Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Raven and Transcendence in Failure

In late April of 1829, his marriage over, his career ruined, Sam Houston's friend wrote of the situation,"sic transit gloria mundi." 

Well, that may have been a bit premature!

Dr. R. C. Burleson wrote this:
General Houston was a firm believer in the augury of birds. He as firmly believed in the divine instincts of the eagle as Romulus or any of the Grecian or Roman philosophers and kings. One night we were discussing the subject until after midnight. Among the many marvelous proofs he gave for his belief, he said:

'When I was going into exile I took the steamboat, [Red Rover,] at Nashville, bound for New Orleans. That boat was delayed at the different landings taking in freights, and the brothers of Mrs. Houston, riding direct across the country, overtook us at Clarksville, Tennessee. They came aboard greatly excited and heavily armed, and said: "Governor Houston, the manner in which you have left Nashville has filled the city with a thousand wild rumors, among others, that you are goaded to madness and exile by detecting our sister in crime. We demand that you give a written denial of this or go back and prove it." I replied: "I will neither go back nor write a retraction, but in the presence of the captain and these well known gentlemen, I request you to go back and publish in the Nashville papers that if any wretch ever dares to utter a word against the purity of Mrs. Houston, I will come back and write the libel in his heart's blood."

'That evening as I was walking on the upper deck of the boat reflecting on the bitter disappointment I had caused General Jackson and all my friends, and especially the blight and ruin of a pure and innocent woman who had trusted her whole happiness to me. I was in an agony of despair and strongly tempted to leap overboard and end my worthless life. But, at that awful moment, an eagle swooped down near my head, and [then,] soaring aloft with wildest scream, was lost in the rays of the setting sun. 'I knew that a great duty and glorious destiny awaited me in the West.'"*

When I started this entry, I was sitting at my keyboard and listening to my iPod randomly work through my collection of music. An hour or so ago, it played De Guello. Now, as I finish transcribing, it plays Mark Knopfler's, Storybook Love: "Like a story book story!" Art, of course, imitates life; but it is fun when art interrupts life to add punctuation!

"Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day's own trouble be sufficient for the day."

"Live in the Moment."

Note: *Burleson, Georgia J., comp. The Life and Writings of Rufus C. Burleson, D.D., L.L. D., Georgia J. Burleson, 1901.

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