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Day By Day
by [?]

We often hear it said of a man that he was born too early, or too late, but is it ever true? If he is behind his times, would he not have been behind at whatever period he had been born? If he is ahead of his times, is not the same thing true? In the vegetable world the early flowers and fruit blossoms are often cut off by the frost, but not so in the world of man. Babies are in order at any time. Is a poet, or a philosopher, ever born too late? or too early? If Emerson had been born a century earlier, his heterodoxy would have stood in his way; but in that case he would not have been a heretic. Whitman would have had to wait for a hearing at whatever period he was born. He said he was willing to wait for the growth of the taste for himself, and it finally came. Emerson’s first thin volume called “Nature” did not sell the first edition of five hundred copies in ten years, but would it have been different at any other time? A piece of true literature is not superseded. The fame of man may rise and fall, but it lasts. Was Watt too early with his steam-engine, or Morse too early with his telegraph? Or Bell too early with his telephone? Or Edison with his phonograph or his incandescent light? Or the Wright brothers with their flying-machine? Or Henry Ford with his motor-car? Before gasolene was discovered they would have been too early, but then their inventions would not have materialized.

The world moves, and great men are the springs of progress. But no man is born too soon or too late.

* * * * *

A fadeless flower is no flower at all. How Nature ever came to produce one is a wonder. Would not paper flowers do as well?

* * * * *

The most memorable days in our lives are the days when we meet a great man.

* * * * *

How stealthy and silent a thing is that terrible power which we have under control in our homes, yet which shakes the heavens in thunder! It comes and goes as silently as a spirit. In fact, it is nearer a spirit than anything else known to us. We touch a button and here it is, like an errand-boy who appears with his cap in his hand and meekly asks, “What will you have?”

* * * * *

A few days ago I was writing of meteoric men. But are we not all like meteors that cut across the sky and are quickly swallowed up by the darkness–some of us leaving a trail that lasts a little longer than others, but all gone in a breath?

Our great pulpit orator Beecher, how little he left that cold print does not kill! As a young man I used nearly to run my legs off to get to Plymouth Church before the doors were closed. Under his trumpet-like voice I was like a reed bent by the wind, but now when in a book made up of quotations I see passages from his sermons, they seem thin and flimsy. Beecher’s oratory was all for the ear and not for the eye and mind. In truth, is the world indebted to the pulpit for much good literature? Robertson’s sermons can be read in the library, and there are others of the great English divines. But oratory is action and passion. “Great volumes of animal heat,” Emerson names as one of the qualities of the orator.