Out of the Depths
OUT OF THE DEPTHS.
"My time," he wrote to me, "is wasted here in getting a living at others' cost; while in Great Britain my brethren do so much. In Germany the unrest begins to seethe, and in New Zealand there is actual progress toward the equal rights of men."
My own hands were sore with toil and the dark hour was on me too, for God had given me only the desire of battle and none of the joy of war. I thought all I had done had gone for naught —only to bring disgrace on those that are dear to me, and failure on myself.
The end of liberty seems near. Monopoly strengthens its hands, and Plutocracy grows strong; while few appeal in vain to the unthinking or call upon the deaf. If I were out of it all, I thought, reform would go on just the same. I but waste my life.
And in the dark I bowed my head. It was very still, and I heard my own tears falling one by one. Then, in the loneliness, my tongue began to speak. It said:
"This man builds a monument, such as has not been in the dreams of men; but the hands are doing all the work—I have no part in it. Even the feet support his frame, but I, the tongue, am idle in the work. Nay, I waste the fund of strength by talk that profits naught. If I were cold and still, the work would prosper none the less."
Then my ears took up the plaint. They said:
"We have no part in this. We would be glad to hear, helping thereby, if any call; but there is none to call. Nay, to keep us nourished, little as we are, takes part of the strength that might help to build the shrine."
Then my heart made answer joyfully, beating in the dark:
"Without the ears, the man had never heard the Word that set his hands on fire to build. Without the tongue to herald it, his work had gone for naught."
For, whether he will or not, none works for himself alone, and every one works for all.
Source: Mind, Volume 10, 1902, p. 385.