"A Last Will"

I am here to tell you that this "Last Will" is not MY last will.
I really had you there, didn't I?

It's something that I stumbled upon some weeks ago.
It's really wonderful.
This man, no matter HOW rich and successful he was,
truly knew what the important things in life are.
He didn't let his wealth take over his life; he knew what to value, and what was, eventually, worth nothing.
I'm not sure exactly what the back-story is, but the will basically makes up for that.

When you read it, you have to close your eyes and imagine it.
I realize that it may be hard for you to read and close your eyes at the same time.
Maybe switch off, no matter how silly you'll look to the people around you.
Here goes.

Williston Fish. "A Last Will." Harper's Weekly, New York, September 3, 1898.

"He was stronger and cleverer, no doubt, than other men, and in many broad lines of business he had grown rich, until his wealth exceeded exaggeration. One morning, in his office, he directed a request to his confidential lawyer to come to him in the afternoon. 
He intended to have his will drawn.
A will is a solemn matter, even with men whose life is given up to business, and who are by habit mindful of the future.
After giving this direction, he took up no other matter, but sat at his desk alone and in silence.
It was a day when summer was first new.
The pale leaves upon the trees were starting forth upon the still unbending branches.
The grass in the parks had a freshness in its green like the freshness of the blue in the sky and of the yellow of the sun -  
a freshness to make one wish that life might renew its youth.
The clear breezes from the south wantoned about, and then were still, as if loath to finally go away.
Half idly, half thoughtfully the rich man wrote upon the white paper before him, beginning what he wrote in capital letters, such as he had not made since, as a boy in school, he had taken pride in his skill with the pen.

"I, CHARLES LOUNSBURY, being of a sound and disposing mind and memory, do now make and publish this, my last will and testament in order, as justly as may be, to distribute my interests in the world among succeeding men.
And first, that part of my interest, which is known in law and recognized in the sheep-bound volumes of the law as my property, being inconsiderable and none account, I make no disposition in this, my will.
My right to live, being but a life estate, is not at my disposal, but these things excepted,
 all else in the world I now proceed to devise and bequeath.

ITEM: I give to fathers and mothers, but in trust to their children, nevertheless, all good little words of praise and all quaint pet names, and I charge said parents to use them justly, 
but generously, as the deeds of their children shall require.

ITEM: I leave to children exclusively, but only for the life of their childhood, all and every dandelions of the fields and the daisies thereof, with the right to play among them freely, according to the custom of children, warning them at the same time against the thistles.
And I devise to children the yellow shores of creeks and the golden sands beneath the water thereof, with the dragon flies that skim the surface of said waters, and the odors of the willows that dip into said waters, and the white clouds that float on high above the above the giant trees.
And I leaves to children the long, long days to be merry in a thousand ways, and the Night, and the trail of the Milky Way to wonder at; but subject, nevertheless, to the rights given to lovers; and I give to each child the right to choose a start to be his, and I direct the father shall tell him the name of it, in order that the child shall remember the name of that star after he has learned and forgotten astronomy.

ITEM: I devise to boys jointly all the idle fields and commons where ball may be played, all snow-clad hills where one may coast, and all streams and ponds where one may skate, to have and to hold the same for the period of their boyhood.
And all meadows, with the clover-blooms and butterflies thereof; and all woods, with their appurtenances of squirrels and whirring birds and echoes and strange noises, and all distant places, which may be visited, together with the adventures there to be found.
And I give to said boys, each his own place at the fireside at night, with all pictures that may be seen in the burning wood or coal, to enjoy without hindrance and without any incumbrance of cares.

ITEM: To lovers, I devise their imaginary world, with whatever they may need, as the stars of the sky, the red, red roses by the wall, the snow of the hawthorn, the sweet strains of music, and aught else they may desire to figure to each other the lastingness and beauty of their love.

ITEM: To young men jointly, being joined in a brave, mad crowd, I devise and bequeath all boisterous inspiring sports of rivalry, and I give to them the disdain of weakness and undaunted confidence in their own strength . . . 
I leave them alone the power to make lasting friendships and of possessing companions, and to them exclusively I give them all merry songs and brave choruses to sing, with smooth voices to troll them forth.

ITEM: And to those who are no longer children, or youths, or lovers, I leave Memory, and I leave to them the volumes of the poems of Burns and Shakespeare, and of other poets, if there are others, to the end that they may live the old days over again, freely and fully without the tithe or diminution;
and to those who are no longer children, or youths, or lovers, I leave, too, the knowledge of 
what a rare, rare world it is."


1 comment:

  1. '0 Comments' is a horrible phrase to read.
    So I thought I would drop you a comment.
    (i.e. I was stalking your blog.)
    Really and truly, I adore this will, and have quite convinced myself to write one this very evening. If I die tomorrow, I shall be so relieved (and so will you).
    That came out wrong.
    Well, here I go, just leaving you a little comment, and I love you, and that's all.