As former general of the army, Douglas MacArthur bears many honors as he approaches his 83rd birthday. Not the least of these is his recognized gift for poetic expression, at which he rarely has been excelled.
He addressed the graduating class of the U. S. Military Academy at West Point when he was given the Sylvanus Thayer award for service to the nation. It is said he spoke without a prepared text and without notes:
"The shadows are lengthening for me. The twilight is here. My days of old have vanished—tone and tints. They have gone glimmering thru the dreams of things that were. Their memory is one of wondrous beauty, watered by tears and coaxed and caressed by the smiles of yesterday.
"I listen then, but with thirsty ear, for the witching melody of faint bugles blowing reveille, of far drums beating the long
"In my dreams I hear again the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange mournful matter of the battlefield. But in the evening of my memory I come back to West Point. Always there echoes and re-echoes: duty, honor, country.
"Today marks my final roll call with you. But I want you to know that when I cross the river, my last conscious thought will be of the corps, and the corps, and the corps. I bid you farewell."
Any comment I could make on this farewell would be, no matter how beautiful my words of praise, as man's mean paint on God's fair lilies.
Happy are we met, Happy have we been,
Happy may we part, and Happy meet again.
A dear old citizen went to the cars the other day to see his daughter off on a journey. Securing her a seat he passed out of the car and went around to the car window to say a last parting word. While he was leaving the car the daughter crossed the aisle to speak to a friend, and at the same time a grim old maid took the seat and moved up to the window.
Unaware of the change the old gentleman hurriedly put his head up to the window and said: "One more kiss, pet."
In another instant the point of a cotton umbrella was thrust from the window, followed by the wrathful injunction: "Scat, you gray-headed wretch!"
"I am going to make my farewell tour in Shakespeare. What shall be the play? Hamlet? Macbeth?"
"This is your sixth farewell tour, I believe."
"I would suggest 'Much Adieu About Nothing'."
For in that word—that fatal word—howe'er
We promise—hope—believe—there breathes despair.—Byron.