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On the northern accents that dwell on thy tongue.
A long and a weary way I had conie;
Next day Upon the deck a coffin lay; They raised it up, and like a dirge The heavy gale swept o'er the surge; The corpse was cast to the wind and waveThe convict had found in the green sea a grave.
-Letitia Elizabeth Landon.
Ability and Opportunity. THESE are the conditions of success. Give a man power and a field in which to use it,
and he must accomplish something. He may not do and become all that he desires and dreams of, but his life cannot be a failure. I never hear men complaining of the want of ability. The most unsuccessful think that they could do great things if they only had the chance. Somehow or other something or somebody has always been in the way. Providence has hedged them in so that they could not carry out their plans. They knew just how to get rich, but they lacked opportunity.
Sit down by one who thus complains, and ask him to tell you the story of his life. Before he gets half through he will give you occasion to ask him, “Why didn't you do so at that time? Why didn't you stick to that piece of land and improve it, or to that business and develop it? Is not the present owner of that property rich ? Is not the man who took up the business you abandoned successful ?" He will probably reply : “Yes, that was an opportunity ; but I did not think so then. I saw it when it was too late." In telling his story he will probably say, of his own accord, half a dozen times : “If I had known how things were going to turn I might have done as well as Mr. A. That farm of his was offered to me. I knew that it was a good one, and cheap, but I knew that it would require a great deal of hard work to get it cleared and fenced, to plant trees, vines, etc., and to secure water for irrigation. I did not like to undertake it. I am sorry now that I didn't. It was one of my opportunities.'
The truth is, God gives to all of us ability and opportunities enough to enable us to be moderately successful. If we fail, in ninety-five cases out of a hundred it is our own fault. We neglect to improve the talents with which our Creator endowed us, or we failed to enter the door that he opened for us. A man cannot expect that his whole life shall be made up of opportunities, that they will meet him at regular intervals as he goes on, like milestones by the roadside. Usually he has one or two, and if he neglects them he is like a man who takes the wrong road where several meet. The further he goes the worse he fares.
A man's opportunity usually has some relation to his ability. It is an opening for a man of his talents and means. It is an opening for him to use what he has, faithfully and to the utmost. It requires toil, self-denial and faith. If he says: “I want a better opportunity than that; I am worthy of a higher position than it offers;' or if he says, “I wont work as hard and economize as closely as that opportunity demands," he may, in after years, see the folly of his pride and indolence.
There are young men all over the land who want to get rich. They want to begin, not at the bottom of the ladder, but half way up. They want somebody to give them a lift, or carry them up in a balloon, so that they can avoid the early and arduous struggles of the majority of those who have been successful. No wonder that such men fail, and then complain of Providence. Grumbling is usually a miserable expedient that people resort to to drown the reproaches of conscience. They know that they have been foolish, but they try to persuade themselves that they have been unfortunate.
Too calm to suffer pain, too loving to forget,
Oh! is there any joy,
Has worked its work sublime;
And sweet it is to take,
How to Grow Old.
Thou dost remember what lieth between:
Growing old willingly,
Thankful, serene. Hearts at the sound of thy coming are lightened,
Ready and willing thy hand to relieve; Many a face at thy kind word has brightened"It is more blessed to give than receive!"
Growing old happily,
Ceasing to grieve. Eyes that grow dim to the earth and its glory,
Have a sweet recompense youth cannot know; Ears that grow dull to the world and its story, Drink in the songs that from Paradise fow:
Growing old graciously,
Never a feeling of envy or sorrow
When the bright faces of children are seen; Never a year from the young wouldst thou borrow
They say that in his prime,
Cut him down,
Through the town.
"They are gone."
In their bloom; And the names he loved to hear Have been carved for many a year
On the tomb.
But now his nose is thin,
Like a staff;
In his laugh.
At him here;
Are so queer!
And if I should live to be
In the spring,
Where I cling.
-Oliver Wendell Holmes.