588 History of Wake Forest College
In this locality and surrounded by these influences, your whole being has been
expanded, elevated and improved. This has been your world; the theatre of your
triumphs, the scene of your pleasures, the gymnasium where your minds have been
prepared for the great struggle of life, the nursery of the purest, freshest and most
enduring affections of your hearts. And this, you will yet be taught by the sad lesson
of experience, has been the veritable Utopia of your existence, a green oasis in the
barren desert of life, and one of the most complete realizations of happiness within
the boundaries of human destiny.
But though thus removed from the cares and conflicts of the world, though
surrounded by scenes and associations which purify, exalt and etherealize the soul,
though engaged in the ennobling and exhilarating pursuit of literature and letters,
you have still looked forward to the termination of your collegiate course with
intense anxiety hailing this as the Hegira of your release from bondage, and longing
to be free that you may take your part in the great battle of actual life. Amid the
sequestered shades of Hippocrene, the fragrant odors of Hymettus, the breezy
haunts of Helicon, the eternal snow-drifts of Parnassus, the melodious murmurs of
Castalia's fountain, and the awful mysteries of the cloud-piercing Olympus, a dream
of the struggles and the privileges of manhood has come upon you more seductive
far than the combined attractions of them all. The glorious numbers of the sightless
Homer, the swelling strains of the exultant Pindar, the divine philosophy of the
immortal Plato, the stirring dramas of Euripides and Sophocles, the lofty flights of
Vergil, the graceful songs of Horace, and the burning eloquence of Demosthenes
and Cicero, have lost their fascinations and become powerless to please when
contrasted with the ravishing thought of an eventual release from the thraldom of
youth to perfect liberty of maturity, &c.
1860-Rev. T. G. KEEN
Shortly after the hanging of Old John Brown on December 2, 1859,
the Philomathesian Society voted to invite Henry A. Wise, at that time
Governor of Virginia, to make the address before the Societies at the
Commencement of 1860, doubtless intending in this way to express
their approval and admiration of the energetic measures Wise had
taken to bring Brown to justice and prevent any interference with his
execution. Failing to get Wise they next elected as speaker Rev. T. G.
Keen, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Petersburg, Virginia. Mr.
Keen was secured,
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