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Page 16 text:
6 THE CHRONICLE
spends all his life cutting steps up the mountain. Finally, in his dying moments, he looks back over the steep path. He has given up everything; and lo! there comes to him at last, just at death, one white feather of Truth. His sacrifice, his labor, was worthwhile. Truth always is.
There is another thing to learn from this story. As death drew near, the old hunter looked back, and where he had made a path he saw future generations coming up toward Truth, and he cried joyfully, “They will mount, and on my work! They will climb, and by my stair! They will find her, and through me! And no man liveth unto himself, and no man dieth unto himself.”
So it is that he who seeks Truth may never find it here. He may be called upon to lay down his life when he is just beginning the search, or he may have to spend all his life climbing one mountain. But what does it matter, so long as someone finds it? Mankind, as a whole, is greater than its parts. Most of us believe in the ideal of permanent world peace. We may never live to see it, but for the sake of our future brothers let us make the search for it easier by clearing the path, by cutting steps up the mountain. And surely, we, too, shall have a part in the finding.
hen the minds of so many of us are like the shallow ground in the parable. For an hour, a day, we follow Truth. Then we cease to believe in it; we cease to seek. To find Truth we must believe in our search. Our Master said, “Seek and ye shall find.” Is it not true? If men seek gold, they find gold. If they seek fame, they find fame. Only, Truth is rarer than gold; it is more elusive than fame; it is more precious than material things. Therefore it is harder to find; it requires a longer and higher search; but those who seek perseveringly will find it, for even death cannot end this quest. We must have supreme confidence in Life’s unfailing goodness and in Love’s eternity. Without this, our hearts will be weak and faint, and we shall give up. We need faith, the faith he had whom Browning described as
“One who never doubted clouds would break,
Never dreamed, though right were worsted, wrong would triumph,
Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better, sleep to wake.”
And now—where is the pathway to Truth? It is here, it is there, it is everywhere. There is only one road to it—Life’s road. Every road of life will lead to Truth if we but make it. Too often we think of the highway to Truth as apart from everyday existence, something very nice to travel if we had time—on a holiday, for example. Sometimes we think of it as solitary and isolated. But this is false. Where is Truth itself? It is not just in the cloister or the hermit’s cell. The kingdom of God—Truth—lies all about you and within you. “To thine own self be true,” said Shakespeare. That does not mean we should be self-centered.
“Who seeks for heaven alone to save his soul,
May keep the path, but will not reach the goal,
While he who walks in love may wander far,
Yet God will bring him where the blessed are.”
He who would find Truth must have his eyes open to everything beautiful and good, but also he must look for it among the poor, the sick, the unfortunate. He must see it in the church, but he must not forget to visit the slums, the charity homes, and the prisons. Sir Launfal, you remember, found the Holy Grail only when he loved the beggar at his gate. Until we believe that Truth is good and is everywhere, and can see it shining through misery and sin, we shall not find it. It is only by the eyes of love we can see this vision. There is Truth in every fellow man and on every pathway—it is there we must seek it—we must find it there!
We are setting out on Life’s road as knights on the quest for Truth. And
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THE CHRONICLE 5
“To every man there openeth A way, and ways, and a way,
And the high soul climbs the high road And the low soul gropes the low,
And in between, on the misty flats,
The rest go to and fro.
But to every man there openeth A high way and a low,
And every man determineth The way his soul shall go.”
In the olden days, the days of chivalry, it was the custom for knights to set out upon a quest and give hand and heart to fulfilling it. It was not with the knights that seeking originated, nor did it end with them. The desire to seek is ages old—as old as man is. You see it in every page of history. Every man has a search in life, whether it is for wealth, or power, or just his daily bread.
But beneath and above all other searches there is another and a greater—that of the heart and soul. Some indescribable longing calls us to enter this quest. Sometimes it comes with the dawn from the Land of Unknown Things. It may come with the sound of wonderful music. It may come when we look into the eyes of someone who is very pure and good. It may come just at dusk, when the beautiful sunset gates are opened in the West. It may come at night, when we gaze at distant, shining stars and wonder at a beauty we cannot understand. But to everyone this longing comes, for in each of us lies a seed of divine discontent, and we know not how to explain it, nor exactly why and what we desire—but men call it Truth.
Tonight, we, too, are setting out to new fields of adventure and noble deeds. We, too, shall undertake the quest for Truth. And, first, we should ask ourselves what it is.
Truth is the Great Principle of the Universe. We cannot say exactly what this Principle is, but we believe it is Love and Goodness. It is to be seen in all that is worthwhile, and good, and beautiful, in life. The most beautiful flowers, the loveliest songs, reveal Truth; but Truth, which governs these flowers and songs, is still more beautiful and lovely. When we understand fully this Principle, this Law of Life, it will enable us to live in complete harmony and happiness. Sometimes we are afraid to look for it lest we should cease to be happy. This is not so. In Truth’s path dangers, troubles, and crosses lie, but also true joy. There is no happiness in wrong. Indeed, Truth is the secret of real happiness.
Now, how can we find this wonderful thing? By holding it the highest thing in life. Truth is very precious, and the price of obtaining it is great—complete devotion. He who would find Truth must, at the first step, dedicate everything to his cause; at no step, hold anything dearer; at every step, be willing to sacrifice all for it.
The search for Truth is told by Olive Schreiner in a beautiful allegory called “The Hunter.” In this story, a hunter sees in a lake, the reflection of a beautiful, silvery-white bird—Truth. In a moment it is gone, but within him. burns the consuming desire to see it again. So he spreads a net of wishes and gathers many birds—but Truth is not there. At last, Wisdom tells him if he would find Truth he must enter the Land of Negation and Denial, and then climb many high mountains and suffer much. So he sets free the birds of his wishes; he leaves his friends and goes alone, an outcast, seeking Truth. He travels a long way, where never man went before; he overcomes temptations; he climbs many jagged rocks. Somewhere above is Truth. Lonely and weary and brave, he
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THE CHRONICLE 7
these are the lessons Life will teach us—love!—give!—serve!—those are the things one must do to find Truth. The world needs us as never before—to give our best, though it be little, in its cause.
“Go and toil in any vineyard,
Do not fear to do and dare;
If you want a field of labor,
You can find it anywhere.”
And this is the quest, and the only quest, in which we are sure to find happiness.
Classmates: Tonight we are bidding good-bye to our school and to each other. We are knights setting out on our journeys. In every pathway there is a battle to be fought for the Truth we profess to be seeking. Now our hearts are high and joyous with the triumph of four years’ labor. With shields bright and hearts pure, we are facing Truth’s path.
On this path, there will come times of doubt and uncertainty. We shall not see the road clearly; we shall lose our way and falter. But the night will pass, and if we have faith we shall overcome despair. Light will be given to us.
As we go along our way, we shall need strength—-of body, mind and soul. We shall need strength for each day’s work, strength to bear our burdens, strength in the days of weariness and sacrifice. But each step, each burden, will make us stronger—strength will be given to us.
But most of all, we shall need courage. It may be that Truth’s vision will point out a new, strange way for us to follow, or perhaps a common, tiresome way. We shall need courage to give up all things for an end we may never see. We shall need courage to suffer in silence, to face our task squarely. Yet if the Right is on our side—what have we to fear? Nothing. Courage will be given to us.
Life is very good, and in seeking Truth we shall be happy. Sacrifice itself will be a pleasure. Joy fills our hearts now—joy because there is no higher privilege than to seek for Truth. And the end of our search is sure.
“Be strong! We are not here to play, to dream, to drift;
We have hard work to do, and loads to lift.
Shun not the struggle; face it; ’tis God’s gift.”
Four years have passed, and the time is drawing near.
When we must go along our way, and leave our high school dear;
But when we leave this building, and our journey’s wider span.
May the memory of old Lyman Hall give us strength to play the man.
Lyman Hall, we shall firmly make this vow:
Always to try our best, to keep your name as fair as now.
In years to come, in our work and play, we’ll fondly recall All the good times that we have had at dear old Lyman Hall.
Helen Todd, ’24.
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