THE REFLEXIONS OF A SOUL.
A Fleeting day called life was given me. But the misery of it all was more than I could bear. Why awaken the ghosts that slumber in me? The incidents of what once was, rush upon my reeling brain and make me more miserable than ever. What a chequered life is mine! What griefs assail my heart! How wretched and miserable I am! How deeply do I feel the woes and wrongs I have suffered! How long, O how long, I am to drag on this weary existence! How long, O how long, I am to lead this lonely life, with an enfeebled body and a wounded heart! Despair – blank, dark despair deepens into my heart. O Earth, canst thou not receive me into thy bowels? O Grave, canst thou not heap thy dust over me? O Fire, canst thou not consume me into nothingness? Misery's mate I have been. With Despair I have fallen in love.
Friends and relatives have I none. I find Self at the bottom of existence. A self forgetting love is as rare as is admirable. I don't wonder at those brave men who spurned life and courted death. In despair, Nature's noblemen seek to cast off this mortal coil – never mind the means – they are questions of circumstance. In desperate sorrow the best of our race are provoked to do things which assumes an unbecoming look to a crowd of unsympathetic imbeciles. To spurn life where life means torture and dishonor is no cowardice. It is the insane coward that fears death. Death is full of suggestions of beauty and hope to the brave and thoughtful men.
Best of us are capable of erring. But a very few of us are brave and noble enough to make a free and generous confession of their mistakes. And what are crimes but mistakes. Every one of us seeks to enjoy pleasure and avoid pain. None of us seeks evil willingly. In this search for pleasure, in this struggle to avoid pain we make countless slips. But our glory is we get up every time we fall. Best of us are redeemed sinners. We lay no claim to perfection. That would be hypocrisy of the worst type. The best amongst us are those who are as perfect as the frailties incident to humanity can allow them to be. But who is to castigate the cur which unceasingly yells at the heels of brave men. This world would be a beauteous Eden but for the dirt-eaters, the scandal-mongers. I would tolerate any criminal – he is but a victim of circumstance – but I scorn the rascal who finds his delight in speaking the scandal of his fellows. Scoundrels sit in judgment! The rascal preaches sermons! The rascal who kills a fellowman's reputation is worse than a murderer. The thief who for the gratification of his malevolent affections of envy and hate robs another of his joy, the scoundrel who pretends friendship for betraying those who trust him, is the worst thief, a disgrace to the human race. Do what you will – but be sincere. You are safe. It is sincerity that sanctifies the soul. The mean and the malicious are here amidst us to try the patience and the courage of the brave. Let the past be death's. The future is ours. With thought, with love, with courage, even the worst of us would make himself a God. A world's word is an airy nothing. We are in a mad house. Each of us is ill, in delirium. And we talk ill of each other. Scandal seems to be the pride and glory of the human tongue. The dirt-eater, the calumniator, the betrayer, the liar, the pretender, is a thorn by the side of this life's rose. Cast him out by indifference, by neglect, by laugh and scorn. Your life would give the lie to his wretched canards. Be fair. Look fair in your own eyes. Be a Man. Be not a world's slave. Care for Reality. Let go Appearance. Be pure and clean for the health and serenity of your soul. This life is but a day. This world is but a speck. Look to the eternity of time! Look to the immensity of space! Let your reputation die. Let your name be tarnished and darkened. What though Memory should fail to write your praise. Fame is condemned to silence at last. Like the moon, this planet, our world, would one day be a corpse. Even this mighty sun with his tireless energy of fire would soon meet a tragic death. Behold. Fear no man. Live a brave and thoughtful life. Bid Death welcome in all peace and joyousness. Let go the cares and fears of a fleeting day. Defy a world's word. Be true to Nature. In Nature's presence, all shams must shrink, all rascalities must sit mute. No lose, no suffering, must cause to the brave-honest a moment's despair. These subtle loses and solid gains are nothing in Eternity's economy. How long are we to be here? How long would we be chained to Pain? How long would we be here worrying one another? How long would this talk of us continue? Would not the succeeding generations have their own talks? Why magnify an hour's concern? Why invite sorrow? To the unsympathetic gaze of a thoughtless crowd let us present the beauty and the glory of a soul that is pure, that is true. Let us present to the world a courage which would know no fear, which would acknowledge no obstacle, which would scorn every life's care to death. It is not the troop of 'friends,' it is not the glitter of reputation, it is not the heap of money-bags, it is not the crowd of 'bewitching' women, it is not this pompous show or that, that promise you Happiness, but a life of beauty, of sincerity, of courage, that is lived for its own joy, and not for the show of a crowd, not for the gaze of a world, not for the putrid lips of rumor. Life and Death are one. Praise and Censure are but a passing war of winds: to him who sees his self in this boundless universe and who has cast off this little hours' cares and fears in the joyous thoughts of Eternity.
A. S. M.