Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/374

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
1872.—Mr. Henry Fortey.

are in store for you all, and of so great a number it is not too much to expect that some will attain to eminence, and become men of mark in the country. And now, I will not affront you by dwelling on the ordinary precepts of morality. You have this day solemnly promised that you will, in your daily life and conversation, conduct yourselves as becomes members of this University, and we are bound to believe that, due allowance being made for human infirmity, that promise will be kept. But, gentlemen, the battle of life is a struggle between good and evil, and they who come off victorious are often hard-pressed in the fight. Should therefore, any one of you, at any future time, under stress of great temptation, stand irresolute between right and wrong, his conscience darkened within him, then let him call to mind these words of one of the wisest of men: "What is more heavy than evil fame deserved; or likewise who can see worse days than he that yet living doth follow at the funerals of his own reputation?"

And now let me remind you of your second promise, that, 'to the utmost of your opportunity and ability you will support and promote the cause of true learning.' The due fulfilment of this pledge involves both the acquisition and the diffusion of knowledge. To those of you who have already chosen your professions, I would say consolidate and extend the professional knowledge you have already acquired. We cannot all be Crichtons,—and having chosen your occupation your first duty is to attend to that, and to learn to do your work thoroughly well. On a review of your past studies, you will find many important subjects of which your knowledge is meagre and imperfect, and many difficulties to clear up. Devote your best energies to these objects, remembering that between the young student, however successful, and the ripe and mature scholar, there is a vast space which can only be passed over by years of patient and laborious toil. Remember also that every profession is both an Art and a Science, and that dreamy theorism and vulgar empiricism are equally to be avoided. But attention to your own professional work will not necessitate the entire neglect of those other liberal studies in which you have been grounded; and I would especially counsel those whose occupations may not involve any severe mental discipline to cultivate some one of those magnificent branches of knowledge which are prescribed for the Master's degree, and to return hereafter, and claim at the hands of this University the highest honor which it has to bestow. Such studies as these will bring you into contact with the greatest intellects of this and former ages, and will fill your minds with a pure and unwearying delight.