Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

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

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Boreham on ‘My Life: What Shall I Do With It?’

It is a great moment when a person stands, not over a log of cedar, or a drop of ink, or a bag of gold, but with his very life in his hand, saying to himself, ‘What shall I do with it?’

[David] Garrick, in Sir Joshua Reynolds' famous picture, torn between tragedy and comedy, is nothing to it.

Who has not felt sorry for Goethe, strolling in agony among the willows on the banks of the Lahn, struggling vainly to decide whether to be a lawyer or an artist?

Or Lord Dufferin as a young man in direst perplexity as to whether to devote his life to poetry or politics?

Or Alfred Ringer, gazing wistfully at the beckoning fingers of stage and law and church, and at his wits' end as to which to follow?

Or Frederick W. Robertson, of Brighton, embarrassed between the conflicting claims of the army and the pulpit?

In each case the person’s course may seem clear enough to us. It is so easy to be wise after the event. But in each case it was a veritable Gethsemane to the man himself. It is impossible to deny admiration to the man who deliberately takes his life in his hand, and asks himself the question. So many of us are content to drift.

F W Boreham, ‘A Bush Philosopher’, Mountains in the Mist (London: Charles H Kelly, 1914), 64-65.

Image: Joshua Reynolds, ‘David Garrick Between Tragedy and Comedy’, 1760-1761.