The Cause of Education

Image from Corbis

An Essay.

Read before the Teachers’ Association at Spirit Lake, April 24, 1878.  [or 1873 – hard to read]

The honored trust conferred on me,
By this Association,
I now essay — my theme will be,
The Cause of Education;
For we should ever keep in view
Our mission, aim, high calling,
E’en though our words are but as dew,
On thirsty herbage falling.

‘Tis this that forms the common mind,
That makes it strong or tender;
Just as we find the tree inclined
The twig was bent when slender.
What care we then should exercise,
Pursuing our vocation,
That those who may be great and wise,
Attain their destination.

Who knows but some beneath our care,
Acquiring education,
May have a weighty trust to bear,
As statesman of our nation?
Our teachings, then, should ever be,
By word, by deed or manner,
That they should die before they’d see
A star plucked from our banner.

Our liberties so dearly bought,
Matured on fields as gory,
Must be maintained; these youths, untaught,
Must learn our nation’s story;
And let it run from sire to son,
Throughout each generation,
Till, star by star, the world is won,
To deck our constellation.

That star of stars, the center, see!
Our infant thirty seven —
An emblem of our liberty —
The whole dome of Heaven.
Oh, Liberty, thou dearest boon
That ever blest a nation! —
To thee our hearts and harps we tune,
Imparting education.

But not with patriotic lore
Must end our trust, our duty,
We may explore, far, far from shore,
That sea of matchless beauty —
The Sea of Knowledge — placid son,
Spread out around before us,
Whose breeze of thought, inhaling, we
Enjoy, while wafting o’er us.

How much to learn! — From youth to age,
No time to waste in leisure;
But gaining knowledge, page by page,
Should be our dearest pleasure.
Let us aspire to raise still higher
This art of navigation,
That all progress and never tire,
Embarked in education.

How great the trust devolved on us! —
The weal or woe of nations; —
To bring a blessing or a curse,
On future generations;
We scarcely dare a part to share,
As thus its weight we ponder,
God grant to guide us; ‘neath him care
From virtue ne’er we’ll wander.

These budding minds will soon unfold,
As do the summer roses —
Will they mature as gems of gold,
Or dross that decomposes?
So much depends on how they start,
In youth’s fair, vernal morning
All, all should nobly bear a part,
In guiding, giving warning.

The worth of gems we ne’er detect
Without the artist’s dressing;
The godlike glit of intellect —
Mankind alone possessing —
To brighten, polish and mature,
It is our sacred duty,
Till, like the diamond, bright and pure,
It radiates its beauty.

So let us ever keep in view
Our mission, aim, high calling;
E’en though our words are but as dew,
On thirsty herbage falling —
Strive to inspire the minds of youth,
As they detail the story,
To teach the way of light and truth,
And give God all the glory.

Teach all to know all blessing flow
From Him that all are sharing,
And to prepare, while here below,
For mansions He’s preparing,
That when the thread of life is spun,
Which Time’s keen so they will sever,
We’ll meet The Teacher, God’s own Son,
And learn of him forever.

*Read in Good Templars’ Lodge, in Milford, Tuesday evening July 1, 1800.

Milford Mail (Milford, Iowa) Jul 3, 1890

NOTE: Do they mean 1890? There were a few other typos that I fixed so as not to interrupt the flow.

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