The blacksmith has a piece of iron which he wishes to make into some useful article. For this purpose he puts it in a bed of burning coals, which we kept alive and glowing by a huge pair of bellows. The iron, after awhile, becomes so hot that it is as soft as lead, and is easily hammered into any shape that is desired. The blacksmith now draws it from the fire with his tongs, places it on his anvil, and while it remains hot, strikes with his hammer upon it as fast as he can, as it grows cooler and. harder every moment it is out of the fire. Whatever is done, must be done while the iron is hot, otherwise all his hammering will prove of no avail.
In public affairs, we see the lesson conveyed by the proverb. In public meetings, where some object of great utility is proposed, the orators on the occasion often have a powerful influence on the minds of the audience, their feelings are deeply engaged, “they are warm on the subject.” Now is the time to send round a subscription paper, or contribution box. Now is the time to strike while the iron is hot. If it is delayed to next week, or some other time, the public mind becomes cooled, or is taken up with some other object.
In England, when the revolution of 1688 was nigh at hand, by which the present line of monarchs came to the British throne, William of Orange was waiting for a favorable time to obey the English people, and take possession of the throne. Many of the nobility and influential men had pledged him their support. King James had committed the most outrageous acts of tyranny, and the whole nation was in a ferment of excitement. The iron was hot, and could be easily bent in the proper direction. “Now, or never,” said William to his secretary. The fleet was ready, William landed in England, and with little difficulty ascended the throne.
The great Napoleon understood the saying of Solomon, “there is a time for every thing.” When he had entered into an enemy’s country, and defeated them in a great battle, a#d the inhabitants were all panic-struck, he marched straight for the capital before they had recovered from their consternation, or had made arrangements for their defense. The wise man, like the blacksmith, will take measures to make the iron hot, before he commences bending it to his purpose—he puts the coal into the forge, he kindles it, and then tugs away at the bellows. When the iron is hot, he then accomplishes his purposes before the re-action commences.
- Gather ye rosebuds while ye may
- He that will not when he may, when he will he shall have nay
- He who hesitates is lost
- Hoist your sail when the wind is fair
- Life is short and time is swift
- Make hay while the sun shines
- Opportunity seldom knocks twice
- There is a tide in the affairs of men ...
- Time and tide wait for no man