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men climb, and here manhood climbs. It knows no limit; it rejects no man who wears the form Christ wore; it receives all into its benediction. Through democracy, more readily and more plainly than through any other system of government or conception of man's nature and destiny, the best of men may blend with his race, and store in their common life the energies of his own soul, looking for as much aid as he may give. Democracy, as elsewhere has been said, is the earthly hope of men; and they who stand apart, in fancied superiority to mankind, which is by creation equal in destiny, and in fact equal in the larger part of human nature, however obstructed by time and circumstance, are foolish withdrawers from the ways of life. On the battle-field or in the Senate, or in the humblest cabin of the West, to lead an American life is to join heart and soul in this cause.


MYSTERY is the natural habitat of the soul. It is the child's element, though he sees it not; for, year by year, acquiring the solid and palpable, the visible and audible, the things of mortal life, he lives in horizons of the senses, and though grown a youth he still looks intellectually for things definite and clear. Education in general through its whole period induces the contempt of all else, impressing almost universally the positive element in life, whose realm in early years at least is sensual. So it was with me: the mind's eye saw all that was or might be in an atmosphere of skepticism, as my bodily eye beheld the world washed in color. Yet the habitual sense of mystery in man's life is a measure of wisdom in the man; and, at last, if the mind be open and turn upon the poles of truth, whether in the sage's knowledge or the poet's emotion or such common experience of the world as all have, mystery visibly envelops us, equally in the globed sky or the unlighted spirit.

I well remember the very moment when a poetical experience precipitated this conviction out of moods long familiar, but obscurely felt and deeply distrusted. I was born and bred by the sea; its mystery had passed into my being unawares, and was there unconscious, or, at least, not to be separated from the moods of my own spirit. But on my first Italian voyage, day by day we rolled upon the tremendous billows of a stormy sea, and

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all was strange and solemn - the illimitable tossing of a wave-world, darkening night after night through weird sunsets of a spectral and unknown beauty, enchantments that were doorways of a new earth and new heavens; and, on the tenth day, when I came on deck in this water-world, we had sighted Santa Maria, the southernmost of the Azores, and gradually we drew near to it. I shall never forget the strangeness of that sight — that solitary island under the sunlit shower of early morning; it lay in a beautiful atmosphere of belted mists and wreaths of rain, and tracts of soft sky, frequent with many near and distant rainbows that shone and faded and came again as we steamed through them, and the white wings of the birds, struck by the sun, were the whitest objects I have ever seen; slowly we passed by, and I could not have told what it was in that island scene which had so arrested me. But when, some days afterward, at the harbor of Gibraltar I looked upon the magnificent rock, and saw opposite the purple hills of Africa, again I felt through me that unknown thrill. It was the mystery of the land. It was altogether a discovery, a direct perception, a new sense of the natural world. Under the wild heights of Sangue di Christo I had dreamed that on the further side I should find the "far west” that had fled before me beyond the river, the prairies, and the plains; but there was no such mystery in the thought, or in the prospect, as this that saluted me coming landward for the first time from the ocean-world. Since that morning in the Straits, every horizon has been a mystery to me, to the spirit no less than to the eye; and truths have come to me like that lone island embosomed in eternal waters, like the capes and mountain barriers of Africa thrusting up new continents unknown,

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untraveled, of a land men yet might tread as common ground.

"A poet's mood” — I know what once I should have said. But mystery I then accepted as the only complement, the encompassment, of what we know of our life. In many ways I had drawn near to this belief before, and I have since many times confirmed it. One occasion, however, stands out in my memory even more intensely than those I have made bold to mention -- one experience that brought me near to my mother earth, as that out of which I was formed and to which I shall return, and made these things seem as natural as to draw my breath from the sister element of air. I had returned to the West; and while there, wandering in various places, I went to a small town, hardly more than a hamlet, some few hundred miles beyond the Missouri, where the mighty railroad, putting out a long feeler for the future, had halted its great steel branch - sinking like a thunderbolt into the ground for no imaginable reason, and affecting me vaguely with a sense of utmost limits. There a younger friend, five years my junior, in his lonely struggle with life bore to live, in such a camp of pioneer civilization as made my heart fail at first sight, though not unused to the meagerness, crudity, and hardness of such a place; but there I had come to take the warm welcome of his hands and look once more into his face before time should part us. He flung his arms about me, with a look of the South in his eyes, full of happy dancing lights, and the barren scene was like Italy made real for one instant of golden time.

But if we had wandered momentarily, as if out of some quiet sunlit gallery of Monte Beni, I soon found it was into the frontier of our western border. A herd

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of Texas ponies were to be immediately on sale, and I went to see them - wild animals, beautiful in their wild

ness, who had never know bit or spur; they were lariated and thrown down, as the buyers picked them out, and then led and pulled away to man's life. It was a typical scene: the pen, the hundred ponies bunched together and startled with the new surroundings, the cowboys whose resolute habit sat on them like cotillion grace - athletes in the grain -- with the gray, close garb for use, the cigarette like a slow spark under the broad sombrero, the belted revolver, the lasso hung loose-coiled in the hand, quiet, careless, confident, with the ease of the master in his craft, now pulling down a pony without a struggle, and now showing strength and dexterity against frightened resistance; but the hour sped on, and our spoil was two of these creatures, so attractive to me at least that every moment my friend's eye was on me, and he kept saying, “They're wild, mind!” The next morning in the dark dawn we had them in harness, and drove out, when the stars were scarce gone from the sky, due north to the Bad Lands, to give me a new experience of the vast American land that bore us both, and made us, despite the thousands of miles that stretched between ocean and prairie, brothers in blood and brain - brothers and friends.

Yet how to tell that ride, now grown a shining leaf of my book of memory! for my eyes were fascinated with the land, in the high blowing August wind, full of coolness and upland strength, like new breath in my nostrils; and forward over the broken country, fenceless, illimitable, ran the brown road, like a plowed ribbon of soil, into the distance, where pioneer and explorer and prospector had gone before, and now the farmer was

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