The Drama of the Nineteenth Century: A Lecture Delivered Before the Pittsburg Secular Society, December 16th, 1888 (Classic Reprint)
The passions of men are actors, events are their motions, all history is their speech. In the long play of the ages a human being sometimes becomes an event: a nation's passion takes a personnel. Such beings are the expression of the gathered mind-force of millions.
He only who keeps himself aloof from all feeling can remain the spectator of the hour. All that humanity which is held within the beating, coiling, surging tides of passion, it has no individuality: it sinks its personality to become a vein in the limb of this giant, a pulse in the heart of that Titan. Only when out of the spirit of the times the event is born, only when the act is complete, the curtain rung down, only then does the intellectuality of the vein, the pulse, rise to the level of the dispassionate. Only then can it survey a tragedy and say, 'this was necessary' - a reaction, and say, 'this was inevitable.'
Yet as a drop of blood is a quivering, living, flashing ruby beside the dead, pale pearl of a stagnant pool, so is one drop.of feeling a shining thing, a living thing, beside the deadness of the intellect which judges while the heart is stone: beside those quiet bayous of brain which reflect back the images before them very purely, very stilly, giving no heed to the grant rushing river of heart that rolls on, hurries on so close beside them. Bye and bye, bye and bye, the river reaches the grand, great sea, and tho waters spread out calm and deep, so deep that the stars of the upper sea, the lights of tho higher life, shine far up from them as a babe smiles up into its mother's eyes, and up still to the distant source of the light within the eyes.
It is to men and women of feeling that I speak, men and women of the millions, men and women in the hurrying current!
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