Zzzhonest, truthful and sincere.
Early was scrupulously honest; and so prosaically truthful that, like Epaminondas
, he would not allow any departure from the accurate fact, even in jest.
‘What must a man do to deserve renown?’
once asked a disciple of his master Confucius. ‘What do you call renown?’
asked the master.
‘To be known among the nations and at home,’ replied the disciple.
‘That is only notoriety, not true renown,’ answered the sage.
‘This last consists in straight and honest sincerity, in love of justice, in knowledge of mankind, and in humility.’
This is a photograph of Early
if we except humility.
That word, in a Christian sense, denotes great and modest virtue; but it often hides the fawning hypocrite, it has become as we accept the word,
ambiguous by misuse, and Uriah Heap has made it somewhat detestable to me. Early was modest, but humility, unless in this sense, I cannot say he had, for he was the proudest spirited mortal I ever knew, the strongest willed and the stoutest hearted.
It was the instinct of Early
's life to repress and not to express his feelings.
He was more than a Roman.
He was a Spartan.
And ‘to be, not to seem, was this man's wisdom.’
His controversies led some to think him quarrelsome, but you never found Early
quarrelling in the war with any one but the enemy; not after the war with any who did not first assail him or some Confederate hero.
These he defended, and if he ever came out second best I am not aware of it. His cold exterior gave to the stranger no sign of the warmth and tenderness of his nature.
But once in my life did I ever see him exhibit emotion.
This was at the Wilderness
, when Captain Robert D. Early
of General J. M. Jones
's brigade, was killed.
He was a distant kinsman of Early
, as he was a former schoolmate of mine.
He and his noble chief had just left our side, when a sudden assault was made, in which both fell.
's troops were hurrying to reinforce the assaulted lines, a soldier rushed to our side and said: ‘Captain Early
‘Poor Robert,’ was all the General
said; but a tear rolled down his iron cheek.
The next moment he was directing the splendid charge of Gordon
, that saved the day. To have wrung a tear from Early
's eye is sufficient tribute to my brave young comrade's fame.
There are lofty peaks that lift their summits to the skies capped with eternal snows, but in the nooks and crannies of their vales, sweet waters flow and violets spring.
They are but emblems of such great natures as that of General Early