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These are the three and only species of Clubs which have made any impression on the Germau nation.
And now, in conclusion, let me add a few general ideas on the influence of these Societies, of these Clubs, on the German students through life.
It is often said of the German Club, that it has an immoral influence on a young man; that it diverts his attention from his studies, and makes him lead a life of laziness, varied only by hard drinking and hard fighting. The American and English nations have a real panic for duels. "It is shocking, horrible, brutal,” is frequently heard. Young men will quarrel. And is it more shocking, brutal, and degrading to let them settle it, when a court of honor has failed to do so, with swords in their hands, and where but few receive any greater injury than a scar on the face, rather than to sanction their beating, mauling, and kicking each other like brutes, and then, under the influence of the angry excitement, either settling it with pistols, or bearing each other ill-will, may be, for all the days of their life, and that, often, for a cause of which they are heartily ashamed the week after ? In Germany, the words “Dummer Junge," (Stupid Youth,) effectually quell, instantly, any angry ebullition, while it is not rare to see two young men, who challenge each other the night before, sit down the next day to a bottle of wine, the insult having been ruled, both in their own minds, and by the court of honor, “ insufficient and unintentional.” A beer-guzzler is but little thought of, and has soon to amend, or leave, while a man of lazy habits attains to no position of importance.
I cannot tell, distinctly and fully, what makes society-life so attractive, but that there is a potent, bidden charm in it, is fully proved by the fact, that during his hard and monotonous journey through life, the German always turns back, with pleasure, to the period passed at the University, and with a feeling that warms his heart and cheers him on his way. He has a kind feeling towards every student, and often thinks of the kind and true friends he made, in those three short years, now gradually receding into the dim past, and, at any meeting, their first topic of conversation is a retrospect on their student years, with a kind inquiry after their absent friends.
Jfter the fight.
0, pallid moon, fitly thy haggard face
Looks pitying down upon this mournful sight,
And these poor, mangled remnants of the fight.
The air was stunned with the mad din of strife!
Where all was filled with throbbing, furious life.
With bodies stiff and stark, and glassy eye,
The brave defenders of their country lie.
Upon his brow, as if in death he grieved
His patriot fire, should be so soon bereaved.
And here a gray-beard, frowning furious hate;
Sword clenched in hand, fall’n where he fighting stood,
His feeble flame of life now quenched in blood.
His rigid lips smeared with the blood of life.
Could hold his noble spirit from the strife.
Dear one at home, distill thy bitter tears
And grieve thy little heart, now crushed and sore;
Those crimsoned lips shall kiss thee never more,
Mute eloquents! Ye teach us how to die,
Hasting that better time through all the world,
And Freedom's banner be o'er all unfurl'd.
Thou wounded wretch there, hush! Why wilt thou break
This awful stillness with thy hollow groans ?
A trophy unto Freedom with thy bones.
Lie down and die. Why should'st thou wish to live
A few years since a distinguished American Sculptor, with delicate art and with a skilful hand, carved the bust of Daniel Webster. The whole soul of the artist was absorbed in the work. His every conception of the man sprang from the chisel's point, and in the cold marble found form and almost life. The work was completed, and in the massive features of the statesman, admirers traced the grandeur of his intellect, and read for the artist enduring bonor.
It is said that the ideal arose to such grandeur of proportion in his mind, that over every after piece of workmanship, were cast the shadows of this noble thought. By artists of nice perception, Daniel Webster was seen in them all.
The great achievements of individual effort, the world's advancement in intelligence and right, and the reforms turning the current of life for all humanity, bear upon their bold fronts the trace of one idea, deeply engraven in their every feature and expression.
St. Paul's Cathedral in London towers in massive grandeur before the eye, with its marble stairways of jetty black, Corinthian colonnades, in whiteness pure as pearls, and glistening like night-frost in the moonbeams. The majestic dome and its fiery cross, rise boldly up into
the blue above, as if they would kiss the dome of the sky, awing the soul into silence and filling it with astonisment. With its every variety of architectnre there flashes through it all the one idea of the designer's mind, leaving the impression of a perfect whole. But is this perfection the result of chance? Truth tells us it is not. For unity in result there must be one design. Where a single end so near divine is reached, we know there must have been a God-like thought!
In every individual's mind there is one prominent idea. It is the straight and narrow gate through which we pass into the dominions of the soul,—the mould in which the life is cast,—the central sun around which worlds of thought revolve in glory.
This one idea lies buried in the heart of childhood. It is a choice seed in the richest soil, unnoticed by men, watched kindly by the eye of God,—ever full of life, and implanted there, a germ of immortality. Circumstances and years effect its development, and then the character of this determines the character of the be it that of a narrow-minded bigot, or of a nobler christian manhood, with its views broad as God's universe, and aims reaching far up to the gate of Heaven.
Because there is one idea within the mind all-controlling in its power, it is not requisite that this should be the only thought in its life, not necessary that all others be excluded. The one idea is the nucleus around which center all other purposes and actions,-even as the sun is a center—a one idea (of God) in creation, holding worlds in majestic movement around itself.
The soul of man demands a one idea, whose full attainment shall be the aim of Life.
Then tribute shall be laid upon every thought, each warm emotion bid to the firm resolve “God speed,” each act pour forth a glad rivulet into the swelling tide of life.
What were the creative power in the universe without a plan, and what an individual's life with nothing to dircct, or to enrich it with results worthy of its strength ? One ideas are the plans for human life. They guide it with a certainty that can never err, to honor, virtue, and eternal gain.
Because a man is a man of one idea, it is not necessary that he be void of sense, or, in other words, with a mind literally containing but one idea ride this as a hobby through the circles of society, to the great annoyance and disgust of those who must clear the
before the headstrong steed.
The one idea designed for human life, is Truth, ever new, and al
ways right; just moulded; fresh from the hand of God; whose beauties are unfading as lilies upon the banks of the River of Life, with excellencies as durable as the foundations of jasper beneath the City of Gold.
The Universe is a goblet of gold, filled to the brim with the nectar and invigorating essences of Truth, and from realms lying in Infinity, far away, come the words to men—“Drink ye all of it.”
Truth is an idea, whose proportions are embraced only by Infinity itself. It is too vast for the graspings of an intellect held downbound to the patronage of Error-beyond the conceptions of a mind narrowed to a hobbied one idea! This one idea of truth delights in the hatterings and blows of opposition, as but forerunners, promising the triumphs of a new victory. Or, as Bryant has beautifully expressed it :
Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again;
The eternal years of God are hers;
And dies among his worshippers."
Then, how noble, how grand the thought of such a one idea, of being ourselves instinct with all the powers of truth, and standing up forever its firm defenders ! Success will await us, and the words of Holland will be ours :
“ The eye that can see the triumph of that which is good in the world, from afar, the heart that can be certain of victory, though now in the sulphurous thickness of the fight, can afford to bear present contumely, and even present defeat. The bearer of such a heart and eye knows that, sooner or later, the time will come when he and the band to which he belongs, shall celebrate a final victory over all that opposes them—that they shall come home from the contest, “with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads." He knows that the last shout will be his, and that the severer the conflict the heartier will that shout be. Ah! what peans of triumph, what sweeps of majestic music, what waving of banners, what joyous tumult of white-robed hosts, shall greet him who goes home, worn and weary, to take a crown worthily won in the contest with error and with wrong. May that crown be yours and mine!”
It is the one ideas among human kind which classify society. The wealthy, the intellectual, the consistent, the religious sectarian, the pleasure-seeker, the fashionable, with the good and noble and true at heart, each in their different phases of character, show the out-work