Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 5.djvu/50

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afraid, most of our painters, poets and music men would not pass muster. He considers this as the highest pitch to which human culture can go—infinitely valuable and ennobling—and he watches with great industry how it is to be brought about in the men who have a turn for it. Very wise and beautiful his notion of the matter is. It gives one an idea that something far better and higher, something as high as ever, and indubitably true, too, is still possible for man in this world. And that is all I can say to you of Goethe's fine theorem of mute education.

Alas, it is painful to think how very far away it all is,—any real fulfilment of such things! For I need not hide from you, young gentlemen,—and it is one of the last things I am going to tell you—that you have got into a very troublous epoch of the world; and I do not think you will find your path in it to be smoother than ours has been, tho you have many advantages which we had not. You have careers open to you, by public examinations and so on, which is a thing much to be approved of and which we hope to see perfected more and more. All that was entirely unknown in my time, and you have many things to recognize as advantages. But you will find the ways of the world, I think, more anarchical than ever. Look where one will, revolution has come upon us. We have got into the age of revolutions. All kinds of things are coming to be subjected to fire, as it were—hotter and hotter blows the element round everything.