I saw the boy pat down the mound with the back of a spade.
I saw him carve with awkward, boyish hands the initials of his father, the date of his birth and the day of his death.
I saw him drive the slab down at the head of the grave.
I saw him harness the four horses.
I saw him help his little brothers into the canvas-covered wagon.
I saw him help his mother climb the wheel as she took her place on the seat.
I saw him spring up beside her.
I saw him gather up the lines in his brown, slim hands, and swing the whip over the leaders, as he gave the shrill word of command and turned the horses to the West.
And the cavalcade moved forward to the West—always to the West.
The boy had met calamity and disaster. He had not flinched.
In a single day he had left boyhood behind and become a man.
And the years that followed proved him genuine.
What was it worked the change? Grief and responsibility, nobly met.
The church has aureoled and sainted
the men and
women who have fought the Cosmic Urge. To do nothing
and to be nothing was regarded as a virtue.
SIMEON STYLITES THE SYRIAN
The church has aureoled and sainted the men and women who have fought the Cosmic Urge. To do nothing and to be nothing was regarded as a virtue.
As the traveler journeys through Southern Italy, Sicily and certain parts of what was Ancient Greece, he will see broken arches, parts of viaducts, and now and again a beautiful column pointing to the sky. All about is the desert, or solitary pastures, and only this white milestone marking the path of the centuries and telling in its own silent, solemn and impressive way of a day that is dead.
In the Fifth Century a monk called Simeon the Syrian, and known to us as Simeon Stylites, having taken the vow of chastity, poverty and obedience, began to fear greatly lest he might not be true to his pledge. And that he might live absolutely beyond reproach, always in public view, free from temptation, and free from the tongue of scandal, he decided to live in the world, and still not be of it. To this end he climbed to the top of a marble column, sixty feet high, and there on the capstone he began to live a life beyond reproach.
Simeon was then twenty-four years old.
The environment was circumscribed, but there were outlook, sunshine, ventilation—three good things. But beyond these the place had certain disadvantages. The capstone was a little less than three feet square, so Simeon could not lie down. He slept sitting, with his head bowed between his knees, and, indeed, in this posture he passed most of his time. Any recklessness in movement, and he would have slipped from his perilous position and been dashed to death upon the stones beneath.