Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

Frank William Boreham 1871-1959
A photo F W Boreham took of himself in 1911

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Boreham Unforgettable

Writer Appreciated
At an age when so many prominent men drop into the background and are soon forgotten, it was no small satisfaction to know, at seventy-eight, that one's work was still not only being done, but appreciated.

Radio Tribute
In fact, a further appreciation was to come a few weeks later, which would move F.W.B. even more deeply than the tribute of the Mercury. An old friend, judge C. H. Book, of the Victorian County Court, had been invited, by radio station 3KZ in Melbourne, to deliver a 250-word contribution to a program of Christmas-night broadcast talks on The Most Unforgettable Character I Have Met. The judge now wrote saying that he proposed, if the subject himself approved, to speak about Dr. Boreham. To which, F.W.B. characteristically replied:

“I cannot adequately express my bewildered appreciation of the great honor that you so kindly propose for me. But, truth to tell, you completely took my breath away. Now, however, that I have to some extent regained my balance, let me say that, even if the 3KZ studio is burned down during the week, or a stroke of light­ning puts the station off the air on Christmas Day, I shall cherish to my last hour the thought that, for some reason entirely beyond my comprehension, you had accorded me so lofty a place in your esteem. I can only add that I know of no man living from whom so great a compliment would have meant so much to me....”

Christmas Around the Radio
On Christmas night, at Wroxton Lodge, the Boreham family was around the radio at 7.30 p.m. In his talk, Judge Book said

“It is not an easy task to select the most unforgettable character I have ever met. There are so many people to whom I could say, "I shall never forget you!" For example, there is my dear mother. I could never forget her; and there are others dearly loved: but to speak of any of them would be too personal and intimate for the present occasion.

So I have chosen one whom no one who has been privileged to meet him could possibly forget; someone I have known for many years and to whom I am much indebted.

He is the Rev. Dr. F. W. Boreham, preacher, poet and saint. Eloquent, friendly, a man with a gift of humour, humble with the divine humility of his Master, he is a great man in the best sense of the word.

I have read his essays, listened many times to his sermons, de­livered in that well-loved voice and in a manner all his own; and by these I have been uplifted, strengthened and inspired. But above all, I rejoice that I have often spoken with him face to face, and then he makes you feel that it is you who have his interest and his love.

It is a person's character which makes him unforgettable, be­cause it is character alone which is eternal.

And so, with a loving and a grateful heart, I salute Dr. Boreham, and I say to him, "You are a character I shall never forget!"

The next day, F.W.B, wrote:

“What can I possibly say? You have certainly set me something to live up to! Surrounded by Mrs. Boreham, the family, and one or two guests, I listened with incredulous emotion to all that you so kindly said. With heart overflowing, I then bade the company a silent farewell and slipped away to bed. I felt that I wanted to be, for awhile at least, alone.”

“In the nature of things, a day must soon come in which you will be aware that graceful and generous tributes are being paid to my memory. When that hour strikes, I trust that it will be a secret satisfaction to you that you spoke your beautiful piece whilst my hungry but astonished ears drank in every precious syllable ...”

No Turning Head
Such tributes of appreciation as he had been receiving might have turned the head of a smaller man. But although Dr. Boreham would not have been human had he not enjoyed every one of them, he still maintained that "divine humility" and that same unspoiled friendliness which "makes you feel that it is you who have his interest and his love".

Source: T H Crago, The Story of F W Boreham, (London” Marshall, Morgan and Scott, 1961), 243-245.

Image: 'around the radio.'