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Title: Tablets
Author: Alcott, Amos Bronson
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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TABLETS

by

A. BRONSON ALCOTT

"For curious method expect none, essays for the most part
not being placed as at a feast, but placing themselves as at
an ordinary."
_Thomas Fuller._



Boston
Roberts Brothers
1868.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1868, by
A. Bronson Alcott,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of
Massachusetts.

Electrotyped and Printed by
Alfred Mudge & Son,
No. 34 School St., Boston.



CONTENTS.


  BOOK I.--PRACTICAL.

  I. THE GARDEN.                                PAGE.

    1 Antiquity                                    5

    2 Ornaments                                   11

    3 Pleasures                                   14

    4 Orchard                                     20

    5 Sweet Herbs                                 25

    6 Table Plants                                28

    7 Rations                                     36

    8 Economies                                   41

    9 Rural Culture                               48


  II. RECREATION.

    1 The Fountains                               59

    2 The Cheap Physician                         65


  III. FELLOWSHIP.

    1 Hospitality                                 69

    2 Conversation                                75


  IV. FRIENDSHIP.

    1 Persons                                     81

    2 Woman                                       88

    3 Family                                      92

    4 Children                                    95


  V.  CULTURE.

    1 Modern Teaching                            103

    2 Socratic Dialectic                         108

    3 Pythagorean Discipline                     113

    4 Mother Tongue                              118


  VI. BOOKS.                                     127


  VII. COUNSELS.

    1 Religious                                  139

    2 Personal                                   145

    3 Political                                  148

    4 Soul's Errand                              151


  BOOK II.--SPECULATIVE.

  I. INSTRUMENTALITIES.

    1 Tendencies                                 159

    2 Method                                     162

    3 Man                                        166


  II. MIND.

    1 Ideas                                      173

    2 The Gifts                                  179

    3 Person                                     181

    4 Choice                                     184


  III. GENESIS.

    1 Vestiges                                   189

    2 Serpent Symbol                             191

    3 Embryons                                   193

    4 Temperament                                195


  IV. METAMORPHOSES.

    1  Sleep                                     201

    2  Reminiscence                              203

    3  Immortality                               205



TABLETS



BOOK I

  PRACTICAL

    "Philosophy, the formatrix of judgment and manners, has the
     privilege of having a hand in everything."--MONTAIGNE.



I.

THE GARDEN.

    "If Eden be on earth at all,
    'Tis that which we the country call."
                             HENRY VAUGHAN.



[Illustration: Decorative banner of bird among grapes and leaves]



THE GARDEN


I.--ANTIQUITY.

"I never had any desire so strong and so like to covetousness," says
Cowley, "as that one which I have had always that I might be master at
last of a small house and ample garden, with very moderate conveniences
joined to them, and there to dedicate the remainder of my life to the
culture of them and the study of nature. Virgil's first wish was to be a
wise man, the second to be a good husbandman. But since nature denies to
most men the capacity or appetite, and fortune allows but to very few
the opportunities or possibility of applying themselves wholly to
wisdom, the best mixture of human affairs we can make, are the
employments of a country life. It is, as Columella calls it, the nearest
neighbor or next in kindred to philosophy. And Varro says the principles
of it are the same which Ennius made to be the principles of all nature;
earth, water, air, and the sun. There is no other sort of life that
affords so many branches of praise to a panegyrist; the utility of it to
a man's self, the usefulness or rather necessity of it to all the rest
of mankind, the innocence, the pleasure, the antiquity, the dignity."

This wish of the poet's appears to be nearly universal. Almost every one
is drawn to the country, and takes pleasure in rural pursuits. The
citizen hopes to become a countryman, and contrives to secure his
cottage or villa, unless he fail by some reverse of fortune or of
character. 'Tis man's natural position, the Paradise designed for him,
and wherein he is placed originally in the Sacred Books of the
cultivated peoples; their first man being conceived a gardener and
countryman by inspiration as by choice.

Gardens and orchards plant themselves by sympathy about our dwellings,
as if their seeds were preserved in us by inheritance. They distinguish
Man properly from the forester and hunter. The country, as discriminated
from the woods, is of man's creation. The savage has no country. Nor are
farms and shops, trade, cities, but civilization in passing and
formation. Civilization begins with persons, ideas; the garden and
orchard showing the place of their occupants in the scale; these dotting
the earth with symbols of civility wherever they ornament its face. Thus
by mingling his mind with nature, and so transforming the landscape into
his essence, Man generates the homestead, and opens a country to
civilization and the arts.

In like manner, are the woods meliorated and made ours. Melancholy and
morose, standing in their loneliness, we trim them into keeping with our
wishes and so adopt them into our good graces, as ornaments of our
estates, heraldries of our gentility.

Our human history neither opens in forests nor in cities, but in gardens
and orchards whose mythologies are woven into the faith of our race; the
poets having made these their chosen themes from the beginning. And we
turn, as with emotions of country and consanguinity to the classic
pictures of the Paradise, "planted by the Lord God eastward in Eden, and
wherein he put the man, whom he had formed to dress and keep it;" where,

  "Out of the fertile ground he caused to grow
  All trees of noblest kind for sight, smell, taste;
  Groves whose rich trees wept odorous gums and balms,
  Others whose fruit, burnished with golden rind, Hung amiable,--
  Flowers of all hue, and without thorn the rose;"--

to this; or, of scarce inferior fame, to the gardens
of the Hesperides with their golden apples;--or,
to those other

            "----gardens feigned
  Or of revived Adonis, or renowned Alcinous,"

whereof Homer sings:

  "Without the hall and close upon the gate
  A goodly orchard ground was situate
  Of near ten acres, about which was led
  A lofty quickset. In it flourished
  High and broad fruit trees that pomegranates bore;
  Sweet figs, pears, olives, and a number more
  Most useful plants did there produce their store,
  Whose fruits the hardest winter could not kill,
  Nor hottest summers wither. There was still
  Fruit in his proper season; all the year
  Sweet zephyr breathed upon them blasts that were
  Of varied tempers: these, he made to bear
  Ripe fruits; these blossoms; pear grew after pear,
  Apple succeeded apple, grape the grape,
  Fig after fig; Time made never rape
  Of any dainty there. A sprightly vine
  Spread here her roots, whose fruit a hot sunshine
  Made ripe betimes; there grew another green,
  Here some were gathering; here some pressing seen;
  A large allotted several each fruit had,
  And all th' adorn'd grounds their appearance made
  In flower and fruit."

Or again to those preferred by the royal guest of Solomon above all
other splendors of his court,

  "Though she on silver floors did tread,
  With bright Assyrian carpets on them spread,
      To hide the metal's poverty;
  Though she looked up to roofs of gold,
  And naught around her could behold
    But silk and rich embroidery,
    And Babylonian tapestry,
    And wealthy Hiram's princely dye;
  Tho' Ophir's starry stones met everywhere her eye,
    Though she herself and her gay host were drest
    With all the shining glories of the East,--
    When lavish art her costly work had done,
    The honor and the prize of bravery
    Was by the garden from the palace won;
    And every rose and lily there did stand
    Better attired by nature's hand;
  The case thus judged against the king you see,
  By one that would not be so rich, though wiser far than he."

So the orchard of Academus suggests the ripest wisdom and most elegant
learning of accomplished Greece.

Thus we associate gardens and orchards with the perfect condition of
mankind. Gardeners ourselves by birthright, we also mythologize and
plant our Edens in the East of us, like our ancestors; the sacredness of
earth and heaven still clinging to the tiller of the ground. Him we
esteem the pattern man, the most favored of any. His labors have a
charming innocency. They yield the gains of a self-respect denied to
other callings. His is an occupation friendly to every virtue; the
freest of any from covetousness and debasing cares. It is full of honest
profits, manly labors, and brings and administers all necessaries; gives
the largest leisure for study and recreation, while it answers most
tenderly the hospitalities of friendship and the claims of home. The
delight of children, the pastime of woman, the privilege of the poor
man, as it is the ornament of the gentleman, the praise of the scholar,
the security of the citizen, it places man in his truest relations to
the world in which he lives. And he who is insensible to these
pleasures, must lack some chord in the harp of humanity, worshipping, if
he worship, at some strange shrine.

  Who loves a garden still his Eden keeps;
  Perennial pleasures plants, and wholesome harvests reaps.


II.--ORNAMENTS.

In laying out a garden there must be protection from the north winds,
and if the hills are wooded thus much is gained for profit as for
ornament. Every homestead supposes a wood-lot and forest paths for
walking and meditation. So the garden claims some shading down from
pasture fields and the wilder scenery skirting it. The orchard is an
improvement on the garden, and holds a nobler relation to the house and
its occupants. Without suitable ornaments and enclosures, these must be
set to the side of the farm solely, not to the house, humanity, nor art.
Eyes and feet have their claims along with the hands upon the landscape,
beauty and convenience having one mind concerning the best ways of
dealing with it. It is clear that art has an interest, and should have
its hand, in a good well, wholesome cellar, as in the fertility of the
soil, the modesty of the grasses and shrubbery. Alleys are best
determined by the nature of the grounds. They have a picturesque effect;
so have gates, especially when they open into a wood, or are seen in
perspective at the end of an avenue or a lane. Winding paths give
pleasing surprises, if accommodated to the grounds, take us by the most
attractive route; slopes, swells, irregularities of surface, heightening
the pleasure attending the prospect. There are spots, too, that plead
for their clump of trees, for a single one, for an alcove, an arbor, a
conservatory, for a fence,--structure of some sort, be it ever so
plain--and these once there, please the eye as if grown there.

Arbors are especially ornamental. No country residence is furnished
without the embellishment of a summer-house. It may be constructed of
the simplest stuff grown near at hand in the woods. For one shall not
range far in that direction without falling soon upon every curve in the
geometry of beauty, as if nature designing to surprise him anticipated
his coming, and had grown his materials in the underwood along the lines
especially of ancient fence rows, where young pines bent by the lopping
of the axe, snow falls, or other accident, in seeking to recover their
rectitude, describe every graceful form of curve or spiral suited to his
rustic works. These may be combined in ways wonderfully varied; and the
pleasure attending the working them into a shapely whole, has charms
akin to the composing of poems and pictures. There is a delight, too, in
surprising these stags of the woods in their coverts, of which only
artists can speak.

  Neath hemlocks dark and whispering pines,
  Wandering he loiters curiously,
  The forest Muse her searching sense combines
  To range the shades their cunning curves to see--
  Brackets grotesque, strange gnarled things,
  Wreathed rails and balusters in twisted pairs,
  Rhyming their rival coils for sportful stairs;
  Scrolls, antlers, volutes--full-armed he brings
  His fagot sheaf of spoils, and binds;
  While frolic fancy sylvan serpents finds,
  And Druid lyres for poet's pleasance strings.

Then for rainy days, one has the choice of books, pen, or handicraft, to
vary his pleasures. There is a charm in using tools to him who has
cunning in his hands for converting woods to ornamental uses,--the
simplest, roughest sticks even,--in setting trellises, hurdles,
espaliers for vines,

      "----auxiliary poles for hops,
  Ascending spiral, ranged in meet array;"

in making or mending articles and implements of any kind, for house or
grounds, to be objects of interest whenever he views them afterwards.

The eyes have a property in things and territories not named in any
title deeds, and are the owners of our choicest possessions. Nor do we
dwell in this emblematic world, and call it ours, any part of it,
without using them: that is ours which they have assisted the hands in
creating. Nature sketches rudely the outlines of her plans on the
landscape; 'tis the artist's privilege to fill out and finish these
draughts, improving upon her suggestions. Nor is there a spot which does
not kindly take ornament, as if its canvas were spread awaiting the
finishing touches. And had he a thousand hands, uninterrupted leisure,
the taste and genius, what pleasure were comparable to that of devoting
them to drawing lines thereon which shall survive him, to enrich every
eye beholding them, though it were only in passing! So a good man
impresses his image on the landscape he improves, and imparts qualities
that perpetuate its occupant to after times.


III.--PLEASURES.

  "Days may conclude with nights, and suns may rest
    As dead within the west,
  Yet the next morn regilds the fragrant east."

I know not how it is with others, to me the spring's invitations are
irresistible. I may be scholarly inclined, and my tasks indoors
delightful, yet my garden claims me, monopolizing all my morning hours;
and I know for me has come the season's summons which I shall not set
aside: no, not for studies nor hospitalities which become rivals for my
time and attentions. My garden waits; is the civiller host, the better
entertainer. Then I have a religion in this business, and duties must
waive compliments. My tasks are not postponable during the summer days;
if called away from these engagements, I shall first take counsel of my
plants for leave of absence, with intent of hastening back.
Importunities were impertinent while the spell is on me. Would the sun
but shine all night long for my work to continue! Sure of gathering the
better crop, I bend to my task, foreseeing the avails of leisure coming
in at the close of my autumn rounds.

    "Me, let my poverty to ease resign
  When my bright hearth reflects its blazing cheer,
    In season let me plant the pliant vine,
  And, with light hand, my swelling apples rear."

Such toils are wholesome. One cannot afford to dispense with their
income of vigor. Then they fill the days with varied business, the mind
gliding from head to hands, from hands to head, in pleasing interludes,
to pour for him so deep a draught of Lethe, and so refreshing, that the
morning breaks only to release the sleeper to begin anew his labors with
the old enthusiasm. Even the stiffness of his fatigues promotes
rectitude and probity of carriage: his hearty affection for his pursuit,
shedding lustre on all he takes in hand. His garden is ever charming,
always opportune. He walks there at all hours, at sunrise, noon,
nightfall, finding more than he sought in it, each successive visit
being as new as the first.

"All living things," says the Bhagavad Gita, "are generated from the
bread they eat; bread is generated from rain, rain from divine worship,
and divine worship from good works." A creed dealing thus
supersensibly with the elements must have fertilizing properties, and
bring the gardener to his task little tinctured by noxious notions of
any kind. If he fall short of being the reverent naturalist, the devout
divine, surrounded thus by shapes of skill, types of beauty, tokens of
design, every hue in the chromatic, every device in the symbolic gamut,
I see not what shall make him these; nor why Newton, Goethe, Boëhme,
should have published their discoveries for his benefit; why it should
occur to him to use his eyes at all when he looks through this glass,
regards these signatures, views these blooms, these clasping tendrils,
laughing leaves, Tyrian draperies, the sympathies of his plants and
trees with the weather, their sleep, their thirst for the mists, and
worship of the East; as if

    Moistures their mothers were,
    Their fathers flames,

and earth were virtually "wife of heaven," as Homer says.

His is no mere cloud tillage, nor unproductive earth culture. The
firmament overhead reflects its lustre in his mind, the mists ascend
there from the watered ground beneath, and he sows the mingled sense and
sunshine over his fields, enriching both them and himself. He takes
account of the double harvest of profits: both rewarding him for his
pleasures and painstakings. His faithful counsellor and genial moralist,
the ground, holds strict terms with him; nor weeds nor nettles have
tales to tell, since they cannot thrive under his shadow. He minds his
proper affairs; is industrious, punctual; home keeper, and time keeper
no less, taking his tasks diligently as they rise. His work begins with
the spring, and continues till winter; nor has he many spare minutes;
the slipping away of twelve hours being the loss of a twelvemonth,
unless he do that instantly which ought to be done at the moment.

Taking timely counsel of his experience, he adapts his labors to the
seasons as they pass; has his eye on sun and soil at once. Nor shall I
think the less of his piety, if he be touched a little with that amiable
superstition concerning the planetary influences; since it ill becomes
him to hold lightly any faith that serves to brighten his affections and
establish sweet relationships between himself and natural things. In
sympathy with earth and heaven, these conspire for his benefit: all
helping to fructify and ripen his crops. It is unlawful to regard them
as enemies of human tillage. Gracefully the seasons come round for
weaving into his fancy, if not his faith, the old world's ritual as a
religion of engagements. He is an ephemeris and weather-glass. He has
his signs too, and aspects, his seasons, periods and stints. The months
sway him. What if he sympathize with the year as it rolls; take
equinoxially his March and September? Will his intermediate times be the
less genial in consequence, or his April fail of distilling mystic moods
with her fertilizing rains? His winter may come hoar with ideas, and
brown October shall be his golden age of orchards and their ambrosia.
And as June best displays the garden's freshness, so October celebrates
the orchard's opulence, to crown the gardener for his labors. The golden
days running fast and full have not run to waste. Orchards and gardens
bloom again. He harvests the richer crop these have ripened; bright
effluences of the stars, for the feast of thought and the flow of
discourse. Having thus "gathered the first roses of spring and the last
apples of autumn," he is ready to dispute felicity with the happiest man
living, and to chant his pæan of praise for his prosperity:--

  The earth is mine and mine the sheaves,
  I'll harvest all her bounty leaves,
  Nor stinted store she deals to me,
  Gives all she has, and gives it free,
  Since from myself I cannot stir
  But I become her pensioner:
  Sun, cloud, flame, atom, ether, sea,
  Beauteous she buildeth into me,
  Seasons my frame with flowing sense,
  Insinuates intelligence;
  Feeds me and fills with sweet contents,
  Deals duteously her elements:
  Dawn, day, the noon, the sunset clear,
  Delight my eye; winds, woods, my ear,
  While apple, melon, strawberry, peach,
  She plants and puts within my reach;
  Regales with all the garden grows,
  Whate'er the orchard buds and blows;
  Lifts o'er my head her sylvan screens,
  And sows my slopes with evergreens,
  While odorous roses, mint, and thyme,
  Steep soul and sense in softer clime;
  Preserves me when lapsed memory slips
  Fading in sleep's apocalypse;
  Surprising tasks and leisures sends,
  And crowns herself to give me friends;
  The morn's elixir pours for me,
  And brims my brain with ecstasy.

  Earth all is mine and mine the sheaves,
  I harvest all her Planter leaves.


IV.--THE ORCHARD.

Orchards are even more personal in their charms than gardens, as they
are more nearly human creations. Ornaments of the homestead, they
subordinate other features of it; and such is their sway over the
landscape that house and owner appear accidents without them. So men
delight to build in an ancient orchard, when so fortunate as to possess
one, that they may live in the beauty of its surroundings. Orchards are
among the most coveted possessions; trees of ancient standing, and
vines, being firm friends and royal neighbors forever. The profits, too,
are as wonderful as their longevity. And if antiquity can add any worth
to a thing, what possession has a man more noble than these? so unlike
most others, which are best at first and grow worse till worth nothing;
while fruit-trees and vines increase in worth and goodness for ages. An
orchard in bloom is one of the most pleasing sights the eye beholds; as
if the firmament had stooped to the tree-tops and touched every twig
with spangles, and man had mingled his essence with the seasons, in its
flushing tokens. And how rich the spectacle at the autumnal harvest:

  "Behold the bending boughs, with store of fruit they tear,
  And what they have brought forth, for weight, they scarce can bear."

Apples are general favorites. Every eye covets, every hand reaches to
them. It is a noble fruit: the friend of immortality, its virtues blush
to be tasted. Every Muse delights in it, as its mythology shows, from
the gardens of the Hesperides to the orchard of Plato. A basket of
pearmains, golden russets, or any of the choice kinds, standing in
sight, shall perfume the scholar's composition as it refreshes his
genius. He may snatch wildness from the woods, get shrewdness from
cities, learning from libraries and universities, compliments from
courts. But for subtlety of thought, for sovereign sense, for color, the
graces of diction and behavior, he best betakes himself

  "Where on all sides the apples scattered lie,
  Each under its own tree."

Or to his bins, best, Columella says, when beechen chests, such as
senators' and judges' robes were laid in in his day; these to be "placed
in a dry place, free from frosts, where neither smoke, nor any thing
noisome may come; the fruit spread on sawdust, and so arranged that the
fleurets, or blossom ends, may look downwards, and the pedicles, or
stalks, upwards, after the same manner as it grew upon the tree; and so
as not to touch one another. And better if gathered a little green; the
lids of the chests covering them close."

The ancient rustic authors give very little information concerning the
apples and pears of their time, thinking them too well known to be
described, as an author writing of our time might of ours. Most of them
had their names from men who brought them into Italy and there
cultivated them, and, "by so small a matter," says Pliny, "have rendered
their names immortal."

Phillips thus describes the favorites of his time, most of which we find
in our own orchards, and still in good repute:--

  "Now turn thine eye to view Alcinous' groves,
  The pride of the Phoeacian isle, from whence,
  Sailing the spaces of the boundless deep,
  To Ariconian precious fruits arrived:--
  The pippin burnished o'er with gold, the moyle
  Of sweetest honied taste, the fair pearmain,
  Tempered, like comeliest nymph, with red and white;
  Nor does the Eliot least deserve thy care,
  Nor John's apple, whose withered rind, intrenched
  With many a furrow, aptly represents
  Decrepit age; nor that from Harvey named,
  Quick relishing. Why should we sing the thrift,
  Codling, or Pomroy, or of pimpled coat
  The russet; the red-streak, that once
  Was of the sylvan kind, uncivilized,
  Of no regard, till Scudamore's skilful hand
  Improved her, and by courtly discipline
  Taught her the savage nature to forget:
  Let every tree in every garden own
  The red-streak as supreme, whose pulpous fruit
  With gold irradiate, and vermilion spires,
  Tempting, not fatal, as the birth of that
  Primeval interdicted plant, that won
  Fond Eve, in hapless hour, to taste and die."

A quaint old Englishman, writing about orchards, quotes the proverb: "It
will beggar a doctor to live where orchards thrive." So Cowley writes:--

  "Nor does this happy place only dispense
  Its various pleasures to the sense,
  Here health itself doth live,
  That salt of life which doth to all a relish give;
  Its standing pleasure and intrinsic wealth,
  The body's virtue, and the soul's good fortune, health.
  The tree of life when it in Eden stood,
  Did its immortal head to heaven rear;
  It lasted a tall cedar till the flood,
  Now a small thorny shrub it doth appear,
  Nor will it thrive too everywhere;
  It always here is freshest seen,
  'Tis only here an evergreen:
  If, through the strong and beauteous fence
  Of temperance and innocence,
  And wholesome labors and a quiet mind,
  Diseases passage find,
  They must fight for it, and dispute it hard
  Before they can prevail;
  Scarce any plant is growing here,
  Which against death some weapon does not bear:
  Let cities boast that they provide
  For life the ornaments of pride;
  But 'tis the country and the field
  That furnish it with staff and shield."

Nor can we spare his praises of budding and grafting from our account:--

  "We nowhere art do so triumphant see,
  As when it grafts or buds a tree;
  In other things we count it to excel
  If it a docile scholar can appear
  To nature, and but imitates her well:
  It overrules and is her master here:
  It imitates her Maker's power divine,
  And changes her sometimes, and sometimes does refine;
  It does like grace, the fallen tree restore
  To its blest state of Paradise before;
  Who would not joy to see his conquering hand
  O'er all the vegetable world command,
  And the wild giants of the wood, receive
  What laws he's pleased to give?
  He bids the ill-natured crab produce
  The gentle apple's winy juice,
  The golden fruit that worthy is
  Of Galatea's purple kiss;
  He does the savage hawthorn teach
  To bear the medlar and the pear;
  He bids the rustic plum to rear
  A noble trunk and be a peach;
  Even Daphne's coyness he does mock,
  And weds the cherry to her stock,
  Though she refused Apollo's suit,
  Even she, that chaste and virgin tree,
  Now wonders at herself to see
  That she's a mother made, and blushes in her fruit."


V.--SWEET HERBS.

  "Thick growing thyme, and roses wet with dew,
  Are sacred to the sisterhood divine."

As orchards to man, so are flowers and herbs to women. Indeed the garden
appears celibate, as does the house, without womanly hands to plant and
care for it. Here she is in place,--suggests lovely images of her
personal accomplishments, as if civility were first conceived in such
cares, and retired unwillingly, even to houses and chambers; something
being taken from their elegancy and her nobleness by an undue absorption
of her thoughts in household affairs. But there is a fitness in her
association with flowers and sweet herbs, as with social hospitalities,
showing her affinities with the magical and medical, as if she were the
plant All-Heal, and mother of comforts and spices. Once the herb garden
was a necessary part of every homestead; every country house had one
well stocked, and there was a matron inside skilled in their secret
virtues, having the knowledge of how her

  "Herbs gladly cure our flesh, because that they
  Have their acquaintance there,"

her memory running back to the old country from whence they first came,
and of which they retained the fragrance. Are not their names
refreshing? with the superstitions concerning the sign under which they
were to be gathered, the quaint spellings;--mint, roses, fennel,
coriander, sweet-cicely, celandine, summer savory, smellage, rosemary,
dill, caraway, lavender, tanzy, thyme, balm, myrrh; these and many more,
and all good for many an ail; sage, too, sovereign sage, best of
all--excellent for longevity--of which to-day's stock seems running
low,--for

  "Why should man die? so doth the sentence say,
  When sage grows in his garden day by day?"

This persuasion that the things near us, and under our feet, stand in
that relationship from some natural affinity they have to our welfare,
appears to be most firmly rooted with respect to the medical herbs,
whether growing wild in the fields and woods, or about the old
homesteads, though the names of most of them are now forgotten. A slight
reference to the herbals and receipt books of the last century would
show the good uses to which they were applied, as that the virtues of
common sense are also disowned, and oftentimes trodden under foot.
Certainly, they are less esteemed than formerly, being superseded, for
the most part, by drugs less efficacious because less related
geographically to our flesh, and not finding acquaintance therewith.
Doubtless many superstitions were cherished about them in ancient heads,
yet all helpful to the cure. The sweet fennel had its place in the rural
garden, and was valued, not as a spice merely, but as a sacred seed,
associated with worship, sprigs of it, as of caraway and dill, being
taken to the pews, for appetizing the service. So the balm and rue had
their sacredness. Pliny commends these natives to every housekeeper. "A
good housewife," he says, "goes to her herb garden, instead of a spice
shop, for seasonings, and thus preserves the health of her family, by
saving her purse." So the poet sends her there, too, for spouse-keeping.

  "When Venus would her dear Ascanius keep,
  A prisoner in the downy bands of sleep,
  She odorous herbs and flowers beneath him spread,
  As the most soft and sweetest bed,
  Not her own lap would more have charmed his head."


VI.--TABLE PLANTS.

The last two centuries have added several plants of eminent virtues to
the products of the orchard and garden. The cucumber, the potato, sweet
corn, the melon, are the principal acquisitions, especially the last
named, for that line of Marvell's--

  "Stumbling on melons as I pass,"

must be taken rhetorically, since Evelyn informs us, this fruit had but
just been introduced into England from Spain, in the poet's time, and
the others but a little before. He says, "I myself remember when an
ordinary melon would have sold for five or six shillings. 'Tis a fruit
not only superior to all of the gourd kind, but paragon with the noblest
of the garden." And of the cucumber, "This fruit, now so universally
eaten, was accounted little better than poison within my memory."
Columella shows some good ones growing in the Roman gardens:--

  "The crooked cucumber, the pregnant gourd,
  Sometimes from arbors pendant, and sometimes
  Snake-like, through the cold shades of grass they creep,
  And from the summer's sun a shelter seek."

Whittier has sung our sweet corn, as Marvell the melon for Old England.
But Raleigh declined that service for his new Roanoke plant, the potato,
leaving it for the books to give this prose version instead:--"Sir
Walter gave some samples of it to his gardener as a fine fruit from
Virginia, desiring him to plant them. The roots flowered in August, and
in September produced the fruit; but the berries were so different from
what the gardener expected, that, in ill-humor, he carried them to his
master, asking, if this was the fine fruit which he had praised so
highly? Sir Walter either was, or pretended to be ignorant of the
matter, and desired the gardener, since that was the case, to dig up the
weed and throw it away." It appears, however, that the gardener, who was
an Irishman, and had the best of rights to christen it, soon returned
with the good parcel of potatoes, from whose thrift his own country was
supplied, and in time distributed so widely as almost to supersede the
ancient turnips, once the favorite of husbandmen; the more religious of
them, Columella tells us, in his time, "sprinkling the seed when they
sowed it as if they meant to supply the King, and his subjects also."

The turnip and the bean--this last held sacred by the Greeks, and which
Pythagoras honored with a symbol--have lost much of the solid repute
they once enjoyed here in New England and elsewhere. Good citizens and
loyal republicans were fed chiefly from their stanch virtues, knowing
how to prize their independence, and to secure it to their descendants.
The great staples were grown on their farms and manufactured into
substantial comforts without loss of self-respect. Bread was home-grown,
kneaded of fresh flour, ground in the neighborhood; the grain sown in
hope, their

  "Six months' sunshine bound in sheaves,"

being brought home in thankfulness. The grain harvesting was the pride
and praise of the country round, as good to be sung as the Syrian
pastoral of Ruth gleaning in the fields of Boaz. But this, and other
customs, introduced with the cultivation of wheat into Britain, and
brought here by the Puritan planters, are fast fading from memory, and
the coming generation will need commentaries on Tusser and Thomson to
make plain our reaping-idyl.

          As kindles now the blazing East
          Afield I haste,
          Eager the sickle's feat to play,
  Sweeping along the stalked fields my widening way;
          Vexing the eared spires,
          Pricked with desires,
  My golden gavels on the stubble spend,
  And to the fair achievement every member lend,
  The laughing breeze my colleague in my forte,
  While the grave sun beams zealous on the sport.
  Nor doth penurious gain famish my fist,
  As earing fast it sheds abundant grist,
  And gleaning damsels kerchief all they list,--
  Kindly conceive me friendliest of peers,
  And glad my brows adorn with yellow ears;
  The wide-spread field, its sheafed hoard,
  The lively symbol of their liberal Lord,
  Whose plenteous crop, and ripe supply
  Areapéd is of every hand and eye--
  An opulent shock for poor humanity.

Their garments, too, were home-spun. Every house, the scene of sprightly
industry, was Homeric as were the employments in the garden of Alcinous,

  "Where to encounter feast with housewifery,
  In one room, numerous women did apply
  Their several tasks; some apple-colored corn
  Ground in fair querns, and some did spindles turn;
  Some work in looms; no hand least rest receives,
  But all have motion apt as aspen leaves;
  And from the weeds they wove, so fast they laid
  And so thick thrust together thread by thread,
  That the oil of which the wool had drank its fill,
  Did with his moisture in bright dews distil."

It was plain wool and flax which they spun and wove thus innocently, nor
suspected the web of sophistries that was to be twisted and coiled about
the countries' liberties from a coming rival. "The weed which, planted
long ago by the kings of Tyre, made their city a great nation, their
merchantmen princes, and spread the Tyrian dye throughout the world; of
which Solomon obtained a branch, and made his little kingdom the
admiration of surrounding nations; of which Alexander sowed the seed in
the city to which he gave his name, and Constantine transplanted to
Constantinople; which the first Edward sowed on the banks of the Thames,
and Elizabeth lived to see blossom through the nourishment which her
enlightened mind procured, not only from the original soil of the Levant
but from the eastern and newly discovered western world, as well as from
the North,"--this famous plant, thus cherished by kings, has now become
KING, and wields its sceptre over the most cultivated and prosperous
nations of the earth; its history for the last half century being more
closely woven with civilization, than perhaps any other commodity known
to commerce. And whether it shall be woven into robes of coronation or
the shroud of freedom, for the freest of Republics, the fortunes of
races, the present moment is determining.

Lettuce has always been loyal. Herodotus tells us that it was served at
royal tables some centuries before the Christian era, and one of the
Roman families ennobled its name with that of Lactucinü. So spinach,
asparagus and celery have been held in high repute among the eastern
nations, as with us. And the parable of the mustard seed shows that
plant was known in Christ's time. The Greeks are said to have esteemed
radishes so highly that, in offering oblations to Apollo, they presented
them in beaten gold. And the Emperor Tiberius held parsnips in such high
repute that he had them brought annually from the Rhine for his table.
The beet is still prized, but the carrot has lost the reputation it had
in Queen Elizabeth's time, the leaves being used in the head-dresses of
the ladies of her court, from whence the epithet applied to the hair is
derived.

Peas had scarcely made their appearance at the tables of the court of
Elizabeth, "being very rare," Fuller says, "in the early part of her
reign, and seldom seen except they were brought from Holland, and these
were dainties for ladies, they came so far and cost so dear." Nor did
the currant appear much earlier in European gardens, coming first under
the name of the Corinthian grape: Evelyn calls the berries Corinths. So
the damson took its name from Damascus; the cherry from Cerasus, a city
of Pontus; and the peach from Persia. The quince, first known as the
Cydonian apple, was dedicated to the goddess of love; and pears, like
apples, are from Paradise.

The apple is the representative fruit, and owes most to culture in its
ancient varieties of quince, pear, pomegranate, citron, peach; as it
comprehended all originally. Of these, pears and peaches have partaken
more largely of man's essence, and may be called creations of his, being
civilized in the measure he is himself; as are the apple and the grape.
These last are more generally diffused over the earth, and their history
embraces that of the origin and progress of mankind, the apple being
coeval with man; Eve's apple preserving the traditions of his earliest
experiences, and the grape appears in connection with him not long after
his story comes into clearness from the dimness of the past.

Fruits have the honor of being most widely diffused geographically,
grown with the kindliest care, and of being first used by man as food.
They still enter largely into the regimen of the cultivated nations, and
are the fairest of civilizers; like Orpheus, they tame the human
passions to consonance and harmony by their lyric influence. The use of
them is of that universal importance that we cannot subsist in any
plenty or elegance without them. And everywhere beside the cultivated
man grows the orchard, to intimate his refinement in those excellences
most befitting his race. The Romans designated the union of all the
virtues in the word we render fruit; and bread comes from Pan, the
representative of Nature, whose stores we gather for our common
sustenance in our pantries. Biography shows that fruit has been the
preferred food of the most illuminated persons of past times, and of
many of the ablest. It is friendly to the human constitution, and has
been made classic by the pens of poets who have celebrated its beauty
and excellence.


VII.--RATIONS.

The food of a people may be taken as a natural gauge of their civility.
In any scale of the relative virtues of plants, fruits take their place
at the top, the grains next, then the herbs, last and lowest the roots.
The rule seems this:

_Whatever grows above ground, and tempered in the solar ray, is most
friendly to the strength, genius and beauty proper to man._

The poet has intimated the law:

  "Plants in the root with earth do most comply,
  Their leaves with water and humidity;
  The flowers to air draw near and subtilty,
  And seeds a kindred fire have with the sky."

So the ancient doctrine affirms that the originals of all bodies are to
be found in their food, every living creature representing its root and
feeding upon its mother; and that from the food chosen, is derived the
spirit and complexion of each; persons, plants, animals, being tempered
of earth or sun, according to their likings.

    Apollo feeds his fair ones, Ceres hers,
  Pomona, Pan, dun Jove, and Luna pale;
  So Nox her olives, so swarth Niobe.

It was the doctrine of the Samian Sage, that whatsoever food obstructs
divination, is prejudicial to purity and chastity of mind and body, to
temperance, health, sweetness of disposition, suavity of manners, grace
of form, and dignity of carriage, should be shunned. Especially should
those who would apprehend the deepest wisdom and preserve through life
the relish for elegant studies and pursuits, abstain from flesh,
cherishing the justice which animals claim at man's hands, nor
slaughtering them for food nor profit. And, anciently, there existed
what is called the Orphic Life, men keeping fast to all things without
life, and abstaining wholly from those that had.

And, aside from all considerations of humanity for the animals, genius
and grace alike enjoin abstinence from every indulgence that impairs the
beauty and order of things. Our instincts instruct us to protect, to
tame and transform, as far as may be, the animals we domesticate into
the image of gentleness and humanity, and that these traits in ourselves
are impaired by converting their flesh into ours. Nor do any pleas of
necessity avail. Since the experience of large classes of mankind in
different climates shows conclusively that health, strength, beauty,
agility, sprightliness, longevity, the graces and attainments
appertaining to body and mind, are insured, if not best promoted, by
abstinence from animal food. Science, moreover, favors this experience,
since it teaches that man extracts his bodily nourishment mediately or
immediately from the vegetable kingdom, and thus lives at the cost of
the atmosphere, needing not the interfusion of the spirit of beasts into
his system to animalize and sustain him. "He feeds on air alone, springs
from it, and returns to it again."

A purer civilization than ours can yet claim to be, is to inspire the
genius of mankind with the skill to deal dutifully with soils and souls,
exalt agriculture and manculture into a religion of art; the freer
interchange of commodities which the current world-wide intercourse
promotes, spread a more various, wholesome, classic table, whereby the
race shall be refined of traits reminding too plainly of barbarism and
the beast. "Ye desire from the gods excellent health and a beautiful old
age, but your table opposes itself, since it fetters the hands of
Zeus."[A]

     [Footnote A: Grillis having been transformed from a beast
     into a man, used to discourse with his table companions,
     about how much better he fed while in that state than his
     present one, since he then took instinctively what was best
     for him, avoiding what was hurtful; but now, he said, though
     endowed with reason and natural knowledge to guide him in
     the selection, he yet seemed to have fallen below the beast
     he was, since he found he liked what did not like him, and
     took it, moreover, without shame.]

      "Time may come when man
  With angels may participate and find
  No inconvenient diet, no too light fare,
  And, from these corporal nutriments, perhaps,
  Their bodies may at last turn all to Spirit
  Improved by tract of time, and winged ascend
  Ethereal as they; or may at choice
  Here, or in heavenly Paradises, dwell."

An elegant abstinence is complimentary to any one, as, fed from the
virgin essences of the season, his genius, dispositions, tastes, have no
shame to blush for, and modestly claim the honor of being well bred. And
one's table, like Apelles', may be fitly pictured with the beauty of
sobriety on the one side, the deformity of excess on the other, the
feast substantial as it is lyrical, praising itself and those who
partake; and his guests as ready to compliment him, as Timotheus did
Plato, when he said: "They who dine with the philosopher never complain
the next morning."


  THE SEER'S RATIONS.

  Takes sunbeams, spring waters,
  Earth's juices, meads' creams,
  Bathes in floods of sweet ethers,
  Comes baptized from the streams;
  Guest of Him, the sweet-lipp'd,
  The Dreamer's quaint dreams.

  Mingles morals idyllic
  With Samian fable,
  Sage seasoned from cruets,
  Of Plutarch's chaste table.

  Pledges Zeus, Zoroaster,
  Tastes Cana's glad cheer,
  Suns, globes, on his trencher,
  The elements there.

  Bowls of sunrise for breakfast
  Brimful of the East,
  Foaming flagons of frolic
  His evening's gay feast.

  Sov'reign solids of nature,
  Solar seeds of the sphere,
  Olympian viand
  Surprising as rare.

  Thus baiting his genius,
  His wonderful word
  Brings poets and sibyls
  To sup at his board.

  Feeds thus and thus fares he,
  Speeds thus and thus cares he,
  Thus faces and graces
  Life's long euthanasies,

  His gifts unabated,
  Transfigured, translated--
  The idealist prudent,
  Saint, poet, priest, student,
  Philosopher, he.


VIII.--ECONOMIES.

    "----Much will always wanting be
  To him who much desires. Thrice happy he
  To whom the indulgency of heaven,
  With sparing hand, but just enough has given."

Life, when hospitably taken, is a simple affair. Very little suffices to
enrich us. Being, a fountain and fireside, a web of cloth, a garden, a
few friends, and good books, a chosen task, health and peace of
mind--these are a competent estate, embracing all we need.

  "Like to one's fortune should be his expense,
  Men's fortunes rightly held in reverence."

The country opens the best advantages for these enjoyments. And where
one has the privilege of choosing for himself, he prefers the scope for
seclusion and society that a homestead implies. For his human
satisfactions, he draws upon his dispositions and gifts. His appetites
he willingly digs for, nor cares to cherish any that he is ashamed to
own. For nobler pleasures he delights to climb. His best estate is in
himself. He needs little beside. With good sense for his main portion to
make the most of that little, he may well consider Hesiod's opinion of
weight:

  "The half is better far than whole."

If his house is an ancient one, or ancestral, by so much the stronger
are the ties that bind his affections to it; especially if it stand in
an orchard, and have a good garden. Even if inconvenient in some
respects, he will hesitate about pulling it down in hopes of pleasing
himself better in a new one. The genius that repairs an old house
successfully may fail in building another. Besides, there were many
comforts provided for by our ancestors, who were old Englishmen even
here in New England, and knew well what a house was built for, and they
built for that, against any odds of counsel or expense. Then 'tis fatal
to take time out of a building, which so consecrates it.

An old house, well built, pleases more with the repairs rendered
necessary than a costlier new one. There are good points about it which
have been proved by a century or two, and these may be adopted as parts
for preserving, while any additions may be made for holding the whole in
keeping with the orignal design, or as improvements on it. Perhaps there
are snug recesses, and window-seats, spacious entries, hospitable
stairways, wainscoting, finished summers running across the ceilings, a
dry cellar, a good well, fence rows in natural places, shrubbery, which
if not well set can be reset in the grounds; an orchard and garden whose
mould is infused with the genius of years and humanized for culture.
Then the tenement has its genealogy, and belongs to the race who have
built into it a history. Trees, too, venerable with age it has, or it
could not have been the residence of gentlemen. Outbuildings of any
kind, useful or ornamental, have found their proper sites, and meet the
eye as if they had always been there. It takes some generations to
complete and harmonize any place with the laws of beauty, as these best
honor themselves in that fairest of structures, a human mansion; which,
next to its occupant, is the noblest symbol of the mind that art can
render to the senses. One may spend largely upon it, if he have not
ousted his manliness in amassing the money. That is an honest house
which has the owner's honor built into its apartments, and whose
appointments are his proper ornaments.

Building is a severe schoolmaster, and gets the best and worst out of
us, both, before it has done with us. I conclude no man knows himself on
terms cheaper than the building of one house at least, and paying for it
out of his pains. The proverb says:

  "'Tis a sweet impoverishment, and a great waste of gall."

Do we not build ourselves into its foundations, to stand or fall with
its beams and rafters, every nail being driven in trouble from sills to
roof-tree, and the whole proving often a defeat and disappointment: no
one liking it, the builder least of all? One may thank heaven, and not
himself, if he do not find

  He builded costlier than he knew,
  Unhoused himself and virtues too,

at the dismission of his carpenters, and occupancy of it. Perhaps the
idea of a house is too precious to be cut into shapes of comfort and
comeliness on cheaper conditions than this trial of his manliness by the
payment of his equanimity as the fair equivalent for the privilege. Nor
is this the end of the matter, since it costs many virtues to deal
dutifully by his household, by servants--if served by second hands--day
by day, and come forth from the stewardship with credit and
self-respect.

But a garden is a feasible matter. 'Tis within the means of almost every
one; none, or next to none, are so destitute, or indifferent, as to be
without one. It may be the smallest conceivable, a flower bed only, yet
is prized none the less for that. It is loved all the more for its
smallness, and the better cared for. Virgil advises to

  ----"Commend large fields,
    But cultivate small ones."

And it was a saying of the Carthaginians, that "the land should be
weaker than the husbandman, since of necessity he must wrestle with it,
and if the ground prevailed, the owner must be crushed by it." The
little is much to the frugal and industrious; and the least most to him
who puts that little to loving usury.

  "We are the farmers of ourselves, yet may
  If we can stock ourselves and thrive, repay
  Much, much good treasure for the great rent day."

'Tis a pity that men want eyes, oftentimes, to harvest crops from their
acres never served to them from their trenchers. Civilization has not
meliorated mankind essentially while men hold themselves to services
they make menial and degrading. Æleas, king of Scythia, was wont to say
ingeniously, that "while he was doing nothing, he differed in nothing
from his groom," thus discriminating between services proper to freemen
and slaves. The humblest labors may ennoble us. Honorable in themselves
when properly undertaken, they promote us from things to persons. They
give us the essential goods of existence as we deserve and can best
enjoy them: order, namely, industry, leisure, of which idleness
defrauds, and distraction deprives us. Labor suffices. Putting us, for
the time, beyond anxiety and our caprices, it calls into exercise the
sentiments proper to the citizen. It softens and humanizes other
pleasures. Like philosophy, like religion, it revenges on fortune, and
so keeps us by THE ONE amidst the multitude of our perplexities--against
reverses, and above want. By making us a party in the administration of
affairs, and superior to Fate, it puts into our hands the iron keys for
unlocking her wards, and thus gives us to opulence and independence. We
become, thereby, the subjects and friends of Saturn, ever known to be a
person of so strict justice as he forces none to serve him unwillingly,
and has nothing private to himself, but all things in common, as of one
universal patrimony. And so, owning nothing, because wanting nothing, he
had all things desirable to make life rich and illustrious.

  ----"This Golden Age
  Met all contentment in no surplusage
  Of dainty viands, but, (as we do still,)
  Drank the pure water of the crystal rill,
  Fed on no other meats than those they fed--
  Labor the salad that their stomachs bred."

Labor saves us from the chaos of sloth, the pains of shiftlessness. It
sweetens the fountains of our enjoyments; 'tis neighbor to the elements.
Coming in from July heats, we taste the sweetness of Pindar's line,

  "Water with purest lustre flows,"

of whose zest the idler knows nothing, and which the sensualist soils
and spoils. Besides, there are advantages to be gained from intimacy
with farmers, whose wits are so level with the world they measure and
work in. We become one of them for the time, by sympathy of employment,
and get the practical skill and adaptedness that comes from yoking our
idealism in their harness of uses. Thus, too, we come to comprehend the
better the working classes which minister so largely to the comforts of
all men, and are so deserving of consideration for their services.
Moreover, this laboring with plain men is the best cure for any
foolishness one may have never sounded in the depths of his egotism, or
scorn of persons in humbler stations than his own; and the swiftest leap
across the gulf yawning between his pride and the humility gracing a
gentleman in any walk of life.


X.--RURAL CULTURE.

  "Nor need the muse to palaces resort,
  Or bring examples only from the court,
  The country strives to do our subject right,
  And gard'ning is the gentleman's delight."

I consider it the best part of an education to have been born and
brought up in the country; the arts of handicraft and husbandry coming
by mother wit, like the best use of books, the language one speaks.
There is virtue in country houses, in gardens and orchards, in fields,
streams and groves, in rustic recreations and plain manners, that
neither cities nor universities enjoy. Nor is it creditable to the
teaching that so few college graduates take to husbandry and rural
pursuits. Held subordinate to thought, as every calling should be, these
promote intellectual freshness and moral vigor. They have been made
classic by the genius of antiquity; are recreations most becoming to men
of every profession and rank in life:--

  "Books, wise discourse, garden and fields,
  And all the joys that unmixed nature yields."

Rural influences seem to be most desirable, if not necessary, for
cherishing the home virtues, especially in a community like ours, where,
by prejudices of tradition, we seek culture more through books and
universities than from that closer contact with men and things to which
newer communities owe so much, which agriculture promotes, and for which
the classic authors chiefly deserve to be studied.

Men follow what they love, and the love of rural enjoyments is almost
universal. Every one likes the country whose tastes are cultivated in
the least, and who enjoys what is primitive and pure. The citizen tires
of city pleasures. He soon finds that there is no freedom comparable to
that which the country affords; for though he dwell in the city for
advantages of libraries, and social entertainments, he seeks the country
for inspiration when these lose their attractions, his spirits as his
friendships, crave refreshment and renewal.

          "Who in sad cities dwell,
  Are of the green trees fully sensible."

We see how this appetite declares itself in the general swarming during
the summer season from the cities to the suburban towns, if not to the
hill countries, for the freedom, the health, found there; and how to
gratify and meet the demand for more natural satisfactions, our Guide
Books have become, not only the most attractive geographies of the
territories therein described, but works of taste, combining some of the
choicest illustrations of poetry and prose in our literature: sketches
of such scenes and parties are sure of an eager reading. The rustic
books, too, are beginning to be inquired after; translations of the
ancient authors, which bring the sentiment of the originals within the
grasp of the plainest minds. And we look forward to the time, when,
according to the recommendation of Cowley and Milton,--poets who did so
much for the culture of their time,--these authors will be studied in
our schools and universities, as Virgil and Horace have been so long,
for cultivating the love of nature, of rural pursuits, beauty of
sentiment, the graces of style, without an acquaintance with which, the
epithet of a liberal and elegant culture were misapplied on any
graduate. Nor need the students be restricted to Greek and Roman
pastoral poets, when some of our own authors have given charming
examples of treating New England life and landscape in their pages. A
people's freshest literature springs from free soil, tilled by free men.
Every man owes primary duty to the soil, and shall be held incapable by
coming generations if he neglect planting an orchard at least, if not a
family, or book, for their benefit.

"Agriculture, for an honorable and high-minded man," says Xenophon, "is
the best of all occupations and arts by which men procure the means of
living. For it is a pursuit that is most easy to learn and most pleasant
to practise; it puts the bodies of men in the fairest and most vigorous
condition, and is far from giving such constant occupation to their
minds as to prevent them from attending to the interests of their
friends or their country. And it affords some incitement to those who
pursue it to become courageous, as it produces and sustains what is
necessary for human life without the need of walls or fortresses. A
man's home and fireside are the sweetest of all human possessions."

I have always admired the good sense and fine ambition of a friend of
mine, who, on quitting College, with fair prospects of winning respect
in any of the learned professions, chose rather to step aside into the
quiet retreat of a cottage, and there give himself to the pleasures and
duties of cultivating his family and grounds. And this he did from a
sense of its suitableness to promote the best ends and aims; esteeming
his gifts and accomplishments due to pursuits which seemed the natural
means of securing self-respect and independence. His first outlay was
moderate--a sequestered field, on which he erected a comfortable
dwelling, planned for convenience and hospitality. His grounds were laid
out and planted with shrubbery, the slopes dotted with evergreens and
shapely trees. A nursery was set; a conservatory, with suitable
outbuildings and ornaments. As he gave himself personally to the work,
everything prospered that he touched. A few years' profits paid for his
investment, and his thrift soon enabled him to add an adjoining orchard
to his first purchase. And so successful was his adventure, that his
most sceptical neighbors, the old farmers, confessed him to be the
better husbandman; his gold was ruddier than theirs; his fields the
neater. Nor did our Evelyn disgrace social engagements. His friendships
were kept in as good plight as his grounds. He was none the worse
citizen for being the better neighbor and gentleman they found him to
be, nor the less worthy of the honors of his college. "'Tis impossible
that he who is a true scholar, and has attained besides the felicity of
being a good gardener, should give jealousy to the State in which he
lives." Civilization has a deeper stake in the tillage of the ground
than in the other arts, since its roots are fast planted therein, and it
thrives only as this flourishes. Omit the garden, degrade this along
with the orchard to mere material uses, treat these as of secondary
importance, and the State falls fast into worldliness and decay.

  "Oh blessed shades! oh gentle, cool retreat
    From all the immoderate heat
  In which the frantic world does burn and sweat!
  This does the Lion-star, Ambition's rage;
  This Avarice, the Dog-star's thirst assuage;
  Everywhere else their fatal power we see,
  They make and rule man's wretched destiny;
    They neither set, nor disappear,
    But tyrannize o'er all the year,--
  Whilst we ne'er feel their heat nor influence here.
    The birds that dance from bough to bough,
    And sing above in every tree,
    Are not from fears and cares more free,
    Than we who muse or toil below,
    And should by right be singers too.
  What Prince's quire of music can excel
    That which within this shade does dwell?
    To which we nothing pay or give?
    They, like all other poets, live
  Without reward or thanks for their obliging pains;
    'Tis well if they become not prey:
  The whistling winds add their less ardent strains,
  And a grave bass the murmuring fountains play.
    Nature does all this harmony bestow;
    But, to our plants, arts, music, too,
    The pipe, theorbo, and guitar, we owe,
  The lute itself, which once was green and mute;
    When Orpheus struck the inspired lute
    The trees danced round and understood,
    By sympathy, the voice of wood."

  Methinks I see great Dioclesian walk
    In the Salonian garden's noble shade,
    Which by his own imperial hands was made;
  I see him smile, methinks, as he does talk
    With the ambassadors, who come in vain
    To entice him to a throne again.
  "If I, my friends," said he, "should to you show
  All the delights that in these gardens grow,
  'Tis likelier much that you should with me stay,
  Than 'tis that you should carry me away;
  And trust me not, my friends, if every day
    I walk not here with more delight
    Than ever, after the most happy fight,
    In triumph to the capitol I ride,
  To thank the gods, and to be thought myself almost a god."

Do we ask, on viewing the rural pictures which the Pastoral Poets afford
us,--Whither is our modern civilization tending? What solid profits has
it gained on the state of things they describe, seeing the primitive
virtues and customs, once enjoyed by our ancestors, are fading,--the
generosity, the cheer, the patriotism, the piety, the republican
simplicity and heartiness of those times? Machinery is fast displacing
the poetry of farm and fireside; the sickle, the distaff, the
chimney-piece, the family institution, being superseded by prose powers;
and, with their sway, have come slavery, pusillanimity, dishonor. I know
there are reconciling compensations for all risks of revolution. For
while the Demos thus takes his inch, Divinity secures his ell; so the
garment of mankind comes the fuller from the loom in this transfer of
labors. The fig leaf thus cunningly woven, costs fair honors,
nevertheless, and we covet in our hearts the florid simplicity of times
of sturdier virtues and unassailable integrity.[B]

     [Footnote B: Evelyn draws a lively picture of those old
     times, though not without sadness at the contrast with his
     own. "The style and method of life are quite changed as well
     as the language, since the days of our ancestors, simple and
     plain as they were, courting their wives for their modesty,
     frugality, keeping at home, good housewifery, and other
     economical virtues then in reputation. And when the young
     damsels were taught all these at home in the country at
     their parents' houses; the portion they brought being more
     in virtue than money, she being a richer match than any one
     who could bring a million and nothing else to commend her.
     The presents then made when all was concluded, were a ring,
     a necklace of pearls, and perhaps the fair jewel, the
     paraphernalia of her prudent mother, whose nuptial kirtle,
     gown and petticoat, lasted as many anniversaries as the
     happy couple lived together, and were at last bequeathed
     with a purse of old gold, as an heir-loom to her
     granddaughter. The virgins and young ladies of that golden
     age, put their hands to the spindle, nor disdained the
     needle; were obsequious and helpful to their parents,
     instructed in the management of the family, and gave presage
     of making excellent wives. Their retirements were devout and
     religious books, their recreations in the distillery and
     knowledge of plants, and their virtues for the comfort of
     their poor neighbors, and use of the family, which wholesome
     diet and kitchen physic preserved in health. Nor were the
     young gentlemen, though extremely modest, at all melancholy,
     or less gay and in good humor. They could touch the lute and
     virginal, sing

       "Like to the damask rose,"

     and their breath was as sweet as their voices. Then things
     were natural, plain and wholesome; nothing was superfluous,
     nothing necessary wanting. Men of estate studied the public
     good, and gave examples of true piety, loyalty, justice,
     sobriety, charity; and the good of the neighborhood composed
     most differences. Laws were reasons, not craft; men's
     estates were secure: they served their generation with
     honor, left patrimonial estates improved to a hopeful heir,
     who, passing from the free school to the college, and thence
     to Inns of Court, acquainting himself with a competent
     tincture of the laws of his country, followed the example of
     his worthy ancestors. And if he travelled abroad, it was not
     to count steeples, and bring home feather and ribbon and the
     sins of other nations, but to gain such experience as
     rendered him useful to his Prince and his countrymen upon
     occasion, and confirmed him in the love of both of them
     above any other. Hospitality was kept up in town and
     country, by which the tenants were enabled to pay their
     landlords at punctual day. The poor were relieved
     bountifully, and charity was as warm as the kitchen, where
     the fire was perpetual."]

[Illustration: Small decoration of a flower and leaves]



II.

RECREATION.

     "Thou who wouldst know the things that be,
     Bathe thy heart in the sunrise red,
     Till its stains of earthly dross are fled."
                             GOETHE.



[Illustration: Decorative banner of a beetle among flowers and leaves]



RECREATION.


I.--THE FOUNTAINS.

Nature is wholesome. Without her elixirs daily taken we perish of
lassitude and inanity. The fountains must be stirred to their depths and
their torrents sent bounding along their sluices, else we sink presently
into the pool of inertia, victims of indecision and slaves of fate. "Thy
body, O well disposed man, is a meadow through which flow three hundred
and sixty-five rivulets." Every pulse pushes nature's quaternion along
life's currents recreating us afresh; the morn feeding the morn,
Memnon's music issuing from every stop, as if the Orient itself had
sung.

Nature is virtuous. Imparting sanity and sweetness, it spares from
decay, giving life with temperance and a continency that keeps our
pleasures chaste and perennial. Nothing short of her flowing atmosphere
suffices to refill our urns. Neither books, company, conversation,--not
Genius even, the power present in persons, nature's nature pouring her
floods through mind,--not this is enough. Nature is the good Baptist
plunging us in her Jordan streams to be purified of our stains, and
fulfil all righteousness. And wheresoever our lodge, there is but the
thin casement between us and immensity. Nature without, mind within,
inviting us forth into the solacing air, the blue ether, if we will but
shake our sloth and cares aside, and step forth into her great
contentments.

        As from himself he fled,
        Possessed, insane,
  Tormenting demons drove him from the gate:
        Away he sped,
        Casting his woes behind,
        His joys to find,
        His better mind.

        'Tis passing strange,
        The glorious change,
        The pleasing pain!

            Recovered,
        Himself again
        Over his threshold led,
        Peace fills his breast,
        He finds his rest;
  Expecting angels his arrival wait.

If we cannot spin our tops briskly as boys do theirs, the wailers may
chant their dirges over us. Enthusiasm is existence; earnestness, life's
exceeding great reward. How busy then, and above criticism. Our cup runs
over. But a parted activity, divorcing us from ourselves, degrades our
noblest parts to the sway of the lowest and renders our task a drudgery
and shame. For what avails, if while one's mind hovers about Olympus,
his members flounder in Styx, and he is drawn asunder in the conflict?
Let the days deify the days, the work the workman, giving the joyous
task that leaves pleasant memories behind, and ennobles in the
performance:

      Tasked days
      Above delays;
      Hours that borrow
      Speed of the morrow,
      Light from sorrow:
      Business bate not,
      Want nor wait not,
      Doubt nor date not;
  Life from limb forbid to sever,
  Recreate in rapt endeavor.

We come as a muse to our toil and find amusement in it; to a taskmaster
whose company never tires. 'Tis life, the partaking of immortality. A
day lived so, glorifies all moments afterwards. Long postponed, perhaps,
the hours wearisome, till broke this immortal morning with engagements
that time can complete never, nor compel, and whose importunity outlasts
the hours.

Sleep, too, having the keys of life in its keeping. How we rise from its
delectable divinations with eyes sovereign and anointed for the day's
occupations. All our powers are touched with flame, all things are
possible. But last night, the world had come to an end; the floods ebbed
low, as if the fates were reversing the torch. How we blazed all the
morning, to be cinders yesternight. Then came the god to re-kindle our
faded embers, the Phoenix wings her way to meet the rising dawn and
embrace the young world once more. Sleep took the sleep out of us. From
forth the void there rises a roseate morn upon us.

  The flattering East her gates impearled,
  We hunt the morning round the world.

Nor is a day lived if the dawn is left out of it, with the prospects it
opens. Who speaks charmingly of nature or of mankind, like him who comes
bibulous of sunrise and the fountains of waters?

  "Mornings are mysteries, the first world's youth,
  Man's resurrection, and the future's bud
  Shown in their birth; they make us happy,
  Make us rich."

    Rise in the morning, rise
    While yet the streaming tide
    Flames o'er the blue acclivities,
    And pours its splendors wide;
    Kindling its high intent
    Along the firmament,
    Silence and sleep to break,
    Imaginations wake,
    Ideas insphere
    And bring them here.
    Loiter nor play
    In soft delay;
    Speed glad thy course along
    The orbs and globes among,
    And as yon toiling sun
    Attain thy high meridian:
    Radiant and round thy day;--
    Speed, speed thee on thy way.

"Every day is a festival, and that which makes it the more splendid is
gladness. For as the world is a spacious and beautiful temple, so is
life the most perfect institution that introduces us into it. And it is
but just that it should be full of cheerfulness and tranquillity." Our
dispositions are the atmosphere we breathe, and we carry our climate and
world in ourselves. Good humor, gay spirits are the liberators, the sure
cure for spleen and melancholy. Deeper than tears, these irradiate the
tophets with their glad heavens. Go laugh, vent the pits, transmuting
imps into angels by the alchymy of smiles. The satans flee at the sight
of these redeemers. And he who smiles never is beyond redemption. Once
clothed in a suit of light we may cast aside forever our sables. Our
best economist of this flowing estate is good temper, without whose
presidency life is a perplexity and disaster. Luck is bad luck and
ourselves a disappointment and vexation. Victims of our humors, we
victimize everybody. How the swift repulsions play: our atoms all
insular, insulating; demonized, demonizing, from heel to crown; at the
mercy of a glance, a gesture, a word, and ourselves overthrown.
Equanimity is the gem in Virtue's chaplet and St. Sweetness the
loveliest in her calendar. "On beholding thyself, fear," says the
oracle. Only the saints are sane and wholesome.


  II.--THE CHEAP PHYSICIAN.

  "That which makes us have no need
  Of physic, that's physic indeed.
  Hark, hither, reader, wilt thou see
  Nature her own physician be?
  Wilt see a man all his own wealth,
  His own music, his own health,--
  A man whose sober soul can tell
  How to wear her garments well:
  Her garments that upon her sit,
  As garments should do, close and fit;
  A well-clothed soul that's not oppressed,
  Nor choked with what she should be dressed;
  A soul sheathed in a crystal shrine,
  Through which all her bright features shine,
  As when a piece of wanton lawn,
  A thin, aerial veil is drawn
  O'er beauty's face, seeming to hide,
  More sweetly shows the blushing bride:
  A soul, whose intellectual beams
  No mists do mask, no lazy streams:
  A happy soul that all the way
  To heaven rides in a summer's day?
  Wouldst see a man whose well-warmed blood
  Bathes him in a genuine flood,--
  A man whose tuned humors be
  A seat of rarest harmony?
  Wouldst see blithe looks, fresh cheeks beguile
  Age; wouldst see December smile?
  Wouldst see nests of new roses grow
  In a bed of reverend snow?
  Warm thought, free spirits flattering
  Winter's self into a spring?
  In sum, wouldst see a man that can
  Live to be old, and still a man
  Whose latest and most leaden hours
  Fall with soft wings, stuck with soft flowers;
  And when life's sweet fable ends,
  Soul and body part like friends;
  No quarrels, murmurs, no delay,
  A kiss, a sigh,--and so away,--
  This rare one, reader, wouldst thou see?
  Hark within, and thyself be he."

[Illustration: Triangular decoration of two intertwined griffins]



III.


FELLOWSHIP.

     "Health is the first good lent to men,
     A gentle disposition then,
     Next competence by no by ways,
     Lastly with friends to enjoy one's days."
                             HERRICK.



[Illustration: Decorative banner of two birds among leaves and flowers]



FELLOWSHIP.


I.--HOSPITALITY.

Evelyn writes of the manners and architecture of his times: "'Tis from
the want of symmetry in our buildings, decorum in our houses, that the
irregularity of our humors and affections may be shrewdly discerned."
But not every builder is gifted with the genius and personal qualities
to harmonize the apartments to the dispositions of the inmates. I
confess to a partiality for the primitive style of architecture
commended by Evelyn, and question whether in our refinements on these we
have not foregone comforts and amenities essential to true hospitality.
What shall make good to us the ample chimney-piece of his day, with the
courtesies it cherished, the conversation, the cheer, the
entertainments? Very welcome were the spacious yards and hospitable
door-knockers on those ancestral mansions, fast disappearing from our
landscape, supplanted by edifices and surroundings more showy and
pretentious; yet, with all their costliness, looking somewhat asquint on
the visitor, as if questioning his right to enter them; and, when
admitted, seem unfamiliar, solitary, desolate, with their elaborate
decorations and furnishings. Can we not build an elegant comfort,
convenience, ease, into the walls and apartments, rendering the mansion
an image of the nobilities becoming the residence of noblemen? To what
end the house, if not for conversation, kindly manners, the
entertainment of friendships, the cordialities that render the house
large, and the ready receptacle of hosts and guests? If one's
hospitalities fail to bring out the better qualities of his company, he
fails of being the noble host, be his pretensions what they may. Let him
entertain the dispositions, the genius, of his guests, the conversation
being the choicer banquet; for, without baits for these, what were the
table but a manger, alike wanting in elegancy as in hospitality, and the
feast best taken in silence as an animal qualification, and no more.

What solitude like those homes where no home is, no company, no
conversation, into which one enters with dread, and from which he
departs with sadness, as from the sight of hostile tribes bordering on
civilization, strangers to one another, and of mixed bloods! Civility
has not completed its work if it leave us unsocial, morose, insultable.
Sympathy wanting, all is wanting; its personal magnetism is the
conductor of the sacred spark that lights our atoms, puts us in human
communion, and gives us to company, conversation, and ourselves.

  "Oh wretched and too solitary, he
  Who loves not his own company;
    He'll find the weight of it many a day,
  Unless he call in sin and vanity,
    To help to bear it away."

The surest sign of age is loneliness. While one finds company in himself
and his pursuits, he cannot be old, whatever his years may number.

Perhaps those most prize society who find the best in solitude, being
equal to either; strong enough to enjoy themselves aside from companies
they would gladly meet and repay by a freedom from prejudices and
scruples in which these share and pride themselves, yet whose
exclusiveness thrusts them out of their own houses and themselves also.

                    "It ever hath been known,
  They others' virtues scorn who doubt their own."

If solitude makes us love ourselves, society gives us to others,
peopling what were else a solitude. It takes us out of ourselves as from
a multitude to partake of closer intimacies and satisfactions. Alone and
apart, however well occupied, we lose the elasticity and dignity that
come from sympathy with the aims and prospects of others. Nor has any
been found equal to uninterrupted solitude. Our virtues need the enamel
of intercourse. Exalting us above our private piques, prejudices,
egotisms, into the commonwealth of charities, good company makes us
catholic, courteous, sane; we retire from it with a new estimate of
ourselves and of mankind. If intercourse have not this wholesome effect,
it is dissipating and best shunned. Nor is fellowship possible without a
certain delicacy and respect of diffidence. There hides a natural piety
in this personal grace, while nothing good comes of brass, from whose
embrasures there vollies forth but impudence, insolence, defiance. But
the more influential powers are attended by a bashful genius, and step
forth from themselves with a delicacy of boldness alike free from any
blemishes of egotism or pretence. Nor do we accept as genuine the person
not characterized by this blushing bashfulness, this youthfulness of
heart, this sensibility to the sentiment of suavity and self-respect.
Modesty is bred of self-reverence. Fine manners are the mantle of fair
minds. None are truly great without this ornament. A fine genius has the
timidity, the graces of a virgin nature, whose traits are as transparent
in the boldest flights of imagination as discernible in the stateliest
tread of reason, the play of fancy: a pleasing hesitancy, a refrain,
setting off the more boldly by such graceful carriage, the natural
graces due to beauty and truth; and bearing down all else by its
charming persuasions.

Affinities tell. Every one is not for every one; nor any one good enough
to flatter or scorn any; the kindly recognition being due to the
meanest; even the humblest conferring a certain respect by his call. Yet
one might as properly entertain every passing vagary in the presence
chamber of his memory as every vagrant visitor seeking his acquaintance.
Introductions are of small account. What are one's claims, a glance
detects; if ours, he stays, and house and heart are his by silent
understanding. If not ours, nor we his, the way is plain. He leaves
presently as a traveller the innkeeper's door, an inmate for his meal
only and the night.

The heroic bearing is always becoming. Egotists of the amiable species,
one kindly considers. But the sour malcontents, devastators of one's
time and patience,--what to do with such? Summon your fairest sunshine
forthwith: give your visitor's humors no quarters from the shafts; smite
him with the kindly radiance for dissipating his melancholy, and so send
him away the wholesomer, the sweeter for the interview, if not a convert
to the sun's catholicism, the courtesies due to civility and good
fellowship. So when X, your worst sample approaches, meet him blandly at
your door, and ask him civilly to leave his dog outside. But if he
persist in bringing him along into your parlor, never hesitate on
setting the cur forthwith upon his master though you should find him at
your throat straightways. It were giving your visitor the warmest
reception possible under the circumstances, and an interview very
memorable to all parties. One need not fear dealing his compliments
short and significant on the occasion; the deer running down the dogs
for a wonder.

Does it seem cold and unhandsome, this specular survey of persons? Yet
all hearts crave eyes whereby to measure themselves. And what better
foil for one's egotism than this reflection of himself in the mirror of
another's appreciation? The frank sun withholds his beams from none for
any false delicacy. Nor till one rejoices in being helped to discern
excellence in another, desiring to comprehend and compliment his own
therein, is he freed from the egotism that excludes him from the best
benefits one can bestow. Happy if we have dissolved our individualism in
the fluent affections, and so made intercourse possible and delightful
between us.

"We have three friends most useful to us; a sincere friend, a faithful
friend, a friend that hears every thing, examines what is told him, and
speaks little. But we have three also whose friendship is pernicious; a
hypocrite, a flatterer, and a great talker. Contract friendship with the
man whose heart is upright and sincere, who loves to learn and can teach
you something in his turn. And in what part of the world soever thou
chance to spend thy life, correspond with the wisest and associate with
the best."


II.--CONVERSATION.

Good humor, flowing spirits, a sprightly wit, are essentials of good
discourse. Add genial dispositions, graceful elocution, and to these
accomplishments diffidence as the flower of the rest. There can be no
eloquence where these are wanting. Any amount of sense, of logic,
matter, leaves the discourse incomplete, interest flags, and
disappointment ensues. None has command of himself till he can wield his
powers sportfully, life sparkling from all his gifts and taking captive
alike speaker and hearer, as they were docile children of his genius and
surprised converts for the moment. "And I," says Socrates, "through my
youth often change my mind, but looking to you and apprehending that you
speak the things that are divine, I think so too." If one cannot inspire
faith in what he says, no arts avail. Earnestness, sincerity, are
orators whose persuasions are irresistible; they hold all gifts in
fusion, magnetize, divinize, harmonize all. Good conversation is
lyrical: a pentecost of tongues, touching the chords of melody in all
minds, it prompts to the best each had to give, to better than any knew
they had, what none claims as his own, as if he were the organ of some
invisible player behind the scenes. What abandonments, reserves, which
no premeditation, no cunning could have checked or called forth. What
chasms are spanned with a trope, what pits forded, summits climbed,
prospects commanded, perspectives gained,--the tour of the spheres made
at a glance, a sitting; the circle coming safely out of the adventure.
All men talk, few converse; of gossip we have enough, of argument more
than enough, rhetoric, debate--omit these, speak from the heart to the
heart underlying all differences, and we have conversation. For
disputing there is the crowd; for ruminating, the woods; the clubs for
wit and the superficial fellowship.

Companionableness comes by nature. For though culture may mellow and
refine, it cannot give the flush of nobility to the current wherein ride
our credentials for the posts of persuasion and of power. We meet
magically, and pass with sounding manners; else encounter repulses,
strokes of fate; temperament telling against temperament, precipitating
us into vortices from which the nimblest finds no escape. We pity the
person who shows himself unequal to the occasion; the scholar, for
example, whose intellect is so exacting, so precise, that he cannot meet
his company otherwise than critically; cannot descend to meet, through
the senses or the sentiments, that common level where intercourse is
possible with most. We pity him the more, who, from caprice or confusion
can meet through these only. Still more, the case of him who can meet
neither as sentimentalist nor idealist, or, rather, not at all in a
human way. Intellect interblends with sentiment in the companionable
mind, wit with humor. We detain the flowing tide at the cost of lapsing
out of perception into memory, into the limbo of fools. Excellent people
wonder why they cannot meet and converse. They cannot. No. Their wits
have ebbed away, and left them helpless. Why, but because of hostile
temperaments, states of animation? The personal magnetism finds no
conductor. One is individual, the other is individual no less.
Individuals repel. Persons meet. And only as one's personality is
sufficiently overpowering to dissolve the other's individualism, can the
parties flow together and become one. But individuals have no power of
the sort. They are two, not one, perhaps many. Prisoned within
themselves by reason of their egotism, like animals, they stand aloof,
are separate even when they touch; are solitary in any company, having
none in themselves. But the freed personal mind meets all, is
apprehended by all, by the least cultivated, the most gifted; magnetizes
all; is the spell-binder, the liberator of every one. We speak of
sympathies, antipathies, fascinations, fates, for this reason.

[Illustration: Small decoration of a leaf]



IV.

FRIENDSHIP.


     "So great a happiness do I esteem it to be loved, that I
     really fancy every blessing both from gods and men ready to
     descend spontaneously upon him who is loved."--XENOPHON.



[Illustration: Decorative banner of two swans among flowers]



FRIENDSHIP.


I.--PERSONS.

It was a charming fancy of the Pythagoreans to exchange names when they
met that so they might partake of the virtues each admired in the other.
And knowing the power of names they used only such as were musical and
pleasing. The compliment thus bestowed upon the sentiment of friendship
is most deserved, and suggestive of the magic of its influence at every
age, throughout every period of our existence; our life, properly
speaking, opening with the birth of fancy and the affections, and
maintaining its freshness only as we are under their sway. A friendship
formed in childhood, in youth,--by happy accident at any stage of rising
manhood,--becomes the genius that rules the rest of life. What
aspirations it awakens! what prospects! To what advantages, adventures,
sacrifices, successes, does it not lead its votaries! What if these
early unions are sometimes less tempered with discretion than those
formed later, if they maintain their freshness and open out sure
prospects of an endless future? He surely has no future who is without
friends to share it with him, and is wasting an existence meant to give
him that assurance. With this sentiment there comes every felicity into
the breasts of those who partake of it. How large the dividend of
delight! how diffusive! We are the richer for every outlay. We dip our
pitchers in these fountains to come away overspilling with satisfaction.
And had we a thousand friends, every spring within us would gush forth
at the touch of these wands of tenderness, and the days pass as
uncounted moments in their company.

  "O friend, the bosom said,
  Through thee alone the sky is arched,
  Through thee the rose is red;
  All things through thee take nobler form,
  And look beyond the earth,
  And is the millround of our fate
  A sunpath in thy worth:
  Me, too, thy nobleness has taught
  To master my despair;
  The fountains of my hidden life,
  Are through thy friendship fair."

How handsome our friends are! Say they were not moulded at the celestial
potteries, we paint them fair behind the plain exterior they wear to
indifferent eyes, and as they appear in our gallery of enamels. For who
has not seen the plainest features light with a beauty the eyes had not
conceived at the rise of a tender sentiment? a lively thought, the
recollection of a noble deed, effacing every trace of ancestral
meanness; the friend we love all there without blemish or spot, the
image we clasp to our breast and cannot forget.

Spectral and cold, indeed, were life surveyed from the senses alone, not
from the soul, wanting the enthusiasm that persons inspire, the faith
which exalts us above ourselves, giving us friends to love, and a God to
adore. We enter heaven through the gates of friendship. 'Tis by some
supreme fellowship that we complete ourselves, and are united to our
kind.

I esteem friendship the fairest as the eldest of religious faiths, being
the worship of the unseen through the seen, and excusing many
superstitions coloring the need of a personal object of worship. The
love and service rendered to persons symbolizes love and service due the
Supreme Person; and he must be pronounced deficient in piety who fails
of winning the noblest of victories,--a friend. A need of the heart, the
best of our life is embosomed in others, much of it taken upon trust in
some one or more whom we call by tender names, and whose words accost us
with persuasions irresistible. How affectionately one name is pronounced
throughout a revering Christendom, because it symbolizes man's
friend,--that fairest word in the human vocabulary.

   "Fair flowery name, in none like thee
    And thy nectareal fragrancy,
      Hourly there meets
    A universal synod of all sweets,
    By whom it is defined thus:
      That no perfume
      May yet presume
    To pass for odoriferous,
  But such alone whose sacred pedigree
  Can prove itself some kin, sweet name, to thee."

We crave objects abreast and above us. And are bereft of ourselves
without such. Friends are the leaders of the bosom, being more ourselves
than we are, and we complement our affections in theirs. The passionless
laws that sway our unseen Personality are not made lovely to us till
thus clothed in human attributes and brought near to our hearts, person
embracing person. Not some _It_ in our friends, but the sentiment that
transfigures the _It_ into _Him_, into _Her_,--this alone makes them
ours personally and beloved. Theists in our faith, we pay our vows to
the Friend in our friend, thus becoming personally One with the Three,
and alone no longer.

  Nor elsewise man shall fellow meet,
  In public place, in converse sweet,
  In holy aisles, at market gate,
  In learning's halls, or courts of state,
  Nor persons properly shall find,
  Save in the commonwealth of Mind;
  Fair forms herein their souls intrude,
  Peopling what else were solitude.

Persons are love's world. Our Paradise is too fair to be planted out of
our breasts. We chase the fleeing beauty all our lives long;

  "Nor is there near so brisk a fire
  In fruition, as desire;
  The niggard sense, too poor for bliss,
  Pays us but dully with what is."

On, onwards, ever onwards are we led. Our Edens abreast of us journeying
with ever-opening prospects in the distance.


  THE CHASE.

  O'er earth and seas,
  In sunshine, shade,
  Blest Beauty crossed,
  Nor stopt nor stayed,
  Nor temples took,
  Nor idols hewed,
  Apart she dwelt
  In solitude.

  In solitude, Heart said:
  "Where find the maid?
  My bride's a fugitive,
  From sight doth live,
  And hearts are hunters of the game,
  Pursuers of the same
  Through every passing form,
  The Beauty that all eyes do seek,
  All eyes do but deform;
  The love our faithless lips would speak
  Dies on the listless air,
  Nature befriends us not,
  Nor hearthside doth prepare
  In all her ample plot;
  Life's but illusion,
  Cunning confusion;
  Flings shadows pale about our path,
  She shadow is, and nothing hath;
  Eyes are divorced from seeing,
  Hearts cloven clean from being;
  My bride I cannot find,
  My love I cannot bind;
  The thousand fair ones of our sphere,
  Fond, false ones all, nor mine, nor dear;
    The Paradise
    I would surprise,
  From all my following flies,
  And I'm a thousand infidelities;
  There's none for me
  In all I see;
  Surely the Fair One bides not here,
  Where dwells she, where, in any sphere?"

    "In any sphere?"
  Love whispered: "Where, where, if not here?
  Here in thy breast the maiden find,
  Ideas sole imparadise the mind;
  Here heart's hymeneals begin,
  Here's ours and only ours housed here within:
  Through parting gates of human kind
  Enter thou blest the Unseen Mind."


II.--WOMAN.

                              "Virtue sure
  Were blind as fortune, should she choose the poor
  Rough cottage man to live in, and despise
  To dwell in woman's stately edifice;
  Woman's approved the fairer sex, and we
  Mean men repent our pedigree.
  Why choose the father's name, when we may take
  The mother's a more honor'd blood to make,
  Woman's of later, though of nobler birth,
  For she of man was made, man made of earth,
  The son of dust, and though her sin did breed
  His fall, again she raised him in her seed;
  Who had he not her blest creation seen,
  An Anchorite in Paradise had been."

Pythagoras said that only good things were to be predicted of women,
since they were the mothers of ornaments, of conversation and of
confidence, and that he who invented names, perceiving that women were
adapted to piety and friendship, gave to each of their ages the name of
some Deity--to a maiden, Core, or Proserpine, to a bride Nymphe, to a
mother, Mater, to a grandmother, according to the Dorian dialect, Maia.
And in accordance with the like persuasion the oracles were always
unfolded into light by women. Tacitus tells us that the Northern nations
also held women in high esteem, "believing ladies had something divine
about them." And this faith has descended to men of the Saxon name, the
best regarding her as endowed with magical properties, the type of the
highest culture the advanced nations have attained. Endowed with
magnetic gifts; by necessity of sex, a realist and diviner, she lives
nearest the cardinal facts of existence, instinct with the mysteries of
love and fate; a romance ever attaching itself to her name and destiny.
Entering the school of sensibility with life, she seizes personal
qualities by a subtlety of logic overleaping all deductions of the
slower reason; her divinations touching the quick of things as if
herself were personally part of the chemistry of life itself. We cannot
conceive her as distinct, distant, unrelated, she seems so personal,
concrete, so near; yet can never come quite up to her discernments, nor
gainsay their delicacy and truthfulness. Then constancy, fidelity,
fortitude, kindness, gratitude, grace, courtesy, discretion, taste,
conversation, the adornments of life, were bare names without the
splendor of illustration of which the history of the sex affords so many
brilliant examples. It seems as if in moulding his world the Creator
reserved his choicest work till the last, and consummated his art in her
endowments. Shall our sex confess to some slight in not having been
mingled more freely of her essence, that so we too might have had access
to the crypts into which she is privileged by birthright to enter? Hers
is the way of persuasion, of service, forbearance:

  "If thou dost anything confer that's sweet,
  In me a grateful relish it shall meet,
  But if thy bounties thou dost take away,
  The least repining word I will not say."

As there was only solitude till she brought company, conversation,
civility, so stooping still to conquer, she is fast gaining ascendancy
over passions and prejudices that have held her subservient and their
victim. Can we doubt the better rule will be furthered indefinitely by a
partnership in power thus intimate and acknowledged by States? What
ideal republics have fabled, ours is to be. Nor need we fear the boldest
experiments which the moral sense of the best women conceive and
advocate. Certainly liberty is in danger of running into license while
woman is excluded from exercising political as well as social restraint
upon its excesses. Nor is the state planted securely till she possess
equal privileges with man of forming its laws and taking a becoming part
in their administration. No jury of men, however honorable or wise, are
equal to pronounce upon questions relating to woman; questions involving
considerations that concern the whole structure, not only of society,
but of humanity itself. The public morals are insecure till the family
is chastely planted, the state guarded by the continency of its male
members.

A man defines his standing at the court of chastity by his views of
women. He cannot be any man's friend nor his own if not hers. Either
nature dealt coldly by him in his descent, else he is the victim of
vices which his passions have inflamed till they have their own way with
him.

  "They meet but with unwholesome springs,
    And summers which infectious are;
  They hear but when the mermaid sings,
    And only see the falling star
      Who ever dare
  Affirm no woman chaste and fair."

The very name of woman becomes soiled if we seek to be related to her by
the coarse ties of appetite, instead of the tender threads of affection,
the charm of ideas. There are pleasures for keeping as enjoying,--for
using delicately, the zest lasting long, the more affluent when tasted
with moderation and seldom.

  "Who can to love more rich gift make
  Than to love's self, for love's own sake?
  Love, that imports in every sense delight,
  Is fancied in the soul, not appetite:
  Why love among the virtues is scarce known
  Is that love is them all contract in one."


III.--FAMILY.

  "How fruitful may the smallest circle grow
  When we the secret of its culture know."

Here is room enough, however humble and unfurnished, for the most
expansive friendships, the purest delights, the noblest labors; for
where women are, there open forth all possibilities of culture.

  Here high o'er head of spiteful fate,
  Jove cradles safe the ideal state.

"A married life is most beautiful. For what other thing can be such an
ornament to a family as the association of husband and wife? For it must
not be said that sumptuous edifices, walls covered with pictures, and
piazzas adorned with stones,--so admired by those who are ignorant of
the Good; nor yet painted windows, myrtle walks; nor anything else which
is the subject of astonishment to the stupid,--are the ornaments of a
family. But the beauty of a household consists in the conjunction of man
and wife who are united to each other by destiny, are consociated to the
gods who preside over nuptials, births, and houses; and who accord,
indeed, with each other, and have all things in common as far as to
their bodies, or rather their souls themselves;--who exercise a becoming
authority over their house and servants, are properly solicitous about
the education of their children and pay an attention to the necessaries
of life, which is neither expensive nor negligent, but moderate and
appropriate. For what can be better and more excellent, as the most
admirable Homer says,

  'Than when at home the husband and the wife
  Unanimously live.'"


  THE GOBLET.

  I drank delights from every cup,
  Arts, institutions, I drank up;
  Athirst, I quaffed life's flowing bowls,
  And sipped the flavors of all souls.

  A sparkling cup remained for me,
  The brimming fount of Family;
  This I am still drinking,
  Since, to my thinking,
  Good wine beads here,
  Flagons of cheer,
  Nor laps the soul
  In Lethe's bowl.

  Wine of immortal power
  Into my chalice now doth pour;
  Prevailing wine,
  Juice of the Nine,
  Flavored of sods,
  Vintage of gods;
  Joyance benign
  This wondrous wine
    Ever at call;--
  Wine maddening none,
  Wine saddening none,
    Wine gladdening all,
  Makes love's cup ruddier glow,
  Genius and grace its overflow.

  I drained the drops of every cup,
  Times, institutions I drank up:
  Still Beauty pours the enlivening wine,
  Fills high her glass to me and mine;
  Her cup of sparkling youth,
  Of love first found, and loyal truth:
  I know, again I know,
  Her fill of life and overflow.

When I find my friends are not of the same age as when I first knew
them, I may conclude myself, not them, to be decaying and losing flavor.
Still youth and innocency are the sole solvents of all doubts and
infidelities; the faiths of women and children in friendship, ever fresh
demonstrations of life's sufficiency and imperishableness. Families
never die, since they trace their pedigree to Adam the First, who is of
immortal ancestry. First suckled at our mother's breast our faiths
survive all subsequent modifications; embrace the friendships we form,
and color the whole of life. Our intellectual creed may change;
temperament, calling, social position, fortune, sect, may phrase
differently the delightful lay she sang to us--its tone still lingers in
the memory of our affections, holding the heart loyal, and if trusted to
the end takes us triumphantly through life. "Ever the feminine leadeth
us on." Every prospect the mother gains is soon commanded by her
children: our comforts and satisfactions life-long having the voice and
countenance of woman.


IV.--CHILDREN.

  "Heaven lies about us in our infancy."

Our notion of the perfect society embraces the family as its centre and
ornament. Nor is there a paradise planted till the children appear in
the foreground to animate and complete the picture. Without these, the
world were a solitude, houses desolate, hearts homeless; there were
neither perspectives, nor prospects; ourselves were not ourselves, nor
were there a future for us:

  In their good gifts we hopeful see
  The fairer selves we fain would be.

Socrates comprised all objects of his search in

  "Whate'er of good or ill can man befall
  In his own house,"

rightly conceiving this to be the seminary of the virtues and foundation
of states. There it stands, the ornament of the landscape, and for the
human hospitalities: we cannot render it too attractive. Let it be the
home of beauty, the haunt of affection, of ideas. Let its chambers open
eastward admitting the sunshine for our own and children's sake. Do they
not covet the clear sky, delighting in the blue they left so lately, nay
cannot wholly leave in coming into nature, whereof they are ever asking
news? These gay enthusiasts must run eagerly, and never have enough of
it. How soon the clouds clear away from their faces! How sufficient they
are to the day, and the joy it brings them! Their poise and plenitude
rebuke us.

    "Happy those early days when I
    Shined in my angel infancy;
    Before I taught my soul to wound
    My conscience with a sinful sound,
    Or taught my soul to fancy aught
    But a white celestial thought,
    Or had the black art to dispense
    A several sin to every sense,
    But felt through all this fleshly dress
    Bright shoots of everlastingness."

Charming pictures these bright boys, confiding girls, as full of promise
to themselves as we were at their age; are still, if faithful to the
beautiful vision. Why else should the flame pale as we come up into
life, we pleasing ourselves nor others more, perhaps despair of
maintaining the virtues we espoused so eagerly in our youth? Must we

  "When we've enjoyed our ends then lose them,
  And all our appetites be but as dreams
  To laugh at in our ages?"

If this fresh score of years did not deceive us, shall a life of
threescore, with its deeper glances into the mystery, lead us to doubt
the longevity of a sentiment of whose imperishableness that life itself
is the best evidence we need ask? Are we to be left orphans when taken
from nature's arms, robbed of all that made life desirable before?
Nature cared for us; Persons failed us, and all unawares we lapsed out
of our paradise, its gates barred against us.

  "I cannot reach it; and my striving eye
  Dazzles at it, as at eternity.
  Were now that chronicle alive,
  Those white designs which children drive,
  And the thoughts of each harmless hour,
  With their content too in my power,
  Quickly would I make my path even,
  And by mere playing go to heaven.

  Dear harmless age, the short, swift span
  Where weeping virtue parts with man;
  Where love without lust dwells, and bends
  What way we please, without self-ends:
  An age of mysteries! which he
  Must live twice that would God's face see;
  Where angels guard, and with it play,
  Angels, which foul men drive away."

'Tis sad to consider how long time is consumed in wiping away the stains
which had been insinuated into the breast during these earlier years and
up to coming manhood,--to what we call the maturity of our powers. Life
is too much for most. So much of age, so little youth; living for the
most part in the moment, and dating existence by the memory of its
burdens. Men think they once were not, and fear the like fate may
overtake them, as if time were older than their minds. 'Tis because we
always were that we cannot trace our beginnings to the atheism of
no-being and resolve ourselves into nothing. Children save us. Rather
are we saved by remaining children, as Christ said.

Have we forgotten how things looked to us when we were young; how the
dull world the old people lived in seemed to us? 'Twas not ours, nor
their dry theism; and our fresh hearts whispered reverently:

"Is not your paradise an Inferno? Please never name it. While in Heaven
I speak not of it: I hum that song to myself. Will you spoil my paradise
too? Come with me, come, and I will show you Elysium; I know all about
it; I am not deceived. I feel it to be solid, safe. It makes good its
pledges always. I have a home of all delights--am admitted when I
please, while you seem vagabonds and woebegones, bereft of friends, the
Friend of friends. Am I to quit my present satisfactions for your
promised joys. Unkind! this taking me from my paradise, unless you
conduct me to a happier."



V.

CULTURE.


     "O for the coming of that glorious time,
     When, prizing knowledge as their noblest wealth
     And best protection, liberal states shall own
     An obligation on their part to teach
     Them, who are born to serve her and obey;
     Binding themselves by statute to secure
     For all the children whom their soil maintains
     The rudiments of letters; and to inform
     The mind with moral and religious truth
     Both understood and practised--so that none
     However destitute, be left to drop
     By timely culture unsustained, or run
     Into a wild disorder; or be forced
     To drudge through life without the aid
     Of intellectual implements and tools;
     A savage horde among the civilized,
     A servile band among the lordly free."
                  WORDSWORTH.



[Illustration: Decorative banner of thistle blooms and leaves]



CULTURE.


I.--MODERN TEACHING.

Saxon Alfred decreed that every man who had so much as two hides of
land, should bring up his children to learning till they were fifteen
years of age at least, that they might be religious and live happily;
else, he said, they were but beasts and sots, dangerous to themselves
and the state. And the state's true glory lies in its calling forth into
fullest exercise and giving scope and right direction to the gifts of
its children; seeking out especially and fostering the best born as they
rise, and training these for educators of the coming generations. The
Parent of parents, the guardian of all gifts born into it, society
should neglect none, sequester none from places and honors to which they
are entitled by birthright of genius or acquirement. Every child, the
gifted by divine right, is sent to cherish and redeem the race; whom to
neglect or divert from its aim were base oversight and abuse of the race
itself. Far too noble, too precious be any to be used for ends merely
secondary, secular, and thus spoiled for their own and God's intents.

Yet simple as this duty seems, society with all its aims and appliances,
has not as yet attained the refinement of culture needful to the
receiving of a child into its bosom, and of educating it to the full
demands of its endowments. With the child comes the seed of states; the
family being the nursery of the citizen, the measure of a people's
civilization. As the homes, so the state; as the parents, so the
children. Nor has society fathered its functions till all children,
befriended from the first, are fashioned into the image each is capable
of attaining. Other goods are but aids to this end; all are necessary
for educating the human being, since the child is the summary of all
gifts, and the most precious of all trusts committed to the state for
trial and training.

Yet still the decease of gifts follows fast on their birth, and parents
are oftener called beside the bier of these children of the sun than to
their nuptials or coronation. They hold their jubilees in weeds rather;
and the untimeliness of genius is the tragedy of life as of letters.
Amidst the sickliness and wane of things, neither poet nor saint
survives his laurel for more than a day. Far from treating the human
being with anything like the subtlety and skill displayed by the ancient
masters, we wait for the first hint of an institution for training youth
into the fulness of their powers, by the genial touch of sensibility,
the magnetism of thought. Left instead to the superficial culture of the
sects, the traditions of the elders, the guidance of worldlings, they
slide soon into vague conjectures, run adrift on the sea of doubt, the
shoals of expediency, bereft of faith in themselves as in things unseen
and ideal.

  "See gifted youths rush out to feed on whims;
  Fashion craves their hours, low hopes their aim,
  To win not noble women for their brides,
  But titled slaves, heirs to some teasing caste,
  For beauty without culture seems mere show;
  As if great nature laid not on her tints
  With more contrivance than the brush of art;
  Or schools where grammars hide the place of sense,
  And shallow stammering drowns the native voice."

Not letters but life chiefly educate if we are educatable. But
experience follows oftenest too late for most and too distant from the
work to help us directly without an interpreter to assist in making
timely use of it. Fortunate will it be, if by instinct and mother wit we
take life at first hand, converting it forthwith into thought and habit.
Character comes of temperament far more than of acquirement. And the
most that culture performs is the drawing forth, fashioning and
polishing the natural gifts. But we cannot create what is not inborn. A
fine brain is a spiritual endowment, as from the head of Jove sprang
Minerva. Centuries of culture pass into pure power; piety and genius are
parents of piety and genius. But less discriminating than were the
ancient carvers in wood and ivory, who, when they had an order for a
head of Hermes, or any ordinary god even, searched carefully for
substances adapted to receive the proper form, states attempt to fashion
saints and rulers out of any materials that chance brings to hand.
Omitting mind, or overriding it in our haste to come at immediate and
superficial results, we ignore ideas and principles altogether. Aiming
at little we attain little. For while our country opens the freest scope
for the exercise of the higher gifts of genius and character, we cherish
these but feebly in our public or private training. The highest prizes
held forth to youth are not only beneath the aims of a noble ambition,
but the stimulus for their attainment is wanting. Even in New England,
culture is external, provincial; neglectful of the better parts of body
and mind; behind the old countries, that of the ancient states. We cram
the memory with the lore of foreign tongues, the understanding with a
medley of learning, leaving fancy, imagination, the moral sentiment,
mainly to shift for themselves--the forming of the manners, motives,
aims and aspirations. Then what substitutes have we, for the falconry,
archery, the hunting, fishing, of earlier and what we deem barbarous
times? Yet these were sports, heroic and wholesome, giving a national
coloring and strength of character: the wrestling too, throwing the
quoit, and other manly games, horsemanship, boating, swimming, were a
natural gymnastic for body and mind. War also had its advantages. So the
plays and games were schools of genius and valor: the people were
refined by contact with the refinements of the best citizens, the
guardians of public taste and honor providing hereby a polite and manly
culture suited to the needs of the state. Education extended into the
age of ripe maturity. Nor was the disciple committed to himself till he
became the master. And through life he was prompted by incentives of
virtue and fame. The state was venerable, ennobled as it was by the
genius and services of great men; great men earning honorably their
renown by teaching.

  'Tis noble minds who noble men create,
  And they who have great manners form mankind.

Happy the man who wins the confidence of the rising youth of his time.
He becomes priest and professor elect without degrees of synods or
universities. He shapes the future of the next generation as of the
succeeding. A noble artist he cherishes visions of excellence not easily
impersonated or spoken. His life and teachings are studies for high
ideals.


II.--SOCRATIC DIALECTIC.

The highest end of instruction is to discipline and liberalize mind and
character by familiarizing the thoughts with those of the learned and
wise. Character is inspired by admiration of character, intellect by
participating in intellect. The masters form masters. And had I the
choice of my class, I would put Plato's works at once into its hands.
And, for a beginning,--say the Alcibiades of the earlier Dialogues. I
know of no discipline under the care of a thoughtful instructor so
fitting for educating the reason, quickening the moral sense, refining
the sensibilities, fashioning the manners, ennobling the character, as
exercises in the Socratic dialectic: opening the whole armory of gifts,
it sharpens and polishes these for the victories of life. The youth who
masters Plato wins fairly his degree alike in humanity and divinity. He
has the key to the mysteries, ancient and modern.[C]

     [Footnote C: "It might be thought serious trifling," says
     the accomplished Bishop Berkeley, "to tell my readers that
     the greatest of men had ever a high esteem of Plato, whose
     writings are the touchstone of a hasty and shallow mind,
     whose philosophy has been the admiration of ages; which
     supplied patriots, magistrates and lawgivers to the most
     flourishing states, as well as fathers of the church and
     doctors of the schools. Albeit, in these days, the depths of
     that old learning are rarely fathomed. And yet it were happy
     for these lands if our young nobility and gentry, instead of
     modern maxims would imbibe the notions of the great men of
     antiquity. But in these loose times many an empty head is
     shook at Aristotle and Plato, as well as the Holy
     Scriptures. Certainly, where a people are well educated, the
     art of piloting a state is best learned from the writings of
     Plato."]

Take the following as an example of the pure dialectic method as of
metaphysic;

     "In what way, asks Socrates, may we attain to know the soul
     itself with the greatest clearness? for when we know this,
     it seems we shall know ourselves. Now, in the name of the
     gods, whether are we not ignorant of the right meanings of
     that Delphic inscription just now mentioned, 'Know
     thyself?'"

     _Alcibiades._ What meaning? what have you in your thoughts,
     Socrates, when you ask the question?

     _Socrates._ I will tell you what I suspect this inscription
     means, and what particular thing it advises us to do. For a
     just resemblance of it is, I think, not to be found wherever
     one pleases, but in only one thing, the sight.

     _Alcibiades._ How do you mean?

     _Socrates._ Consider it jointly with me. Were a man to
     address himself to the outward human eye, as it were some
     other man; and were he to give it this counsel, "See
     yourself," what particular thing should we suppose that he
     advises the eye to do? Should we not suppose that it was to
     look at such a thing as that the eye by looking at it, might
     see itself?

     _Alcibiades._ Certainly we should.

     _Socrates._ What kind of thing then do we think of by
     looking at which we see things at which we look, and at the
     same time see ourselves?

     _Alcibiades._ 'Tis evident, Socrates, that for this purpose
     we must look at mirrors and other things of like kind.

     _Socrates._ You are right. And has not the eye itself, with
     which we see, something of the same kind belonging to it?

     _Alcibiades._ Most certainly it has.

     _Socrates._ You have observed then, that the face of the
     person who looks in the eye of another person, appears
     visible to himself in the eye of the person opposite to him,
     as in a mirror. And we therefore call this the pupil,
     because it exhibits the image of that person who examines
     it.

     _Alcibiades._ What you say is true.

     _Socrates._ The eye beholding an eye and looking in the most
     excellent part of it in that which it sees, may thus see
     itself?

     _Alcibiades._ Apparently so.

     _Socrates._ But if the eye look at any other part of the
     man, or at anything whatever, except what this part of the
     eye happens to be like, it will not see itself.

     _Alcibiades._ It is true.

     _Socrates._ If therefore the eye would see itself, it must
     look in an eye, and in that place of the eye, too, where the
     virtue of the eye is naturally seated; and the virtue of the
     eye is sight.

     _Alcibiades._ I am aware that it is so.

     _Socrates._ Whether then is it not true, my friend
     Alcibiades, that the soul if she know herself, must look at
     soul, and especially at that place in the soul in which
     wisdom, the virtue of the soul, is ingenerated, and also at
     whatsoever else this virtue of the soul resembles?

     _Alcibiades._ To me, Socrates, it seems true.

     _Socrates._ Do we know of any place in the soul more divine
     than that which is the seat of knowledge and intelligence?

     _Alcibiades._ We do not.

     _Socrates._ This, therefore, in the soul resembles the
     divine nature. And a man, looking at this, and realizing all
     that which is divine and God and wisdom, would gain the most
     knowledge of himself.

     _Alcibiades._ It is apparent.

     _Socrates._ And to know one's self we acknowledge to be
     wisdom.

     _Alcibiades._ By all means.

     _Socrates._ Shall we not say, therefore, that as mirrors are
     clearer, purer, and more splendid than that which is most
     analogous to a mirror in the eye, in like manner, God is
     purer and more splendid than that which is best in our soul?

     _Alcibiades._ It is likely, Socrates.

     _Socrates._ Looking therefore at God, we should make use of
     him as the most beautiful mirror, and among human concerns
     we should look at the virtue of the soul, and thus by so
     doing shall we especially see and know our very self.

     _Alcibiades._ Yes.

And yet knowing the fascinations that beset gifted young men, one might
say to them at parting, as Socrates did to the accomplished Alcibiades,
when the latter intimated that he would begin thenceforward to cultivate
the science of justice:

     "I wish you may persevere. But I am terribly afraid for you;
     not that I in the least distrust the goodness of your
     disposition; but perceiving the torrent of the times, I fear
     you may be borne away with it, in spite of your own
     resistance and all my endeavors in your aid."


III.--PYTHAGOREAN DISCIPLINE.

Let us see, too, how wisely the great master Pythagoras went to his
work.

"He prepared his disciples for learning by many trials; for he did not
receive into the number of his associates any who came to him till he
had subjected them to various examinations. In the first place, he
inquired after what manner they associated with their parents and
relations generally; next, he surveyed their unreasonable laughter,
their silence, their speaking when it was not proper; and farther,
still, what were their desires, their intimacies with their companions,
their conversation; how they employed their leisure time, and what were
the subjects of their joy and grief. He likewise surveyed their form,
their gait, gestures and whole motion of their body, their voice,
complexion and physiognomy, considering all these natural indications to
be the manifest signs of the unapparent manners of the soul.

Having thus subjected them to this scrutiny, he next suffered them to
pass a good while seemingly unobserved by him, that he might the better
judge of each one how he was disposed towards stability and a love of
learning, and whether he was sufficiently fortified against the
flatteries of popularity and false honor and glory. After this, he
advised such to maintain a long silence, that he might observe how far
they were disposed towards continence in speech, and that most difficult
of all victories--the victory over the tongue. Thus practically he made
trial of their aptitudes to be educated, for he was as anxious that they
should be modest and discreet, as that they should not speak
unadvisedly. He likewise directed his attention to every other
particular, such as whether they were astonished at the outbreaks of
immoderate passion and desire. Nor did he superficially consider how
they were affected by these; or whether they were contentious or
ambitious, or how they were disposed as to friendship and strife. And if
on his surveying all these particulars accurately, they appeared to him
endued with worthy manners, he next directed his attention to their
facility in learning and memory; first whether they were able to follow
what was said with rapidity and perspicuity; and in the next place,
whether a certain love and temperance attracted them to the disciplines
by which they were taught; whether they loved to learn and to be
governed; also how they were disposed as to gentleness, which he called
elegance of manners; conceiving all ferocity of temper as hostile to his
mode of education. For impudence, shamelessness, intemperance,
slothfulness, slowness of learning, unrestrained licentiousness,
disgrace and the like, are attendants of savage manners, but the
contrary of these are gentleness and mildness.

Of food he held that whatsoever obstructs divination should be shunned.
And that the juvenile age should make trial of temperance--this being
alone of all the virtues alike adapted to youths and maidens, and
comprehends the good both of body and mind, and also the desire for the
most excellent studies and pursuits. Boys he thought were especially
dear to divinity, and he exhorted women to use words of good omen
through the whole of life, and to endeavor that others may predict good
things of them. He paid great attention to the health of body and mind,
using unction and the bath often, wrestling, leaping with weights in the
hands, also pantomimes with a view to strengthening the body, selecting
for this purpose opposite exercises.

Music he thought contributed greatly to health, as well as to purifying
the heart and manners, and he called it a medicine when he so used it,
conceiving that each faculty had its particular melody. He placed in the
middle a player on the lyre, and seated around him were those who were
able to sing. And when the person struck the lyre, they sang certain
pæans, through which they were sure to be delighted, and to become
orderly and graceful, and he had melodies devised as remedies against
the passions, as anger, despondency, complaint, inordinate desire and
the rest, which afforded the greatest relief to these distempers of the
soul. He likewise used dancing, walking and conversation.

Rulers, who received their country from the multitude of citizens as a
common deposit, were to transmit it faithfully to their posterity as a
hereditary possession; their language was to be such as to render them
worthy of belief without an oath. And as parents, they were so to manage
their domestic affairs as to make the government of them the object of
deliberate choice, being kindly disposed towards their offspring, as
they were the only animals that were susceptible of moral obedience. And
they were to associate with their wives as companions for life, being
mindful that other compacts were engraved on tablets and pillars, but
those with wives were inserted in children, and that they should
endeavor to be beloved by them, not through nature alone, of which they
were not the causes, but through choice; for this was voluntary
beneficence; they remembering, also, that they received their wives from
the vestal hearth with libations, and brought them home as if they were
suppliants of the gods themselves.

By orderly conduct and temperance, they were to be examples both to
their families and the city in which they lived, revering beautiful and
worthy manners, expelling sluggishness from all their actions,
opportunity being the chief good in all. Separation of parents and
children from one another was the greatest of injuries both to
themselves and the State. Youths and virgins were to be educated in
labor and exercises conducing to health, using food convenient thereto,
and in a temperate and tolerant life. Of things in human life, there
were many in which to be late conversant was best. A boy was to be so
educated and fed, as not to have the desires awakened till the nuptial
hour. Parents benefited their children prior to their birth, and were
the causes of their good conduct afterwards. Hence the children owed
them as many thanks as a dead man would owe to him who should be able to
restore him back to life. And they were to associate with one another in
such a manner as not be in a state of hostility, and be easily
reconciled after any disputes, exhibiting a modesty of behavior to their
elders, benevolent dispositions towards parents and love and regard to
all deserving these. All who aspired after true glory, were to be such
in reality as they wished to appear to be to others. The most pure and
unadulterated character was that of him who gave himself to the
contemplation and practice of the most beautiful things, and was a lover
as well as student of wisdom.

It was by disciplines and inventions like these that he sought to heal
and purify the soul, to revive and save its divine part, and thus
conduct to the intelligible One its divine Eye, which is better worth
saving than ten thousand corporeal eyes: since by its sight alone when
thus strengthened and clarified, the truth pertaining to all beings is
clearly perceived."


IV.--MOTHER TONGUE.

  "Let foreign nations of their language boast
    What fine variety each tongue affords,
  I like our language as our men and coast,
    Who cannot dress it well want wit not words."

"Great, verily," says Camden, "was the glory of our tongue before the
Norman conquest, in this, that the old English could express most aptly
all the conceptions of the mind in their own speech without borrowing
from any."

We still draw from the same wells of meaning as did Chaucer and Camden;
the language, by additions from foreign sources, as by native growth,
having now become the most composite of any; it is the one we speak, and
affect to teach. If we have few masters, it is because we yet cultivate
other tongues at its cost. Scholars praise the exceeding richness and
beauty of the best writers of the age of Elizabeth, but fail to inform
us by what happy chances, whether by force of genius altogether, or more
natural methods of study, the language and literature came to its prime
in that period. Meanwhile it were not amiss for us to listen to the
great authors and teachers of those golden days when our tongue had the
sweep and splendor, the force, depth, accuracy, the grace and
flexibility proper to its genius and idiom, if we may learn from these
authorities by what method they attained to their proficiency in its
use; instructors of Princes, as they were, and inspirers of those who
made the literature.

Roger Ascham--Queen Elizabeth's school-master--proposed after teaching
the common rudiments of grammar to begin a course of double translation,
first from Latin into English, and shortly after from English into
Latin, correcting the mistakes of the student and leading to the
formation of a classical style, by pointing out the differences between
the re-translation and the original, and explaining their reasons. "His
whole system is built upon the principle of dispensing as much as
possible with the details of grammar, and he supports his theory by a
triumphant reference to its practical effects, especially as displayed
in the case of Queen Elizabeth, whose well known proficiency in Latin,
he declares to have been obtained without grammatical rules, after the
very simplest had been mastered."

Sir Philip Sidney, whose opinions are of the highest importance in these
matters, speaking in his "Defence of Poesie," says:

"Another will say that English wanteth grammar. Nay, truly, it hath that
praise that it wants not grammar; for grammar it might have, but needs
not, being so easie in itselfe and so void of those cumbersome
differencies of cases, genders, moods and tenses, which I think was a
piece of the tower of Babylon's curse, that a man should be put to
schoole to learn his mother tongue. But for the uttering sweetly and
properly the conceit of the minde which is the end of speech, that it
hath equally with any other tongue in the world."[D]

     [Footnote D: "We learn languages," says Luther, "much better
     by way of mouth at home, in the street, than out of books.
     Letters are dead words; the utterances of the mouth, are
     living words, which in writing can never stand forth so
     distinct and excellent, as the soul of man bodies them forth
     through the mouth. Tell me where was there ever a language,
     which men could learn to speak with correctness and
     propriety by the rules of grammar. Yet let none think or
     conclude from all this, that I would reject the grammars
     altogether."]

Milton, to whom, next to Shakespeare our tongue owes most, and who spent
much time in compiling an English Dictionary, writes in one of his
Italian Letters:

"Whoever in a state, knows how to form wisely the manners and men and to
rule them at home and in war, by excellent institutions, him in the
first place above all others I should esteem worthy of honor. But next
to him, the man who strives in maxims and rules the method and habit of
speaking and writing derived from a good age of the nation, and as it
were to fortify the same round with a kind of wall, the daring to
overleap which a law only short of that of Romulus should be used to
prevent. Should we choose to compare the two in respect to utility, it
is the former alone that can make the social existence of the citizens
just and holy, but it is the latter that makes it splendid and
beautiful, which is the next thing to be desired. The one, as I believe,
supplies a noble courage and intrepid counsels against an enemy invading
the territory; the other takes to himself the task of extirpating and
defeating by means of a learned detective police of ears, and a
light-infantry of good authors, that barbarism which makes large inroads
upon the minds of men and is a destructive intestine enemy to genius.
Nor is it to be considered of small importance what language, pure or
corrupt, a people has, or what is their customary degree of propriety in
speaking it--a matter which oftener than once was the salvation of
Athens. Nay, as it is Plato's opinion, that, by a change in the manner
and habit of dress, serious commotions and mutations are portended in a
commonwealth, I, for my part, would rather believe that the fall of that
city, and low and obscure condition, followed on the general vitiation
of its usage in the matter of speech. For let the words of a country be
in part unhandsome and offensive in themselves, in part debased by wear,
and wrongly uttered, and what do they declare but by no light
indication, that the inhabitants of that country are an indolent,
idly-yawning race, with minds already prepared for any amount of
servility? On the other hand, we have never heard that any empire, any
state, did not flourish in at least a middling degree as long as its
liking and care for its language lasted."

Devotees of grammatical studies have not been distinguished for any very
remarkable felicities of expression. If we consult our experience we
shall find that we owe much to the home dialect, the school, the books
we read, the letters we write; to our fellowships, the practice of such
living speakers and writers as chance threw in our way, our habits of
thinking, observations of life and things, the cultivation of the
sensibilities, imagination, the common sense, more than all else
besides. A man's speech is the measure of his culture; a graceful
utterance the first born of the arts.

Nature is the armory of genius. Cities serve it poorly; books and
colleges at second hand; the eye craves the spectacle of the horizon, of
mountain, ocean, river and plain, the clouds and stars: actual contact
with the elements, sympathy with the seasons as these rise and roll. And
whoever will strike bold strokes for institutions and literature, must
be often afoot with nature and thought in his eye for grasping the
select rhetoric for his theme.

[Illustration: Small decoration of a mask]



VI.

BOOKS.


                     "As great a store
     Have we of books as bees of herbs, or more,
     And the great task to try them, know the good,
     To discern weeds and judge of wholesome food,
     Is a rare scant performance."
                             DANIEL.



[Illustration: Decorative banner of a bee among flowers and leaves]



BOOKS.


Good books, like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select the
more enjoyable; and like these are approached with diffidence, nor
sought too familiarly nor too often, having the precedence only when
friends tire. The most mannerly of companions, accessible at all times,
in all moods, they frankly declare the author's mind, without giving
offence. Like living friends they too have their voice and
physiognomies, and their company is prized as old acquaintances. We seek
them in our need of counsel or of amusement, without impertinence or
apology, sure of having our claims allowed. A good book justifies our
theory of personal supremacy, keeping this fresh in the memory and
perennial. What were days without such fellowship? We were alone in the
world without it. Nor does our faith falter though the secret we search
for and do not find in them will not commit itself to literature, still
we take up the new issue with the old expectation, and again and again,
as we try our friends after many failures at conversation, believing
this visit will be the favored hour and all will be told us. Nor do I
know what book I can well spare, certainly none that has admitted me,
though it be but for the moment and by the most oblique glimpse, into
the mind and personality of its author; though few there are that prefer
such friendly claim to one's regard, and satisfy expectation as he turns
their leaves. Our favorites are few; since only what rises from the
heart reaches it, being caught and carried on the tongues of men
wheresoever love and letters journey.

Nor need we wonder at their scarcity or the value we set upon them;
life, the essence of good letters as of friendship, being its own best
biographer, the artist that portrays the persons and thoughts we are,
and are becoming. And the most that even he can do, is but a chance
stroke or two at this fine essence housed in the handsome dust, but too
fugitive and coy to be caught and held fast for longer than the passing
glance; the master touching ever and retouching the picture he leaves
unfinished.

  "My life has been the poem I would have writ,
  But I could not both live and utter it."

I find books like persons more attractive as they are the more
suggestive, more mythical and difficult to render at once to the senses,
and enjoy them the more for this blending of nature with mind,--the text
sparkling with the author's personality. What is thus implied is more
gracefully delivered than if written literally; it piques then the fancy
more and calls the higher gifts into play; and an author best serves me
who, speaking alike to imagination and reason, arms with figures apt for
occasions, thus pluming the genius for discourse. And the like may be
said of the dictionaries: opened at hazard in lively moods, the columns
become charged with thought, as if each word were blood-wise and fleshed
with meaning. Again, books professing system and completeness are wont
to be dry and unprofitable save for their facts and inferences; truth
the flowing essence of things, the substance of being, accosting the
mind most gracefully as a flowing form, fixed for the moment of passing
only in the mind's eye, and is studied to best advantage rather in books
of biography and poetry than of history or science, wherein the
personality is oftenest lost in abstractions of fact. Reading, like
conversation, is an idealism most profitable as it calls imagination
into play, and thus leads forth all other gifts.

Books of table-talk have this advantage over most others; being the best
companions for the moment, they can be taken up and laid down without
loss, and when sensible are best whetstones for the wits. With the
essayists, the poets, books of letters and lives, one's library were
always alive and inviting. Good for moments these are always good: we
may open by chance, dip anywhere, read in any order, begin at the last
paragraph and read backward as well; obvious consecutiveness being of
less consequence. Nor do I find the logic the worse when thus seemingly
broken and obscure, since each paragraph is a unit standing apart yet
all related in the perspective which the reader commands. We could not
spare from our galaxy the great essayists and moralists, Pliny,
Plutarch, Xenophon, Plato, Epictetus, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius,
Montaigne, Bacon, Sir Thomas Browne Cowley, Coleridge, and the rest;
each delineating in his proper way that antique faith in man and the
world, which being one and universal in essence, unites all mankind. We
know the history of these pieces of life, these experiences recorded for
us by their inspired authors, as if themselves were scribes of the
spirit and committed it to letters for our especial benefit.

Any library is an attraction. And there is an indescribable delight--who
has not felt it that deserves the name of scholar--in mousing at choice
among the alcoves of antique book-shops especially, and finding the
oldest of these sometimes newest of the new, fresher, more suggestive
than the book just published and praised in the reviews. Nor is the
pleasure scarcely less of cutting the leaves of the new volume, opening
by preference at the end rather than title-page, and seizing the
author's conclusions at a glance. Very few books repay the reading in
course. Nor can we excuse an author if his page does not tempt us to
copy passages into our common places, for quotation, proverbs,
meditation, or other uses. A good book is fruitful of other books; it
perpetuates its fame from age to age, and makes eras in the lives of its
readers.

One must be rich in thought and character to owe nothing to books,
though preparation is necessary to profitable reading; and the less
reading is better than more;--book-struck men are of all readers least
wise, however knowing or learned.

          "Books cannot make the mind,
    Which we must bring apt to be set aright,
  Yet do they rectify it in that kind
    And touch it so as that they turn that way
  Where judgment lies. And though we may not find
    The certain place of truth, yet do they stay
  And entertain us near about the same,
    And give the soul the best delight that may
  Encheer it most, and make our spirits enflame
    To thoughts of glory and to worthy deeds."

Moreover for gifts, what so gracefully bestowed as fitting books
conveying what no words of the giver could convey? Were the history of
the few books of the heart published, what more enduring compliment
would this confer on their authors! Perhaps the finest books have least
fame and find but a few choice readers. 'Tis high praise bestowed on an
author that his book is taken up with love and expectation, we coming to
his page again and again without disappointment. To be enjoyable a book
must be wholesome like nature, and flavored with the religion of wisdom.

Books of letters bring the reader nearest to the life and personality of
the writer:

  "For more than kisses letters mingle souls,
  For then friends absent meet."

Written with this advantage of perspective, the epistle is oftentimes
more acceptable than were the interview, more discreet and opportune,
since committing ourselves to the writing with a kind of reserved
abandonment, if I may thus characterize our mood, which in conversation
we might naturally overleap, we give that only in which another may
modestly sympathize and share--so shading our egotism as to tell all
about ourselves with the delicacy of self-respect without wounding that
of others. Epistolary correspondence is the most difficult and delicate
of all composition. And this perhaps accounts for the few books of the
kind in our or any language; and the best of these mostly written by
women who give themselves heartily to sentiment. One may think himself
fortunate if the gift be his, and his experience find expression in his
correspondence. Perhaps the diary has this advantage over letters; we
make it our confidant committing to its leaves what we would not to
another; sure of the sacred trust being kept for us. And the most
interesting biographies are composed largely of these. The more
autobiographical the more attractive. The keeping of a journal is an
education. Let every one try his hand at one and begin young. If it get
the best of his hours and an autobiography out of him, neither his time
has been misspent nor has he lived in vain. A life worth living is worth
recording. To what end lives any, if he fail of getting apparent order
at least into it; living in a manner worthy of celebrity? Life were poor
enough that does not organize the chaos and bring the joy of creation,
pronouncing it and all things good, excellence ever falling naturally
into order and melody. Let one value above all literary fame the gift of
seizing and portraying his privatest thought,--the homely furnitures and
primogenitures,--and if but partially successful consider himself as
having attained the fairest laurels the muse has to bestow. As the best
fruits of the season fall latest and keep the longest, so those of a
lifetime; and fortunate is he whose genius thus gathers his choicest
samples housed carefully in a book for any who may relish their flavor.

One cannot be well read unless well seasoned in thought and experience.
Life makes the man. And he must have lived in all his gifts and become
acclimated herein to profit by his readings. Living at the breadth of
Shakspeare, the depth of Plato, the height of Christ, gives the mastery,
or if not that, a worthy discipleship. Life alone divines life. We read
as we live; the book being for us the deeper or the shallower as we are.
If read from the reason, it answers to the reason, but fails of finding
imagination, the moral sentiment, the affections, fails of making valid
its claims upon the deepest instincts of the heart,--those critics of
inspiration and interpreters,--all books owing their credibility to the
fact of being written from, and addressed to these, as eye-witnesses and
sponsors. Mothers of our mothers we are ever at their teats. Most owe
more to tradition than to culture or literature; the best of literature
as of nurture, being still largely tinctured with tradition. Our debt to
the Hebrew scriptures has been greater doubtless than to any literature
hitherto accessible to us of the Saxon stock; greater than to all
foreign literatures besides. And now the instincts prompt thoughtful
minds as never before to explore the prime sources and drink freely at
the fountains.

  "Are mouldy records now the living springs,
  Whose healing waters slake the thirst within?
        Oh! never yet hath mortal drank
        A draught restorative
  That well'd not from the depths of his own soul."

Very desirable it were since the gates of the East are now opening wide
and giving the free commerce of mind with mind, to collect and compare
the Bibles of the races for general circulation and careful reading. For
still out of the Theban night rays the light of our day and blends with
all our thinking and doing--China, Egypt, Assyria, Persia, Palestine,
Greece, Rome, Britain--the christendom and world of to-day.

  Why nibbling always where
  Ye nothing fresh can find
    Upon those rocks?

  Lo! meadows green and fair!
  Come pasture here your mind,
    Ye bleating flocks.



VII.

COUNSELS.


     "Counsel is not so sacred a thing as praise, since the
     former is only useful among men, but the latter is for the
     most part reserved for the gods."--PYTHAGORAS.



[Illustration: Decorative banner of a butterfly among leaves]



COUNSELS.


I.--RELIGIOUS.

  "Who shapes his Godhead out of flesh or stone,
  Knows not a God; but he who lives like one."

Know, that seeing you, I divine your gods also. Why name them then one
by one so sentimentally and so often? Being yours individually, so
unmistakably in your image, surely none needs question or desire them. A
thousand thanks if you will lisp never a syllable more about them. As I
treat them civilly by my silence, why persist thus pertinaciously in
thrusting their claims upon my attention and then questioning my piety
for not christening them? O! rare respecting silence, deep is the
religion that fathoms thine; speaking most reverently when deepest, and
divining mysteries that none names devoutly. What if the sacred name
were the silent syllable in the saint's devotions, and he

  "One of the few, who in his town
  Honors all preachers, is his own?
  Sermons ne'er hears, or not so many
  As leaves no time to practise any?--
  Hears, ponders reverently, and then
  His practice preaches o'er again.
  His parlor sermons rather are
  Those to the eye than to the ear;
  His prayers taking price and strength
  Not from their loudness nor their length:
  His murmurs have their music too,
  Ye mighty pipes, as well as you;
    Nor yields the noblest nest
  Of warbling seraphim to the ears of love
  A choicer lesson, than the joyful breast
    Of some poor panting turtle dove."

One sometimes thinks silence for a century were most worshipful since
speech babbles so badly. Has not harlequin in bands and book played out
his part the world over?--the drawl of sacred names been heard till
sacred names seem profane, and it were devout to fall into silence about
them more eloquent than any speeches about sanctity? If infidelity,
indifference, scepticism, sweep secretly the breadth and depths of
Christendom, 'tis but the binding spell of these superstitions about the
name of One whom the love and admiration of all good men hold precious
and will not let perish from love and remembrance.

  What were Christ Jesus' life and gospel sweet,
  If not in loving hearts he fix his holy seat?

If one's life is not worshipful, no one cares for his professions. Piety
is a sentiment: the more natural it is, the wholesomer. Nor is there
piety where charity is wanting. "If one love not his brother whom he
hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen." None are deceived
as to the spirit of their acquaintances: the instinct of every village,
every home, intimates true character. We recognize goodness wherever we
find it. 'Tis the same helpful influence, beautifying the meanest as the
greatest service by its manners, doing most when least conscious, as if
it did it not.

    "A man's best things are nearest him,
        Lie at his feet;
    It is the distant and the dim
        That we are sick to greet."

Let us have unspoken creeds and these quick and operative. I wish mine
to be so, for though it embosoms doctrines fit to shine in words, it
seems most becoming to publish truths thus vital by example rather,
sentiments so private shrinking from the frost of distrust, the heat of
controversy. Personal in their traits and colored with individual hues,
they court the confidences of silence, and are unspeakable.

One needs but brighten his eyes to look deep into the depths of his
heart and settle all disputes. Enlarge by a thought our view, exalt it
by a sentiment, we find all men of our creed; or, far better, superior
to party or creed. The uprise of an idea, perception of a principle,
makes many one and inseparable. The liberal mind is of no sect; it shows
to sects their departures from the ideal standard, and thus maintains
pure religion in the world. But there are those whose minds, like the
pupil of the eye, contract as the light increases. 'Tis a poor egotism
that sees only its own image reflected in its vision. "Only as thou
beest it thou seest it." How differently the different sects interpret
the scriptures, each according to its light and training! I imagine our
Bible is more loosely read, least understood of any book in the English
tongue: conceive a fresh generation coming to its perusal as to a volume
just issued in modern type from a popular bookstore and reviewed in the
journals. How better acquit ourselves to the Bibles of the world than by
fairly measuring our private convictions with their spirit and
teachings? Let us first acquaint ourselves with these Records of
Revelation before we claim for ours the merit of being the only inspired
volume; ourselves the favored people--as if the Truth were a
geographical resident dwelling in our neighborhood only.

    When thou approachest to The One,
      Self from thyself thou first must free,
    Thy cloak duplicity cast clean aside,
      And in the Being's Being Be.

One does not like to disturb the faith of his neighbors, yet cannot
speak truly on religious themes without touching the sensibilities of
the weak, and sometimes wounding where he sought sympathy and support.
It takes a good man to speak tenderly of matters of faith and practice
in which good people have been bred, their hearts being prompt to feel
and act without questioning the head. Precious souls, if not overwise,
or strong for reform; the weak saints being as formidable impediments as
the strong sinners, both blocking the ways to amendment. But
temperament, inborn tendencies, predispositions, determine one's cast of
thinking or no-thinking, and go far to shape his religious opinions. Our
instincts, faithfully drawn out and cherished by purity of life, lead to
Theism as their flower and fruit. If swayed by the senses we are natural
Pantheists, at best idolaters and unbelievers in the Personal Mind. The
passions prevailing, incline us to Atheism, or some superstition ending
in scepticism, and indifference to all religious considerations.

  "Some whom we call virtuous, are not so
  In their whole substance, but their virtues grow
  But in their humors, and at seasons show.

  For when through tasteless, flat humility,
  In dough-baked men some harmlessness we see,
  'Tis but his phlegm that's virtuous and not he.

  So is the blood sometimes: whoever ran
  To danger unimportuned, he was then
  No better than a sanguine, virtuous man.

  So cloistered men, who, on pretence of fear
  All contributions to this world forbear,
  Have virtue in melancholy, and only there.

  Spiritual, choleric critics, who in all
  Religions find fault, and forgive no fall,
  Have through their zeal virtue but in their gall.

  We're thus but parcel gilt, to gold we're grown
  When virtue is our soul's complexion--
  Who knows his virtue's name or place has none."


II.--PERSONAL.

Persist in being yourself, and against fate and yourself. Faith and
persistency are life's architects, while doubt and despair bury all
under the ruins of any endeavor. You may pull all your paradises about
your ears save your earliest; that is to be yours sometime. Strive and
have; still striving till striving is having. We mount to heaven mostly
on the ruins of our cherished schemes, finding our failures were
successes. Nor need we turn sour if we fail to draw the prizes in life's
lottery. It were the speck in the fruit, the falling of our manliness
into decay. These blanks were all prizes had we the equanimity to take
them without whimpering or discontent. The calamities we suffer arise
not from circumstances chiefly, but from ourselves. If the dose is
nauseous or bitter, 'tis because we are, else it were not drank off with
the disgust we manifest. Sweet, bitter or sour,--we taste one thing in
everything tasted, and that is ourselves. Could each once be clean
delivered of himself how salutary were all things and sufficing. "'Tis
in morals as in dietetics, one cannot see his fault till he has got rid
of it."

Only virtue is fame; nor is it forward in sounding its own praises,
being sure that merit never sleeps untold, nor dies without honors. It
cannot: once lived and whispered ever so faintly in private places, it
publishes itself in spite of every concealment and sometime blazes its
fame abroad by myriads of trumpets. The light trembling in the socket of
bashfulness, or hidden under the bushel of misapprehension, or
inopportunity, flames forth at fitting moment, irradiates the world
thereafter forever, streaks the dawn, as a visitation of the day-spring
from on high.

It is as ignoble to go begging conditions as to go begging bread. If too
feeble, too proud or unapt to create these, one may make up his mind to
dispense with any advantage that power on that side of life confers. Not
a circumstance, like the animal whose place in nature is determined, but
a creator of circumstances, man brings to his help freedom, opportunity,
art, to build a world out of the world in harmony with his wants. If his
occupation is spoiling him 'tis the dictate of virtue as of prudence, to
quit it for one that in maintaining shall enrich him also. He must be a
bad economist who squanders himself on his maintenance; wasting both his
days and himself. His gifts are too costly for such cheap improvidence.
One's character is the task allotted him to form, his faculties the
implements, his genius the workman, life the engagement, and with these
gifts of nature and of God, shall he fail to quarry forth from his
opportunities a man for his heavenly task-master? "The wise man does not
submit to employments which he may undertake, but accommodates and lends
himself to them only."

Nor is any man greatest standing apart in his individualism; his
strength and dignity come by sympathy with the aims of the best men of
the community of which he is a member. Yet whoever seeks the crowd,
craving popularity for propping repute, forfeits his claim to reverence
and expires in the incense he inhales. The truly great stand upright as
columns of the temple whose dome covers all, against whose pillared
sides multitudes lean; at whose base they kneel in times of trouble.
Stand fast by your convictions and there maintain yourself against every
odds. One with yourself, you are one with Almighty God, and a majority
against all the world:

     Vox priva, vox Dei.


III.--POLITICAL.

  "To God, thy country, and thyself be true,
   If priest and people change, keep thou thy guard."

Both conformity and nonconformity are alike impracticable. When the
conformist can stay clean in his conformity, the nonconformist come
clean out of his nonconformity, it will be time to plead
self-consistency. Nor let any stay to make proselytes. I have never
known the followers of either to come clean out of themselves even, but
casting their tributes to expediency or authority, surrender
unreservedly to party or sect and sink the man. Born free into free
institutions, it behooves all to preserve that freedom unimpaired,
neither intimidated nor bribed by persons or parties: see that these
take nothing of theirs with consent, least of all that which gives
consent its dignity and worth,--one's integrity. Good men should not
obey bad laws too well, lest bad men taking courage from the precedent,
disobey good ones.

  "Know there's on earth a yet auguster thing,
  Veiled though it be, than President or King."

The honorable man prefers his privilege of standing uncommitted to
parties when these fail to represent the whole of honor and justice for
the state. But when politics become attractive by being principled,
senates and cabinets the legislators and executives of justice and
common rights, servants of the High Laws, then, as an honorable man and
faithful citizen, he is won to the polls to cast a pious and patriotic
suffrage for having affairs administered through the best men, whom best
men promote to offices to which their virtues give dignity and
distinction. There are times nevertheless in one's history when
abstinence from this first privilege of a freeman and republican, seems
a duty best performed in its non-performance, the true means of
preserving self-respect, by standing magnanimously as a protest for the
right against the wrong--a vote less on the wrong side of a mixed issue,
being as two cast on the right side, the silent significance of a name
known as the representative of honor and justice, showing where lies the
wrong and the shame--the blush of a defeat on the cheek of an ill-gotten
victory. Of no party properly, a good man votes by his virtues for
mankind, too just to be claimed by any unless to save it from dishonor.

At best the state's polity is deliberative, ruling the right as far as
is practicable under the circumstances. Of mixed elements, it contents
itself with mixed results,--the best permitted under the mixed
conditions. But the statesman may not compromise principle for the sake
of accommodating legislation to suit the interests of party. If he ride
that horse too fearlessly, he is sure to be overthrown. General
intelligence interposes the effective check upon political ambition and
carries forward state affairs. But if, unequal to self-government, the
people have attained to that sense of freedom and no more, which renders
liberty a snare, then the state stumbles towards a despotism, call the
rule by any fine name you please. No greater calamity can befall a
people than that of deliberating long on issues imperilling liberty; any
impotency of indecision betraying a lapse into slavery from which the
gravest deliberative wisdom cannot rescue them. Knowingly to put on the
yoke and wear it restively meanwhile, were a servitude that only slavery
itself can cure.

          Where sleep the gods
  There mob-rule sways the state,
  Treason hath plots and fell debate,
  Brother doth brother darkly brand,
  Few faithful midst sedition's storm do stand,
  The whole of virtue theirs to stay the reeling land.

"States are destroyed, not so much from want of courage as for want of
virtue, and the most pernicious of all ignorance is, when men do not
love what they approve; written laws being but images of, or substitutes
for those true laws which ought to be present in every human soul
through a perfect insight into good."


  THE SOUL'S ERRAND.

  "Go, Soul, the Body's guest,
    Upon a thankless errand;
  Fear not to touch the best,
    The truth shall be thy warrant;
      Go, since all else must die,
      And give all else the lie.

  Go tell the Court it glows
    And shines like rotten wood;
  Go tell the Church it shows
    What's good, but does not good:
      If Court and Church reply,
      Give Court and Church the lie.

  Tell Potentates they live
    Acting, but base their actions;
  Not loved, unless they give,
    Nor strong, save by their factions:
      If Potentates reply,
      Give Potentates the lie.

  Tell men of high condition,
    That rule affairs of state,
  Their purpose is ambition,
    Their practice chiefly hate:
      And if they do reply,
      Then give them all the lie.

  Tell those that brave it most,
    They beg for more by spending;
  Who, in their greatest cost,
    Seek nothing but commending:
      And if they make reply,
      Spare not to give the lie.

  Tell Zeal it lacks devotion;
    Tell Love it is but lust;
  Tell Time it is but motion;
    Tell Help it is but dust:
      And wish them no reply,
      For thou must give the lie.

  Tell Age it daily wasteth;
    Tell Honor how it alters;
  Tell Beauty that it blasteth;
    Tell Favor that she falters:
      And as they do reply,
      Give every one the lie.

  Tell Wit how much she wrangles
    In fickle points of niceness;
  Tell Wisdom she entangles
    Herself in over niceness;
      And if they do reply
      Then give them both the lie.

  Tell Physic of her boldness;
    Tell Skill it is pretension;
  Tell Charity of coldness;
    Tell Law it is contention;
      And if they yield reply,
      Then give them all the lie.

  Tell Fortune of her blindness;
    Tell Nature of decay;
  Tell Friendship of unkindness;
    Tell Justice of delay;
      And if they do reply,
      Then give them still the lie.

  Tell Arts they have no soundness,
    But vary by esteeming;
  Tell Schools they lack profoundness
    And stand too much on seeming:
      If Arts and Schools reply,
      Give Arts and Schools the lie.

  Tell Faith it's fled the city;
    Tell how the country erreth;
  Tell manhood, shakes off pity,
    Tell Virtue least preferreth;
      And if they do reply,
      Spare not to give the lie.

  So when thou hast, as I
    Commanded thee, done blabbing;
  Although to give the lie
    Deserves no less than stabbing;
      Yet stab at thee who will,
      No stab the soul can kill."

[Illustration: Small triangular decoration of two stylized fish]



BOOK II

SPECULATIVE


     "Philosophy is one of the richest presents that man ever
     received from heaven, being that which raises the mind into
     the contemplation of eternal things, and is the science
     which of all others affords the most agreeable
     entertainment."--EVELYN.



I.

INSTRUMENTALITIES.


     "The age, the present times, are not
     To snudge in, and embrace a cot;
     Action and blood now get the game,
     Disdain treads on the peaceful name:
     Who sits at home, too, bears a load
     Greater than those that gad abroad."
                             HENRY VAUGHAN.



[Illustration: Decorative banner of two mythical animals among leaves]



INSTRUMENTALITIES.


I.--TENDENCIES.

Our time is revolutionary. It drifts strong and fast into unitarianism
and the empire of ideas. All things are undergoing reform and
reconstruction; the fellowship of all souls intent on laying broad and
deep the foundations of the new institutions. The firm of Globe Brothers
& Co., prospers in both hemispheres, every citizen being a partner in
the concern. The nations are leagued together on the basis of mutual
assistance, finding the old alliances founded on force and fear to be
insecure; the people seeing it best to be friends and copartners in
conducting the world's affairs;--trade the natural knot tying them
by the coarser wants only; world-politics their bond of union and
prosperity. No longer playing independent parts safely, they co-operate
and conspire for the common welfare, interposing such checks as
each individually requires for his security. Ruling is conducted
not by legislation nor diplomacy, but by social and commercial
inter-communication; every man opening out for himself the sphere suited
to his gifts, and taking his thinking and doing into head and hands as a
loyal man and citizen. Power is stealing with a speed and momentum
unprecedented from the few to the many; is played out on a theatre
world-wide, whole populations taking part in affairs; the distance once
separating extremes being bridged; middle men with human sympathies and
broad common-sense taking the lead and setting the old pretensions
aside. A daring realism overleaping the old barriers gives government
into the hands of the whole people, rulers being their servants, not
masters; presidents and kings the representatives of ideas and paying
loyal homage to these crowned heads; the old virtues of reverence for
man, fidelity to principle, so venerable and sacred in private stations,
seeking reappearance in public life.

If once the great, the wise, were in the minority, and none dreamed of
reason becoming popular, reason is fast becoming republicanized; from
being the exclusive property of the few is diffusing itself universally
as the common possession of the multitude.

  Imperial thought now holds her powerful sway,
  And drives the peoples on their prosperous way.

The freshest, best thoughts of the best minds of all times are claimed
by the community; itself the awakened critic and prompter of the best;
all thirsting for information,--world-wisdom,--and drinking off eagerly
the lore of centuries. Knowledge everywhere diffused is accessible to
all, rolls with the globe, dashes against the shores of every sea,
delves the caverns, climbs the hill-tops with sun and moon, for the
common benefit. If Hesiod wrote for his times that

    "Riches are the soul of feeble men,"

our time is fast translating his line practically:

    Riches are the hand of able men;

Capitalists holding kings and presidents in check while playing the
better game of civilization, equalizing indirectly by legislative
philanthropies the extremes--every man's needs being taken as drafts
drawn by Providence on opulence, to be honored at sight:

    "Stewards of the gods alone
    Are we; have nothing of our own
    Save what to us the gods commit,
    And take away when they see fit."

Once all crimes were capital and punished with death. Now this Draconian
code has been so meliorated and softened by the diffusion of mercy and
humanity as to take life for life only; is pleading powerfully for the
abolition of the death-penalty altogether.

The sects are losing their monopoly in the heavenly luminary, closing no
longer their brazen cope of darkening doctrines on the religious horizon
to vitiate the social and political morals of mankind. The faiths of the
cultivated nations are being revised, Christendom itself drifting with
irresistible speed and momentum into a world-religion, commensurate with
the advancing thought of advancing minds everywhere. As the Greeks
received their Gods from Egypt and Phoenicia, Rome hers from Greece, and
we ours from Rome, Judea and Britain, by the law of interfusion we are
ripening into a cosmopolitan faith, with its Pantheon for all races.


II.--METHOD.

Ours were a trivial time if busied in building solely from the senses in
facts of understanding, having nothing ideal to enshrine. Without
symbols, peoples perish. Things must be exalted into some fair image of
mind, the senses and gifts magnetized to body forth thoughts; the eye
beholding these in what the hands fashion. Ideas supplement and
symbolize facts: the field of realities lying behind unseen; the paddock
of the common sense being but an enclosure within the immeasurable
spaces of which thought is royal ranger,--owner of domains far larger
and richer than these confine or survey, ideal estates which only mind
can claim; quarries out of which nature itself is hewn, eye and hand are
shapen. Head and hand should go abreast with thought. If the age of iron
and bronze has been welding chains and fetters about the forehead and
limbs, here, too, is the Promethean thought, using the new agencies let
loose by the Dædalus of mechanic invention in the service of soul as of
the senses. Having recovered the omnipotence in nature, the
omnipresence, graded space, tunnelled the abyss, joined ocean and land
by living wires, stolen the chemistry of the solar ray, made light our
painter, the lightning our runner, discovered the polar axis, set matter
on fire, thought is pushing its inquiries into the hitherto unexplored
regions of man's personality, for whose survey and service every modern
instrumentality lends the outfit and means--facilities ample,
unprecedented--new instruments for the new discoveries--new eyes for the
new spectacles. Using no longer contentedly the fumbling fingers of the
old circuitous logic, the genius takes the track of the creative
thought,--intuitively, cosmically, ontologically. A subtler analysis is
finely discriminated, a broader synthesis generalized from the materials
accumulated in the mind during the centuries, the globe's contents being
gathered in from all quarters, the Book of Creation illustrated anew,
and posted to date. The new calculus is ours. An organon alike
serviceable to metaphysician and naturalist--whereby things answer to
thought, facts are resolved into truths, images into ideas, matter into
mind, power into personality, man into God; the One soul in all souls
revealed as the Creative Spirit pulsating in all breasts, immanent in
all atoms, prompting all wills, and personally embosoming all persons in
one unbroken synthesis of Being.[E]

     [Footnote E: "Truth can be known by the thinking reason. It
     has been known by speculative thinkers scattered through the
     ages. Their systems exist and may be mastered. Their
     differences are not radical, but lie rather in the mode of
     exposition--the point of departure, the various obstacles
     overcome, and the character of the _technique_ used. Their
     agreement is central and pervading. The method of
     speculative cognition is to be distinguished from that of
     sensuous certitude, and from the reflection of the
     understanding by the exhaustive nature of its procedure. It
     considers its subject in a universal manner and its steps
     are void of all arbitrariness.

     In order to detect a speculative system, ask the following
     questions of it: 1. "Is the highest principle regarded as a
     fixed, abstract, and rigid one, or as a concrete and
     self-moving one?" 2. "Is the starting point of the system
     regarded as the highest principle, and the onward movement
     of the same merely a result deduced analytically; or is the
     beginning treated as the most abstract and deficient, while
     the final result is the basis of all?" In other words, "Is
     the system a descent from a first principle or an ascent to
     one?" This will detect a defect of the method, while the
     former question, (1,) will detect defects in the content or
     subject matter of the system."--WILLIAM T. HARRIS.]

"It has hitherto, unhappily, been the misfortune of the mere
materialist, in his mania for matter on the one hand and dread of ideas
on the other, to invert this creative order, and thus hang the world's
picture as a man with his heels upwards"--a process conducting of
necessity to conclusions as derogatory to himself as to Nature's author.
Assuming matter as his basis of investigation, force as father of
thought, he confounds faculties with organs, life with brute substance,
piles his atom atop of atom, cements cell on cell, in constructing his
column, sconce mounting sconce aspiringly as it rises, till his shaft of
gifts crown itself surreptitiously with the ape's glorified effigy, as
Nature's frontispiece and head--life's atomy with life omitted
altogether, man wanting. Contrarywise reads the ideal naturalist the
book of lives. Opening at Spirit, and thence proceeding to ideas, he
finds their types in matter, life unfolds itself naturally in organs,
faculties begetting forces, mind moulding things substantially, its
connections and interpendencies appear in series and degrees as he
traces the leaves, thought the key to originals, man connexus,
archetype, and classifier of things; he, straightway, leading forth
abreast of himself the animated creation from the chaos,--the primeval
Adam naming his mates, himself their ancestor, contemporary and
survivor.[F]

     [Footnote F: "There are four modes of knowledge which we are
     able to acquire in the present life:

     1. The first of these results from opinion, by which we
     learn that a thing is, without knowing the why; and this
     constitutes that part of knowledge which was called by
     Aristotle and Plato, erudition; and which consists in moral
     instructions for the purpose of purifying ourselves from
     immoderate desires.

     2. But the second is produced by the sciences, which from
     establishing certain principles as hypotheses, conduct to
     necessary conclusions whereby we arrive at the knowledge of
     the why, as in the mathematical sciences, but at the same
     time are ignorant with respect to the principles of these
     conclusions, because they are merely hypothetical.

     3. The third species of knowledge is that which results from
     Plato's dialectic; in which by a progression through ideas,
     we arrive at the first principles of things, and at that
     which is no longer hypothetical, and thus dividing some
     things and analyzing others, by producing many things from
     one, and one from many.

     4. But the fourth species is still more simple than this;
     because it no longer uses analyses or compositions, but
     whole things themselves by intuition, and becomes one with
     the object of its perception; and this energy is the Divine
     Reason, which Plato speaks of, and which far transcends
     other modes of knowledge."--THOMAS TAYLOR.]


III.--MAN.

  "Imago Dei in animo; mundi, in corpore."

Man is a soul, informed by divine ideas, and bodying forth their image.
His mind is the unit and measure of things visible and invisible. In him
stir the creatures potentially, and through his personal volitions are
conceived and brought forth in matter whatsoever he sees, touches, and
treads under foot, the planet he spins.

    He omnipresent is,
    All round himself he lies,
    Osiris spread abroad,
    Upstaring in all eyes:
    Nature his globed thought,
    Without him she were not,
    Cosmos from chaos were not spoken,
    And God bereft of visible token.

A theometer--an instrument of instruments--he gathers in himself all
forces, partakes in his plenitude of omniscience, being the Spirit's
acme, and culmination in nature. A quickening spirit and mediator
between mind and matter, he conspires with all souls, with the Soul of
souls, in generating the substance in which he immerses his form, and
wherein he embosoms his essence. Not elemental, but fundamental,
essential, he generates elements and forces, perpetually replenishing
his waste;--the final conflagration a current fact of his existence.
Does the assertion seem incredible, absurd? But science, grown luminous
and transcendent, boldly declares that life to the senses is a blaze
refeeding steadily its flame from the atmosphere it kindles into life,
its embers the spent remains from which rises perpetually the new-born
Phoenix into regions where flame is lost in itself, and light is its
resolvent emblem.[G]

     [Footnote G: "Man feeds upon air, the plant collecting the
     materials from the atmosphere and compounding them for his
     food. Even life itself, as we know it, is but a process of
     combustion, of which decomposition is the final conclusion.
     Through this combustion all the constituents return back
     into air, a few ashes remaining to the earth from whence
     they came. But from these embers, slowly invisible flames
     arise into regions where our science has no longer any
     value."--SCHLEIDEN.]

  "Thee, eye of heaven, the great soul envies not,
  By thy male force is all we have, begot."

"This kindles the fire which exists in every thing, is received by every
thing. While it sheds a full light, it is itself hidden. Its presence is
unknown, unless some material be given to induce the exertion of its
power. It is invisible, as well as unquenchable; and it has the faculty
of transforming into itself every thing it touches. It renovates every
thing by its vital heat, it illumines every thing by its flashing beams;
it can neither be confined nor intermingled; it divides and yet is
immutable. It always ascends, it is constantly in motion; it moves by
its own will and power, and sets in motion every thing around it. It has
the power of seizing, but cannot itself be grasped. It needs no aid. It
increases silently and breaks forth in majesty upon all. It generates,
it is powerful, invisible, and omnipotent. If neglected, its existence
might be forgotten, but on friction being applied, it flashes out again
like the sword from its scabbard, shines resplendently by its own
natural properties, and soars into the air. Many other powers may yet be
noticed as belonging to it. For this reason theologians have asserted
that all substances being formed of fire, are thus created as nearly as
possible in the image of God."

[Illustration: Small decoration of a flower and leaves]



II.

MIND.


     "But all the Gods we have are in The Mind,
     By whose proportions only we redeem
     Our thoughts from out confusion, and do find
     The measure of ourselves and of our powers,
     And that all happiness remains confined
     Within the kingdom of this breast of ours,
     Without whose bounds all that we look on lies
     In others' jurisdiction, others' powers,
     Out of the circuit of our liberties."
                             DANIEL.



[Illustration: Decorative banner of a grasshopper among greenery]



MIND.


I.--IDEAS.

The Ancients had a happy conception of mind in their Pantheon of its
Powers. They fabled these as gods celestial, mundane, infernal,
according to their several prerogatives and uses. It appears their ideal
metaphysic has not as yet been surpassed or superseded altogether, as
the classic mythology still holds its high place in modern thought and
the schools as a discipline and culture. And for the reason that thought
is an Olympian, and man a native of the cloudlands, whatever his
metaphysical pretensions. It is only as we sit aloft that we oversee the
world below and comprehend aright its drift and revolutions. Ixion
falling out of the mist, which he illicitly embraced, is the visionary
mistaking images for ideas, and thus paying the cost in his downfall.
Plumage, wings or none, imagination or understanding, the fledged idea
or the footed fact, the fleet reason or slow--these distribute mankind
into thinkers or observers. Only genius combines the double gifts in
harmonious proportions and interplay, possessing the mind entire, and is
a denizen of both hemispheres. The idealist is the true realist,
grasping the substance and not its shadow. The man of sense is the
visionary or illusionist, fancying things as permanencies, and thoughts
as fleeting phantoms. A Ptolemaist in theory, and earth-bound, he fears
to venture above his terra firma into the real firmament whereinto mind
is fashioned to spring, and command the wide prospect around.

  "Things divine are not attained by mortals who understand body merely,
  But only those who are lightly armed arrive at the summit."

Thought is the Mercury; and things are caught on the wing, and by the
flying spectator only. Nature is thought in solution. Like a river whose
current is flowing steadily, drop displacing drop, particle following
particle of the passing stream, nothing abides but the spectacle. So the
flowing world is fashioned in the idealist's vision, and is the reality
which to slower wits seems fixed in space and apart from thought,
subsisting in itself. But thought works in the changing and becoming,
not in the changed and become; all things sliding by imperceptible
gradations into their contraries, the cosmos rising out of the chaos by
its agency. Nothing abides; all is image and expression out of our
thought.

So Speech represents the flowing essence as sensitive, transitive; the
word signifying what we make it at the moment of using, but needing
life's rounded experiences to unfold its manifold senses and shades of
meaning.[H] Definitions, however precise, fail to translate the sense.
They confine in defining; good for the occasion, but leaps in the dark;
at best, guesses at the meanings we seek; parapets built in the air, the
lighter the safer; mere ladders of sound, whose rounds crumble as we
tread. We write as we speak. The silence bars away the sense, closing
shape and significance from us. Here is the mind facing its image the
world, and wishing to see the reflection at a glance, a trope. No. The
world is but the symbol of mind, and speech a mythology woven of both.
Each thing suggests the thought imperfectly, and thought is translatable
only by thought. Our standards are ideas, those things of the mind and
originals of words.

     [Footnote H: CATEGORIES OF SPEECH,

                  BEING:
     _Flowing_,                           _Fixed_,
     Subjective.                        Objective.

        I.             III.                 II.

     _Actions_,    _Participles_,       _Things_,
      Verbs.                              Nouns.

                       IV.
                  _Qualities_,
              Adverbs, Adjectives.

                        V.
                   _Relations_,
         Prepositions, Conjunctions, Pronouns.]

    Thought's winged hand,
    Marshals in trope and tone
    The ideal band.
    Genius alone
    Holds fast in eye
    The fleeing God--
    Brings Beauty nigh--
    Senses descry
    Footsteps he trod,
    Figures he drew,
    Shapes old and new,
    The fair, the true,
    In soul and sod.

Nature is thought immersed in matter, and seen differently as viewed
from the one or the other. To the laborer it is a thing of mere uses; to
the scholar a symbol and a muse. The same landscape is not the same as
seen by poet and plowman. It stands for material benefit to the one,
immaterial to the other. The artist's point of view is one of uses seen
as means of beauty, that being the complement of uses. His faculties
handle his organs; the hands, like somnambulists, playing their under
parts to ideas; these, again, serving uses still higher. The poet,
awakened from the sleep of things, beholds beauty in essence and form,
being thus admitted to the secret of causes, the laws of pure Being.

The like of Persons. Every one's glass reflects his bias. If the thinker
views men as troglodytes--like Plato's groundlings, unconscious of the
sun shining overhead; men of the senses, and mere makeweights--they in
turn pronounce him the dreamer, sitting aloof from human concerns, an
unproductive citizen and waste power in the world. Still, thought makes
the world and sustains it; atom and idea alike being its constituents.
Nor can thought, from its nature, at once become popular. It is the
property and delight of the few fitted by genius and culture for
discriminating truth from adhering falsehood, and of setting it forth in
its simplicity and truth to the understandings of the less favored.
Apart by pursuit from the mass of mankind, or at most taking a separate
and subordinate part in affairs that engage their sole attention, the
thinker seems useless to all save those who can apprehend and avail
themselves of his immediate labors; and the less is he known and
appreciated as his studies are of lasting importance to his race. Yet
time is just, and brings all men to the side of thought as they become
familiar with its practical benefits, else the victory were not gained
for philosophy, and wisdom justified in him of her chosen children.

Ideas alone supplement nature and complement mind. Our senses neither
satisfy our sensibility nor intellect. The mind's objects are mind
itself; imagination the mind's eye, memory the ear, ideas of the one
imaging the other, and the mind thus rounding its history. And hence the
pleasurable perspective experienced in surveying our personality from
obverse sides in the landscape of existence--culture, in its inclusive
sense, making the tour of our gifts, and acquainting us with ourselves
and the world we live in. All men gain a residence in the senses and the
family of natural things; few come into possession of their better
inheritance and home in the mind--the Palace of Power and Personality.
Sons of earth rather by preference, and chiefly emulous for their little
while of its occupancy, its honors, emoluments, they here pitch their
tents, here plant fast their hopes, and roll through life they know not
whither.


II.--THE GIFTS.

Instinct is the fountain of Personal power, and mother of the Gifts.
With instinct there may be an embryo, but sense must be superinduced to
constitute an animal--memory, moral sentiment, reason, imagination,
personality, to constitute the man. The mind is the man, not the outward
shape: all is in the Will. The animal may mount to fancy in the grade of
gifts; but reason, imagination, conscience, choice--the mediating,
creative, ruling powers--the personality--belong to man alone. But not
to all men, save in essence and possibility. Man properly traverses the
hierarchy of Powers--spiritual, intellectual, moral, natural,
animal--their full possession and interplay enabling him to hold free
colloquy with all, giving the whole mind voice in the dialogue. Thus:

  Asking for
  The Who?        Will          responds,   The Person.
  The Ought?      Conscience        "       The Right.
  The How?        Imagination       "       The Idea.
  The Why?        Reason            "       The Truth.
  The Thus?       Fancy             "       The Image.
  The Where?      Understanding     "       The Fact.
  The When?       Memory            "       The Event.
  The Which?      Sense             "       The Thing.
  The What?       Instinct          "       The Life.

In accordance with this gradation of gifts, man and animals may be
classified as to their measures of intelligence respectively; instinct
being taken as the initial gift and prompter of the rest in their order
of genesis, growth and adaptability: man alone, when fully unfolded in
harmony, being capable of ranging throughout the entire scale.[I]

     [Footnote I: "One would think nothing were easier for us
     than to know our own mind, discern what was our main scope
     and drift, and what we proposed to ourselves as our end in
     the several occurrences of our lives. But our thoughts have
     such an obscure, implicit language, that it is the hardest
     thing in the world to make them speak out distinctly; and
     for this reason the right method is to give them voice and
     accent. And this, in our default, is what the philosophers
     endeavor to do to our hand, when, holding out a kind of
     vocal looking-glass, they draw sound out of our breast, and
     instruct us to personate ourselves in the plainest
     manner."--LORD SHAFTESBURY.]

Thus:

[Illustration: Sketch of human head marked with Instinct, Sense, Memory,
Understanding, Fancy, Reason, Imagination, Conscience, Personality]

  CLASS
  I.    Instinct, Sense, Memory, Understanding, Fancy, Reason,
          Imagination, Conscience, Personality.
  II.   Instinct, Sense, Memory, Understanding, Fancy, Reason,
          Imagination, Conscience.
  III.  Instinct, Sense, Memory, Understanding, Fancy, Reason,
          Imagination.
  IV.   Instinct, Sense, Memory, Understanding, Fancy, Reason.
  V.    Instinct, Sense, Memory, Understanding, Fancy.
  VI.   Instinct, Sense, Memory, Understanding.
  VII.  Instinct, Sense, Memory.
  VIII. Instinct, Sense.

  MAN IS
  Spiritual as he experiences, Personality, Thought
  Moral               "        Choice, Conscience.
  Intellectual        "        Imagination, Reason.
  Natural             "        Fancy, Understanding.
  Brute               "        Memory, Sense.
  Demonic             "        Appetite, Passion.

Nature does not contain the Personal man. He is the mind with the brute
omitted, or, conversely, the animal transfigured and divinized by the
Spirit. It is a slow process; long for the individual, longeval for the
race. Centuries, millenniads elapse, mind meanwhile travailing with man,
the birth arrested for the most part, or premature, the translation from
germ to genius being supernatural, thought hardly delivered from spine
and occiput into face and forehead, the mind uplifted and crowned in
personality.

    Pure mind alone is face,
      Brute matter surface all;
    As souls immersed in space,
      Ideal rise, or idol fall.


III.--PERSON.

The lapsed Personality, or deuce human and divine, has played the prime
part in metaphysical theology of times past, as it does still. But
rarely has thought freed itself from the notion of duplicity,
triplicity, and grounded its faith in the Idea of the One Personal
Spirit, as a pure theism, and planted therein a faith and cultus. If we
claim this for the Hebrew thought, as it rose to an intuition in the
mind of its inspired thinker, it passed away with him; since Christendom
throughout mythologizes, rather than thinks about his attributes; is
divided, subdivided into sects, schools of doctrine; each immersed so
deeply in its special individualism as to be unable to rise to the
comprehension of the Personal One. Nor, considering the demands mind
makes upon the senses,--these inclining always to idolatry,--is it
surprising that this spiritual theism, seeking its symbols in pure
thought, without image graven or conceived, should find any considerable
number of followers. Yet a faith less supersensuous and ideal, any
school of thought, code of doctrine, creed founded on substance, force,
law, tradition, authority, miracle, is a covert superstition, ending
logically in atheism, necessity, nihilism, disowning alike personality,
free agency. Nature is sufficient for the creature, but person alone for
man, without whose immanency and inspirations, man were heartless and
worshipless. The Person wanting all is wanting. For where God is
disembosomed, spectres rule the chaos within and without.[J]

     [Footnote J: "The first principle of all things is Living
     Goodness, armed with Wisdom and all-powerful Love. But if a
     man's soul be once sunk by evil fate or desert, from the
     sense of this high and heavenly truth into the cold conceit
     that the original of all lies either in shuffling chance or
     in the stark root of unknowing nature and brute necessity,
     all the subtle cords of reason, without the timely recovery
     of that divine torch within the hidden spirit of his heart,
     will never be able to draw him out of that abhorred pit of
     atheism and infidelity. So much better is innocency and
     piety than subtle argument, and sincere devotion than
     curious dispute. But contemplations concerning the dry
     essence of the Godhead have for the most part been most
     confusing and unsatisfactory. Far better is it to drink of
     the blood of the grape than to bite the root of the grape,
     to smell the rose than to chew the stalk. And blessed be
     God, the meanest of men are capable of the former, very few
     successful in the latter; and the less, because the reports
     of those that have busied themselves that way have not only
     seemed strange to most men, but even repugnant to one
     another. But we should in charity refer this to the nature
     of the _pigeon's neck_ than to mistake and contradiction.
     One and the same object in nature affords many different
     aspects. And God is infinitely various and simple; like a
     circle, indifferent whether you suppose it of one uniform
     line, or an infinite number of angles. Wherefore it is more
     safe to admit all possible perfections of God than rashly to
     deny what appears not to us from our particular
     posture."--HENRY MORE.]

  "Make us a god," said man:
    Power first the voice obeyed,
  And soon a monstrous form
    Its worshippers dismayed;
  Uncouth and huge, by nations rude adored,
  With savage rites and sacrifice abhorred.

  "Make us a god," said man:
    Art next the voice obeyed,
  Lovely, serene, and grand,
    Uprose the Athenian maid:
  The perfect statue, Greece with wreathed brows,
  Adores in festal rites and lyric vows.

  "Make us a god," said man:
    Religion followed art,
  And answered, "Look within;
    Find God in thine own heart--
  His noblest image there, and holiest shrine,
  Silent revere--and be thyself divine."


IV.--CHOICE.

      Heaven hell's pit copes:
  Nor fathoms any sin's abyss, or clambers out,
  Save by the steps his choice hath delved.

The gods descend in the likeness of men, and ascending transfigure the
man into their Personal likeness. Descending below himself he debases
and disfigures this image; as by choice he leaps upwards, so by choice
he lapses downwards. Yet, while free to choose, he sinks himself never
beneath himself absolutely, his _beneath_ subsisting by his election
only. His choices free or fetter, elevate or debase, deify or demonize
his humanity. Superior to all forces is the Spirit within, doing or
defying his determinations, ever holding him fast to the consequences.
Obeying its dictates or disobeying, frees or binds. It has golden chains
for the good, for others iron. Love is its soft, yet mighty curb;
freedom its easy yoke; fate its fetter.

  Nor man in evil willingly doth rest,
  Nor God in good unwillingly is blest.

There is no appeal from the decisions of this High Court of Duty in the
breast. The Ought is the Must and the Inevitable. One may misinterpret
the voice, may deliberate, disobey the commandment, but cannot escape
the consequences of his election. The deed decides. Nor is the
Conscience appeased till sooner or later our deserts are pronounced--The
welcome "well done," or the dread "depart."

  "'Tis vain to flee till gentle mercy show
  Her better eye. The further off we go
  The swing of justice deals the mightier blow."

Only the repenting consciousness of freedom abused restores the lost
holiness, redeems from the guilty lapse--the sin that in separating us
from the One, revealed the fearful Doubleness within, opening the
yawning pit down which we stumbled, to become the prey of the undying
worm.

  "Meek love alone doth wash our ills away."

And with love enough, knowledge were useless. It comes in defect of
love. Exhaustless in its sources, love supersedes knowledge, being the
proper intellect of spirit and spring of intuition--God being very God,
because his love absorbs all knowledge and contains his Godhead. Knowing
without loving is decease from love, and lapse from pure intellect into
sense. Knowledge is not enough. The more knowledge, the deeper the
depths left unsounded, the more exacting our faith in the certainty of
knowing. Our faith feels after its objects, if haply by groping in the
darkness of our ignorance we may fathom its depths, and find ourselves
in Him who is ever seeking us. "Although no man knoweth the spirit of a
man save The Spirit within him, yet is there something in him that not
even man's spirit knoweth."

  "WHO placed thee here, did something then infuse
  Which now can tell thee news."

[Illustration: Small decoration of a flower and leaves]



III.

GENESIS.


     "Had man withstood the trial, his descendants would have
     been born one from another in the same way that Adam--i. e.,
     mankind--was, namely, in the image of God; for that which
     proceeds from the Eternal has eternal manner of
     birth."--BEHMEN.



[Illustration: Decorative banner of a beetle among flowers and leaves]



GENESIS.


I.--VESTIGES.

Boehme, the subtilest thinker on Genesis since Moses, conceives that
nature fell from its original oneness by fault of Lucifer before man
rose physically from its ruins; and moreover, that his present
existence, being the struggle to recover from nature's lapse, is
embarrassed with double difficulties by defection from rectitude on his
part. We think it needs no Lucifer other than mankind collectively
conspiring, to account for nature's mishaps, or man's, since, assuming
man to be nature's ancestor, and nature man's ruins rather, himself were
the impediment he seeks to remove; nature being the child of his
choices, corresponding in large--or macrocosmically--to his intents.
Eldest of creatures, the progenitor of all below him, personally one and
imperishable in essence, if debased forms appear in nature, these are
consequent on man's degeneracy prior to their genesis. And it is only as
he lapses out of his integrity, by debasing his essence, that he impairs
his original likeness, and drags it into the prone shapes of the animal
kingdom--these being the effigies and vestiges of his individualized and
shattered personality. Behold these upstarts of his loins, everywhere
the mimics jeering at him saucily, or gaily parodying their fallen lord.

  "Most happy he who hath fit place assigned
  To his beasts, and disafforested his mind;
  Can use his horse, goat, wolf, and every beast,
  And is not ape himself to all the rest."

It is man alone who conceives and brings forth the beast in him that
swerves and dies. Perversion of will by mis-choice precipitates him into
serpentine form, duplicated in sex,

  "Parts of that Part which once was all."

'Tis but one and the same soul in him, entertaining a dialogue with
himself, that is symbolized in the Serpent, Adam, and the woman; nor
needs there fabulous "Paradises Lost or Regained," for setting in relief
this serpent symbol of temptation, this Lord or Lucifer in our spiritual
Eden:

  "First state of human kind,
  Which one remains while man doth find
  Joy in his partner's company;
  When two, alas! adulterate joined,
  The serpent made the three."


II.--SERPENT SYMBOL.

Better is he who is above temptation, than he who, being tempted,
overcomes, since the latter but suppresses the evil inclination stirring
in his breast which the former has not. Whoever is tempted has so far
sinned as to entertain the tempting lust within, betraying his lapse
from singleness or holiness. The virtuous choose, are virtuous by
choice; the holy, being one, deliberate not--their volitions answering
spontaneously to their desires. It is the cleft personality, or _other_
within, which seduces the Will, and is the Adversary and Deuce we become
individually, and impersonate in the Snake.

  Chaste love's a maid,
  Though shapen as a man.

But one were an OEdipus to expound this serpent mythology; whereby is
symbolized the mysteries of genesis, and of The One rejoining man's
parted personality, and thus recreating mankind. Coeval with flesh, the
symbol appears wherever traces of civilization exist; a remnant of it in
the ancient Phallus worship having come to us disguised in our Mayday
dance. Nor was it confined to carnal knowledge merely. The serpent
symbolized divine wisdom, also; and it was under this acceptation that
it became associated with those "traditionary teachers of mankind whose
genial wisdom entitled them to divine honors." An early Christian sect,
called Ophites, worshipped it as the personation of natural knowledge.
So the injunction, "Be ye wise as serpents and harmless as doves,"
becomes the more significant when we learn that _seraph_ in the original
means a serpent; _cherub_, a dove. And these again symbolize facts in
osteological science as connected with the latest theories of the
vertebrated cranium,[K] which view Nature as ophiomorphous--a series of
spines, crowned, winged, webbed, finned, footed in structure--set erect,
prone, trailing, as charged with life in higher potency or lower; man,
holding the sceptre of dominion as he maintains his inborn rectitude, or
losing his prerogative as lapsed from his integrity--hereby debasing his
form and parcelling his gifts away in the prone shapes distributed
throughout nature's kingdoms. Or, again as aspiring for lost supremacy,
he uplift and crown his fallen form with forehead, countenance,
speech,--thus liberating the genius from the slime of its prone periods,
and restoring it to rectitude, religion, science, fellowship, the ideal
arts.

     [Footnote K: "Spix, in his 'Cephalogenesis,' aids Oken's
     theory of the spinal cranium in endowing the artist's symbol
     of the cherub with all that it seemed to want before that
     discovery; namely: with a thorax, abdomen and pelvis, arms,
     legs, hands and feet."--OWEN.]

  "Unless above himself he can
  Erect himself, how poor a thing is man."


III.--EMBRYONS.

     "The form is in the archetype before it appears in the work,
     in the divine mind before it exists in the creature."

As the male impregnates the female, so mind charges matter with form and
fecundity; the spermatic world being life in transmission and body in
embryo; the egg a genesis and seminary of forms, the kingdoms of
animated nature sleeping coiled in its yolk, and awaiting the quickening
magnetism that ushers them into light. Herein the human embryon unfolds
in series the lineaments of all forms in the living hierarchy, to be
fixed at last in its microcosm, unreeling therefrom its faculties into
filamental organs, spinning so minutely the threads, "that were it
physically possible to dissolve away all other members of the body,
there would still remain the full and perfect figure of a man. And it is
this perfect cerebro-spinal axis, this statue-like tissue of filaments,
that, physically speaking, is the man."[L] The mind contains him
spiritually, and reveals him physically to himself and his kind. Every
creature assists in its own formation, souls being essentially creative
and craving form.

     [Footnote L: "Thou hast possessed my reins, thou hast
     covered me in my mother's womb. My substance was not hid
     from thee when I was made in a secret place, and there
     curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth: there
     thine eyes did see my substance yet being imperfect: and in
     thy Book were all my members written, which in continuance
     were fashioned when as yet there was none of them."--PSALM
     cxxxix: 13, 15, 16.]

  "The creature ever delights in the image of the Creator;
  And the soul of man will in a manner clasp God to herself;
  Having nothing mortal, she is wholly inebriated of God;
  For she glories in the harmony under which the human body exists."

Throughout the domain of spirit desire creates substance wherein all
creatures seek conjunction, lodging and nurture. Nor is there anything
in nature save desire holding substances together, all things being
dissolvable and recombinable in this spiritual menstruum.

  "'Tis the blossom whence there blows
  Everything that lives and grows;
  It doth make the heavens to move
  And the sun to burn in love:
  The strong to weak it seeks to yoke,
  And makes the ivy climb the oak,
  Under whose shadows lions wild,
  Softened thereby grow tame and mild.
  It all medicine doth appease,
  It burns the fishes in the seas,
  Not all the skill its wounds can stanch,
  Not all the sea its thirst can quench:
  It did make the bloody spear
  Once a leafy coat to wear,
  While in his leaves there shrouded lay
  Sweet birds for love that sing and play;
  And of all the joyful flame,
  Bud and blossom this we name."


IV.--TEMPERAMENT.

Temperament is a fate, oftentimes, from whose jurisdiction its victims
hardly escape, but do its bidding herein, be it murder or martyrdom.
Virtues and crimes are mixed in one's cup of nativity, with the lesser
or larger margin of choice. Unless of chaste extraction, his
regeneration shall be wrought with difficulty through the struggling
kingdom of evil into the peaceful realm of good. Blood is a destiny.
One's genius descends in the stream from long lines of ancestry, from
fountains whence rose Adam the first and his Eve. The oldest and most
persistent of forces, if once ennobled by virtue and refined by culture,
it resists base mixtures long, preserving its purity and power for
generations. All gifts descend in the torrent; all are mingled in the
ecstasy, as purity or passion prevail; genius being the fruit of chaste
conjunctions, brute force of adulterous--the virgin complexions or the
mixed.[M]

     [Footnote M: Boehme thus classifies and describes the
     temperaments:

     "Lapsing out of her innocency, man's soul enters into a
     strange inn or lodging, wherein he is held sometime captive
     as in a dungeon, wherein are four chambers or stories, in
     one of which she is fated to remain, though not without
     instincts of the upper wards (if her place be the lowest)
     and hope of finding the keys by which she may ascend into
     these also. These chambers are the elements of his
     constitution, and characterized as the four temperaments or
     complexions, namely:

       I. The melancholic or earthy.
       II. The phlegmatic oraqueous.
       III. The choleric or fiery.
       IV. The sanguine or ethereal.

     I. The splenetic or melancholic partakes of the properties
     of the earth, being cold, dark, and hungry for the light. It
     is timid, incredulous, empty, consuming itself in corrosive
     cares, anxieties and sorrows, being sad when the sun shines,
     and needs perpetual encouragement. Its color is dark.

     II. The phlegmatic being nourished from the earth's
     moisture, is inclined to heaviness; is gross, effeminate,
     dull of apprehension, careless, indifferent. It has but
     faint glimpses of the light, and needs much inculcation from
     without. Its color is brown.

     III. The choleric is of the fiery temper, inclined to
     violence, wrath, obstinacy, irreverence, ambition. It is
     impulsive, contentious, aspires for power, and authority. It
     is greedy of the sun, and glories in its blazing beams. Its
     color is florid.

     IV. The sanguine, being tempered of ether, and the least
     imprisoned, is cheerful, gentle, genial, versatile,
     naturally chaste, insinuating, searching into the secret of
     things natural and spiritual, and capable of divining the
     deepest mysteries. It loves the light, and aspires toward
     the sun. Its complexion is fair."]

    "Our generation moulds our state,
    Its virtues, vices, fix our fate;
    Nor otherwise experience proves,
    The unseen hands make all the moves,
    If some are great, and some are small,
  Some climb to good, some from good fortune fall,--
  Not figures these of speech,--forefathers sway us all.

    Me from the womb the midnight muse did take,
    She clothed me, nourished, and mine head
    With her own hands she fashioned;
    She did a cov'nant with me make,
  And circumcised my tender soul, and thus she spake:
  'Thou of my church shalt be,
    Hate and renounce (said she)
  Wealth, honour, pleasure, all the world for me.
  Thou neither great at court, nor in the war,
  Nor at th' exchange shalt be, nor at the wrangling bar,
  Content thyself with the small barren praise,
    That neglected verse does raise.'

  She spake, and all my years to come
    Took their determined doom:
  Their several ways of life, let others choose,
    Their several pleasures let them use,
  But I was born for love and for a muse.

    With fate what boots it to contend?
  Such I began, such am, and so shall end:
    The star that did my being frame
    Was but a lambent flame;
    Some light indeed it did dispense,
    But less of heat and influence.

    No matter, poet, let proud fortune see
  That thou canst her despise no less than she does thee;
    Why grieve thyself or blush to be
    As all the inspired tuneful seers,
  And all thy great forefathers were from Shakspeare to thy peers."

Yet, biassed by temperament as we may be, whether for good or for evil,
such measure of freedom is ours, nevertheless, as enables us to free
ourselves from its tendencies and temptations. In the breast of each is
a liberating angel, at whose touch, when we will it persistently, the
doors of our dungeon fly open and loose their prisoner.



IV.

METAMORPHOSES.


     "Generation is not a creation of life, but a production of
     things to sense, and making them manifest. Neither is change
     death, but a hiding of that which was."--HERMES TRISMEGISTUS.



[Illustration: Decorative banner of two birds among leaves and flowers]



METAMORPHOSES.


I.--SLEEP.

Life is a current of spiritual forces. In perpetual tides, the stream
traverses its vessels to vary its pulsations and perspectives of things,
receding from forehead and face into cerebellum and spine, to be
replenished night by night from these springs of vigor. The Genius trims
our lamps while we sleep. It plumbs us by day and levels us by night.
Here recumbent as at nature's navel, her energies flood the spirits with
puissance, restoring tone and tension for the coming day's occupations.
Then what varying scenes rise to fancy's eye, while the mind lapses out
of the globe of thought, the house of the senses, into the palaces of
memory through the gate of dreams! Under the sway of occult forces we
partake of preternatural insights, having access to sources of
information unopened to us in our wakeful hours. Vast systems of
sympathies, antedating and extending beyond our mundane experiences,
absorb us within their sphere, relating us to other worlds of life and
light; as if stirred by the nocturnal impulse we climbed the empyrean,
still crediting the superstition of our affinities with the starry
orbs--

  "Eternal fathers of whate'er exists below."

Or, pursuing our peregrinations, we plunge suddenly into the abyss of
origins, transformed for the moment into slumbering umbilici, skirting
the shores of our nativity; or, ascending spine-wise, traverse the
hierarchy of gifts. How we grope strangely! Seeking the One amidst the
many, we lose ourselves in finding the One we lost. We enter bodies of
our bodies, souls of our soul, successively; each organ our prisoner, we
in turn the prisoner of each, till by chance the bewildered occupant
recover the key to the wards of his apartments, and forth issues into
the haunts of his consciousness, the world of natural things. For never
is the sleep so profound, the dream so distracting, as to obliterate all
sense of the personality,--despite these vagaries of the night, these
opiates of the senses, memory sometime dispels the oblivious slumber,
and recovers for the mind recollections of its descent and destiny. Some
reliques of the ancient consciousness survive, recalling our previous
history and experiences.[N]

     [Footnote N: "'Tis well known that according to the sense of
     antiquity, these two considerations were always included in
     that one opinion of the soul's immortality--namely; its
     pre-existence as well as its post existence. Neither were
     there ever any of the ancients before christianity, that
     held the soul's future permanency after death, who did not
     likewise assert its pre-existence,--they clearly perceiving
     that if it was once granted that the soul was generated, it
     could never be proved but that it might be also corrupted.
     And therefore the asserters of its immortality commonly
     began here--first, to prove its pre-existence, proceeding
     thence afterwards to establish its permanency after
     death."--CUDWORTH.]


II.--REMINISCENCE.

  "Heaven's exile straying from the orb of light."

And but for our surface and distracted lives,--lived here for the most
part in the senses,--we should have never lost the consciousness of our
descent into mortality, nor have questioned our resurrection and
longevity. But as in descending, all drink of oblivion--some more, some
less--it happens that while all are conscious of life, by defect of
memory, our recollections are various concerning it; those discerning
most vividly who have drank least of oblivion, they more easily
recalling the memory of their past existence. Ancients of days, we
hardly are persuaded to believe that our souls are no older than our
bodies, and to date our nativity from our family registers, as if time
and space could chronicle the periods of the immortal mind by its advent
into the flesh and decease out of it.

  "Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;
  The soul that rises with us, our life's star,
      Hath had elsewhere its setting,
      And cometh from afar;
      Not in entire forgetfulness,
      Nor yet in utter nakedness,
  But trailing clouds of glory do we come
  From God who is our home."

None of us remember when we did not remember, when memory was nought,
and ourselves were unborn. Memory is the premise of our sensations, it
dates our immortality. Nestling ever in the twilight of our earliest
recollections, it cradles our nativity, canopies our hopes, and bears us
babes, out of our bodies as into them; opening vistas alike into our
past and coming existence. The thread of our experiences, it cannot be
severed by any accidents of our mortality; time and space, earliest
found and last to leave us, fading and falling away as we pass into
recollections which these can neither date nor confine--the smiles that
welcomed, the tears that dismiss us, being of no age, nor place nor
time.

  "O love! thou makest all things even
    In earth and heaven:
  Finding thy way through prison bars
    Up to the stars:
  That out of dust created man,
  Thou lookest in a grave, to see
    Thine immortality."


III.--IMMORTALITY.

If immortality inhere in objects known by us, these surely are persons;
the ties of kindred being the liveliest, most abiding of any; our faith
in the impossibility of being sundered forever, remaining unshaken to
the last, and surviving all changes that our bodies may undergo.

  "Deep love, the godlike in us, still believes
  Its objects are immortal as itself."

'Tis not our bodies that contain us but our souls. None beholds with
bodily eyes the apparition of his person, sees and survives the ghost he
provokes. The perturbed spirits alone linger about the tombs--dead
before they die, dead burying their dead--comfortless because these are
bereft of bodies, flesh being all of them they ever knew.[O]

     [Footnote O: Let us remember that immortality signifies a
     negative, or not having of mortality, and that a positive
     term is required by which to express a change, since nature
     teaches that whatever is, will abide with the being it is,
     unless forced out of it by something positive. And as it
     appears that man's soul has these grounds in her which make
     all visible things to be perishable, it is obvious that his
     soul is immortal and the cause of mortality itself.--SIR
     KENELM DIGBY.]

Moreover, the insatiableness of our desires asserts our personal
imperishableness. Yearning for full satisfactions while balked of these
perpetually, we still prosecute our search for them, our faith in their
attainment remaining unshaken under every disappointment. Our hope is
eternal as ourselves--a never ending, still beginning quest of our
divinity. Infinite in essence, we crave it in potence. The boundlessness
and elasticity of the mind, its power of self-recovery, uprise from
temporary obstructions self-imposed, or from temperament, are assurances
made doubly sure of our soul's infinitude and longevity. So the lives of
empires, of men of genius and sanctity, are grand illustrations of its
heroic strife for the largest freedom, the widest sway,--of instincts
striving within, which these pent confines of time and space can neither
subjugate nor appease.

  "Take this, my child," the father said,
  "This globe I give thy mind for bread;"
  Eager we seize the proffered store,
  The bait devour--then ask for more.

"Everything aspires to its own perfection and is restless till it attain
it, as the trembling needle till it find its beloved north. And the
knowledge of this is innate as is the desire, else the last had been a
torment and needless importunity. Nature shoots not at rovers. Even
inanimate things, while ignorant of their perfection, are carried
towards it by a blind impulse. But that which conducts them knows. The
next order of beings have some sight of it, and man most perfectly till
he touch the apple." Our delights suckle us life long, our desires being
memories of past satisfactions, and we here but sip pleasures once
tasted to satiety. The more exquisite our enjoyments, the more
transient; the more eagerly sought, the more elusive. We cannot come out
of our paradise, nor stay in it contentedly, the gates of bliss closing
on opening.

  "E'en as the amorous needle joys to bend
    To her magnetic friend,
  Or as the greedy lover's eyeballs fly
    At his fair mistress' eye,
  Eager we kindle life's illumined stuff,
  Can tire, nor tease, nor kindle it enough."

Still heaven is, our hearts affirm against every disappointment; and
whether behind or before us, as memory or as hope, 'tis to be ours,--our
port and resting place sometime in the stream of ages.

  "All before us lies the way;
    Give the past unto the wind;
  All before us is the day,
    Night and darkness are behind.

  Eden with its angels bold,
    Love and flowers and coolest sea,
  Is less an ancient story told
    Than a glowing prophecy.

  In the spirit's perfect air,
    In the passions tame and kind,
  Innocence from selfish care,
    The real Eden we shall find.

  When the soul to sin hath died,
    True and beautiful and sound,
  Then all earth is sanctified,
    Upsprings paradise around.

  From the spirit-land, afar
    All disturbing force shall flee;
  Stir, nor toil, nor hope shall mar
    Its immortal unity."



_Messrs. Roberts Brothers' Publications._

THE LAYMAN'S BREVIARY. A Selection for Every Day in the Year. Translated
from the German of LEOPOLD SCHEFER, by Charles T. Brooks. In one square
16mo. volume, bevelled cloth, gilt edges. Price, $2.50. A cheaper
edition. Price, $1.50.

     "The 'Layman's Breviary' will adorn drawing-room
     centre-tables, boudoirs, library nooks; it will be a
     favorite travelling companion, and be carried on summer
     excursions to read under trees and on verandas. For every
     day of the year there are thoughts, counsels,
     aspirations--many of them Oriental in tone, or patriarchal
     in spirit; there are delineations of nature, pure utterances
     of faith; each page contains fresh and earnest expressions
     of a poetic, believing, humane soul--often clad in exquisite
     language. It is eminently a household book, and one to be
     taken up and enjoyed at intervals."--_Boston Transcript._

     "Each poem is in itself a sermon; not of dry, theological
     dogmas, but the love and care of the Infinite, the yearning
     and outreaching of the human to grasp the divine. It is a
     book not to be lightly read and carelessly tossed aside, but
     to be studied daily until the lessons it conveys are
     learned, and its comforting words written on every heart. Of
     the author's religious opinions we know nothing; what creed
     he subscribes to we cannot tell; but we do know that he is a
     true worshipper of God, and lover of his fellow-men. This
     book should be on every table; all households should possess
     it; we cannot too highly recommend it to the notice of all.
     It has been truly said, that 'these blooming pictures of
     Nature, praising the love, the goodness, the wisdom of the
     Creator and His work, form in truth a poetical book of
     devotion for the layman whom the dogma does not satisfy--a
     _breviary_ for man.'"--_The Wide World._


MY PRISONS. Memoirs of SILVIO PELLICO. With an Introduction by Epes
Sargent, and embellished with fifty Illustrations from drawings by
Billings. One square 12mo. volume, bevelled cloth, gilt edges. Price,
$3.50. A cheaper edition. Price, $2.00.

     "Some thirty-five years ago the publication of "My Prisons,
     Memoirs of Silvio Pellico," first appealed to the sympathies
     of the Italian people. The history of a martyr to freedom is
     always entertaining, and the pathos and beauty which
     surround the narrative in question have always kept alive
     the interest of all intelligent nations. It ranks,
     therefore, deservedly high in biographical literature. The
     present edition is a very superior one, and is introduced by
     Epes Sargent, who vigorously reviews the despotism of
     Austria in the incarceration of Pellico, and the changes
     which have since occurred in European politics."--_Chicago
     Evening Journal._

     "The story is simply told, for adventures like those of the
     author need no graces of style or highly wrought figures.
     The book has a charm which few novels possess; indeed, one
     can hardly believe that it is true, and that so few years
     have passed since men of noble birth and fine culture were
     condemned to suffer for years in prison on account of their
     political opinions."--_Boston Transcript._

_Mailed, post paid, to any address, on receipt of the price, by the
Publishers._



      *      *      *      *      *      *



Transcriber's note:

Descriptions of illustrations were added for the convenience of readers.

In the Table of Contents, section titles are in Arabic numbers, while in
the text of the book, Roman numerals are used. Each is retained as
printed.

Footnotes are indented and placed following the paragraph to which they
pertain.

Alternate and obsolete spelling was retained.

Other changes:

  Added hyphen to self-respect, for consistency with remaining text.
    ... without loss of self-respect....
  "falcony" changed to "falconry"
    ... for the falconry, archery, the hunting,...
  "educuated" changed to "educated"
    ... A boy was to be so educated and fed ...
  "T'is" changed to "'Tis"
    ... 'Tis but one and the same soul ...
  Added close quote mark to end of Footnote M.
  Footnote N, "acccording" changed to "according"
    ... according to the sense of antiquity,...





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