I Praise

I give my deepest praise to all those artists, writers and musicians, past and present, who give me beauty and joy, and the friends and cousins of these: the soul-gripping sorrow for the ship-wrecked sailor, the delight in a child’s eyes for the almost touchable butterfly or waving leaf, the pride in a man’s face as he sits hard in contemplation, the swelling notes of a steady triumph, the temporary weakening, but never yielding struggle against evil,the rapid excitement of a laughing song and the calm and quiet mountain scene, or golden harvest, or splendid city. All these, and many, many more, that speak of work and life and love, that slip in and touch me as I reach out and grasp, all these thrilling and great creations of positive-making men and women, that in themselves do praise and exalt man’s highest potential—a potential which is no hopeless dreaming, but achieved and gathered reality—all these I praise and love, honor and worship.

For it is these, rising side by side with technological and industrial splendor, it is these man-created beings which are the true gods, the real and living gods, of all human life and progress, ambition and pride. It is these which are the everlasting heights and upward-soaring stars of civilization. It is these which are the hope-bearers and spirit-stirrers of strength and will and the un-failing fearless and direct glance.

I praise them; I praise their creators; I praise each high-focused effort and clear act of determination. I praise the recognized bad starts and errors, crunched up and tossed aside, and the persevering, relentless beginning all over again; I praise the sudden inspiration that rises from years of thought through the subconscious to leap as a magical-seeming gift complete and whole—the gift of the self to the self. I praise those who are dead, but whose heroic greatness never dies; I praise those now living whose creative heroism is in full flower or is just now and here beginning. You, this world’s true stairway to heaven  on earth, I praise you all!

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