"And music of her woods - no works of man May rival these; these all bespeak a power Peculiar and exclusively her own. Beneath the open sky she spreads the feast; 'Tis free to all - 'tis every day renewed; Who scorns it, starves deservedly at home."
"You call me a dreamer. Dreams are linked with truth, For what the soul most dreams of, most desires, Shall lead her up or down. Some day forsooth, I shall be that to which my soul aspires." - Whittier.
"Music resembles poetry: in each Are nameless graces which no methods teach, And which a master-hand alone can reach." - Pope.
It is sometimes amazing to grown-up people to find to what a degree imagination is developed in the minds of children. This is especially noticeable in their play. In the enjoyment of relaxation one would think that there would not be much mental activity, and yet that picturing faculty of mind is awake in them to such a degree that one innovation after another is made a part of the play; and there is a spontaneousness about it that is seldom, if ever, found among grownup people. Many parents try to discourage the growth of imagination in the mind of the child. Often they look upon it as a lack of truth when the little one tells of a wonderful thing seen or heard. Because of the discouragement children receive from their parents, and later from their school teachers, the imagination which once lived in their minds is either dulled or ceases to be, and the idealistic, imaginative child grows into the prosaic, materialistic man or woman. So little appreciation have we for the greatest faculty of mind we are endowed with! Said Napoleon Bonaparte, "Imagination rules the world," and, beyond all question, he must have lived in his imagination, the great battles he fought and the great victories he won, long before they were either fought or won.
The imaging faculty comes into play in planning and giving form to whatever we intend to do, before ever we begin doing the outer work. If this faculty can be developed so as to picture in the clearest, most concise and thorough way the things that one wishes to do, then each thing one tries to do will be done, not only in the shortest time, but in the best possible way. In our Kindergarten schools there is put forth an effort to develop imagination in the minds of the children, but the training of the imaging faculty ends with the ending of that brief stage in education, and the steps that follow in the higher education do far more toward deadening the imagination than ever it was quickened under the Kindergarten training. The real elements of education are too often lacking in our schools, colleges, and universities. Education becomes largely a matter of cramming the mind with some things that are useful, but also with a great deal that never has had or can have any real value to the one who may have acquired it. Into every life is written divine knowledge as to how that life is to be lived so as to bring to the one living it the full development of every power and every possibility that is potentially resident in it. Real knowledge of life consists in man coming to know himself, in man becoming acquainted with what he is and what he desires to be. Education should have for its object the revelation of man's hidden knowledge and the calling out of this inner power.
The materialism of both the past and present have so interfered with natural living that the greatness of life has been overshadowed by what we might call the bigness of things. Apparently every country has at one time or another to pass through a state where bigness comes before greatness. We have our big country, our big universities, our big trusts, our big canals, our big railroads, our big buildings, but they are all big rather than great. Ancient Greece was far more concerned in having things great, in endowing them with a beauty that would awaken and kindle the imagination of man so that still greater excellence and beauty should be the natural outcome of their work. The soul and mind of man are not automatic machines for the reception of a thousand or a million facts. All the outer should be made to serve in calling out that which man already possesses, but is unable to use because he has placed so many obstructions in the way of his using it. If he could carry into his mature life something of the spirit of the child that lived in his early life, many of the problems which in the present remain unsolved would have been solved long ago. It was because the Greeks were able to do this that they were able to work out a democracy the like of which never existed before, so far as we know, and has never been duplicated since. We may well ask the question: What made that one small country of ancient times superior to any other from whatever point of view we choose to look at it? Because of its ideals. Its ideals ruled its world.
Everything in order to be good must be made to disclose the beautiful. Beautiful living ideals conceived in the mind of her greatest people found their true expression in the many and varied forms of her creative arts. Back of all her ideals there must have been something even greater than the ideals themselves that caused the ideals to blossom in mind. There are many people living to-day who do not look upon the Greeks as having been a strictly religious people; but the tree is known by its fruits, and the fruits of the tree are but outer manifestations of the inner life. So it must be equally true that all the many, varied and beautiful forms expressed by Greek art were due to an invisible life of which the outer forms constituted only the product or fruit. Back of it all was the underlying rhythm or feeling that lived in Greek consciousness, and the outcome of it was the real music of life made manifest through beauty of form. As far as we know, the ancient Greek people, with the possible exception of the ancient Egyptians, were really the only people who used music as a fundamental necessity to right living. Music and education, music and the drama, music and architecture - in fact, music as the one supreme underlying factor in life. Some of our own philosophers have had visions or dreamed dreams of music not only entering into human life but also finding expression through the human mind in outer forms. Emerson wrote: