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September 8, 2008

Seeking a Newer World

This weekend, I participated in a memorial service for a great, dear friend, Frances B. Stevens, a gentleman of the South who became a fierce advocate of the civil rights of all people. His passing reminded me that it is up to us to work for a better world for those to follow.

In memory of Frances, I offer this selection from Ulysses written by Alfred, Lord Tennyson in 1833 after the death of his own dear friend. Frances Stevens was one who fit Tennyson's words: "To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."

"The long day wanes; the slow moon climbs; the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."

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