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Do you not find something thrilling, something that stirs your imagination, in those two words, far horizon? Are they not like a call, like a beckoning to something beyond the commonplace, the trivial, the every-day? A call to things far off, but still attainable? A call you want to follow, that will lead you to where air and earth meet, where the sea ends in a line of gold, where mountains march mysteriously, where sun and stars appear and disappear. Our land, our America, is a land of far horizons. On one side she looks out across the Atlantic, on the other across the Pacific, and you may ride for days through her immense prairies or her deserts and see the horizon recede distantly from you, far and wide indeed. Her mountains lift you far upward, and from their splendid tops you see a still farther horizon, and beyond what you can see it still stretches, horizon beyond horizon, and all America! Surely the spirit in you springs up when you gaze, and your eyes fleet over miles of cultivated ground or miles of wilderness, and you know that it is your own country on which you are looking, a land of great spaces and mighty extents, a land that calls to the imagination. Probably we could get along very well in our business of living if we were able to see only a few hundred yards. We could perceive what we needed to see, and we could see whatever we saw in time to avoid peril or to get our required food or to perform every
necessary act. Many animals and birds and insects and fish have eyes that see only a short distance compared with the limit given to our sight; but for all practical purposes, their eyes are far-seeing enough. So, doubtless, if our eyes were like theirs, we should manage quite nicely. But there would be no far horizon! Our mind, too, has its far horizon. And perhaps it is for the joy of the mind, rather than for purely practical reasons, that our eyes can see a hundred miles and more, can see the strange far things as easily as the near and usual ones. Having, then, an eye that takes the distance and a mind that can see before and after, not hampered by the bourne of time and place, it is well for us to make sure that we give ourselves the full benefit of such magnificent possessions. It is well to live with both the eye of the body and that of the mind upon the far horizon; we need to feel the sweep of immensities; we need to interest ourselves in things that extend beyond the narrow scope of our own close environment. You, in whose hands lies the future of America, you who will so soon be men and women, have thrilling possibilities before you. For to-day, as never, perhaps, before in human history, the far horizon widens and shines magnificent. Lifting your eyes above the circle of your immediate needs, you can let mind and heart reach out to the farthest limits of the world. For you are to be not only citizens of America, but citizens of the world, in the sense that America is likely to play a great and generous part in the world, as great, as generous as it lies in you to become. If you are content merely to look at the small circle of your home town and to remain within it in what you do and think; if you are content to make your particular business the limit of your interest in the affairs of America; if you confine your notion of responsibilities as a citizen to what is of value to your locality rather than to what is of value to your country, then you lose the far horizon; and in so far as you lose it, it is lost to America by that much. Local pride and local ambition are excellent things and belong in every person's life, if it is to be a full and useful life. You can not spend your day with your eyes on the gleaming blue of whatever far horizon. But the immensely important thing, it seems to me, is never to forget that the horizon lies beyond, and that it, and not the little ring close about you, is your true measure of sight and opportunity. The difference between a statesman and a politician is that the first allows himself the fullest breadth of outlook possible when working for his country; that he seeks the greatest good, not the small profit; that his eyes are on the future, as well as the momentary present; while the politician is interested only in the immediate result, and is eminently willing to sacrifice the larger good for a local issue. He cares only for what is within reach of his own hands. America is not America to him, it is merely the particular village, town, or city where he happens to reside. We need fewer men of that type, and more, many more, who serve their country with their eyes on some far horizon, however close they may stick to particular questions. And even as you will wish to look at America, and yourself in regard to America, with a far-reaching eye, so will you wish to look at your own life. Life can be cramped down to small things and close constructions, or it can find its way to wide spaces, where the soul and the spirit of you have free play. You are given great possibilities. You can look out from the mountain on a great and varied landscape or seascape, crowded with all imaginable things. Do not stay in a back yard. There are a thousand paths leading away from it, and a thousand are not too many for you to take. Over the hills of the world they go, each a wonderful way. All the little home duties,
the every-day things, are linked up with world duties and great, everlasting things. For the far horizon begins right where you are. You are forever on its rim, as well as looking outward toward it. And this is the amazing and satisfying thing about life, that it links up with all other life. If you follow the links, if you look for them and let them lead you, there is no limit to the distance you may go, to the interesting things you will find or can do. The wonders of the world of science make their start right in the home kitchen, where miracles are constantly in progress. The magic of art begins in a picture on the living-room wall, in the hue of a curtain, or the shape of a vase. The vine on the house, the butterfly hovering over a daisy, are the first link connecting you with the endless, alluring horizon rim of nature. You can see, if you choose, merely a pot boiling on the fire, a bit of painted canvas, a few leaves against the brick, or you can lift your head and look far out to the mysterious horizon, ready with all its adventures for you. The big thing in life is to remember that life is big, and that you are yourself fit for its bigness. Vastness is outside of you, but it is measured by the vastness of your own spirit. The more you realize the far horizon surrounding you, the more you develop the horizon within you. And that is a glorious thing to do. Nothing seems to me so sad as those lives which grow more and more shrunken with the passing of time; lives that have turned from their opportunities, centering on the small circle close about them until they have lost power to realize that all that is really worth striving for is beyond them, marching afar in purple and gold, where their near-sighted eyes and nearsighted spirit can not see it or feel its appeal. Such people have cramped themselves into a hole too small for them, but they have shrunk at last to fit the hole, and the hole itself has been growing smaller. For there is a law that insists that what begins to shrink shall go on shrinking—just as that which broadens and grows shall somehow contrive to keep on growing. And what a pity to have been given eyes to see the faroff golden glory, and a mind that might lead you to the companionship of great and beautiful things, and never to have looked and never to have enjoyed! There is a tyranny in what is close by that is compelling, unless you guard against it carefully; no doubt of that. What is in your own yard seems so generally more important than everything that lies beyond. What concerns you at the moment appears more valuable and more pressing than those faroff, divine events of which Tennyson sang. You have, as we know, only so much time, no more and no less. Things near at hand must be attended to, days are crowded as it is, and you are interested in what is close by. All very natural. Crowding events and near-by things will have their place and their importance always in your life. But do not let them become tyrants. Do not let them persuade you that they are sufficient for a full human life in a marvelous world. Do not be like those who, dwelling at the foot of a mountain, never find the time or feel the call to climb its sides and to look out from its white peak upon immensities. Be of those who climb with joy and enthusiasm, at whatever sacrifice of daily, pleasant affairs or pressure of what appears to be compelling duty. You owe the mountain duty, too. You owe that far horizon, waiting for your eye to see it, duty. Precious things in you are called out by the mountain and the horizon, things that you must cherish and develop. Do not let them be tyrannized over by other things, even though these, too, are precious. In the story of Martha and Mary, it is Mary who is commended. It is Mary who finds time to climb the mountain; or, to put it differently, Mary knew that the greatest thing in life must not be neglected at whatever cost to lesser things. Martha was occupied, and usefully occupied. So much so, that it did not appear to her possible to
leave her pressing duties. Mary sat at the feet of the Lord. For her, the wide horizon shone, and in her it spread a glory. Those who sacrifice the far horizon for the small circle lose too much. The country whose citizens know it not will be a small country, however great its stretch of miles. It will be a country of small souls, and out of such no mighty structure can be built. To lose the far horizon is to lose the immortal issues in life, to shrink and dwindle into dust. Rejoice in your clear, far-seeing eyes, and let them gaze their fill on distant and splendid views. Be glad that you can look far, and that you have a mind that can move widely forth, taking in your whole great country, taking in the world itself, leading you on to work far beyond the daily, necessary task, to labor for generations yet to come and for issues transcending the ordinary. Don’t hesitate to use yourself generously, for you are fit for generosity, made for it, made to reach to the uttermost horizons that sweep to the very stars of heaven. You young people, boys or girls, are apt to be athletic, to join in school and college games, to race, leap, and extend yourselves. That is it, to extend yourselves. You know the delight of a swimming or a running race, of the swift contest in tennis or in basketball, when you do all that in you lies, and more than you had thought was possible, in some happy crisis or breathless period. That is the far horizon, that is what you will do in life, if life is to be rich and fine and joyful for you, and if you are to be fit citizens of this land of far horizons, our America.
THERE was once a boy who cared so much for his books that he decided that he wanted some neater way of marking them as his own than by writing his name inside their front covers—for his handwriting, like that of some other boys and girls I know, was not particularly ornamental. He thought that other book-lovers (he had already begun to call himself that) must have had the same desire, and he remembered vaguely that he had seen somewhere a book with a pretty label inside, with “John Jones—His Book,” or something like that, printed on it. His father and mother did n’t seem to understand, so he went one day to the public library and asked a bespectacled assistant, who really looked like a book-lover too, if she could help him. She immediately took down two finely illustrated books which she said would tell him all about the subject. And this is what he learned in the course of an afternoon's excited reading: There are decorative printed labels designed individually for book-lovers to paste into their cherished volumes; and these labels have been in use by grown-up folks as long as books have been printed. Some of the most famous artists of the past and the present, moreover, have made such designs —and they are called “book-plates.” Now it happens that this particular boy (particular in both senses) has grown up, even to the extent of having children of his own. But in spite of having very many important things to do, like making a living, and keeping the bugs out of the potatopatch, and getting Sonny off to school on time, he still loves his books and still gets a thrill of pleasure from putting his own personal book-plate into each newly acquired volume. He has even designed a good many of these labels for his friends; and he has a printingpress—right in the parlor—on which he occasionally prints book-plates not only for
his own boy and himself, but for other children and their fathers and mothers. He is still so interested in the subject, indeed, and so sure that every book-loving boy and girl would get pleasure out of owning a personal plate, that he is sitting down to write this article all about what he has learned from collecting thousands of labels from all parts of the world. Let me say that I do not fool myself into thinking that any growing boy will be more interested in book-plates than in dinnerplates; and he is likelier to know a deal about ship—plates, boiler-plates, etc. For this reason, and because book-plates are so often confused with book illustrations (which are printed with the book and in its text), it seems well to emphasize the following definition: A book-plate is a printed label, bearing a person's name and a decorative design, which is pasted inside the front cover of a book to denote its ownership. Just as a boy may carve his initials on the handle of his umbrella, or put around his dog's neck a collar on which are the words, “John Jones's dog,” so he may paste into each book in his library a bookplate, with some such wording as, “This is John Jones' Book,” or, “John, His Book,” or just plain “John.” We all know it is unnecessary in this day and age to stimulate any child's desire for ownership. The overdeveloped instinct to get as much as you can, on the part of nations as well as individuals, has, indeed, brought mankind to a sad business of war and waste. But when it comes to things of beauty and cultural things, pictures and books and gardens, pride in possession is perfectly legitimate. And the book-plate marks, as nothing else can, the book-owner's pride in possessing his library. This is its first reason for being. But in addition to this, it is useful in preventing books from straying away from their rightful owners. Umbrellas, as every one