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a college is that it is a nursery of principle and of honor. I cannot help thinking of William Penn as a sort of spiritual knight who went out upon his ad. ventures to carry the torch that had been put in his hands, so that other men might have the path illumi. nated for them which led to justice and to liberty. I cannot admit that a man establishes his right to call himself a college graduate by showing me his diploma. The only way he can prove it is by showing that his eyes are lifted to some horizon which other men less instructed than he have not been privileged to see. Unless he carries freight of the spirit, he has not been bred where spirits are bred.
This man Penn, representing the sweet enterprise of the quiet and powerful sect that called themselves Friends, proved his right to the title by being the friend of mankind. He crossed the ocean, not merely to establish estates in America, but to set up a free commonwealth in America and to show that he was of the lineage of those who had been bred in the best traditions of the human spirit. I would not be interested in celebrating the memory of William Penn if his conquest had been merely a material one. Sometimes we have been laughed at-by foreigners in particular—for boasting of the size of the American continent, the size of our own domain as a nation; for they have, naturally enough, suggested that we did not make it. But I claim that every race and every man is as big as the thing that he takes possession of, and that the size of America is in some sense a standard of the size and capacity of the American people. And yet the mere extent of the American conquest is not what gives America distinction in the annals of the world, but the professed purpose of the conquest, which was to see to it that every foot of this land should be the home of free, self-governing people, who should have no government whatever which did not rest upon the consent of the governed. I would like to believe that all this hemisphere is devoted to the same sacred purpose, and that nowhere can any government endure which is stained by blood or supported by anything but the consent of the governed.
The spirit of Penn will not be stayed. You cannot set limits to such knightly adventurers. After their own day is gone, their spirits stalk the world, carrying inspiration everywhere that they go and reminding men of the lineage, the fine lineage, of those who have sought justice and right. It is no small matter, therefore, for a college to have as its patron saint a man who went out upon such a conquest. What I would like to ask you young people today is: How many of you have devoted yourselves to the like adventure? How many of you will volunteer to carry these spiritual messages of liberty to the world? How many of you will forego anything except your allegiance to that which is just and that which is right? We die but once, and we die without distinction if we are not willing to die the death of sacrifice. ! Do you covet honor? You will never get it by serving
yourself. Do you covet distinction? You will get it only as the servant of mankind. Do not forget, then, as you walk these classic places, why you are here. You are not here merely to prepare to make a living, You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.
It seems to me that there is no great difference between the ideals of the college and the ideals of the state. Can you not translate the one into the other? Men have not had to come to college, let me remind you, to quaff the fountains of this inspiration. You are merely more privileged than they. Men out of every walk of life, men without advantages of any kind, have seen the vision, and you, with it written large upon every page of your studies, are the more blind if you do not see it when it is pointed out. You could not be forgiven for overlooking it. They might have been. But they did not await instruction. They simply drew the breath of life into their lungs, felt the aspirations that must come to every human soul, looked out upon their brothers, and felt their pulses beat as their fellow's beat, and then sought by counsel and action to move forward to common ends that would be crowned with honor and achievement. This is the only glory of America. Let every generation of Swarthmore men and women add to the strength of that lineage and the glory of that crown of life!
3. A Conversation
JUST BEFORE THE DUEL *
(Sir Lucius O'Trigger, an Irish gentleman of much valor and dignity, is attempting to calm and advise his cowardly and frightened friend, Bob Acres, just before Acres' would-be opponent arrives to fight the duel.) Acres (quite nervous and talking a great deal, em
ploying his newly coined by-words). By my valor! then, Sir Lucius, forty yards is a good distance.
Odds levels and aims !—I say it is a good distance. Sir Lucius (with disgust). Is it for muskets and
. small field-pieces? Upon my conscience, Mr. Acres, you must leave these things to me.-Stay now-I'll show you. (Steps the proposed distance for the duellers.) There now; that is a pretty distance
a pretty gentleman's distance. Acres. Zounds! we might as well fight in a sentry
box!—I'll tell you, Sir Lucius, the farther off he
is, the cooler I can take my aim. Sir Lucius. Faith! then I suppose you could aim at
him best if he were clearly out of sight! Acres. No, Sir Lucius, but I do think forty yards, or
thirty-eightSir Lucius. Pho! pho! nonsense! Three or four feet
between the mouths of your pistols is as good as a mile.
* Adapted from Sheridan's The Rivals, Act V, Scene 3.
Acres. Odds bullets, no-By my valor! I wouldn't
get any credit for killing him so near.-Do, please, Sir Lucius, let me bring him down at a long shot.
If you're my friend, you'll do it. Sir Lucius. Well, the gentleman's friend and I must
settle that matter. But tell me now, Mr. Acres, in case of accident, is there any little will or commis
sion I could execute for you! Acres. I am much obliged to you, Sir Lucius—but
ah-I don't believe I understandSir Lucius. Why you don't think a man can stand
up and be shot at without there being a little risk -and if an unlucky bullet should carry a quietus with it-I say it will be no time then to be bother
ing you about family matters. Aores (in a choking voice). A quietus! Sir Lucius (disregarding Acres' fright). For in
stance, now-if that should be the case-would you choose to be pickled and sent home!—or would it be the same to you to lie here in the Abbey! I'm
told it's a very snug place to lie in. Acres. Pickled !-Snug place to lie in !-Odds, Sir
Lucius, don't talk that way! Sir Lucius (reserved). I suppose, Mr. Acres, you
were never engaged in an affair of this kind before? Acres. No, Sir Lucius, never before. Sir Lucius. Ah! that's a pity !-there's nothing like
being used to a thing. Pray now, how would you receive the gentleman's shot ?