This article has been transcribed from a copy of the Cardiff Times in the online collection of scanned Welsh newspapers 1804-1919 in the National Library of Wales, with grateful recognition of the free access accorded to all readers. A decorative initial has been added.

Explanatory Notes

'Primrose Path' and '[t]horny way': See Hamlet I.iii.47-51:

'Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven
Whilst like a puffed and reckless libertine
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads
And recks not his own rede.' —— David Skilton

Decorated initial T

he Primrose Path of life may be briefly described as the path where things are smoothly pleasant, and where the ills and worries of this vale of tears are only met with in infinitesimal quantities. When people are in the habit of philandering along the lanes and roads of the primrose path they are usually very good hands at advising others to walk in the thorny road which is supposed to lead to eternal salvation.

No Primrose Path is theirs

For those pedestrians who saunter gently through the primrose paths there are few troubles. They go on the even tenour of their way with light hearts and rippling laughter.

They pluck the flowers on the wayside, and put them in their breasts, there to wither in the old sweet way. What matters it to them that in a brief space of time the roses or lilies fade and die. Are there not plenty more to be gathered in the primrose paths[?] What matter a few withered flowers. Nothing. They are so easily replaced. And were not the good things of the earth sent for the benefit of those whose lot in life enables them to partake of them? Verily they were, and if those who walk in the primrose path do not enjoy them to the full it is surely their own fault. The rich ones of the earth live in a perpetual state of pleasure for the most part, and if life be not pleasant for them it is not for the want of the wherewithal to make it so. Theirs, indeed, is a primrose path.

Walks in the Primrose Path

Some few there are who now and then make such poor use of their money and opportunities that they are compelled to retire from the primrose path and to enter on to the steep and rugged road of misfortune. For these people the later life is a series of regrets for lost opportunities, a series of days and nights spent in mourning for the has been and the might have been.

Walks the Best Way he can

Those whose lives end in regrets for wasted chances are indeed to be pitied.

Truly, indeed, does [John Greenleaf] Whittier say

'Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these:
It might have been.' — 'Maud Muller' (1856)

These words are the key-note to many a tale of sorrow and unhappiness. They tell too often of broken vows, of plighted troths unconsummated, of ideals shattered, of hopes dashed to the ground, and of joys looked forward to, but never realised.

They are the requiem of dead loves, and the mocking realities which wait for cups which are dashed from the lips of mortals at the very moment when they fondly imagine they are on the verge of realising their highest ambitions. They are not heard often in the primrose path, but away from it they are uttered daily; and that with tears and sighs.

If those who walk in the primrose path would now and then turn off into the thorny way and lend $a helping hand to the poor wayfarers therein, they would find they had plenty to do, and the satisfaction resulting from their action would more than compensate them for the trouble it cost them.

Those whose lot falls in the thorny ways of life have at times a hard and bitter struggle to make both ends meet, and if now and then we do come across those whose ill-luck is of their own making there are hundreds of other poor fellow-creatures who are not responsible for their fate, and to whom a kindly word or a pleasant look are a God-send.

Walks in the Thorny Way

Therefore, let those whose lives are free from thorns do their utmost to bring into the existence of their less fortunate brothers and sisters some ray of the sunlight which they find daily in the primrose path. It will cost them little, but it will be valued highly by those to whom the fair places and sweet things of earth are but names.

Last modified 1 May 2022