Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

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

Monday, March 17, 2008

Boreham on the Rabbi and the Wine Glass Breaking Wedding Custom

I was chatting the other day with a Jewish rabbi. We were exchanging experiences and somehow the conversation drifted round to the marriage service.

‘I have heard,’ I said, ‘that, at a Jewish wedding, a wine-glass is broken as part of the symbolism of the ceremony. Is that a fact?’

‘Of course it is,’ he replied. ‘We hold aloft a wine-glass; let it fall and be shivered to atoms; and then, pointing to its fragments, we exhort the young couple to jealously guard the sacred relationship into which they have entered, since, once it is broken, it can never be restored.’

F W Boreham, ‘Jed Smith’ Shadows on the Wall (London: The Epworth Press), 200-201.

Image: Jewish groom breaking wine glass with his shoe.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Boreham on Strength of Character

In my college days I used to go down to a quaint little English village for the weekend in order to conduct services in the village chapel on Sunday. I was always entertained by a little old lady whose face haunts me still. It was so very human, and so very wise, and withal so very beautiful; and the white ringlets on either side completed a perfect picture. She dwelt in a modest little cottage on top of the hill. It was a queer, tumble-down old place with crooked rafters and crazy lattice windows. Roses and honeysuckle clambered all over the porch, straggled along the walls, and even crept under the eaves into the cottage itself. The thing that impressed me when I first went was the extraordinary number of old Bessie's visitors.

On Saturday nights they came one after another, young men and sedate matrons, old men and tripping maidens, and each desired to see her alone. She was very old; she had known hunger and poverty; the deeply furrowed brow told of long and bitter trouble. She was a great sufferer, too, and daily wrestled with her pitiless disease. But, like the sturdier of the poplars by my gate, she had gathered into herself the force of all the cruel winds that had beaten so savagely upon her. And the result was that her own character had become so strong and so upright and so beautiful that she was recognized as the high-priestess of that English countryside, and every man and maiden who needed counsel or succour made a beaten path to her open door.

F W Boreham, ‘Gog and Magog’, Mushrooms on the Moor (London: Charles H Kelly, 1915), 136-137.

Image: The Populars by Paul Cezanne. “Like the sturdier of the poplars by my gate, she had gathered into herself the force of all the cruel winds that had beaten so savagely upon her.”

Boreham on the Value of Struggle

Was it not Alfred Russel Wallace who tried to help an emperor-moth, and only harmed it by his ill-considered ministry?

He came upon the creature beating its wings and struggling wildly to force its passage through the narrow neck of its cocoon. He admired its fine proportions, eight inches from the tip of one wing to the tip of the other, and thought it a pity that so handsome a creature should be subjected to so severe an ordeal. He therefore took out his lancet and slit the cocoon. The moth came out at once; but its glorious colors never developed. The soaring wings never expanded. The indescribable hues and tints and shades that should have adorned them never appeared. The moth crept moodily about; drooped perceptibly; and presently died.

The furious struggle with the cocoon was Nature's wise way of developing the splendid wings and of sending the vital fluids pulsing through the frame until every particle blushed with their beauty. The naturalist had saved the little creature from the struggle, but had unintentionally ruined and slain it in the process.

F W Boreham, Mushrooms on the Moor (London: Charles H Kelly, 1915), 135-136.

Image: Emperor Moth—“its glorious colors never developed.”