Morphy's Little-Known Speech


Morphy's speeches as a rule aren't well known.  But even among aficionados of Morphy speeches, the following, possibly his warmest and more sincere, is almost unknown or completely ignored:

Morphy's Speech in England
—At the festival given in London by several noble gentlemen on the departure of Morphy from England, he said, in reply to a toast :

           I hardly know, my lord and gentlemen, in what terms to acknowledge the high compliment of which I this day find myself the unworthy object. There are occasions when a language must be spoken of far more difficult utterance than the ordinary speech which obtains among men —moments when the full heart can find no expressions commensurate with the intensity of its feelings —when every word seems cold —when language itself becomes powerless. Of such, I feel, is the present occasion. When I look before and around me, and see gathered in my honor so select an assembly of chess loving gentlemen, I feel that mere words could never adequately express my deep sense of indebtedness. The only return I can make is to tender to each and every gentleman here present my warm, and I would beg you to believe, my heartfelt acknowledgments.
           To those gentlemen with whom I have had the honor to contest a few friendly battles over the checkered board, I would also express my profound obligation. Their kindness, their unvarying courtesy, their demeanor, always marked by the most polite attention.
           I shall not easily forget. Let me hope that they who for a few brief hours were foes in the mimic strife have become warm personal friends. To have conquered their esteem is my proudest boast. And now, gentlemen, after a sojourn of near twelve months in the Old, I must, seek my far home in the New World.
          Gladly would I here remain, in company so congenial, but the call of duty must be obeyed.
           To say that I regret the few months spent in Europe would be saying but little. What may be reserved for me in the future I will not venture to divine; but this I do feel that one of the most delightful episodes of my life is fast vanishing into the past. Come what may— be pleasure or pain my lot hereafter remembrance of the golden days passed in your midst will ever be dearly treasured here. Should fortune smile on my future career, I shall dwell with delight on the auspicious morn that heralded the bright and happy day, and should adversity —as soon as it may —lower around my pathway of life, I shall derive from the remembrance of other and better days a consolation of which nothing shall deprive me.
                        "Let fate do her worst, there are relics of joy
                        Bright dreams of the east that she cannot destroy,
                        That come in the night time of sorrow and care,
                        And bring back the features that joy used to wear.
                        Long,long be myheart with such memories fllled.
                        Like the vase in which roses have once been distilled;
                        You may break, you may shatter the vase If you will,
                        But the scent of the roses will hang round It still."'


This speech, published in the Sacramento Union on  June 10, 1859, was brought to my attention by Jeremy Spinrad.