For if the doctrine of free-will has raised up fanatics and persecutors, who, assuming that men may be good under all conditions if they merely wish to be so, have sought to persuade other men’s wills with threats, fines, imprisonments, torture, the spike, the wheel, the axe, the fagot, in order to make them good and save them against their obdurate wills; if the doctrine of Spiritualism, the soul supreme, has done this, the doctrine of Materialistic Determinism has produced shifting, self-excusing, worthless, parasitical characters, who are this now and that at some other time, and anything and nothing upon principle. “My conditions have made me so,” they cry, and there is no more to be said; poor mirror-ghosts! how could they help it! To be sure, the influence of such a character rarely reaches so far as that of the principled persecutor; but for every one of the latter, there are a hundred of these easy, doughy characters, who will fit any baking tin, to whom determinist self-excusing appeals; so the balance of evil between the two doctrines is about maintained.
The moonlight rolls down like a river, The silence streams out like a sea; And far where the eastern winds quiver, My farewell goes floating to thee. Like night, when the sunset is fading And starbeams troop up in the skies, Through a cold, dark and lonely forever Gleams the light of the poet eyes. And sometimes when I am weary, When the path is thorny and Wild, I'll look back to the Eyes in the twilight, Back to the eyes that smiled. And pray that a wreath like a rainbow May slip from the beautiful past, And Crown me again with the sweet, strong love And keep me, and hold me fast. For the way is not strown with petal soft, It is covered with hearts that weep, And the wounds I tread touch a deeper source Than you think it mine to keep. Down the years I shall move without you, Yet ever must feel the blow That caused me a deeper pain to give Than you will ever know. For the tears that dropped on my hands that night 'Neath the mystical shining moon, Were a sacred dew, consecrated there, On the rose-altered heart of June. And the heart that beat against mine like a bird That is fluttering, wounded sore, With it's nest all broken, deserted, torn, Will beat there forevermore. But the world moves on, and the piteous Earth Still groans in the monster pain; And the star that leads me points onward yet, Though the red drops fall like rain! Ah, not to a blaze of light I go, Nor shouts of a triumph train; I go down to kiss the dregs of woe, And drink up the Cup of Pain. And whether a scaffold or crucifix waits 'Neath the light of my silver star, I know and I care not: I only know I shall pause not though it be far. Though a crucified life or an agonized death, Though long, or quick and sharp, I am firmly wrought in the endless thread Of Destiny's woof and warp. And I do not shrink, though a wave of pain Sobs over me now and then, As I think of those "saddest of all sad words," The pitiful "might have been." "It might have been"— it is not to be; And the tones of your "swan's farewell" Ring sadly, solemnly deep to me Like the voice of a sobbing bell. Ay, gather your petals and take them back To the dead heart under the dew; And crown it again with the red love bloom, For the dead are always true. But go not "back to the sediment" In the slime of the moaning sea, For a better world belongs to you, And a better friend to me.
Do not preach the straight and narrow way while going joyously upon the wide one. Preach the wide one, or do not preach at all; but do not fool yourself by saying you would like to help usher in a free society, but you cannot sacrifice an armchair for it. Say honestly, "I love arm-chairs better than free men, and pursue them because I choose; not because circumstances make me. I love hats, large, large hats, with many feathers and great bows; and I would rather have those hats than trouble myself about social dreams that will never be accomplished in my day. The world worships hats, and I wish to worship with them."
But if you choose the liberty and pride and strength of the single soul, and the free fraternization of men, as the purpose which your life is to make manifest then do not sell it for tinsel. Think that your soul is strong and will hold its way; and slowly, through bitter struggle perhaps the strength will grow. And the foregoing of possessions for which others barter the last possibility of freedom will become easy.
At the end of life you may close your eyes saying: "I have not been dominated by the Dominant Idea of my Age; I have chosen mine own allegiance, and served it. I have proved by a lifetime that there is that in man which saves him from the absolute tyranny of Circumstance, which in the end conquers and remoulds Circumstance, the immortal fire of Individual Will, which is the salvation of the Future."