Far Country, a — Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 191 pages of information about Far Country, a — Volume 1.

I suppose I learned something during the seven years of my incarceration.  All of value, had its teachers known anything of youthful psychology, of natural bent, could have been put into me in three.  At least four criminally wasted years, to say nothing of the benumbing and desiccating effect of that old system of education!  Chalk and chalk-dust!  The Mediterranean a tinted portion of the map, Italy a man’s boot which I drew painfully, with many yawns; history no glorious epic revealing as it unrolls the Meaning of Things, no revelation of that wondrous distillation of the Spirit of man, but an endless marching and counter-marching up and down the map, weary columns of figures to be learned by rote instantly to be forgotten again.  “On June the 7th General So-and-so proceeded with his whole army—­” where?  What does it matter?  One little chapter of Carlyle, illuminated by a teacher of understanding, were worth a million such text-books.  Alas, for the hatred of Virgil!  “Paret” (a shiver), “begin at the one hundred and thirtieth line and translate!” I can hear myself droning out in detestable English a meaningless portion of that endless journey of the pious AEneas; can see Gene Hollister, with heart-rending glances of despair, stumbling through Cornelius Nepos in an unventilated room with chalk-rubbed blackboards and heavy odours of ink and stale lunch.  And I graduated from Densmore Academy, the best school in our city, in the 80’s, without having been taught even the rudiments of citizenship.

Knowledge was presented to us as a corpse, which bit by bit we painfully dissected.  We never glimpsed the living, growing thing, never experienced the Spirit, the same spirit that was able magically to waft me from a wintry Lyme Street to the South Seas, the energizing, electrifying Spirit of true achievement, of life, of God himself.  Little by little its flames were smothered until in manhood there seemed no spark of it left alive.  Many years were to pass ere it was to revive again, as by a miracle.  I travelled.  Awakening at dawn, I saw, framed in a port-hole, rose-red Seriphos set in a living blue that paled the sapphire; the seas Ulysses had sailed, and the company of the Argonauts.  My soul was steeped in unimagined colour, and in the memory of one rapturous instant is gathered what I was soon to see of Greece, is focussed the meaning of history, poetry and art.  I was to stand one evening in spring on the mound where heroes sleep and gaze upon the plain of Marathon between darkening mountains and the blue thread of the strait peaceful now, flushed with pink and white blossoms of fruit and almond trees; to sit on the cliff-throne whence a Persian King had looked down upon a Salamis fought and lost....  In that port-hole glimpse a Themistocles was revealed, a Socrates, a Homer and a Phidias, an AEschylus, and a Pericles; yes, and a John brooding Revelations on his sea-girt rock as twilight falls over the waters....

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Far Country, a — Volume 1 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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