Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/565

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University of Madras.

to rear the superstructure. Your admission to the University to-day is merely the seal and token that, in the opinion of the Senate, the foundation stone of learning and culture has been well and truly laid. Do not deceive yourselves, therefore, by the thought that the years to come will be years of mental indulgence, in which you will have nothing to do but reap the reward of your past exertions. Your future may be a life of ease if you deliberately will it to be so. But in that case you must be prepared for the sure and certain penalty—the loss of that intellectual and moral power you now possess. The only way to preserve the knowledge and culture you have acquired is to endeavour to deepen, extend, and apply the one, and to perfect the other. As the foundations of a palatial structure gradually crumble to ruin, unless by being built upon they are protected from the disintegrating action of the elements; so the grasp of principles you have acquired and the studious habits you have formed will slowly but surely decay, unless you diligently cultivate and strengthen them. How often is the bright promise of youth obscured long before middle age! The greatest happiness of the teacher is day by day to watch the expansion of the faculties and capacities of his pupil, and to forecast that brilliant future when those powers shall have reached maturity. Sometimes, alas! it is his most poignant sorrow to see the eager questioning spirit settle down into slothful acquiescence, the keen edge of the subtle intellect become blunted, the high aspirations of youth, with clipped wings, sink into the stagnant waters of dreary commonplace. Let not your teachers have any cause to say of you: "Surely we have laboured in vain." If you have acquired any love for books, bear in mind that that love will give place first to indifference, and then to distaste, unless it be sedulously cultivated. If you have gained any insight into the wonderful works of nature, do not lull yourselves to sleep by the easy-going reflection that all you have to do in future is to hold fast by what you now possess. Unless you earnestly extend and cherish your acquaintance with and love for nature, depend upon it she will in time become a sealed book to you. If you have acquired any power of sustained flight in the rarified atmosphere of speculative philosophy, do not imagine that you will be able to maintain the power of living in these higher regions of thought, unless ever and anon you give yourselves up to lofty meditation, and leaving sordid cares behind, live

"In thoughts sublime that pierce the night like stars."

In accordance with the regulations of the University, it is my duty to exhort you to conduct yourselves suitably unto the