Permanent link to this item
Evening Star, Issue 15684, 24 December 1914
To-moehow is the great festal day of
peace; but the word seems The Wells Of a mockery at the moment Peace, of writing. The angels’ song is drowned out in the clang of cannon and the clash of swords. Moloch is monarch of all. Still, deep down ip the heart of everyone is the passionate craving for peace. And it is to be remembered that Peace is not passivity; it is not the rest of a stone. Peace is fullness of life—of life in harmony with its environment. Its symbol is not outer quietude; it is that of a majestic river, stilled by the massiveness of its volume. It is that of a wheel sleeping on its own swiftness. “Peace,” says William Watson, in his fine poem on ‘ Wordsworth’s Grave,’ “ whose names are also rapture, power, clear sight, and love.” Peace is thus something that is won not by the decrease hut hy the increase of life. Intensify the life, and peace will come with it. It is not a thing of circumstance; it is a thing of soul. The great soul creates circumstances, but is not created hy them. He who is known as the Prince of Pence sat looking at the Cross and the wild whirl of hate and passion that He is to face to-morrow. But He is perfectly calm. His talk is of peace, and He offers it as a gift to His disciples. Thus there may be a peace within, while all outside is in riot and roar. And how can that be got? It, a Highland story told hy that charming mystic, Fiona Mnoleod. in one of his hooks, ‘The Dominion of Dreams,’ we think, there is a hint that Wo may follow up. It may suggest to us a way tt> peace. Wo are introduced to a man midway in life, deeply experienced in its joys and sorrows, hut who had not found rest. One day, when on his travels, he meets a wise man, tells him his story, and says that, wearied with everything, he, too has come forth to seek the Wells of Peace. And the avi.se man answers that there arc seven of these avails—Love, Beauty. Dreams, Endurance, Compassion. These are the first five; the sixth is where Death avaits us in ambush, and the seventh is under the Rainboav. Let us look for a little at these seven wells. First there is Love. That is undoubtedly a real Well of Peace, and those who drink of'it win the great secret. Ail life’s disquiet arises from lack of loa-e. What is this dreadful war in Europe but the proof of that? How love in a household overcomes strife and disquiet! But, of course, the love must he pure and set on the brightest ends. The unrest of the world—its worries, dislikes, and hates—are all due to the lack of love. Its greed, its passion, its murders and suicides -are all love perverted. The old proverb “ When “poverty comes in the door love flics out “at the window ” is not true. It is only a sham love that does that. A true love grows all the stronger when it is called upon to face privations. These do not, indeed, create love, but develop and intensify it, if it is genuine. “ Poor Love,” said Life, “ thou hast nor gold. Nor lands, nor other store, I ween, Thv very shelter from the cold Is oft but lowly built and mean.” “Nay, though of rushes he my bed, -■ Yet am T rich.” Love said. To find the Well of Love, and tr» drink deep thereat, is a wonderful nonrisher of Peace. The second well of the wise man is Beauty. How few perceive this well or use its waters; yet how near and real it is! There is the beauty of Nature. How consfant it is, yet how ever variable in form! We go to the local Art Gallery and wonder at the lovely landscapes and seascapes that we sen there; yet Nature gives us infinitely more lovely ones every hour of the day. How endlessly varied is the sky, the sea. and the changing days, and seasons, trailing an infinitude of glory over all the lace of Nature. Pluck a flower, and it fills you with wonder. A daisy to Burns, a primrose to Wordsworth convey “ thoughts that do lie too deep for tears ” What colorings unspeakable there are everywhere!
Great s-jffrnn sunset clouds and larkspur mountains, And fenceless miles of plain, And bill-ides golden green in that? unearthly Clear shining after rain. And nights of blue and pearls and long smocth honchos, Yellow as sunburnt wheat. Edged with a line of foam that creams and hisses. Enticing weary feet.
And then this outer beauty is but a vision of the inner beauty of life and soul. Ever docs beauty- steal in and weave itself round great actions and fine characters. Charles 11. caused the patriot Lord Russell to be drawn in an open coach through the principal streets of London in order to intimidate the citizens, but it bad the opposite effect. His biographer says : " The multitude imagined “ that they- saw Liberty- and Virtue sitting “ by- his side.” Thus Nature blends her colors to true life, and glorifies it. Theybecome ancillary to the man. We have only to look at Nature to-day all around us or away' to where our brothers are laying down their lives for liberty to find a well of beauty, whose waters make for peace. The third well is Dreams. Highlanders arc dreamers. The Celtic race has ever sought the invisible behind the seen and the temporal. But we are all dreamers. What we need is to dream often and dream well. It is thus that we live. The boy- learns his lessons, not by the gaslight, but by the light of the coming holidays. The girl sweeps the floor, or sews the cloth, or sells the ribbon, because of the ideal that lies just bey-ond tomorrow. What would the world Have been without its dreamers ? It would never have risen beyond the level of emigrating rats and free-loving baboons. The dreamers may have had a hard time of it, but they held on because of the peace that their dream was whispering to them. When man ceases to dream he will cease to be man, for progress will be over. Ho will sink back to the level of the beast that knows no future, save its feeding time.
The fourth Well of Peace is Endurance. What a great word is endurance J “ Victory," says /ellington, “is with ‘‘those who can hold on fh-e minutes “ longer than their opponents,” All great things have been won by- this power of endurance. When Columbus was on his epoch-making voyage he had desperate perils to confront. The hearts of his sailors quailed. The mate came and told him that the crew were mutinous, and that the stars were strange.
These very winds forget their way, ' For God from those dread, seas is gone t Now speak, brave admiral, speak and say. He said : “Sail on, sail on, and on.” It is a fine counsel for life’s conflicts.,' It is a curious place to seek peace in the midst of stress and strife. . But we are told that in the very, heart of the whirlwind there is a spot, of perfect rest. He who can thus hold on the course of duty finds a strange inner calm take possession of him. In the immortal story of Captain Scott, he and his companions knew that they were going to die. In his diary he wrote : “I do not think wo “can hope for better things now; we shall “stick it out to the end." Almost bis last words were: “I am at peace.” * And so the wise man’s Well of Endurance was found to contain the mystic water?, and Lowell’s words received a fresh illustration : Endurance is the crowning quality, And Patience all the passion or great hearts. The fifth Well of Peace is Compassion. Of that under the name of Sympathy wo wrote so recently that wo need not say much more here. Whatever donbts- there may be about the other wells, this one is sun. We all know how disquiet is bom of an over-emphasis upon self. And when we silence self in the effort to compassionate another who needs comfort and help, then we surely drink of the mystic Well' of .Peace. And the wider and deeper this compassion, the purer and more .permanent the peace.
The sixth Well of Peace is where man's hour waits. It is where Death lurks in ambush for him. Many desire the peace that “dear, delicate Death” holds in hit keeping; and yet it all depends on what, lies beyond! If death is the dissolving of us into dost, that is cot peace. ■To he - whirled round with rocks and stones, or to he blown about the iron bills—that is not life : it is stagnation. No true heart desires that. No life that breathes. with human breath hath really longed for that end of it. It desires some other one—one that will prolong ourselves under larger and grander conditions. And tho answer to that is the Rainbow, which is the seventh' Well of Peace. The rainbow is tho symbol of hope, of the union of the human with the divine. The old Greeks called it Iris, the messenger of the gods to mac, who carried the staff of peace in his hand.' In that strange and wonderful mystio book, the of St. John,'he sees in the new world coming an emerald rainbow round tho throne of God. The throne is the symbol of majesty and kingship;. the emerald rainbow is the symbol 'of life, love, and hope, encircling it. It at - a most beautiful fancy. And beauty is but another name for truth. In the Franoo-Prussian War of ' 1870, shortly after Strassburg had been taken by the Germans, there arose a great storm, oat of which sprang a lovely rainbow,■ with one foot resting on Germany and the other on France. It seemed as if. God had sought to rebuke their, cruel strife, and to unite them in the bonds of brotherhood. It failed, but w© will not lose • hope. We shall drink at the Well of the ■ Rainbow, and assure ourselves that'-tho angels’ song wilt yet be fulfilled i When peace shall over all the earth ' Her ancient splendors' ding. And tho whole world civo back the Which now the angels aing. And we invito our readers to seek but and drink deep at the seven Wells of Peace, and thus find (if it may be) A Happi’ Chbistjiab.
Evening Star, Issue 15684, 24 December 1914
Use these buttons to limit your searches to particular dates, titles, and more.
Print, save, zoom in and more.