
Heaven and earth mingle on their summits.
Over the wide landscape of humanity falls the eloquence of their light and their shadow.
Infinitely true is it ‘to bear is to conquer.’