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Robert Green Ingersoll
A TRIBUTE TO DR. THOMAS SETON ROBERTSON. New York September 8, 1898. IN the pulseless hush of death, silence seems more expressive, more appropriate -- than speech. In the presence of the Great Mystery, the great mystery that waits to enshroud us all, we feel the uselessness of words. But where a fellow-mortal has reached his journey's end -- where the darkness from which he emerged has received him again, it is but natural for his friends to mingle with their grief, expressions of their love and loss. He who lies before us in the sleep of death was generous to his fellow-men. His hands were always stretched to help, to save. He pitied the friendless, the unfortunate, the hopeless -- proud of his skill -- of his success. He was quick to decide -- to act -- prompt, tireless, forgetful of self. He lengthened life and conquered pain -- hundreds are well and happy now because he lived. This is enough. This puts a star above the gloom of death. He was sensitive to the last degree -- quick to feel a slight -- to resent a wrong -- but in the warmth of kindness the thorn of hatred blossomed. He was not quite fashioned for this world. The flints and thorns on life's highway bruised and pierced his flesh, and for his wounds he did not have the blessed balm of patience. He felt the manacles, the limitations -- the imprisonments of life and so within the walls and bars he wore his very soul away. He could not bear the storms. The tides, the winds, the waves, In the morning of his life, dashed his frail bark against the rocks. He fought as best he could, and that he failed was not his fault. He was honest, generous and courageous. These three great virtues were his. He was a true and steadfast friend, seeing only the goodness of the ones he loved. Only a great and noble heart is capable of this. But he has passed beyond the reach of praise or blame -- passed to the realm of rest -- to the waveless calm of perfect peace. The storm is spent -- the winds are hushed -- the waves have died along the shore -- the tides are still -- the aching heart has ceased to beat, and within the brain all thoughts, all hopes and fears -- ambitions, memories, rejoicings and regrets -- all images and pictures of the world, of life, are now as though they had not been. And yet Hope, the child of Love -- the deathless, beyond the darkness sees the dawn. And we who knew and loved him, we, who now perform the last sad rites -- the last that friendship can suggest -- will keep his memory green." Dear Friend. farewell! "If we do meet again we shall smile indeed -- if not, this parting is well made." Farewell! END