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Title: Life Without and Life Within - or, Reviews, Narratives, Essays, and poems.
Author: Fuller, Margaret, 1810-1850
Language: English
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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1859, by
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts

[Illustration: colophon]

Presswork by John Wilson and Son._


Every person, who can be said to really live at all, leads two lives
during this period of mortal existence. The one life is outward; it is
passed in reading the thoughts of others; in contemplating the
struggles, the defeats, the victories, the virtues, the sins, in fine,
all things which make the history of those who surround us; and in
gazing upon the structures which Art has reared, or paintings which she
hath inscribed on the canvas; or looking upon the grand temple of the
material universe, and beholding scenes painted by a hand more skilled,
more wondrous, in its creative power, than ever can be human hand. The
life passed in examining what other minds have produced, or living other
men's lives by looking at their deeds, or in any way discerning what
addresses the bodily eye or the physical ear,--this is often wise and
well; essential, indeed, to any inner life; but it is outward, not
self-centred, not the product of our own individual natures.

But the thought of others suggests or develops thought of our own--the
history of other men, as it is writing itself imperishably every day
upon their souls, or already has written itself in letters of living
light or lines of gloomy blackness--gives rise to internal sympathy or
abhorrence on the part of us who look on and read what is thus writing
and written. Our own spirits are stirred within us: our passions, which
have been sleeping lions, our affections and aspirations, before angels
with folded wings,--these are awakened by what others are doing, and
then we struggle with the bad or yield to it; we obey or disobey the
good, and our internal moral life begins; the outward universe or the
Great Spirit in our hearts speaks to our souls, leading first to inward
dissatisfaction, then to aspiration for and attainment of holiness, and
now the inner spiritual life, which shall transfigure all outward life,
and throw its own light and give its own hue to all the outward
universe, has begun. These two lives are parallel streams; often they
mingle their waters, and each imparts its own hue and characteristic to
the other. Sometimes the outer life is the main stream; men live only in
other men's thoughts and deeds--look only upon the material universe,
and retire but seldom within: the inner life is but a silver thread--a
little rill, scarce discoverable save by the eye of God. Again, with
many the outer life is but little; the passing scene, the din of the
battle which humanity is ever waging, the one scarce is gazed upon or
the other heard by those who retire much from the outward world, and
live almost exclusively upon their own thoughts, and in an ideal realm
of fancy, or a real one of internal conflict, which is hidden from the
outer vision. Better is it when the stream of outward and inner life are
both full and broad--when the glories of the material universe attract
the gaze, the realm of literature and learning invite the willing feet
to wander in paths where poetry has planted many flowers, philosophy
many a sturdy oak of truth, which centuries cannot overthrow--and when,
on the other hand, men do not forget to retire often within, and find
their own minds kingdoms, where many a noble thought spontaneously
grows; their own souls heavens, where, the busy world withdrawn, they
commune much with their own aspirations, fight many a noble battle with
whatever hinders their spiritual peace, and where they commune yet more
with that Comforter, the Divine Spirit, and Christ, that Friend and
Helper of all who are seeking to make the life of thought and desire, as
well as outward word and deed, high and holy.

It is not a brother's part to pass critical judgment upon a sister's
literary attainments, or mental and spiritual gifts, nor is it needful
in reference to Madame Ossoli. The world never has questioned her great
learning or rich and varied culture; these have been uniformly
acknowledged. As a keen and sagacious critic of literature, as an
admirer of whatever was noble, an abhorrer of all low and mean, this
she was early, and is, so far as we know, without any question regarded.
That her judgments have always been acquiesced in is far from true; but
the public has ever believed them alike sincere and fearless. The life
without,--that of culture and intelligent, careful observation,--all
know _that_ stream to have been full to overflowing.

More and more, too, every year, the public are beginning to recognize
and appreciate the richness and the beauty of her inner life. The very
keenness of her critical acumen,--the very boldness of her rebuke of all
she deemed petty and base--the very truthfulness of her conformity to
her own standard--her very abhorrence of all cant and mere conformity,
long prevented, and even yet somewhat hinder, many from adequately
recognizing the loving spirit, the sympathetic nature, the Christian
faith, and spiritual devoutness which made her domestic and social life,
her action amid her own kindred and nation, and in Rome, for those not
allied to her by birth and lineage, at once kindly, noble, and full of
holy self-sacrifice. Yet continually the world is learning these things:
the history of her life, as her memoirs reveal it, the testimony of so
many witnesses here and in other lands, a more careful study and a wider
reading of her works, are leading, perhaps rapidly enough, to a true
appreciation of the spiritual beauty of her soul, and men see that the
waters of her inner life form a stream at once clear and pure, deep and

In presenting to the public the last volume of Margaret Fuller's works,
the Editor is encouraged to hope for them a candid, cordial reception.
It has been a work of love on his part, for which he has ever felt
inadequate, and from it for a time shrunk. But each volume has had a
wider and more cordial welcome than its predecessor, and works received
by the great public almost with coldness when first published, have,
when republished, had a large and cheering circulation, and, what is far
better, a kindly appreciation not only by the few, but even by the many.
This is evidence enough that the progress of time has brought the public
and my sister into closer sympathy and agreement, and a better
understanding on its part of her true views and character.

The present volume is less than any of its predecessors a republication.
_Only one of its articles has ever appeared before in book form._ As a
book, it is, then, essentially new, though some of its reviews and
essays have appeared in the columns of the Tribune and Dial. A large
portion of it has never appeared at all in print, especially its
poetical portions. The work of collecting these essays, reviews, and
poems has been a difficult one, much more than attended the preparation
of the previous volumes. Unable, of course, to consult their author as
to any of them, the revision I have given is doubtless very imperfect,
and requires large allowance. It is even possible that among the poems
one or more written by friends and sent her, or copied from some other
author, may have crept in unawares; but this all possible pains have
been taken to prevent. Such as it is, the volume is now before the
public; it truly reveals her inner and outer life, and is doubtless the
last of the volumes containing the writings of MARGARET FULLER OSSOLI.




MENZEL'S VIEW OF GOETHE                                               13

GOETHE                                                                23

THOMAS HOOD                                                           61

LETTERS FROM A LANDSCAPE PAINTER                                      69

BEETHOVEN                                                             71

BROWN'S NOVELS                                                        83

EDGAR A. POE                                                          87

ALFIERI AND CELLINI                                                   93

ITALY.--CARY'S DANTE                                                 102

AMERICAN FACTS                                                       108

NAPOLEON AND HIS MARSHALS                                            110

PHYSICAL EDUCATION                                                   116

FREDERICK DOUGLASS                                                   121

PHILIP VAN ARTEVELDE                                                 127

UNITED STATES EXPLORING EXPEDITION                                   141

STORY BOOKS FOR THE HOT WEATHER                                      143

SHELLEY'S POEMS                                                      149

FESTUS                                                               153

FRENCH NOVELISTS OF THE DAY                                          158


DEUTSCHE SCHNELLPOST                                                 174

OLIVER CROMWELL                                                      179

EMERSON'S ESSAYS                                                     191

CAPITAL PUNISHMENT                                                   199


FIRST OF JANUARY                                                     207

NEW YEAR'S DAY                                                       219

ST. VALENTINE'S DAY                                                  226

FOURTH OF JULY                                                       232

FIRST OF AUGUST                                                      236

THANKSGIVING                                                         243

CHRISTMAS                                                            250

MARIANA                                                              258

SUNDAY MEDITATIONS ON VARIOUS TEXTS.--FIRST                          277

"           "            "            SECOND                         280


THE RICH MAN.--AN IDEAL SKETCH                                       287

THE POOR MAN.--AN IDEAL SKETCH                                       297

THE CELESTIAL EMPIRE                                                 304

KLOPSTOCK AND META                                                   308

WHAT FITS A MAN TO BE A VOTER.--A FABLE                              314

DISCOVERIES                                                          319


CASSIUS M. CLAY                                                      326

THE MAGNOLIA OF LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN                                   330

CONSECRATION OF GRACE CHURCH                                         337

LATE ASPIRATIONS                                                     344


FAREWELL TO NEW YORK                                                 354


FREEDOM AND TRUTH                                                    357


JOURNEY TO TRENTON FALLS                                             361

SUE ROSA CRUX                                                        365

THE DAHLIA, THE ROSE, AND THE HELIOTROPE                             367

TO MY FRIENDS, (TRANSLATION.)                                        368

STANZAS WRITTEN AT THE AGE OF SEVENTEEN                              370

FLAXMAN                                                              371

FROM GOING TO CHURCH                                                 371

TO A GOLDEN HEART WORN ROUND THE NECK                                374


DISSATISFACTION, (TRANSLATION.)                                      377

MY SEAL-RING                                                         378

THE CONSOLERS, (TRANSLATION.)                                        379

ABSENCE OF LOVE                                                      380

MEDITATIONS                                                          381

RICHTER                                                              383

THE THANKFUL AND THE THANKLESS                                       384

PROPHECY AND FULFILMENT                                              385

VERSES GIVEN TO W. C., WITH A BLANK BOOK                             385

EAGLES AND DOVES, (TRANSLATION.)                                     387

TO A FRIEND, WITH HEARTSEASE                                         388

ASPIRATION                                                           389

THE ONE IN ALL                                                       390

A GREETING                                                           393

LINES TO EDITH, ON HER BIRTHDAY                                      394

LINES WRITTEN IN HER BROTHER R.F.F.'S JOURNAL                        395


THE CAPTURED WILD HORSE                                              397


HYMN WRITTEN FOR A SUNDAY SCHOOL                                     404

DESERTION, (TRANSLATION.)                                            405

SONG WRITTEN FOR A MAY-DAY FESTIVAL                                  406

CARADORI SINGING                                                     409

DISTINGUISHED BEAUTY                                                 409

INFLUENCE OF THE OUTWARD                                             410

TO MISS R.B.                                                         411

SISTRUM                                                              413

IMPERFECT THOUGHTS                                                   414

SADNESS                                                              414

LINES WRITTEN IN AN ALBUM                                            416

TO S.C.                                                              417


TO E.C., WITH HERBERT'S POEMS                                        422

Life without and Life within.




Menzel's view of Goethe is that of a Philistine, in the least
opprobrious sense of the term. It is one which has long been applied in
Germany to petty cavillers and incompetent critics. I do not wish to
convey a sense so disrespectful in speaking of Menzel. He has a vigorous
and brilliant mind, and a wide, though imperfect, culture. He is a man
of talent, but talent cannot comprehend genius. He judges of Goethe as
a Philistine, inasmuch as he does not enter into Canaan, and read the
prophet by the light of his own law, but looks at him from without, and
tries him by a rule beneath which he never lived. That there _was_
something Menzel saw; what that something was _not_ he saw, but _what_
it _was_ he could not see; none could _see_; it was something to be felt
and known at the time of its apparition, but the clear sight of it was
reserved to a day far enough removed from its sphere to get a commanding
point of view. Has that day come? A little while ago it seemed so;
certain features of Goethe's personality, certain results of his
tendency, had become so manifest. But as the plants he planted mature,
they shed a new seed for a yet more noble growth. A wider experience, a
deeper insight, make rejected words come true, and bring a more refined
perception of meaning already discerned. Like all his elder brothers of
the elect band, the forlorn hope of humanity, he obliges us to live and
grow, that we may walk by his side; vainly we strive to leave him behind
in some niche of the hall of our ancestors; a few steps onward and we
find him again, of yet serener eye and more towering mien than on his
other pedestal. Former measurements of his size have, like the girdle
bound by the nymphs round the infant Apollo, only served to make him
outgrow the unworthy compass. The still rising sun, with its broader
light, shows us it is not yet noon. In him is soon perceived a prophet
of our own age, as well as a representative of his own; and we doubt
whether the revolutions of the century be not required to interpret the
quiet depths of his _Saga_.

Sure it is that none has yet found Goethe's place, as sure that none
can claim to be his peer, who has not some time, ay, and for a long
time, been his pupil!

Yet much truth has been spoken of him in detail, some by Menzel, but in
so superficial a spirit, and with so narrow a view of its bearings, as
to have all the effect of falsehood. Such denials of the crown can only
fix it more firmly on the head of the "Old Heathen." To such the best
answer may be given in the words of Bettina Brentan: "The others
criticise thy works; I only know that they lead us on and on till we
live in them." And thus will all criticism end in making more men and
women read these works, and "on and on," till they forget whether the
author be a patriot or a moralist, in the deep humanity of the thought,
the breathing nature of the scene. While words they have accepted with
immediate approval fade from memory, these oft-denied words of keen,
cold truth return with ever new force and significance.

Men should be true, wise, beautiful, pure, and aspiring. This man was
true and wise, capable of all things. Because he did not in one short
life complete his circle, can we afford to lose him out of sight? Can
we, in a world where so few men have in any degree redeemed their
inheritance, neglect a nature so rich and so manifestly progressive?

Historically considered, Goethe needs no apology. His so-called faults
fitted him all the better for the part he had to play. In cool
possession of his wide-ranging genius, he taught the imagination of
Germany, that the highest flight should be associated with the steady
sweep and undazzled eye of the eagle. Was he too much the connoisseur,
did he attach too great an importance to the cultivation of taste, where
just then German literature so much needed to be refined, polished, and
harmonized? Was he too sceptical, too much an experimentalist,--how else
could he have formed himself to be the keenest, and, at the same time,
most nearly universal of observers, teaching theologians, philosophers,
and patriots that nature comprehends them all, commands them all, and
that no one development of life must exclude the rest? Do you talk, in
the easy cant of the day, of German obscurity, extravagance, pedantry,
and bad taste,--and will you blame this man, whose Greek, English,
Italian, German mind steered so clear of these rocks and shoals,
clearing, adjusting, and calming on each side, wherever he turned his
prow? Was he not just enough of an idealist, just enough of a realist,
for his peculiar task? If you want a moral enthusiast, is not there
Schiller? If piety, of purest, mystic sweetness, who but Novalis?
Exuberant sentiment, that treasures each withered leaf in a tender
breast, look to your Richter. Would you have men to find plausible
meaning for the deepest enigma, or to hang up each map of literature,
well painted and dotted on its proper roller,--there are the Schlegels.
Men of ideas were numerous as migratory crows in autumn, and Jacobi
wrote the heart into philosophy, as well as he could. Who could fill
Goethe's place to Germany, and to the world, of which she is now the
teacher? His much-reviled aristocratic turn was at that time a
reconciling element. It is plain why he was what he was, for his country
and his age.

Whoever looks into the history of his youth, will be struck by a
peculiar force with which all things worked together to prepare him for
his office of artist-critic to the then chaotic world of thought in his
country. What an unusually varied scene of childhood and of youth! What
endless change and contrast of circumstances and influences! Father and
mother, life and literature, world and nature,--playing into one
another's hands, always by antagonism! Never was a child so carefully
guarded by fate against prejudice, against undue bias, against any
engrossing sentiment. Nature having given him power of poetical sympathy
to know every situation, would not permit him to make himself at home in
any. And how early what was most peculiar in his character manifested
itself, may be seen in these anecdotes related by his mother to Bettina.

Of Goethe's childhood.--"He was not willing to play with other little
children, unless they were very fair. In a circle he began suddenly to
weep, screaming, 'Take away the black, ugly child; I cannot bear to have
it here.' He could not be pacified; they were obliged to take him home,
and there the mother could hardly console him for the child's ugliness.
He was then only three years old."

"His mother was surprised, that when his brother Jacob died, who had
been his playmate, he shed no tear, but rather seemed annoyed by the
lamentations of those around him. But afterwards, when his mother asked
whether he had not loved his brother, he ran into his room and brought
from under his bed a bundle of papers, all written over, and said he had
done all this for Jacob."

Even so in later years, had he been asked if he had not loved his
country and his fellow-men, he would not have answered by tears and
vows, but pointed to his works.

In the first anecdote is observable that love of symmetry in external
relations which, in manhood, made him give up the woman he loved,
because she would not have been in place among the old-fashioned
furniture of his father's house; and dictated the course which, at the
crisis of his life, led him to choose an outward peace rather than an
inward joy. In the second, he displays, at the earliest age, a sense of
his vocation as a recorder, the same which drew him afterwards to write
his life into verse, rather than clothe it in action. His indirectness,
his aversion to the frankness of heroic meetings, is repulsive and
suspicious to generous and flowing natures; yet many of the more
delicate products of the mind seem to need these sheaths, lest bird and
insect rifle them in the bud.

And if this subtlety, isolation, and distance be the dictate of nature,
we submit, even as we are not vexed that the wild bee should hide its
honey in some old moss-grown tree, rather than in the glass hives of our
gardens. We believe it will repay the pains we take in seeking for it,
by some peculiar flavor from unknown flowers. Was Goethe the wild bee?
We see that even in his boyhood he showed himself a very Egyptian, in
his love for disguises; forever expressing his thought in roundabout
ways, which seem idle mummery to a mind of Spartan or Roman mould. Had
he some simple thing to tell his friend, he read it from the newspaper,
or wrote it into a parable. Did he make a visit, he put on the hat or
wig of some other man, and made his bow as Schmidt or Schlosser, that
they might stare, when he spoke as Goethe. He gives as the highest
instance of passionate grief, that he gave up for one day watching the
tedious ceremonies of the imperial coronation. In daily life many of
these carefully recorded passages have an air of platitude, at which no
wonder the Edinburgh Review laughed. Yet, on examination, they are full
of meaning. And when we see the same propensity writing itself into
Ganymede, Mahomet's song, the Bayadere, and Faust, telling all
Goethe's religion in Mignon and Makana, all his wisdom in the
Western-Eastern Divan, we respect it, accept, all but love it.

This theme is for a volume, and I must quit it now. A brief summary of
what Goethe was suffices to vindicate his existence, as an agent in
history and a part of nature, but will not meet the objections of those
who measure him, as they have a right to do, by the standard of ideal

Most men, in judging another man, ask, Did he live up to our standard?

But to me it seems desirable to ask rather, Did he live up to his own?

So possible is it that our consciences may be more enlightened than that
of the Gentile under consideration. And if we can find out how much was
given him, we are told, in a pure evangelium, to judge thereby how much
shall be required.

Now, Goethe has given us both his own standard and the way to apply
it. "To appreciate any man, learn first what object he proposed to
himself; next, what degree of earnestness he showed with regard to
attaining that object."

And this is part of his hymn for man made in the divine image, "THE

    "Hail to the Unknown, the
    Higher Being
    Felt within us!

                As nature,
    Still shineth the sun
    Over good and evil;
    And on the sinner,
    Smile as on the best,
    Moon and stars.
      Fate too, &c.

    "There can none but man
    Perform the Impossible.
    He understandeth,
    Chooseth, and judgeth;
    He can impart to the
      Moment duration.

    "He alone may
    The good reward,
    The guilty punish,
    Mend and deliver;
    All the wayward, anomalous
      Bind in the useful.

    "And the Immortals,
    Them we reverence
    As if they were men, and
    Did, on a grand scale,
    What the best man in little
      Does, or fain would do.

    "Let noble man
    Be helpful and good;
    Ever creating
    The Right and the Useful;
    Type of those loftier
      Beings of whom the heart whispers."

This standard is high enough. It is what every man should express in
action, the poet in music!

And this office of a judge, who is of purer eyes than to behold
iniquity, and of a sacred oracle, to whom other men may go to ask when
they should choose a friend, when face a foe, this great genius does not
adequately fulfil. Too often has the priest left the shrine to go and
gather simples by the aid of spells whose might no pure power needs.
Glimpses are found in his works of the highest spirituality, but it is
blue sky seen through chinks in a roof which should never have been
builded. He has used life to excess. He is too rich for his nobleness,
too judicious for his inspiration, too humanly wise for his divine
mission. He might have been a priest; he is only a sage.

An Epicurean sage, say the multitude. This seems to me unjust. He is
also called a debauchee. There may be reason for such terms, but it is
partial, and received, as they will be, by the unthinking, they are as
false as Menzel's abuse, in the impression they convey. Did Goethe
value the present too much? It was not for the Epicurean aim of
pleasure, but for use. He, in this, was but an instance of reaction, in
an age of painful doubt and restless striving as to the future. Was his
private life stained by profligacy? That far largest portion of his
life, which is ours, and which is expressed in his works, is an unbroken
series of efforts to develop the higher elements of our being. I cannot
speak to private gossip on this subject, nor even to well-authenticated
versions of his private life. Here are sixty volumes, by himself and
others, which contain sufficient evidence of a life of severe labor,
steadfast forbearance, and an intellectual growth almost unparalleled.
That he has failed of the highest fulfilment of his high vocation is
certain, but he was neither Epicurean nor sensualist, if we consider his
life as a whole.

Yet he had failed to reach his highest development; and how was it that
he was so content with this incompleteness, nay, the serenest of men?
His serenity alone, in such a time of scepticism and sorrowful seeking,
gives him a claim to all our study. See how he rides at anchor, lordly,
rich in freight, every white sail ready to be unfurled at a moment's
warning! And it must be a very slight survey which can confound this
calm self-trust with selfish indifference of temperament. Indeed, he, in
various ways, lets us see how little he was helped in this respect by
temperament. But we need not his declaration,--the case speaks for
itself. Of all that perpetual accomplishment, that unwearied
constructiveness, the basis must be sunk deeper than in temperament. He
never halts, never repines, never is puzzled, like other men; that
tranquillity, full of life, that ceaseless but graceful motion, "without
haste, without rest," for which we all are striving, he has attained.
And is not his love of the noblest kind? Reverence the highest, have
patience with the lowest. Let this day's performance of the meanest duty
be thy religion. Are the stars too distant, pick up that pebble that
lies at thy foot, and from it learn the all. Go out like Saul, the son
of Kish, look earnestly after the meanest of thy father's goods, and a
kingdom shall be brought thee. The least act of pure self-renunciation
hallows, for the moment, all within its sphere. The philosopher may
mislead, the devil tempt, yet innocence, though wounded and bleeding as
it goes, must reach at last the holy city. The power of sustaining
himself and guiding others rewards man sufficiently for the longest
apprenticeship. Is not this lore the noblest?

Yes, yes, but still I doubt. 'Tis true, he says all this in a thousand
beautiful forms, but he does not warm, he does not inspire me. In his
certainty is no bliss, in his hope no love, in his faith no glow. How is

A friend, of a delicate penetration, observed, "His atmosphere was so
calm, so full of light, that I hoped he would teach me his secret of
cheerfulness. But I found, after long search, that he had no better way,
if he wished to check emotion or clear thought, than to go to work. As
his mother tells us, 'My son, if he had a grief, made it into a poem,
and so got rid of it.' This mode is founded in truth, but does not
involve the whole truth. I want the method which is indicated by the
phrase, 'Perseverance of the saints.'"

This touched the very point. Goethe attained only the perseverance of
a man. He was true, for he knew that nothing can be false to him who is
true, and that to genius nature has pledged her protection. Had he but
seen a little farther, he would have given this covenant a higher
expression, and been more deeply true to a diviner nature.

In another article on Goethe, I shall give some account of that
period, when a too determined action of the intellect limited and
blinded him for the rest of his life; I mean only in comparison with
what he should have been. Had it been otherwise, what would he not have
attained, who, even thus self-enchained, rose to Ulyssean stature.
Connected with this is the fact, of which he spoke with such sarcastic
solemnity to Eckermann--"My works will never be popular."

I wish, also, to consider the Faust, Elective Affinities, Apprenticeship
and Pilgrimages of Wilhelm Meister, and Iphigenia, as affording
indications of the progress of his genius here, of its wants and
prospects in future spheres of activity. For the present I bid him
farewell, as his friends always have done, in hope and trust of a better


    "Nemo contra Deum nisi Deus ipse."

    "Wer Grosses will muss sich zusammen raffen;
    In der Beschrankung zeigt sich erst der Meister,
    Und der Gesetz nur Kann uns Freikeit geben."[1]

The first of these mottoes is that prefixed by Goethe to the last
books of "Dichtung und Wahrheit." These books record the hour of turning
tide in his life, the time when he was called on for a choice at the
"Parting of the Ways." From these months, which gave the sun of his
youth, the crisis of his manhood, date the birth of Egmont, and of Faust
too, though the latter was not published so early. They saw the rise and
decline of his love for Lili, apparently the truest love he ever knew.
That he was not himself dissatisfied with the results to which the
decisions of this era led him, we may infer from his choice of a motto,
and from the calm beauty with which he has invested the record.

The Parting of the Ways! The way he took led to court-favor, wealth,
celebrity, and an independence of celebrity. It led to large
performance, and a wonderful economical management of intellect. It led
Faust, the Seeker, from the heights of his own mind to the trodden ways
of the world. There, indeed, he did not lose sight of the mountains, but
he never breathed their keen air again.

After this period we find in him rather a wide and deep Wisdom, than the
inspiration of Genius. His faith, that all _must_ issue well, wants the
sweetness of piety, and the God he manifests to us is one of law or
necessity, rather than of intelligent love. As this God makes because he
must, so Goethe, his instrument, observes and re-creates because he
must, observing with minutest fidelity the outward exposition of Nature;
never blinded by a sham, or detained by a fear, he yet makes us feel
that he wants insight to her sacred secret. The calmest of writers does
not give us repose, because it is too difficult to find his centre.
Those flame-like natures, which he undervalues, give us more peace and
hope, through their restless aspirations, than he with his
hearth-enclosed fires of steady fulfilment. For, true as it is, that God
is every where, we must not only see him, but see him acknowledged.
Through the consciousness of man, "shall not Nature interpret God?" We
wander in diversity, and with each new turning of the path, long anew to
be referred to the One.

Of Goethe, as of other natures, where the intellect is too much
developed in proportion to the moral nature, it is difficult to speak
without seeming narrow, blind, and impertinent. For such men _see_ all
that others _live_, and, if you feel a want of a faculty in them, it is
hard to say they have it not, lest, next moment, they puzzle you by
giving some indication of it. Yet they are not, nay, _know_ not; they
only discern. The difference is that between sight and life, prescience
and being, wisdom and love. Thus with Goethe. Naturally of a deep mind
and shallow heart, he felt the sway of the affections enough to
appreciate their workings in other men, but never enough to receive
their inmost regenerating influence.

How this might have been had he ever once abandoned himself entirely to
a sentiment, it is impossible to say. But the education of his youth
seconded, rather than balanced, his natural tendency. His father was a
gentlemanly martinet; dull, sour, well-informed, and of great ambition
as to externals. His influence on the son was wholly artificial. He was
always turning his powerful mind from side to side in search of
information, for the attainment of what are called accomplishments. The
mother was a delightful person in her way; open, genial, playful, full
of lively talent, but without earnestness of soul. She was one of those
charming, but not noble persons, who take the day and the man as they
find them, seeing the best that is there already, but never making the
better grow in its stead. His sister, though of graver kind, was social
and intellectual, not religious or tender. The mortifying repulse of his
early love checked the few pale buds of faith and tenderness that his
heart put forth. His friends were friends of the intellect merely;
altogether, he seemed led by destiny to the place he was to fill.

Pardon him, World, that he was too worldly. Do not wonder, Heart, that
he was so heartless. Believe, Soul, that one so true, as far as he went,
must yet be initiated into the deeper mysteries of Soul. Perhaps even
now he sees that we must accept limitations only to transcend them; work
in processes only to detect the organizing power which supersedes them;
and that Sphinxes of fifty-five volumes might well be cast into the
abyss before the single word that solves them all.

Now, when I think of Goethe, I seem to see his soul, all the
variegated plumes of knowledge, artistic form "und so weiter," burnt
from it by the fires of divine love, wingless, motionless, unable to
hide from itself in any subterfuge of labor, saying again and again, the
simple words which he would never distinctly say on earth--God beyond
Nature--Faith beyond Sight--the Seeker nobler than the _Meister_.

For this mastery that Goethe prizes seems to consist rather in the
skilful use of means than in the clear manifestation of ends. His
Master, indeed, makes acknowledgment of a divine order, but the temporal
uses are always uppermost in the mind of the reader. But of this, more
at large in reference to his works.

Apart from this want felt in his works, there is a littleness in his
aspect as a character. Why waste his time in Weimar court
entertainments? His duties as minister were not unworthy of him, though
it would have been, perhaps, finer, if he had not spent so large a
portion of that prime of intellectual life, from five and twenty to
forty, upon them.

But granted that the exercise these gave his faculties, the various lore
they brought, and the good they did to the community, made them worth
his doing,--why that perpetual dangling after the royal family? Why all
that verse-making for the albums of serene highnesses, and those pretty
poetical entertainments for the young princesses, and that cold setting
himself apart from his true peers, the real sovereigns of
Weimar--Herder, Wieland, and the others? The excuse must be found in
circumstances of his time and temperament, which made the character of
man of the world and man of affairs more attractive to him than the
children of nature can conceive it to be in the eyes of one who is
capable of being a consecrated bard.

The man of genius feels that literature has become too much a craft by
itself. No man should live by or for his pen. Writing is worthless
except as the record of life; and no great man ever was satisfied thus
to express all his being. His book should be only an indication of
himself. The obelisk should point to a scene of conquest. In the present
state of division of labor, the literary man finds himself condemned to
be nothing else. Does he write a good book? it is not received as
evidence of his ability to live and act, but rather the reverse. Men do
not offer him the care of embassies, as an earlier age did to Petrarca;
they would be surprised if he left his study to go forth to battle like
Cervantes. We have the swordsman, and statesman, and penman, but it is
not considered that the same mind which can rule the destiny of a poem,
may as well that of an army or an empire.[2] Yet surely it should be so.
The scientific man may need seclusion from the common affairs of life,
for he has his materials before him; but the man of letters must seek
them in life, and he who cannot act will but imperfectly appreciate

The literary man is impatient at being set apart. He feels that monks
and troubadours, though in a similar position, were brought into more
healthy connection with man and nature, than he who is supposed to look
at them merely to write them down. So he rebels; and Sir Walter Scott is
prouder of being a good sheriff and farmer, than of his reputation as
the Great Unknown. Byron piques himself on his skill in shooting and
swimming. Sir H. Davy and Schlegel would be admired as dandies, and
Goethe, who had received an order from a publisher "for a dozen more
dramas in the same style as Goetz von Berlichingen," and though (in
sadder sooth) he had already Faust in his head asking to be written out,
thought it no degradation to become premier in the little Duchy of

"Straws show which way the wind blows," and a comment may be drawn from
the popular novels, where the literary man is obliged to wash off the
ink in a violet bath, attest his courage in the duel, and hide his
idealism beneath the vulgar nonchalance and coxcombry of the man of

If this tendency of his time had some influence in making Goethe find
pleasure in tangible power and decided relations with society, there
were other causes which worked deeper. The growth of genius in its
relations to men around must always be attended with daily pain. The
enchanted eye turns from the far-off star it has detected to the
short-sighted bystander, and the seer is mocked for pretending to see
what others cannot. The large and generalizing mind infers the whole
from a single circumstance, and is reproved by all around for its
presumptuous judgment. Its Ithuriel temper pierces shams, creeds,
covenants, and chases the phantoms which others embrace, till the lovers
of the false Florimels hurl the true knight to the ground. Little men
are indignant that Hercules, yet an infant, declares he has strangled
the serpent; they demand a proof; they send him out into scenes of labor
to bring thence the voucher that his father is a god. What the ancients
meant to express by Apollo's continual disappointment in his loves, is
felt daily in the youth of genius. The sympathy he seeks flies his
touch, the objects of his affection sneer at his sublime credulity, his
self-reliance is arrogance, his far sight infatuation, and his ready
detection of fallacy fickleness and inconsistency. Such is the youth of
genius, before the soul has given that sign of itself which an
unbelieving generation cannot controvert. Even then he is little
benefited by the transformation of the mockers into worshippers. For the
soul seeks not adorers, but peers; not blind worship, but intelligent
sympathy. The best consolation even then is that which Goethe puts
into the mouth of Tasso: "To me gave a God to tell what I suffer." In
"Tasso" Goethe has described the position of the poetical mind in its
prose relations with equal depth and fulness. We see what he felt must
be the result of entire abandonment to the highest nature. We see why he
valued himself on being able to understand the Alphonsos, and meet as an
equal the Antonios of every-day life.

But, you say, there is no likeness between Goethe and Tasso. Never
believe it; such pictures are not painted from observation merely. That
deep coloring which fills them with light and life is given by dipping
the brush in one's own life-blood. Goethe had not from nature that
character of self-reliance and self-control in which he so long appeared
to the world. It was wholly acquired, and so highly valued because he
was conscious of the opposite tendency. He was by nature as impetuous,
though not as tender, as Tasso, and the disadvantage at which this
constantly placed him was keenly felt by a mind made to appreciate the
subtlest harmonies in all relations. Therefore was it that when he at
last cast anchor, he was so reluctant again to trust himself to wave and

I have before spoken of the antagonistic influences under which he was
educated. He was driven from the severity of study into the world, and
then again drawn back, many times in the course of his crowded youth.
Both the world and the study he used with unceasing ardor, but not with
the sweetness of a peaceful hope. Most of the traits which are
considered to mark his character at a later period were wanting to him
in youth. He was very social, and continually perturbed by his social
sympathies. He was deficient both in outward self-possession and mental
self-trust. "I was always," he says, "either _too volatile or too
infatuated_, so that those who looked kindly on me did by no means
always honor me with their esteem." He wrote much and with great
freedom. The pen came naturally to his hand, but he had no confidence in
the merit of what he wrote, and much inferior persons to Merck and
Herder might have induced him to throw aside as worthless what it had
given him sincere pleasure to compose. It was hard for him to isolate
himself, to console himself, and, though his mind was always busy with
important thoughts, they did not free him from the pressure of other
minds. His youth was as sympathetic and impetuous as any on record.

The effect of all this outward pressure on the poet is recorded in
Werther--a production that he afterwards under-valued, and to which he
even felt positive aversion. It was natural that this should be. In the
calm air of the cultivated plain he attained, the remembrance of the
miasma of sentimentality was odious to him. Yet sentimentality is but
sentiment diseased, which to be cured must be patiently observed by the
wise physician; so are the morbid desire and despair of Werther, the
sickness of a soul aspiring to a purer, freer state, but mistaking the

The best or the worst occasion in man's life is precisely that misused
in Werther, when he longs for more love, more freedom, and a larger
development of genius than the limitations of this terrene sphere
permit. Sad is it indeed if, persisting to grasp too much at once, he
lose all, as Werther did. He must accept limitation, must consent to do
his work in time, must let his affections be baffled by the barriers of
convention. Tantalus-like, he makes this world a Tartarus, or, like
Hercules, rises in fires to heaven, according as he knows how to
interpret his lot. But he must only use, not adopt it. The boundaries of
the man must never be confounded with the destiny of the soul. If he
does not decline his destiny, as Werther did, it is his honor to have
felt its unfitness for his eternal scope. He was born for wings; he is
held to walk in leading-strings; nothing lower than faith must make him
resigned, and only in hope should he find content--a hope not of some
slight improvement in his own condition or that of other men, but a hope
justified by the divine justice, which is bound in due time to satisfy
every want of his nature.

Schiller's great command is, "Keep true to the dream of thy youth." The
great problem is how to make the dream real, through the exercise of the
waking will.

This was not exactly the problem Goethe tried to solve. To _do_
somewhat, became too important, as is indicated both by the second motto
to this essay, and by his maxim, "It is not the knowledge of what _might
be_, but what _is_, that forms us."

Werther, like his early essays now republished from the Frankfort
Journal, is characterized by a fervid eloquence of Italian glow, which
betrays a part of his character almost lost sight of in the quiet
transparency of his later productions, and may give us some idea of the
mental conflicts through which he passed to manhood.

The acting out the mystery into life, the calmness of survey, and the
passionateness of feeling, above all the ironical baffling at the end,
and want of point to a tale got up with such an eye to effect as he goes
along, mark well the man that was to be. Even so did he demand in
Werther; even so resolutely open the door in the first part of Faust;
even so seem to play with himself and his contemporaries in the second
part of Faust and Wilhelm Meister.

Yet was he deeply earnest in his play, not for men, but for himself. To
himself as a part of nature it was important to grow, to lift his head
to the light. In nature he had all confidence; for man, as a part of
nature, infinite hope; but in him as an individual will, seemingly, not
much trust at the earliest age.

The history of his intimacies marks his course; they were entered into
with passionate eagerness, but always ended in an observation of the
intellect, and he left them on his road, as the snake leaves his skin.
The first man he met of sufficient force to command a large share of his
attention was Herder, and the benefit of this intercourse was critical,
not genial. Of the good Lavater he soon perceived the weakness. Merck,
again, commanded his respect; but the force of Merck also was cold.

But in the Grand Duke of Weimar he seems to have met a character strong
enough to exercise a decisive influence upon his own. Goethe was not
so politic and worldly that a little man could ever have become his
Mæcenas. In the Duchess Amelia and her son he found that practical
sagacity, large knowledge of things as they are, active force, and
genial feeling, which he had never before seen combined.

The wise mind of the duchess gave the first impulse to the noble course
of Weimar. But that her son should have availed himself of the
foundation she laid is praise enough, in a world where there is such a
rebound from parental influence that it generally seems that the child
makes use of the directions given by the parent only to avoid the
prescribed path. The duke availed himself of guidance, though with a
perfect independence in action. The duchess had the unusual wisdom to
know the right time for giving up the reins, and thus maintained her
authority as far as the weight of her character was calculated to give

Of her Goethe was thinking when he wrote, "The admirable woman is she,
who, if the husband dies, can be a father to the children."

The duke seems to have been one of those characters which are best known
by the impression their personal presence makes on us, resembling an
elemental and pervasive force, rather than wearing the features of an
individuality. Goethe describes him as "_Dämonische_," that is, gifted
with an instinctive, spontaneous force, which at once, without
calculation or foresight, chooses the right means to an end. As these
beings do not calculate, so is their influence incalculable. Their
repose has as much influence over other beings as their action, even as
the thunder cloud, lying black and distant in the summer sky, is not
less imposing than when it bursts and gives forth its quick lightnings.
Such men were Mirabeau and Swift. They had also distinct talents, but
their influence was from a perception in the minds of men of this
spontaneous energy in their natures. Sometimes, though rarely, we see
such a man in an obscure position; circumstances have not led him to a
large sphere; he may not have expressed in words a single thought worth
recording; but by his eye and voice he rules all around him.

He stands upon his feet with a firmness and calm security which make
other men seem to halt and totter in their gait. In his deep eye is seen
an infinite comprehension, an infinite reserve of power. No accent of
his sonorous voice is lost on any ear within hearing; and, when he
speaks, men hate or fear perhaps the disturbing power they feel, but
never dream of disobeying. But hear Goethe himself.

"The boy believed in nature, in the animate and inanimate the
intelligent and unconscious, to discover somewhat which manifested
itself only through contradiction, and therefore could not be
comprehended by any conception, much less defined by a word. It was not
divine, for it seemed without reason; not human, because without
understanding; not devilish, because it worked to good; not angelic,
because it often betrayed a petulant love of mischief. It was like
chance, in that it proved no sequence; it suggested the thought of
Providence, because it indicated connection. To this all our limitations
seem penetrable; it seemed to play at will with all the elements of our
being; it compressed time and dilated space. Only in the impossible did
it seem to delight, and to cast the possible aside with disdain.

"This existence which seemed to mingle with others, sometimes to
separate, sometimes to unite, I called the Dämonische, after the example
of the ancients, and others who have observed somewhat similar."--_Dichtung
und Wahrheit._

"The Dämonische is that which cannot be explained by reason or
understanding; it lies not in my nature, but I am subject to it.

"Napoleon was a being of this class, and in so high a degree that scarce
any one is to be compared with him. Also our late grand duke was such a
nature, full of unlimited power of action and unrest, so that his own
dominion was too little for him, and the greatest would have been too
little. Demoniac beings of this sort the Greeks reckoned among their
demigods."--_Conversations with Eckermann._[3]

This great force of will, this instinctive directness of action, gave
the duke an immediate ascendency over Goethe which no other person had
ever possessed. It was by no means mere sycophancy that made him give up
the next ten years, the prime of his manhood, to accompanying the grand
duke in his revels, or aiding him in his schemes of practical utility,
or to contriving elegant amusements for the ladies of the court. It was
a real admiration for the character of the genial man of the world and
its environment.

Whoever is turned from his natural path may, if he will, gain in
largeness and depth what he loses in simple beauty; and so it was with
Goethe. Faust became a wiser if not a nobler being. Werther, who must
die because life was not wide enough and rich enough in love for him,
ends as the Meister of the Wanderjahre, well content to be one never
inadequate to the occasion, "help-full, comfort-full."

A great change was, during these years, perceptible to his friends in
the character of Goethe. From being always "either too volatile or
infatuated," he retreated into a self-collected state, which seemed at
first even icy to those around him. No longer he darted about him the
lightnings of his genius, but sat Jove-like and calm, with the
thunderbolts grasped in his hand, and the eagle gathered to his feet.
His freakish wit was subdued into a calm and even cold irony; his
multiplied relations no longer permitted him to abandon himself to any;
the minister and courtier could not expatiate in the free regions of
invention, and bring upon paper the signs of his higher life, without
subjecting himself to an artificial process of isolation. Obliged to
economy of time and means, he made of his intimates not objects of
devout tenderness, of disinterested care, but the crammers and feeders
of his intellect. The world was to him an arena or a studio, but not a

"Ye cannot serve God and Mammon."

Had Goethe entered upon practical life from the dictate of his spirit,
which bade him not be a mere author, but a living, loving man, that had
all been well. But he must also be a man of the world, and nothing can
be more unfavorable to true manhood than this ambition. The citizen, the
hero, the general, the poet, all these are in true relations; but what
is called being a man of the world is to truckle to it, not truly to
serve it.

Thus fettered in false relations, detained from retirement upon the
centre of his being, yet so relieved from the early pressure of his
great thoughts as to pity more pious souls for being restless seekers,
no wonder that he wrote,--

"Es ist dafür gesorgt dass die Bäume nicht in den Himmel wachsen."

"Care is taken that the trees grow not up into the heavens." Ay, Goethe,
but in proportion to their force of aspiration is their height.

Yet never let him be confounded with those who sell all their
birthright. He became blind to the more generous virtues, the nobler
impulses, but ever in self-respect was busy to develop his nature. He
was kind, industrious, wise, gentlemanly, if not manly. If his genius
lost sight of the highest aim, he is the best instructor in the use of
means; ceasing to be a prophet poet, he was still a poetic artist. From
this time forward he seems a listener to nature, but not himself the
highest product of nature,--a priest to the soul of nature. His works
grow out of life, but are not instinct with the peculiar life of human
resolve, as are Shakspeare's or Dante's.

Faust contains the great idea of his life, as indeed there is but one
great poetic idea possible to man--the progress of a soul through the
various forms of existence.

All his other works, whatever their miraculous beauty of execution, are
mere chapters to this poem, illustrative of particular points. Faust,
had it been completed in the spirit in which it was begun, would have
been the Divina Commedia of its age.

But nothing can better show the difference of result between a stern and
earnest life, and one of partial accommodation, than a comparison
between the Paridiso and that of the second part of Faust. In both a
soul, gradually educated and led back to God, is received at last not
through merit, but grace. But O the difference between the grandly
humble reliance of old Catholicism, and the loophole redemption of
modern sagacity! Dante was a _man_, of vehement passions, many
prejudices, bitter as much as sweet. His knowledge was scanty, his
sphere of observation narrow, the objects of his active life petty,
compared with those of Goethe. But, constantly retiring to his deepest
self, clearsighted to the limitations of man, but no less so to the
illimitable energy of the soul, the sharpest details in his work convey
a largest sense, as his strongest and steadiest flights only direct the
eye to heavens yet beyond.

Yet perhaps he had not so hard a battle to wage, as this other great
poet. The fiercest passions are not so dangerous foes to the soul as the
cold scepticism of the understanding. The Jewish demon assailed the man
of Uz with physical ills, the Lucifer of the middle ages tempted his
passions; but the Mephistopheles of the eighteenth century bade the
finite strive to compass the infinite, and the intellect attempt to
solve all the problems of the soul.

This path Faust had taken: it is that of modern necromancy. Not willing
to grow into God by the steady worship of a life, men would enforce his
presence by a spell; not willing to learn his existence by the slow
processes of their own, they strive to bind it in a word, that they may
wear it about the neck as a talisman.

Faust, bent upon reaching the centre of the universe through the
intellect alone, naturally, after a length of trial, which has prevented
the harmonious unfolding of his nature, falls into despair. He has
striven for one object, and that object eludes him. Returning upon
himself, he finds large tracts of his nature lying waste and cheerless.
He is too noble for apathy, too wise for vulgar content with the animal
enjoyments of life. Yet the thirst he has been so many years increasing
is not to be borne. Give me, he cries, but a drop of water to cool my
burning tongue. Yet, in casting himself with a wild recklessness upon
the impulses of his nature yet untried, there is a disbelief that any
thing short of the All can satisfy the immortal spirit. His first
attempt was noble, though mistaken, and under the saving influence of
it, he makes the compact, whose condition cheats the fiend at last.

    Kannst du mich schmeichelnd je belügen
    Dass ich mir selbst gefallen mag,
    Kannst du mich mit Genuss betrügen:
    Das sey für mich der letzte Tag.

    Werd ich zum Augenblicke sagen:
    Verweile doch! du bist so schön!
    Dann magst du mich in Fesseln schlagen,
    Dann will ich gern zu Grunde gehen.

    Canst thou by falsehood or by flattery
    Make me one moment with myself at peace,
    Cheat me into tranquillity? Come then
    And welcome, life's last day.
    Make me but to the moment say,
    O fly not yet, thou art so fair,
    Then let me perish, &c.

But this condition is never fulfilled. Faust cannot be content with
sensuality, with the charlatanry of ambition, nor with riches. His heart
never becomes callous, nor his moral and intellectual perceptions
obtuse. He is saved at last.

With the progress of an individual soul is shadowed forth that of the
soul of the age; beginning in intellectual scepticism; sinking into
license; cheating itself with dreams of perfect bliss, to be at once
attained by means no surer than a spurious paper currency; longing
itself back from conflict between the spirit and the flesh, induced by
Christianity, to the Greek era with its harmonious development of body
and mind; striving to reëmbody the loved phantom of classical beauty in
the heroism of the middle age; flying from the Byron despair of those
who die because they cannot soar without wings, to schemes however
narrow, of practical utility,--redeemed at last through mercy alone.

The second part of Faust is full of meaning, resplendent with beauty;
but it is rather an appendix to the first part than a fulfilment of its
promise. The world, remembering the powerful stamp of individual
feeling, universal indeed in its application, but individual in its
life, which had conquered all its scruples in the first part, was vexed
to find, instead of the man Faust, the spirit of the age,--discontented
with the shadowy manifestation of truths it longed to embrace, and,
above all, disappointed that the author no longer met us face to face,
or riveted the ear by his deep tones of grief and resolve.

When the world shall have got rid of the still overpowering influence of
the first part, it will be seen that the fundamental idea is never lost
sight of in the second. The change is that Goethe, though the same
thinker, is no longer the same person.

The continuation of Faust in the practical sense of the education of a
man is to be found in Wilhelm Meister. Here we see the change by
strongest contrast. The mainspring of action is no longer the
impassioned and noble seeker, but a disciple of circumstance, whose most
marked characteristic is a taste for virtue and knowledge. Wilhelm
certainly prefers these conditions of existence to their opposites, but
there is nothing so decided in his character as to prevent his turning a
clear eye on every part of that variegated world-scene which the writer
wished to place before us.

To see all till he knows all sufficiently to put objects into their
relations, then to concentrate his powers and use his knowledge under
recognized conditions,--such is the progress of man from Apprentice to

'Tis pity that the volumes of the Wanderjahre have not been translated
entire, as well as those of the Lehrjahre, for many, who have read the
latter only, fancy that Wilhelm becomes a master in that work. Far from
it; he has but just become conscious of the higher powers that have
ceaselessly been weaving his fate. Far from being as yet a Master, he
but now begins to be a Knower. In the Wanderjahre we find him gradually
learning the duties of citizenship, and hardening into manhood, by
applying what he has learned for himself to the education of his child.
He converses on equal terms with the wise and beneficent; he is no
longer duped and played with for his good, but met directly mind to

Wilhelm is a master when he can command his actions, yet keep his mind
always open to new means of knowledge; when he has looked at various
ways of living, various forms of religion and of character, till he has
learned to be tolerant of all, discerning of good in all; when the
astronomer imparts to his equal ear his highest thoughts, and the poor
cottager seeks his aid as a patron and counsellor.

To be capable of all duties, limited by none, with an open eye, a
skilful and ready hand, an assured step, a mind deep, calm, foreseeing
without anxiety, hopeful without the aid of illusion,--such is the ripe
state of manhood. This attained, the great soul should still seek and
labor, but strive and battle never more.

The reason for Goethe's choosing so negative a character as Wilhelm,
and leading him through scenes of vulgarity and low vice, would be
obvious enough to a person of any depth of thought, even if he himself
had not announced it. He thus obtained room to paint life as it really
is, and bring forward those slides in the magic lantern which are always
known to exist, though they may not be spoken of to ears polite.

Wilhelm cannot abide in tradition, nor do as his fathers did before him,
merely for the sake of money or a standing in society. The stage, here
an emblem of the ideal life as it gleams before unpractised eyes,
offers, he fancies, opportunity for a life of thought as distinguished
from one of routine. Here, no longer the simple citizen, but Man, all
Men, he will rightly take upon himself the different aspects of life,
till poet-wise, he shall have learned them all.

No doubt the attraction of the stage to young persons of a vulgar
character is merely the brilliancy of its trappings; but to Wilhelm, as
to Goethe, it was this poetic freedom and daily suggestion which
seemed likely to offer such an agreeable studio in the greenroom.

But the ideal must be rooted in the real, else the poet's life
degenerates into buffoonery or vice. Wilhelm finds the characters formed
by this would-be ideal existence more despicable than those which grew
up on the track, dusty and bustling and dull as it had seemed, of common
life. He is prepared by disappointment for a higher ambition.

In the house of the count he finds genuine elegance, genuine sentiment,
but not sustained by wisdom, or a devotion to important objects. This
love, this life, is also inadequate.

Now, with Teresa he sees the blessings of domestic peace. He sees a mind
sufficient for itself, finding employment and education in the perfect
economy of a little world. The lesson is pertinent to the state of mind
in which his former experiences have left him, as indeed our deepest
lore is won from reaction. But a sudden change of scene introduces him
to the society of the sage and learned uncle, the sage and beneficent
Natalia. Here he finds the same virtues as with Teresa, and enlightened
by a larger wisdom.

A friend of mine says that his ideal of a friend is a worthy aunt, one
who has the tenderness without the blindness of a mother, and takes the
same charge of the child's mind as the mother of its body. I don't know
but this may have a foundation in truth, though, if so, auntism, like
other grand professions, has sadly degenerated. At any rate, Goethe
seems to be possessed with a similar feeling. The Count de Thorane, a
man of powerful character, who made a deep impression on his childhood,
was, he says, "reverenced by me as an uncle." And the ideal wise man of
this common life epic stands before us as "The Uncle."

After seeing the working of just views in the establishment of the
uncle, learning piety from the Confessions of a Beautiful Soul, and
religious beneficence from the beautiful life of Natalia, Wilhelm is
deemed worthy of admission to the society of the Illuminati, that is,
those who have pierced the secret of life, and know what it is to be and
to do.

Here he finds the scroll of his life "drawn with large, sharp strokes,"
that is, these truly wise read his character for him, and "mind and
destiny are but two names for one idea."

He now knows enough to enter on the Wanderjahre.

Goethe always represents the highest principle in the feminine form.
Woman is the Minerva, man the Mars. As in the Faust, the purity of
Gretchen, resisting the demon always, even after all her faults, is
announced to have saved her soul to heaven; and in the second part she
appears, not only redeemed herself, but by her innocence and forgiving
tenderness hallowed to redeem the being who had injured her.

So in the Meister, these women hover around the narrative, each
embodying the spirit of the scene. The frail Philina, graceful though
contemptible, represents the degradation incident to an attempt at
leading an exclusively poetic life. Mignon, gift divine as ever the Muse
bestowed on the passionate heart of man, with her soft, mysterious
inspiration, her pining for perpetual youth, represents the high desire
that leads to this mistake, as Aurelia, the desire for excitement;
Teresa, practical wisdom, gentle tranquillity, which seem most desirable
after the Aurelia glare. Of the beautiful soul and Natalia we have
already spoken. The former embodies what was suggested to Goethe by
the most spiritual person he knew in youth--Mademoiselle von
Klettenberg, over whom, as he said, in her invalid loneliness the Holy
Ghost brooded like a dove.

Entering on the Wanderjahre, Wilhelm becomes acquainted with another
woman, who seems the complement of all the former, and represents the
idea which is to guide and mould him in the realization of all the past

This person, long before we see her, is announced in various ways as a
ruling power. She is the last hope in cases of difficulty, and, though
an invalid, and living in absolute retirement, is consulted by her
connections and acquaintance as an unerring judge in all their affairs.

All things tend towards her as a centre; she knows all, governs all, but
never goes forth from herself.

Wilhelm at last visits her. He finds her infirm in body, but equal to
all she has to do. Charity and counsel to men who need her are her
business, astronomy her pleasure.

After a while, Wilhelm ascertains from the Astronomer, her companion,
what he had before suspected, that she really belongs to the solar
system, and only appears on earth to give men a feeling of the planetary
harmony. From her youth up, says the Astronomer, till she knew me,
though all recognized in her an unfolding of the highest moral and
intellectual qualities, she was supposed to be sick at her times of
clear vision. When her thoughts were not in the heavens, she returned
and acted in obedience to them on earth; she was then said to be well.

When the Astronomer had observed her long enough, he confirmed her
inward consciousness of a separate existence and peculiar union with the
heavenly bodies.

Her picture is painted with many delicate traits, and a gradual
preparation leads the reader to acknowledge the truth; but, even in the
slight indication here given, who does not recognize thee, divine
Philosophy, sure as the planetary orbits, and inexhaustible as the
fountain of light, crowning the faithful Seeker at last with the
privilege to possess his own soul.

In all that is said of Macaria,[4] we recognize that no thought is too
religious for the mind of Goethe. It was indeed so; you can deny him
nothing, but only feel that his works are not instinct and glowing with
the central fire, and, after catching a glimpse pf the highest truth,
are forced again to find him too much afraid of losing sight of the
limitations of nature to overflow you or himself with the creative

While the apparition of the celestial Macaria seems to announce the
ultimate destiny of the soul of man, the practical application of all
Wilhelm has thus painfully acquired is not of pure Delphian strain.
Goethe draws, as he passes, a dart from the quiver of Phoebus, but
ends as Æsculapius or Mercury. Wilhelm, at the school of the Three
Reverences, thinks out what can be done for man in his temporal
relations. He learns to practise moderation, and even painful
renunciation. The book ends, simply indicating what the course of his
life will be, by making him perform an act of kindness, with good
judgment and at the right moment.

Surely the simple soberness of Goethe should please at least those who
style themselves, preëminently, people of common sense.

The following remarks are by the celebrated Rahel von Ense, whose
discernment as to his works was highly prized by Goethe.

      "_Don Quixote and Wilhelm Meister_!

     "Embrace one another, Cervantes and Goethe!

     "Both, using their own clear eyes, vindicated human nature. They
     saw the champions through their errors and follies, looking down
     into the deepest soul, seeing there the true form. _Respectable_
     people call the Don as well as Meister a fool, wandering hither and
     thither, transacting no business of real life, bringing nothing to
     pass, scarce even knowing what he ought to think on any subject,
     very unfit for the hero of a romance. Yet has our sage known how to
     paint the good and honest mind in perpetual toil and conflict with
     the world, as it is embodied; never sharing one moment the impure
     confusion; always striving to find fault with and improve itself,
     always so innocent as to see others far better than they are, and
     generally preferring them to itself, learning from all, indulging
     all except the manifestly base; the more you understand, the more
     you respect and love this character. Cervantes has painted the
     knight, Goethe the culture of the entire man,--both their own

But those who demand from him a life-long continuance of the early ardor
of Faust, who wish to see, throughout his works, not only such manifold
beauty and subtle wisdom, but the clear assurance of divinity, the pure
white light of Macaria, wish that he had not so variously unfolded his
nature, and concentred it more. They would see him slaying the serpent
with the divine wrath of Apollo, rather than taming it to his service,
like Æsculapius. They wish that he had never gone to Weimar, had never
become a universal connoisseur and dilettante in science, and courtier
as "graceful as a born nobleman," but had endured the burden of life
with the suffering crowd, and deepened his nature in loneliness and
privation, till Faust had conquered, rather than cheated the devil, and
the music of heavenly faith superseded the grave and mild eloquence of
human wisdom.

The expansive genius which moved so gracefully in its self imposed
fetters, is constantly surprising us by its content with a choice low,
in so far as it was not the highest of which the mind was capable. The
secret may be found in the second motto of this slight essay.

"He who would do great things must quickly draw together his forces. The
master can only show himself such through limitation, and the law alone
can give us freedom."

But there is a higher spiritual law always ready to supersede the
temporal laws at the call of the human soul. The soul that is too
content with usual limitations will never call forth this unusual

If there be a tide in the affairs of men, which must be taken at the
right moment to lead on to fortune, it is the same with inward as with
outward life. He who, in the crisis hour of youth, has stopped short of
himself, is not likely to find again what he has missed in one life, for
there are a great number of blanks to a prize in each lottery.

But the pang we feel that "those who are so much are not more," seems to
promise new spheres, new ages, new crises to enable these beings to
complete their circle.

Perhaps Goethe is even now sensible that he should not have stopped at
Weimar as his home, but made it one station on the way to Paradise; not
stopped at humanity, but regarded it as symbolical of the divine, and
given to others to feel more distinctly the centre of the universe, as
well as the harmony in its parts. It is great to be an Artist, a Master,
greater still to be a Seeker till the Man has found all himself.

What Goethe meant by self-collection was a collection of means for
work, rather than to divine the deepest truths of being. Thus are these
truths always indicated, never declared; and the religious hope awakened
by his subtle discernment of the workings of nature never gratified,
except through the intellect.

He whose prayer is only work will not leave his treasure in the secret

One is ashamed when finding any fault with one like Goethe, who is so
great. It seems the only criticism should be to do all he omitted to do,
and that none who cannot is entitled to say a word. Let that one speak
who was all Goethe was not,--noble, true, virtuous, but neither wise
nor subtle in his generation, a divine ministrant, a baffled man, ruled
and imposed on by the pygmies whom he spurned, an heroic artist, a
democrat to the tune of Burns:

    "The rank is but the guinea's stamp;
    The man's the gowd for a' that."

Hear Beethoven speak of Goethe on an occasion which brought out the
two characters in strong contrast.

Extract from a letter of Beethoven to Bettina Brentano Töplitz, 1812.

"Kings and princes can indeed make professors and privy councillors, and
hang upon them titles; but great men they cannot make; souls that rise
above the mud of the world, these they must let be made by other means
than theirs, and should therefore show them respect. When two such as I
and Goethe come together, then must great lords observe what is
esteemed great by one of us. Coming home yesterday we met the whole
imperial family. We saw them coming, and Goethe left me and insisted
on standing one side; let me say what I would, I could not make him come
on one step. I pressed my hat upon my head, buttoned my surtout, and
passed on through the thickest crowd. Princes and parasites made way;
the Archduke Rudolph took off his hat; the empress greeted me first.
Their highnesses KNOW ME. I was well amused to see the crowd pass by
Goethe. At the side stood he, hat in hand, low bowed in reverence till
all had gone by. Then I scolded him well; I gave no pardon, but
reproached him with all his sins, most of all those towards you, dearest
Bettina; we had just been talking of you."

If Beethoven appears, in this scene, somewhat arrogant and bearish, yet
how noble his extreme compared with the opposite! Goethe's friendship
with the grand duke we respect, for Karl August was a strong man. But we
regret to see at the command of any and all members of the ducal
family, and their connections, who had nothing but rank to recommend
them, his time and thoughts, of which he was so chary to private
friends. Beethoven could not endure to teach the Archduke Rudolph, who
had the soul duly to revere his genius, because he felt it to be
"hofdíenst," court service. He received with perfect nonchalance the
homage of the sovereigns of Europe. Only the Empress of Russia and the
Archduke Karl, whom he esteemed as individuals, had power to gratify him
by their attentions. Compare with, Goethe's obsequious pleasure at
being able gracefully to compliment such high personages, Beethoven's
conduct with regard to the famous Heroic Symphony. This was composed at
the suggestion of Bernadotte, while Napoleon was still in his first
glory. He was then the hero of Beethoven's imagination, who hoped from
him the liberation of Europe. With delight the great artist expressed in
his eternal harmonies the progress of the Hero's soul. The symphony was
finished, and even dedicated to Bonaparte, when the news came of his
declaring himself Emperor of the French. The first act of the indignant
artist was to tear off his dedication and trample it under foot; nor
could he endure again even the mention of Napoleon until the time of his

Admit that Goethe had a natural taste for the trappings of rank and
wealth, from which the musician was quite free, yet we cannot doubt that
both saw through these externals to man as a nature; there can be no
doubt on whose side was the simple greatness, the noble truth. We pardon
thee, Goethe,--but thee, Beethoven, we revere, for thou hast
maintained the worship of the Manly, the Permanent, the True!

The clear perception which was in Goethe's better nature of the beauty
of that steadfastness, of that singleness and simple melody of soul,
which he too much sacrificed to become "the many-sided One," is shown
most distinctly in his two surpassingly beautiful works, The Elective
Affinities and Iphigenia.

Not Werther, not the Nouvelle Héloise, have been assailed with such a
storm of indignation as the first-named of these works, on the score of
gross immorality.

The reason probably is the subject; any discussion of the validity of
the marriage vow making society tremble to its foundation; and,
secondly, the cold manner in which it is done. All that is in the book
would be bearable to most minds if the writer had had less the air of a
spectator, and had larded his work here and there with ejaculations of
horror and surprise.

These declarations of sentiment on the part of the author seem to be
required by the majority of readers, in order to an interpretation of
his purpose, as sixthly, seventhly, and eighthly were, in an
old-fashioned sermon, to rouse the audience to a perception of the
method made use of by the preacher.

But it has always seemed to me that those who need not such helps to
their discriminating faculties, but read a work so thoroughly as to
apprehend its whole scope and tendency, rather than hear what the author
says it means, will regard the Elective Affinities as a work especially
what is called moral in its outward effect, and religious even to piety
in its spirit. The mental aberrations of the consorts from their
plighted faith, though in the one case never indulged, and though in the
other no veil of sophistry is cast over the weakness of passion, but all
that is felt expressed with the openness of one who desires to
legitimate what he feels, are punished by terrible griefs and a fatal
catastrophe. Ottilia, that being of exquisite purity, with intellect and
character so harmonized in feminine beauty, as they never before were
found in any portrait of woman painted by the hand of man, perishes, on
finding she has been breathed on by unhallowed passion, and led to err
even by her ignorant wishes against what is held sacred. The only
personage whom we do not pity is Edward, for he is the only one who
stifles the voice of conscience.

There is indeed a sadness, as of an irresistible fatality, brooding over
the whole. It seems as if only a ray of angelic truth could have enabled
these men to walk wisely in this twilight, at first so soft and
alluring, then deepening into blind horror.

But if no such ray came to prevent their earthly errors, it seems to
point heavenward in the saintly sweetness of Ottilia. Her nature, too
fair for vice, too finely wrought even for error, comes lonely, intense,
and pale, like the evening star on the cold, wintry night. It tells of
other worlds, where the meaning of such strange passages as this must be
read to those faithful and pure like her, victims perishing in the green
garlands of a spotless youth to atone for the unworthiness of others.

An unspeakable pathos is felt from the minutest trait of this character,
and deepens with every new study of it. Not even in Shakspeare have I so
felt the organizing power of genius. Through dead words I find the least
gestures of this person, stamping themselves on my memory, betraying to
the heart the secret of her life, which she herself, like all these
divine beings, knew not. I feel myself familiarized with all beings of
her order. I see not only what she was, but what she might have been,
and live with her in yet untrodden realms.

Here is the glorious privilege of a form known only in the world of
genius. There is on it no stain of usage or calculation to dull our
sense of its immeasurable life. What in our daily walk, mid common faces
and common places, fleets across us at moments from glances of the eye,
or tones of the voice, is felt from the whole being of one of these
children of genius.

This precious gem is set in a ring complete in its enamel. I cannot hope
to express my sense of the beauty of this book as a work of art. I
would not attempt it if I had elsewhere met any testimony to the same.
The perfect picture, always before the mind, of the chateau, the moss
hut, the park, the garden, the lake, with its boat and the landing
beneath the platan trees; the gradual manner in which both localities
and persons grow upon us, more living than life, inasmuch as we are,
unconsciously, kept at our best temperature by the atmosphere of genius,
and thereby more delicate in our perceptions than amid our customary
fogs; the gentle unfolding of the central thought, as a flower in the
morning sun; then the conclusion, rising like a cloud, first soft and
white, but darkening as it comes, till with a sudden wind it bursts
above our heads; the ease with which we every where find points of view
all different, yet all bearing on the same circle, for, though we feel
every hour new worlds, still before our eye lie the same objects, new,
yet the same, unchangeable, yet always changing their aspects as we
proceed, till at last we find we ourselves have traversed the circle,
and know all we overlooked at first,--these things are worthy of our
highest admiration.

For myself, I never felt so completely that very thing which genius
should always make us feel--that I was in its circle, and could not get
out till its spell was done, and its last spirit permitted to depart. I
was not carried away, instructed, delighted more than by other works,
but I was _there_, living there, whether as the platan tree, or the
architect, or any other observing part of the scene. The personages live
too intensely to let us live in them; they draw around themselves
circles within the circle; we can only see them close, not be

Others, it would seem, on closing the book, exclaim, "What an immoral
book!" I well remember my own thought, "It is a work of art!" At last I
understood that world within a world, that ripest fruit of human nature,
which is called art. With each perusal of the book my surprise and
delight at this wonderful fulfilment of design grew. I understood why
Goethe was well content to be called Artist, and his works, works of
Art, rather than revelations. At this moment, remembering what I then
felt, I am inclined to class all my negations just written on this paper
as stuff, and to look upon myself, for thinking them, with as much
contempt as Mr. Carlyle, or Mrs. Austin, or Mrs. Jameson might do, to
say nothing of the German Goetheans.

Yet that they were not without foundation I feel again when I turn to
the Iphigenia--a work beyond the possibility of negation; a work where a
religious meaning not only pierces but enfolds the whole; a work as
admirable in art, still higher in significance, more single in

There is an English translation (I know not how good) of Goethe's
Iphigenia. But as it may not be generally known, I will give a sketch of
the drama. Iphigenia, saved, at the moment of the sacrifice made by
Agamemnon in behalf of the Greeks, by the goddess, and transferred to
the temple at Tauris, appears alone in the consecrated grove. Many years
have passed since she was severed from the home of such a tragic fate,
the palace of Mycenæ. Troy had fallen, Agamemnon been murdered, Orestes
had grown up to avenge his death. All these events were unknown to the
exiled Iphigenia. The priestess of Diana in a barbarous land, she had
passed the years in the duties of the sanctuary, and in acts of
beneficence. She had acquired great power over the mind of Thoas, king
of Tauris, and used it to protect strangers, whom it had previously been
the custom of the country to sacrifice to the goddess.

She salutes us with a soliloquy, of which I give a rude translation:--

    Beneath your shade, living summits
    Of this ancient, holy, thick-leaved grove,
    As in the silent sanctuary of the Goddess,
    Still I walk with those same shuddering feelings,
    As when I trod these walks for the first time.
    My spirit cannot accustom itself to these places;
    Many years now has kept me here concealed
    A higher will, to which I am submissive;
    Yet ever am I, as at first, the stranger;
    For ah! the sea divides me from my beloved ones,
    And on the shore whole days I stand,
    Seeking with my soul the land of the Greeks,
    And to my sighs brings the rushing wave only
    Its hollow tones in answer.
    Woe to him who, far from parents, and brothers, and sisters,
    Drags on a lonely life. Grief consumes
    The nearest happiness away from his lips;
    His thoughts crowd downwards--
    Seeking the hall of his fathers, where the Sun
    First opened heaven to him, and kindred-born
    In their first plays knit daily firmer and firmer
    The bond from heart to heart--I question not the Gods,
    Only the lot of woman is one of sorrow;
    In the house and in the war man rules,
    Knows how to help himself in foreign lands,
    Possessions gladden and victory crowns him,
    And an honorable death stands ready to end his days.
    Within what narrow limits is bounded the luck of woman!
    To obey a rude husband even is duty and comfort; how sad
    When, instead, a hostile fate drives her out of her sphere!
    So holds me Thoas, indeed a noble man, fast
    In solemn, sacred, but slavish bonds.
    O, with shame I confess that with secret reluctance
    I serve thee, Goddess, thee, my deliverer.
      My life should freely have been dedicate to thee,
    But I have always been hoping in thee, O Diana,
    Who didst take in thy soft arms me, the rejected daughter
    Of the greatest king! Yes, daughter of Zeus,
    I thought if thou gavest such anguish to him, the high hero,
    The godlike Agamemnon;
    Since he brought his dearest, a victim, to thy altar,
    That, when he should return, crowned with glory, from Ilium,
    At the same time thou would'st give to his arms his other treasures,
    His spouse, Electra, and the princely son;
    Me also, thou would'st restore to mine own,
    Saving a second time me, whom from death thou didst save,
    From this worse death,--the life of exile here.

These are the words and thoughts; but how give an idea of the sweet
simplicity of expression in the original, where every word has the grace
and softness of a flower petal?

She is interrupted by a messenger from the king, who prepares her for a
visit from himself of a sort she has dreaded. Thoas, who has always
loved her, now left childless by the calamities of war, can no longer
resist his desire to reanimate by her presence his desert house. He
begins by urging her to tell him the story of her race, which she does
in a way that makes us feel as if that most famous tragedy had never
before found a voice, so simple, so fresh in its naïveté is the recital.

Thoas urges his suit undismayed by the fate that hangs over the race of


    Was it the same Tantalus,
    Whom Jupiter called to his council and banquets,
    In whose talk so deeply experienced, full of various learning,
    The Gods delighted as in the speech of oracles?


    It is the same, but the Gods should not
    Converse with men, as with their equals.
    The mortal race is much too weak
    Not to turn giddy on unaccustomed heights.
    He was not ignoble, neither a traitor,
    But for a servant too great, and as a companion
    Of the great Thunderer only a man. So was
    His fault also that of a man, its penalty
    Severe, and poets sing--Presumption
    And faithlessness cast him down from the throne of Jove,
    Into the anguish of ancient Tartarus;
    Ah, and all his race bore their hate.


    Bore it the blame of the ancestor, or its own?


    Truly the vehement breast and powerful life of the Titan
    Were the assured inheritance of son and grandchild;
    But the Gods bound their brows with a brazen band,
    Moderation, counsel, wisdom, and patience
    Were hid from their wild, gloomy glance,
    Each desire grew to fury,
    And limitless ranged their passionate thoughts.

Iphigenia refuses with gentle firmness to give to gratitude what was not
due. Thoas leaves her in anger, and, to make her feel it, orders that
the old, barbarous custom be renewed, and two strangers just arrived be
immolated at Diana's altar.

Iphigenia, though distressed, is not shaken by this piece of tyranny.
She trusts her heavenly protectress will find some way for her to save
these unfortunates without violating her truth.

The strangers are Orestes and Pylades, sent thither by the oracle of
Apollo, who bade them go to Tauris and bring back "The Sister;" thus
shall the heaven-ordained parricide of Orestes be expiated, and the
Furies cease to pursue him.

The Sister they interpret to be Dian, Apollo's sister; but Iphigenia,
sister to Orestes, is really meant.

The next act contains scenes of most delicate workmanship, first between
the light-hearted Pylades, full of worldly resource and ready
tenderness, and the suffering Orestes, of far nobler, indeed heroic
nature, but less fit for the day and more for the ages. In the first
scene the characters of both are brought out with great skill, and the
nature of the bond between "the butterfly and the dark flower,"
distinctly shown in few words.

The next scene is between Iphigenia and Pylades. Pylades, though he
truly answers the questions of the priestess about the fate of Troy and
the house of Agamemnon, does not hesitate to conceal from her who
Orestes really is, and manufactures a tissue of useless falsehoods with
the same readiness that the wise Ulysses showed in exercising his
ingenuity on similar occasions.

It is said, I know not how truly, that the modern Greeks are Ulyssean in
this respect, never telling straightforward truth, when deceit will
answer the purpose; and if they tell any truth, practising the economy
of the King of Ithaca, in always reserving a part for their own use. The
character which this denotes is admirably hit off with few strokes in
Pylades, the fair side of whom Iphigenia thus paints in a later scene.

    Bless, ye Gods, our Pylades,
    And whatever he may undertake;
    He is the arm of the youth in battle,
    The light-giving eye of the aged man in the council.
    For his soul is still; it preserves
    The holy possession of Repose unexhausted,
    And from its depths still reaches
    Help and advice to those tossed to and fro.

Iphigenia leaves him in sudden agitation, when informed of the death of
Agamemnon. Returning, she finds in his place Orestes, whom she had not
before seen, and draws from him by her artless questions the sequel to
this terrible drama wrought by his hand. After he has concluded his
narrative, in the deep tones of cold anguish, she cries,--

    Immortals, you who through your bright days
    Live in bliss, throned on clouds ever renewed,
    Only for this have you all these years
    Kept me separate from men, and so near yourselves,
    Given me the child-like employment to cherish the fires on your altars,
    That my soul might, in like pious clearness,
    Be ever aspiring towards your abodes,
    That only later and deeper I might feel
    The anguish and horror that have darkened my house.
                                      O Stranger,
    Speak to me of the unhappy one, tell me of Orestes.


                  O, might I speak of his death!
    Vehement flew up from the reeking blood
    His Mother's Soul!
    And called to the ancient daughters of Night,
    Let not the parricide escape;
    Pursue that man of crime; he is yours!
    They obey, their hollow eyes
    Darting about with vulture eagerness;
    They stir themselves in their black dens,
    From corners their companions
    Doubt and Remorse steal out to join them.
    Before them roll the mists of Acheron;
    In its cloudy volumes rolls
    The eternal contemplation of the irrevocable
    Permitted now in their love of ruin they tread
    The beautiful fields of a God-planted earth,
    From which they had long been banished by an early curse,
    Their swift feet follow the fugitive,
    They pause never except to gather more power to dismay.


    Unhappy man, thou art in like manner tortured,
    And feelest truly what he, the poor fugitive, suffers!


    What sayest thou? what meanest by "like manner"?


    Thee, too, the weight of a fratricide crushes to earth; the tale
    I had from thy younger brother.


    I cannot suffer that thou, great soul,
    Shouldst be deceived by a false tale;
    A web of lies let stranger weave for stranger
    Subtle with many thoughts, accustomed to craft,
    Guarding his feet against a trap.
                                  But between us
    Be Truth;--
    I am Orestes,--and this guilty head
    Bent downward to the grave seeks death;
    In any shape were he welcome.
    Whoever thou art, I wish thou mightst be saved,
    Thou and my friend; for myself I wish it not.
    Thou seem'st against thy will here to remain;
    Invent a way to fly and leave me here.

Like all pure productions of genius, this may be injured by the
slightest change, and I dare not flatter myself that the English words
give an idea of the heroic dignity expressed in the cadence of the
original, by the words

              "Twischen uns
    Seg Wahrheit!
    Ich bin Orest!"

where the Greek seems to fold his robe around him in the full strength
of classic manhood, prepared for worst and best, not like a cold Stoic,
but a hero, who can feel all, know all, and endure all. The name of two
syllables in the German is much more forcible for the pause, than the
three-syllable Orestes.

                  "Between us
    Be Truth,"

is fine to my ear, on which our word Truth also pauses with a large

The scenes go on more and more full of breathing beauty. The lovely joy
of Iphigenia, the meditative softness with which the religiously
educated mind perpetually draws the inference from the most agitating
events, impress us more and more. At last the hour of trial comes. She
is to keep off Thoas by a cunningly devised tale, while her brother and
Pylades contrive their escape. Orestes has received to his heart the
sister long lost, divinely restored, and in the embrace the curse falls
from him, he is well, and Pylades more than happy. The ship waits to
carry her to the palace home she is to free from a century's weight of
pollution; and already the blue heavens of her adored Greece gleam
before her fancy.

But, O, the step before all this can be obtained;--to deceive Thoas, a
savage and a tyrant indeed, but long her protector,--in his barbarous
fashion, her benefactor! How can she buy life, happiness, or even the
safety of those dear ones at such a price?

    O Woe upon the lie! It frees not the breast,
    Like the true-spoken word; it comforts not, but tortures
    Him who devised it, and returns,
    An arrow once let fly, God-repelled, back,
    On the bosom of the Archer!"

    O, must I then resign the silent hope
    Which gave a beauty to my loneliness?
    Must the curse dwell forever, and our race
    Never be raised to life by a new blessing?
    All things decay, the fairest bliss is transient,
    The powers most full of life grow faint at last;
    And shall a curse alone boast an incessant life?

    Then have I idly hoped that here kept pure,
    So strangely severed from my kindred's lot,
    I was designed to come at the right moment,
    And with pure hand and heart to expiate
    The many sins that stain my native home.
    To lie, to steal the sacred image!
    Olympians, let not these vulture talons
    Seize on the tender breast. O, save me,
    And save your image in my soul!

    Within my ears resounds the ancient lay,--
    I had forgotten it, and would so gladly,--
    The lay of the Parcæ, which they awful sung;
    As Tantalus fell from his golden seat
    They suffered with the noble friend. Wrathful
    Was their heart, and fearful was the song.
    In our childhood the nurse was wont to sing it
    To me, and my brother and sister. I marked it well.

Then follows the sublime song of the Parcæ, well known through

But Iphigenia is not a victim of fate, for she listens steadfastly to
the god in her breast. Her lips are incapable of subterfuge. She obeys
her own heart, tells all to the king, calls up his better nature, wins,
hallows, and purifies all around her, till the heaven-prepared way is
cleared by the obedient child of heaven, and the great trespass of
Tantalus cancelled by a woman's reliance on the voice of her innocent

If it be not possible to enhance the beauty with which such ideal
figures as the Iphigenia and the Antigone appeared to the Greek mind,
yet Goethe has unfolded a part of the life of this being, unknown
elsewhere in the records of literature. The character of the priestess,
the full beauty of virgin womanhood, solitary, but tender, wise and
innocent, sensitive and self-collected, sweet as spring, dignified as
becomes the chosen servant of God, each gesture and word of deep and
delicate significance,--where else is such a picture to be found?

It was not the courtier, nor the man of the world, nor the connoisseur,
nor the friend of Mephistopheles, nor Wilhelm the Master, nor Egmont the
generous, free liver, that saw Iphigenia in the world of spirits, but
Goethe, in his first-born glory; G[o]ethe, the poet; Goethe,
designed to be the brightest star in a new constellation. Let us not, in
surveying his works and life, abide with him too much in the suburbs and
outskirts of himself. Let us enter into his higher tendency, thank him
for such angels as Iphigenia, whose simple truth mocks at all his wise
"Beschrankungen," and hope the hour when, girt about with many such, he
will confess, contrary to his opinion, given in his latest days, that it
is well worth while to live seventy years, if only to find that they are
nothing in the sight of God.


Now almost the last light has gone out of the galaxy that made the first
thirty years of this age so bright. And the dynasty that now reigns over
the world of wit and poetry is poor and pale, indeed, in comparison.

We are anxious to pour due libations to the departed; we need not
economize our wine; it will not be so often needed now.

Hood has closed the most fatiguing career in the world--that of a
professed wit; and we may say with deeper feeling than of others who
shuffle off the load of care, May he rest in peace! The fatigues of a
conqueror, a missionary preacher, even of an active philanthropist, like
Howard, are nothing to those of a professed wit. Bad enough is it when
he is only a man of society, by whom every one expects to be enlivened
and relieved; who can never talk gravely in a corner, without those
around observing that he must have heard some bad news to be so out of
spirits; who can never make a simple remark, while eating a peaceful
dinner, without the table being set in a roar of laughter, as when
Sheridan, on such an occasion, opened his lips for the first time to say
that "he liked currant jelly." For these unhappy men there are no
intervals of social repose, no long silences fed by the mere feeling of
sympathy or gently entertained by observation, no warm quietude in the
mild liveries of green or brown, for the world has made up its mind that
motley is their only wear, and teases them to jingle their bells

But far worse is it when the professed wit is also by profession a
writer, and finds himself obliged to coin for bread those jokes which,
in the frolic exuberance of youth, he so easily coined for fun. We can
conceive of no existence more cruel, so tormenting, and at the same time
so dull. We hear that Hood was forever behindhand with his promises to
publishers; no wonder! But when we hear that he, in consequence, lost a
great part of the gains of his hard life, and was, as a result, harassed
by other cares, we cannot mourn to lose him, if,

    "After life's fitful fever, he sleeps well;"

or if, as our deeper knowledge leads us to hope, he is now engaged in a
better life, where his fancies shall take their natural place, and
flicker like light on the surface of a profound and full stream flowing
betwixt rich and peaceful shores, such as, no less than the drawbacks
upon his earthly existence, are indicated in the following


    The curse of Adam, the old curse of all,
      Though I inherit in this feverish life
      Of worldly toil, vain wishes, and hard strife,
    And fruitless thought in care's eternal thrall,
    Yet more sweet honey than of bitter gall
      I taste through thee, my Eva, my sweet wife.
      Then what was Man's lost Paradise? how rife
    Of bliss, since love is with him in his fall!
      Such as our own pure passion still might frame
    Of this fair earth and its delightful bowers,
      If no fell sorrow, like the serpent, came
    To trail its venom o'er the sweetest flowers;
    But, O! as many and such tears are ours
      As only should be shed for guilt and shame.

In Hood, as in all true wits, the smile lightens on the verge of a tear.
True wit and humor show that exquisite sensibility to the relations of
life, that fine perception as to slight tokens of its fearful, hopeless
mysteries, which imply pathos to a still higher degree than mirth.

Hood knew and welcomed the dower which nature gave him at his birth,
when he wrote thus:--

    All things are touched with melancholy
      Born of the secret soul's mistrust,
    To feel her fair ethereal wings
      Weighed down with vile, degraded dust.
    Even the bright extremes of joy
      Bring on conclusions of disgust,
    Like the sweet blossoms of the May,
      Whose fragrance ends in must.
    O, give her, then, her tribute just,
      Her sighs and tears and musings holy;
    There is no music in the life
      That sounds with idiot laughter solely;
    There's not a string attuned to mirth,
      But has its chord in melancholy.

Hood was true to this vow of acceptance. He vowed to accept willingly
the pains as well as joys of life for what they could teach. Therefore,
years expanded and enlarged his sympathies, and gave to his lightest
jokes an obvious harmony with a great moral design, not obtrusively
obvious, but enough so to give a sweetness and permanent complacency to
our laughter. Indeed, what is written in his gayer mood has affected us
more, as spontaneous productions always do, than what he has written of
late with grave design, and which has been so much lauded by men too
obtuse to discern a latent meaning, or to believe in a good purpose
unless they are formally told that it exists.

The later serious poems of Hood are well known; so are his jest books
and novel. We have now in view to speak rather of a little volume of
poems published by him, some years since, republished here, but never
widely circulated.

When a book or a person comes to us in the best possible circumstances,
we judge--not too favorably, for all that the book or person can suggest
is a part of its fate, and what is not seen under the most favorable
circumstances is never quite truly seen either as to promise or
performance--but we form a judgment above what can be the average sense
of the world in general as to its merits, which may be esteemed, after
time enough has elapsed, a tolerably fair estimate of performance,
though not of promise or suggestion.

We became acquainted with these poems in one of those country towns
which would be called, abroad, the most provincial of the province. The
inhabitants had lost the simplicity of farmers' habits, without gaining
in its place the refinement, the variety, the enlargement of civic life.
Their industry had received little impulse from thought; their amusement
was gossip. All men find amusement from gossip--literary, artistic, or
social; but the degrees in it are almost infinite. They were at the
bottom of the scale; they scrutinized their neighbors' characters and
affairs incessantly, impertinently, and with minds unpurified by higher
knowledge; consequently the bitter fruits of envy and calumny abounded.

In this atmosphere I was detained two months, and among people very
uncongenial both to my tastes and notions of right. But I had a retreat
of great beauty. The town lay on the bank of a noble river; behind it
towered a high and rocky hill. Thither every afternoon went the lonely
stranger, to await the fall of the sunset light on the opposite bank of
the full and rapid stream. It fell like a smile of heavenly joy; the
white sails on the stream glided along like angel thoughts; the town
itself looked like a fair nest, whence virtue and happiness might soar
with sweetest song. So looked the scene _from above_; and that hill was
the scene of many an aspiration and many an effort to attain as high a
point of view for the mental prospect, in the hope that little
discrepancies, or what seemed so when on a level with them, might also,
from above, be softened into beauty and found subservient to a noble
design on the whole.

This town boasted few books, and the accident which threw Hood's poems
in the way of the watcher from the hill, was a very fortunate one. They
afforded a true companionship to hours which knew no other, and,
perhaps, have since been overrated from association with what they
answered to or suggested.

Yet there are surely passages in them which ought to be generally known
and highly prized. And if their highest value be for a few individuals
with whom they are especially in concord, unlike the really great poems
which bring something to all, yet those whom they please will be very
much pleased.

Hood never became corrupted into a hack writer. This shows great
strength under his circumstances. Dickens has fallen, and Sue is
falling; for few men can sell themselves by inches without losing a
cubit from their stature. But Hood resisted the danger. He never wrote
when he had nothing to say, he stopped when he had done, and never
hashed for a second meal old thoughts which had been drained of their
choicest juices. His heart is truly human, tender, and brave. From the
absurdities of human nature he argues the possibility of its perfection.
His black is admirably contrasted with his white, but his love has no
converse of hate. His descriptions of nature, if not accurately or
profoundly evidencing insight, are unstudied, fond, and reverential.
They are fine reveries about nature.

He has tried his powers on themes where he had great rivals--in the
"Plea of the Midsummer Fairies," and "Hero and Leander." The latter is
one of the finest subjects in the world, and one, too, which can never
wear out as long as each mind shall have its separate ideal of what a
meeting would be between two perfect lovers, in the full bloom of
beauty and youth, under circumstances the most exalting to passion,
because the most trying, and with the most romantic accompaniments of
scenery. There is room here for the finest expression of love and grief,
for the wildest remonstrance against fate. Why are they made so lovely
and so beloved? Why was a flower brought to such perfection, and then
culled for no use? One of the older English writers has written an
exquisite poem on this subject, painting a youthful pair, fitted to be
not only a heaven but a world to one another. Hood had not power to
paint or conceive such fulness of character; but, in a lesser style, he
has written a fine poem. The best part of it, however, is the innocent
cruelty and grief of the Sea Siren.

"Lycus the Centaur" is also a poem once read never to be forgotten. The
hasty trot of the versification, unfit for any other theme, on this
betokens well the frightened horse. Its mazy and bewildered imagery,
with its countless glancings and glimpses, expressed powerfully the
working of the Circean spell, while the note of human sadness, a
yearning and condemned human love, thrills through the whole and gives
it unity.

The Sonnets, "It is not death," &c., and that on Silence, are equally
admirable. Whoever reads these poems will regard Hood as something more
than a great wit,--as a great poet also.

To express this is our present aim, and therefore we shall leave to
others, or another time, the retrospect of his comic writings. But
having, on the late promptings of love for the departed, looked over
these, we have been especially amused with the "Schoolmistress Abroad,"
which was new to us. Miss Crane, a "she Mentor, stiff as starch, formal
as a Dutch ledge, sensitive as a daguerreotype, and so tall, thin, and
upright, that supposing the Tree of Knowledge to have been a poplar, she
was the very Dryad to have fitted it," was left, with a sister little
better endowed with the pliancy and power of adaptation which the
exigencies of this varied world-scene demand, in attendance upon a sick
father, in a foreign inn, where she cannot make herself understood,
because her French is not "French French, but English French," and no
two things in nature or art can be more unlike. Now look at the position
of the sisters.

"The younger, Miss Ruth, was somewhat less disconcerted. She had by her
position the greater share in the active duties of Lebanon House, and
under ordinary circumstances would not have been utterly at a loss what
to do for the comfort or relief of her parent. But in every direction in
which her instinct and habits would have prompted her to look, the
_materials_ she sought were deficient. There was no easy chair--no fire
to wheel it to--no cushion to shake up--no cupboard to go to--no female
friend to consult--no Miss Parfitt--no cook--no John to send for the
doctor--no English--no French--nothing but that dreadful 'Gefullig,' or
'Ja Wohl,' and the equally incomprehensible 'Gnadige Frau!'

"'Der herr,' said the German coachman, 'ist sehr krank,' (the gentleman
is very sick.)

"The last word had occurred so frequently on the organ of the
Schoolmistress, that it had acquired in her mind some important

"'Ruth, what is krank?'

"'How should I know?' retorted Ruth, with an asperity apt to accompany
intense excitement and perplexity. 'In English, it's a thing that helps
to pull the bell. But look at papa--do help to support him--you're good
for nothing.'

"'I am, indeed,' murmured poor Miss Priscilla, with a gentle shake of
her head, and a low, slow sigh of acquiescence. Alas! as she ran over
the catalogue of her accomplishments, the more she remembered what she
_could_ do for her sick parent, the more helpless and useless she
appeared. For instance, she could have embroidered him a night-cap--or
knitted him a silk purse--or plaited him a guard-chain--or cut him out a
watch-paper--or ornamented his braces with bead-work--or embroidered his
waistcoat--or worked him a pair of slippers--or openworked his pocket
handkerchief. She could even, if such an operation would have been
comforting or salutary, have roughcasted him with shell-work--or coated
him with red or black seals--or encrusted him with blue alum--or stuck
him all over with colored wafers--or festooned him.

"But alas! what would it have availed her poor dear papa in the
spasmodics, if she had even festooned him, from top to toe, with little
rice-paper roses?"

The comments of the female chorus, as the author reads aloud the sorrows
of Miss Crane, are droll as Hood's drollest. Who can say more?

So farewell, gentle, generous, inventive, genial, and most amusing
friend. We thank thee for both tears and laughter; tears which were not
heart-breaking, laughter which was never frivolous or unkind. In thy
satire was no gall, in the sting of thy winged wit no venom, in the
pathos of thy sorrow no enfeebling touch! Thou hadst faults as a writer,
we know not whether as a man; but who cares to name or even to note
them? Surely there is enough on the sunny side of the peach to feed us
and make us bless the tree from which it fell.


This is a very pleasing book, and if the "Essays of Summer Hours"
resemble it, we are not surprised at the favor with which they have been
received, not only in this country, but in England.

The writer is, we believe, very young, and as these Essays have awakened
in us a friendly expectation which he has time and talent to fulfil, we
will, at this early hour, proffer our counsel on two points.

First. Avoid details, so directly personal, of emotion. A young and
generous mind, seeing the deceit and cold reserve which so often palsy
men who write, no less than those who act, may run into the opposite
extreme. But frankness must be tempered by delicacy, or elevated into
the region of poetry. You may tell the world at large what you please,
if you make it of universal importance by transporting it into the field
of general human interest. But your private griefs, merely _as_ yours,
belong to yourself, your nearest friends, to Heaven and to nature. There
is a limit set by good taste, or the sense of beauty, on such subjects,
which each, who seeks, may find for himself.

Second. Be more sparing of your praise: above all, of its highest terms.
We should have a sense of mental as well as moral honor, which, while it
makes us feel the baseness of uttering merely hasty and ignorant
censure, will also forbid that hasty and extravagant praise which strict
truth will not justify. A man of honor wishes to utter no word to which
he cannot adhere. The offices of Poet--of Hero-worship--are sacred, and
he who has a heart to appreciate the excellent should call nothing
excellent which falls short of being so. Leave yourself some incense
worthy of the _best_; do not lavish it on the merely _good_. It is
better to be too cool than extravagant in praise; and though mediocrity
may be elated if it can draw to itself undue honors, true greatness
shrinks from the least exaggeration of its claims. The truly great are
too well aware how difficult is the attainment of excellence, what
labors and sacrifices it requires, even from genius, either to flatter
themselves as to their works, or to be otherwise than grieved at
idolatry from others; and so, with best wishes, and a hope to meet
again, we bid farewell to the "Landscape Painter."


This book bears on its outside the title, "Life of Beethoven, by
Moscheles." It is really only a translation of Schindler, and it seems
quite unfair to bring Moscheles so much into the foreground, merely
because his name is celebrated in England. He has only contributed a few
notes and a short introduction, giving a most pleasing account of his
own devotion to the Master. Schindler was the trusty friend of
Beethoven, and one whom he himself elected to write his biography.
Inadequate as it is, there is that fidelity in the collection of
materials which makes it serviceable to our knowledge of Beethoven, and
we wish it might be reprinted in America. Though there is little
knowledge of music here, yet so far as any exists in company with a free
development of mind, the music of Beethoven is _the_ music which
delights, which awakens, which inspires, an infinite hope.

This influence of these most profound, bold, original and singular
compositions, even upon the uninitiated, above those of a simpler
construction and more obvious charms, we have observed with great
pleasure. For we think its cause lies deep, far beneath fancy, taste,
fashion, or any accidental cause.

It is because there is a real and steady unfolding of certain thoughts
which pervade the civilized world. They strike their roots through to us
beneath the broad Atlantic; and these roots shoot stems upward to the
light wherever the soil allows them free course.

Our era, which permits of freer inquiry, of bolder experiment, than ever
before, and a firmer, broader, basis, may also, we sincerely trust, be
depended on for nobler discovery and a grander scope of thought.

Although we sympathize with the sadness of those who lament the decay of
forms and methods round which so many associations have wound their
tendrils, and understand the sufferings which gentle, tender natures
undergo from the forlorn homelessness of a period of doubt, speculation,
reconstruction in every way, yet we cannot disjoin ourselves, by one
moment's fear or regret, from the advance corps. That body, leagued by
an invisible tie, has received too deep an assurance that the spirit is
not dead nor sleeping, to look back to the past, even if they must
advance uniformly through scenes of decay and the rubbish of falling

But how far it is from being so! How many developments, in various ways,
of truth! How manifold the aspirations of love! In the church the
attempt is now to reconstruct on the basis proposed by its
founder--"Love one another;" in the philosophy of mind, if completeness
of system is, as yet, far from being attained, yet mistakes and vain
dogmas are set aside, and examinations conducted with intelligence and
an enlarged discernment of what is due both to God and man. Science
advances, in some route with colossal strides; new glimpses are daily
gained into the arcana of natural history, and the mysteries attendant
on the modes of growth, are laid open to our observation; while in
chemistry, electricity, magnetism, we seem to be getting nearer to the
law of life which governs them, and in astronomy "fathoming the
heavens," to use the sublime expression of Herschel, daily to greater
depths, we find ourselves admitted to a perception of the universal laws
and causes, where harmony, permanence and perfection leave us no excuse
for a moment of despondency, while under the guidance of a Power who has
ordered all so well.

Then, if the other arts suffer a temporary paralysis, and
notwithstanding the many proofs of talent and genius, we consider that
is the case with architecture, painting, and sculpture, music is not
only thoroughly vital, but in a state of rapid development. The last
hundred years have witnessed a succession of triumphs in this art, the
removal of obstructions, the transcending of limits, and the opening new
realms of thought, to an extent that makes the infinity of promise and
hope very present with us. And take notice that the prominent means of
excellence now are not in those ways which give form to thought already
existent, but which open new realms to thought. Those who live most with
the life of their age, feel that it is one not only beautiful, positive,
full of suggestion, but vast, flowing, of infinite promise. It is
dynamics that interest us now, and from electricity and music we borrow
the best illustrations of what we know.

Let no one doubt that these grand efforts at synthesis are capable of as
strict analysis. Indeed, it is wonderful with what celerity and
precision the one process follows up the other.

Of this great life which has risen from the stalk and the leaf into bud,
and will in the course of this age be in full flower, Beethoven is the
last and greatest exponent. His music is felt, by every soul whom it
affects, to be the explanation of the past and the prophecy of the
future. It contains the thoughts of the time. A dynasty of great men
preceded him, each of whom made conquests and accumulated treasures
which prepared the way for his successor. Bach, Handel, Hadyn, Mozart,
were corner-stones of the glorious temple. Who shall succeed Beethoven?
A host of musicians, full of talent, even of genius, live now he is
dead; but the greatest among them is confessed by all men to be but of
Lilliputian size compared with this demigod. Indeed, it should be so! As
copious draughts of soul have been given to the earth, as she can quaff
for a century or more. Disciples and critics must follow, to gather up
the gleanings of the golden grain.

It is observable as an earnest of the great Future which opens for this
country, that such a genius is so easily and so much appreciated here,
by those who have not gone through the steps that prepared the way for
him in Europe. He is felt, because he expresses, in full tones, the
thoughts that lie at the heart of our own existence, though we have not
found means to stammer them as yet. To those who have obtained some clew
to all this,--and their number is daily on the increase,--this biography
of Beethoven will be very interesting. They will here find a picture of
the great man, as he looked and moved in actual life, though imperfectly
painted,--as by one who saw the figure from too low a stand-point.

It will require the united labors of a constellation of minds to paint
the portrait of Beethoven. That of his face, as seen in life, prefixed
to these volumes, is better than any we have seen. It bears tokens of
the force, the grandeur, the grotesqueness of his genius, and at the
same time shows the melancholy that came to him from the great
misfortune of his life--his deafness; and the affectionateness of his
deep heart.

Moscheles thus gives a very pleasing account of his first cognizance of

"I had been placed under the guidance and tuition of Dionysius Weber,
the founder and present director of the Prague Musical Conservatory; and
he, fearing that in my eagerness to read new music, I might injure the
systematic development of my piano-forte playing, prohibited the
library, a circulating musical library, and in a plan for my musical
education which he laid before my parents, made it an express condition
that for three years I should study no other authors but Mozart,
Clemente, and S. Bach. I must confess, however, that in spite of such
prohibition, I visited the library, gaining access to it through my
pocket money. It was about this time that I learned from some
schoolfellows that a young composer had appeared in Vienna, who wrote
the oddest stuff possible, such as no one could either play or
understand--crazy music, in opposition to all rule; and that this
composer's name was Beethoven. On repairing to the library to satisfy my
curiosity as to this so-called eccentric genius, I found there
Beethoven's 'Sonate Pathetique.' This was in the year 1804. My pocket
money would not suffice for the purchase of it, so I secretly copied it.
The novelty of its style was so attractive to me, and I became so
enthusiastic in my admiration of it, that I forgot myself so far as to
mention my new acquisition to my master, who reminded me of his
injunction, and warned me not to play or study any eccentric productions
until I had based my style upon more solid models. Without, however,
minding his injunction, I seized upon the piano-forte works of Beethoven
as they successively appeared, and in them found a solace and delight
such as no other composer afforded me.

"In the year 1809, my studies with my master, Weber, closed; and being
then also fatherless, I chose Vienna for my residence, to work out my
future musical career. Above all, I longed to see and become acquainted
with that man who had exercised so powerful an influence over my whole
being; whom, though I scarcely understood, I blindly worshipped. I
learned that Beethoven was most difficult of access, and would admit no
pupil but Ries; and for a long time my anxiety to see him remained
ungratified. In the year 1810, however, the longed-for opportunity
presented itself. I happened to be one morning in the music shop of
Domenico Artaria, who had just been publishing some of my early attempts
at composition, when a man entered with short and hasty steps, and
gliding through the circle of ladies and professors assembled on
business, or talking over musical matters, without looking up, as though
he wished to pass unnoticed, made his way direct for Artaria's private
office at the bottom of the shop. Presently Artaria called me in, and
said, 'This is Beethoven,'--and to the composer, 'This is the youth of
whom I have been speaking to you.' Beethoven gave me a friendly nod, and
said he had just been hearing a favorable account of me. To some modest
and humble expressions which I stammered forth he made no reply, and
seemed to wish to break off the conversation. I stole away with a
greater longing for that which I had sought, than before this meeting,
thinking to myself, 'Am I then, indeed, such a nobody that he could not
put one musical question to me? nor express one wish to know who had
been my master, or whether I had any acquaintance with his works?' My
only satisfactory mode of explaining the matter, and comforting myself
for the omission, was in Beethoven's tendency to deafness; for I had
seen Artaria speaking close to his ear. But I made up my mind that the
more I was excluded from the private intercourse which I so earnestly
coveted, the closer I would follow Beethoven in all the productions of
his mind."

If Moscheles had never seen more of Beethoven, how rejoiced he would
have been on reading his pathetic expressions recorded in those volumes,
as to the misconstructions he knew his fellow-men must put on conduct
caused by his calamity, at having detected the true cause of coldness in
his own instance, and that no mean suggestions of offended vanity made
him false to the genius, because repelled by the man!

Moscheles did see him further, and learned a great deal from this
intercourse, though it never became intimate. He closes with these
excellent remarks:--

"My feelings with respect to Beethoven's music have undergone no
variation, save to become warmer. In my first half score of years of
acquaintance with his works, he was repulsive to me, as well as
attractive. In each of them, while I felt my mind fascinated by the
prominent idea, and my enthusiasm kindled by the flashes of his genius,
his unlooked-for episodes, shrill dissonances, and bold modulations gave
me an unpleasant sensation. But how soon did I become reconciled to
them! all that had appeared hard I soon found indispensable. The
gnome-like pleasantries, which at first appeared too distorted, the
stormy masses of sound which I found too chaotic, I have in after times
learned to love. But while retracting my early critical exceptions, I
must still maintain as my creed that eccentricities like those of
Beethoven are reconcilable with his works alone, and are dangerous
models to other composers, many of whom have been wrecked in their
attempts at imitation."

No doubt the peculiarities of Beethoven are inimitable, though as great
would be as welcome in a mind of equal greatness. The natural office of
such a genius is to rouse others to a use and knowledge of their own
faculties; never to induce imitation of its own individuality.

As an instance of the justice and undoubting clearness of such a mind,
as to its own methods, take the following anecdote from Beethoven's
"Pupil Ries":--

"All the initiated must be interested in the striking fact which
occurred respecting one of Beethoven's last solo sonatas, (in B major,
with the great fugue, Op. 106,) a sonata which has _forty-one pages of
print_. Beethoven had sent it to me, to London, for sale, that it might
appear there at the same time as in Germany. The engraving was
completed, and I in daily expectation of the letter naming the day of
publication. This arrived at last, but with this extraordinary request:
'Prefix the following two notes, as a first bar, to the beginning of the
adagio.' This adagio has from nine to ten pages of print. I own the
thought struck me involuntarily that all might not be right with my dear
old master, a rumor to that effect having often been spread. What! add
two notes to a composition already worked out and out, and completed
months ago? But my astonishment was yet to be heightened by the
_effect_ of these two notes. Never could such be found again--so
striking--so important; no, not even if contemplated at the very
beginning of the composition. I would advise every true lover of the art
to play this adagio first _without_, and then with these two notes which
now form the first bar, and I have no doubt he will share in my

No instance could more forcibly show how in the case of Beethoven, as in
that of other transcendent geniuses, the cry of insanity is raised by
vulgar minds on witnessing extraordinary manifestations of power. Such
geniuses perceive results so remote, are alive to combinations so
subtle, that common men cannot rise high enough to see why they think or
do as they do, and settle the matter easily to their own satisfaction,
crying, "He is mad"--"He hath a devil." Genius perceives the efficacy of
slight signs of thought, and loves best the simplest symbols; coarser
minds demand coarse work, long preparations, long explanations.

But genius heeds them not, but fills the atmosphere with irresistible
purity, till they also are pervaded by the delicate influence, which,
too subtile for their ears and eyes, enters with the air they breathe,
or through the pores of the skin.

The life of a Beethoven is written in his works; and all that can be
told of his life beside, is but as marginal notes on that broad page.
Yet since we have these notes, it is pleasant to have them in harmony
with the page. The acts and words of Beethoven are what we should
expect,--noble, leonine, impetuous,--yet tender. His faults are the
faults of one so great that he found few paths wide enough for his
tread, and knew not how to moderate it. They are not faults in
themselves, but only in relation to the men who surrounded him. Among
his peers he would not have had faults. As it is, they hardly deserve
the name. His acts were generally great and benignant; only in
transports of sudden passion at what he thought base did he ever injure
any one. If he found himself mistaken, he could not humble himself
enough,--but far outwent, in his contrition, what was due to those whom
he had offended. So it is apt to be with magnanimous and tender natures;
they will humble themselves in a way that those of a coarser or colder
make think shows weakness or want of pride. But they do so because a
little discord and a little wrong is as painful to them as a great deal
to others.

In one of his letters to a young friend, Beethoven thus magnanimously
confesses his errors:--

"I could not converse with you and yours with that peace of mind which I
could have desired, for the late wretched altercation was hovering
before me, showing me my own despicable conduct. But so it was; and what
would I not give could I obliterate from the page of my life this last
action, so degrading to my character, and so unlike my usual

It seems this action of his was not of importance in the eyes of others.
Of the causes which acted upon him at such times he gives intimations in
another letter.

"I had been wrought into this burst of passion by many an unpleasant
circumstance of an earlier date. I have the gift of concealing and
restraining my irritability on many subjects; but if I happen to be
touched at any time when I am more than usually susceptible of anger, I
burst forth more violently than any one else. B. has doubtless most
excellent qualities, but he thinks himself utterly without faults, and
yet is most open to blame for those for which he censures others. He has
a littleness of mind which I have held in contempt since my infancy."

As a correspondent example of the manner in which true greatness
apologizes for its errors, we must quote a letter, lately made public,
from Sir Isaac Newton to Mr. Locke.

     "Sir: Being of opinion that you endeavored to embroil me with
     women, and by other means, I was so much affected with it as that,
     when one told me you were sickly, and would not live, I answered,
     ''Twere better if you were dead.' I desire you to forgive me this
     uncharitableness, for I am now satisfied that what you have done is
     just, and I beg your pardon for having had hard thoughts of you for
     it, and for representing that you struck at the root of morality in
     a principle you laid down in your book of ideas, and designed to
     pursue in another book, and that I took you for a Hobbist. I beg
     your pardon also for saying or thinking that there was a design to
     sell me an office, or to embroil me.

     "I am your most humble and unfortunate servant,


And this letter, observe, was quoted as proof of insanity in Newton.
Locke, however, shows by his reply that _he_ did not think the power of
full sincerity and elevation above self-love proved a man to be insane.

At a happy period Beethoven thus unveils the generous sympathies of his

"My compositions are well paid, and I may say I have more orders than I
can well execute; six or seven publishers, and more, being ready to take
any of my works. I need no longer submit to being bargained with; I ask
my terms, and am paid. You see this is an excellent thing; as, for
instance, I see a friend in want, and my purse does not at the moment
permit me to assist him; I have but to sit down and write, and my friend
is no longer in need."

Some additional particulars are given, in the letters collected by
Moscheles, of the struggles of his mind during the coming on of
deafness. This calamity, falling upon the greatest genius of his time,
in the prime of manhood,--a calamity which threatened to destroy not
only all enjoyment of life, but the power of using the vast treasure
with which he had been endowed for the use of all men,--casts common
ills so into the shade that they can scarcely be seen. Who dares
complain, since Beethoven could resign himself, to such an ill at such a
time as this?

"This beautiful country of mine, what was my lot in it? The hope of a
happy futurity. This might now be realized if I were freed from my
affliction. O, freed from that, I should compass the world! I feel
it--my youth is but beginning; have I not been hitherto but a sickly
creature? My physical powers have for some time been materially
increasing--those of my mind likewise. I feel myself nearer and nearer
the mark; I feel but cannot describe it; this alone is the vital
principle of your Beethoven. No rest for me: I know of none but in
sleep, and I grieve at having to sacrifice to that more time than I have
hitherto deemed necessary. Take but one half of my disease from me, and
I will return to you a matured and accomplished man, renewing the ties
of our friendship; for you shall see me as happy as I may be in this
sublunary world; not as a sufferer; no, that would be more than I could
bear; I will blunt the sword of fate; it shall not utterly destroy me.
How beautiful it is to live a thousand lives in one! No; I am not made
for a retired life--I feel it."

He _did_ blunt the sword of fate; he _did_ live a thousand lives in one;
but that sword had power to inflict a deep and poisoned wound; those
thousand lives cost him the pangs of a thousand deaths. He, born for
perpetual conquest, was condemned through life to "resignation." Let any
man, disposed to complain of his own ills, read the "Will" of Beethoven;
and see if he dares speak of himself above a whisper, after.

The matter of interest new to us in this English book is in notes and
appendix. Schindler's biography, whose plain and _naïve_ style is fit
for the subject, is ironed out and plaited afresh to suit the "genteel"
English, in this translation. Elsewhere we have given in brief the
strong lineaments and piquant anecdotes from this biography;[7] here
there is not room: smooth and shorn as it is, we wish the translation
might be reprinted here.

We may give, at parting, two directions for the study of Beethoven's
genius and the perusal of his biography in two sayings of his own. For
the biography, "The limits have never yet been discovered which genius
and industry could not transcend." For the music, "From the depths of
the soul brought forth, she (Poesy) can only by the depths of the soul
be received or understood."


We rejoice to see these reprints of Brown's novels, as we have long been
ashamed that one who ought to be the pride of the country, and who is,
in the higher qualities of the mind, so far in advance of our other
novelists, should have become almost inaccessible to the public.

It has been the custom to liken Brown to Godwin. But there was no
imitation, no second hand in the matter. They were congenial natures,
and whichever had come first might have lent an impulse to the other.
Either mind might have been conscious of the possession of that peculiar
vein of ore, without thinking of working it for the mint of the world,
till the other, led by accident, or overflow of feeling, showed him how
easy it was to put the reveries of his solitary hours into words, and
upon paper, for the benefit of his fellow-men.

    "My mind to me a kingdom is."

Such a man as Brown or Godwin has a right to say that. Their mind is no
scanty, turbid rill, rejoicing to be daily fed from a thousand others,
or from the clouds. Its plenteous source rushes from a high mountain
between bulwarks of stone. Its course, even and full, keeps ever green
its banks, and affords the means of life and joy to a million gliding
shapes, that fill its deep waters, and twinkle above its golden sands.

Life and Joy! Yes, Joy! These two have been called the dark Masters,
because they disclose the twilight recesses of the human heart. Yet the
gravest page in the history of such men is joy, compared with the mixed,
shallow, uncertain pleasures of vulgar minds. Joy! because they were all
alive, and fulfilled the purposes of being. No sham, no imitation, no
convention deformed or veiled their native lineaments, or checked the
use of their natural force. All alive themselves, they understood that
there is no happiness without truth, no perception of it without real
life. Unlike most men, existence was to them not a tissue of words and
seemings, but a substantial possession.

Born Hegelians, without the pretensions of science, they sought God in
their own consciousness, and found him. The heart, because it saw itself
so fearfully and wonderfully made, did not disown its Maker. With the
highest idea of the dignity, power, and beauty of which human nature is
capable, they had courage to see by what an oblique course it proceeds,
yet never lose faith that it would reach its destined aim. Thus their
darkest disclosures are not hobgoblin shows, but precious revelations.

Brown is great as ever human writer was in showing the self-sustaining
force of which a lonely mind is capable. He takes one person, makes him
brood like the bee, and extract from the common life before him all its
sweetness, its bitterness, and its nourishment.

We say makes _him_, but it increases our own interest in Brown, that, a
prophet in this respect of a better era, he has usually placed this
thinking, royal mind in the body of a woman. This personage, too, is
always feminine, both in her character and circumstances, but a
conclusive proof that the term _feminine_ is not a synonyme for _weak_.
Constantia, Clara Wieland, have loving hearts, graceful and plastic
natures, but they have also noble, thinking minds, full of resource,
constancy, courage. The Marguerite of Godwin, no less, is all refinement
and the purest tenderness; but she is also the soul of honor, capable of
deep discernment, and of acting in conformity with the inferences she
draws. The Man of Brown and Godwin has not eaten of the fruit of the
tree of knowledge, and been driven to sustain himself by the sweat of
his brow for nothing, but has learned the structure and laws of things,
and become a being, natural, benignant, various, and desirous of
supplying the loss of innocence by the attainment of virtue. So his
Woman need not be quite so weak as Eve, the slave of feeling or of
flattery; she also has learned to guide her helm amid the storm across
the troubled waters.

The horrors which mysteriously beset these persons, and against which,
so far as outward facts go, they often strive in vain, are but a
representation of those powers permitted to work in the same way
throughout the affairs of this world. Their demoniacal attributes only
represent a morbid state of the intellect, gone to excess from want of
balance with the other powers. There is an intellectual as well as a
physical drunkenness, and which, no less, impels to crime. Carwin, urged
on to use his ventriloquism till the presence of such a strange agent
wakened the seeds of fanaticism in the breast of Wieland, is in a state
no more foreign to nature than that of the wretch executed last week,
who felt himself drawn as by a spell to murder his victim, because he
had thought of her money and the pleasures it might bring him, till the
feeling possessed his brain that hurls the gamester to ruin. The victims
of such agency are like the soldier of the Rio Grande, who, both legs
shot off, and his life-blood rushing out with every pulse, replied
serenely to his pitying comrades, that "he had now that for which the
soldier enlisted." The end of the drama is not in this world, and the
fiction which rounds off the whole to harmony and felicity before the
curtain falls, sins against truth, and deludes the reader. The Nelsons
of the human race are all the more exposed to the assaults of Fate, that
they are decorated with the badges of well-earned glory. Who but feels
as they fall in death, or rise again to a mutilated existence, that the
end is not yet? Who, that thinks, but must feel that the recompense is,
where Brown places it, in the accumulation of mental treasure, in the
severe assay by fire that leaves the gold pure to be used some

Brown,--man of the brooding eye, the teeming brain, the deep and fervent
heart,--if thy country prize thee not, and had almost lost thee out of
sight, it is because her heart is made shallow and cold, her eye dim, by
the pomp of circumstance, the love of gross outward gain. She cannot
long continue thus, for it takes a great deal of soul to keep a huge
body from disease and dissolution. As there is more soul, thou wilt be
more sought; and many will yet sit down with thy Constantia to the meal
and water on which she sustained her full and thoughtful existence, who
could not endure the ennui of aldermanic dinners, or find any relish in
the imitation of French cookery. To-day many will read the words, and
some have a cup large enough to receive the spirit, before it is lost in
the sand on which their feet are planted.

Brown's high standard of the delights of intellectual communion and of
friendship, correspond with the fondest hopes of early days. But in the
relations of real life, at present, there is rarely more than one of the
parties ready for such intercourse as he describes. On the one side
there will be dryness, want of perception, or variety, a stupidity
unable to appreciate life's richest boon when offered to its grasp; and
the finer nature is doomed to retrace its steps, unhappy as those who,
having force to raise a spirit, cannot retain or make it substantial,
and stretch out their arms only to bring them back empty to the breast.

We were glad to see these reprints, but sorry to see them so carelessly
done. Under the cheap system, the carelessness in printing and
translating grows to a greater excess day by day. Please, Public, to
remonstrate; else very soon all your books will be offered for two
shillings apiece, and none of them in a fit state to be read.


Mr. Poe throws down the gauntlet in his preface by what he says of "the
paltry compensations, or more paltry commendations, of mankind." Some
champion might be expected to start up from the "somewhat sizable" class
embraced, or, more properly speaking, boxed on the ear, by this
defiance, who might try whether the sting of Criticism was as
indifferent to this knight of the pen as he professes its honey to be.

Were there such a champion, gifted with acumen to dissect, and a
swift-glancing wit to enliven the operation, he could find no more
legitimate subject, no fairer game, than Mr. Poe, who has wielded the
weapons of criticism without relenting, whether with the dagger he rent
and tore the garment in which some favored Joseph had pranked himself,
secure of honor in the sight of all men, or whether with uplifted
tomahawk he rushed upon the new-born children of some hapless genius,
who had fancied, and persuaded his friends to fancy, that they were
beautiful, and worthy a long and honored life. A large band of these
offended dignitaries and aggrieved parents must be on the watch for a
volume of "Poems by Edgar A. Poe," ready to cut, rend, and slash in
turn, and hoping to see his own Raven left alone to prey upon the
slaughter of which it is the herald.

Such joust and tournament we look to see, and, indeed, have some stake
in the matter, so far as we have friends whose wrongs cry aloud for the
avenger. Natheless we could not take part in the _mêlée_, except to
join the crowd of lookers-on in the cry "heaven speed the right!"

Early we read that fable of Apollo who rewarded the critic, who had
painfully winnowed the wheat,--with the chaff for his pains. We joined
the gentle Affirmative School, and have confidence that if we indulge
ourselves chiefly with the appreciation of good qualities, Time will
take care of the faults. For Time holds a strainer like that used in the
diamond mines--have but patience and the water and gravel will all pass
through, and only the precious stones be left. Yet we are not blind to
the uses of severe criticism, and of just censure, especially in a time
and place so degraded by venal and indiscriminate praise as the present.
That unholy alliance; that shameless sham, whose motto is,

      "Caw me
    And I'll caw thee;"

that system of mutual adulation and organized puff which was carried to
such perfection in the time, and may be seen drawn to the life in the
correspondence, of Miss Hannah More, is fully represented in our day and
generation. We see that it meets a counter-agency, from the league of
Truth-tellers, few, but each of them mighty as Fingal or any other hero
of the sort. Let such tell the whole truth, as well as nothing but the
truth, but let their sternness be in the spirit of Love. Let them seek
to understand the purpose and scope of an author, his capacity as well
as his fulfilments, and how his faults are made to grow by the same
sunshine that acts upon his virtues, for this is the case with talents
no less than with character. The rich field requires frequent and
careful weeding; frequent, lest the weeds exhaust the soil; careful,
lest the flowers and grain be pulled up along with the weeds.

It has often been our lot to share the mistake of Gil Blas with regard
to the Archbishop. We have taken people at their word, and while
rejoicing that women could bear neglect without feeling mean pique, and
that authors, rising above self-love, could show candor about their
works, and magnanimously meet both justice and injustice, we have been
rudely awakened from our dream, and found that chanticleer, who crowed
so bravely, showed himself at last but a dunghill fowl. Yet Heaven grant
we never become too worldly-wise thus to trust a generous word, and we
surely are not so yet, for we believe Mr. Poe to be sincere when he

"In defence of my own taste, it is incumbent upon me to say that I think
nothing in this volume of much value to the public or very creditable to
myself. Events not to be controlled have prevented me from making, at
any time, any serious effort, in what, under happier circumstances,
would have been the field of my choice."

We believe Mr. Poe to be sincere in this declaration; if he is, we
respect him; if otherwise, we do not. Such things should never be said
unless in hearty earnest. If in earnest, they are honorable pledges; if
not, a pitiful fence and foil of vanity. Earnest or not, the words are
thus far true; the productions in this volume indicate a power to do
something far better. With the exception of the Raven, which seems
intended chiefly to show the writer's artistic skill, and is in its way
a rare and finished specimen, they are all fragments--_fyttes_ upon the
lyre, almost all of which leave a something to desire or demand. This is
not the case, however, with these lines:--


    Thou wast all that to me, love,
      For which my soul did pine--
    A green isle in the sea, love,
      A fountain and a shrine,
    All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers,
      And all the flowers were mine.

    Ah, dream too bright to last!
      Ah, starry Hope! that didst arise
    But to be overcast!
      A voice from out the Future cries,
    "On! on!"--but o'er the Past
      (Dim gulf!) my spirit hovering lies
    Mute, motionless, aghast!

    For, alas! alas! with me
      The light of life is o'er!
      No more--no more--no more
    (Such language holds the solemn sea
      To the sands upon the shore)
    Shall bloom the thunder-blasted tree,
      Or the stricken eagle soar!

    And all my days are trances,
      And all my nightly dreams
    Are where thy dark eye glances,
      And where thy footstep gleams--
    In what ethereal dances,
      By what eternal streams.

The poems breathe a passionate sadness, relieved sometimes by touches
very lovely and tender:--

    "Amid the earnest woes
      That crowd around my earthly path
    (Drear path, alas! where grows
      Not even one lonely rose.") * * *

           *       *       *       *       *

    "For her, the fair and debonair, that now so lowly lies,
    The life upon her yellow hair, but not within her eyes--
    The life still there, upon her hair--the death upon her eyes."

This kind of beauty is especially conspicuous, even rising into dignity,
in the poem called the Haunted Palace.

The imagination of this writer rarely expresses itself in pronounced
forms, but rather in a sweep of images, thronging and distant like a
procession of moonlight clouds on the horizon, but like them
characteristic and harmonious one with another, according to their

The descriptive power is greatest when it takes a shape not unlike an
incantation, as in the first part of the Sleeper, where

    "I stand beneath the mystic moon;
    An opiate vapor, dewy, dim,
    Exhales from out a golden rim,
    And, softly dripping, drop by drop,
    Upon the quiet mountain top,
    Steals drowsily and musically
    Into the universal valley."

Why _universal_?--"resolve me that, Master Moth."

And farther on, "the lily _lolls_ upon the wave."

This word _lolls_, often made use of in these poems, presents a vulgar
image to our thought; we know not how it is to that of others.

The lines which follow, about the open window, are highly poetical. So
is the Bridal Ballad in its power of suggesting a whole tribe and train
of thoughts and pictures, by few and simple touches.

The poems written in youth, written, indeed, we understand, in
childhood, before the author was ten years old, are a great
psychological curiosity. Is it the delirium of a prematurely excited
brain that causes such a rapture of words? What is to be gathered from
seeing the future so fully anticipated in the germ? The passions are not
unfrequently _felt_ in their full shock, if not in their intensity, at
eight or nine years old, but here they are _reflected upon_:--

    "Sweet was their death--with them to die was rife
    With the last ecstasy of satiate life."

The scenes from Politian are done with clear, sharp strokes; the power
is rather metaphysical than dramatic. We must repeat what we have
heretofore said, that we could wish to see Mr. Poe engaged in a
metaphysical romance. He needs a sustained flight and far range to show
what his powers really are. Let us have from him the analysis of the
Passions, with their appropriate Fates; let us have his speculations
clarified; let him intersperse dialogue or poem, as the occasion
prompts, and give us something really good and strong, firmly wrought,
and fairly blazoned.


These two publications have come to hand during the last month--a
cheering gleam upon the winter of our discontent, as we saw the flood of
bad translations of worse books which swelled upon the country.

We love our country well. The many false deeds and low thoughts; the
devotion to interest; the forgetfulness of principle; the indifference
to high and noble sentiment, which have, in so many ways, darkened her
history for some years back, have not made us despair of her yet
fulfilling the great destiny whose promise rose, like a star, only some
half a century ago upon the hopes of the world.

Should that star be forsaken by its angel, and those hopes set finally
in clouds of shame, the church which we had built out of the ruins of
the ancient time must fall to the ground. This church seemed a model of
divine art. It contained a labyrinth which, when threaded by aid of the
clew of Faith, presented, re-viewed from its centre, the most admirable
harmony and depth of meaning in its design, and comprised in its
decorations all the symbols of permanent interest of which the mind of
man has made use for the benefit of man. Such was to be our church, a
church not made with hands, catholic, universal, all whose stones should
be living stones, its officials the cherubim of Love and Knowledge, its
worship wiser and purer action than has before been known to men. To
such a church men do indeed constitute the state, and men indeed we
hoped from the American church and state, men so truly human that they
could not live while those made in their own likeness were bound down to
the condition of brutes.

Should such hopes be baffled, should such a church fall in the building,
such a state find no realization except to the eye of the poet, God
would still be in the world, and surely guide each bird, that can be
patient, on the wing to its home at last. But expectations so noble,
which find so broad a basis in the past, which link it so harmoniously
with the future, cannot lightly be abandoned. The same Power leads by a
pillar of cloud as by a pillar of fire--the Power that deemed even Moses
worthy only of a distant view of the Promised Land.

And to those who cherish such expectations rational education,
considered in various ways and bearings, must be the one great topic of
interest; an enterprise in which the humblest service is precious and
honorable to any who can inspire its soul. Our thoughts anticipate with
eager foresight the race that may grow up from this amalgamation of all
races of the world which our situation induces. It was the pride and
greatness of ancient nations to keep their blood unmixed; but it must be
ours to be willing to mingle, to accept in a generous spirit what each
clime and race has to offer us.

It is, indeed, the case that much diseased substance is offered to form
this new body; and if there be not in ourselves a nucleus, a heart of
force and purity to assimilate these strange and various materials into
a very high form of organic life, they must needs induce one distorted,
corrupt, and degraded beyond the example of other times and places.
There will be no medium about it. Our grand scene of action demands
grandeur and purity; lacking these, one must suffer from so base failure
in proportion to the success that should have been.

It would be the worthiest occupation of mind to ascertain the
conditions propitious for this meeting of the nations in their new home,
and to provide preventions for obvious dangers that attend it. It would
be occupation for which the broadest and deepest knowledge of human
nature in its mental, moral, and bodily relations, the noblest freedom
from prejudice, with the finest discrimination as to differences and
relations, directed and enlightened by a prophetic sense as to what Man
is designed by God to become, would all be needed to fit the thinker.
Yet some portion of these qualities, or of some of these qualities, if
accompanied by earnestness and aspiration, may enable any one to offer
useful suggestions. The mass of ignorance and selfishness is such, that
no grain of leaven must be despised.

And as the men of all countries come hither to find a home, and become
parts of a new life, so do the books of all countries gravitate towards
this new centre. Copious infusions from all quarters mingle daily with
the new thought which is to grow into American mind, and develop
American literature.

As every ship brings us foreign teachers, a knowledge of living
contemporary tongues must in the course of fifty years become the
commonest attainment. There exists no doubt in the minds of those who
can judge, that the German, French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese
tongues might, by familiar instruction and _an intelligent method_, be
taught with perfect ease during the years of childhood, so that the
child would have as distinct a sense of their several natures, and
nearly as much expertness in their use, as in his own. The higher uses
of such knowledge can, of course, be expected only in a more advanced
state of the faculties; but it is pity that the acquaintance with the
medium of thought should be deferred to a period when the mind is
sufficiently grown to bend its chief attention on the thoughts
themselves. Much of the most precious part of short human lives is now
wasted from an ignorance of what might easily be done for children, and
without taking from them the time they need for common life, play, and
bodily growth, more than at present.

Meanwhile the English begins to vie with the German and French
literature in the number, though not in the goodness, of the
translations from other languages. The indefatigable Germans can
translate, and do other things too; so that geniuses often there apply
themselves to the work as an amusement: even the all-employed Goethe
has translated one of the books before us, (Memoirs of Cellini.) But in
English we know but of one, Coleridge's Wallenstein, where the reader
will feel the electric current undiminished by the medium through which
it comes to him. And then the profligate abuse of the power of
translation has been unparalleled, whether in the choice of books or the
carelessness in disguising those that were good in a hideous mask. No
falsehood can be worse than this of deforming the expression of a great
man's thoughts, of corrupting that form which he has watched, and toiled
and suffered to make beautiful and true. We know no falsehood that
should call a more painful blush to the cheek of one engaged in it.

We have no narrowness in our view of the contents of such books. We are
not afraid of new standards and new examples. Only give enough of them,
variety enough, and from well-intentioned, generous minds. America can
choose what she wants, if she has sufficient range of choice; and if
there is any real reason, any deep root in the tastes and opinions she
holds at present, she will not lightly yield them. Only give her what is
good of its kind. Her hope is not in ignorance, but in knowledge. We
are, indeed, very fond of range, and if there is check, there should be
countercheck; and in this view we are delighted to see these great
Italians domesticated here. We have had somewhat too much of the French
and Germans of late. We value unchangeably our sparkling and rapid
French friend; still more the searching, honest, and, in highest sense,
visionary German genius. But there is not on earth, and, we dare to say
it, will not be again, genius _like_ that of Italy, or that can compare
with it, in its own way.

Italy and Greece were alike in this; those sunny skies ripened their
fruits perfectly. The oil and honey of Greece, the wine of Italy, not
only suggest, but satisfy. _There_ we find fulfilment, elsewhere great
achievement only.

O, acute, cautious, calculating Yankee; O, graceful, witty, hot-blooded,
flimsy Southron; and thou, man of the West, going ahead too fast to pick
up a thought or leave a flower upon thy path,--look at these men with
their great fiery passions, but will and intellect still greater and
stronger, perfectly sincere, from a contempt of falsehood. If they had
acted wrong, they said and felt that they had, and that it was base and
hateful in them. They were sagacious, as children are, not from
calculation, but because the fine instincts of nature were unspoiled in
them. I speak now of Alfieri and Cellini. Dante had all their
instinctive greatness and deep-seated fire, with the reflective and
creative faculties besides, to an extent of which they never dreamed.

He who reads these biographies may take them from several points of
view. As pictures of manners, as sincere transcripts of the men and
their times, they are not and could not be surpassed. That truth which
Rousseau sought so painfully and vainly by self-brooding, subtle
analysis, they attained without an effort. _Why_ they felt they cared
little, but _what_ they felt they surely knew; and where a fly or worm
has injured the peach, its passage is exactly marked, so that you are
sure the rest is fair and sound. Both as physiological and psychical
histories, they are full of instruction. In Alfieri, especially, the
nervous disease generated in the frame by any uncongenial tension of the
brain, the periodical crises in his health, the manner in which his
accesses of passion came upon him, afford infinite suggestion to one who
has an eye for the circumstances which fashion the destiny of man. Let
the physician compare the furies of Alfieri with the silent rages of
Byron, and give the mother and pedagogue the light in which they are now
wholly wanting, showing how to treat such noble plants in the early
stages of growth. We think the "hated cap" would not be put a second
time on the head so easily diseased.

The biography of Cellini, it is commonly said, is more interesting than
any romance. It _is_ a romance, with the character of the hero fully
brought out. Cellini lived in all the fulness of inward vigor, all the
variety of outward adventure, and passed through all the signs of the
Zodiac, in his circling course, occasionally raising a little vapor from
the art magic. He was really the Orlando Furioso turned Goldsmith, and
Angelicas and all the Peers of France joined in the show. However, he
never lived deeply; he had not time; the creative energy turned outward
too easily, and took those forms that still enchant the mind of Europe.
Alfieri was very different in this. He was like the root of some
splendid southern plant, buried beneath a heap of rubbish. Above him was
a glorious sky, fit to develop his form and excite his colors; but he
was compelled to a long and terrible struggle to get up where he could
be free to receive its influence. Institutions, language, family, modes
of education,--all were unfit for him; and perhaps no man was ever
called to such efforts, after he had reached manly age, to unmake and
remake himself before he could become what his inward aspiration craved.
All this deepened his nature, and it _was_ deep. It is his great force
of will and the compression of Nature within its iron grasp, where
Nature was so powerful and impulsive, that constitutes the charm of his
writings. It is the man Alfieri who moves, nay, overpowers us, and not
his writings, which have no flow nor plastic beauty. But we feel the
vital dynamics, and imagine it all.

By us Americans, if ever such we really are to be, Alfieri should be
held sacred as a godfather and holy light. He was a harbinger of what
most gives this time its character and value. He was the friend of
liberty, the friend of man, in the sense that Burns was--of the native
nobleness of man. Soiled and degraded men he hated. He was, indeed, a
man of pitiless hatred as of boundless love, and he had bitter
prejudices too, but they were from antipathies too strongly intertwined
with his sympathies for any hand less powerful than that of Death to
rend them away.

But our space does not permit us to do any justice to such a life as
Alfieri's. Let others read it, not from their habitual, but an eternal
point of view, and they cannot mistake its purport. Some will be most
touched by the storms of his youth, others by the exploits and conquests
of his later years; but all will find him, in the words of his friend
Casella, "sculptured just as he was, lofty, strange, and extreme, not
only in his natural characteristics, but in every work that did not seem
to him unworthy of his generous affections. And where he went too far,
it is easy to perceive his excesses always flowed from some praiseworthy

Among a crowd of thoughts suggested to the mind by reperusal of this
book, to us a friend of many years standing, we hastily note the

Alfieri knew how to be a friend, and had friends such as his masculine
and uncompromising temper fitted him to endure and keep. He had even two
or three of those noble friends. He was a perfect lover in delicacy of
sentiment, in devotion, in a desire for constancy, in a high ideal,
growing always higher, and he was, at last, happy in love. Many geniuses
have spoken worthily of women in their works, but he speaks of woman as
she wishes to be spoken of, and declares that he met the desire of his
soul realized in life. This, almost alone, is an instance where a great
nature was permanently satisfied, and the claims of man and woman
equally met, where one of the parties had the impatient fire of genius.
His testimony on this subject is of so rare a sort, we must copy it:--

"My fourth and last passion, fortunately for me, showed itself by
symptoms entirely different from the three first. In the former, my
intellect had felt little of the fires of passion; but now my heart and
my genius were both equally kindled, and if my passion was less
impetuous, it became more profound and lasting. Such was the flame which
by degrees absorbed every affection and thought of my being, and it will
never fade away except with my life. Two months satisfied me that I had
now found the _true woman_; for, instead of encountering in her, as in
all common women, an obstacle to literary glory, a hinderance to useful
occupations, and a damper to thought, she proved a high stimulus, a pure
solace, and an alluring example to every beautiful work. Prizing a
treasure so rare, I gave myself away to her irrevocably. And I certainly
erred not. More than twelve years have passed, and while I am writing
this chit-chat, having reached that calm season when passion loses its
blandishments, I cherish her more tenderly than ever; and I love her
just in proportion as glide from her in the lapse of time those
little-esteemed toll-gatherers of departing beauty. In her my soul is
exalted, softened, and made better day by day; and I will dare to say
and believe she has found in me support and consolation."

We have spoken of the peculiarities in Alfieri's physical condition.
These naturally led him to seek solace in violent exercise; and as in
the case of Beckford and Byron, horses were his best friends in the hour
of danger. This sort of man is the modern Achilles, "the tamer of
horses." In what degree the health of Alfieri was improved, and his
sympathies awakened by the society and care of these noble animals, is
very evident. Almost all persons, perhaps all that are in a natural
state, need to stand in patriarchal relations with the animals most
correspondent with their character. We have the highest respect for this
instinct and sincere belief in the good it brings; if understood, it
would be cherished, not ridiculed.


Translating Dante is indeed a labor of love. It is one in which even a
moderate degree of success is impossible. No great Poet can be well
translated. The form of his thought is inseparable from his thought. The
births of his genius are perfect beings: body and soul are in such
perfect harmony that you cannot at all alter the one without veiling the
other. The variation in cadence and modulation, even where the words are
exactly rendered, takes not only from the form of the thought, but from
the thought itself, its most delicate charm. Translations come to us as
a message to the lover from the lady of his love through the lips of a
confidante or menial--we are obliged to imagine what was most vital in
the utterance.

These difficulties, always insuperable, are accumulated a hundred-fold
in the case of Dante, both by the extraordinary depth and subtlety of
his thought, and his no less extraordinary power of concentrating its
expression, till every verse is like a blade of thoroughly tempered
steel. You might as well attempt to translate a glance of fire from the
human eye into any other language--even music cannot do that.

We think, then, that the use of Cary's translation, or any other, can
never be to diffuse a knowledge of Dante. This is not in its nature
diffusible; he is one of those to whom others must draw near; he cannot
be brought to them. He has no superficial charm to cheat the reader into
a belief that he knows him, without entrance into the same sphere.

These translations can be of use only to the translators, as a means of
deliberate study of the original, or to others who are studying the
original, and wish to compare their own version of doubtful passages
with that of an older disciple, highly qualified, both by devotion and
mental development, for the study.

We must say a few words as to the pedantic folly with which this study
has been prosecuted in this country, and, we believe, in England. Not
only the tragedies of Alfieri and the Faust of Goethe, but the Divina
Commedia of Dante,--a work which it is not probable there are upon
earth, at any one time, a hundred minds able to appreciate,--are turned
into school books for little girls who have just left their hoops and
dolls, and boys whose highest ambition it is to ride a horse that will
run away, and brave the tutor in a college frolic.

This is done from the idea that, in order to get acquainted with a
foreign language, the student must read books that have attained the
dignity of classics, and also which are "hard." Hard indeed it must be
for the Muses to see their lyres turned into gridirons for the
preparation of a school-girl's lunch; harder still for the younglings to
be called to chew and digest thunderbolts, in lieu of their natural
bread and butter.

Are there not "classics" enough which would not suffer by being put to
such uses? In Greek, Homer is a book for a boy; must you give him Plato
because it is harder? Is there no choice among the Latins? Are all who
wrote in the Latin tongue equally fit for the appreciation of sixteen
Yankee years? In Italian, have you not Tasso, Ariosto, and other writers
who have really a great deal that the immature mind can enjoy, without
choking it with the stern politics of Alfieri, or piling upon a brain
still soft the mountainous meanings of Dante? Indeed, they are saved
from suffering by the perfect ignorance of all meaning in which they
leave these great authors, fancying, to their life-long misfortune, that
they have read them. I have been reminded, by the remarks of my young
friends on these subjects, of the Irish peasant, who, having been
educated on a book prepared for his use, called "Reading made easy,"
blesses through life the kindness that taught him his "Radamadasy;" and
of the child who, hearing her father quote Horace, observed _she_
"thought Latin was even sillier than French."

No less pedantic is the style in which the grown-up, in stature at
least, undertakes to become acquainted with Dante. They get the best
Italian Dictionary, all the notes they can find, amounting in themselves
to a library, for his countrymen have not been less external and
benighted in their way of regarding him. Painfully they study through
the book, seeking with anxious attention to know who Signor This is, and
who was the cousin of Signora That, and whether any deep papal or
anti-papal meaning was couched by Dante under the remark that Such-a-one
wore a great-coat. A mind, whose small chambers look yet smaller by
being crowded with furniture from all parts of the world, bought by
labor, not received from inheritance or won by love, asserts that he
must understand Dante well, better than any other person probably,
because he has studied him through in this way thirty or forty times. As
well declare you have a better appreciation of Shakspeare than any one
else because you have identified the birthplace of Dame Quickly, or
ascertained the churchyard where the ghost of the royal Dane hid from
the sight of that far more celestial spirit, his son.

O, painstaking friends! Shut your books, clear your minds from
artificial nonsense, and feel that only by spirit can spirit be
discerned. Dante, like each other great one, took the stuff that lay
around him, and wove it into a garment of light. It is not by ravelling
that you will best appreciate its tissue or design. It is not by
studying out the petty strifes or external relations of his time, that
you can become acquainted with the thought of Dante. To him these things
were only soil in which to plant himself--figures by which to dramatize
and evolve his ideas. Would you learn him, go listen in the forest of
human passions to all the terrible voices he heard with a tormented but
never-to-be-deafened ear; go down into the hells, where each excess that
mars the harmony of nature is punished by the sinner finding no food
except from his own harvest; pass through the purgatories of
speculation, of struggling hope, and faith, never quite quenched, but
smouldering often and long beneath the ashes. Soar if thou canst, but if
thou canst not, clear thine eye to see this great eagle soar into the
higher region where forms arrange themselves for stellar dance and
spheral melody,--and thought, with costly-accelerated motion, raises
itself a spiral which can only end in the heart of the Supreme.

He who finds in himself no fitness to study Dante in this way, should
regard himself as in the position of a candidate for the ancient
mysteries, when rejected as unfit for initiation. He should seek in
other ways to purify, expand, and strengthen his being, and, when he
feels that he is nobler and stronger, return and try again whether he is
"grown up to it," as the Germans say.

"The difficulty is in the thoughts;" and this cannot be obviated by the
most minute acquaintance with the history of the times. Comparison of
one edition with another is of use, as a guard against obstructions
through mistake. Still more useful will be the method recommended by Mr.
Cary, of comparing the Poet with himself; this belongs to the
intellectual method, and is the way in which to study our intellectual

The versions of Cary and Lyell will be found of use to the student, if
he wants to compare his ideas with those of accomplished
fellow-students. The poems in the London book would aid much in a full
appreciation of the comedy; they ought to be read in the original, but
copies are not easily to be met here, unless in the great libraries. The
Vita Nuova is the noblest expression extant of the inward life of Love,
the best preface and comment to every thing else that Dante did.

'Tis pity that the designs of Flaxman are so poorly reproduced in this
American book. It would have been far better to have had it a little
dearer, and thus better done. The designs of Flaxman were really a noble
comment upon Dante, and might help to interpret him; and we are sorry
that those who can see only a few of them should see them so
imperfectly. But in some, as in that of the meeting with Farinata, the
expression cannot be destroyed while one line of the original remained.
The "lost portrait" we do not like as preface to "La Divina Comedia." To
that belongs our accustomed object of reverence, the head of Dante, such
as the Florentine women saw him, when they thought his hair and beard
were still singed, his face dark and sublime with what he had seen

Prefixed to the other book is a head "from a cast taken after death at
Ravenna, A. D. 1321." It has the grandeur which death sometimes puts on;
the fulness of past life is there, but made sacred in Eternity. It is
also the only front view of Dante we have seen. It is not unworthy to
mark the point

    "When vigor failed the towering fantasy,
    But yet the will rolled onward, like a wheel
    In even motion by the love impelled
    That moves the sun in heaven, and all the stars."

We ought to say, in behalf of this publication, that whosoever wants
Cary's version will rejoice, at last, as do we, to possess it in so fair
and legible guise.

Before leaving the Italians, we must mourn over the misprints of our
homages to the great tragedian in the preceding review. Our manuscripts
being as illegible as if we were a great genius, we never complain of
these errata, except when we are made to reverse our meaning on some
vital point. We did not say that Alfieri was perfect _in person_, nor
sundry other things that are there; but we do mourn at seeming to say of
our friends, "_Why_ they felt they care little, but _what_ they felt
they _scarcely_ knew," when in fact we asserted, "what they felt they
_surely_ knew."

In the article on the Celestial Empire we had made this assertion of the
Chinese music: "Like _their_ poetry, the music is of the narrowest
monotony;" in place of which stands this assertion: "Like _true_ poetry,
their music is of the narrowest monotony." But we trust the most
careless reader would not think the merely human mind capable of so
original a remark, and will put this blasphemy to account of that little
demon who has so much to answer for in the sufferings of poor writers
before they can get their thoughts to the eyes of their
fellow-creatures, in print, that there seems scarcely a chance of his
being redeemed as long as there is one author in existence to accuse


Such is the title of a volume just issued from the press; a grand title,
which suggests the epic poet or the philosopher. The purpose of the
work, however, is modest. It is merely a compilation, from which those
who have lived at some distance from the great highway may get answers
to their questions, as to events and circumstances which may have
escaped them. It is one of those books which will be valued in the

It would be a great book indeed, and one that would require the eye and
heart of a great man,--great as a judge, great as a seer, and great as a
prophet,--that should select for us and present in harmonious outline
the true American facts. To choose the right point of view supposes
command of the field.

Such a man must be attentive, a quiet observer of the slighter signs of
growth. But he must not be one to dwell superstitiously on details, nor
one to hasten to conclusions. He must have the eye of the eagle, the
courage of the lion, the patience of the worm, and faith such as is the
prerogative of man alone, and of man in the highest phase of his

We doubt not the destiny of our country--that she is to accomplish great
things for human nature, and be the mother of a nobler race than the
world has yet known. But she has been so false to the scheme made out at
her nativity, that it is now hard to say which way that destiny points.
We can hardly exhibit the true American facts without some idea of the
real character of America. Only one thing seems clear--that the energy
here at work is very great, though the men employed in carrying out its
purposes may have generally no more individual ambition to understand
those purposes, or cherish noble ones of their own, than the coral
insect through whose restless working new continents are upheaved from
ocean's breast.

Such a man, passing in a boat from one extremity of the Mississippi to
another, and observing every object on the shore as he passed, would yet
learn nothing of universal or general value, because he has no
principles, even in hope, by which to classify them. American facts!
Why, what has been done that marks individuality? Among men there is
Franklin. He is a fact, and an American fact. Niagara is another, in a
different style. The way in which newspapers and other periodicals are
managed is American; a go-ahead, fearless adroitness is American; so is
_not_, exclusively, the want of strict honor. But we look about in vain
for traits as characteristic of what may be individually the character
of the nation, as we can find at a glance in reference to Spain,
England, France, or Turkey. America is as yet but a European babe; some
new ways and motions she has, consequent on a new position; but that
soul that may shape her mature life scarce begins to know itself yet.
One thing is certain; we live in a large place, no less morally than
physically: woe to him who lives meanly here, and knows the exhibitions
of selfishness and vanity as the only American facts.


As we pass the old Brick Chapel our eye is sometimes arrested by
placards that hang side by side. On one is advertised "the Lives of the
Apostles," on the other "Napoleon and his Marshals."

Surely it is the most monstrous thing the world ever saw, that eighteen
hundred years' profound devotion to a religious teacher should not
preclude flagrant and all but universal violation of his most obvious
precepts; that Napoleon and his Marshals should be some of the best
ripened fruit of our time; that our own people, so unwearied in building
up temples of wood and stone to the Prince of Peace, should be at this
era mad with boyish exultation at the winning of battles, and in a bad
cause too.

In view of such facts we cannot wonder that Dr. Channing, the editor of
the Tribune, and others who make Christianity their standard, should
find little savor in glowing expositions of the great French drama, and
be disgusted at words of defence, still more of admiration, spoken in
behalf of its leading actor.

We can easily admit at once that the whole French drama was
anti-Christian, just as the political conduct of every nation of
Christendom has been thus far, with rare and brief exceptions. Something
different might have been expected from our own, because the world has
now attained a clearer consciousness of right, and in our case our
position would have made obedience easy. We have not been led into
temptation; we sought it. It is greed, and not want, that has impelled
this nation to wrong. The paths of peace would have been for her also
the paths of wisdom and of pleasantness, but she would not, and has
preferred the path of the beast of prey in the uncertain forest, to the
green pastures where "walks the good Shepherd, his meek temples crowned
with roses red and white."

Since the state of things is such, we see no extremity of censure that
should fall upon the great French leader, except that he was like the
majority. He was ruthless and selfish on a larger scale than most
monarchs; but we see no difference in grain, nor in principles of

Admit, then, that he was not a good man, and never for one moment acted
disinterestedly. But do not refuse to do homage to his genius. It is
well worth your while to learn to appreciate _that_, if you wish to
understand the work that the spirit of the time did, and is still doing,
through him; for his mind is still upon the earth, working here through
the tributary minds it fed. We must say, for our own part, we cannot
admit the right of men severely to criticise Napoleon, till they are
able to appreciate what he was, as well as see what he was not. And we
see no mind of sufficient grasp, or high-placed enough to take this
estimate duly, nor do we believe this age will furnish one. Many
problems will have to be worked out first.

We reject the exclusively moral no less than the exclusively
intellectual view, and find most satisfaction in those who, aiming
neither at apology nor attack, make their observations upon the great
phenomenon as partial, and to be received as partial.

Mr. Headley, in his first surprise at finding how falsely John Bull,
rarely liberal enough to be fully trusted in evidence on any topic, has
spoken of the acts of a hated and dreaded foe, does indeed rush too much
on the other side. He mistakes the touches of sentiment in Napoleon for
genuine feeling. Now we know that Napoleon loved to read Ossian, and
could appreciate the beauty of tenderness: but we do not believe that he
had one particle of what is properly termed heart;--that is, he could
always silence sentiment at once when his projects demanded it. Then Mr.
Headley finds apologies for acts where apology is out of place. They
characterize the ruthless nature of the man, and that is all that can be
said of them. He moved on, like the Juggernaut car, to his end, and
spilled the blood that was needed for this, whether that blood were
"ditch-water" or otherwise. Neither is this supposing him to be a
monster. The human heart is very capable of such uncontrolled
selfishness, just as it is of angelic love. "'Tis but the first step
that costs"--_much_. Yet some compassionate hand strewed flowers on
Nero's grave, and the whole world cried shame when Bonaparte's Mameluke
forsook his master.

Mr. Headley does not seem to be aware that there is no trust to be put
in Napoleon's own account of his actions. He seems to have been almost
incapable of speaking sincerely to those about him. We doubt whether he
could have forgotten with the woman he loved, that she might become his

But granting the worst that can be said of ruthless acts in the stern
Corsican, are we to reserve our anathema for him alone? He is no worse
than the other crowned ones, against whom he felt himself continually in
the balance. He has shed a greater quantity of blood, and done mightier
wrongs, because he had more power, and followed with more fervor a more
dazzling lure. We see no other difference between his conduct and that
of the great Frederic of Prussia. He never did any thing so meanly
wicked as has just been done in stirring up the Polish peasants to
assassinate the nobles. He never did any thing so atrocious as has been
done by Nicholas of Russia, who, just after his hypocritical intercourse
with that "venerable man," the Pope, when he so zealously defended
himself against the charge of scourging nuns to convert them to the
Greek church, administers the knout to a noble and beautiful lady
because she had given shelter for an hour to the patriot Dembinski. Why
then so zealous against Napoleon only? He is but a specimen of what man
must become when he _will_ be king over the bodies, where he cannot over
the souls, of his fellow-men. We doubt if it is any worse in the sight
of God to drain France of her best blood by the conscription, than to
tear the flower of Genius from the breast of Italy to perish in a
dungeon, leaving her overwhelmed and broken-hearted. Leaving all this
aside, and granting that Napoleon might have done more and better, had
his heart been pure from ambition, which gave it such electric power to
animate a vast field of being, there is no reason why we should not
prize what he did do. And here we think Mr. Headley's style the only one
in place. We honor him for the power he shows of admiring the genius
which, in ploughing its gigantic furrow, broke up every artificial
barrier that hid the nations of Europe one from the other--that has left
the "career open to talent," by a gap so broad that no "Chinese
alliance" can ever close it again, and in its vast plans of civic
improvement half-anticipated Fourier. With him all _thoughts_ became
_things_; it has been spoken in blame, it has been spoken in praise; for
ourselves we see not how this most practical age and country can refuse
to apprehend the designs, and study the instincts of this wonderful
practical genius.

The characters of the marshals are kept up with the greatest spirit, and
that power of seizing leading traits that gives these sketches the
greatness of dramatic poetry. The marshals are majestic figures; men
vulgar and undeveloped on many sides, but always clear and strong in
their own way. One mind animates them, and of that mind Napoleon is the
culminating point. He did not choose them; they were a part of himself,
a part of the same thought of which he was the most forcible
expression. If sometimes inclined to disparage them, it was as a man
might disparage his hand by saying it was not his head. He truly felt
that he was the central force, though some of them were greater in the
details of action than himself. Attempts have often been made to darken
even the military fame of Napoleon and his generals--attempts
disgraceful enough from a foe whom they so long held in terror. But to
any unprejudiced mind there is evident in the conduct of their battles,
the development of the instincts of genius in mighty force, and to
inevitable results.

With all the haste of hand and inequality of touch they show, these
sketches are full of strength and brilliancy, an honor to the country
that produced them. There is no got-up harmony, no attempt at
originality or acuteness; all is living,--the overflow of the mind; we
like Mr. Headley; even in his faults he is a most agreeable contrast to
the made men of the day.

In the sketches of the Marshals we have the men before us, a living
reality. Massena, at the siege of Genoa, is represented with a great
deal of simple force. The whole personality of Murat, with his "Oriental
nature" and Oriental dress, is admirably depicted. Why had nobody ever
before had the clearness of perception to see just this, _and no more_,
in the "theatrical" Murat? Of his darling hero, Ney, the writer has
implied so much all along, that he lays less stress on what he says of
him directly. He thinks it is all understood, and it is.

Take this book for just what it is; do not look for cool discussion,
impartial criticism, but take it as a vivacious and feeling
representation of events and actors in a great era: you will find it
full of truth, such as only sympathy could teach, and will derive from
it a pleasure and profit lively and genuine as itself. As to denying or
correcting its statements, it is very desirable that those who are able
should do that part of the work; but, in doing it, let them be grateful
for what _is_ done, and what _they_ could not do; grateful for
reproduction such as he who throws himself into the genius and the
persons of the time may hope for; but he never can who keeps himself
composed in critical distance and self-possession. You cannot have all
excellences combined in one person; let us then cheerfully work together
to complete the beautiful whole,--beautiful in its unity,--no less
beautiful in its variety.


This lecture of Dr. Warren is printed in a form suitable for popular
distribution, while the high reputation of its author insures it
respect. Readers will expect to find here those rules for daily practice
taught by that plain common-sense which men possess from nature, but
strangely lose sight of, amid their many inventions, and are obliged to
rediscover by aid of experience and science.

Here will be found those general statements as to modes of exercise,
care of the skin, choice of food, and time, and circumstances required
for its digestion, which might furnish the ounce of prevention that is
worth so many pounds of cure. And how much are these needed in this
country, where the most barbarous ignorance prevails on the subject of
cleanliness, sleeping accommodations, &c.! On these subjects improvement
would be easy; that of diet is far more complicated, and is,
unfortunately, one which requires great knowledge of the ways in which
the human frame is affected by the changes of climate and various other
influences, even wisely to discuss. If it is difficult where a race,
mostly indigenous to the soil, feed upon what Mother Nature has prepared
expressly for their use, and where excess or want of judgment in its use
produces disease, it must be far more so where men come from all
latitudes to live under new circumstances, and need a judicious
adaptation of the old to the new. The dogmatism and proscription that
prevail on this topic amuse the observer and distress the patient.
"Touch no meat for your life," says one. "It is not meat, but sugar,
that is your ruin," cries another. "No, salt is the destruction of the
world," sadly and gravely declares a third. Milk, which once conciliated
all regards, has its denunciators. "Water," say some, "is the bliss that
shall dissolve all bane. Drink; wash--take to yourself all the water you
can get." "That is madness--is far worse than useless," cry others,
"unless the water be pure. You must touch none that has not been tested
by a chemist." "Yes, you may at any rate drink it," say others, "and in
large quantities, for the power of water to aid digestion is obvious to
every observer."

"No," says Dr. Warren, "animals do not drink at the time they eat, but
some hours after; and they generally take very small quantities of
liquid, compared with that which is used by man. The savage, in his
native wilds, takes his solid food, when he can obtain it, to satiety,
reposes afterwards, and then resuming his chase through the forest,
stops at the rivulet to allay his thirst. The disadvantage of taking a
large quantity of liquid must be obvious to all those who consider that
the digesting liquid is diluted and weakened in proportion to the
quantity of drink."

What wonder is it, if even the well-disposed among the multitude, seeing
such dissension among the counsellors, gathering just enough from their
disputes to infer that they have no true philosophical basis for their
opinions, and seeing those who would set the example in practice of this
art without science of dietetics generally among the most morbid and
ill-developed specimens of humanity, just throw aside all rule upon the
subject, partake of what is set before them, trust to air, exercise, and
good intentions to ward off the worst effects of the promiscuous fare?

Yet, while hopeless at present of selecting the right articles, and
building up, so far as hereditary taint will permit, a pure and
healthful body from feeding on congenial substances, we know at least
this much, that stimulants and over-eating--not food--are injurious, and
may take care enough of ourselves to avoid these.

The other branches we can really act wisely in, Dr. Warren, after giving
the usual directions (rarely followed as yet) for airing beds, and
sleeping-rooms, adds,--

"The manner in which children sleep will readily be acknowledged to be
important; yet very little attention is paid to this matter. Children
are crowded together in small, unventilated rooms, often two or three in
a bed, and on beds composed of half prepared feathers, from which issues
a noxious effluvia, infecting the child at a period when he is least
able to resist its influence; so that in the morning, instead of feeling
the full refreshment and vigor natural to his age, he is pale, languid,
and for some time indisposed to exertion.

"The rooms in which children are brought up should be well aired, by
having a fireplace, which should be kept open the greater part of the
year. There never should be more than one in the same bed; and this
remark may be applied with equal propriety to adults. The substance on
which they lie should be hair, thoroughly prepared, so that it should
have no bad smell. In winter it may be of cotton, or of hair and cotton.
It would be very desirable, however, to place children in separate
apartments, as well as in separate beds.

"It has been justly said that adults as well as children had better
employ single instead of double beds; this remark is intended to apply
universally. The use of double beds has been very generally adopted in
this country, perhaps in part as a matter of economy; but this practice
is objectionable, for more reasons than can be stated here."

On the subject of exercise, he mentions particularly the triangle, and
we copy what he says, because of the perfect ease and convenience with
which one could be put up and used in every bed-chamber.

"The exercising the upper limbs is too much neglected; and it is
important to provide the means of bringing them into action, as well to
develop their powers as to enlarge and invigorate the chest, with which
they are connected, and which they powerfully influence. The best I know
of is the use of the triangle. This admirably exerts the upper limbs and
the muscles of the chest, and, indeed, when adroitly employed, those of
the whole body. The triangle is made of a stick of walnut wood, four
feet long, and an inch and a half in diameter. To each end is connected
a rope, the opposite extremities of which being confined together at
such height as to allow the motion of swinging by the hands."

We have ourselves derived the greatest benefit from this simple means.
Gymnastic exercises, and if possible in the open air, are needed by
every one who is not otherwise led to exercise all parts of the body by
various kinds of labor. Some, though only partial provision, is made for
boys by gymnasia and riding-schools. In wiser nations, such have been
the care of the state. And in despotic governments, the jealousy of a
tyrant was never more justly awakened than when the youth of the land,
by a devotion to gymnastic exercises, showed their aspiration to reach
the healthful stature of manhood. For every one who possesses a strong
mind in a sane body is heir presumptive to the kingdom of this world; he
needs no external credentials, but has only to appear and make clear his
title. But for such a princely form the eye searches the street, the
mart, and the council-chamber, in vain.

Those who feel that the game of life is so nearly up with them that they
cannot devote much of the time that is left to the care of wise living
in their own persons, should, at least, be unwilling to injure the next
generation by the same ignorance which has blighted so many of us in our
earliest year. Such should attend to the work of Mr. Combe,[14] among
other good books. Mr. Combe has done much good already in this country,
and this book should be circulated every where, for many of its
suggestions are too obviously just not to be adopted as soon as read.

Dr. Warren bears his testimony against the pernicious effects that
follow upon the use of tobacco, and we cannot but hope that what he says
of its tendency to create cancer will have weight with some who are
given to the detestable habit of chewing. This practice is so odious to
women, that we must regard its prevalence here as a token of the very
light regard in which they are held, and the consequent want of
refinement among men. Dr. Warren seems to favor the practice of
hydropathy to some extent, but must needs bear his testimony in full
against homoeopathy. No matter; the little doses will insinuate their
way, and cure the ills that flesh is heir to,

    "For a' that, and a' that,
    And mickle mair for a' that."


Frederick Douglass has been for some time a prominent member of the
abolition party. He is said to be an excellent speaker--can speak from a
thorough personal experience--and has upon the audience, besides, the
influence of a strong character and uncommon talents. In the book before
us he has put into the story of his life the thoughts, the feelings, and
the adventures that have been so affecting through the living voice; nor
are they less so from the printed page. He has had the courage to name
persons, times, and places, thus exposing himself to obvious danger, and
setting the seal on his deep convictions as to the religious need of
speaking the whole truth. Considered merely as a narrative, we have
never read one more simple, true, coherent, and warm with genuine
feeling. It is an excellent piece of writing, and on that score to be
prized as a specimen of the powers of the black race, which prejudice
persists in disputing. We prize highly all evidence of this kind, and it
is becoming more abundant. The cross of the Legion of Honor has just
been conferred in France on Dumas and Souliè, both celebrated in the
paths of light literature. Dumas, whose father was a general in the
French army, is a mulatto; Souliè, a quadroon. He went from New Orleans,
where, though to the eye a white man, yet, as known to have African
blood in his veins, he could never have enjoyed the privileges due to a
human being. Leaving the land of freedom, he found himself free to
develop the powers that God had given.

Two wise and candid thinkers--the Scotchman Kinmont, prematurely lost to
this country, of which he was so faithful and generous a student, and
the late Dr. Channing,--both thought that the African race had in them a
peculiar element, which, if it could be assimilated with those imported
among us from Europe, would give to genius a development, and to the
energies of character a balance and harmony, beyond what has been seen
heretofore in the history of the world. Such an element is indicated in
their lowest estate by a talent for melody, a ready skill at imitation
and adaptation, an almost indestructible elasticity of nature. It is to
be remarked in the writings both of Souliè and Dumas, full of faults,
but glowing with plastic life and fertile in invention. The same torrid
energy and saccharine fulness may be felt in the writings of this
Douglass, though his life, being one of action or resistance, has been
less favorable to _such_ powers than one of a more joyous flow might
have been.

The book is prefaced by two communications--one from Garrison, and one
from Wendell Phillips. That from the former is in his usual
over-emphatic style. His motives and his course have been noble and
generous; we look upon him with high respect; but he has indulged in
violent invective and denunciation till he has spoiled the temper of his
mind. Like a man who has been in the habit of screaming himself hoarse
to make the deaf hear, he can no longer pitch his voice on a key
agreeable to common ears. Mr. Phillips's remarks are equally decided,
without this exaggeration in the tone. Douglass himself seems very just
and temperate. We feel that his view, even of those who have injured him
most, may be relied upon. He knows how to allow for motives and
influences. Upon the subject of religion, he speaks with great force,
and not more than our own sympathies can respond to. The inconsistencies
of slaveholding professors of religion cry to Heaven. We are not
disposed to detest, or refuse communion with them. Their blindness is
but one form of that prevalent fallacy which substitutes a creed for a
faith, a ritual for a life. We have seen too much of this system of
atonement not to know that those who adopt it often began with good
intentions, and are, at any rate, in their mistakes worthy of the
deepest pity. But that is no reason why the truth should not be uttered,
trumpet-tongued, about the thing. "Bring no more vain oblations;"
sermons must daily be preached anew on that text. Kings, five hundred
years ago, built churches with the spoils of war; clergymen to-day
command slaves to obey a gospel which they will not allow them to read,
and call themselves Christians amid the curses of their fellow-men. The
world ought to get on a little faster than this, if there be really any
principle of improvement in it. The kingdom of heaven may not at the
beginning have dropped seed larger than a mustard-seed, but even from
that we had a right to expect a fuller growth than we can believe to
exist, when we read such a book as this of Douglass. Unspeakably
affecting is the fact that he never saw his mother at all by daylight.

"I do not recollect of ever seeing my mother by the light of day. She
was with me in the night. She would lie down with me, and get me to
sleep, but long before I waked she was gone."

The following extract presents a suitable answer to the hackneyed
argument drawn by the defender of slavery from the songs of the slave,
and is also a good specimen of the powers of observation and manly heart
of the writer. We wish that every one may read his book, and see what a
mind might have been stifled in bondage--what a man may be subjected to
the insults of spendthrift dandies, or the blows of mercenary brutes, in
whom there is no whiteness except of the skin, no humanity except in the
outward form, and of whom the Avenger will not fail yet to demand,
"Where is thy brother?"

"The Home Plantation of Colonel Lloyd wore the appeaance of a country
village. All the mechanical operations for all the farms were performed
here. The shoemaking and mending, the blacksmithing, cartwrighting,
coopering, weaving, and grain-grinding, were all performed by the slaves
on the Home Plantation. The whole place wore a business-like aspect very
unlike the neighboring farms. The number of houses, too, conspired to
give it advantage over the neighboring farms. It was called by the
slaves the _Great House Farm_. Few privileges were esteemed higher, by
the slaves of the out-farms, than that of being selected to do errands
at the Great House Farm. It was associated in their minds with
greatness. A representative could not be prouder of his election to a
seat in the American Congress, than a slave on one of the out-farms
would be of his election to do errands at the Great House Farm. They
regarded it as evidence of great confidence reposed in them by their
overseers; and it was on this account, as well as a constant desire to
be out of the field, from under the driver's lash, that they esteemed it
a high privilege, one worth careful living for. He was called the
smartest and most trusty fellow who had this honor conferred upon him
the most frequently. The competitors for this office sought as
diligently to please their overseers as the office-seekers in the
political parties seek to please and deceive the people. The same traits
of character might be seen in Colonel Lloyd's slaves, as are seen in the
slaves of the political parties.

"The slaves selected to go to the Great House Farm, for the monthly
allowance for themselves and their fellow-slaves, were peculiarly
enthusiastic. While on their way, they would make the dense old woods,
for miles around, reverberate with their wild songs, revealing at once
the highest joy and the deepest sadness. They would compose and sing as
they went along, consulting neither time nor tune. The thought that came
up came out,--if not in the word, in the sound,--and as frequently in
the one as in the other. They would sometimes sing the most pathetic
sentiment in the most rapturous tone, and the most rapturous sentiment
in the most pathetic tone. Into all their songs they would manage to
weave something of the Great House Farm. Especially would they do this
when leaving home. They would then sing most exultingly the following

    'I am going away to the Great House Farm!
          O, yea! O, yea! O!'

This they would sing as a chorus to words which to many would seem
unmeaning jargon, but which, nevertheless, were full of meaning to
themselves. I have sometimes thought that the mere hearing of those
songs would do more to impress some minds with the horrible character of
slavery, than the reading of whole volumes of philosophy on the subject
could do.

"I did not, when a slave, understand the deep meaning of those rude and
apparently incoherent songs. I was myself within the circle; so that I
neither saw nor heard as those without might see and hear. They told a
tale of woe which was then altogether beyond my feeble comprehension;
they were tones loud, long, and deep; they breathed the prayer and
complaint of souls boiling over with the bitterest anguish. Every tone
was a testimony against slavery, and a prayer to God for deliverance
from chains. The hearing of those wild notes always depressed my spirit,
and filled me with ineffable sadness. I have frequently found myself in
tears while hearing them. The mere recurrence to those songs, even now,
afflicts me; and while I am writing these lines, an expression of
feeling has already found its way down my cheek. To those songs I trace
my first glimmering conception of the dehumanizing character of slavery.
I can never get rid of that conception. Those songs still follow me, to
deepen my hatred of slavery, and quicken my sympathies for my brethren
in bonds. If any one wishes to be impressed with the soul-killing
effects of slavery, let him go to Colonel Lloyd's plantation, and, on
allowance day, place himself in the deep pine woods, and there let him,
in silence, analyze the sounds that shall pass through the chambers of
his soul; and if he is not thus impressed, it will only be because
'there is no flesh in his obdurate heart.'

"I have often been utterly astonished, since I came to the north, to
find persons who could speak of the singing among slaves as evidence of
their contentment and happiness. It is impossible to conceive of a
greater mistake. Slaves sing most when they are most unhappy. The songs
of the slave represent the sorrows of his heart; and he is relieved by
them only as an aching heart is relieved by its tears. At least, such is
my experience. I have often sung to drown my sorrow, but seldom to
express my happiness. Crying for joy and singing for joy were alike
uncommon to me while in the jaws of slavery. The singing of a man cast
away upon a desolate island might be as appropriately considered as
evidence of contentment and happiness, as the singing of a slave; the
songs of the one and of the other are prompted by the same emotion."


These volumes have met with as warm a reception "as ever unripe author's
quick conceit," to use Mr. Taylor's own language, could hope or wish;
and so deservedly, that the critic's happy task, in examining them, is
to point out, not what is most to be blamed, but what is most to be

With joy we hail a new poet. Star after star has been withdrawn from our
firmament, and when that of Coleridge set, we seemed in danger of being
left, at best, to a gray and confounding twilight; but, lo! a "ray of
pure white light" darts across the obscured depths of ether, and allures
our eyes and hearts towards the rising orb from which it emanates. Let
us tremble no more lest our summer pass away without its roses, but
receive our present visitor as the harbinger of a harvest of delights.

The natural process of the mind in forming a judgment is comparison. The
office of sound criticism is to teach that this comparison should be
made, not between the productions of differently-constituted minds, but
between any one of these and a fixed standard of perfection.
Nevertheless it is not contrary to the canon to take a survey of the
labors of many artists with reference to one, if we value them, not
according to the degree of pleasure we have experienced from them, which
must always depend upon our then age, the state of the passions and
relations with life, but according to the success of the artist in
attaining the object he himself had in view. To illustrate: In the same
room hang two pictures, Raphael's Madonna and Martin's Destruction of
Nineveh. A person enters, capable of admiring both, but young,
excitable; he is delighted with the Madonna, but probably far more so
with the other, because his imagination is at that time more developed
than the pure love for beauty which is the characteristic of a taste in
a higher state of cultivation. He prefers the Martin, because it excites
in his mind a thousand images of sublimity and terror, recalls the
brilliancy of Oriental history, and the stern pomp of the old prophetic
day, and rouses his mind to a high state of action, _then_ as congenial
with its wants as at a later day would be the feeling of contented
absorption, of perfect satisfaction with a production of the human soul,
which one of Raphael's calmly beautiful creations is fitted to cause.
Now, it would be very unfair for this person to pronounce the Martin
superior to the Raphael, because it then gave him more pleasure. But if
he said, the one is intended to excite the imagination, the other to
gratify the taste, that which fulfils its object most completely must be
the best, whether it give me most pleasure or no; he would be on the
right ground, and might consider the two pictures relatively to one
another, without danger of straying very far from the truth.

_This_ is the ground we would assume in a hasty sketch, which will not,
we hope, be deemed irrelevant, of the most prominent essays to which the
last sixty years have given rise in the department of the work now
before us, previous to stating our opinion of its merits. Many, we are
aware, ridicule the idea of filling reviews with long dissertations, and
say they only want brief accounts of such books as are coming out, by
way of saving time. With such we cannot agree. We think the office of
the reviewer is, indeed, in part, to point out to the public attention
deserving works, which might otherwise slumber too long unknown on the
bookseller's shelves, but still more to present to the reader as large a
cluster of objects round one point as possible, thus, by suggestion,
stimulating him to take a broader or more careful view of the subject
than his indolence or his business would have permitted.

The terms Classical and Romantic, which have so long divided European
critics, and exercised so powerful an influence upon their decisions,
are not much known or heeded among us,--as, indeed, _belles-lettres_
cannot, generally, in our busy state of things, be important or
influential, as among a less free and more luxurious people, to whom the
more important truths are proffered through those indirect but alluring
mediums. Here, where every thing may be spoken or written, and the
powers that be, abused without ceremony on the very highway, the Muse
has nothing to do with dagger or bowl; hardly is the censor's wand
permitted to her hand. Yet is her lyre by no means unheeded, and if it
is rather by refining our tastes than by modelling our opinions that she
influences us, yet is that influence far from unimportant. And the time
is coming, perhaps in our day, we may (if war do not untimely check the
national progress) even see and temper its beginning, when the broad
West shall swarm with an active, happy, and cultivated population; when
the South, freed from the incubus which now oppresses her best energies,
shall be able to do justice to the resources of her soil and of her
mind; when the East, gathering from every breeze the riches of the old
world, shall be the unwearied and loving agent to those regions which
lie far away from the great deep, our bulwark and our minister. Then
will the division of labor be more complete; then will a surplus of
talent be spared from the mart, the forum, and the pulpit; then will the
fine arts assume their proper dignity, as the expression of what is
highest and most ethereal in the mind of a people. Then will our
quarries be thoroughly explored, and furnish materials for stately
fabrics to adorn the face of all the land, while our ports shall be
crowded with foreign artists flocking to take lessons in the school of
American architecture. Then will our floral treasures be arranged into
harmonious gardens, which, environing tasteful homes, shall dimple all
the landscape. Then will our Allstons and our Greenoughs preside over
great academies, and be raised far above any need, except of giving
outward form to the beautiful ideas which animate them; and ornament
from the exhaustless stores of genius the marble halls where the people
meet to rejoice, or to mourn, or where dwell those wise and good whom
the people delight to honor. Then shall music answer to and exalt the
national spirit, and the poet's brows shall be graced with the civic as
well as the myrtle crown. Then shall we have an American mind, as well
as an American system, and, no longer under the sad necessity of
exchanging money for thoughts, traffic on perfectly equal terms with the
other hemisphere. Then--ah, not yet!--shall our literature make its own
laws, and give its own watchwords; till then we must learn and borrow
from that of nations who possess a higher degree of cultivation though a
much lower one of happiness.

The term Classical, used in its narrow sense, implies a servile
adherence to the Unities, but in its wide and best sense, it means such
a simplicity of plan, selection of actors and events, such judicious
limitations on time and range of subject, as may concentrate the
interest, perfect the illusion, and make the impression most distinct
and forcible. Although no advocates for the old French school, with its
slavish obedience to rule, which introduces follies greater than those
it would guard against, we lay the blame, not on their view of the
drama, but on the then bigoted nationality of the French mind, which
converted the Mussulman prophet into a De Retz, the Roman princess into
a French grisette, and infected the clear and buoyant atmosphere of
Greece with the vapors of the Seine. We speak of the old French Drama:
with the modern we do not profess to be acquainted, having met with
scarcely any specimens in our own bookstores or libraries; but if it
has been revolutionized with the rest of their literature, it is
probably as unlike as possible to the former models.

We shall speak of productions in the classical spirit first; because Mr.
Taylor is a disciple of the other school, though otherwise we should
have adopted a contrary course.

The most perfect specimens of this style with which we are acquainted
are the Filippo, the Saul, and the Myrrha of Alfieri; the Wallenstein of
Schiller; the Tasso and the Iphigenia of Goethe. England furnishes
nothing of the sort. She is thoroughly Shakspearian.

There is no higher pleasure than to see a genius of a wild, impassioned,
many-sided eagerness, restraining its exuberance by its sense of
fitness, taming its extravagance beneath the rule its taste approves,
exhibiting the soul within soul, and the force of the will over all that
we inherit. The _abandon_ of genius has its beauty--far more beautiful
its voluntary submission to wise law. A picture, a description, has
beauty, the beauty of life; these pictures, these descriptions, arranged
upon a plan, made subservient to a purpose, have a higher beauty--that
of the mind of man acting upon life. Art is nature, but nature
new-modelled, condensed, and harmonized. We are not merely like mirrors,
to reflect our own times to those more distant. The mind has a light of
its own, and by it illumines what it re-creates.

This is the ground of our preference for the classical school, and for
Alfieri beyond all pupils of that school. We hold that if a vagrant bud
of poesy here and there be blighted by conforming to its rules, our loss
is more than made up to us by our enjoyment of plan, of symmetry, of the
triumph of genius over multiplied obstacles.

It has been often said that the dramas of Alfieri contrast directly with
his character. This is, perhaps, not true; we do but see the depths of
that volcano which in early days boiled over so fiercely. The wild,
infatuated youth often becomes the stern, pitiless old man. Alfieri did
but bend his surplus strength upon literature, and became a despot to
his own haughty spirit, instead of domineering over those of others.

We have selected his three masterpieces, though he, to himself an
inexorable critic, has shown no indulgence to his own works, and the
least successful of those which remain to us, Maria Stuarda, is marked
by great excellence.

Filippo has been so ably depicted in a work now well known, "Carlyle's
Life of Schiller," that we need not dwell upon it. All the light of the
picture, the softer feelings of the hapless Carlos and Elizabeth, is so
cast, as to make more visible the awing darkness of the tyrant's
perverted mind, deadened to all virtue by a false religion, cold and
hopeless as the dungeons of his own Inquisition, and relentless as
death. Forced by the magic wand of genius into the stifling precincts of
this mind, horror-struck that we must sympathize with such a state as
possible to humanity, we rush from the contemplation of the picture, and
would gladly curtain it over in our hall of imagery forever. Yet
stigmatize not our poet as a dark master, courting the shade, and hating
the glad lights which love and hope cast upon human nature. The drama
has a holy meaning, a patriot moral, and we, above all, should reverence
him, the aristocrat by birth, by education, and by tastes, whose love of
liberty could lead him to such conclusions.

In "Saul," a bright rainbow rises, by the aid of the Sun of
Righteousness, above the commotion of the tempest. David, the faithful,
the hopeful, combining the æsthetic culture, the winged inspiration of
the poet with the noble pride of Israel's chosen warrior, contrasts
finely with the unfortunate Saul, his mind darkened and convulsed by
jealousy, vain regrets, and fear of the God he has forgotten how to
love. The other three actors shade in the picture without attracting our
attention from the two principal personages. The Hebrew spirit breathes
through the whole. The beauty of the lyric effusions is so generally
felt, that encomium is needless; we shall only observe that in them
Alfieri's style, usually so severe, becomes flexible, melodious, and
glowing; thus we may easily perceive what he might have done, had not
the simplicity of his genius disdained the foreign aid of ornament upon
its Doric proportions.

Myrrha is, however, the highest exertion of his genius. The remoteness
of time and manners, the subject, at once so hackneyed and so revolting,
these great obstacles he seizes with giant grasp, and moulds them to his
purpose. Our souls are shaken to the foundation; all every-day barriers
fall with the great convulsion of passion. We sorrow, we sicken, we die
with the miserable girl, so pure under her involuntary crime of feeling,
pursued by a malignant deity in her soul's most sacred recesses, torn
from all communion with humanity, and the virtue she was framed to
adore. The perfection of plan, the matchless skill with which every
circumstance is brought out! The agonizing rapidity with which her
misery "va camminando al fine"! No! never was higher tragic power
exhibited; never were love, terror, pity, fused into a more penetrating
draught! Myrrha is a favorite acting-play in Italy--a fact inconceivable
to an English or American mind; for (to say nothing of other objections)
we should think such excess of emotion unbearable. But in those meridian
climes they drink deep draughts of passion too frequently to taste them
as we do.

We pass to works of far inferior power, but of greater beauty. We have
selected Iphigenia and Tasso as the most finished results of their
author's mature views of art. On his plays in the Romantic style, we
shall touch in another place. If any one ask why we do not class Faust
with either, we reply, that is a work without a parallel; one of those
few originals which have their laws within themselves, and should always
be discussed singly.

The unity of plan in Iphigenia is perfect. There is one pervading idea.
The purity of Iphigenia's mind must be kept unsullied, that she may be a
fit intercessor to the gods in behalf of her polluted family. Goethe,
in his travels through Italy, saw a picture of a youthful Christian
saint--Agatha, we think; struck by the radiant purity of her expression,
he resolved his heathen priestess should not have one thought which
could revolt the saint of the true religion. This idea is wonderfully
preserved throughout a drama so classic in its coloring and manners. The
happiest development of character, an interest in the denouement which
is only so far tempered by our trust in the lovely heroine, as to permit
us to enjoy all the minuter beauties on our way, (this the breathless
interest of Alfieri's dramas hardly allows, on a fourth or fifth
reading,) exquisite descriptive touches, and expressions of sentiment,
unequalled softness and harmony of style, distinguish a drama not to be
surpassed in its own department. Torquato Tasso[17] is of inferior
general, but greater particular beauty. The two worldly, the two higher
characters, with that of Alphonso halting between, are shaded with equal
delicacy and distinctness. The inward-turning imagination of the
ill-fated bard, and the fantastic tricks it plays with life, are painted
as only a poet's soul of equal depth, of greater versatility, could have
painted them. In analysis of the passions, and eloquent descriptions of
their more hidden workings, some parts may vie with Rousseau; while
several effusions of feeling are worthy of Tasso's own lyre, with its
"breaking heartstring's tone." The conduct of the piece being in perfect
accordance with the plan, gives the satisfaction we have mentioned in
speaking of Raphael's Madonna.

Schiller's Wallenstein does not strictly belong to this class, yet we
are disposed to claim it as observing the unities of time and interest;
the latter especially is entire, notwithstanding the many actors and
side-scenes which are introduced. Numberless touches of nature arrest
our attention, bright lights are flashed across many characters, but our
interest, momently increasing, is for Wallenstein--for the perversion,
the danger, the ruin of that monarch soul, that falling son of the
morning. Even that we feel in Max, with his celestial bloom of heart, in
Thekla's sweet trustfulness, is subsidiary. This work, generally known
to the reader through Mr. Coleridge's translation, affords an imperfect
illustration of our meaning. Miss Baillie's plays on the passions hold a
middle place. Unity of purpose there is--no unity of plan or conduct.
Bold, fine outline--very bad coloring. Profound, beautifully-expressed
reflections on the passions--utter want of skill in showing them out; a
thorough feeling, indeed, of the elements of tragedy,--had but the
vitalizing energy been added. Her plays are failures; but since she has
given us nothing else, we cannot but rejoice in having these. 'Tis great
pity that the authoress of De Montfort and Basil should not have
attempted a narrative poem.

Coleridge and Byron are signal instances how peculiar is the kind of
talent required for the drama; one a philosopher, both men of great
genius and uncommon mastery over language, both conversant with each
side of human nature, both considering the drama in its true light as
one of the highest departments of literature, both utterly wanting in
simplicity, pathos, truth of passion and liveliness of action--in that
thrilling utterance of heart to heart, whose absence _here_, no other
excellence can atone for. Of Maturin and Knowles we do not speak,
because theirs, though very good acting plays, are not, like Mr.
Taylor's, written for the closet; of Milman, because not sufficiently
acquainted with his plays. We would here pay a tribute to our countryman
Hillhouse, whose Hadad, read at a very early age, we remember with much
delight. Probably our judgment now might be different; but a work which
could make so deep an impression on any age, must have genius. We are
sorry we have never since met it in any library or parlor, and are not
competent to speak of it more particularly.

It will be seen that Mr. Taylor has not attempted the sort of dramatic
poetry which we consider the highest, but has labored in that which the
great wizard of Avon adopted, because it lay nearest at hand to clothe
his spells withal, and consecrated it, with his world-embracing genius,
to the (in our judgment) no small detriment of his country's taste.
Having thus declared that we cannot grant him our very highest meed of
admiration, (though we will not say that he might not win it if he made
the essay,) we hasten to meet him on his own ground. "Dramatica Poesis
est veluti Historia spectabilis," is his motto, taken from Bacon, who
formed his taste on Shakspeare. We would here mention that Goethe's
earlier works, Goetz von Berlichingen and Egmont are of this
school--brilliant fragments of past days, ballads acted out, historical
scenes and personages clustered round a hero; and we have seen that his
ripened taste preferred the form of Iphigenia and Tasso.

We cannot too strongly express our approbation of the opinions
maintained in his short preface to this work. We rejoice to see a leader
coming forward who is likely to un-Hemansize and un-Cornwallize
literature. We too have been sick, we too have been intoxicated with
_words_ till we could hardly appreciate thoughts; perhaps our present
writing shows traces of this Lower-Empire taste; but we have sense
enough left to welcome the English Phocion, who would regenerate public
feeling. The candor and modest dignity with which these opinions are
offered charm us. The remarks upon Shelley, whom we have loved, and do
still love passing well, brought truth home to us in a definite shape.
With regard to the lowness of Lord Byron's standard of character, every
thing indeed has been said which could be but not as Mr. Taylor has
said it; and we opine that his refined and gentle remarks will find
their way to ears which have always been deaf to the harsh sarcasms
unseasoned by wit, which have been current on this topic.

Our author too, notwithstanding his modest caveat, has acted upon his
principles, and furnished a forcible illustration of their justice. For
dignity of sentiment, for simplicity of manner, for truth to life, never
infringing upon respect for the ideal, we look to such a critic, and we
are not disappointed.

The scene is laid in Ghent, in the fourteenth century. The Flemish
mobocracy are brought before us with a fidelity and animation surpassing
those displayed in Egmont. Their barbarism, and the dissimilar, but not
inferior barbarism of their would-be lords, the bold, bad men, the
shameless crime and brainless tumult of those days, live before us. Amid
these clashing elements moves Philip Van Artevelde, with the presence,
not of a god, but of a great man, too superior to be shaken, too wise to
be shocked by their rude jarrings. He becomes the leader of his people,
and despite pestilence, famine, and their own untutored passions, he
leads them on to victory and power.

In the second part we follow Van Artevelde from his zenith of glory to
his decline. The tarnishing influence of prosperity on his spirit, and
its clear radiance again in adversity, are managed as the noble and
well-defined conception of the character deserves.

The boy king and his courtly, intriguing counsellors are as happily
portrayed as Vauclaire and the fierce commonalty he ruled, or resisted
with rope or sword, as the case might demand.

The two loves of Van Artevelde are finely imagined, as types of the two
states of his character. Both are lovely; the one how elevated! the
other how pity-moving in her loveliness! On the interlude of Elena we
must be allowed to linger fondly, though the author's self condemn our

We are no longer partial to the machinery of portents and presentiments.
Wallenstein's were the last we liked, but Van Artevelde's make good
poetry, and have historical vouchers. They remind us of those of Fergus
Mac Ivor.

We shall extract a speech of Van Artevelde's, in which a leading idea of
the work is expressed.


    So! with the chivalry of Christendom
    I wage my war,--no nation for my friend,
    Yet in each nation having hosts of friends.
    The bondsmen of the world, that to their lords
    Are bound with chains of iron, unto me
    Are knit by their affections. Be it so.
    From kings and nobles will I seek no more
    Aid, friendship, or alliance. With the poor
    I make my treaty; and the heart of man
    Sets the broad seal of its allegiance there,
    And ratifies the compact. Vassals, serfs,
    Ye that are bent with unrequited toil,
    Ye that have whitened in the dungeon's darkness,
    Through years that know not change of night nor day,
    Tatterdemalions, lodgers in the hedge,
    Lean beggars with raw backs, and rumbling maws,
    Whose poverty was whipped for starving you,--
    I hail you my auxiliars and allies,
    The only potentates whose help I crave!
    Richard of England, thou hast slain Jack Straw,
    But thou hast left unquenched the vital spark
    That set Jack Straw on fire.   The spirit lives;
    And as when he of Canterbury fell,
    His seat was filled by some no better clerk,
    So shall John Ball, that slew him, be replaced.

Fain would we extract Van Artevelde's reply to the French envoy--the
oration of the dying Van den Bosch in the market-place of Ypres, the
last scene between the hero and the double-dyed dastard and traitor, Sir
Heurant of Heurlée, and many, many more, had we but space enough.

We have purposely avoided telling the story, as is usual in an article
of this kind, because we wish that every one should buy and read Van
Artevelde, instead of resting content with the canvas side of the

A few words more, and we shall conclude these, we fear, already too
prolonged remarks. We would compare Mr. Taylor with the most applauded
of living dramatists, the Italian Alessandro Manzoni.

To wide and accurate historical knowledge, to purity of taste, to the
greatest elevation of sentiment, Manzoni unites uncommon lyric power,
and a beautiful style in the most beautiful language of the modern
world. The conception of both his plays is striking, the detached
beauties of thought and imagery are many; but where are the life, the
glow, the exciting march of action, the thorough display of character
which charm us in Van Artevelde? We _live_ at Ghent and Senlis; we
_think_ of Italy. Van Artevelde dies,--and our hearts die with him. When
Elena says, "The body,--O!" we could echo that "long, funereal note,"
and weep as if the sun of heroic nobleness were quenched from our own
horizon. "Carmagnola, Adelchis die,"--we calmly shut the book, and think
how much we have enjoyed it. Manzoni can deeply feel goodness and
greatness, but he cannot localize them in the contours of life before
our eyes. His are capital sketches, poems of a deep meaning,--but this,
yes! this _is_ a drama.

We cannot conclude more fitly, nor inculcate a precept on the reader
more forcibly, than in Mr. Taylor's own words, with a slight alteration:
"To say that I admire him is to admit that I owe him much; for
admiration is never thrown away upon the mind of him who feels it,
except when it is misdirected or blindly indulged. There is perhaps
nothing which more enlarges or enriches the mind than the disposition to
lay it genially open to impressions of pleasure, from the exercise of
every species of talent; nothing by which it is more impoverished than
the habit of undue depreciation. What is puerile, pusillanimous, or
wicked, it can do us no good to admire; but let us admire all that can
be admired without debasing the dispositions or stultifying the


Slight as the intercourse held by the Voyager with the South Sea Islands
is, his narrative is always more prized by us than those of the
missionary and traders, who, though they have better opportunity for
full and candid observation, rarely use it so well, because their minds
are biased towards their special objects. It is deeply interesting to us
to know how much and how little God has accomplished for the various
nations of the larger portion of the earth, before they are brought into
contact with the civilization of Europe and the Christian religion. To
suppose it so little as most people do, is to impugn the justice of
Providence. We see not how any one can contentedly think that such vast
multitudes of living souls have been left for thousands of years without
manifold and great means of instruction and happiness. To appreciate
justly how much these have availed them, to know how far they are
competent to receive new benefits, is essential to the philanthropist as
a means of aiding them, no less than it is important to one philosopher
who wishes to see the universe as God made it, not as some men think he
OUGHT TO have made it.

The want of correct knowledge, and a fair appreciation of the
uncultivated man as he stands, is a cause why even the good and generous
fail to aid him, and contact with Europe has proved so generally more of
a curse than a blessing. It is easy enough to see why our red man, to
whom the white extends the Bible or crucifix with one hand, and the
rum-bottle with the other, should look upon Jesus as only one more
Manitou, and learn nothing from his precepts or the civilization
connected with them. The Hindoo, the South American Indian, who knew
their teachers first as powerful robbers, and found themselves called
upon to yield to violence not only their property, personal freedom, and
peace, but also the convictions and ideas that had been rooted and
growing in their race for ages, could not be otherwise than degraded and
stupefied by a change effected through such violence and convulsion. But
not only those who came with fire and sword, crying, "Believe or die;"
"Understand or we will scourge you;" "Understand _and_ we will only
plunder and tyrannize over you,"--not only these ignorant despots,
self-deceiving robbers, have failed to benefit the people they dared
esteem more savage than themselves, but the worthy and generous have
failed from want of patience and an expanded intelligence. Would you
speak to a man? first learn his language. Would you have the tree grow?
learn the nature of the soil and climate in which you plant it. Better
days are coming, we do hope, as to these matters--days in which the new
shall be harmonized with the old, rather than violently rent asunder
from it; when progress shall be accomplished by gentle evolution, as the
stem of the plant grows up, rather than by the blasting of rocks, and
blindness or death of the miners.

The knowledge which can lead to such results must be collected, as all
true knowledge is, from the love of it. In the healthy state of the
mind, the state of elastic youth, which would be perpetual in the mind
if it were nobly disciplined and animated by immortal hopes, it likes to
learn just how the facts are, seeking truth for its own sake, not
doubting that the design and cause will be made clear in time. A mind in
such a state will find many facts ready for its use in these volumes
relative to the South Sea Islanders, and other objects of interest.


Does any shame still haunt the age of bronze--a shame, the lingering
blush of an heroic age, at being caught in doing any thing merely for
amusement? Is there a public still extant which needs to excuse its
delinquencies by the story of a man who liked to lie on the sofa all day
and read novels, though he could, at time of need, write the gravest
didactics? Live they still, those reverend seigniors, the object of
secret smiles to our childish years, who were obliged to apologize for
midnight oil spent in conning story-books by the "historic bearing" of
the novel, or the "correct and admirable descriptions of certain
countries, with climate, scenery, and manners therein contained," wheat,
for which they, industrious students, were willing to winnow bushels of
frivolous love-adventures? We know not, but incline to think the world
is now given over to frivolity so far as to replace by the novel the
minstrel's ballad, the drama, and even those games of agility and
strength in which it once sought pastime. For, indeed, _mere_ pass-time
is sometimes needed; the nursery legend comprised a primitive truth of
the understanding and the wisdom of nations in the lines,--

    "All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy,
    But all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."

We have reversed the order of arrangement to suit our present purpose.
For we, O useful reader! being ourselves so far of the useful class as
to be always wanted somewhere, have also to fight a good fight for our
amusements, either with the foils of excuse, like the reverend seigniors
above mentioned, or with the sharp weapons of argument, or maintenance
of a view of our own without argument, which we take to be the sharpest
weapon of all.

Thus far do we defer to the claims of the human race, with its myriad of
useful errands to be done, that we read most of our novels in the long
sunny days, which call all beings to chirp and nestle, or fly abroad as
the birds do, and permit the very oxen to ruminate gently in the
just-mown fields.

On such days it was well, we think, to read "Sybil, or the Two Worlds."
We have always felt great interest in D'Israeli. He is one of the many
who share the difficulty of our era, which Carlyle says, quoting, we
believe, from his Master, consists in unlearning the false in order to
arrive at the true. We think these men, when they have once taken their
degree, can be of far greater use to their brethren than those who have
always kept their instincts unperverted.

In "Vivian Grey," the young D'Israeli, an educated Englishman, but with
the blood of sunnier climes glowing and careering in his veins, gave us
the very flower and essence of factitious life. That book sparkled and
frothed like champagne; like that, too, it produced no dull and imbecile
state by its intoxication, but one witty, genial, spiritual even. A
deep, soft melancholy thrilled through its gay mockeries; the eyes of
nature glimmered through the painted mask, and a nobler ambition was
felt beneath the follies of petty success and petty vengeance. Still,
the chief merit of the book, as a book, was the light and decided touch
with which its author took up the follies and poesies of the day, and
brought them all before us. The excellence of the foreign part, with its
popular superstitions, its deep passages in the glades of the summer
woods, and above all, the capital sketch of the prime minister with his
original whims and secret history of romantic sorrows, were beyond the
appreciation of most readers.

Since then, D'Israeli has never written any thing to be compared with
this first jet of the fountain of his mind in the sunlight of morning.
The "Young Duke" was full of brilliant sketches, and showed a soul
struggling, blinded by the gaudy mists of fashion, for realities. The
"Wondrous Tale of Alroy" showed great power of conception, though in
execution it is a failure. "Henrietta Temple" Mr. Willis, with his usual
justness of perception, has praised, as containing a collection of the
best love-letters ever written; and which show that excellence, signal
and singular among the literary tribe, of which D'Israeli never fails,
of daring to write a thing down exactly as it rises in his mind.

Now he has come to be a leader of Young England, and a rooted plant upon
her soil. If the performance of his prime do not entirely correspond
with the brilliant lights of its dawn, it is yet aspiring, and with a
large kernel of healthy nobleness in it. D'Israeli shows now not only
the heart, but the soul of a man. He cares for all men; he wishes to
care wisely for all.

"Coningsby" was full of talent, yet its chief interest lay in this
aspiration after reality, and the rich materials taken from contemporary
life. There is nothing in it good after the original manner of
D'Israeli, except the sketches of Eton, and above all, the noble
schoolboy's letter. The picture of the Jew, so elaborately limned, is
chiefly valuable as affording keys to so many interesting facts.

"Sybil" is an attempt to do justice to the claims of the laboring
classes, and investigate the duties of those in whose hands the money is
at present, towards the rest. It comes to no result: it only exhibits
some truths in a more striking light than heretofore. D'Israeli shows
the taint of old prejudice in the necessity he felt to marry the
daughter of the people to one _not_ of the people. Those worthy to be
distinguished must still have good blood, or rather old blood, for what
is called good needs now to be renovated from a homelier source. But his
leaders must have _old_ blood; the fresh ichor, the direct flow from
heaven, is not enough to animate their lives to the deeds now needed.

D'Israeli is another of those who give testimony in behalf of our
favorite idea that a leading feature of the new era will be in new and
higher developments of the feminine character. He looks at women as a
man does who is truly in love. He does not paint them well, that is, not
with profound fidelity to nature. But, ideally, he sees them well, for
they are to him the inspirers and representatives of what is holy,
tender, and simply great.

There are good sketches of the manufacturers at home, not the overseers,
but the real makers.

Sue is a congenial activity with D'Israeli, but with clearer notions of
what he wants. His "De Rohan" is a poor book, though it contains some
things excellent. But it is faulty,--even more so than is usual with
him, in heavy exaggerations, and is less redeemed by brilliant effects,
good schemes, and lively strains of feeling. The wish to unmask Louis
XIV. is defeated by the hatred with which the character inspired him,
the liberal of the nineteenth century. The Grand Monarque was really
brutally selfish and ignorant, as Sue represents him; but then there
_was_ a native greatness, which justified, in some degree, the illusion
he diffused, and which falsifies all Sue's representation. It is not by
an inventory of facts or traits that what is most vital in character,
and which makes its due impression on contemporaries, can be apprehended
or depicted. "De Rohan" is worth reading for particulars of an
interesting period, put together with accuracy and with a sense of
physiological effects, if not of the spiritual realities that they

"Self, by the Author of Cecil," is one of the worst of a paltry class of
novels--those which aim at representing the very dregs in a social life,
now at its lowest ebb. If it has produced a sensation, that only shows
the poverty of life among those who can be interested in it. I have
known more life lived in a day among factory girls, or in a village
school, than informs these volumes, with all their great pretension and
affected vivacity. It is not worth our while to read this class of
English novels; they are far worse than the French, morally as well as
mentally. This has no merits as to the development of character or
exposition of motives; it is a poor, external, lifeless thing.

"Dashes at Life," by N. P. Willis. The life of Mr. Willis is too
European for him to have a general or permanent fame in America. We need
a life of our own, and a literature of our own. Those writers who are
dearest to us, and really most interesting, are those who are at least
rooted to the soil. If they are not great enough to be the prophets of
the new era, they at least exhibit the features of their native clime,
and the complexion given by its native air. But Mr. Willis is a son of
Europe, and his writings can interest only the fashionable world of this
country, which, by imitating Europe, fails entirely of a genius, grace,
and invention of its own. Still, in their way, they are excellent. They
are most lively pictures, showing the fine natural organization of the
writer, on whom none, the slightest symptom of what he is looking for,
is thrown away; sparkling with bold, light wit, succinct, and colored
with glow, and for a full light. Some of them were new to us, and we
read them through, missing none of the words, and laughed with a full
heart, and without one grain of complaisance, which is much, very much,
to say in these days. We said these sketches would not have a permanent
fame, and yet we may be wrong. The new, full, original, radiant,
American life may receive them as an heirloom from this transition state
we are in now, and future generations may stare at the mongrel products
of Saratoga, and maidens still laugh till they cry at the "Letter of
Jane S. to her Spirit-Bridegroom."

All these story-books show, even to the languor of the hottest day, the
solemn signs of revolution. Life has become too factitious; it has no
longer a leg left to stand upon, and cannot be carried much farther in
this way. England--ah! who can resist visions of phalansteries in every
park, and the treasures of art turned into public galleries for the use
of the artificers who will no longer be unwashed, but raised and
educated by the refinements of sufficient leisure, and the instructions
of genius. England must glide, or totter, or fall into revolution; there
is not room for such selfish elves, and unique young dukes, in a country
so crowded with men, and with those who ought to be women, and are
turned into work-tools. There are very impressive hints on this last
topic in "Sybil, or the Two Worlds," (of the rich and poor.) God has
time to remember the design with which he made this world also.


We are very glad to see this handsome copy of Shelley ready for those
who have long been vainly inquiring at all the bookstores for such a

In Europe the fame of Shelley has risen superior to the clouds that
darkened its earlier days, hiding his true image from his fellow-men,
and from his own sad eyes oftentimes the common light of day. As a
thinker, men have learned to pardon what they consider errors in opinion
for the sake of singular nobleness, purity, and love in his main
tendency or spirit. As a poet, the many faults of his works having been
acknowledged, there are room and place to admire his far more numerous
and exquisite beauties.

The heart of the man, few, who have hearts of their own, refuse to
reverence, and many, even of devoutest Christians, would not refuse the
book which contains Queen Mab as a Christmas gift. For it has been
recognized that the founder of the Christian church would have suffered
one to come unto him, who was in faith and love so truly what he sought
in a disciple, without regard to the form his doctrine assumed.

The qualities of his poetry have often been analyzed, and the severer
critics, impatient of his exuberance, or unable to use their accustomed
spectacles in the golden mist that broods over all he has done, deny him
high honors; but the soul of aspiring youth, untrammelled by the canons
of taste, and untamed by scholarly discipline, swells into rapture at
his lyric sweetness, finds ambrosial refreshment from his plenteous
fancies, catches fire at his daring thought, and melts into boundless
weeping at his tender sadness--the sadness of a soul betrothed to an
ideal unattainable in this present sphere.

For ourselves, we dispute not with the _doctrinaires_ or the critics. We
cannot speak dispassionately of an influence that has been so dear to
us. Nearer than the nearest companions of life actual has Shelley been
to us. Many other great ones have shone upon us, and all who ever did so
shine are still resplendent in our firmament, for our mental life has
not been broken and contradictory, but thus far we "see what we
foresaw." But Shelley seemed to us an incarnation of what was sought in
the sympathies and desires of instinctive life, a light of dawn, and a
foreshowing of the weather of this day.

When still in childish years, the "Hymn to Intellectual Beauty" fell in
our way. In a green meadow, skirted by a rich wood, watered by a lovely
rivulet, made picturesque by a mill a little farther down, sat a party
of young persons gayer than, and almost as inventive, as those that told
the tales recorded by Boccaccio. They were passing a few days in a scene
of deep seclusion, there uncared for by tutor or duenna, and with no bar
of routine to check the pranks of their gay, childish fancies. Every day
they assumed parts which through the waking hours must be acted out. One
day it was the characters in one of Richardson's novels; and most
solemnly we "my deared" each other with richest brocade of affability,
and interchanged in long, stiff phrase our sentimental secrets and prim
opinions. But to-day we sought relief in personating birds or insects;
and now it was the Libellula who, tired of wild flitting and darting,
rested on the grassy bank and read aloud the "Hymn to Intellectual
Beauty," torn by chance from the leaf of a foreign magazine.

It was one of those chances which we ever remember as the interposition
of some good angel in our fate. Solemn tears marked the change of mood
in our little party and with the words

    "Have I not kept my vow?"

began a chain of thoughts whose golden links still bind the years

Two or three years passed. The frosty Christmas season came; the trees
cracked with their splendid burden of ice, the old wooden country house
was banked up with high drifts of the beautiful snow, and the Libellula
became the owner of Shelley's Poems. It was her Christmas gift, and for
three days and three nights she ceased not to extract its sweets; and
how familiar still in memory every object seen from the chair in which
she sat enchanted during those three days, memorable to her as those of
July to the French nation! The fire, the position of the lamp, the
variegated shadows of that alcoved room, the bright stars up to which
she looked with such a feeling of congeniality from the contemplation of
this starry soul,--O, could but a De Quincey describe those days in
which the bridge between the real and ideal rose unbroken! He would not
do it, though, as _Suspiria de Profundis_, but as sighs of joy upon the
mountain height.

The poems we read then are what every one still reads, the "Julian and
Maddalo," with its profound revelations of the inward life; "Alastor,"
the soul sweeping like a breeze through nature; and some of the minor
poems. "Queen Mab," the "Prometheus," and other more formal works we
have not been able to read much. It was not when he tried to express
opinions which the wrongs of the world had put into his head, but when
he abandoned himself to the feelings which nature had implanted in his
own breast, that Shelley seemed to us so full of inspiration, and it is
so still.

In reply to all that can be urged against him by people of whom we do
not wish to speak ill,--for surely "they know not what they do,"--we are
wont simply to refer to the fact that he was the only man who redeemed
the human race from suspicion to the embittered soul of Byron. "Why,"
said Byron, "he is a man who would willingly die for others. _I am sure
of it._"

Yes! balance that against all the ill you can think of him that he was
a man able to live wretched for the sake of speaking sincerely what he
supposed to be truth, willing to die for the good of his fellows!

Mr. Foster has spoken well of him as a man: "Of Shelley's personal
character it is enough to say that it was wholly pervaded by the same
unbounded and unquestioning love for his fellow-men--the same holy and
fervid hope in their ultimate virtue and happiness--the same scorn of
baseness and hatred of oppression--which beam forth in all his writings
with a pure and constant light. The theory which he wrote was the
practice which his whole life exemplified. Noble, kind, generous,
passionate, tender, with a courage greater than the courage of the chief
of warriors, for it could _endure_--these were the qualities in which
his life was embalmed."


We are right glad to see this beloved stranger domesticated among us.
Yet there are queer little circumstances that herald the introduction.
The poet is a barrister at law!--well! it is always worthy of note when
a man is not hindered by study of human law from knowledge of divine;
which last is all that concerns the poet. Then the preface to the
American edition closes with this discreet remark: "It is perfectly SAFE
to pronounce it (the poem) one of the most powerful and splendid
productions of the age." Dear New England! how purely that was worthy
thee, region where the tyranny of public opinion is carried to a
perfection of minute scrutiny beyond what it ever was before in any age
or place, though the ostracism be administered with the mildness and
refinement fit for this age. Dear New England! yes! it is _safe_ to say
that the poem is good; whatever Mrs. Grundy may think, she will not have
it burned by the hangman if it is not. But it may not be _discreet_,
because she can, if she sees fit, exile its presence from bookstores,
libraries, centre tables, and all mention of its existence from lips
polite, and of thine also, who hast dared to praise it, on peril of
turning all surrounding eyes to lead by its utterance. This kind of
gentle excommunication thou mayst not be prepared to endure, O
preface-writer! And we should greatly fear that thou wert deceived in
thy fond security, for "Festus" is a bold book--in respect of freedom of
words, a boldest book--also it reveals the solitudes of hearts with
unexampled sincerity, and remorselessly lays bare human nature in its
naked truth--but for the theology of the book. That may save it, and
none the less for all it shows of the depravity of human nature. It is
through many pages and leaves what is technically praised as "a serious
book." A friend went into a bookstore to select presents for persons
with whom she was about to part, and among other things requested the
shopman to "show her some serious books in handsome binding." He looked
into several, and then, struck by passages here and there, offered her
the "Letters of Lady M. W. Montague." She assuring him that it would not
be safe to make use of this work, he offered her a miniature edition of
Shakspeare, as "a book containing many excellent things, though you had
to wade through a great deal of rubbish to get at them."

We fear the reader will have to wade through a great deal of "rubbish"
in "Festus" before he gets at the theology. However, there it is, in
sufficient quantities to give dignity to any book. In seriousness, it
may compete with Pollok's "Course of Time." In "splendor and power," we
feel ourselves safe in saying that, as sure as the sun shines, it cannot
be outdone in the English tongue, thus far, short of Milton. So there is
something for all classes of readers, and we hope it will get to their
eyes, albeit Boston books are not likely to be detected by all eyes to
which they belong.

To ourselves the theology of this writer, and the conscious design of
the poem, have little interest. They seem to us, like the color of his
skin and hair, the result of the circumstances under which he was born.
Certain opinions came in his way early, and became part of the body of
his thought. But what interests us is not these, but what is deepest,
universal--the soul of that body. To us the poem is

    "... full of great dark meanings like the sea:"

and it is these, the deep experiences and inspirations of the immortal
man, that engage us.

Even the poem shows how large is his nature--its most careless utterance
full of grandeur, its tamest of bold nobleness. This, that truly engages
us, he spoke of more forcibly when the book first went forth to the

    "Read this, world. He who writes is dead to thee,
    But still lives in these leaves. He spake inspired;
    Night and day, thought came unhelped, undesired,
    Like blood to his heart. The course of study he
    Went through was of the soul-rack. The degree
    He took was high; it was wise wretchedness.
    He suffered perfectly, and gained no less
    A prize than, in his own torn heart, to see
    A few bright seeds; he sowed them, hoped them truth.
    The autumn of that seed is in these pages."

Such is, in our belief, the true theologian, the learner of God, who
does not presumptuously expect at this period of growth to bind down all
that is to be known of divine things in a system, a set of words, but
considers that he is only spelling the first lines of a work, whose
perusal shall last him through eternity. Such a one is not in a hurry to
declare that the riddles of Fate and of Time are solved, for he knows it
is not calling them so that will make them so. His soul does not decline
the great and persevering labors that are to develop its energies. He
has faith to study day by day. Such is the practice of the author of
Festus, whenever he is truly great. When he shows to us the end and plan
of all things, we feel that he only hides them from us. He speaks only
his wishes. But when he tells us of what he does really know, the moods
and aspirations of fiery youth to which all things are made present in
foresight and foretaste,--when he shows us the temptations of the lonely
soul pining for knowledge, but unable to feel the love that alone can
bestow it,--then he is truly great, and the strings of life thrill
oftentimes to their sublimest, sweetest music.

We admire in this author the unsurpassed force and distinctness with
which he casts out single thoughts and images. Each is thrown before us
fresh, deep in its impress as if just snatched from the forge. We admire
not less his vast flow, his sustained flight. His is a rich and spacious
genius; it gives us room; it is a palace home; we need not economize our
joys; blessed be the royalty that welcomes us so freely.

In simple transposition of the thought from the mind to the paper, that
wonder, even rarer than perfect,--that is, simple expression, through
the motions of the body, of the motions of the soul,--we dare to say
_no_ writer excels him. Words are no veil between us and him, but a
luminous cloud that upbears us both together.

So in touches of nature, in the tones of passion; he is absolute. There
is nothing better, where it is good; we have the very thing itself.

We are told by the critics that he has no ear, and, indeed, when we
listen for such, we perceive blemishes enough in the movement of his
line. But we did not perceive it before, more than, when the Æolian was
telling the secrets of that most spirit-like minister of Nature that
bloweth where it listeth, and no man can trace it, we should attempt to
divide the tones and pauses into regular bars, and be disturbed when we
could not make a tune.

England has only two poets now that can be named near him: these two are
Tennyson and the author of "Philip Van Artevelde." Tennyson is all that
Bailey is not in melody and voluntary finish, having no less than a
Greek moderation in declining all undertakings he is not sure of
completing. Taylor, noble, an earnest seer, a faithful narrator of what
he sees, firm and sure, sometimes deep and exquisite, but in energy and
grandeur no more than Tennyson to be named beside the author of Festus.
In inspiration, in prophecy, in those flashes of the sacred fire which
reveal the secret places where Time is elaborating the marvels of
Nature, he stands alone. It is just true what Ebenezer Elliott says,
that "Festus contains poetry enough to set up fifty poets,"--ay! even
such poets, so far as richness of thought and imagery are concerned, as
the two noble bards we have named.

But we need call none less to make him greater, whose liberal soul is
alive to every shade of beauty, every token of greatness, and whose main
stress is to seek a soul of goodness in things evil. The book is a
precious, even a sacred book, and we could say more of it, had we not
years ago vented our enthusiasm when it was in first full flow.


WE hear much lamentation among good people at the introduction of so
many French novels among us, corrupting, they say, our youth by pictures
of decrepit vice and prurient crime, such as would never, otherwise, be
dreamed of here, and corrupting it the more that such knowledge is so
precocious--for the same reason that a boy may be more deeply injured by
initiation into wickedness than a man, for he is not only robbed of his
virtue, but prevented from developing the strength that might restore
it. But it is useless to bewail what is the inevitable result of the
movement of our time. Europe must pour her corruptions, no less than her
riches, on our shores, both in the form of books and of living men. She
cannot, if she would, check the tide which bears them hitherward; no
defences are possible, on our vast extent of shore, that can preclude
their ingress. We have exulted in premature and hasty growth; we must
brace ourselves to bear the evils that ensue. Our only hope lies in
rousing, in our own community, a soul of goodness, a wise aspiration,
that shall give us strength to assimilate this unwholesome food to
better substance, or cast off its contaminations. A mighty sea of life
swells within our nation, and, if there be salt enough, foreign bodies
shall not have power to breed infection there.

We have had some opportunity to observe that the worst works offered are
rejected. On the steamboats we have seen translations of vile books,
bought by those who did not know from the names of their authors what
to expect, torn, after a cursory glance at their contents, and scattered
to the winds. Not even the all but all-powerful desire to get one's
money's worth, since it had once been paid, could contend against the
blush of shame that rose on the cheek of the reader.

It would be desirable for our people to know something of these writers,
and of the position they occupy abroad; for the nature of their
circulation, rather than its extent, might be the guide both to
translator and buyer. The object of the first is generally money; of the
last, amusement. But the merest mercenary might prefer to pass his time
in translating a good book, and our imitation of Europe does not yet go
so far that the American milliner can be depended on to copy any thing
from the Parisian grisette, except her cap.

We have just been reading "Le Père Goriot," Balzac's most celebrated
work; a remarkable production, to which Paris alone, at the present day,
could have given birth.

In other of his works, I have admired his skill in giving the minute
traits of passion, and his intrepidity, not inferior to that of Le Sage
and Cervantes, in facing the dark side of human nature. He reminds one
of the Spanish romancers in the fearlessness with which he takes mud
into his hands, and dips his foot in slime. We cannot endure this when
done, as by most Frenchmen, with an air of recklessness and gayety; but
Balzac does it with the stern manliness of a Spaniard.

But the conception of this work is so sublime, that, though the details
are even more revolting than in his others, you can bear it, and would
not have missed your walk through the Catacombs, though the light of day
seems stained afterwards with the mould of horror and dismay.

Balzac, we understand, is one of that wretched class of writers who live
by the pen. In Paris they count now by thousands, and their leaves fall
from the press thick-rustling like the November forest. I had heard of
this class not without envy, for I had been told pretty tales of the gay
poverty of the Frenchman--how he will live in garrets, on dry bread,
salad, and some wine, and spend all his money on a single good suit of
clothes, in which, when the daily labor of copying music, correcting the
press, or writing poems or novels, is over, he sallies forth to enjoy
the theatre, the social soirée, or the humors of the streets and cafés,
as gay, as keenly alive to observation and enjoyment, as if he were to
return to a well-stocked table and a cheerful hearth, encompassed by
happy faces.

I thought the intellectual Frenchman, in the extreme of want, never sunk
into the inert reverie of the lazzaroni, nor hid the vulture of famine
beneath the mantle of pride with the bitter mood of a Spaniard. But
Balzac evidently is familiar with that which makes the agony of
poverty--its vulgarity.

Dirt, confusion, shabby expedients, living to live,--these are what make
poverty terrible and odious, and in these Balzac would seem to have been
steeped to the very lips.

These French writers possess the art of plunging at once _in medias
res_, and Balzac places you, in the twinkling of an eye, in one of the
lowest boarding-houses of Paris. At first all is dirt, hubbub, and
unsavory odors; but from the vapors of the caldron evolves a web of
many-colored life, of terrible pathos, and original humor, not
unenlivened by pale golden threads of beauty, which had better never

All the characters are excellently drawn: the harpy mistress of the
house; Mlle. Michonnet the spy, and her imbecile lover; Mme. Coutuner,
with her purblind strivings after virtue, and her real, though meagre
respectability; Vautrim, the disguised galley-slave, with his cynical
philosophy and Bonaparte character; and the young students of medicine,
cheering the dense fog with the scintillations of their wit, and the
joyousness and petulance with which their age meets the most adverse
circumstances, at least in France!

The connection between this abject poverty and the highest luxury of
Parisian life is made naturally by Eugene, connected to his misfortune
with a noble family, of which his own is a poor and young branch,
studying a profession and sighing to live like a duke, and _Le Père
Goriot_, who has stripped himself of all his wealth for his daughters,
who are more naturally unnatural than those of Lear. The transitions are
made with as much swiftness as a curtain is drawn upon the stage, yet
with no feeling of abruptness, so skilfully are the incidents woven into
one another.

And be it recorded to the credit of Balzac, that, much as he appears to
have suffered from the want of wealth, the vices which pollute it are
represented with as terrible force as those of poverty.

The book affords play for similar powers, and brings a similar range of
motives into action with Scott's "Fortunes of Nigel." If less rich than
that work, it is more original, and has a force of pencil all its own.

Insight and a master's hand are admirable throughout; but the product of
genius is _Le Père Goriot_. And, wonderful to relate, this character is
as much ennobled, made as poetical by abandonment to a single instinct,
as others by the force of will. Prometheus, chained on his rock, and
giving his heart to the birds of prey for aims so majestic, is scarcely
a more affecting, a more reverent object, than the rich confectioner
whose intellect has never been awakened at all, except in the way of
buying and selling, and who gives up his acuteness even there, and
commits such unspeakable follies through paternal love; a _blind_ love
too, nowise superior to that of the pelican!

Analyze it as you will, see the difference between this and the instinct
of the artist or the philanthropist, and it produces on your mind the
same impression of a present divinity. And scarce any tears could be
more sacred than those which choke the breath at the death-bed of this
man, who forgot that he was a man, to be wholly a father, this poor,
mad, stupid, father Goriot. I know nothing in fiction to surpass the
terrible, unpretending pathos of this scene, nor the power with which
the mistaken benediction given to the two medical students whom he takes
for his daughters, is redeemed from burlesque.

The scepticism as to _virtue_ in this book is fearful, but the love for
innocence and beautiful instincts casts a softening tint over the gloom.
We never saw any thing sweeter or more natural than the letters of the
mother and sisters of Eugene, when they so delightfully sent him the
money of which he had been wicked enough to plunder them. These traits
of domestic life are given with much grace and delicacy of sentiment.

How few writers can paint _abandon_, without running into exaggeration!
and here the task was one of peculiar difficulty. It seemed as if the
writer were conscious enough of his power to propose to himself the most
difficult task he could undertake.

A respectable reviewer in "Les Deux Mondes" would wish us to think that
there is no life in Paris like what Balzac paints; but we can never
believe that: evidently it is "too true," though we doubt not there is
more redemption than he sees.

But this book was too much for our nerves, and would be, probably, for
those of most people accustomed to breathe a healthier atmosphere.

Balzac has been a very fruitful writer, and, as he is fond of jugglers'
tricks of every description, and holds nothing earnest or sacred, he is
vain of the wonderful celerity with which some of his works, and those
quite as good as any, have been written. They seem to have been
conceived, composed, and written down with that degree of speed with
which it is possible to lay pen to paper. Indeed, we think he cannot be
surpassed in the ready and sustained command of his resources. His
almost unequalled quickness and fidelity of eye, both as to the
disposition of external objects, and the symptoms of human passion,
combined with a strong memory, have filled his mind with materials, and
we doubt not that if his thoughts could be put into writing with the
swiftness of thought, he would give us one of his novels every week in
the year.

Here end our praises of Balzac; what he is, as a man, in daily life, we
know not. He must originally have had a heart, or he could not read so
well the hearts of others; perhaps there are still private ties that
touch him. But as a writer, never was the modern Mephistopheles, "the
spirit that denieth," more worthily represented than by Balzac.

He combines the spirit of the man of science with that of the amateur
collector. He delights to analyze, to classify; there is no anomaly too
monstrous, no specimen too revolting, to insure his ardent but
passionless scrutiny. But then he has taste and judgment to know what is
fair, rare, and exquisite. He takes up such an object carefully, and
puts it in a good light. But he has no hatred for what is loathsome, no
contempt for what is base, no love for what is lovely, no faith in what
is noble. To him there is no virtue and no vice; men and women are more
or less finely organized; noble and tender conduct is more agreeable
than the reverse, because it argues better health; that is all.

Nor is this from an intellectual calmness, nor from an unusual power of
analyzing motives, and penetrating delusions merely; neither is it mere
indifference. There is a touch of the demon, also, in Balzac, the cold
but gayly familiar demon; and the smile of the amateur yields easily to
a sneer, as he delights to show you on what foul juices the fair flower
was fed. He is a thorough and willing materialist. The trance of
religion is congestion of the brain; the joy of the poet the thrilling
of the blood in the rapture of sense; and every good not only rises
from, but hastens back into, the jaws of death and nothingness; a
rainbow arch above a pestilential chaos!

Thus Balzac, with all his force and fulness of talent, never rises one
moment into the region of genius. For genius is, in its nature, positive
and creative, and cannot exist where there is no heart to believe in
realities. Neither can he have a permanent influence on a nature which
is not thoroughly corrupt. He might for a while stagger an ingenuous
mind which had not yet thought for itself. But this could not last. His
unbelief makes his thought too shallow. He has not that power which a
mind, only in part sophisticated, may retain, where the heart still
beats warmly, though it sometimes beats amiss. Write, paint, argue, as
you will, where there is a sound spot in any human being, he cannot be
made to believe that this present bodily frame is more than a temporary
condition of his being, though one to which he may have become
shamefully enslaved by fault of inheritance, education, or his own

Taken in his own way, we know no modern tragedies more powerful than
Balzac's "Eugenie Grandet," "Sweet Pea," "Search after the Absolute,"
"Father Goriot." See there goodness, aspiration, the loveliest
instincts, stifled, strangled by fate, in the form of our own brute
nature. The fate of the ancient Prometheus was happiness to that of
these, who must pay, for ever having believed there was divine fire in
heaven, by agonies of despair, and conscious degradation, unknown to
those who began by believing man to be the most richly endowed of
brutes--no more!

Balzac is admirable in his description of look, tone, gesture. He has a
keen sense of whatever is peculiar to the individual. Nothing in modern
romance surpasses the death-scene of Father Goriot, the Parisian Lear,
in the almost immortal life with which the parental instincts are
displayed. And with equal precision and delicacy of shading he will
paint the slightest by-play in the manners of some young girl.

"Seraphitus" is merely a specimen of his great powers of intellectual
transposition. Amid his delight at the botanical riches of the new and
elevated region in which he is travelling, we catch, if only by echo,
the hem and chuckle of the French materialist.

No more of him!--We leave him to his suicidal work.

It is cheering to know how great is the influence such a writer as Sue
exerts, from his energy of feeling on some subjects of moral interest.
It is true that he has also much talent and a various experience of
life; but writers who far surpass him here, as we think Balzac does,
wanting this heart of faith, have no influence, except merely on the
tastes of their readers.

We observe, in a late notice of Sue, that he began to write at quite
mature age, at the suggestion of a friend. We should think it was so;
that he was by nature intended for a practical man, rather than a
writer. He paints all his characters from the practical point of view.

As an observer, when free from exaggeration, he has as good an eye as
Balzac, but he is far more rarely thus free, for, in temperament, he is
unequal and sometimes muddy. But then he has the heart and faith that
Balzac wants, yet is less enslaved by emotion than Sand; therefore he
has made more impression on his time and place than either. We refer now
to his later works; though his earlier show much talent, yet his
progress, both as a writer and thinker, has been so considerable that
those of the last few years entirely eclipse his earlier essays.

These latter works are the "Mysteries of Paris," "Matilda," and the
"Wandering Jew," which is now in course of publication. In these, he has
begun, and is continuing, a crusade against the evils of a corrupt
civilization which are inflicting such woes and wrongs upon his

Sue, however, does not merely assail, but would build up. His anatomy is
not intended to injure the corpse, or, like that of Balzac, to
entertain the intellectual merely. Earnestly he hopes to learn from it
the remedies for disease and the conditions of health. Sue is a
Socialist. He believes he sees the means by which the heart of mankind
may be made to beat with one great hope, one love; and instinct with
this thought, his tales of horror are not tragedies.

This is the secret of the deep interest he has awakened in this country,
that he shares a hope which is, half unconsciously to herself, stirring
all her veins. It is not so warmly outspoken as in other lands, both
because no such pervasive ills as yet call loudly for redress, and
because private conservatism is here great, in proportion to the absence
of authorized despotism. We are not disposed to quarrel with this; it is
well for the value of new thoughts to be tested by a good deal of
resistance. Opposition, if it does not preclude free discussion, is of
use in educating men to know what they want. Only by intelligent men,
exercised by thought and tried in virtue, can such measures as Sue
proposes be carried out; and when such associates present themselves in
sufficient numbers, we have no fear but the cause of association, in its
grander forms, will have fair play in America.

As a writer, Sue shows his want of a high kind of imagination by his
unshrinking portraiture of physical horrors. We do not believe any man
could look upon some things he describes and live. He is very powerful
in his description of the workings of animal nature; especially when he
speaks of them in animals merely, they have the simplicity of the lower
kind with the more full expression of human nature. His pictures of
women are of rare excellence, and it is observable that the more simple
and pure the character is, the more justice he does to it. This shows
that, whatever his career may have been, his heart is uncontaminated.
Men he does not describe so well, and fails entirely when he aims at one
grand and simple enough for a great moral agent. His conceptions are
strong, but in execution he is too melodramatic. Just compare _his_
"Wandering Jew" with that of Beranger. The latter is as diamond compared
with charcoal. Then, like all those writers who write in numbers that
come out weekly or monthly, he abuses himself and his subject; he often
_must_; the arrangement is false and mechanical.

The attitude of Sue is at this moment imposing, as he stands, pen in
hand,--this his only weapon against an innumerable host of foes,--the
champion of poverty, innocence, and humanity, against superstition,
selfishness, and prejudice. When his works are forgotten,--and for all
their strong points and brilliant decorations, they may ere long be
forgotten,--still the writer's name shall be held in imperishable honor
as the teacher of the ignorant, the guardian of the weak, a true tribune
for the people of his own time.

One of the most unexceptionable and attractive writers of modern France
is De Vigny. His life has been passed in the army; but many years of
peace have given him time for literary culture, while his acquaintance
with the traditions of the army, from the days of its dramatic
achievements under Bonaparte, supply the finest materials both for
narrative and reflection. His tales are written with infinite grace,
refined sensibility, and a dignified view. His treatment of a subject
shows that closeness of grasp and clearness of sight which are rarely
attained by one who is not at home in active as well as thoughtful life.
He has much penetration, too, and has touched some of the most delicate
springs of human action. His works have been written in hours of
leisure; this has diminished their number, but given him many advantages
over the thousands of professional writers that fill the coffee-houses
of Paris by day, and its garrets by night. We wish he were more read
here in the original; with him would be found good French, and the
manners, thoughts, and feelings of a cosmopolitan gentleman.

To sum up this imperfect account of the merits of these Novelists: I see
De Vigny, a retiring figure, the gentleman, the solitary thinker, but,
in his way, the efficient foe of false honor and superstitious
prejudice; Balzac is the heartless surgeon, probing the wounds and
describing the delirium of suffering men for the amusement of his
students; Sue, a bold and glittering crusader, with endless ballads
jingling in the silence of the night before the battle. They are all
much right and a good deal wrong; for instance, all who would lay down
their lives for the sake of truth, yet let their virtuous characters
practise stratagems, falsehood, and violence; in fact, do evil for the
sake of good. They still show this taint of the old régime, and no
wonder! La belle France has worn rouge so long that the purest mountain
air will not, at once, or soon, restore the natural hues to her
complexion. But they are fine figures, and all ruled by the onward
spirit of the time. Led by that spirit, I see them moving on the
troubled waters; they do not sink, and I trust they will find their way
to the coasts where the new era will introduce new methods, in a spirit
of nobler activity, wiser patience, and holier faith, than the world has
yet seen.

Will Balzac also see that shore, or has he only broken away the bars
that hindered others from setting sail? We do not know. When we read an
expression of such lovely innocence as the letter of the little country
maidens to their Parisian brother, (in Father Goriot,) we hope; but
presently we see him sneering behind the mask, and we fear. Let
Frenchmen speak to this question. They know best what disadvantages a
Frenchman suffers under, and whether it is possible Balzac be still
alive, except in his eyes. Those, we know, are quite alive.

To read these, or any foreign works fairly, the reader must understand
the national circumstances under which they were written. To use them
worthily, he must know how to interpret them for the use of the


Man is always trying to get charts and directions for the super-sensual
element in which he finds himself involuntarily moving. Sometimes,
indeed, for long periods, a life of continual activity in supplying
bodily wants or warding off bodily dangers will make him inattentive to
the circumstances of this other life. Then, in an interval of leisure,
he will start to find himself pervaded by the power of this more subtle
and searching energy, and will turn his thoughts, with new force, to
scrutinize its nature and its promises.

At such times a corps is formed of workmen, furnished with various
implements for the work. Some collect facts from which they hope to
build up a theory; others propose theories by whose light they hope to
detect valuable facts; a large number are engaged in circulating reports
of these labors; a larger in attempting to prove them invalid and
absurd. These last are of some use by shaking the canker-worms from the
trees; all are of use in elucidating truth.

Such a course of study has the civilized world been engaged in for some
years back with regard to what is called Animal Magnetism. We say the
civilized world, because, though a large portion of the learned and
intellectual, to say nothing of the thoughtless and the prejudiced, view
such researches as folly, yet we believe that those prescient souls,
those minds more deeply alive, which are the life of this and the
parents of the next era, all, more or less, consciously or
unconsciously, share the belief in such an agent as is understood by the
largest definition of animal magnetism; that is, a means by which
influence and thought may be communicated from one being to another,
independent of the usual organs, and with a completeness and precision
rarely attained through these.

For ourselves, since we became conscious at all of our connection with
the two forms of being called the spiritual and material, we have
perceived the existence of such an agent, and should have no doubts on
the subject, if we had never heard one human voice in correspondent
testimony with our perceptions. The reality of this agent we know, have
tested some of its phenomena, but of its law and its analysis find
ourselves nearly as ignorant as in earliest childhood. And we must
confess that the best writers we have read seem to us about equally
ignorant. We derive pleasure and profit in very unequal degrees from
their statements, in proportion to their candor, clearness of
perception, severity of judgment, and largeness of view. If they possess
these elements of wisdom, their statements are valuable as affording
materials for the true theory; but theories proposed by them affect us,
as yet, only as partially sustained hypotheses. Too many among them are
stained by faults which must prevent their coming to any valuable
results, sanguine haste, jealous vanity, a lack of that profound
devotion which alone can win Truth from her cold well, careless
classification, abrupt generalizations. We see, as yet, no writer great
enough for the patient investigation, in a spirit liberal yet severely
true, which the subject demands. We see no man of Shakspearian,
Newtonian incapability of deceiving himself or others.

However, no such man is needed, and we believe that it is pure democracy
to rejoice that, in this department as in others, it is no longer some
one great genius that concentrates within himself the vital energy of
his time. It is many working together who do the work. The waters
spring up in every direction, as little rills, each of which performs
its part. We see a movement corresponding with this in the region of
exact science, and we have no doubt that in the course of fifty years a
new spiritual circulation will be comprehended as clearly as the
circulation of the blood is now.

In metaphysics, in phrenology, in animal magnetism, in electricity, in
chemistry, the tendency is the same, even when conclusions seem most
dissonant. The mind presses nearer home to the seat of consciousness the
more intimate law and rule of life, and old limits, become fluid beneath
the fire of thought. We are learning much, and it will be a grand music,
that shall be played on this organ of many pipes.

With regard to Mr. Grimes's book, in the first place, we do not possess
sufficient knowledge of the subject to criticise it thoroughly; and
secondly, if we did, it could not be done in narrow limits. To us his
classification is unsatisfactory, his theory inadequate, his point of
view uncongenial. We disapprove of the spirit in which he criticises
other disciples in this science, who have, we believe, made some good
observations, with many failures, though, like himself, they do not hold
themselves sufficiently lowly as disciples. For we do not believe there
is any man, _yet_, who is entitled to give himself the air of having
taken a degree on this subject. We do not want the tone of qualification
or mincing apology. We want no mock modesty, but its reality, which is
the almost sure attendant on greatness. What a lesson it would be for
this country if a body of men could be at work together in that harmony
which would not fail to ensue on a _disinterested_ love of discovering
truth, and with that patience and exactness in experiment without which
no machine was ever invented worthy a patent! The most superficial,
go-ahead, hit-or-miss American knows that no machine was ever perfected
without this patience and exactness; and let no one hope to achieve
victories in the realm of mind at a cheaper rate than in that of

In speaking thus of Mr. Grimes's book, we can still cordially recommend
it to the perusal of our readers. Its statements are full and sincere.
The writer has abilities which only need to be used with more
thoroughness and a higher aim to guide him to valuable attainments.

In this connection we will relate a passage from personal experience, to
us powerfully expressive of the nature of this higher agent in the
intercourse of minds.

Some years ago I went, unexpectedly, into a house where a blind girl,
thought at that time to have attained an extraordinary degree of
clairvoyance, lay in a trance of somnambulism. I was not invited there,
nor known to the party, but accompanied a gentleman who was.

The somnambulist was in a very happy state. On her lips was the
satisfied smile, and her features expressed the gentle elevation
incident to the state. At that time I had never seen any one in it, and
had formed no image or opinion on the subject. I was agreeably impressed
by the somnambulist, but on listening to the details of her observations
on a distant place, I thought she had really no vision, but was merely
led or impressed by the mind of the person who held her hand.

After a while I was beckoned forward, and my hand given to the blind
girl. The latter instantly dropped it with an expression of pain, and
complained that she should have been brought in contact with a person so
sick, and suffering at that moment under violent nervous headache. This
really was the case, but no one present could have been aware of it.

After a while the somnambulist seemed penitent and troubled. She asked
again for my hand which she had rejected, and, while holding it,
attempted to magnetize the sufferer. She seemed touched by profound
pity, spoke most intelligently of the disorder of health and its causes,
and gave advice, which, if followed at that time, I have every reason to
believe would have remedied the ill.

Not only the persons present, but the person advised also, had no
adequate idea then of the extent to which health was affected, nor saw
fully, till some time after, the justice of what was said by the
somnambulist. There is every reason to believe that neither she, nor the
persons who had the care of her, knew even the name of the person whom
she so affectionately wished to help.

Several years after, in visiting an asylum for the blind, I saw this
same girl seated there. She was no longer a somnambulist, though, from a
nervous disease, very susceptible to magnetic influences. I went to her
among a crowd of strangers, and shook hands with her as several others
had done. I then asked, "Do you not not know me?" She answered, "No."
"Do you not remember ever to have met me?" She tried to recollect, but
still said, "No." I then addressed a few remarks to her about her
situation there, but she seemed preoccupied, and, while I turned to
speak with some one else, wrote with a pencil these words, which she
gave me at parting:--

    "The ills that Heaven decrees
    The brave with courage bear."

Others may explain this as they will; to me it was a token that the same
affinity that had acted before, gave the same knowledge; for the writer
was at the time ill in the same way as before. It also seemed to
indicate that the somnambulic trance was only a form of the higher
development, the sensibility to more subtle influences--in the terms of
Mr. Grimes, a susceptibility to etherium. The blind girl perhaps never
knew who I was, but saw my true state more clearly than any other person
did, and I have kept those pencilled lines, written in the stiff, round
character proper to the blind, as a talisman of "Credenciveness," as the
book before me styles it. Credulity as the world at large does, and, to
my own mind, as one of the clews granted, during this earthly life, to
the mysteries of future states of being, and more rapid and complete
modes of intercourse between mind and mind.


The publishers of this interesting and spirited journal have, this year,
begun to issue a weekly paper in addition to their former arrangement.
We regret not to have been able earlier to take some notice of their
prospectus, but an outline of it will be new to most of our readers.

Their journal has hitherto been intended for German readers in this
country, and has been devoted to topics of European interest, but by the
addition of the Weekly, it hopes to discuss with some fulness those of
American interest also; thus becoming "an organ of communication between
Germans of the old and new home, as to their wants, interests, and
thoughts." These judicious remarks follow:--

"The editors do not coincide with those who believe it the vocation of
the immigrant German, by systematic separation from the people who offer
him a new home, by voluntary withdrawal from the unaccustomed, and,
perhaps, for him too vehement stream of their life, in a word, by
obstinate adhesion to the old, to keep inviolate the stamp of his

"Rather is it their faith that it should be the most earnest desire of
the immigrant, not merely to appropriate in form, but to _deserve_ the
rights of a citizen here--rights which we confide in the healthy mind of
the nation to sustain him in, all fanatical opposition to the contrary
notwithstanding. And he must deserve them by becoming an American, not
merely in name, but in deed, not merely by assuming claims, but by
appreciating duties.

"But while we renounce this narrow and one-sided isolation, desiring to
integrate ourselves, fairly and truly, with the great family that
receives us to its hospitality, we will hold so much the more firmly to
the higher traits of our own race. We hold to the noble jewel of our
native tongue; the memories of our nation's ancient glory; the sympathy
with its future, as yet only glimmering in the dusk; our old, true,
domestic manners; dear inherited customs, that give to the
tranquillities of home their sanctity--to the intercourse between men a
fresh, glad life.

"So much for our position in general."

They promise, as to American affairs, "to be just as far as in them
lies, and independent, certainly."

We think the tone of these remarks truly honorable and right-minded. It
is such a tone that each division of our adopted citizens needs to hear
from those of their compatriots able to guide and enlighten them. We do
want that each nation should preserve what is valuable in its parent
stock. We want all the elements for the new people of the new world. We
want the prudence, the honor, the practical skill of the English; the
fun, the affectionateness, the generosity of the Irish; the vivacity,
the grace, the quick intelligence of the French; the thorough honesty,
the capacity for philosophic view, and deep enthusiasm of the German
Biedermann; the shrewdness and romance of the Scotch,--but we want none
of their prejudices. We want the healthy seed to develop itself into a
different plant in the new climate. We have reason to hope a new and
generous race, where the Italian meets the German, the Swede, the Jew.
Let nothing be obliterated, but all be regenerated; let each leader say
in like manner to his band. Apply the old loyalty to a study of new
duties. Examine yourself whether you are worthy of the new rights so
freely bestowed upon you, and recognize that only intelligent action,
and not mere bodily presence, can make you really a citizen on any soil.
It is a glorious boon offered you to be a founder of the new dynasty in
the new world; but it would have been better for you to have died a
thousand deaths beneath the factory wheels of England, or in the prisons
of Russia, than to sell this great privilege for selfish or servile
ends. Here each man has before him the choice of Esau--each may defraud
a long succession of souls of their princely inheritance.

Do those whose bodies were born upon this soil reject you, and claim for
themselves the name of natives? You may be natives, in another sort, for
the soul may be re-born here. Cast for yourselves a new nativity, and
invoke the starry influences that do not fail to shine into the life of
a good man, whose heart is kept open daily to truth in every new form,
whose heart is strengthened by a desire to do his duty valiantly to
every brother of the human family. Offer upon the soil a libation of
worthy feelings in gratitude for the bread it so willingly yields you,
and it is true that the "healthy mind of the nation" cannot long fail to
greet you with joy, and hail your endowment with civic rights.

We must think there is a deep root, in fact, for the late bitter
expressions of prejudice, however unworthy the mode of exhibiting them,
against the foreign element in our population. We want all this new
blood, but we want it purified, assimilated, or it will take all form of
comeliness from the growing nation. Our country is a willing foster
mother, but her children need wise tutors to prevent them from playing,
willingly or unwillingly, the viper's part.

There is a little poem in the Schnellpost, by Moritz Hartmann, called
the "Three,"--which would be a forcible appeal, if any were needed, in
behalf of all who are exiled from their native soil. We translate it
into prose, and this will not spoil it, as its poetry lies in the

"In a tavern of Hungary are sitting together Three who have taken
refuge there from storm and darkness--in Hungary, where the wind of
chance drives together the children of many a land.

"Their eyes glow with fires of various light; their locks are unlike in
their flow; but their hearts--their wounded hearts--are urns filled with
the tears of a common grief.

"One cries, 'Silent companions! Shall we have no toast to cheer our
meeting? I offer you one which you cannot fail to pledge--Freedom and
greatness to the Fatherland!

"'To the fatherland! But I am one that knows not where is his; I am a
Gypsy; my fatherland lies in the realm of tradition--in the mournful
tone of the violin swelled by grief and storm.

"'I pass musing over heath and moor, and think of my painful losses. Yet
long since was I weaned from desire of a home, and think of Egypt but as
the cymbal sounds.'

"The second says, 'This toast of fatherland I will not drink; mine own
shame should I pledge. For the seed of Jacob flies like the dried leaf,
and takes no root in the dust of slavery.'

"The lips of the third seem frozen at the edge of his goblet. He asks
himself in silence, 'Shall _I_ drink to the fatherland? Lives Poland
yet, or is all life departed, and am I, like these, a motherless son?'"

To those and others who, if they still had homes, could not live there,
without starving body and soul, may our land be a fatherland; and may
they seek and learn to act as children in a father's house!

A foreign correspondent of the Schnellpost, having, it seems, been
reproved by some friends on the safe side of the water for the violence
of his attack on crowned heads, and other dilettanti, defends himself
with great spirit, and argues his case well from his own point of view.
We do not agree with him as to the use of methods, but cannot fail to
sympathize in his feeling.

Anecdotes of Russian proceedings towards delinquents are well associated
with one anecdote quoted of Peter, who yet was truly the Great. In a
foreign city, seeing the gallows, he asked the use of that
three-cornered thing. Being told, to hang people on, he requested that
one might be hung for him, directly. Being told this, unfortunately,
could not be done, as there was no criminal under sentence, he desired
that one of his own retinue might be made use of. Probably he did this
with no further thought than the Empress Catharine bestowed, on having a
ship of the line blown up, as a model for the painter who was to adorn
her palace with pictures of naval battles. Disregard for human life and
human happiness is not confined to the Russian snows, or the eastern
hemisphere; it may be found on every side, though, indeed, not on a
scale so imperial.


A long expectation is rewarded at last by the appearance of this book.
We cannot wonder that it should have been long, when Mr. Carlyle shows
us what a world of ill-arranged and almost worthless materials he has
had to wade through before achieving any possibility of order and
harmony for his narrative.

The method which he has chosen of letting the letters and speeches of
Cromwell tell the story when possible, only himself doing what is
needful to throw light where it is most wanted and fill up gaps, is an
excellent one. Mr. Carlyle, indeed, is a most peremptory showman, and
with each slide of his magic lantern informs us not only of what is
necessary to enable us to understand it, but _how_ we must look at it,
under peril of being ranked as "imbeciles," "canting sceptics,"
"disgusting rose-water philanthropists," and the like. And aware of his
power of tacking a nickname or ludicrous picture to any one who refuses
to obey, we might perhaps feel ourselves, if in his neighborhood, under
such constraint and fear of deadly laughter, as to lose the benefit of
having under our eye to form our judgment upon the same materials on
which he formed his.

But the ocean separates us, and the showman has his own audience of
despised victims, or scarce less despised pupils; and we need not fear
to be handed down to posterity as "a little gentleman in a gray coat"
"shrieking" unutterable "imbecilities," or with the like damnatory
affixes, when we profess that, having read the book, and read the
letters and speeches thus far, we cannot submit to the showman's
explanation of the lantern, but must, more than ever, stick to the old
"Philistine," "Dilettante," "Imbecile," and what not view of the
character of Cromwell.

We all know that to Mr. Carlyle greatness is well nigh synonymous with
virtue, and that he has shown himself a firm believer in Providence by
receiving the men of destiny as always entitled to reverence. Sometimes
a great success has followed the portraits painted by him in the light
of such faith, as with regard to Mahomet, for instance. The natural
autocrat is his delight, and in such pictures as that of the monk in
"Past and Present," where the geniuses of artist and subject coincide,
the result is no less delightful for us.

But Mr. Carlyle reminds us of the man in a certain parish who had always
looked up to one of its squires as a secure and blameless idol, and one
day in church, when the minister asked "all who felt in concern for
their souls to rise," looked to the idol and seeing him retain his seat,
(asleep perchance!) sat still also. One of his friends asking him
afterwards how he could refuse to answer such an appeal, he replied, "he
thought it safest to stay with the squire."

Mr. Carlyle's squires are all Heaven's justices of peace or war,
(usually the latter;) they are beings of true energy and genius, and so
far, as he describes them, "genuine men." But in doubtful cases, where
the doubt is between them and principles, he will insist that the men
must be in the right. On such occasions he favors us with such doctrine
as the following, which we confess we had the weakness to read with
"sibylline execration" and extreme disgust.

Speaking of Cromwell's course in Ireland:--

"Oliver's proceedings here have been the theme of much loud criticism,
sibylline execration, into which it is not our plan to enter at present.
We shall give these fifteen letters of his in a mass, and without any
commentary whatever. To those who think that a land overrun with
sanguinary quacks can be healed by sprinkling it with rose-water, these
letters must be very horrible. Terrible surgery this; but _is_ it
surgery and judgment, or atrocious murder merely? This is a question
which should be asked; and answered. Oliver Cromwell did believe in
God's judgments; and did not believe in the rose-water plan of
surgery,--which, in fact, is this editor's case too! Every idle lie and
piece of empty bluster this editor hears, he too, like Oliver, has to
shudder at it; has to think, 'Thou, idle bluster, not true, thou also
art shutting men's minds against God's fact; thou wilt issue as a cleft
crown to some poor man some day; thou also wilt have to take shelter in
bogs, whither cavalry cannot follow!' But in Oliver's time, as I say,
there was still belief in the judgments of God; in Oliver's time, there
was yet no distracted jargon of 'abolishing capital punishments,' of
Jean-Jacques philanthropy, and universal rose-water in this world still
so full of sin. Men's notion was, not for abolishing punishments, but
for making laws just. God the Maker's laws, they considered, had not yet
got the punishment abolished from them! Men had a notion that the
difference between good and evil was still considerable--equal to the
difference between heaven and hell. It was a true notion, which all men
yet saw, and felt, in all fibres of their existence, to be true. Only in
late decadent generations, fast hastening toward radical change or final
perdition, can such indiscriminate mashing up of good and evil into one
universal patent treacle, and most unmedical electuary, of Rousseau
sentimentalism, universal pardon and benevolence, with dinner and drink
and one cheer more, take effect in our earth. Electuary very poisonous,
as sweet as it is, and very nauseous; of which Oliver, happier than we,
had not yet heard the slightest intimation even in dreams.

       *       *       *       *       *

"In fact, Oliver's dialect is rude and obsolete; the phrases of Oliver,
to him solemn on the perilous battle field as voices of God, have become
to us most mournful when spouted as frothy cant from Exeter Hall. The
reader has, all along, to make steady allowance for that. And on the
whole, clear recognition will be difficult for him. To a poor slumberous
canting age, mumbling to itself every where, Peace, peace, when there is
no peace,--such a phenomena as Oliver, in Ireland or elsewhere, is not
the most recognizable in all its meanings. But it waits there for
recognition, and can wait an age or two. The memory of Oliver Cromwell,
as I count, has a good many centuries in it yet; and ages of very varied
complexion to apply to, before all end. My reader, in this passage and
others, shall make of it what he can.

"But certainly, at lowest, here is a set of military despatches of the
most unexampled nature! Most rough, unkempt; shaggy as the Numidian
lion. A style rugged as crags; coarse, drossy: yet with a meaning in it,
an energy, a depth; pouring on like a fire torrent; perennial _fire_ of
it visible athwart all drosses and defacements; not uninteresting to
see! This man has come into distracted Ireland with a God's truth in the
heart of him, though an unexpected one; the first such man they have
seen for a great while indeed. He carries acts of Parliament, laws of
earth and heaven, in one hand; drawn sword in the other. He addresses
the bewildered Irish populations, the black ravening coil of sanguinary
blustering individuals at Tredah and elsewhere: 'Sanguinary, blustering
individuals, whose word is grown worthless as the barking of dogs; whose
very thought is false, representing no fact, but the contrary of
fact--behold, I am come to speak and to do the truth among you. Here are
acts in Parliament, methods of regulation and veracity, emblems the
nearest we poor Puritans could make them of God's law-book, to which it
is and shall be our perpetual effort to make them correspond nearer and
nearer. Obey them, help us to perfect them, be peaceable and true under
them, it shall be well with you. Refuse to obey them, I will not let
you continue living! As articulate speaking veracious orderly men, not
as a blustering, murderous kennel of dogs run rabid, shall you continue
in this earth. Choose!' They chose to disbelieve him; could not
understand that he, more than the others, meant any truth or justice to
them. They rejected his summons and terms at Tredah; he stormed the
place; and, according to his promise, put every man of the garrison to
death. His own soldiers are forbidden to plunder, by paper proclamation;
and in ropes of authentic hemp, they are hanged when they do it. To
Wexford garrison, the like terms as at Tredah; and, failing these, the
like storm. Here is a man whose word represents a thing! Not bluster
this, and false jargon scattering itself to the winds; what this man
speaks out of him comes to pass as a fact; speech with this man is
accurately prophetic of deed. This is the first king's face poor Ireland
ever saw; the first friend's face, _little as it recognizes him_--poor

Yes, Cromwell had force and sagacity to get that done which he had
resolved to get done; and this is the whole truth about your admiration,
Mr. Carlyle. Accordingly, at Drogheda quoth Cromwell,--

"I believe we put to sword the whole number of the defendants. * *
Indeed, being in the heat of action, I forbade them to spare any that
were in arms in the town; and I think that night they put to the sword
about two thousand men, divers of the officers and soldiers being fled
over the bridge into the other part of the town; and where about one
hundred of them possessed St. Peter's Church, steeple, &c. These, being
summoned to yield to mercy, refused. Whereupon I ordered the steeple of
St. Peter's Church to be fired; when one of them was heard to say, in
the midst of the flames, 'God confound me! I burn, I burn!'

"I am persuaded that this is a righteous judgment of God upon these
barbarous wretches who have imbrued their hands in so much innocent
blood; and that it will tend to prevent the effusion of blood for the
future. Which are the satisfactory grounds to such actions, which
otherwise cannot but work remorse and regret. * * This hath been an
exceeding great mercy."

Certainly one not of the rose-water or treacle kind. Mr. Carlyle says
such measures "cut to the heart of the war," and brought peace. Was
there _then_ no crying of Peace, Peace, when there was no peace? Ask the
Irish peasantry why they mark that period with the solemn phrase of
"Cromwell's Curse!"

For ourselves, though aware of the mistakes and errors in particulars
that must occur, we believe the summing up of a man's character in the
verdict of his time, is likely to be correct. We believe that Cromwell
was "a curse," as much as a blessing, in these acts of his. We believe
him ruthless, ambitious, half a hypocrite, (few men have courage or want
of soul to bear being wholly so,) and we think it is rather too bad to
rave at us in our time for canting, and then hold up the prince of
canters for our reverence in his "dimly seen nobleness." Dimly, indeed,
despite the rhetoric and satire of Mr. Carlyle!

In previous instances where Mr. Carlyle has acted out his
predeterminations as to the study of a character, we have seen
circumstances favor him, at least sometimes. There were fine moments,
fine lights upon the character that he would seize upon. But here the
facts look just as they always have. He indeed ascertains that the
Cromwell family were not mere brewers or plebeians, but "substantial
gentry," and that there is not the least ground for the common notion
that Cromwell lived at any time a dissolute life. But with the exception
of these emendations, still the history looks as of old. We see a man of
strong and wise mind, educated by the pressure of great occasions to
station of command; we see him wearing the religious garb which was the
custom of the times, and even preaching to himself as well as to
others--for well can we imagine that his courage and his pride would
have fallen without keeping up the illusion; but we never see Heaven
answering his invocations in any way that can interfere with the rise of
his fortunes or the accomplishment of his plans. To ourselves, the tone
of these religious holdings-forth is sufficiently expressive; they all
ring hollow; we have never read any thing of the sort more repulsive to
us than the letter to Mr. Hammond, which Mr. Carlyle thinks such a noble
contrast to the impiety of the present time. Indeed, we cannot recover
from our surprise at Mr. Carlyle's liking these letters; his
predetermination must have been strong indeed. Again, we see Cromwell
ruling with the strong arm, and carrying the spirit of monarchy to an
excess which no Stuart could surpass. Cromwell, indeed, is wise, and the
king he had punished with death is foolish; Charles is faithless, and
Cromwell crafty; we see no other difference. Cromwell does not, in
power, abide by the principles that led him to it; and we can't help--so
rose-water imbecile are we!--admiring those who do: one Lafayette, for
instance--poor chevalier so despised by Mr. Carlyle--for abiding by his
principles, though impracticable, more than Louis Philippe, who laid
them aside, so far as necessary, "to secure peace to the kingdom;" and
to us it looks black for one who kills kings to grow to be more kingly
than a king.

The death of Charles I. was a boon to the world, for it marked the dawn
of a new era, when kings, in common with other men, are to be held
accountable by God and mankind for what they do. Many who took part in
this act which _did_ require a courage and faith almost unparalleled,
were, no doubt, moved by the noblest sense of duty. We doubt not this
had its share in the bosom counsels of Cromwell. But we cannot
sympathize with the apparent satisfaction of Mr. Carlyle in seeing him
engaged, two days after the execution, in marriage treaty for his son.
This seems more ruthlessness than calmness. One who devoted so many days
to public fasting and prayer, on less occasions, might well make solemn
pause on this. Mr. Carlyle thinks much of some pleasant domestic letters
from Cromwell. What brigand, what pirate, fails to have some such soft
and light feelings?

In short, we have no time to say all we think; but we stick to the
received notions of Old Noll, with his great, red nose, hard heart, long
head, and crafty ambiguities. Nobody ever doubted his great abilities
and force of will; neither doubt we that he was made an "instrument"
just as he professeth. But as to looking on him through Mr. Carlyle's
glasses, we shall not be sneered or stormed into it, unless he has other
proof to offer than is shown yet. And we resent the violence he offers
both to our prejudices and our perceptions. If he has become interested
in Oliver, or any other pet hyena, by studying his habits, is that any
reason we should admit him to our Pantheon? No! our imbecility shall
keep fast the door against any thing short of proofs that in the hyena a
god is incarnated. Mr. Carlyle declares that he sees it, but we really
cannot. The hyena is surely not out of the kingdom of God, but as to
being the finest emblem of what is divine--no, no!

In short, we can sympathize with the words of John Maidstone:--

"He [Cromwell] was a strong man in the dark perils of war; in the high
places of the field, hope shone in him like a pillar of fire, when it
had gone out in the others"--a poetic and sufficient account of the
secret of his power.

But Mr. Carlyle goes on to gild the refined gold thus:--

"A genuine king among men, Mr. Maidstone! The divinest sight this world
sees, when it is privileged to see such, and not be sickened with the
unholy apery of such."

We know you do with all your soul love kings and heroes, Mr. Carlyle,
but we are not sure you would always know the Sauls from the Davids. We
fear, if you had the disposal of the holy oil, you would be tempted to
pour it on the head of him who is taller by the head than all his
brethren, without sufficient care as to purity of inward testimony.

Such is the impression left on us by the book thus far, as to the view
of its hero; but as to what difficulties attended the writing the
history of Cromwell, the reader will like to see what Mr. Carlyle
himself says:--

"These authentic utterances of the man Oliver himself--I have gathered
them from far and near; fished them up from the foul Lethean quagmires
where they lay buried; I have washed, or endeavored to wash, them clean
from foreign stupidities, (such a job of buck-washing as I do not long
to repeat;) and the world shall now see them in their own shape."

For the rest, this book is of course entertaining, witty, dramatic,
picturesque; all traits that are piquant, many that have profound
interest, are brought out better than new. The "letters and speeches"
are put into readable state, and this alone is a great benefit. They are
a relief after Mr. Carlyle's high-seasoned writing; and this again is a
relief after their long-winded dimnesses. Most of the heroic anecdotes
of the time had been used up before, but they lose nothing in the hands
of Carlyle; and pictures of the scenes, such as of Naseby fight, for
instance, it was left to him to give. We have passed over the hackneyed
ground attended by a torch-bearer, who has given a new animation to the
procession of events, and cast a ruddy glow on many a striking
physiognomy. That any truth of high value has been brought to light, we
do not perceive--certainly nothing has been added to our own sense of
the greatness of the times, nor any new view presented that we can
adopt, as to the position and character of the agents.

We close with the only one of Cromwell's letters that we really like.
Here his religious words and his temper seem quite sincere.

     "_To my loving Brother, Colonel Valentine Walton: These._

     July, 1644.

     "DEAR SIR: It's our duty to sympathize in all mercies; and to
     praise the Lord together in chastisements or trials, so that we may
     sorrow together.

     "Truly England and the church of God hath had a great favor from
     the Lord, in this great victory given unto us, such as the like
     never was since this war began. It had all the evidences of an
     absolute victory obtained by the Lord's blessing upon the godly
     party principally. We never charged but we routed the enemy. The
     left wing, which I commanded, being our own horse, saving a few
     Scots in our rear, beat all the prince's horse. God make them as
     stubble to our swords. We charged their regiments of foot with our
     horse, and routed all we charged. The particulars I cannot relate
     now; but I believe, of twenty thousand, the prince hath not four
     thousand left. Give glory, all the glory, to God.

     "Sir, God hath taken away your eldest son by a cannon-shot. It
     brake his leg. We were necessitated to have it cut off, whereof he

     "Sir, you know my own trials this way;[24] but the Lord supported
     me with this, that the Lord took him into the happiness we all pant
     for and live for. There is your precious child, full of glory,
     never to know sin or sorrow any more. He was a gallant young man,
     exceedingly gracious. God give you his comfort. Before his death he
     was so full of comfort, that to Frank Russel and myself he could
     not express it, 'it was so great above his pain.' This he said to
     us. Indeed it was admirable. A little after, he said one thing lay
     upon his spirit. I asked him what that was. He told me it was, that
     God had not suffered him to be any more the executioner of his
     enemies. At his fall, his horse being killed with the bullet, and,
     as I am informed, three horses more, I am told he bid them open to
     the right and left, that he might see the rogues run. Truly he was
     exceedingly beloved in the army, of all that knew him. But few knew
     him; for he was a precious young man, fit for God. You have cause
     to bless the Lord. He is a glorious saint in heaven; wherein you
     ought exceedingly to rejoice. Let this drink up your sorrow: seeing
     these are not feigned words to comfort you, but the thing is so
     real and undoubted a truth. You may do all things by the strength
     of Christ. Seek that, and you shall easily bear your trial. Let
     this public mercy to the church of God make you to forget your
     private sorrow. The Lord be your strength; so prays

      "Your truly faithful and loving brother,
                "OLIVER CROMWELL."

And add this noble passage, in which Carlyle speaks of the morbid
affection of Cromwell's mind:--

"In those years it must be that Dr. Simcott, physician in Huntingdon,
had to do with Oliver's hypochondriac maladies. He told Sir Philip
Warwick, unluckily specifying no date, or none that has survived, 'he
had often been sent for at midnight;' Mr. Cromwell for many years was
very 'splenetic,' (spleen-struck,) often thought he was just about to
die, and also 'had fancies about the Town Cross.'[25] Brief intimation,
of which the reflective reader may make a great deal. Samuel Johnson too
had hypochondrias; all great souls are apt to have; and to be in thick
darkness generally, till the eternal ways and the celestial guiding
stars disclose themselves, and the vague abyss of life knit itself up
into firmaments for them. The temptations in the wilderness, choices of
Hercules, and the like, in succinct or loose form, are appointed for
every man that will assert a soul in himself and be a man. Let Oliver
take comfort in his dark sorrows and melancholies. The quantity of
sorrow he has, does it not mean withal the quantity of _sympathy_ he
has, the quantity of faculty and victory he shall yet have? 'Our sorrow
is the inverted image of our nobleness.' The depth of our despair
measures what capability, and height of claim, we have to hope. Black
smoke as of Tophet filling all your universe, it can yet by true
heart-energy become _flame_, and brilliancy of heaven. Courage!"

Were the flame but a pure as well as a bright flame! Sometimes we know
the black phantoms change to white angel forms; the vulture is
metamorphosed into a dove. Was it so in this instance? Unlike Mr.
Carlyle, we are willing to let each reader judge for himself; but
perhaps we should not be so generous if we had studied ourselves sick in
wading through all that mass of papers, and had nothing to defend us
against the bitterness of biliousness, except a growing enthusiasm about
our hero.


At the distance of three years this volume follows the first series of
Essays, which have already made to themselves a circle of readers,
attentive, thoughtful, more and more intelligent; and this circle is a
large one if we consider the circumstances of this country, and of
England also, at this time.

In England it would seem there are a larger number of persons waiting
for an invitation to calm thought and sincere intercourse than among
ourselves. Copies of Mr. Emerson's first published little volume called
"Nature," have there been sold by thousands in a short time, while one
edition has needed seven years to get circulated here. Several of his
orations and essays from the "Dial" have also been republished there,
and met with a reverent and earnest response.

We suppose that while in England the want of such a voice is as great as
here, a larger number are at leisure to recognize that want; a far
larger number have set foot in the speculative region, and have ears
refined to appreciate these melodious accents.

Our people, heated by a partisan spirit, necessarily occupied in these
first stages by bringing out the material resources of the land, not
generally prepared by early training for the enjoyment of books that
require attention and reflection, are still more injured by a large
majority of writers and speakers, who lend all their efforts to flatter
corrupt tastes and mental indolence, instead of feeling it their
prerogative and their duty to admonish the community of the danger and
arouse it to nobler energy. The plan of the popular writer or lecturer
is not to say the best he knows in as few and well-chosen words as he
can, making it his first aim to do justice to the subject. Rather he
seeks to beat out a thought as thin as possible, and to consider what
the audience will be most willing to receive.

The result of such a course is inevitable. Literature and art must
become daily more degraded; philosophy cannot exist. A man who feels
within his mind some spark of genius, or a capacity for the exercises of
talent, should consider himself as endowed with a sacred commission. He
is the natural priest, the shepherd of the people. He must raise his
mind as high as he can towards the heaven of truth, and try to draw up
with him those less gifted by nature with ethereal lightness. If he does
not so, but rather employs his powers to flatter them in their poverty,
and to hinder aspiration by useless words, and a mere seeming of
activity, his sin is great; he is false to God, and false to man.

Much of this sin indeed is done ignorantly. The idea that literature
calls men to the genuine hierarchy is almost forgotten. One, who finds
himself able, uses his pen, as he might a trowel, solely to procure
himself bread, without having reflected on the position in which he
thereby places himself.

Apart from the troop of mercenaries, there is one, still larger, of
those who use their powers merely for local and temporary ends, aiming
at no excellence other than may conduce to these. Among these rank
persons of honor and the best intentions; but they neglect the lasting
for the transient, as a man neglects to furnish his mind that he may
provide the better for the house in which his body is to dwell for a few

At a period when these sins and errors are prevalent, and threaten to
become more so, how can we sufficiently prize and honor a mind which is
quite pure from such? When, as in the present case, we find a man whose
only aim is the discernment and interpretation of the spiritual laws by
which we live, and move, and have our being, all whose objects are
permanent, and whose every word stands for a fact.

If only as a representative of the claims of individual culture in a
nation which is prone to lay such stress on artificial organization and
external results, Mr. Emerson would be invaluable here. History will
inscribe his name as a father of his country, for he is one who pleads
her cause against herself.

If New England may be regarded as a chief mental focus to the New
World,--and many symptoms seem to give her this place,--as to other
centres belong the characteristics of heart and lungs to the body
politic; if we may believe, as we do believe, that what is to be acted
out, in the country at large, is, most frequently, first indicated
there, as all the phenomena of the nervous system are in the fantasies
of the brain, we may hail as an auspicious omen the influence Mr.
Emerson has there obtained, which is deep-rooted, increasing, and, over
the younger portion of the community, far greater than that of any other

His books are received there with a more ready intelligence than
elsewhere, partly because his range of personal experience and
illustration applies to that region; partly because he has prepared the
way for his books to be read by his great powers as a speaker.

The audience that waited for years upon the lectures, a part of which is
incorporated into these volumes of Essays, was never large, but it was
select, and it was constant. Among the hearers were some, who, though,
attracted by the beauty of character and manner, they were willing to
hear the speaker through, yet always went away discontented. They were
accustomed to an artificial method, whose scaffolding could easily be
retraced, and desired an obvious sequence of logical inferences. They
insisted there was nothing in what they had heard, because they could
not give a clear account of its course and purport. They did not see
that Pindar's odes might be very well arranged for their own purpose,
and yet not bear translating into the methods of Mr. Locke.

Others were content to be benefited by a good influence, without a
strict analysis of its means. "My wife says it is about the elevation of
human nature, and so it seems to me," was a fit reply to some of the
critics. Many were satisfied to find themselves excited to congenial
thought and nobler life, without an exact catalogue of the thoughts of
the speaker.

Those who believed no truth could exist, unless encased by the burrs of
opinion, went away utterly baffled. Sometimes they thought he was on
their side; then presently would come something on the other. He really
seemed to believe there were two sides to every subject, and even to
intimate higher ground, from which each might be seen to have an
infinite number of sides or bearings, an impertinence not to be endured!
The partisan heard but once, and returned no more.

But some there were,--simple souls,--whose life had been, perhaps,
without clear light, yet still a-search after truth for its own sake,
who were able to receive what followed on the suggestion of a subject in
a natural manner, as a stream of thought. These recognized, beneath the
veil of words, the still small voice of conscience, the vestal fires of
lone religious hours, and the mild teachings of the summer woods.

The charm of the elocution, too, was great. His general manner was that
of the reader, occasionally rising into direct address or invocation in
passages where tenderness or majesty demanded more energy. At such times
both eye and voice called on a remote future to give a worthy reply,--a
future which shall manifest more largely the universal soul as it was
then manifest to this soul. The tone of the voice was a grave body tone,
full and sweet rather than sonorous, yet flexible, and haunted by many
modulations, as even instruments of wood and brass seem to become after
they have been long played on with skill and taste; how much more so the
human voice! In the more expressive passages it uttered notes of
silvery clearness, winning, yet still more commanding. The words uttered
in those tones floated a while above us, then took root in the memory
like winged seed.

In the union of an even rustic plainness with lyric inspirations,
religious dignity with philosophic calmness, keen sagacity in details
with boldness of view, we saw what brought to mind the early poets and
legislators of Greece--men who taught their fellows to plough and avoid
moral evil, sing hymns to the gods, and watch the metamorphoses of
nature. Here in civic Boston was such a man--one who could see man in
his original grandeur and his original childishness, rooted in simple
nature, raising to the heavens the brow and eyes of a poet.

And these lectures seemed not so much lectures as grave didactic poems,
theogonies, perhaps, adorned by odes when some power was in question
whom the poet had best learned to serve, and with eclogues wisely
portraying in familiar tongue the duties of man to man and "harmless

Such was the attitude in which the speaker appeared to that portion of
the audience who have remained permanently attached to him. They value
his words as the signets of reality; receive his influence as a help and
incentive to a nobler discipline than the age, in its general aspect,
appears to require; and do not fear to anticipate the verdict of
posterity in claiming for him the honors of greatness, and, in some
respects, of a master.

In New England Mr. Emerson thus formed for himself a class of readers
who rejoice to study in his books what they already know by heart. For,
though the thought has become familiar, its beautiful garb is always
fresh and bright in hue.

A similar circle of "like-minded" persons the books must and do form for
themselves, though with a movement less directly powerful, as more
distant from its source.

The Essays have also been obnoxious to many charges; to that of
obscurity, or want of perfect articulation; of "euphuism," as an excess
of fancy in proportion to imagination; and an inclination, at times, to
subtlety at the expense of strength, have been styled. The human heart
complains of inadequacy, either in the nature or experience of the
writer, to represent its full vocation and its deeper needs. Sometimes
it speaks of this want as "under development," or a want of expansion
which may yet be remedied; sometimes doubts whether "in this mansion
there be either hall or portal to receive the loftier of the passions."
Sometimes the soul is deified at the expense of nature, then again
nature at that of man; and we are not quite sure that we can make a true
harmony by balance of the statements. This writer has never written one
good work, if such a work be one where the whole commands more attention
than the parts, or if such a one be produced only where, after an
accumulation of materials, fire enough be applied to fuse the whole into
one new substance. This second series is superior in this respect to the
former; yet in no one essay is the main stress so obvious as to produce
on the mind the harmonious effect of a noble river or a tree in full
leaf. Single passages and sentences engage our attention too much in
proportion. These Essays, it has been justly said, tire like a string of
mosaics or a house built of medals. We miss what we expect in the work
of the great poet, or the great philosopher--the liberal air of all the
zones; the glow, uniform yet various in tint, which is given to a body
by free circulation of the heart's blood from the hour of birth. Here
is, undoubtedly, the man of ideas; but we want the ideal man also--want
the heart and genius of human life to interpret it; and here our
satisfaction is not so perfect. We doubt this friend raised himself too
early to the perpendicular, and did not lie along the ground long enough
to hear the secret whispers of our parent life. We could wish he might
be thrown by conflicts on the lap of mother earth, to see if he would
not rise again with added powers.

All this we may say, but it cannot excuse us from benefiting by the
great gifts that have been given, and assigning them their due place.

Some painters paint on a red ground. And this color may be supposed to
represent the groundwork most immediately congenial to most men, as it
is the color of blood, and represents human vitality. The figures traced
upon it are instinct with life in its fulness and depth.

But other painters paint on a gold ground. And a very different, but no
less natural, because also a celestial beauty, is given to their works
who choose for their foundation the color of the sunbeam, which Nature
has preferred for her most precious product, and that which will best
bear the test of purification--gold.

If another simile may be allowed, another no less apt is at hand. Wine
is the most brilliant and intense expression of the powers of earth. It
is her potable fire, her answer to the sun. It exhilarates, it inspires,
but then it is liable to fever and intoxicate, too, the careless

Mead was the chosen drink of the northern gods. And this essence of the
honey of the mountain bee was not thought unworthy to revive the souls
of the valiant who had left their bodies on the fields of strife below.

Nectar should combine the virtues of the ruby wine, the golden mead,
without their defects or dangers.

Two high claims on the attention of his contemporaries our writer can
vindicate. One from his sincerity. You have his thought just as it found
place in the life of his own soul. Thus, however near or relatively
distant its approximation to absolute truth, its action on you cannot
fail to be healthful. It is a part of the free air.

Emerson belongs to that band of whom there may be found a few in every
age, and who now in known human history may be counted by hundreds, who
worship the one God only, the God of Truth. They worship, not saints,
nor creeds, nor churches, nor reliques, nor idols in any form. The mind
is kept open to truth, and life only valued as a tendency towards it.
This must be illustrated by acts and words of love, purity and
intelligence. Such are the salt of the earth; let the minutest crystal
of that salt be willingly by us held in solution.

The other claim is derived from that part of his life, which, if
sometimes obstructed or chilled by the critical intellect, is yet the
prevalent and the main source of his power. It is that by which he
imprisons his hearer only to free him again as a "liberating God," (to
use his own words.) But, indeed, let us use them altogether, for none
other, ancient or modern, can more worthily express how, making present
to us the courses and destinies of nature, he invests himself with her
serenity and animates us with her joy.

"Poetry was all written before time was; and whenever we are so finely
organized that we can penetrate into that region where the air is music,
we hear those primal warblings, and attempt to write them down, but we
lose ever and anon a word or a verse, and substitute something of our
own, and thus miswrite the poem. The men of more delicate ear write down
these cadences more faithfully, and these transcripts, though imperfect,
become the songs of the nations."

Thus have we, in a brief and unworthy manner, indicated some views of
these books. The only true criticism of these or any good books may be
gained by making them the companions of our lives. Does every accession
of knowledge or a juster sense of beauty make us prize them more? Then
they are good, indeed, and more immortal than mortal. Let that test be
applied to these Essays which will lead to great and complete


We have had this book before us for several weeks, but the task of
reading it has been so repulsive that we have been obliged to get
through it by short stages, with long intervals of rest and refreshment
between, and have only just reached the end. We believe, however, we are
now possessed of its substance, so far as it is possible to admit into
any mind matter wholly uncongenial with its structure, its faith, and
its hope.

Meanwhile others have shown themselves more energetic in the task, and
notices have appeared that express, in part, our own views. Among others
an able critic has thus summed up his impressions:--

"Of the whole we will say briefly, that its premises are monstrous, its
reasoning sophistical, its conclusions absurd, and its spirit diabolic."

We know not that we can find a better scheme of arrangement for what we
have to say than by dividing it into sections under these four heads:--

1st. The premises are monstrous. Here we must add the qualification,
they are monstrous _to us_. The God of these writers is not the God we
recognize; the views they have of human nature are antipodal to ours. We
believe in a Creative Spirit, the essense of whose being is Love. He has
created men in the spirit of love, intending to develop them to perfect
harmony with himself. He has permitted the temporary existence of evil
as a condition necessary to bring out in them free agency and
individuality of character. Punishment is the necessary result of a bad
choice in them; it is not meant by him as vengeance, but as an
admonition to choose better. Man is not born totally evil; he is born
capable both of good and evil, and the Holy Spirit in working on him
only quickens the soul already there to know its Father. To one who
takes such views the address of Jesus becomes intelligible--"Be ye
therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful." "For with the same
measure that ye mete withal, it shall be measured to you again."

Those who take these views of the relation between God and man must
naturally tend to have punishment consist as much as possible in the
inward spiritual results of faults, rather than a violent outward
enforcement of penalty. They must, so far as possible, seek to revere
God by showing themselves brotherly to man; and if they wish to obey
Christ, will not forget that he came especially to call _sinners_ to

The views of these writers are the opposite of all this. We need not
state them; they are sufficiently indicated in each page of their own.
Their conclusions are the natural result of such premises. We could say
nothing about either, except to express dissent from beginning to end.
Yet would it be sweet and noble, and worthy of this late period of human
progress, if their position had been stated in a spirit of religious, of
manly courtesy; if they had had the soul to say, "We differ from you,
but we know that so wide and full a stream of thought and emotion as you
are moved by could not, under the providential rule in which we believe,
have arisen in vain. The object of every such manifestation of life must
be to bring out truth; come, let us seek it together. Let us show you
our view, compare it with yours, and let us see which is the better. If,
as we think, the truth lie with us, what joy will it be for us to cast
the clear light on the object of your aspirations!"

Of this degree of liberality we have known some, even, who served the
same creed as these writers to be capable. There is, indeed, a higher
spirit, which, believing all forms of opinion which we hold in the
present stage of our growth can be but approximations to truth, and that
God has permitted to the multitude of men a multitude of ways by which
they may approach one common goal, looks with reverence on all modes of
faith sincerely held and acted upon, and while it rejoices in those
souls which have reached the higher stages of spiritual growth, has no
despair as to those which still grope in a narrow path and by a
glimmering light. Such liberality is, of course, out of the question
with such writers as the present. Their faith binds them to believe that
they have absolute truth, and that all who do not believe as they do are
wretched heretics. Those whose creed is of narrower scope are to them
hateful bigots; but also those with whom it is of wider are
latitudinarians or infidels. The spot of earth on which they stand is
the only one safe from the conflagration, and only through spectacles
and spyglasses such as are used by them can the sun and stars be seen.
Yet, as we said before, some such, though incapacitated for an
intellectual, are not so for a spiritual tolerance. With them the heart,
more Christ-like than the creed, urges to a spirit of love and reverence
even towards convictions opposed to their own. The sincere man is always
respectable in their eyes, and they cannot help feeling that, wherever
there is a desire for truth, there is the spirit of God, and his true
priests will approach with gentleness, and do their ministry with holy
care. Unhappily, it is very different with the persons before us.

We let go the first two counts of the indictment. Their premises are, as
we have said, such as we totally dissent from, and their conclusions
such as naturally flow from those premises. Yet they are those of a
large body of men, and there must, no doubt, be temporary good in this
state of things, or it would not be permitted. When these writers say,
that to them moral and penal are coincident terms, they display a state
of mind which prefers basing virtue on the fear of punishment, rather
than the love of right. If this be sincerely their state, if the idea of
morality is with them entirely dependent on the retributions upon vice,
rather than the loveliness and joys of goodness, it is impossible for
those who are in a different state of mind to say what they _do_ need.
It may seem to us, indeed, that, if the strait jacket was taken off,
they might recover the natural energy of their frames, and do far better
without it; or that, if no longer hurried along the road by the
impending lash behind, they might uplift their eyes, and find sufficient
cause for speed in the glory visible before, though at a distance;
however, it is not for us to say what their wants are. Let them choose
their own principles of action, and if they lead to purity of life, and
benevolence, and humanity of heart, we will not say a word against them.

But in the instance before us, they do not produce these good fruits,
but the contrary; and therefore we have something to say on the other
part of the criticism, to wit: that "the reasoning is sophistical, and
the spirit diabolic;" for, indeed, in the sense of pride by which the
angels fell, arrogance of judgment, malice, and all uncharitableness, we
have never looked on printed pages more deeply sinful. We love an honest
lover; but next best, we, with Dr. Johnson, know how to respect an
honest hater. But even he would scarce endure so bitter and ardent
haters as these, and with so many and inconsistent objects of
hatred--who hate Catholics and thorough Protestants, hate materialists,
and hate spiritualists. Their list is really too large for _human_

We wish, however, to make all due allowance for incapacity in these
writers to do better; and their disqualifications for their task, apart
from a form of belief which inclines them rather to cling to the past,
than to seek progress for the future, seem to be many.

The "reasoning is sophistical," and it would need the patience of a
Socrates to unravel the weary web, and convince these sophists, against
their will, that they are exactly in the opposite region to what they
suppose. For the task we have not space, skill, or patience; but we can
give some hints by which readers may be led to examine whether it is so
or not.

These writers profess to occupy the position of defence; surely never
was one sustained so in the spirit of offence.

1st. They appeal either to the natural or regenerate man, as suits their
purpose. Sometimes all traditions and their literal interpretations are
right; sometimes it is impossible to interpret them aright, unless
according to some peculiar doctrine, and the natural inference of the
common mind would be an error.

2d. They strain, but vainly, to show the New Testament no improvement on
the Old, and themselves in harmonious relations to both. On this subject
we would confidently leave the arbitration to a mind--could such a one
be found--sufficiently disciplined to examine the subject, and new both
to the New Testament and this volume, as that of Rammohun Roy might have
been, whether its views are not of the same strain that Jesus sought to
correct and enlighten among the Jews, and whether the writers do not
treat the teachings of the new dispensation most unfairly, in their
desire to wrest them into the service of the old.

3d. Wherever there is a weak place in the argument, it is filled up by
abuse of the opposite party. The words "absurd," "infidel,"
"blasphemous," "shallow philosophy," "sickly sentimentalism," and the
like, are among the favorite missiles of these _defenders_ of the truth.
They are of a sort whose frequent use is generally supposed to argue the
want of a shield of reason and a heart of faith.

And this brings us to a more close consideration of the spirit of this
book, characterized by our contemporary as "diabolic." And we, also,
cannot excuse ourselves from marking it as, in this respect, one of the
worst books we have ever seen.

It is not merely bitter intolerance, arrogance, and want of spiritual
perception, which we have to condemn in these writers. It is a want of
fairness and honor, of which we think they must be conscious. We fear
they are of those who hold the opinion that the end sanctifies the
means, and who, by pretending to serve the God of truth by other means
than strict truth, have drawn upon the "ministers of religion" the
frequent obloquy of "priestcraft." How else are we to construe the
artful use of the words "dishonest" and "infidel," wherever they are
likely to awaken the fears and prejudices of the ignorant?

Of as bad a stamp as any is the part of this book headed "Spurious
Public Opinion." Here, as in the insinuations against Charles Burleigh,
we are unable to believe the writers to be sincere. Where we think they
are, however poor and narrow we may esteem their statement, we can
respect it, but here we cannot.

Who can believe that such passages as the following stand for any thing
real in the mind of the writer?

"Indeed, there is nothing that can possibly check the spirit of murder,
but the fear of death. That was all that Cain feared; he did not say,
People will put me in prison, but, They will put me to death; _and how
many other murders he may have committed, when released from that fear,
the sacred writer does not tell us_!"

Why does not the writer of this passage draw the inference, and accuse
God of mistake, as he says his opponents accuse Him, whenever they
attempt to get beyond the Jewish ideas of vengeance. He plainly thinks
death was the only safe penalty in this case of Cain.

"The reasoning from these drivellings of depravity in malefactors is to
the last degree wretched and absurd. Hard pushed indeed must he be in
argument who can consent to dive down into the polluted heart of a
Newgate criminal, in order to fish up, from the confessions of his
monstrous, unnatural obduracy, an argument in that very obduracy against
the fit punishment of his own crimes."

We can only wish for such a man, that the vicissitudes of life may break
through the crust of theological arrogance and Phariseeism, and force
him to "dive down" into the depths of his own nature. We should see
afterwards whether he would be so forward to throw stones at
malefactors, so eager to hurry souls to what he regards as a final

But we have said enough as to the spirit and tendency of this book. We
shall only add a few words as to the unworthy use of the word "infidel,"
in the attempt to fix a stigma upon opponents. We feel still more
contempt than indignation at the desire to work in this way on the
unthinking and ignorant.

We ourselves are of the number stigmatized by these persons as sharing
an infidel tendency, as are all not enlisted under their own sectarian
banner. They, on their side, seem to us unbelievers in all that is most
pure and holy, and in the saving grace of love. They do not believe in
God, as we believe; they seem to us utterly deficient in the spirit of
Christ, and to be of the number of those who are always calling, "Lord,
Lord," yet never have known him. We find throughout these pages the
temper of "Lord, I thank thee that I am not as other men are"--hatred of
those whom they deem Gentiles, and a merciless spirit towards the
sinner; yet we do not take upon ourselves to give them the name of
infidels, and we solemnly call them to trial before the bar of the Only
Wise and Pure, the Searcher of hearts, to render an account of this
daring assumption. We ask them in that presence, if they are not of the
class threatened with "retribution" for saying to their brother, "Thou
fool;" and that not merely in the heat of anger, but coolly,
pertinaciously, and in a thousand ways.

We call to sit in council the spirits of our Puritan fathers, and ask if
such was the right of individual judgment, of private conscience, they
came here to vindicate. And we solicit the verdict of posterity as to
whether the spirit of mercy or of vengeance be the more divine, and
whether the denunciatory and personal mode chosen by these writers for
carrying on this inquiry be the true one.

We wish most sincerely this book had been a wise and noble one. To
ascertain just principles, it is necessary that the discussion should be
full and fair, and both sides ably argued. After this has been done, the
sense of the world can decide. It would be a happiness for which it
might seem that man at this time of day is ripe, that the opposing
parties should meet in open lists as brothers, believing each that the
other desired only that the truth should triumph, and able to clasp
hands as men of different structure and ways of thinking, but
fellow-students of the divine will. O, had we but found such an
adversary, above the use of artful abuse, or the feints of sophistry,
able to believe in the noble intention, of a foe as of a friend, how
cheerily would the trumpets ring out while the assembled world echoed
the signal words, "GOD SPEED THE RIGHT!" The tide of progress rolls
onward, swelling more and more with the lives of those who would fain
see all men called to repentance. It must be a strong arm, indeed, that
can build a dam to stay it even for a moment. None such do we see yet;
but we should rejoice in a noble and strong opponent, putting forth all
his power for conscience's sake. God speed the Right!




The new year dawns, and its appearance is hailed by a flutter of
festivity. Men and women run from house to house, scattering gifts,
smiles, and congratulations. It is a custom that seems borrowed from a
better day, unless indeed it be a prophecy that such must come.

For why so much congratulation? A year has passed; we are nearer by a
twelvemonth to the term of this earthly probation. It is a solemn
thought; and though the consciousness of having hallowed the days by our
best endeavor, and of having much occasion to look to the Ruling Power
of all with grateful benediction, must, in cases where such feelings are
unalloyed, bring joy, one would think it must even then be a grave joy,
and one that would disincline to this loud gayety in welcoming a new
year; another year--in which we may, indeed, strive forward in a good
spirit, and find our strivings blest, but must surely expect trials,
temptations, and disappointments from without; frailty, short-coming, or
convulsion in ourselves.

If it be appropriate to a reflective habit of mind to ask with each
night-fall the Pythagorean questions, how much more so at the close of
the year!

    "What hast thou done that's worth the doing?
    And what pursued that's worth pursuing?
    What sought thou knewest thou shouldst shun?
    What done thou shouldst have left undone?"

The intellectual man will also ask, What new truths have been opened to
me, or what facts presented that will lead to the discovery of truths?
The poet and the lover,--What new forms of beauty have been presented
for my delight, and as memorable illustrations of the divine
presence--unceasing, but oftentimes unfelt by our sluggish natures.

Are there many men who fail sometimes to ask themselves questions to
this depth? who do not care to know whether they have done right, or
forborne to do wrong; whether their spirits have been enlightened by
truth, or kindled by beauty?

Yes, strange to say, there are many who, despite the natural aspirations
of the soul and the revelations showered upon the world, think only
whether they have made money; whether the world thinks more highly of
them than it did in bygone years; whether wife and children have been in
good bodily health, and what those who call to pay their respects and
drink the new year's coffee, will think of their carpets, new also.

How often is it that the rich man thinks even of that proposed by
Dickens as the noblest employment of the season, making the poor happy
in the way he likes best for himself, by distribution of turkey and
plum-pudding! Some, indeed, adorn the day with this much grace, though
we doubt whether it be oftenest those who could each, with ease, make
that one day a glimpse of comfort to a thousand who pass the other
winter days in shivering poverty. But some such there are who go about
to the dark and frosty dwellings, giving the "mite" where and when it is
most needed. We knew a lady, all whose riches consisted in her good head
and two hands. Widow of an eminent lawyer, but keeping boarders for a
livelihood; engaged in that hardest of occupations, with her house full
and her hands full, she yet found time to make and bake for new year's
day a hundred pies--and not the pie from which, being cut, issued the
famous four-and-twenty blackbirds, gave more cause for merriment, or was
a fitter "dish to set before the king."

God bless his majesty, the _good_ king, who on such a day cares for the
least as much as the greatest; and like Henry IV., proposes it as a
worthy aim of his endeavor that "every poor man shall have his chicken
in the pot." This does not seem, on superficial survey, such a wonderful
boon to crave for creatures made in God's own likeness, yet is it one
that no king could ever yet bestow on his subjects, if we except the
king of Cockaigne. Our maker of the hundred pies is the best prophet we
have seen, as yet, of such a blissful state.

But mostly to him who hath is given in material as well as in spiritual
things, and we fear the pleasures of this day are arranged almost wholly
in reference to the beautiful, the healthy, the wealthy, the witty, and
that but few banquets are prepared for the halt, the blind, and the
sorrowful. But where they are, of a surety water turns to wine by
inevitable Christ-power; no aid of miracle need be invoked. As for
thoughts which should make an epoch of the period, we suppose the number
of these to be in about the same proportion to the number of minds
capable of thought, that the pearls now existent bear to the oysters
still subsistent.

Can we make pearls from our oyster-bed? At least, let us open some of
the shells and try.

Dear public and friends! we wish you a happy new year. We trust that the
year past has given earnest of such a one in so far as having taught
you somewhat how to deserve and to appreciate it.

For ourselves, the months have brought much, though, perhaps,
superficial instruction. Its scope has been chiefly love and hope for
all human beings, and among others for thyself.

We have seen many fair poesies of human life, in which, however, the
tragic thread has not been wanting. We have beheld the exquisite
developments of childhood, and sunned the heart in its smiles. But also
have we discerned the evil star looming up that threatened cloud and
wreck to its future years. We have seen beings of some precious gifts
lost irrecoverably, as regards this present life, from inheritance of a
bad organization and unfortunate circumstances of early years. The
victims of vice we have observed lying in the gutter, companied by
vermin, trampled upon by sensuality and ignorance, and saw those who
wished not to rise, and those who strove so to do, but fell back through
weakness. Sadder and more ominous still, we have seen the good man--in
many impulses and acts of most pure, most liberal, and undoubted
goodness--yet have we noted a spot of base indulgence, a fibre of
brutality canker in a vital part this fine plant, and, while we could
not withdraw love and esteem for the good we could not doubt, have wept
secretly in the heart for the ill we could not deny. We have observed
two deaths; one of the sinner, early cut down; one of the just, full of
years and honor--_both_ were calm; both professed their reliance on the
wisdom of a heavenly Father. We have looked upon the beauteous shows of
nature in undisturbed succession, holy moonlight on the snows, loving
moonlight on the summer fields, the stars which disappoint never and
bless ever, the flowing waters which soothe and stimulate, a garden of
roses calling for queens among women, poets and heroes among men. We
have marked a desire to answer to this call, and genius brought rich
wine, but spilt it on the way, from her careless, fickle gait; and
virtue tainted with a touch of the peacock; and philosophy, never
enjoying, always seeking, had got together all the materials for the
crowning experiment, but there was no love to kindle the fire under the
furnace, and the precious secret is not precipitated yet, for the pot
will not boil to make the gold through your

    "Double, double,
     Toil and trouble,"

if love do not fan the fire.

We have seen the decay of friendships unable to endure the light of an
ideal hope--have seen, too, their resurrection in a faith and hope
beyond the tomb, where the form lies we once so fondly cherished. It is
not dead, but sleepeth; and we watch, but must weep, too, sometimes, for
the night is cold and lonely in the place of tombs.

Nature has appeared dressed in her veil of snowy flowers for the bridal.
We have seen her brooding over her joys, a young mother in the pride and
fulness of beauty, and then bearing her offspring to their richly
ornamented sepulchre, and lately observed her as if kneeling with folded
hands in the stillness of prayer, while the bare trees and frozen
streams bore witness to her patience.

O, much, much have we seen, and a little learned. Such is the record of
the private mind; and yet, as the bright snake-skin is cast, many sigh
and cry,--

                "The wiser mind
    Mourns less for what Time takes away
    Than what he leaves behind."

But for ourselves, we find there is kernel in the nut, though its
ripening be deferred till the late frosty weather, and it prove a hard
nut to crack even then. Looking at the individual, we see a degree of
growth, or the promise of such. In the child there is a force which will
outlast the wreck, and reach at last the promised shore. The good man,
once roused from his moral lethargy, shall make atonement for his fault,
and endure a penance that will deepen and purify his whole nature. The
poor lost ones claim a new trial in a new life, and will there, we
trust, seize firmer hold on the good for the experience they have had of
the bad.

            "We never see the stars
    Till we can see nought else."

The seeming losses are, in truth, but as pruning of the vine to make the
grapes swell more richly.

But how is it with those larger individuals, the nations, and that
congress of such, the world? We must take a broad and superficial view
of these, as we have of private life; and in neither case can more be
done. The secrets of the confessional, or rather of the shrine, do not
come on paper, unless in poetic form.

So we will not try to search and mine, but only to look over the world
from an ideal point of view.

Here we find the same phenomena repeated; the good nation is yet somehow
so sick at heart that you are not sure its goodness will ever produce a
harmony of life; over the young nation, (our own,) rich in energy and
full of glee, brood terrible omens; others, as Poland and Italy, seem
irrecoverably lost. They may revive, but we feel as if it must be under
new forms.

Forms come and go, but principles are developed and displayed more and
more. The caldron simmers, and so great is the fire that we expect it
soon to boil over, and new fates appear for Europe.

Spain is dying by inches; England shows symptoms of having passed her
meridian; Austria has taken opium, but she must awake ere long; France
is in an uneasy dream--she knows she has been very sick, has had
terrible remedies administered, and ought to be getting thoroughly well,
which she is not. Louis Philippe watches by her pillow, doses and
bleeds her, so that she cannot fairly try her strength, and find whether
something or nothing has been done. But Louis Philippe and Metternich
must soon, in the course of nature, leave this scene; and then there
will be none to keep out air and light from the chamber, and the
patients will be roused and ascertain their true condition.

No power is in the ascending course except the Russian; and that has
such a condensation of brute force, animated by despotic will, that it
seems sometimes as if it might by and by stride over Europe and face us
across the water. Then would be opposed to one another the two extremes
of Autocracy and Democracy, and a trial of strength would ensue between
the two principles more grand and full than any ever seen on this
planet, and of which the result must be to bind mankind by one chain of
convictions. Should, indeed, Despotism and Democracy meet as the two
slaveholding powers of the world, the result can hardly be predicted.
But there is room in the intervening age for many changes, and the czars
profess to wish to free their serfs, as our planters do to free their
slaves, and we suppose with equal sincerity; but the need of sometimes
professing such desires is a deference to the progress of principles
which bid fair to have their era yet.

We hope such an era steadfastly, notwithstanding the deeds of darkness
that have made this year forever memorable in our annals. Our nation has
indeed shown that the lust of gain is at present her ruling passion. She
is not only resolute, but shameless, about it, and has no doubt or
scruple as to laying aside the glorious office, assigned her by fate, of
herald of freedom, light, and peace to the civilized world.

Yet we must not despair. Even so the Jewish king, crowned with all gifts
that Heaven could bestow, was intoxicated by their plenitude, and went
astray after the most worthless idols. But he was not permitted to
forfeit finally the position designed for him: he was drawn or dragged
back to it; and so shall it be with this nation. There are trials in
store which shall amend us.

We must believe that the pure blood shown in the time of our revolution
still glows in the heart; but the body of our nation is full of foreign
elements. A large proportion of our citizens, or their parents, came
here for worldly advantage, and have never raised their minds to any
idea of destiny or duty. More money--more land! are all the watchwords
they know. They have received the inheritance earned by the fathers of
the revolution, without their wisdom and virtue to use it. But this
cannot last. The vision of those prophetic souls must be realized, else
the nation could not exist; every body must at least "have soul enough
to save the expense of salt," or it cannot be preserved alive.

What a year it has been with us! Texas annexed, and more annexations in
store; slavery perpetuated, as the most striking new feature of these
movements. Such are the fruits of American love of liberty! Mormons
murdered and driven out, as an expression of American freedom of
conscience; Cassius Clay's paper expelled from Kentucky; that is
American freedom of the press. And all these deeds defended on the true
Russian grounds, "We (the stronger) know what you (the weaker) ought to
do and be, and it _shall_ be so."

Thus the principles which it was supposed, some ten years back, had
begun to regenerate the world, are left without a trophy for this past
year, except in the spread of Rongé's movement in Germany, and that of
associative and communist principles both here and in Europe, which, let
the worldling deem as he will about their practicability, he cannot deny
to be animated by faith in God and a desire for the good of man. We must
add to these the important symptoms of the spread of peace principles.

Meanwhile, if the more valuable springs of action seem to lie dormant
for a time, there is a constant invention and perfection of the means of
action and communication which seems to say, "Do but wait patiently;
there is something of universal importance to be done by and by, and all
is preparing for it to be universally known and used at once." Else what
avail magnetic telegraphs, steamers, and rail-cars traversing every rood
of land and ocean, phonography and the mingling of all literatures, till
North embraces South and Denmark lays her head upon the lap of Italy?
Surely there would not be all this pomp of preparation as to the means
of communion, unless there were like to be something worthy to be

Amid the signs of the breaking down of barriers, we may mention the
Emperor Nicholas letting his daughter pass from the Greek to the Roman
church, for the sake of marrying her to the Austrian prince. Again,
similarity between him and us: he, too, is shameless; for while he signs
this marriage contract with one hand, he holds the knout in the other to
drive the Roman Catholic Poles into the Greek church. But it is a fatal
sign for his empire. 'Tis but the first step that costs, and the
Russians may look back to the marriage of the Grand Duchess Olga, as the
Chinese will to the cannonading of the English, as the first sign of
dissolution in the present form of national life.

A similar token is given by the violation of etiquette of which Mr. Polk
is accused in his message. He, at the head of a government, speaks of
governments and their doings straightforward, as he would of persons,
and the tower, stronghold of the idea of a former age, now propped up by
etiquettes and civilities only, trembles to its foundation.

Another sign of the times is the general panic which the decay of the
potato causes. We believe this is not without a providential meaning,
and will call attention still more to the wants of the people at large.
New and more provident regulations must be brought out, that they may
not again be left with only a potato between them and starvation. By
another of these whimsical coincidences between the histories of
Aristocracy and Democracy, the supply of _truffles_ is also failing.
The land is losing the "nice things" that the queen (truly a young
queen) thought might be eaten in place of bread. Does not this indicate
a period in which it will be felt that there must be provision for
all--the rich shall not have their truffles if the poor are driven to
eat nettles, as the French and Irish have in bygone ages?

The poem of which we here give a prose translation lately appeared in
Germany. It is written by Moritz Hartmann, and contains the _gist_ of
the matter.


There was a great stately house full of people, who have been running in
and out of its lofty gates ever since the gray times of Olympus. There
they wept, laughed, shouted, mourned, and, like day and night, came the
usual changes of joys with plagues and sorrows. Haunting that great
house up and down, making, baking, and roasting, covering and waiting on
the table, has there lived a vast number of years a loyal serving maid
of the olden time--her name was Mrs. Potato. She was a still, little,
old mother, who wore no bawbles or laces, but always had to be satisfied
with her plain, every-day clothes; and unheeded, unhonored, oftentimes
jeered at and forgotten, she served all day at the kitchen fire, and
slept at night in the worst room. When she brought the dishes to table
she got rarely a thankful glance; only at times some very poor man would
in secret shake kindly her hand.

Generation after generation passed by, as the trees blossom, bear fruit,
and wither; but faithful remained the old housemaid, always the servant
of the last heir.

But one morning--hear what happened. All the people came to table, and
lo! there was nothing to eat, for our good old Mistress Potato had not
been able to rise from her bed. She felt sharp pains creeping through
her poor old bones. No wonder she was worn out at last! She had not in
all her life dared take a day's rest, lest so the poor should starve.
Indeed, it is wonderful that her good will should have kept her up so
long. She must have had a great constitution to begin with.

The guests had to go away without breakfast. They were a little
troubled, but hoped to make up for it at dinner time. But dinner time
came, and the table was empty; and then, indeed, they began to inquire
about the welfare of Cookmaid Potato. And up into her dark chamber,
where she lay on her poor bed, came great and little, young and old, to
ask after the good creature. "What can be done for her?" "Bring warm
clothes, medicine, a better bed." "Lay aside your work to help her." "If
she dies we shall never again be able to fill the table;" and now,
indeed, they sang her praises.

O, what a fuss about the sick bed in that moist and mouldy chamber! and
out doors it was just the same--priests with their masses, processions,
and prayers, and all the world ready to walk to penance, if Mistress
Potato could but be saved. And the doctors in their wigs, and
counsellors in masks of gravity, sat there to devise some remedy to
avert this terrible ill.

As when a most illustrious dame is recovering from birth of a son, so
now bulletins inform the world of the health of Mistress Potato, and,
not content with what they thus learn, couriers and lackeys besiege the
door; nay, the king's coach is stopping there. Yes! yes! the humble poor
maid, 'tis about her they are all so frightened! Who would ever have
believed it in days when the table was nicely covered?

The gentlemen of pens and books, priests, kings, lords, and ministers,
all have senses to scent our famine. Natheless Mistress Potato gets no
better. May God help her for the sake, not of such people, but of the
poor. For the great it is a token they should note, that all must
crumble and fall to ruin, if they will work and weary to death the poor
maid who cooks in the kitchen.

She lived for you in the dirt and ashes, provided daily for poor and
rich; you ought to humble yourselves for her sake. Ah, could we hope
that you would take a hint, and _next time_ pay some heed to the
housemaid before she is worn and wearied to death!

       *       *       *       *       *

So sighs, rather than hopes, Moritz Hartmann. The wise ministers of
England, indeed, seem much more composed than he supposes them. They are
like the old man who, when he saw the avalanche coming down upon his
village, said, "It is coming, but I shall have time to fill my pipe once
more." _He_ went in to do so, and was buried beneath the ruins. But Sir
Robert Peel, who is so deliberate, has, doubtless, manna in store for
those who have lost their customary food.

Another sign of the times is, that there are left on the earth none of
the last dynasty of geniuses, rich in so many imperial heads. The world
is full of talent, but it flows downward to water the plain. There are
no towering heights, no Mont Blancs now. We cannot recall one great
genius at this day living. The time of prophets is over, and the era
they prophesied must be at hand; in its couduct a larger proportion of
the human race shall take part than ever before. As prime ministers have
succeeded kings in the substantiate of monarchy, so now shall a house of
representatives succeed prime ministers.

Altogether, it looks as if a great time was coming, and that time one of
democracy. Our country will play a ruling part. Her eagle will lead the
van; but whether to soar upward to the sun or to stoop for helpless
prey, who now dares promise? At present she has scarce achieved a Roman
nobleness, a Roman liberty; and whether her eagle is less like the
vulture, and more like the Phoeix, than was the fierce Roman bird, we
dare not say. May the new year give hopes of the latter, even if the
bird need first to be purified by fire.

_Jan. 1, 1846._


It was a beautiful custom among some of the Indian tribes, once a year,
to extinguish all the fires, and, by a day of fasting and profound
devotion, to propitiate the Great Spirit for the coming year. They then
produced sparks by friction, and lighted up afresh the altar and the
hearth with the new fire.

And this fire was considered as the most precious and sacred gift from
one person to another, binding them in bonds of inviolate friendship for
that year, certainly; with a hope that the same might endure through
life. From the young to the old, it was a token of the highest respect;
from the old to the young, of a great expectation.

To us would that it might be granted to solemnize the new year by the
mental renovation of which this ceremony was the eloquent symbol. Would
that we might extinguish, if only for a day, those fires where an
uninformed religious ardor has led to human sacrifices; which have
warmed the household, but, also, prepared pernicious, more than
wholesome, viands for their use.

The Indian produced the new spark by friction. It would be a still more
beautiful emblem, and expressive of the more extended powers of
civilized men, if we should draw the spark from the centre of our system
and the source of light, by means of the burning glass.

Where, then, is to be found the new knowledge, the new thought, the new
hope, that shall begin a new year in a spirit not discordant with "the
acceptable year of the Lord"? Surely there must be such existing, if
latent--some sparks of new fire, pure from ashes and from smoke, worthy
to be offered as a new year's gift. Let us look at the signs of the
times, to see in what spot this fire shall be sought--on what fuel it
may be fed. The ancients poured out libations of the choicest juices of
earth, to express their gratitude to the Power that had enabled them to
be sustained from her bosom. They enfranchised slaves, to show that
devotion to the gods induced a sympathy with men.

Let us look about us to see with what rites, what acts of devotion, this
modern Christian nation greets the approach of the new year; by what
signs she denotes the clear morning of a better day, such as may be
expected when the eagle has entered into covenant with the dove.

This last week brings tidings that a portion of the inhabitants of
Illinois, the rich and blooming region on which every gift of nature has
been lavished, to encourage the industry and brighten the hopes of man,
not only refuses a libation to the Power that has so blessed their
fields, but declares that the dew is theirs, and the sunlight is
theirs--that they live from and for themselves, acknowledging no
obligation and no duty to God or to man.[28]

One man has freed a slave; but a great part of the nation is now busy in
contriving measures that may best rivet the fetters on those now
chained, and forge them strongest for millions yet unborn.

Selfishness and tyranny no longer wear the mask; they walk haughtily
abroad, affronting with their hard-hearted boasts and brazen resolves
the patience of the sweet heavens. National honor is trodden under foot
for a national bribe, and neither sex nor age defends the redresser of
injuries from the rage of the injurer.

Yet, amid these reports which come flying on the paperwings of every
day, the scornful laugh of the gnomes, who begin to believe they can
buy all souls with their gold, was checked a moment when the aged
knight[29] of the better cause answered the challenge--truly in keeping
with the "chivalry" of the time--"You are in the wrong, and I will kick
you," by holding the hands of the chevalier till those around secured
him. We think the man of old must have held him with his eye, as
physicians of moral power can insane patients. Great as are his exploits
for his age, he cannot have much bodily strength, unless by miracle.

The treatment of Mr. Adams and Mr. Hoar seems to show that we are not
fitted to emulate the savages in preparation for the new fire. The
Indians knew how to reverence the old and the wise.

Among the manifestos of the day, it is impossible not to respect that of
the Mexican minister for the manly indignation with which he has uttered
truths, however deep our mortification at hearing them. It has been
observed for the last fifty years, that the tone of diplomatic
correspondence was much improved, as to simplicity and directness. Once,
diplomacy was another name for intrigue, and a paper of this sort was
expected to be a mesh of artful phrases, through which the true meaning
might be detected, but never actually grasped. Now, here is one where an
occasion being afforded by the unutterable folly of the corresponding
party, a minister speaks the truth as it lies in his mind, directly and
plainly, as man speaks to man. His statement will command the sympathy
of the civilized world.

As to the state papers that have followed, they are of a nature to make
the Austrian despot sneer, as he counts in his oratory the woollen
stockings he has got knit by imprisoning all the free geniuses in his
dominions. He, at least, only appeals to the legitimacy of blood; these
dare appeal to legitimacy, as seen from a moral point of view. History
will class such claims with the brags of sharpers, who bully their
victims about their honor, while they stretch forth their hands for the
gold they have won with loaded dice. "Do you dare to say the dice are
loaded? Prove it; _and_ I will shoot you for injuring my honor."

The Mexican makes his gloss on the page of American honor;[30] the
girl[31] in the Kentucky prison on that of her freedom; the delegate of
Massachusetts,[32] on that of her union. Ye stars, whose image America
has placed upon her banner, answer us! Are not your unions of a
different sort? Do they not work to other results?

Yet we cannot lightly be discouraged, or alarmed, as to the destiny of
our country. The whole history of its discovery and early progress
indicates too clearly the purposes of Heaven with regard to it. Could we
relinquish the thought that it was destined for the scene of a new and
illustrious act in the great drama, the past would be inexplicable, no
less than the future without hope.

Last week, which brought us so many unpleasant notices of home affairs,
brought also an account of the magnificent telescope lately perfected by
the Earl of Rosse. With means of observation now almost divine, we
perceive that some of the brightest stars, of which Sirius is one, have
dark companions, whose presence is, by earthly spectators, only to be
detected from the inequalities they cause in the motions of their
radiant companions. It was a new and most imposing illustration how, in
carrying out the divine scheme, of which we have as yet only spelled out
the few first lines, the dark is made to wait upon, and, in the full
result, harmonize with, the bright. The sense of such pervasive
analogies should enlarge patience and animate hope.

Yet, if offences must come, woe be to those by whom they come; and that
of men, who sin against a heritage like ours, is as that of the
backsliders among the chosen people of the elder day. We, too, have been
chosen, and plain indications been given, by a wonderful conjunction of
auspicious influences, that the ark of human hopes has been placed for
the present in our charge. Woe be to those who betray this trust! On
their heads are to be heaped the curses of unnumbered ages!

Can he sleep, who in this past year has wickedly or lightly committed
acts calculated to injure the few or many; who has poisoned the ears and
the hearts he might have rightly informed; who has steeped in tears the
cup of thousands; who has put back, as far as in him lay, the
accomplishment of general good and happiness for the sake of his selfish
aggrandizement or selfish luxury; who has sold to a party what was meant
for mankind? If such sleep, dreadful shall be the waking.

"Deliver us from evil." In public or in private, it is easy to give
pain--hard to give pure pleasure; easy to do evil--hard to do good. God
does his good in the whole, despite of bad men; but only from a very
pure mind will he permit original good to proceed in the day. Happy
those who can feel that during the past year, they have, to the best of
their knowledge, refrained from evil. Happy those who determine to
proceed in this by the light of conscience. It is but a spark; yet from
that spark may be drawn fire-light enough for worlds and systems of
worlds--and that light is ever new.

And with this thought rises again the memory of the fair lines that
light has brought to view in the histories of some men. If the nation
tends to wrong, there are yet present the ten just men. The hands and
lips of this great form may be impure, but pure blood flows yet within
her veins--the blood of the noble bands who first sought these shores
from the British isles and France, for conscience sake. Too many have
come since, for bread alone. We cannot blame--we must not reject them;
but let us teach them, in giving them bread, to prize that salt, too,
without which all on earth must lose its savor. Yes! let us teach them,
not rail at their inevitable ignorance and unenlightened action, but
teach them and their children as our own; if we do so, their children
and ours may yet act as one body obedient to one soul; and if we act
rightly now, that soul a pure soul.

And ye, sable bands, forced hither against your will, kept down here now
by a force hateful to nature, a will alien from God! It does sometimes
seem as if the avenging angel wore your hue, and would place in your
hands the sword to punish the cruel injustice of our fathers, the
selfish perversity of the sons. Yet are there no means of atonement?
Must the innocent suffer with the guilty? Teach us, O All-Wise, the clew
out of this labyrinth; and if we faithfully encounter its darkness and
dread, and emerge into clear light, wilt thou not bid us "go and sin no

Meanwhile, let us proceed as we can, _picking our steps_ along the
slippery road. If we keep the right direction, what matters it that we
must pass through so much mud? The promise is sure:--

    Angels shall free the feet from stain, to their own hue of snow,
    If, undismayed, we reach the hills where the true olives grow.
      The olive groves, which we must seek in cold and damp,
      Alone can yield us oil for a perpetual lamp.
    Then sound again the golden horn with promise ever new;
    The princely deer will ne'er be caught by those that slack pursue;
    Let the "White Doe" of angel hopes be always kept in view.

    Yes! sound again the horn--of hope the golden horn!
    Answer it, flutes and pipes, from valleys still and lorn;
    Warders, from your high towers, with trumps of silver scorn,
    And harps in maidens' bowers, with strings from deep hearts torn,--
    All answer to the horn--of hope the golden horn!

There is still hope, there is still an America, while private lives are
ruled by the Puritan, by the Huguenot conscientiousness, and while there
are some who can repudiate, not their debts, but the supposition that
they will not strive to pay their debts to their age, and to Heaven, who
gave them a share in its great promise.


This merry season of light jokes and lighter love-tokens, in which Cupid
presents the feathered end of the dart, as if he meant to tickle before
he wounded the captive, has always had a great charm for me. When but a
child, I saw Allston's picture of the "Lady reading a Valentine," and
the mild womanliness of the picture, so remote from passion no less than
vanity, so capable of tenderness, so chastely timid in its
self-possession, has given a color to the gayest thoughts connected with
the day. From the ruff of Allston's Lady, whose clear starch is made to
express all rosebud thoughts of girlish retirement, the soft unfledged
hopes which never yet were tempted from the nest, to Sam Weller's
Valentine, is indeed a broad step, but one which we can take without
material change of mood.

But of all the thoughts and pictures associated with the day, none can
surpass in interest those furnished by the way in which we celebrated it
last week.

The Bloomingdale Asylum for the Insane is conducted on the most wise and
liberal plan known at the present day. Its superintendent, Dr. Earle,
has had ample opportunity to observe the best modes of managing this
class of diseases both here and in Europe, and he is one able, by
refined sympathies and intellectual discernment, to apply the best that
is known and to discover more.

Under his care the beautifully situated establishment at Bloomingdale
loses every sign of the hospital and the prison, not long since thought
to be inseparable from such a place. It is a house of refuge, where
those too deeply wounded or disturbed in body or spirit to keep up that
semblance or degree of sanity which the conduct of affairs in the world
at large demands, may be soothed by gentle care, intelligent sympathy,
and a judicious attention to their physical welfare, into health, or, at
least, into tranquillity.

Dr. Earle, in addition to modes of turning the attention from causes of
morbid irritation, and promoting brighter and juster thoughts, which he
uses in common with other institutions, has this winter delivered a
course of lectures to the patients. We were present at one of these some
weeks since. The subjects touched upon were, often, of a nature to
demand as close attention as an audience of regular students (not
college students, but real students) can be induced to give. The large
assembly present were almost uniformly silent, to appearance interested,
and showed a power of decorum and self-government often wanting among
those who esteem themselves in healthful mastery of their morals and
manners. We saw, with great satisfaction, generous thoughts and solid
pursuits offered, as well as light amusements, for the choice of the
sick in mind. For it is our experience that such sickness arises as
often from want of concentration as any other cause. One of the noblest
youths that ever trod this soil was wont to say, "he was never tired, if
he could only see far enough." He is now gone where his view may be less
bounded; but we, who stay behind, may take the hint that mania, no less
than the commonest forms of prejudice, bespeaks a mind which does not
see far enough to correct partial impressions. No doubt, in many cases,
dissipation of thought, after attention is once distorted into some
morbid direction, may be the first method of cure; but we are glad to
see others provided for those who are ready for them.

St. Valentine's Eve had been appointed for one of the dancing parties at
the institution, and a few friends from "the world's people" invited to
be present.

At an early hour the company assembled in the well-lighted hall, still
gracefully wreathed with its Christmas evergreens; the music struck up
and the company entered.

And these are the people who, half a century ago, would have been
chained in solitary cells, screaming out their anguish till silenced by
threats or blows, lost, forsaken, hopeless, a blight to earth, a libel
upon heaven!

Now, they are many of them happy, all interested. Even those who are
troublesome and subject to violent excitement in every-day scenes, show
here that the power of self-control is not lost, only lessened. Give
them an impulse strong enough, favorable circumstances, and they will
begin to use it again. They regulate their steps to music; they restrain
their impatient impulses from respect to themselves and to others. The
Power which shall yet shape order from all disorder, and turn ashes to
beauty, as violets spring up from green graves, hath them also in its

The party were well dressed, with care and taste. The dancing was better
than usual, because there was less of affectation and ennui. The party
was more entertaining, because native traits came out more clear from
the disguises of vanity and tact.

There was the blue-stocking lady, a mature belle and bel-esprit. Her
condescending graces, her rounded compliments, her girlish, yet "highly
intellectual" vivacity, expressed no less in her head-dress than her
manner, were just that touch above the common with which the illustrator
of Dickens has thought fit to heighten the charms of Mrs. Leo Hunter.

There was the travelled Englishman, _au fait_ to every thing beneath the
moon and beyond. With his clipped and glib phrases, his bundle of
conventionalities carried so neatly under his arm, and his "My dear
sir," in the perfection of cockney dignity, what better could the most
select dinner party furnish us in the way of distinguished strangerhood?

There was the hoidenish young girl, and the decorous, elegant lady
smoothing down "the wild little thing." There was the sarcastic observer
on the folly of the rest; in that, the greatest fool of all, unbeloved
and unloving. In contrast to this were characters altogether lovely,
full of all sweet affections, whose bells, if jangled out of tune, still
retained their true tone.

One of the best things of the evening was a dance improvised by two
elderly women. They asked the privilege of the floor, and, a suitable
measure being played, performed this dance in a style lively,
characteristic, yet moderate enough. It was true dancing, like peasant

An old man sang comic songs in the style of various nations and
characters, with a dramatic expression that would have commanded
applause "on any stage."

And all was done decently and in order, each biding his time. Slight
symptoms of impatience here and there were easily soothed by the
approach of this, truly "good physician," the touch of whose hand seemed
to possess a talismanic power to soothe. We doubt not that all went to
their beds exhilarated, free from irritation, and more attuned to
concord than before. Good bishop Valentine! thy feast was well kept, and
not without the usual jokes and flings at old bachelors, the exchange of
sugar-plums, mottoes, and repartees.

This is the second festival I have kept with those whom society has
placed, not outside her pale, indeed, but outside the hearing of her
benison. Christmas I passed in a prison! There, too, I saw marks of the
miraculous power of love, when guided by a pure faith in the goodness of
its source, and intelligence as to the design of the creative
intelligence. I saw enough of its power, impeded as it was by the
ignorance of those who, eighteen hundred years after the coming of
Christ, still believe more in fear and force: I saw enough, I say, of
this power to convince me, if I needed conviction, that love is indeed
omnipotent, as He said it was.

A companion, of that delicate nature by which a scar is felt as a
wound, was saddened by the thought how very little our partialities,
undue emotions, and manias need to be exaggerated to entitle us to rank
among madmen. I cannot view it so. Rather let the sense that, with all
our faults and follies, there is still a sound spot, a presentiment of
eventual health in the inmost nature, embolden us to hope, to _know_ it
is the same with all. A great thinker has spoken of the Greek, in
highest praise, as "a self-renovating character." But we are all Greeks,
if we will but think so. For the mentally or morally insane, there is no
irreparable ill if the principle of life can but be aroused. And it can
never be finally benumbed, except by our own will.

One of the famous pictures at Munich is of a madhouse. The painter has
represented the moral obliquities of society exaggerated into madness;
that is to say, self-indulgence has, in each instance, destroyed the
power to forbear the ill or to discern the good. A celebrated writer has
added a little book, to be used while looking at the picture, and drawn
inferences of universal interest.

Such would we draw; such as this! Let no one dare to call another mad
who is not himself willing to rank in the same class for every
perversion and fault of judgment. Let no one dare aid in punishing
another as criminal who is not willing to suffer the penalty due to his
own offences.

Yet, while owning that we are all mad, all criminal, let us not despair,
but rather believe that the Ruler of all never could permit such
wide-spread ill but to good ends. It is permitted to give us a field to
redeem it--

                "to transmute, bereave
    Of an ill influence, and a good receive."

It flows inevitably from the emancipation of our wills, the development
of individuality in us. These aims accomplished, all shall yet be well;
and it is ours to learn _how_ that good time may be hastened.

We know no sign of the times more encouraging than the increasing
nobleness and wisdom of view as to the government of asylums for the
insane and of prisons. Whatever is learned as to these forms of society
is learned for all. There is nothing that can be said of such government
that must not be said, also, of the government of families, schools, and
states. But we have much to say on this subject, and shall revert to it
again, and often, though, perhaps, not with so pleasing a theme as this
of St. Valentine's Eve.


The bells ring; the cannon rouse the echoes along the river shore; the
boys sally forth with shouts and little flags, and crackers enough to
frighten all the people they meet from sunrise to sunset. The orator is
conning for the last time the speech in which he has vainly attempted to
season with some new spice the yearly panegyric upon our country; its
happiness and glory; the audience is putting on its best bib and tucker,
and its blandest expression to listen.

And yet, no heart, we think, can beat to-day with one pulse of genuine,
noble joy. Those who have obtained their selfish objects will not take
especial pleasure in thinking of them to-day, while to unbiassed minds
must come sad thoughts of national honor soiled in the eyes of other
nations, of a great inheritance risked, if not forfeited.

Much has been achieved in this country since the Declaration of
Independence. America is rich and strong; she has shown great talent and
energy; vast prospects of aggrandizement open before her. But the noble
sentiment which she expressed in her early youth is tarnished; she has
shown that righteousness is not her chief desire, and her name is no
longer a watchword for the highest hopes to the rest of the world. She
knows this, but takes it very easily; she feels that she is growing
richer and more powerful, and that seems to suffice her.

These facts are deeply saddening to those who can pronounce the words
"my country" with pride and peace only so far as steadfast virtues,
generous impulses, find their home in that country. They cannot be
satisfied with superficial benefits, with luxuries and the means of
obtaining knowledge which are multiplied for them. They could rejoice in
full hands and a busy brain, if the soul were expanding and the heart
pure; but, the higher conditions being violated, what is done cannot be
done for good.

Such thoughts fill patriot minds as the cannon-peal bursts upon the ear.
This year, which declares that the people at large consent to cherish
and extend slavery as one of our "domestic institutions," takes from the
patriot his home. This year, which attests their insatiate love of
wealth and power, quenches the flame upon the altar.

Yet there remains that good part which cannot be taken away. If nations
go astray, the narrow path may always be found and followed by the
individual man. It is hard, hard indeed, when politics and trade are
mixed up with evils so mighty that he scarcely dares touch them for fear
of being defiled. He finds his activity checked in great natural outlets
by the scruples of conscience. He cannot enjoy the free use of his
limbs, glowing upon a favorable tide; but struggling, panting, must fix
his eyes upon his aim, and fight against the current to reach it. It is
not easy, it is very hard just now, to realize the blessings of

For what _is_ independence if it do not lead to freedom?--freedom from
fraud and meanness, from selfishness, from public opinion so far as it
does not agree with the still, small voice of one's better self?

Yet there remains a great and worthy part to play. This country presents
great temptations to ill, but also great inducements to good. Her health
and strength are so remarkable, her youth so full of life, that disease
cannot yet have taken deep hold of her. It has bewildered her brain,
made her steps totter, fevered, but not yet tainted, her blood. Things
are still in that state when ten just men may save the city. A few men
are wanted, able to think and act upon principles of an eternal value.
The safety of the country must lie in a few such men; men who have
achieved the genuine independence, independence of wrong, of violence,
of falsehood.

We want individuals to whom all eyes may turn as examples of the
practicability of virtue. We want shining examples. We want
deeply-rooted characters, who cannot be moved by flattery, by fear, even
by hope, for they work in faith. The opportunity for such men is great;
they will not be burned at the stake in their prime for bearing witness
to the truth, yet they will be tested most severely in their adherence
to it. There is nothing to hinder them from learning what is true and
best; no physical tortures will be inflicted on them for expressing it.
Let men feel that in private lives, more than in public measures, must
the salvation of the country lie. If that country has so widely veered
from the course she prescribed to herself, and that the hope of the
world prescribed to her, it must be because she had not men ripened and
confirmed for better things. They leaned too carelessly on one another;
they had not deepened and purified the private lives from which the
public vitality must spring, as the verdure of the plain from the
fountains of the hills.

What a vast influence is given by sincerity alone. The bier of General
Jackson has lately passed, upbearing a golden urn. The men who placed it
there lament his departure, and esteem the measures which have led this
country to her present position wise and good. The other side esteem
them unwise, unjust, and disastrous in their consequences. But both
respect him thus far, that his conduct was boldly sincere. The sage of
Quincy! Men differ in their estimate of his abilities. None, probably,
esteem his mind as one of the first magnitude. But both sides, all men,
are influenced by the bold integrity of his character. Mr. Calhoun
speaks straight out what he thinks. So far as this straightforwardness
goes, he confers the benefits of virtue. If a character be uncorrupted,
whatever bias it takes, it thus far is good and does good. It may help
others to a higher, wiser, larger independence than its own.

We know not where to look for an example of all or many of the virtues
we would seek from the man who is to begin the new dynasty that is
needed of fathers of the country. The country needs to be born again;
she is polluted with the lust of power, the lust of gain. She needs
fathers good enough to be godfathers--men who will stand sponsors at the
baptism with _all_ they possess, with all the goodness they can cherish,
and all the wisdom they can win, to lead this child the way she should
go, and never one step in another. Are there not in schools and colleges
the boys who will become such men? Are there not those on the threshold
of manhood who have not yet chosen the broad way into which the
multitude rushes, led by the banner on which, strange to say, the royal
Eagle is blazoned, together with the word Expediency? Let them decline
that road, and take the narrow, thorny path where Integrity leads,
though with no prouder emblem than the Dove. They may there find the
needed remedy, which, like the white root, detected by the patient and
resolved Odysseus, shall have power to restore the herd of men,
disguised by the enchantress to whom they had willingly yielded in the
forms of brutes, to the stature and beauty of men.


Among the holidays of the year, some portion of our people borrow one
from another land. They borrow what they fain would own, since their
doing so would increase, not lessen, the joy and prosperity of the
present owner. It is a holiday not to be celebrated, as others are, with
boast, and shout, and gay procession, but solemnly, yet hopefully; in
prayer and humiliation for much ill now existing; in faith that the God
of good will not permit such ill to exist always; in aspiration to
become his instruments for removal.

We borrow this holiday from England. We know not that she could lend us
another such. Her career has been one of selfish aggrandizement. To
carry her flag wherever the waters flow; to leave a strong mark of her
footprint on every shore, that she might return and claim its spoils; to
maintain in every way her own advantage,--is and has been her object, as
much as that of any nation upon earth. The plundered Hindoo, the wronged
Irish,--for ourselves we must add the outraged Chinese, (for we look on
all that has been written about the right of that war as mere
sophistry,)--no less than Napoleon, walking up and down, in his "tarred
great-coat," in the unwholesome lodge at St. Helena,--all can tell
whether she be righteous or generous in her conquests. Nay, let myriads
of her own children say whether she will abstain from sacrificing,
mercilessly, human freedom, happiness, and the education of immortal
souls, for the sake of gains of money! We speak of Napoleon, for we
must ever despise, with most profound contempt, the use she made of her
power on that occasion. She had been the chief means of liberating
Europe from his tyranny, and, though it was for her own sake, we must
commend and admire her conduct and resolution thus far. But the
unhandsome, base treatment of her captive, has never been enough
contemned. Any private gentleman, in chaining up the foe that had put
himself in his power, would at least have given him lodging, food, and
clothes to his liking; and a civil turnkey--and a great nation could
fail in this! O, it was shameful, if only for the vulgarity of feeling
evinced! All this we say, because we are sometimes impatient of
England's brag on the subject of slavery. Freedom! Because she has done
one good act, is she entitled to the angelic privilege of being the
champion of freedom?

And yet it is true that once she nobly awoke to a sense of what was
right and wise. It is true that she also acted out that sense--acted
fully, decidedly. She was willing to make sacrifices, even of the loved
money. She has not let go the truth she then laid to heart, and
continues the resolute foe of man's traffic in men. We must bend low to
her as we borrow this holiday--the anniversary of the emancipation of
slaves in the West Indies. We do not feel that the extent of her
practice justifies the extent of her preaching; yet we must feel her to
be, in this matter, an elder sister, entitled to cry shame to us. And if
her feelings be those of a sister indeed, how must she mourn to see her
next of kin pushing back, as far as in her lies, the advance of this
good cause, binding those whom the old world had awakened from its sins
enough to loose! But courage, sister! All is not yet lost! There is here
a faithful band, determined to expiate the crimes that have been
committed in the name of liberty. On this day they meet and vow
themselves to the service; and, as they look in one another's glowing
eyes, they read there assurance that the end is not yet, and that they,
forced as they are

    "To keep in company with Pain,
    And Fear, and Falsehood, miserable train,"

       "Turn that necessity to glorious gain,"

       "Transmute them and subdue."

Indeed, we do not see that they "bate a jot of heart or hope," and it is
because they feel that the power of the Great Spirit, and its peculiar
workings in the spirit of this age, are with them. There is action and
reaction all the time; and though the main current is obvious, there are
many little eddies and counter-currents. Mrs. Norton writes a poem on
the sufferings of the poor, and in it she, as episode, tunefully laments
the sufferings of the Emperor of all the Russias for the death of a
beloved daughter. And it _was_ a deep grief; yet it did not soften his
heart, or make it feel for man. The first signs of his recovered spirits
are in new efforts to crush out the heart of Poland, and to make the
Jews lay aside the hereditary marks of their national existence--to them
a sacrifice far worse than death. But then,--Count Apraxin is burned
alive by his infuriate serfs, and the life of a serf is far more
dog-like, or rather machine-like, than that of _our_ slaves. Still the
serf can rise in vengeance--can admonish the autocrat that humanity may
yet turn again and rend him.

So with us. The most shameful deed has been done that ever disgraced a
nation, because the most contrary to consciousness of right. Other
nations have done wickedly, but we have surpassed them all in trampling
under foot the principles that had been assumed as the basis of our
national existence, and shown a willingness to forfeit our honor in the
face of the world.

The following stanzas, written by a friend some time since, on the
fourth of July, exhibit these contrasts so forcibly, that we cannot do
better than insert them here:--

    Loud peal of bells and beat of drums
      Salute approaching dawn;
    And the deep cannon's fearful bursts
      Announce a nation's morn.

    Imposing ranks of freemen stand
      And claim their proud birthright;
    Impostors, rather! thus to brand
      A name they hold so bright.

    Let the day see the pageant show;
      Float, banners, to the breeze!
    Shout Liberty's great name throughout
      Columbia's lands and seas!

    Give open sunlight to the free;
      But for Truth's equal sake,
    When night sinks down upon the land,
      Proclaim dead Freedom's wake!

    Beat, muffled drums!    Toll, funeral bell
      Nail every flag half-mast;
    For though we fought the battle well,
      We're traitors at the last.

    Let the whole nation join in one
      Procession to appear;
    We and our sons lead on the front,
      Our slaves bring up the rear.

    America is rocked within
      Thy cradle, Liberty,
    By Africa's poor, palsied hand--
      Strange inconsistency!

    We've dug one grave as deep as Death,
      For Tyranny's black sin;
    And dug another at its side
      To thrust our brother in.

    We challenge all the world aloud,--
      "Lo, Tyranny's deep grave!"
    And all the world points back and cries,
      "Thou fool! Behold thy slave!"

    Yes, rally, brave America,
      Thy noble hearts and free
    Around the Eagle, as he soars
      Upward in majesty.

    One half thy emblem is the bird,
      Out-facing thus the day;
    But wouldst thou make him wholly thine,--
      _Give him a helpless prey!_

This should be sung in Charleston at nine o'clock in the evening, when
the drums are heard proclaiming "dead Freedom's wake," as they summon to
their homes, or to the custody of the police, every human being with a
black skin who is found walking without a pass from a white. Or it might
have been sung to advantage the night after Charleston had shown her
independence and care of domestic institutions by expulsion of the
venerable envoy of Massachusetts! Its expression would seem even more
forcible than now, when sung so near the facts, when the eagle soars so
close above his prey.

How deep the shadow! yet cleft by light. There is a counter-current that
sets towards the deep. We are inclined to weigh as of almost equal
weight with all we have had to trouble us as to the prolongation of
slavery, the hopes that may be gathered from the course of such a man as
Cassius M. Clay,--a man open to none of the accusations brought to
diminish the influence of abolitionists in general, for he has eaten the
bread wrought from slavery, and has shared the education that excuses
the blindness of the slaveholder. He speaks as one having authority; no
one can deny that he knows where he is. In the prime of manhood, of
talent, and the energy of a fine enthusiasm, he comes forward with deed
and word to do his devoir in this cause, never to leave the field till
he can take with him the wronged wretches rescued by his devotion.

Now he has made this last sacrifice of the prejudices of "southern
chivalry," more persons than ever will be ready to join the herald's
cry, "God speed the right!" And we cannot but believe his noble example
will be followed by many young men in the slaveholding ranks, brothers
in a new, sacred band, vowed to the duty, not merely of defending, but
far more sacred, of purifying their homes.

The event of which this day is the anniversary, affords a sufficient
guarantee of the safety and practicability of strong measures for this
purification. Various accounts are given to the public, of the state of
the British West Indies, and the foes of emancipation are of course
constantly on the alert to detect any unfavorable result which may aid
them in opposing the good work elsewhere. But through all statements
these facts shine clear as the sun at noonday, that the measure was
there carried into effect with an ease and success, and has shown in the
African race a degree of goodness, docility, capacity for industry and
self-culture entirely beyond or opposed to the predictions which
darkened so many minds with fears. Those fears can never again be
entertained or uttered with the same excuse. One great example of the
_safety of doing right_ exists; true, there is but one of the sort, but
volumes may be preached from such a text.

We, however, preach not; there are too many preachers already in the
field, abler, more deeply devoted to the cause. Endless are the sermons
of these modern crusaders, these ardent "sons of thunder," who have
pledged themselves never to stop or falter till this one black spot be
purged away from the land which gave them birth. They cry aloud and
spare not; they spare not others, but then, neither do they spare
themselves; and such are ever the harbingers of a new advent of the Holy
Spirit. Our venerated friend, Dr. Channing, sainted in more memories
than any man who has left us in this nineteenth century, uttered the
last of his tones of soft, solemn, convincing, persuasive eloquence, on
this day and this occasion. The hills of Lenox laughed and were glad as
they heard him who showed in that last address (an address not only to
the men of Lenox, but to all men, for he was in the highest sense the
friend of man) the unsullied purity of infancy, the indignation of youth
at vice and wrong, informed and tempered by the mild wisdom of age. It
is a beautiful fact that this should have been the last public occasion
of his life.

Last year a noble address was delivered by R. W. Emerson, in which he
broadly showed the _juste milieu_ views upon this subject in the holy
light of a high ideal day. The truest man grew more true as he listened;
for the speech, though it had the force of fact and the lustre of
thought, was chiefly remarkable as sharing the penetrating quality of
the "still small voice," most often heard when no man speaks. Now it
spoke _through_ a man; and no personalities, or prejudices, or passions
could be perceived to veil or disturb its silver sound.

These speeches are on record; little can be said that is not contained
in them. But we can add evermore our aspirations for thee, O our
country! that thou mayst not long need to borrow a _holy_ day; not long
have all thy festivals blackened by falsehood, tyranny, and a crime for
which neither man below nor God above can much longer pardon thee. For
ignorance may excuse error; but thine--it is vain to deny it--is
conscious wrong, and vows thee to the Mammon whose wages are endless
remorse or final death.


    "Canst thou give thanks for aught that has been given
    Except by making earth more worthy heaven?
    Just stewardship the Master hoped from thee;
    Harvests from time to bless eternity."

Thanksgiving is peculiarly the festival day of New England. Elsewhere,
other celebrations rival its attractions, but in that region where the
Puritans first returned thanks that some among them had been sustained
by a great hope and earnest resolve amid the perils of the ocean, wild
beasts, and famine, the old spirit which hallowed the day still lingers,
and forbids that it should be entirely devoted to play and plum-pudding.

And yet, as there is always this tendency; as the twelfth-night cake is
baked by many a hostess who would be puzzled if you asked her, "Twelfth
night after or before what?" and the Christmas cake by many who know no
other Christmas service, so it requires very serious assertion and proof
from the minister to convince his parishioners that the turkey and
plum-pudding, which are presently to occupy his place in their
attention, should not be the chief objects of the day.

And in other regions, where the occasion is observed, it is still more
as one for a meeting of families and friends to the enjoyment of a good
dinner, than for any higher purpose.

This, indeed, is one which we want not to depreciate. If this manner of
keeping the day be likely to persuade the juniors of the party that the
celebrated Jack Horner is the prime model for brave boys, and that
grandparents are chiefly to be respected as the givers of grand feasts
yet a meeting in the spirit of kindness, however dull and blind, is not
wholly without use in healing differences and promoting good intentions.
The instinct of family love, intended by Heaven to make those of one
blood the various and harmonious organs of one mind, is never wholly
without good influence. Family love, I say, for family pride is never
without bad influence, and it too often takes the place of its mild and
healthy sister.

Yet where society is at all simple, it is cheering to see the family
circle thus assembled, if only because its patriarchal form is in itself
so excellent. The presence of the children animates the old people,
while the respect and attention they demand refine the gayety of the
young. Yes, it is cheering to see, in some large room, the elders
talking near the bright fire, while the cousins of all ages are amusing
themselves in knots. Here is almost all the good, and very little of the
ill, that can be found in society, got together merely for amusement.

Yet how much nobler, more exhilarating, and purer would be the
atmosphere of that circle if the design of its pious founders were
remembered by those who partake this festival! if they dared not attend
the public jubilee till private retrospect of the past year had been
taken in the spirit of the old rhyme, which we all bear in mind if not
in heart,--

    "What hast thou done that's worth the doing,
    And what pursued that's worth pursuing?
    What sought thou knew'st that thou shouldst shun,
    What done thou shouldst have left undone?"

A crusade needs also to be made this day into the wild places of each
heart, taking for its device, "Lord, cleanse thou me from secret faults;
keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins." Would not that
circle be happy as if music, from invisible agents, floated through it
if each member of it considered every other member as a bequest from
heaven; if he supposed that the appointed nearness in blood or lot was
a sign to him that he must exercise his gifts of every kind as given
peculiarly in their behalf; that if richer in temper, in talents, in
knowledge, or in worldly goods, here was the innermost circle of his
poor; that he must clothe these naked, whether in body or mind, soothing
the perverse, casting light into the narrow chamber, or, most welcome
task of all! extending a hand at the right moment to one uncertain of
his way? It is this spirit that makes the old man to be revered as a
Nestor, rather than put aside like a worn-out garment. It is such a
spirit that sometimes has given to the young child a ministry as of a
parent in the house.

But, if charity begin at home, it must not end there; and, while
purifying the innermost circle, let us not forget that it depends upon
the great circle, and that again on it; that no home can be healthful in
which are not cherished seeds of good for the world at large. Thy child,
thy brother, are given to thee only as an example of what is due from
thee to all men. It is true that, if you, in anger, call your brother
fool, no deeds of so-called philanthropy shall save you from the
punishment; for your philanthropy must be from the love of excitement,
not the love of man, or of goodness. But then you must visit the
Gentiles also, and take time for knowing what aid the woman of Samaria
may need.

A noble Catholic writer, in the true sense as well as by name a
Catholic, describes a tailor as giving a dinner on an occasion which had
brought honor to his house, which, though a humble, was not a poor
house. In his glee, the tailor was boasting a little of the favors and
blessings of his lot, when suddenly a thought stung him. He stopped, and
cutting away half the fowl that lay before him, sent it in a dish with
the best knives, bread, and napkin, and a brotherly message that was
better still, to a widow near, who must, he knew, be sitting in sadness
and poverty among her children. His little daughter was the messenger.
If parents followed up the indulgences heaped upon their children at
Thanksgiving dinners with similar messages, there would not be danger
that children should think enjoyment of sensual pleasures the only
occasion that demands Thanksgiving.

And suppose, while the children were absent on their errands of justice,
as they could not fail to think them, if they compared the hovels they
must visit with their own comfortable homes, their elders, touched by a
sense of right, should be led from discussion of the rivalries of trade
or fashion to inquiry whether they could not impart of all that was
theirs, not merely one poor dinner once a year, but all their mental and
material wealth for the benefit of all men. If they do not sell it _all_
at once, as the rich young man was bid to do as a test of his sincerity,
they may find some way in which it could be invested so as to show
enough obedience to the law and the prophets to love our neighbor as

And he who once gives himself to such thoughts will find it is not
merely moral gain for which he shall return thanks another year with the
return of this day. In the present complex state of human affairs, you
cannot be kind unless you are wise. Thoughts of amaranthine bloom will
spring up in the fields ploughed to give food to suffering men. It
would, indeed, seem to be a simple matter at first glance. "Lovest thou
me?"--"Feed my lambs." But now we have not only to find pasture, but to
detect the lambs under the disguise of wolves, and restore them by a
spell, like that the shepherd used, to their natural form and whiteness.

And for this present day appointed for Thanksgiving, we may say that if
we know of so many wrongs, woes, and errors in the world yet
unredressed; if in this nation recent decisions have shown a want of
moral discrimination in important subjects, that make us pause and doubt
whether we can join in the formal congratulations that we are still
bodily alive, unassailed by the ruder modes of warfare, and enriched
with the fatness of the land; yet, on the other side, we know of causes
not so loudly proclaimed why we should give thanks. Abundantly and
humbly we must render them for the movement, now sensible in the heart
of the civilized world, although it has not pervaded the entire
frame--for that movement of contrition and love which forbids men of
earnest thought to eat, drink, or be merry while other men are steeped
in ignorance, corruption, and woe; which calls the king from his throne
of gold, and the poet from his throne of mind, to lie with the beggar in
the kennel, or raise him from it; which says to the poet, "You must
reform rather than create a world," and to him of the golden crown, "You
cannot long remain a king unless you are also a man."

Wherever this impulse of social or political reform darts up its rill
through the crusts of selfishness, scoff and dread also arise, and hang
like a heavy mist above it. But the voice of the rill penetrates far
enough for those who have ears to hear. And sometimes it is the case
that "those who came to scoff remain to pray." In two articles of
reviews, one foreign and one domestic, which have come under our eye
within the last fortnight, the writers who began by jeering at the
visionaries, seemed, as they wrote, to be touched by a sense that
without a high and pure faith none can have the only true vision of the
intention of God as to the destiny of man.

We recognized as a happy omen that there is cause for thanksgiving, and
that our people may be better than they seem, the recent meeting to
organize an association for the benefit of prisoners. We are not, then,
wholly Pharisees. We shall not ask the blessing of this day in the mood
of, "Lord, I thank thee that I, and my son, and my brother, are not as
other men are,--not as those publicans imprisoned there," while the
still small voice cannot make us hear its evidence that, but for
instruction, example, and the "preventing God," every sin that can be
named might riot in our hearts. The prisoner, too, may become a man.
Neither his open nor our secret fault must utterly dismay us. We will
treat him as if he had a soul. We will not dare to hunt him into a
beast of prey, or trample him into a serpent. We will give him some
crumbs from the table which grace from above and parental love below
have spread for us, and perhaps he will recover from these ghastly
ulcers that deform him now.

We were much pleased with the spirit of the meeting for the benefit of
prisoners, to which we have just alluded. It was simple, business-like,
in a serious, affectionate temper. The speakers did not make phrases or
compliments--did not slur over the truth. The audience showed a ready
vibration to the touch of just and tender feeling. The time was
evidently ripe for this movement. We doubt not that many now darkened
souls will give thanks for the ray of light that will have been let in
by this time next year. It is but a grain of mustard seed, but the
promised tree will grow swiftly if tended in a pure spirit; and the
influence of good measures in any one place will be immediate in this
province, as has been the case with every attempt in behalf of another
sorrowing class, the insane.

While reading a notice of a successful attempt to have musical
performances carried through in concert by the insane at Rouen, we were
forcibly reminded of a similar performance we heard a few weeks ago at
Sing Sing. There the female prisoners joined in singing a hymn, or
rather choral, which describes the last thoughts of a spirit about to be
enfranchised from the body; each stanza of which ends with the words,
"All is well;" and they sang it--those suffering, degraded children of
society--with as gentle and resigned an expression as if they were sure
of going to sleep in the arms of a pure mother. The good spirit that
dwelt in the music made them its own. And shall not the good spirit of
religious sympathy make them its own also, and more permanently? We
shall see. Should the _morally_ insane, by wise and gentle care, be won
back to health, as the wretched bedlamites have been, will not the
angels themselves give thanks? And will any man dare take the risk of
opposing plans that afford even a chance of such a result?

Apart also from good that is public and many-voiced, does not each of us
know, in private experience, much to be thankful for? Not only the
innocent and daily pleasures that we have prized according to our
wisdom; of the sun and starry skies, the fields of green, or snow
scarcely less beautiful, the loaf eaten with an appetite, the glow of
labor, the gentle signs of common affection; but have not some, have not
many of us, cause to be thankful for enfranchisement from error or
infatuation; a growth in knowledge of outward things, and instruction
within the soul from a higher source. Have we not acquired a sense of
more refined enjoyments; clear convictions; sometimes a serenity in
which, as in the first days of June, all things grow, and the blossom
gives place to fruit? Have we not been weaned from what was unfit for
us, or unworthy our care? and have not those ties been drawn more close,
and are not those objects seen more distinctly, which shall forever be
worthy the purest desires of our souls? Have we learned to do any thing,
the humblest, in the service and by the spirit of the power which
meaneth all things well? If so, we may give thanks, and, perhaps,
venture to offer our solicitations in behalf of those as yet less
favored by circumstances. When even a few shall dare do so with the
whole heart--for only a pure heart, can "avail much" in such
prayers--then ALL shall soon be well.


Our festivals come rather too near together, since we have so few of
them; thanksgiving, Christmas, new year's day,--and then none again till
July. We know not but these four, with the addition of "a day set apart
for fasting and prayer," might answer the purposes of rest and
edification, as well as a calendar full of saints' days, if they were
observed in a better spirit. But thanksgiving is devoted to good
dinners; Christmas and new year's days, to making presents and
compliments; fast day, to playing at cricket and other games; and the
fourth of July, to boasting of the past, rather than to plans how to
deserve its benefits and secure its fruits.

We value means of marking time by appointed days, because man, on one
side of his nature so ardent and aspiring, is on the other so slippery
and indolent a being, that he needs incessant admonitions to redeem the
time. Time flows on steadily, whether he regards it or not; yet unless
_he keep time_, there is no music in that flow. The sands drop with
inevitable speed, yet each waits long enough to receive, if it be ready,
the intellectual touch that should turn it to a sand of gold.

Time, says the Grecian fable, is the parent of Power; Power is the
father of Genius and Wisdom; Time, then, is grandfather of the noblest
of the human family, and we must respect the aged sire whom we see on
the frontispiece of the almanacs, and believe his scythe was meant to
mow down harvests ripened for an immortal use.

Yet the best provision made by the mind of society, at large, for these
admonitions, soon loses its efficacy, and requires that individual
earnestness, individual piety, should continually reanimate the most
beautiful form. The world has never seen arrangements which might more
naturally offer good suggestions, than those of the church of Rome. The
founders of that church stood very near a history, radiant at every page
with divine light. All their rites and ceremonial days illustrate facts
of a universal interest. But the life with which piety, first, and
afterwards the genius of great artists, invested these symbols, waned at
last, except to a thoughtful few. Reverence was forgotten in the
multitude of genuflections; the rosary became a string of beads, rather
than a series of religious meditations, and "the glorious company of
saints and martyrs" were not so much regarded as the teachers of
heavenly truth, as intercessors to obtain for their votaries the
temporal gifts they craved.

Yet we regret that some of these symbols had not been more reverenced by
Protestants, as the possible occasion of good thoughts. And among others
we regret that the day set apart to commemorate the birth of Jesus
should have been stripped, even by those who observe it, of many
impressive and touching accessories.

If ever there was an occasion on which the arts could become all but
omnipotent in the service of a holy thought, it is this of the birth of
the child Jesus. In the palmy days of the Catholic religion, they may be
said to have wrought miracles in its behalf; and, in our colder time,
when we rather reflect that light from a different point of view, than
transport ourselves into it,--who, that has an eye and ear faithful to
the soul, is not conscious of inexhaustible benefits from some of the
works by which sublime geniuses have expressed their ideas in the
adorations of the Magi and the Shepherds, in the Virgin with the infant
Jesus, or that work which expresses what Christendom at large has not
even begun to realize,--that work which makes us conscious, as we
listen, why the soul of man was thought worthy and able to upbear a
cross of such dreadful weight--the Messiah of Handel.

Christmas would seem to be the day peculiarly sacred to children, and
something of this feeling here shows itself among us, though rather from
German influence than of native growth. The evergreen tree is often
reared for the children on Christmas evening, and its branches cluster
with little tokens that may, at least, give them a sense that the world
is rich, and that there are some in it who care to bless them. It is a
charming sight to see their glittering eyes, and well worth much trouble
in preparing the Christmas tree.

Yet, on this occasion as on all others, we could wish to see pleasure
offered them in a form less selfish than it is. When shall we read of
banquets prepared for the halt, the lame, and the blind, on the day that
is said to have brought _their_ Friend into the world? When will the
children be taught to ask all the cold and ragged little ones, whom they
have seen during the day wistfully gazing at the displays in the
shop-windows, to share the joys of Christmas eve?

We borrow the Christmas tree from Germany. Would that we might but
borrow with it that feeling which pervades all their stories about the
influence of the Christ child; and has, I doubt not,--for the spirit of
literature is always, though refined, the essence of popular
life,--pervaded the conduct of children there!

We will mention two of these as happily expressive of different sides of
the desirable character. One is a legend of the Saint Hermann Joseph.
The legend runs, that this saint, when a little boy, passed daily by a
niche where was an image of the Virgin and Child, and delighted there to
pay his devotions. His heart was so drawn towards the holy child, that,
one day, having received what seemed to him a gift truly precious,--to
wit, a beautiful red and yellow apple,--he ventured to offer it, with
his prayer. To his unspeakable delight, the child put forth its hand
and took the apple. After that day, never was a gift bestowed upon the
little Hermann that was not carried to the same place. He needed nothing
for himself, but dedicated all his childish goods to the altar.

After a while, grief comes. His father, who was a poor man, finds it
necessary to take him from school and bind him to a trade. He
communicates his woes to his friends of the niche, and the Virgin
comforts him, like a mother, and bestows on him money, by means of which
he rises, (not to ride in a gilt coach like Lord Mayor Whittington,) but
to be a learned and tender shepherd of men.

Another still more touching story is that of the holy Rupert. Rupert was
the only child of a princely house, and had something to give besides
apples. But his generosity and human love were such, that, as a child,
he could never see poor children suffering without despoiling himself of
all he had with him in their behalf. His mother was, at first,
displeased at this; but when he replied, "They are thy children too,"
her reproofs yielded to tears.

One time, when he had given away his coat to a poor child, he got
wearied and belated on his homeward way. He lay down a while, and fell
asleep. Then he dreamed that he was on a river shore, and saw a mild and
noble old man bathing many children. After he had plunged them into the
water, he would place them on a beautiful island, where they looked
white and glorious as little angels. Rupert was seized with strong
desire to join them, and begged the old man to bathe him, also, in the
stream. But he was answered, "It is not yet time." Just then a rainbow
spanned the island, and on its arch was enthroned the child Jesus,
dressed in a coat that Rupert knew to be his own. And the child said to
the others, "See this coat; it is one my brother Rupert has just sent to
me. He has given us many gifts from his love; shall we not ask him to
join us here?" And they shouted a musical "yes;" and the child started
from his dream. But he had lain too long on the damp bank of the river,
without his coat. A cold, and fever soon sent him to join the band of
his brothers in their home.

These are legends, superstitions, will you say? But, in casting aside
the shell, have we retained the kernel? The image of the child Jesus is
not seen in the open street; does his spirit find other means to express
itself there? Protestantism did not mean, we suppose, to deaden the
spirit in excluding the form?

The thought of Jesus, as a child, has great weight with children who
have learned to think of him at all. In thinking of him, they form an
image of all that the morning of a pure and fervent life should be and
bring. In former days I knew a boy artist, whose genius, at that time,
showed high promise. He was not more than fourteen years old; a slight,
pale boy, with a beaming eye. The hopes and sympathy of friends, gained
by his talent, had furnished him with a studio and orders for some
pictures. He had picked up from the streets a boy still younger and
poorer than himself, to take care of the room and prepare his colors;
and the two boys were as content in their relation as Michael Angelo
with his Urbino. If you went there you found exposed to view many pretty
pictures: a Girl with a Dove, the Guitar Player and such subjects as are
commonly supposed to interest at his age. But, hid in a corner, and
never, shown, unless to the beggar page, or some most confidential
friend, was the real object of his love and pride, the slowly growing
work of secret hours. The subject of this picture was Christ teaching
the doctors. And in those doctors he had expressed all he had already
observed of the pedantry and shallow conceit of those in whom mature
years have not unfolded the soul; and in the child, all he felt that
early youth should be and seek, though, alas! his own feet failed him on
the difficult road. This one record of the youth of Jesus had, at
least, been much to his mind.

In earlier days, the little saints thought they best imitated the
Emanuel by giving apples and coats; but we know not why, in our age,
that esteems itself so enlightened, they should not become also the
givers of spiritual gifts. We see in them, continually, impulses that
only require a good direction to effect infinite good. See the little
girls at work for foreign missions; that is not useless. They devote the
time to a purpose that is not selfish; the horizon of their thoughts is
extended. But they are perfectly capable of becoming home missionaries
as well. The principle of stewardship would make them so.

I have seen a little girl of thirteen,--who had much service, too, to
perform, for a hard-working mother,--in the midst of a circle of poor
children whom she gathered daily to a morning school. She took them from
the door-steps and the ditches; she washed their hands and faces; she
taught them to read and to sew; and she told them stories that had
delighted her own infancy. In her face, though in feature and complexion
plain, was something, already, of a Madonna sweetness, and it had no way
eclipsed the gayety of childhood.

I have seen a boy scarce older, brought up for some time with the sons
of laborers, who, so soon as he found himself possessed of superior
advantages, thought not of surpassing others, but of excelling, and then
imparting--and he was able to do it. If the other boys had less leisure,
and could pay for less instruction, they did not suffer for it. He could
not be happy unless they also could enjoy Milton, and pass from nature
to natural philosophy. He performed, though in a childish way, and in no
Grecian garb, the part of Apollo amid the herdsmen of Admetus.

The cause of education would be indefinitely furthered, if, in addition
to formal means, there were but this principle awakened in the hearts of
the young, that what they have they must bestow. All are not natural
instructors, but a large proportion are; and those who do possess such a
talent are the best possible teachers to those a little younger than
themselves. Many have more patience with the difficulties they have
lately left behind, and enjoy their power of assisting more than those
farther removed in age and knowledge do.

Then the intercourse may be far more congenial and profitable than where
the teacher receives for hire all sorts of pupils, as they are sent him
by their guardians. Here he need only choose those who have a
predisposition for what he is best able to teach. And, as I would have
the so-called higher instruction as much diffused in this way as the
lower, there would be a chance of awakening all the power that now lies

If a girl, for instance, who has only a passable talent for music, but
who, from the advantage of social position, has been able to gain
thorough instruction, felt it her duty to teach whomsoever she knew that
had such a talent, without money to cultivate it, the good is obvious.

Those who are learning receive an immediate benefit by an effort to
rearrange and interpret what they learn; so the use of this justice
would be twofold.

Some efforts are made here and there; nay, sometimes there are those who
can say they have returned usury for every gift of fate. And, would
others make the same experiments, they might find Utopia not so far off
as the children of this world, wise in securing their own selfish ease,
would persuade us it must always be.

We have hinted what sort of Christmas box we would wish for the
children. It would be one full, as that of the child Christ must be, of
the pieces of silver that were lost and are found. But Christmas, with
its peculiar associations, has deep interest for men, and women too, no
less. It has so in their mutual relations. At the time thus celebrated,
a pure woman saw in her child what the Son of man should be as a child
of God. She anticipated for him a life of glory to God, peace and good
will to man. In every young mother's heart, who has any purity of heart,
the same feelings arise. But most of these mothers let them go without
obeying their instructions. If they did not, we should see other
children--other men than now throng our streets. The boy could not
invariably disappoint the mother, the man the wife, who steadily
demanded of him such a career.

And man looks upon woman, in this relation, always as he should. Does he
see in her a holy mother worthy to guard the infancy of an immortal
soul? Then she assumes in his eyes those traits which the Romish church
loved to revere in Mary. Frivolity, base appetite, contempt are
exorcised; and man and woman appear again in unprofaned connection, as
brother and sister, the children and the servants of the one Divine
Love, and pilgrims to a common aim.

Were all this right in the private sphere, the public would soon right
itself also, and the nations of Christendom might join in a celebration,
such as "kings and prophets waited for," and so many martyrs died to
achieve, of Christ-Mass.


Among those whom I met in a recent visit at Chicago was Mrs. Z., the
aunt of an old schoolmate, to whom I impatiently hastened, to demand
news of Mariana. The answer startled me. Mariana, so full of life, was
dead. That form, the most rich in energy and coloring of any I had ever
seen, had faded from the earth. The circle of youthful associations had
given way in the part that seemed the strongest. What I now learned of
the story of this life, and what was by myself remembered, may be bound
together in this slight sketch.

At the boarding school to which I was too early sent, a fond, a proud,
and timid child, I saw among the ranks of the gay and graceful, bright
or earnest girls, only one who interested my fancy or touched my young
heart; and this was Mariana. She was, on the father's side, of Spanish
Creole blood, but had been sent to the Atlantic coast, to receive a
school education under the care of her aunt, Mrs. Z.

This lady had kept her mostly at home with herself, and Mariana had gone
from her house to a day school; but the aunt being absent for a time in
Europe, she had now been unfortunately committed for some time to the
mercies of a boarding school.

A strange bird she proved there--a lonely one, that could not make for
itself a summer. At first, her schoolmates were captivated with her
ways, her love of wild dances and sudden song, her freaks of passion
and of wit. She was always new, always surprising, and, for a time,

But, after a while, they tired of her. She could never be depended on to
join in their plans, yet she expected them to follow out hers with their
whole strength. She was very loving, even infatuated in her own
affections, and exacted from those who had professed any love for her,
the devotion she was willing to bestow.

Yet there was a vein of haughty caprice in her character; a love of
solitude, which made her at times wish to retire entirely; and at these
times she would expect to be thoroughly understood, and let alone, yet
to be welcomed back when she returned. She did not thwart others in
their humors, but she never doubted of great indulgence from them.

Some singular ways she had, which, when new, charmed, but, after
acquaintance, displeased her companions. She had by nature the same
habit and power of excitement that is described in the spinning
dervishes of the East. Like them, she would spin until all around her
were giddy, while her own brain, instead of being disturbed, was excited
to great action. Pausing, she would declaim verse of others or her own;
perform many parts, with strange catch-words and burdens that seemed to
act with mystical power on her own fancy, sometimes stimulating her to
convulse the hearer with laughter, sometimes to melt him to tears. When
her power began to languish, she would spin again till fired to
recommence her singular drama, into which she wove figures from the
scenes of her earlier childhood, her companions, and the dignitaries she
sometimes saw, with fantasies unknown to life, unknown to heaven or

This excitement, as may be supposed, was not good for her. It oftenest
came on in the evening, and spoiled her sleep. She would wake in the
night, and cheat her restlessness by inventions that teased, while they
sometimes diverted her companions.

She was also a sleep-walker; and this one trait of her case did somewhat
alarm her guardians, who, otherwise, showed the same profound stupidity,
as to this peculiar being, usual in the overseers of the young. They
consulted a physician, who said she would outgrow it, and prescribed a
milk diet.

Meantime, the fever of this ardent and too early stimulated nature was
constantly increased by the restraints and narrow routine of the
boarding school. She was always devising means to break in upon it. She
had a taste, which would have seemed ludicrous to her mates, if they had
not felt some awe of her, from a touch of genius and power, that never
left her, for costume and fancy dresses; always some sash twisted about
her, some drapery, something odd in the arrangement of her hair and
dress; so that the methodical preceptress dared not let her go out
without a careful scrutiny and remodelling, whose soberizing effects
generally disappeared the moment she was in the free air.

At last, a vent for her was found in private theatricals. Play followed
play, and in these and the rehearsals she found entertainment congenial
with her. The principal parts, as a matter of course, fell to her lot;
most of the good suggestions and arrangements came from her, and for a
time she ruled masterly and shone triumphant.

During these performances the girls had heightened their natural bloom
with artificial red; this was delightful to them--it was something so
out of the way. But Mariana, after the plays were over, kept her carmine
saucer on the dressing table, and put on her blushes regularly as the

When stared and jeered at, she at first said she did it because she
thought it made her look prettier; but, after a while, she became quite
petulant about it--would make no reply to any joke, but merely kept on
doing it.

This irritated the girls, as all eccentricity does the world in general,
more than vice or malignity. They talked it over among themselves, till
they got wrought up to a desire of punishing, once for all, this
sometimes amusing, but so often provoking nonconformist.

Having obtained the leave of the mistress, they laid, with great glee, a
plan one evening, which was to be carried into execution next day at

Among Mariana's irregularities was a great aversion to the meal-time
ceremonial. So long, so tiresome she found it, to be seated at a certain
moment, to wait while each one was served at so large a table, and one
where there was scarcely any conversation; from day to day it became
more heavy to her to sit there, or go there at all. Often as possible
she excused herself on the ever-convenient plea of headache, and was
hardly ever ready when the dinner bell rang.

To-day it found her on the balcony, lost in gazing on the beautiful
prospect. I have heard her say, afterwards, she had rarely in her life
been so happy--and she was one with whom happiness was a still rapture.
It was one of the most blessed summer days; the shadows of great white
clouds empurpled the distant hills for a few moments only to leave them
more golden; the tall grass of the wide fields waved in the softest
breeze. Pure blue were the heavens, and the same hue of pure contentment
was in the heart of Mariana.

Suddenly on her bright mood jarred the dinner bell. At first rose her
usual thought, I will not, cannot go; and then the _must_, which daily
life can always enforce, even upon the butterflies and birds, came, and
she walked reluctantly to her room. She merely changed her dress, and
never thought of adding the artificial rose to her cheek.

When she took her seat in the dining hall, and was asked if she would be
helped, raising her eyes, she saw the person who asked her was deeply
rouged, with a bright, glaring spot, perfectly round, in either cheek.
She looked at the next--the same apparition! She then slowly passed her
eyes down the whole line, and saw the same, with a suppressed smile
distorting every countenance. Catching the design at once she
deliberately looked along her own side of the table, at every schoolmate
in turn; every one had joined in the trick. The teachers strove to be
grave, but she saw they enjoyed the joke. The servants could not
suppress a titter.

When Warren Hastings stood at the bar of Westminster Hall; when the
Methodist preacher walked through a line of men, each of whom greeted
him with a brickbat or a rotten egg,--they had some preparation for the
crisis, and it might not be very difficult to meet it with an impassive
brow. Our little girl was quite unprepared to find herself in the midst
of a world which despised her, and triumphed in her disgrace.

She had ruled like a queen in the midst of her companions; she had shed
her animation through their lives, and loaded them with prodigal favors,
nor once suspected that a powerful favorite might not be loved. Now, she
felt that she had been but a dangerous plaything in the hands of those
whose hearts she never had doubted.

Yet the occasion found her equal to it; for Mariana had the kind of
spirit, which, in a better cause, had made the Roman matron truly say of
her death wound, "It is not painful, Poetus." She did not blench--she
did not change countenance. She swallowed her dinner with apparent
composure. She made remarks to those near her as if she had no eyes.

The wrath of the foe of course rose higher, and the moment they were
freed from the restraints of the dining room, they all ran off, gayly
calling, and sarcastically laughing, with backward glances, at Mariana,
left alone.

She went alone to her room, locked the door, and threw herself on the
floor in strong convulsions. These had sometimes threatened her life, as
a child, but of later years she had outgrown them. School hours came,
and she was not there. A little girl, sent to her door, could get no
answer. The teachers became alarmed, and broke it open. Bitter was their
penitence and that of her companions at the state in which they found
her. For some hours terrible anxiety was felt; but at last, Nature,
exhausted, relieved herself by a deep slumber.

From this Mariana rose an altered being. She made no reply to the
expressions of sorrow from her companions, none to the grave and kind,
but undiscerning comments of her teacher. She did not name the source of
her anguish, and its poisoned dart sunk deeply in. It was this thought
which stung her so.--"What, not one, not a single one, in the hour of
trial, to take my part! not one who refused to take part against me!"
Past words of love, and caresses little heeded at the time, rose to her
memory, and gave fuel to her distempered thoughts. Beyond the sense of
universal perfidy, of burning resentment, she could not get. And
Mariana, born for love, now hated all the world.

The change, however, which these feelings made in her conduct and
appearance bore no such construction to the careless observer. Her gay
freaks were quite gone, her wildness, her invention. Her dress was
uniform, her manner much subdued. Her chief interest seemed now to lie
in her studies and in music. Her companions she never sought; but they,
partly from uneasy, remorseful feelings, partly that they really liked
her much better now that she did not oppress and puzzle them, sought her
continually. And here the black shadow comes upon her life--the only
stain upon the history of Mariana.

They talked to her as girls, having few topics, naturally do of one
another. And the demon rose within her, and spontaneously, without
design, generally without words of positive falsehood, she became a
genius of discord among them. She fanned those flames of envy and
jealousy which a wise, true word from a third person will often quench
forever; by a glance, or a seemingly light reply, she planted the seeds
of dissension, till there was scarce a peaceful affection or sincere
intimacy in the circle where she lived, and could not but rule, for she
was one whose nature was to that of the others as fire to clay.

It was at this time that I came to the school, and first saw Mariana. Me
she charmed at once, for I was a sentimental child, who, in my early ill
health, had been indulged in reading novels till I had no eyes for the
common greens and browns of life. The heroine of one of these, "the
Bandit's Bride," I immediately saw in Mariana. Surely the Bandit's Bride
had just such hair, and such strange, lively ways, and such a sudden
flash of the eye. The Bandit's Bride, too, was born to be
"misunderstood" by all but her lover. But Mariana, I was determined,
should be more fortunate; for, until her lover appeared, I myself would
be the wise and delicate being who could understand her.

It was not, however, easy to approach her for this purpose. Did I offer
to run and fetch her handkerchief, she was obliged to go to her room,
and would rather do it herself. She did not like to have people turn
over for her the leaves of the music book as she played. Did I approach
my stool to her feet, she moved away, as if to give me room. The bunch
of wild flowers which I timidly laid beside her plate was left there.

After some weeks my desire to attract her notice really preyed upon me,
and one day, meeting her alone in the entry, I fell upon my knees, and
kissing her hand, cried, "O Mariana, do let me love you, and try to love
me a little." But my idol snatched away her hand, and, laughing more
wildly than the Bandit's Bride was ever described to have done, ran into
her room. After that day her manner to me was not only cold, but
repulsive; I felt myself scorned, and became very unhappy.

Perhaps four months had passed thus, when, one afternoon, it became
obvious that something more than common was brewing. Dismay and mystery
were written in many faces of the older girls; much whispering was going
on in corners.

In the evening, after prayers, the principal bade us stay; and, in a
grave, sad voice, summoned forth Mariana to answer charges to be made
against her.

Mariana came forward, and leaned against the chimney-piece. Eight of the
older girls came forward, and preferred against her charges--alas! too
well founded--of calumny and falsehood.

My heart sank within me, as one after the other brought up their proofs,
and I saw they were too strong to be resisted. I could not bear the
thought of this second disgrace of my shining favorite. The first had
been whispered to me, though the girls did not like to talk about it. I
must confess, such is the charm of strength to softer natures, that
neither of these crises could deprive Mariana of hers in my eyes.

At first, she defended herself with self-possession and eloquence. But
when she found she could no more resist the truth, she suddenly threw
herself down, dashing her head, with all her force, against the iron
hearth, on which a fire was burning, and was taken up senseless.

The affright of those present was great. Now that they had perhaps
killed her, they reflected it would have been as well if they had taken
warning from the former occasion, and approached very carefully a nature
so capable of any extreme. After a while she revived, with a faint
groan, amid the sobs of her companions. I was on my knees by the bed,
and held her cold hand. One of those most aggrieved took it from me to
beg her pardon, and say it was impossible not to love her. She made no

Neither that night, nor for several days, could a word be obtained from
her, nor would she touch food; but, when it was presented to her, or any
one drew near for any cause, she merely turned away her head, and gave
no sign. The teacher saw that some terrible nervous affection had fallen
upon her--that she grew more and more feverish. She knew not what to

Meanwhile, a new revolution had taken place in the mind of the
passionate but nobly-tempered child. All these months nothing but the
sense of injury had rankled in her heart. She had gone on in one mood,
doing what the demon prompted, without scruple and without fear.

But at the moment of detection, the tide ebbed, and the bottom of her
soul lay revealed to her eye. How black, how stained and sad! Strange,
strange that she had not seen before the baseness and cruelty of
falsehood, the loveliness of truth. Now, amid the wreck, uprose the
moral nature which never before had attained the ascendant. "But," she
thought, "too late sin is revealed to me in all its deformity, and
sin-defiled, I will not, cannot live. The mainspring of life is broken."

And thus passed slowly by her hours in that black despair of which only
youth is capable. In older years men suffer more dull pain, as each
sorrow that comes drops its leaden weight into the past, and, similar
features of character bringing similar results, draws up the heavy
burden buried in those depths. But only youth has energy, with fixed,
unwinking gaze, to contemplate grief, to hold it in the arms and to the
heart, like a child which makes it wretched, yet is indubitably its own.

The lady who took charge of this sad child had never well understood her
before, but had always looked on her with great tenderness. And now love
seemed--when all around were in greatest distress, fearing to call in
medical aid, fearing to do without it--to teach her where the only balm
was to be found that could have healed this wounded spirit.

One night she came in, bringing a calming draught. Mariana was sitting,
as usual, her hair loose, her dress the same robe they had put on her at
first, her eyes fixed vacantly upon the whited wall. To the proffers and
entreaties of her nurse she made no reply.

The lady burst into tears, but Mariana did not seem even to observe it.

The lady then said, "O my child, do not despair; do not think that one
great fault can mar a whole life. Let me trust you, let me tell you the
griefs of my sad life. I will tell to you, Mariana, what I never
expected to impart to any one."

And so she told her tale: it was one of pain, of shame, borne, not for
herself, but for one near and dear as herself. Mariana knew the
lady--knew the pride and reserve of her nature. She had often admired to
see how the cheek, lovely, but no longer young, mantled with the deepest
blush of youth, and the blue eyes were cast down at any little emotion:
she had understood the proud sensibility of the character. She fixed her
eyes on those now raised to hers, bright with fast-falling tears. She
heard the story to the end, and then, without saying a word, stretched
out her hand for the cup.

She returned to life, but it was as one who has passed through the
valley of death. The heart of stone was quite broken in her, the fiery
life fallen from flame to coal. When her strength was a little restored,
she had all her companions summoned, and said to them, "I deserved to
die, but a generous trust has called me back to life. I will be worthy
of it, nor ever betray the truth, or resent injury more. Can you forgive
the past?"

And they not only forgave, but, with love and earnest tears, clasped in
their arms the returning sister. They vied with one another in offices
of humble love to the humbled one; and let it be recorded as an instance
of the pure honor of which young hearts are capable, that these facts,
known to forty persons, never, so far as I know, transpired beyond those

It was not long after this that Mariana was summoned home. She went
thither a wonderfully instructed being, though in ways that those who
had sent her forth to learn little dreamed of.

Never was forgotten the vow of the returning prodigal. Mariana could not
resent, could not play false. The terrible crisis which she so early
passed through probably prevented the world from hearing much of her. A
wild fire was tamed in that hour of penitence at the boarding school
such as has oftentimes wrapped court and camp in its destructive glow.

But great were the perils she had yet to undergo, for she was one of
those barks which easily get beyond soundings, and ride not lightly on
the plunging billow.

Her return to her native climate seconded the effects of inward
revolutions. The cool airs of the north had exasperated nerves too
susceptible for their tension. Those of the south restored her to a more
soft and indolent state. Energy gave place to feeling--turbulence to
intensity of character.

At this time, love was the natural guest; and he came to her under a
form that might have deluded one less ready for delusion.

Sylvain was a person well proportioned to her lot in years, family, and
fortune. His personal beauty was not great, but of a noble description.
Repose marked his slow gesture, and the steady gaze of his large brown
eye; but it was a repose that would give way to a blaze of energy, when
the occasion called. In his stature, expression, and heavy coloring, he
might not unfitly be represented by the great magnolias that inhabit the
forests of that climate. His voice, like every thing about him, was rich
and soft, rather than sweet or delicate.

Mariana no sooner knew him than she loved; and her love, lovely as she
was, soon excited his. But O, it is a curse to woman to love first, or
most! In so doing she reverses the natural relations; and her heart can
never, never be satisfied with what ensues.

Mariana loved first, and loved most, for she had most force and variety
to love with. Sylvain seemed, at first, to take her to himself, as the
deep southern night might some fair star; but it proved not so.

Mariana was a very intellectual being, and she needed companionship.
This she could only have with Sylvain, in the paths of passion and
action. Thoughts he had none, and little delicacy of sentiment. The
gifts she loved to prepare of such for him he took with a sweet but
indolent smile; he held them lightly, and soon they fell from his grasp.
He loved to have her near him, to feel the glow and fragrance of her
nature, but cared not to explore the little secret paths whence that
fragrance was collected.

Mariana knew not this for a long time. Loving so much, she imagined all
the rest; and, where she felt a blank, always hoped that further
communion would fill it up. When she found this could never be,--that
there was absolutely a whole province of her being to which nothing in
his answered,--she was too deeply in love to leave him. Often, after
passing hours together beneath the southern moon, when, amid the sweet
intoxication of mutual love, she still felt the desolation of solitude,
and a repression of her finer powers, she had asked herself, Can I give
him up? But the heart always passionately answered, No! I may be
wretched with him, but I cannot live without him.

And the last miserable feeling of these conflicts was, that if the
lover--soon to be the bosom friend--could have dreamed of these
conflicts, he would have laughed, or else been angry, even enough to
give her up.

Ah, weakness of the strong! of those strong only where strength is
weakness! Like others, she had the decisions of life to make before she
had light by which to make them. Let none condemn her. Those who have
not erred as fatally should thank the guardian angel who gave them more
time to prepare for judgment, but blame no children who thought at arm's
length to find the moon. Mariana, with a heart capable of highest Eros,
gave it to one who knew love only as a flower or plaything, and bound
her heartstrings to one who parted his as lightly as the ripe fruit
leaves the bough. The sequel could not fail. Many console themselves for
the one great mistake with their children, with the world. This was not
possible to Mariana. A few months of domestic life she still was almost
happy. But Sylvain then grew tired. He wanted business and the world: of
these she had no knowledge, for them no faculties. He wanted in her the
head of his house; she to make her heart his home. No compromise was
possible between natures of such unequal poise, and which had met only
on one or two points. Through all its stages she

      The agonizing sense
    Of seeing love from passion melt
      Into indifference;
    The fearful shame, that, day by day,
      Burns onward, still to burn,
    To have thrown her precious heart away,
      And met this black return,"

till death at last closed the scene. Not that she died of one downright
blow on the heart. That is not the way such cases proceed. I cannot
detail all the symptoms, for I was not there to watch them, and aunt Z.,
who described them, was neither so faithful an observer or narrator as I
have shown myself in the school-day passages; but, generally, they were
as follows.

Sylvain wanted to go into the world, or let it into his house. Mariana
consented; but, with an unsatisfied heart, and no lightness of
character, she played her part ill there. The sort of talent and
facility she had displayed in early days were not the least like what is
called out in the social world by the desire to please and to shine. Her
excitement had been muse-like--that of the improvisatrice, whose
kindling fancy seeks to create an atmosphere round it, and makes the
chain through which to set free its electric sparks. That had been a
time of wild and exuberant life. After her character became more tender
and concentrated, strong affection or a pure enthusiasm might still have
called out beautiful talents in her. But in the first she was utterly
disappointed. The second was not roused within her mind. She did not
expand into various life, and remained unequal; sometimes too passive,
sometimes too ardent, and not sufficiently occupied with what occupied
those around her to come on the same level with them and embellish their

Thus she lost ground daily with her husband, who, comparing her with the
careless shining dames of society, wondered why he had found her so
charming in solitude.

At intervals, when they were left alone, Mariana wanted to open her
heart, to tell the thoughts of her mind. She was so conscious of secret
riches within herself, that sometimes it seemed, could she but reveal a
glimpse of them to the eye of Sylvain, he would be attracted near her
again, and take a path where they could walk hand in hand. Sylvain, in
these intervals, wanted an indolent repose. His home was his castle. He
wanted no scenes too exciting there. Light jousts and plays were well
enough, but no grave encounters. He liked to lounge, to sing, to read,
to sleep. In fine, Sylvain became the kind but preoccupied husband,
Mariana the solitary and wretched wife. He was off, continually, with
his male companions, on excursions or affairs of pleasure. At home
Mariana found that neither her books nor music would console her.

She was of too strong a nature to yield without a struggle to so dull a
fiend as despair. She looked into other hearts, seeking whether she
could there find such home as an orphan asylum may afford. This she did
rather because the chance came to her, and it seemed unfit not to seize
the proffered plank, than in hope; for she was not one to double her
stakes, but rather with Cassandra power to discern early the sure course
of the game. And Cassandra whispered that she was one of those

    "Whom men love not, but yet regret;"

and so it proved. Just as in her childish days, though in a different
form, it happened betwixt her and these companions. She could not be
content to receive them quietly, but was stimulated to throw herself too
much into the tie, into the hour, till she filled it too full for them.
Like Fortunio, who sought to do homage to his friends by building a fire
of cinnamon, not knowing that its perfume would be too strong for their
endurance, so did Mariana. What she wanted to tell they did not wish to
hear; a little had pleased, so much overpowered, and they preferred the
free air of the street, even, to the cinnamon perfume of her palace.

However, this did not signify; had they staid, it would not have availed
her. It was a nobler road, a higher aim, she needed now; this did not
become clear to her.

She lost her appetite, she fell sick, had fever. Sylvain was alarmed,
nursed her tenderly; she grew better. Then his care ceased; he saw not
the mind's disease, but left her to rise into health, and recover the
tone of her spirits, as she might. More solitary than ever, she tried to
raise herself; but she knew not yet enough. The weight laid upon her
young life was a little too heavy for it. One long day she passed alone,
and the thoughts and presages came too thick for her strength. She knew
not what to do with them, relapsed into fever, and died.

Notwithstanding this weakness, I must ever think of her as a fine sample
of womanhood, born to shed light and life on some palace home. Had she
known more of God and the universe, she would not have given way where
so many have conquered. But peace be with her; she now, perhaps, has
entered into a larger freedom, which is knowledge. With her died a great
interest in life to me. Since her I have never seen a Bandit's Bride.
She, indeed, turned out to be only a merchant's. Sylvain is married
again to a fair and laughing girl, who will not die, probably, till
their marriage grows a "golden marriage."

Aunt Z. had with her some papers of Mariana's, which faintly shadow
forth the thoughts that engaged her in the last days. One of these seems
to have been written when some faint gleam had been thrown across the
path only to make its darkness more visible. It seems to have been
suggested by remembrance of the beautiful ballad, _Helen of Kirconnel
Lee_, which once she loved to recite, and in tones that would not have
sent a chill to the heart from which it came.

    Opens her sweet white arms, and whispers, Peace;
    Come, say thy sorrows in this bosom! This
    Will never close against thee, and my heart,
    Though cold, cannot be colder much than man's."


    "I wish I were where Helen lies."
        A lover in the times of old,
    Thus vents his grief in lonely sighs,
        And hot tears from a bosom cold.

    But, mourner for thy martyred love,
        Couldst thou but know what hearts must feel.
    Where no sweet recollections move,
        Whose tears a desert fount reveal!

    When "in thy arms bird Helen fell,"
        She died, sad man, she died for thee;
    Nor could the films of death dispel
        Her loving eye's sweet radiancy.

    Thou wert beloved, and she had loved,
        Till death alone the whole could tell;
    Death every shade of doubt removed,
        And steeped the star in its cold well.

    On some fond breast the parting soul
        Relies--earth has no more to give;
    Who wholly loves has known the whole;
        The wholly loved doth truly live.

    But some, sad outcasts from this prize,
        Do wither to a lonely grave;
    All hearts their hidden love despise,
        And leave them to the whelming wave.

    They heart to heart have never pressed,
        Nor hands in holy pledge have given,
    By father's love were ne'er caressed,
        Nor in a mother's eye saw heaven.

    A flowerless and fruitless tree,
        A dried-up stream, a mateless bird,
    They live, yet never living be,
        They die, their music all unheard.

    I wish I were where Helen lies,
        For there I could not be alone;
    But now, when this dull body dies,
        The spirit still will make its moan.

    Love passed me by, nor touched my brow;
        Life would not yield one perfect boon;
    And all too late it calls me now--
        O, all too late, and all too soon.

    If thou couldst the dark riddle read
        Which leaves this dart within my breast,
    Then might I think thou lov'st indeed,
        Then were the whole to thee confest.

    Father, they will not take me home;
        To the poor child no heart is free;
    In sleet and snow all night I roam;
        Father, was this decreed by thee?

    I will not try another door,
        To seek what I have never found;
    Now, till the very last is o'er,
        Upon the earth I'll wander round.

    I will not hear the treacherous call
        That bids me stay and rest a while,
    For I have found that, one and all,
        They seek me for a prey and spoil.

    They are not bad; I know it well;
        I know they know not what they do;
    They are the tools of the dread spell
        Which the lost lover must pursue.

    In temples sometimes she may rest,
        In lonely groves, away from men,
    There bend the head, by heats distressed,
        Nor be by blows awoke again.

    Nature is kind, and God is kind;
        And, if she had not had a heart,
    Only that great discerning mind,
        She might have acted well her part.

    But O this thirst, that nought can fill,
        Save those unfounden waters free!
    The angel of my life must still
        And soothe me in eternity!

It marks the defect in the position of woman that one like Mariana
should have found reason to write thus. To a man of equal power, equal
sincerity, no more!--many resources would have presented themselves. He
would not have needed to seek, he would have been called by life, and
not permitted to be quite wrecked through the affections only. But such
women as Mariana are often lost, unless they meet some man of
sufficiently great soul to prize them.

Van Artevelde's Elena, though in her individual nature unlike my
Mariana, is like her in a mind whose large impulses are disproportioned
to the persons and occasions she meets, and which carry her beyond those
reserves which mark the appointed lot of woman. But, when she met Van
Artevelde, he was too great not to revere her rare nature, without
regard to the stains and errors of its past history; great enough to
receive her entirely, and make a new life for her; man enough to be a
lover! But as such men come not so often as once an age, their presence
should not be absolutely needed to sustain life.



     "And Jesus, answering, said unto them, Have faith in God."--_Mark_
     xi. 22.

O, direction most difficult to follow! O, counsel most mighty of import!
Beauteous harmony to the purified soul! Mysterious, confounding as an
incantation to those yet groping and staggering amid the night, the fog,
the chaos of their own inventions!

Yes, this is indeed the beginning and the end of all knowledge and
virtue; the way and the goal; the enigma and its solution. The soul
cannot prove to herself the existence of a God; she cannot prove her own
immortality; she cannot prove the beauty of virtue, or the deformity of
vice; her own consciousness, the first ground of this belief, cannot be
compassed by the reason, that inferior faculty which the Deity gave for
practical, temporal purposes only. This consciousness is divine; it is
part of the Deity; through this alone we sympathize with the
imperishable, the infinite, the nature of things. Were reason
commensurate with this part of our intellectual life, what should we do
with the things of time? The leaves and buds of earth would wither
beneath the sun of our intelligence; its crags and precipices would be
levelled before the mighty torrent of our will; all its dross would
crumble to ashes under the fire of our philosophy.

God willed it otherwise; WHY, who can guess? Why this planet, with its
tormenting limitations of space and time, was ever created,--why the
soul was cased in this clogging, stifling integument, (which, while it
conveys to the soul, in a roundabout way, knowledge which she might
obviously acquire much better without its aid, tempts constantly to vice
and indolence, suggesting sordid wants, and hampering or hindering
thought,)--I pretend not to say. Let others toil to stifle sad distrust
a thousand ways. Let them satisfy themselves by reasonings on the nature
of free agency; let them imagine it was impossible men should be
purified to angels, except by resisting the temptations of guilt and
crime; let them be _reasonably_ content to feel that

      "Faith conquers in no easy war;
        By toil alone the prize is won;
      The grape dissolves not in the cup--
        Wine from the crushing press must run;
    And would a spirit heavenward go,
    A heart must break in death below."

Why an _omnipotent_ Deity should permit evil, either as necessary to
produce good, or incident to laws framed for its production, must remain
a mystery to me. True, _we_ cannot conceive how the world could have
been ordered differently, and because _we_,--beings half of clay; beings
bred amid, and nurtured upon imperfection and decay; beings who must not
only sleep and eat, but pass the greater part of their temporal day in
procuring the means to do so,--because WE, creatures so limited and
blind, so weak of thought and dull of hearing, cannot conceive how evil
could have been dispensed with, those among us who are styled _wise_ and
_learned_ have thought fit to assume that the Infinite, the Omnipotent,
could not have found a way! "Could not," "evil must be incident"--terms
invented to express the thoughts or deeds of the children of dust. Shall
they be applied to the Omnipotent? Is a confidence in the goodness of
God more trying to faith, than the belief that a God exists, to whom
these words, transcending our powers of conception, apply? O, no, no!
"_Have faith in God!_" Strive to expand thy soul to the feeling of
wisdom, of beauty, of goodness; live, and act as if these were the
necessary elements of things; "live for thy faith, and thou shalt behold
it living." In another world God will repay thy trust, and "reveal to
thee the first causes of things which Leibnitz could not," as the queen
of Prussia said, when she was dying. Socrates has declared that the
belief in the soul's immortality is so delightful, so elevating, so
purifying, that even were it not the truth, "we should daily strive to
enchant ourselves with it." And thus with faith in wisdom and
goodness,--that is to say, in God,--the earthquake-defying,
rock-foundation of our hopes is laid; the sun-greeting dome which crowns
the most superb palace of our knowledge is builded. A noble and
accomplished man, of a later day, has said, "To credit ordinary and
visible objects is not faith, but persuasion. I bless myself, and am
thankful, that I lived not in the days of miracles, that I never saw
Christ, nor his disciples; then had my faith been thrust upon me, nor
could I enjoy that greater blessing pronounced upon those who believe
yet saw not."

I cannot speak thus proudly and heartily. I find the world of sense
strong enough against the intellectual and celestial world. It is easy
to believe in our passionless moments, or in those when earth would seem
too dark without the guiding star of faith; but to _live_ in faith, not
sometimes to feel, but always to have it, is difficult. Were faith ever
with us, how steady would be our energy, how equal our ambition, how
calmly bright our hopes! The darts of envy would be blunted, the cup of
disappointment lose its bitterness, the impassioned eagerness of the
heart be stilled, tears would fall like holy dew, and blossoms fragrant
with celestial May ensue.

But the prayer of most of us must be, "Lord, we believe--help thou our
unbelief!" These are to me the most significant words of Holy Writ. I
_will_ to believe; O, guide, support, strengthen, and soothe me to do
so! Lord, grant me to believe firmly, and to act nobly. Let me not be
tempted to waste my time, and weaken my powers, by attempts to soar on
feeble pinions "where angels bashful look." In _faith_ let me interpret
the universe!


     "Why is light given to a man whose way is hid, and whom God hath
     hedged in?"--_Job_ iii. 23.

This pathetic inquiry rises from all parts of the globe, from millions
of human souls, to that heaven from whence the light proceeds. From the
young, full of eager aspirations after virtue and glory; with the glance
of the falcon to descry the high-placed aim,--but ah! the wing of the
wren to reach it! The young enthusiast must often weep. His heart glows,
his eye sparkles as he reads of the youthful triumphs of a Pompey, the
sublime devotion of an Agis;[34] he shuts the book, he looks around him
for a theatre whereon to do likewise--petty pursuits, mean feelings, and
trifling pleasures meet his eye; the cold breeze of selfishness has
nipped every flower; the dull glow of prosaic life overpowers the
beauties of the landscape. He plunges into the unloved pursuit, or some
despised amusement, to soothe that day's impatience, and wakes on the
morrow, crying, "I have lost a day; and where, where shall I now turn my
steps to find the destined path?" The gilded image of some petty victory
holds forth a talisman which seems to promise him sure tokens. He rushes
forward; the swords of foes and rivals bar the way; the ground trembles
and gives way beneath his feet; rapid streams, unseen at a distance,
roll between him and the object of his pursuit; faint, giddy and
exhausted by the loss of his best blood, he reaches the goal, seizes the
talisman; his eyes devour the inscription--alas! the characters are
unknown to him. He looks back for some friend who might aid him,--his
friends are whelmed beneath the torrent, or have turned back
disheartened. He must struggle onward alone and ignorant as before; yet
in his wishes there is light.

Another is attracted by a lovely phantom; with airy step she precedes
him, holding, as he thinks, in her upward-pointing hand the faithful
needle which might point him to the pole-star of his wishes. Unwearied
he follows, imploring her in most moving terms to pause but a moment and
let him take her hand. Heedless she flits onward to some hopeless
desert, where she pauses only to turn to her unfortunate captive the
malicious face of a very Morgana.

The old,--O their sighs are deeper still! They have wandered far, toiled
much; the true light is now shown them. Ah, why was it reflected so
falsely through "life's many-colored dome of painted glass" upon their
youthful, anxious gaze? And now the path they came by is hedged in by
new circumstances against the feet of others, and its devious course
vainly mapped in their memories; should the light of their example lead
others into the same track, these unlucky followers will vainly seek an
issue. They attempt to unroll their charts for the use of their
children, and their children's children. They feed the dark lantern of
wisdom with the oil of experience, and hold it aloft over the declivity
up which these youth are blundering, in vain; some fall, misled by the
flickering light; others seek by-paths, along which they hope to be
guided by suns or moons of their own. All meet at last, only to bemoan
or sneer together. How many strive with feverish zeal to paint on the
clouds of outward life the hues of their own souls; what do not these
suffer? What baffling,--what change in the atmosphere on which they
depend,--yet _not_ in vain! Something they realize, something they
grasp, something (O, how unlike the theme of their hope!) they have
created. A transient glow, a deceitful thrill,--these be the blisses of
mortals. Yet have these given birth to noble deeds, and thoughts worthy
to be recorded by the pens of angels on the tablets of immortality.

And this, O man! is thy only solace in those paroxysms of despair which
must result to the yet eager heart from the vast disproportion between
our perceptions and our exhibition of those perceptions. Seize on all
the twigs that may help thee in thine ascent, though the thorns upon
them rend thee. Toil ceaselessly towards the Source of light, and
remember that he who thus eloquently lamented found that, although far
worse than his dark presentiments had pictured came upon him, though
vainly he feared and trembled, and there was no safety for him, yet his
sighings came before his meat, and, happy in their recollection, he
found at last that danger and imprisonment are but for a season, and
that God is _good_, as he is great.


The ladies of the Prison Association have been from time to time engaged
in the endeavor to procure funds for establishing this asylum.[35] They
have met, thus far, with little success; but touched by the position of
several women, who, on receiving their discharge, were anxiously waiting
in hope there would be means provided to save them from return to their
former suffering and polluted life, they have taken a house, and begun
their good work, in faith that Heaven must take heed that such an
enterprise may not fail, and touch the hearts of men to aid it.

They have taken a house, and secured the superintendence of an excellent
matron. There are already six women under her care. But this house is
unprovided with furniture, or the means of securing food for body and
mind to these unfortunates, during the brief novitiate which gives them
so much to learn and unlearn.

The object is to lend a helping hand to the many who show a desire of
reformation, but have hitherto been inevitably repelled into infamy by
the lack of friends to find them honest employment, and a temporary
refuge till it can be procured. Efforts will be made to instruct them
how to break up bad habits, and begin a healthy course for body and

The house has in it scarcely any thing. It is a true Lazarus
establishment, asking for the crumbs that fall from the rich man's
table. Old furniture would be acceptable, clothes, books that are no
longer needed by their owners.

This statement we make in appealing to the poor, though they are,
usually, the most generous. Not that they are, originally, better than
the rich, but circumstances have fitted them to appreciate the
misfortunes, the trials, the wrongs that beset those a little lower than
themselves. But we have seen too many instances where those who were
educated in luxury would cast aside sloth and selfishness with eagerness
when once awakened to better things, not to hope in appealing to the
rich also.

And to all we appeal: to the poor, who will know how to sympathize with
those who are not only poor but degraded, diseased, likely to be hurried
onward to a shameful, hopeless death; to the rich, to equalize the
advantages of which they have received more than their share; to men, to
atone for wrongs inflicted by men on that "weaker sex," who should, they
say, be soft, confiding, dependent on them for protection; to women, to
feel for those who have not been guarded either by social influence or
inward strength from that first mistake which the opinion of the world
makes irrevocable for women alone. Since their danger is so great, their
fall so remediless, let mercies be multiplied when there is a chance of
that partial restoration which society at present permits.

In New York we have come little into contact with that class of society
which has a surplus of leisure at command; but in other cities we have,
found in their ranks many--some men, more women--who wanted only a
decided object and clear light to fill the noble office of disinterested
educators and guardians to their less fortunate fellows. It has been our
happiness, in not a few instances, by merely apprising such persons of
what was to be done, to rouse that generous spirit which relieved them
from ennui and a gradual ossification of the whole system, and
transferred them into a thoughtful, sympathetic, and beneficent
existence. Such, no doubt, are near us here, if we could but know it. A
poet writes thus of the cities:--

    Cities of proud hotels,
        Houses of rich and great,
    A stack of smoking chimneys,
        A roof of frozen slate!
    It cannot conquer folly,
        Time, and space, conquering steam,
    And the light, outspeeding telegraph,
        Bears nothing on its beam.

    The politics are base,
        The letters do not cheer,
    And 'tis far in the deeps of history,
        The voice that speaketh clear.
    Trade and the streets insnare us,
        Our bodies are weak and worn,
    We plot and corrupt each other,
        And we despoil the unborn.

    Yet there in the parlor sits
        Some figure of noble guise,
    Our angel in a stranger's form,
        Or woman's pleading eyes.
    Or only a flashing sunbeam
        In at the window pane,
    Or music pours on mortals
        Its beautiful disdain.

These "pleading eyes," these "angels in strangers' forms," we meet, or
seem to meet, as we pass through the thoroughfares of this great city.
We do not know their names or homes. We cannot go to those still and
sheltered abodes and tell them the tales that would be sure to awaken
the heart to a deep and active interest in this matter. But should these
words meet their eyes, we would say, "Have you entertained your leisure
hours with the Mysteries of Paris, or the pathetic story of Violet
Woodville?" Then you have some idea how innocence, worthy of the
brightest planet, may be betrayed by want, or by the most generous
tenderness; how the energies of a noble reformation may lie hidden
beneath the ashes of a long burning, as in the case of "La Louve." You
must have felt that yourselves are not better, only more protected
children of God than these. Do you want to link these fictions, which
have made you weep, with facts around you where your pity might be of
use? Go to the Penitentiary at Blackwell's Island. You may be repelled
by seeing those who are in health while at work together, keeping up one
another's careless spirit and effrontery by bad association. But see
them in the Hospital,--where the worn features of the sick show the sad
ruins of past loveliness, past gentleness. See in the eyes of the nurses
the woman's spirit still, so kindly, so inspiring. See those little
girls huddled in a corner, their neglected dress and hair contrasting
with some ribbon of cherished finery held fast in a childish hand. Think
what "sweet seventeen" was to you, and what it is to them, and see if
you do not wish to aid in any enterprise that gives them a chance of
better days. We assume no higher claim for this enterprise. The dreadful
social malady which creates the need of it, is one that imperatively
demands deep-searching, preventive measures; it is beyond cure. But,
here and there, some precious soul may be saved from unwilling sin,
unutterable woe. Is not the hope to save here and there _one_ worthy of
great and persistent sacrifice?



In my walks through this city, the sight of spacious and expensive
dwelling-houses now in process of building, has called up the following

All benevolent persons, whether deeply-thinking on, or deeply-feeling,
the woes, difficulties, and dangers of our present social system, are
agreed that either great improvements are needed, or a thorough reform.

Those who desire the latter include the majority of thinkers. And we
ourselves, both from personal observation and the testimony of others,
are convinced that a radical reform is needed; not a reform that rejects
the instruction of the past, or asserts that God and man have made
mistakes till now. We believe that all past developments have taken
place under natural and necessary laws, and that the Paternal Spirit has
at no period forgotten his children, but granted to all generations and
all ages their chances of good to balance inevitable ills. We prize the
past; we recognize it as our parent, our nurse, and our teacher; and we
know that for a time the new wine required the old bottles, to prevent
its being spilled upon the ground.

Still we feel that the time is come which not only permits, but demands,
a wider statement and a nobler action. The aspect of society presents
mighty problems, which must be solved by the soul of man
"divinely-intending" itself to the task, or all will become worse
instead of better, and ere long the social fabric totter to decay.

Yet while the new measures are ripening, and the new men educating,
there is still room on the old platform for some worthy action. It is
possible for a man of piety, resolution, and good sense, to lead a life
which, if not expansive, generous, graceful, and pure from suspicion and
contempt, is yet not entirely unworthy of his position as the child of
God, and ruler of a planet.

Let us take, then, some men just where they find themselves, in a mixed
state of society, where, in quantity, we are free to say the bad
preponderates, though the good, from its superior energy in quality, may
finally redeem and efface its plague-spots.

Our society is ostensibly under the rule of the precepts of Jesus. We
will then suppose a youth sufficiently imbued with these, to understand
what is conveyed under the parables of the unjust steward, and the
prodigal son, as well as the denunciations of the opulent Jews. He
understands that it is needful to preserve purity and teachableness,
since of those most like little children is the kingdom of heaven; mercy
for the sinner, since there is peculiar joy in heaven at the salvation
of such; perpetual care for the unfortunate, since only to the just
steward shall his possessions be pardoned. Imbued with such love, the
young man joins the active,--we will say, in choosing an
instance,--joins the commercial world.

His views of his profession are not those which make of the many a herd,
not superior, except in the far reach of their selfish interests, to the
animals; mere calculating, money-making machines.

He sees in commerce a representation of most important interests, a
grand school that may teach the heart and soul of the civilized world to
a willing, thinking mind. He plays his part in the game, but not for
himself alone; he sees the interests of all mankind engaged with his,
and remembers them while he furthers his own. His intellectual
discernment, no less than his moral, thus teaching the undesirableness
of lying and stealing, he does not practise or connive at the falsities
and meannesses so frequent among his fellows; he suffers many turns of
the wheel of fortune to pass unused, since he cannot avail himself of
them and keep clean his hands. What he gains is by superior assiduity,
skill in combination and calculation, and quickness of sight. His gains
are legitimate, so far as the present state of things permits any gains
to be.

Nor is this honorable man denied his due rank in the most corrupt state
of society. Here, happily, we draw from life, and speak of what we know.
Honesty is, indeed, the best policy, only it is so in the long run, and
therefore a policy which a selfish man has not faith and patience to
pursue. The influence of the honest man is in the end predominant, and
the rogues who sneer because he will not shuffle the cards in _their_
way, are forced to bow to it at last.

But while thus conscientious and mentally-progressive, he does not
forget to live. The sharp and care-worn faces, the joyless lives that
throng the busy street, do not make him forget his need of tender
affections, of the practices of bounty and love. His family, his
acquaintance, especially those who are struggling with the difficulties
of life, are not obliged to wait till he has accumulated a certain sum.
He is sunlight and dew to them now, day by day. No less do all in his
employment prize and bless the just, the brotherly man. He dares not,
would not, climb to power upon their necks. He requites their toil
handsomely, always; if his success be unusual, they share the benefit.
Their comfort is cared for in all the arrangements for their work. He
takes care, too, to be personally acquainted with those he employs,
regarding them, not as mere tools of his purpose, but as human beings
also; he keeps them in his eye, and if it be in his power to supply
their need of consolation, instruction, or even pleasure, they find they
have a friend.

"Nonsense!" exclaims our sharp-eyed, thin-lipped antagonist. "Such a man
would never get rich,--or even _get along_!"

You are mistaken, Mr. Stockjobber. Thus far many lines of our sketch are
drawn from real life; though for the second part, which follows, we
want, as yet, a worthy model.

We must imagine, then, our ideal merchant to have grown rich in some
forty years of toil passed in the way we have indicated. His hair is
touched with white, but his form is vigorous yet. Neither _gourmandise_
nor the fever of gain has destroyed his complexion, quenched the light
of his eye, or substituted sneers for smiles. He is an upright, strong,
sagacious, generous-looking man; and if his movements be abrupt, and his
language concise, somewhat beyond the standard of beauty, he is still
the gentleman; mercantile, but a mercantile nobleman.

Our nation is not silly in striving for an aristocracy. Humanity longs
for its upper classes. But the silliness consists in making them out of
clothes, equipage, and a servile imitation of foreign manners, instead
of the genuine elegance and distinction that can only be produced by
genuine culture. Shame upon the stupidity which, when all circumstances
leave us free for the introduction of a real aristocracy such as the
world never saw, bases its pretensions on, or makes its bow to the
footman behind, the coach, instead of the person within it.

But our merchant shall be a real nobleman, whose noble manners spring
from a noble mind, whose fashions from a sincere, intelligent love of
the beautiful.

We will also indulge the fancy of giving him a wife and children worthy
of himself. Having lived in sympathy with him, they have acquired no
taste for luxury; they do not think that the best use for wealth and
power is in self-indulgence, but, on the contrary, that "it is more
blessed to give than to receive."

He is now having one of those fine houses built, and, as in other
things, proceeds on a few simple principles. It is substantial, for he
wishes to give no countenance to the paper buildings that correspond
with other worthless paper currency of a credit system. It is thoroughly
finished and furnished, for he has a conscience about his house, as
about the neatness of his person. All must be of a piece. Harmony and a
wise utility are consulted, without regard to show. Still, as a rich
man, we allow him reception-rooms, lofty, large, adorned with good
copies of ancient works of art, and fine specimens of modern.

I admit, in this instance, the propriety of my nobleman often choosing
by advice of friends, who may have had more leisure and opportunity to
acquire a sure appreciation of merit in these walks. His character being
simple, he will, no doubt, appreciate a great part of what is truly
grand and beautiful. But also, from imperfect culture, he might often
reject what in the end he would have found most valuable to himself and
others. For he has not done learning, but only acquired the privilege of
helping to open a domestic school, in which he will find himself a pupil
as well as a master. So he may well make use, in furnishing himself with
the school apparatus, of the best counsel. The same applies to making
his library a good one. Only there must be no sham; no pluming himself
on possessions that represent his wealth, but the taste of others. Our
nobleman is incapable of pretension, or the airs of connoisseurship; his
object is to furnish a home with those testimonies of a higher life in
man, that may best aid to cultivate the same in himself and those
assembled round him.

He shall also have a fine garden and greenhouses. But the flowers shall
not be used only to decorate his apartments, or the hair of his
daughters, but shall often bless, by their soft and exquisite eloquence,
the poor invalid, or others whose sorrowful hearts find in their society
a consolation and a hope which nothing else bestows. For flowers, the
highest expression of the bounty of nature, declare that for all men,
not merely labor, or luxury, but gentle, buoyant, ever-energetic joy,
was intended, and bid us hope that we shall not forever be kept back
from our inheritance.

All the persons who have aided in building up this domestic temple, from
the artist who painted the ceilings to the poorest hodman, shall be well
paid and cared for during its erection; for it is a necessary part of
the happiness of our nobleman, to feel that all concerned in creating
his home are the happier for it.

We have said nothing about the architecture of the house, and yet this
is only for want of room. We do consider it one grand duty of every
person able to build a good house, also to aim at building a beautiful
one. We do not want imitations of what was used in other ages, nations,
and climates, but what is simple, noble, and in conformity with the
wants of our own. Room enough, simplicity of design, and judicious
adjustment of the parts to their uses and to the whole, are the first
requisites; the ornaments are merely the finish on these. We hope to see
a good style of civic architecture long before any material improvement
in the country edifices, for reasons that would be tedious to enumerate
here. Suffice it to say that we are far more anxious to see an American
architecture than an American literature; for we are sure there is here
already something individual to express.

Well, suppose the house built and equipped with man and horse. You may
be sure my nobleman gives his "hired help" good accommodations for their
sleeping and waking hours,--baths, books, and some leisure to use them.
Nay, I assure you--and this assurance also is drawn from life--that it
is possible, even in our present social relations, for the man who does
common justice, in these respects, to his fellows, and shows a friendly
heart, that thoroughly feels service to be no degradation, but an honor,
who believes

    "A man's a MAN for a' that;"--
    "Honor in the king the wisdom of his service,
     Honor in the serf the fidelity of his service,"--

to have around him those who do their work in serenity of mind, neither
deceiving nor envying him whom circumstances have enabled to command
their service. As to the carriage, that is used for the purpose of going
to and fro in bad weather, or ill health, or haste, or for drives to
enjoy the country. But my nobleman and his family are too well born and
bred not to prefer employing their own feet when possible. And their
carriage is much appropriated to the use of poor invalids, even among
the abhorred class of poor relations, so that often they have not room
in it for themselves, much less for flaunting dames and lazy dandies.

We need hardly add that, their attendants wear no liveries. They are
aware that, in a society where none of the causes exist that justify
this habit abroad, the practice would have no other result than to call
up a sneer to the lips of the most complaisant "milor," when "Mrs.
Higginbottom's carriage stops the way," with its tawdry, ill-fancied
accompaniments. _Will_ none of their "governors" tell our cits the
Æsopian fable of the donkey that tried to imitate the gambols of the
little dog?

The wife of my nobleman is so well matched with him that she has no need
to be the better half. She is his almoner, his counsellor, and the
priestess who keeps burning on the domestic hearth a fire from the fuel
he collects in his out-door work, whose genial heart and aspiring flame
comfort and animate all who come within its range.

His children are his ministers, whose leisure and various qualifications
enable them to carry out his good thoughts. They hold all that they
possess--time, money, talents, acquirements--on the principle of
stewardship. They wake up the seeds of virtue and genius in all the
young persons of their acquaintance; but the poorer classes are
especially their care. Among them they seek for those who are threatened
with dying--"mute, inglorious" Hampdens and Miltons--but for their
scrutiny and care; of these they become the teachers and patrons to the
extent of their power. Such knowledge of the arts, sciences, and just
principles of action as they have been favored with, they communicate,
and thereby form novices worthy to fill up the ranks of the true
American aristocracy.

And the house--it is a large one; a simple family does not fill its
chambers. Some of them are devoted to the use of men of genius, who need
a serene home, free from care, while they pursue their labors for the
good of the world. Thus, as in the palaces of the little princes of
Italy in a better day, these chambers become hallowed by the nativities
of great thoughts; and the horoscopes of the human births that may take
place there, are likely to read the better for it. Suffering virtue
sometimes finds herself taken home here, instead of being sent to the
almshouse, or presented with half a dollar and a ticket for coal, and
finds upon my nobleman's mattresses (for the wealth of Croesus would
not lure him or his to sleep upon down) dreams of angelic protection
which enable her to rise refreshed for the struggle of the morrow.

The uses of hospitality are very little understood among us, so that we
fear generally there is a small chance of entertaining gods and angels
unawares, as the Greeks and Hebrews did in the generous time of
hospitality, when every man had a claim on the roof of fellow-man. Now,
none is received to a bed and breakfast unless he come as "bearer of
despatches" from His Excellency So-and-so.

But let us not be supposed to advocate the system of all work and no
play, or to delight exclusively in the pedagogic and Goody-Two-Shoes
vein. Reader, if any such accompany me to this scene of my vision, cheer
up; I hear the sound of music in full band, and see the banquet
prepared. Perhaps they are even dancing the polka and redowa in those
airy, well-lighted rooms. In another they find in the acting of
extempore dramas, arrangement of tableaux, little concerts or
recitations, intermingled with beautiful national or fancy dances, some
portion of the enchanting, refining, and ennobling influence of the
arts. The finest engravings on all subjects attend such as like to
employ themselves more quietly, while those who can find a companion or
congenial group to converse with, find also plenty of recesses and still
rooms, with softened light, provided for their pleasure.

There is not on this side of the Atlantic--we dare our glove upon it--a
more devout believer than ourselves in the worship of the Muses and
Graces, both for itself, and its importance no less to the moral than to
the intellectual life of a nation. Perhaps there is not one who has _so_
deep a feeling, or so many suggestions ready, in the fulness of time, to
be hazarded on the subject.

But in order to such worship, what standard is there as to admission to
the service? Talents of gold, or Delphian talents? fashion or elegance?
"standing" or the power to move gracefully from one position to another?

Our nobleman did not hesitate; the handle to his door bell was not of
gold, but mother-of-pearl, pure and prismatic.

If he did not go into the alleys to pick up the poor, they were not
excluded, if qualified by intrinsic qualities to adorn the scene.
Neither were wealth or fashion a cause of exclusion, more than of
admission. All depended on the person; yet he did not _seek_ his guests
among the slaves of fashion, for he knew that persons highly endowed
rarely had patience with the frivolities of that class, but retired, and
left it to be peopled mostly by weak and plebeian natures. Yet all
depended on the individual. Was the person fair, noble, wise, brilliant,
or even only youthfully innocent and gay, or venerable in a good old
age, he or she was welcome. Still, as simplicity of character and some
qualification positively good, healthy, and natural, was requisite for
admission, we must say the company was select. Our nobleman and his
family had weeded their "circle" carefully, year by year.

Some valued acquaintances they had made in ball-rooms and boudoirs, and
kept; but far more had been made through the daily wants of life, and
shoemakers, seamstresses, and graziers mingled happily with artists and
statesmen, to the benefit of both. (N.B.--None used the poisonous weed,
in or out of our domestic temple.)

I cannot tell you what infinite good our nobleman and his family were
doing by creation of this true social centre, where the legitimate
aristocracy of the land assembled, not to be dazzled by expensive
furniture, (our nobleman bought what was good in texture and beautiful
in form, but not _because_ it was expensive,) not to be feasted on rare
wines and highly-seasoned dainties, though they found simple
refreshments well prepared, as indeed it was a matter of duty and
conscience in that house that the least office should be well fulfilled,
but to enjoy the generous confluence of mind with mind and heart with
heart, the pastimes that are not waste-times of taste and inventive
fancy, the cordial union of beings from all points and places in noble
human sympathy. New York was beginning to be truly American, or rather
Columbian, and money stood for something in the records of history. It
had brought opportunity to genius and aid to virtue. But just at this
moment, the jostling showed me that I had reached the corner of Wall
Street. I looked earnestly at the omnibuses discharging their eager
freight, as if I hoped to see my merchant. "Perhaps he has gone to the
post office to take out letters from his friends in Utopia," thought I.
"Please give me a penny," screamed a half-starved ragged little
street-sweep, and the fancied cradle of the American Utopia receded, or
rather proceeded, fifty years, at least, into the future.



The foregoing sketch of the Rich Man, seems to require this
companion-piece; and we shall make the attempt, though the subject is
far more difficult than the former was.

In the first place, we must state what we mean by a poor man, for it is
a term of wide range in its relative applications. A painstaking
artisan, trained to self-denial, and a strict adaptation, not of his
means to his wants, but of his wants to his means, finds himself rich
and grateful, if some unexpected fortune enables him to give his wife a
new gown, his children cheap holiday joys, and his starving neighbor a
decent meal; while George IV., when heir apparent to the throne of Great
Britain, considered himself driven by the pressure of poverty to become
a debtor, a beggar, a swindler, and, by the aid of perjury, the husband
of two wives at the same time, neither of whom he treated well. Since
poverty is made an excuse for such depravity in conduct, it would be
well to mark the limits within which self-control and resistance to
temptation may be expected.

When he of the olden time prayed, "Give me neither poverty nor riches,"
we presume he meant that proportion of means to the average wants of a
human being which secures freedom from pecuniary cares, freedom of
motion, and a moderate enjoyment of the common blessings offered by
earth, air, water, the natural relations, and the subjects for thought
which every day presents. We shall certainly not look above this point
for our poor man. A prince may be poor, if he has not means to relieve
the sufferings of his subjects, or secure to them needed benefits. Or he
may make himself so, just as a well-paid laborer by drinking brings
poverty to his roof. So may the prince, by the mental gin of
horse-racing or gambling, grow a beggar. But we shall not consider these

Our subject will be taken between the medium we have spoken of as answer
to the wise man's prayer, and that destitution which we must style
infamous, either to the individual or to the society whose vices have
caused that stage of poverty, in which there is no certainty, and often
no probability, of work or bread from day to day,--in which cleanliness
and all the decencies of life are impossible, and the natural human
feelings are turned to gall because the man finds himself on this earth
in a far worse situation than the brute. In this stage there is no
ideal, and from its abyss, if the unfortunates look up to Heaven, or the
state of things as they ought to be, it is with suffocating gasps which
demand relief or death. This degree of poverty is common, as we all
know; but we who do not share it have no right to address those who do
from our own standard, till we have placed their feet on our own level.
Accursed is he who does not long to have this so--to take out at least
the physical hell from this world! Unblest is he who is not seeking,
either by thought or act, to effect this poor degree of amelioration in
the circumstances of his race.

We take the subject of our sketch, then, somewhere between the abjectly
poor and those in moderate circumstances. What we have to say may apply
to either sex, and to any grade in this division of the human family,
from the hodman and washerwoman up to the hard-working, poorly-paid
lawyer clerk, schoolmaster, or scribe.

The advantages of such a position are many. In the first place, you
belong, inevitably, to the active and suffering part of the world. You
know the ills that try men's souls and bodies. You cannot creep into a
safe retreat, arrogantly to judge, or heartlessly to forget, the others.
They are always before you; you see the path stained by their bleeding
feet; stupid and flinty, indeed, must you be, if you can hastily wound,
or indolently forbear to aid them. Then, as to yourself, you know what
your resources are; what you can do, what bear; there is small chance
for you to escape a well-tempered modesty. Then again, if you find power
in yourself to endure the trial, there is reason and reality in some
degree of self-reliance. The moral advantages of such training can
scarcely fail to amount to something; and as to the mental, that most
important chapter, how the lives of men are fashioned and transfused by
the experience of passion and the development of thought, presents new
sections at every turn, such as the distant dilettante's opera-glasses
will never detect,--to say nothing of the exercise of mere faculty,
which, though insensible in its daily course, leads to results of
immense importance.

But the evils, the disadvantages, the dangers, how many, how imminent!
True, indeed, they are so. There is the early bending of the mind to the
production of marketable results, which must hinder all this free play
of intelligence, and deaden the powers that craved instruction. There is
the callousness produced by the sight of more misery than it is possible
to relieve; the heart, at first so sensitive, taking refuge in a stolid
indifference against the pangs of sympathetic pain, it had not force to
bear. There is the perverting influence of uncongenial employments,
undertaken without or against choice, continued at unfit hours and
seasons, till the man loses his natural relations with summer and
winter, day and night, and has no sense more for natural beauty and joy.
There is the mean providence, the perpetual caution to guard against
ill, instead of the generous freedom of a mind which expects good to
ensue from all good actions. There is the sad doubt whether it will
_do_ to indulge the kindly impulse, the calculation of dangerous
chances, and the cost between the loving impulse and its fulfilment.
Yes; there is bitter chance of narrowness, meanness, and dulness on this
path, and it requires great natural force, a wise and large view of life
taken at an early age, or fervent trust in God, to evade them.

It is astonishing to see the poor, no less than the rich, the slaves of
externals. One would think that, where the rich man once became aware of
the worthlessness of the mere trappings of life from the weariness of a
spirit that found itself entirely dissatisfied after pomp and
self-indulgence, the poor man would learn this a hundred times from the
experience how entirely independent of them is all that is intrinsically
valuable in our life. But, no! The poor man wants dignity, wants
elevation of spirit. It is his own servility that forges the fetters
that enslave him. Whether he cringe to, or rudely defy, the man in the
coach and handsome coat, the cause and effect are the same. He is
influenced by a costume and a position. He is not firmly rooted in the
truth that only in so far as outward beauty and grandeur are
representative of the mind of the possessor, can they count for any
thing at all. O, poor man! you are poor indeed, if you feel yourself so;
poor if you do not feel that a soul born of God, a mind capable of
scanning the wondrous works of time and space, and a flexible body for
its service, are the essential riches of a man, and all he needs to make
him the equal of any other man. You are mean, if the possession of money
or other external advantages can make you envy or shrink from a being
mean enough to value himself upon such. Stand where you may, O man, you
cannot be noble and rich if your brow be not broad and steadfast, if
your eye beam not with a consciousness of inward worth, of eternal
claims and hopes which such trifles cannot at all affect. A man without
this majesty is ridiculous amid the flourish and decorations procured
by money, pitiable in the faded habiliments of poverty. But a man who is
a man, a woman who is a woman, can never feel lessened or embarrassed
because others look ignorantly on such matters. If they regret the want
of these temporary means of power, it must be solely because it fetters
their motions, deprives them of leisure and desired means of
improvement, or of benefiting those they love or pity.

I have heard those possessed of rhetoric and imaginative tendency
declare that they should have been outwardly great and inwardly free,
victorious poets and heroes, if fate had allowed them a certain quantity
of dollars. I have found it impossible to believe them. In early youth,
penury may have power to freeze the genial current of the soul, and
prevent it, during one short life, from becoming sensible of its true
vocation and destiny. But if it _has_ become conscious of these, and yet
there is not advance in any and all circumstances, no change would

No, our poor man must begin higher! He must, in the first place, really
believe there is a God who ruleth--a fact to which few men vitally bear
witness, though most are ready to affirm it with the lips.

2. He must sincerely believe that rank and wealth

              "are but the guinea's stamp;
    The man's the gold;"--

take his stand on his claims as a human being, made in God's own
likeness, urge them when the occasion permits, but never be so false to
them as to feel put down or injured by the want of mere external

3. He must accept his lot, while he is in it. If he can change it for
the better, let his energies be exerted to do so. But if he cannot,
there is none that will not yield an opening to Eden, to the glories of
Zion, and even to the subterranean enchantments of our strange estate.
There is none that may not be used with nobleness.

    "Who sweeps a room, as for Thy sake
    Makes that and th' action clean."

4. Let him examine the subject enough to be convinced that there is not
that vast difference between the employments that is supposed, in the
means of expansion and refinement. All depends on the spirit as to the
use that is made of an occupation. Mahomet was not a wealthy merchant,
and profound philosophers have ripened on the benches, not of the
lawyers, but the shoemakers. It did not hurt Milton to be a poor
schoolmaster, nor Shakspeare to do the errands of a London play-house.
Yes, "the mind is its own place," and if it will keep that place, all
doors will be opened from it. Upon this subject we hope to offer some
hints at a future day, in speaking of the different trades, professions,
and modes of labor.

5. Let him remember that from no man can the chief wealth be kept. On
all men the sun and stars shine; for all the oceans swell and rivers
flow. All men may be brothers, lovers, fathers, friends; before all lie
the mysteries of birth and death. If these wondrous means of wealth and
blessing be likely to remain misused or unused, there are quite as many
disadvantages in the way of the man of money as of the man who has none.
Few who drain the choicest grape know the ecstasy of bliss and knowledge
that follows a full draught of the wine of life. That has mostly been
reserved for those on whose thoughts society, as a public, makes but a
moderate claim. And if bitterness followed on the joy, if your fountain
was frozen after its first gush by the cold winds of the world, yet,
moneyless men, ye are at least not wholly ignorant of what a human being
has force to know. You have not skimmed over surfaces, and been dozing
on beds of down, during the rare and stealthy visits of Love and the
Muses. Remember this, and, looking round on the arrangements of the
lottery, see if you did not draw a prize in your turn.

It will be seen that our ideal poor man needs to be religious, wise,
dignified, and humble, grasping at nothing, claiming all; willing to
wait, never willing to give up; servile to none, the servant of all, and
esteeming it the glory of a man to serve. The character is rare, but not
unattainable. We have, however, found an approach to it more frequent in
woman than in man.


During a late visit to Boston, I visited with great pleasure the Chinese
Museum, which has been opened there.

There was much satisfaction in surveying its rich contents, if merely on
account of their splendor and elegance, which, though fantastic to our
tastes, presented an obvious standard of its own by which to prize it.
The rich dresses of the imperial court, the magnificent jars, (the
largest worth three hundred dollars, and looking as if it was worth much
more,) the present-boxes and ivory work, the elegant interiors of the
home and counting-room,--all these gave pleasure by their perfection,
each in its kind.

But the chief impression was of that unity of existence, so opposite to
the European, and, for a change, so pleasant, from its repose and gilded
lightness. Their imperial majesties do really seem so "perfectly
serene," that we fancy we might become so under their sway, if not
"thoroughly virtuous," as they profess to be. Entirely a new mood would
be ours, as we should sup in one of those pleasure boats, by the light
of fanciful lanterns, or listen to the tinkling of pagoda bells.

The highest conventional refinement, of a certain kind, is apparent in
all that belongs to the Chinese. The inviolability of custom has not
made their life heavy, but shaped it to the utmost adroitness for their
own purposes. We are now somewhat familiar with their literature, and we
see pervading it a poetry subtle and aromatic, like the odors of their
appropriate beverage. Like that, too, it is all domestic,--never wild.
The social genius, fluttering on the wings of compliment, pervades every
thing Chinese. Society has moulded them, body and soul; the youngest
children are more social and Chinese than human; and we doubt not the
infant, with its first cry, shows its capacity for self-command and
obedience to superiors.

Their great man, Confucius, expresses this social genius in its most
perfect state and highest form. His golden wisdom is the quintescence of
social justice. He never forgets conditions and limits; he is admirably
wise, pure, and religious, but never towers above humanity--never soars
into solitude. There is no token of the forest or cave in Confucius. Few
men could understand him, because his nature was so thoroughly balanced,
and his rectitude so pure; not because his thoughts were too deep, or
too high for them. In him should be sought the best genius of the
Chinese, with that perfect practical good sense whose uses are

At one time I used to change from reading Confucius to one of the great
religious books of another Eastern nation; and it was always like
leaving the street and the palace for the blossoming forest of the East,
where in earlier times we are told the angels walked with men and
talked, not of earth, but of heaven.

As we looked at the forms moving about in the Museum, we could not
wonder that the Chinese consider us, who call ourselves the civilized
world, barbarians, so deficient were those forms in the sort of
refinement that the Chinese prize above all. And our people deserve it
for their senselessness in viewing _them_ as barbarians, instead of
seeing how perfectly they represent their own idea. They are inferior to
us in important developments, but, on the whole, approach far nearer
their own standard than we do ours. And it is wonderful that an
enlightened European can fail to prize the sort of beauty they do
develop. Sets of engravings we have seen representing the culture of the
tea plant, have brought to us images of an entirely original idyllic
loveliness. One long resident in China has observed that nothing can be
more enchanting than the smile of love on the regular, but otherwise
expressionless face of a Chinese woman. It has the simplicity and
abandonment of infantine, with the fulness of mature feeling. It never
varies, but it does not tire.

The same sweetness and elegance stereotyped now, but having originally a
deep root in their life as a race, may be seen in their poetry and
music. The last we have heard, both from the voice and several
instruments, at this Museum, for the first time, and were at first
tempted to laugh, when something deeper forbade. Like their poetry, the
music is of the narrowest monotony, a kind of rosary, a repetition of
phrases, and, in its enthusiasm and conventional excitement, like
nothing else in the heavens and on the earth. Yet both the poetry and
music have in them an expression of birds, roses, and moonlight; indeed,
they suggest that state where "moonlight, and music, and feeling are
one," though the soul seems to twitter, rather than sing of it.

It is wonderful with how little practical insight travellers in China
look on what they see. They seem to be struck by points of repulsion at
once, and neither see nor tell us what could give any real clew to their
facts. I do not speak now of the recent lecturers in this city, for I
have not heard them; but of the many, many books into which I have
earlier looked with eager curiosity,--in vain,--I always found the same
external facts, and the same prejudices which disabled the observer from
piercing beneath them. I feel that I know something of the Chinese when
reading Confucius, or looking at the figures on their tea-cups, or
drinking a cup of _genuine_ tea--rather an unusual felicity, it is said,
in this ingenious city, which shares with the Chinese one trait at
least. But the travellers rather take from than add to this knowledge;
and a visit to this Museum would give more clear views than all the
books I ever read yet.

The juggling was well done, and so solemnly, with the same concentrated
look as the music! I saw the juggler afterwards at Ole Bull's concert,
and he moved not a muscle while the nightingale was pouring forth its
sweetest descant. Probably the avenues wanted for these strains to enter
his heart had been closed by the imperial edict long ago. The
resemblance borne by this juggler to our Indians is even greater than we
have seen in any other case. His brotherhood does not, to us, seem
surprising. Our Indians, too, are stereotyped, though in a different
way; they are of a mould capable of retaining the impression through
ages; and many of the traits of the two races, or two branches of a
race, may seem to be identical, though so widely modified by
circumstances. They are all opposite to us, who have made ships, and
balloons, and magnetic telegraphs, as symbolic expressions of our wants,
and the means of gratifying them. We must console ourselves with these,
and our organs and pianos, for our want of perfect good breeding,
serenity, and "thorough virtue."


The poet had retired from the social circle. Its mirth was to his
sickened soul a noisy discord, its sentiment a hollow mockery. With
grief he felt that the recital of a generous action, the vivid
expression of a noble thought, could only graze the surface of his mind.
The desolate stillness of death lay brooding on its depths. The friendly
smiles, the tender attentions which seemed so sweet in those hours when
Meta was "crown of his cup and garnish of his dish," could give the
present but a ghastly similitude to those blessed days. While his
attention, disobedient to his wishes, kept turning painfully inward, the
voice of the singer suddenly startled it back. A lovely maid, with
moist, clear eye, and pleadi ng, earnest voice, was seated at the
harpsichord. She sang a sad, and yet not hopeless, strain, like that of
a lover who pines in absence, yet hopes again to meet his loved one.

The heart of Klopstock rose to his lips, and natural tears suffused his
eyes. She paused. Some youth of untouched heart, shallow, as yet, in all
things, asked for a lively song, the expression of animal enjoyment. She
hesitated, and cast a sidelong glance at the mourner. Heedlessly the
request was urged: she wafted over the keys an airy prelude. A cold rush
of anguish came over the awakened heart; Klopstock rose, and hastily
left the room.

He entered his apartment, and threw himself upon the bed. The moon was
nearly at the full: a tree near the large window obscured its radiance,
and cast into the room a flickering shadow, as its leaves kept swaying
to and fro with the breeze.

Vainly Klopstock sought for soothing influences in the contemplation of
the soft and varying light. Sadness is always deepest at this hour of
celestial calmness. The soul realizes its wants, and longs to be in
harmony with itself far more in such an hour than when any outward ill
is arousing or oppressing it.

"Weak, fond wretch that I am!" cried he. "I, the bard of the Messiah! To
what purpose have I nurtured my soul on the virtues of that sublime
model, for whom no renunciation was too hard? Four years an angel
sojourned with me: her presence vivified my soul into purity and
benevolence like her own. Happy was I as the saints who rest after their
long struggles in the bosom of perfect love. I thought myself good
because I sinned not against a bounteous God, because my heart could
spare some drops of its overflowing oil and balm for the wounds of
others: now what am I? My angel leaves me, but she leaves with me the
memory of blissful years and our perfect communion as an earnest of that
happy meeting which awaits us, if I prove faithful to my own words of
faith, to those strains of religious confidence which are even now
cheering onward many an inexperienced youth. And what are my deeds and
feelings? The springs of life and love frozen, here I lie, sunk in
grief, as if I knew no world beyond the grave. The joy of others seems
an insult, their grief a dead letter, compared with my own. Meta! Meta!
couldst thou see me in my hour of trial, thou wouldst disdain thy chosen

A strain of sweet and solemn music swelled on his ear--one of those
majestic harmonies which, were there no other proof of the soul's
immortality, must suggest the image of an intellectual paradise. It
closed, and Meta stood before him. A long veil of silvery whiteness fell
over her, through which might be seen the fixed but nobly-serene
expression of the large blue eyes, and a holy, seraphic dignity of mien.
Klopstock knelt before her: his soul was awed to earth. "Hast thou
come, my adored!" said he, "from thy home of bliss, to tell me that thou
no longer lovest thy unworthy friend?"

"O, speak not thus!" replied the softest and most penetrating of voices.
"God wills not that his purified creatures should look in contempt or
anger on those suffering the ills from which they are set free. O, no,
my love! my husband! I come to speak consolation to thy sinking spirit.
When you left me to breathe my last sigh in the arms of a sister, who,
however dear, was nothing to my heart in comparison with you, I closed
my eyes, wishing that the light of day might depart with thee. The
thought of what thou must suffer convulsed my heart with one last pang.
Once more I murmured the wish I had so often expressed, that the sorrows
of the survivor might have fallen to my lot rather than to thine. In
that pang my soul extricated itself from the body; a sensation like that
from exquisite fragrance came over me, and with breezy lightness I rose
into the pure serene. It was a moment of feeling almost wild,--so free,
so unobscured. I had not yet passed the verge of comparison; I could not
yet embrace the Infinite: therefore my joy was like those of

"Words cannot paint, even to thy eager soul, my friend, the winged
swiftness, the onward, glowing hopefulness of my path through the fields
of azure. I paused, at length, in a region of keen, pure, bluish light,
such as beams from Jupiter to thy planet on a lovely October evening.

"Here an immediate conviction pervaded me that this was home--was my
appointed resting place; a full tide of hope and satisfaction similar to
the emotion excited on my first acquaintance with thy poem flowed over
this hour; a joyous confidence in the existence of Goodness and Beauty
supplied for a season, the want of thy society. The delicious clearness
of every emotion exalted my soul into a realm full of life. Some time
elapsed in this state. The whole of my temporal existence passed in
review before me. My thoughts, my actions, were placed in full relief
before the cleared eye of my spirit. Beloved, thou wilt rejoice to know
that thy Meta could then feel that her worst faults sprung from
ignorance. As I was striving to connect my present state with my past,
and, as it were, poising myself on the brink of space and time, the
breath of another presence came across me, and, gradually evolving from
the bosom of light, a figure rose before me, in grace, in sweetness, how
excelling! Fixing her eyes on mine with the full gaze of love, she said,
in flute-like tones, 'Dost thou know me, my sister?'

"'Art thou not,' I replied, 'the love of Petrarch? I have seen the
portraiture of thy mortal lineaments, and now recognize that perfect
beauty, the full violet flower which thy lover's genius was able to

"'Yes,' she said, 'I am Laura--on earth most happy, yet most sad; most
rich, and yet most poor. I come to greet her whom I recognize as the
inheritress of all that was lovely in my earthly being, more happy than
I in her temporal state. I have sympathized, O wife of Klopstock! in thy
transitory happiness. Thy lover was thy priest and thy poet; thy model
and oracle was thy bosom friend. All that earth could give was thine;
and I joyed to think on thy rewarded love, thy freedom of soul, and
unchecked faith. Follow me now: we are to dwell in the same circle, and
I am appointed to show thee thine abiding place.'

"She guided me towards the source of that light which I have described
to thee. We paused before a structure of dazzling whiteness, which stood
on a slope, and overlooked a valley of exceeding beauty. It was shaded
by trees which had that peculiar calmness that the shadows of trees have
below in the high noon of summer moonlight--

                '... trees which are still
      As the shades of trees below,
    When they sleep on the lonely hill,
      In the summer moonlight glow.'

It was decked with majestic sculptures, of which I may speak in some
future interview. Before it rose a fountain, from which the stream of
light flowed down the valley, dividing it into two unequal parts. The
larger and farther from us seemed, when I first looked on it, populous
with shapes, beauteous as that of my guide. But, when I looked more
fixedly, I saw only the valley, carpeted with large blue and white
flowers, which emitted a hyacinthine odor. Here, Laura, turning round,
asked, 'Is not this a poetic home, Meta?'

"I paused a moment ere I replied, 'It is indeed a place of beauty, but
more like the Greek elysium than the home Klopstock and I were wont to
picture to ourselves beyond the gates of Death.'

"'Thou sayest well,' she said; 'nor is this thy final home; thou wilt
but wait here a season, till Klopstock comes.'

"'What' said I, 'alone! alone in Eden?'

"'Has not Meta, then, collected aught on which she might meditate? Hast
thou never read, "While I was musing, the fire burned"?'

"'Laura,' said I, 'spare the reproach. The love of Petrach, whose soul
grew up in golden fetters, whose strongest emotions, whose most natural
actions were, through a long life, constantly repressed by the dictates
of duty and honor, she content might pass long years in that
contemplation which was on earth her only solace. But I, whose life has
all been breathed out in love and ministry, can I endure that my
existence be reversed? Can I live without utterance of spirit? or would
such be a stage of that progressive happiness we are promised?'

"'True, little one!' said she, with her first heavenly smile; 'nor shall
it be thus with thee. A ministry is appointed thee--the same which I
exercised while waiting here for that friend whom below I was forbidden
to call my own.'

"She touched me, and from my shoulders sprung a pair of wings, white and
azure, wide and glistering.

"'Meta!' she resumed, 'spirit of love! be this thine office. Wherever a
soul pines in absence from all companionship, breathe sweet thoughts of
sympathy to be had in another life, if deserved by virtuous exertions
and mental progress. Bind up the wounds of hearts torn by bereavement;
teach them where healing is to be found. Revive in the betrayed and
forsaken heart that belief in virtue and nobleness, without which life
is an odious, disconnected dream. Fan every flame of generous
enthusiasm, and on the altars where it is kindled strew thou the incense
of wisdom. In such a ministry thou couldst never be alone, since hope
must dwell with thee. But I shall often come and discourse to thee of
the future glories of thy destiny. Yet more: Seest thou that marble
tablet? Retire here when thy pinions are wearied. Give up thy soul to
faith. Fix thine eyes on the tablet, and the deeds and thoughts which
fill the days of Klopstock shall he traced on it. Thus shall ye not be
for a day divided. Hast thou, Meta, aught more to ask?"

"'Messenger of peace and bliss!' said I, 'dare I frame another request?
Is it too presumptuous to ask that Klopstock may be one of those to whom
I minister, and that he may know it is Meta who consoles him?'

"'Even this, to a certain extent, I have power to grant. Most pure, most
holy was thy life with Klopstock; ye taught one another only good
things, and peculiarly are ye rewarded. Thou mayst occasionally manifest
thyself to him, and answer his prayers with words,--so long,' she
continued, looking fixedly at me, 'as he continues true to himself and

"O, my beloved, why tell thee what were my emotions at such a promise?
Ah! I must now leave thee, for dawn is bringing back the world's doings.
Soon I shall visit thee again. Farewell! Remember that thy every thought
and deed will be known to me, and be happy!"

She vanished.



The country had been denuded of its forests, and men cried, "Come! we
must plant anew, or there will be no shade for the homes of our
children, or fuel for their hearths. Let us find the best kernels for a
new growth." And a basket of butternuts was offered.

But the planters rejected it with disgust. "What a black, rough coat it
has!" said they; "it is entirely unfit for the dishes on a nobleman's
table, nor have we ever seen it in such places. It must have a greasy,
offensive kernel; nor can fine trees grow up from such a nut."

"Friends," said one of the planters, "this decision may be rash. The
chestnut has not a handsome outside; it is long encased in troublesome
burs, and, when disengaged, is almost as black as these nuts you
despise. Yet from it grow trees of lofty stature, graceful form, and
long life. Its kernel is white, and has furnished food to the most
poetic and splendid nations of the older world."

"Don't tell me," says another; "brown is entirely different from black.
I like brown very well; there is Oriental precedent for its
respectability. Perhaps we will use some of your chestnuts, if we can
get fine samples. But for the present, I think we should use only
English walnuts, such as our forefathers delighted to honor. Here are
many basketsful of them, quite enough for the present. We will plant
them with a sprinkling between of the chestnut and acorn."

"But," rejoined the other, "many butternuts are beneath the sod, and
you cannot help a mixture of them being in your wood, at any rate."

"Well, we will grub them up and cut them down whenever we find them. We
can use the young shrubs for kindlings."

At that moment two persons entered the council of a darker complexion
than most of those present, as if born beneath the glow of a more
scorching sun. First came a woman, beautiful in the mild, pure grandeur
of her look; in whose large dark eye a prophetic intelligence was
mingled with infinite sweetness. She looked at the assembly with an air
of surprise, as if its aspect was strange to her. She threw quite back
her veil, and stepping aside, made room for her companion. His form was
youthful, about the age of one we have seen in many a picture produced
by the thought of eighteen centuries, as of one "instructing the
doctors." I need not describe the features; all minds have their own
impressions of such an image,

    "Severe in youthful beauty."

In his hand he bore a white banner, on which was embroidered, "PEACE AND
GOOD WILL TO MEN." And the words seemed to glitter and give out sparks,
as he paused in the assembly.

"I came hither," said he, "an uninvited guest, because I read sculptured
above the door 'All men born free and equal,' and in this dwelling hoped
to find myself at home. What is the matter in dispute?"

Then they whispered one to another, and murmurs were heard--"He is a
mere boy; young people are always foolish and extravagant;" or, "He
looks like a fanatic." But others said, "He looks like one whom we have
been taught to honor. It will be best to tell him the matter in

When he heard it, he smiled, and said, "It will be needful first to
ascertain which of the nuts is soundest _within_." And with a hammer he
broke one, two, and more of the English walnuts, and they were mouldy.
Then he tried the other nuts, but found most of them fresh within and
_white_, for they were fresh from the bosom of the earth, while the
others had been kept in a damp cellar.

And he said, "You had better plant them together, lest none, or few, of
the walnuts be sound. And why are you so reluctant? Has not Heaven
permitted them both to grow on the same soil? and does not that show
what is intended about it?"

And they said, "But they are black and ugly to look upon." He replied,
"They do not seem so to me. What my Father has fashioned in such guise
offends not mine eye."

And they said, "But from one of these trees flew a bird of prey, who has
done great wrong. We meant, therefore, to suffer no such tree among us."

And he replied, "Amid the band of my countrymen and friends there was
one guilty of the blackest crime--that of selling for a price the life
of his dearest friend; yet all the others of his blood were not put
under ban because of his guilt."

Then they said, "But in the Holy Book our teachers tell us, we are bid
to keep in exile or distress whatsoever is black and unseemly in our

Then he put his hand to his brow, and cried in a voice of the most
penetrating pathos, "Have I been so long among you, and ye have not
known me?" And the woman turned from them the majestic hope of her
glance, and both forms suddenly vanished; but the banner was left
trailing in the dust.

The men stood gazing at one another. After which one mounted on high,
and said, "Perhaps, my friends, we carry too far this aversion to
objects merely because they are black. I heard, the other day, a wise
man say that black was the color of evil--marked as such by God, and
that whenever a white man struck a black man he did an act of worship
to God.[37] I could not quite believe him. I hope, in what I am about to
add, I shall not be misunderstood. I am no abolitionist. I respect above
all things, divine or human, the constitution framed by our forefathers,
and the peculiar institutions hallowed by the usage of their sons. I
have no sympathy with the black race in this country. I wish it to be
understood that I feel towards negroes the purest personal antipathy. It
is a family trait with us. My little son, scarce able to speak, will cry
out, 'Nigger! Nigger!' whenever he sees one, and try to throw things at
them. He made a whole omnibus load laugh the other day by his cunning
way of doing this.[38] The child of my political antagonist, on the
other hand, says 'he likes _tullared_ children the best.'[39] You see he
is tainted in his cradle by the loose principles of his parents, even
before he can say nigger, or pronounce the more refined appellation. But
that is no matter. I merely mention this by the way; not to prejudice
you against Mr.----, but that you may appreciate the very different
state of things in my family, and not misinterpret what I have to say. I
was lately in one of our prisons where a somewhat injudicious indulgence
had extended to one of the condemned felons, a lost and wretched outcast
from society, the use of materials for painting, that having been his
profession. He had completed at his leisure a picture of the Lord's
Supper. Most of the figures were well enough, but Judas he had
represented as a black.[40] Now, gentlemen, I am of opinion that this is
an unwarrantable liberty taken with the Holy Scriptures, and shows _too
much_ prejudice in the community. It is my wish to be moderate and fair,
and preserve a medium, neither, on the one hand, yielding the wholesome
antipathies planted in our breasts as a safeguard against degradation,
and our constitutional obligations, which, as I have before observed,
are, with me, more binding than any other; nor, on the other hand,
forgetting that liberality and wisdom which are the prerogative of every
citizen of this free commonwealth. I agree, then, with our young
visitor. I hardly know, indeed, why a stranger, and one so young, was
permitted to mingle in this council; but it was certainly thoughtful in
him to crack and examine the nuts. I agree that it may be well to plant
some of the black nuts among the others, so that, if many of the walnuts
fail, we may make use of this inferior tree."

At this moment arose a hubbub, and such a clamor of "dangerous
innovation," "political capital," "low-minded demagogue," "infidel who
denies the Bible," "lower link in the chain of creation," &c., that it
is impossible to say what was the decision.


Sometimes, as we meet people in the street, we catch a sentence from
their lips that affords a clew to their history and habits of mind, and
puts our own minds on quite a new course.

Yesterday two female figures drew nigh upon the street, in whom we had
only observed their tawdry, showy style of dress, when, as they passed,
one remarked to the other, in the tone of a person who has just made a
discovery, "_I_ think there is something very handsome in a fine child."

Poor woman! that seemed to have been the first time in her life that she
had made the observation. The charms of the human being, in that fresh
and flower-like age which is intended perpetually to refresh us in our
riper, renovate us in our declining years, had never touched her heart,
nor awakened for her the myriad thoughts and fancies that as naturally
attend the sight of childhood as bees swarm to the blossoming bough.
Instead of being to her the little angels and fairies, the embodied
poems which may ennoble the humblest lot, they had been to her mere
"torments," who "could never be kept still, or their faces clean."

How piteous is the loss of those who do not contemplate childhood in a
spirit of holiness! The heavenly influence on their own minds, of
attention to cultivate each germ of great and good qualities, of
avoiding the least act likely to injure, is lost--a loss dreary and
piteous! for which no gain can compensate. But how unspeakably
deplorable the petrifaction of those who look upon their little friends
without any sympathy even, whose hearts are, by selfishness,
worldliness, and vanity, seared from all gentle instincts, who can no
longer appreciate their spontaneous grace and glee, that eloquence in
every look, motion, and stammered word, those lively and incessant
charms, over which the action of the lower motives with which the social
system is rife, may so soon draw a veil!

We can no longer speak thus of _all_ children. On some, especially in
cities, the inheritance of sin and deformity from bad parents falls too
heavily, and incases at once the spark of soul which God still doth not
refuse in such instances, in a careful, knowing, sensual mask. Such are
never, in fact, children at all. But the rudest little cubs that are
free from taint, and show the affinities with nature and the soul, are
still young and flexible, and rich in gleams of the loveliness to be
hoped from perfected human nature.

It is sad that all men do not feel these things. It is sad that they
wilfully renounce so large a part of their heritage, and go forth to buy
filtered water, while the fountain is gushing freshly beside the door of
their own huts. As with the charms of children, so with other things.
They do not know that the sunset is worth seeing every night, and the
shows of the forest better than those of the theatre, and the work of
bees and beetles more instructive, if scanned with care, than the lyceum
lecture. The cheap knowledge, the cheap pleasures, that are spread
before every one, they cast aside in search of an uncertain and feverish
joy. We did, indeed, hear one man say that he could not possibly be
deprived of his pleasures, since he could always, even were his abode in
the narrowest lane, have a blanket of sky above his head, where he could
see the clouds pass, and the stars glitter. But men in general remain
unaware that

    "Life's best joys are nearest us,
    Lie close about our feet."

For them the light dresses all objects in endless novelty, the rose
glows, domestic love smiles, and childhood gives out with sportive
freedom its oracles--in vain. That woman had seen beauty in gay shawls,
in teacups, in carpets; but only of late had she discovered that "there
was something beautiful in a fine child." Poor human nature! Thou must
have been changed at nurse by a bad demon at some time, and strangely
maltreated,--to have such blind and rickety intervals as come upon thee
now and then!


A few days ago, a lady, crossing in one of the ferry boats that ply from
this city, saw a young boy, poorly dressed, sitting with an infant in
his arms on one of the benches. She observed that the child looked
sickly and coughed. This, as the day was raw, made her anxious in its
behalf, and she went to the boy and asked whether he was alone there
with the baby, and if he did not think the cold breeze dangerous for it.
He replied that he was sent out with the child to take care of it, and
that his father said the fresh air from the water would do it good.

While he made this simple answer, a number of persons had collected
around to listen, and one of them, a well-dressed woman, addressed the
boy in a string of such questions and remarks as these:--

"What is your name? Where do you live? Are you telling us the truth?
It's a shame to have that baby out in such weather; you'll be the death
of it. (To the bystanders:) I would go and see his mother, and tell her
about it, if I was sure he had told us the truth about where he lived.
How do you expect to get back? Here, (in the rudest voice,) somebody
says you have not told the truth as to where you live."

The child, whose only offence consisted in taking care of the little one
in public, and answering when he was spoken to, began to shed tears at
the accusations thus grossly preferred against him. The bystanders
stared at both; but among them all there was not one with sufficiently
clear notions of propriety and moral energy to say to this impudent
questioner "Woman, do you suppose, because you wear a handsome shawl,
and that boy a patched jacket, that you have any right to speak to him
at all, unless he wishes it--far less to prefer against him these rude
accusations? Your vulgarity is unendurable; leave the place or alter
your manner."

Many such instances have we seen of insolent rudeness, or more insolent
affability, founded on no apparent grounds, except an apparent
difference in pecuniary position; for no one can suppose, in such cases,
the offending party has really enjoyed the benefit of refined education
and society, but all present let them pass as matters of course. It was
sad to see how the poor would endure--mortifying to see how the
purse-proud dared offend. An excellent man, who was, in his early years,
a missionary to the poor, used to speak afterwards with great shame of
the manner in which he had conducted himself towards them. "When I
recollect," said he, "the freedom with which I entered their houses,
inquired into all their affairs, commented on their conduct, and
disputed their statements, I wonder I was never horsewhipped, and feel
that I ought to have been; it would have done me good, for I needed as
severe a lesson on the universal obligations of politeness in its only
genuine form of respect for man as man, and delicate sympathy with each
in his peculiar position."

Charles Lamb, who was indeed worthy to be called a human being because
of those refined sympathies, said, "You call him a gentleman: does his
washerwoman find him so?" We may say, if she did, she found him a _man_,
neither treating her with vulgar abruptness, nor giving himself airs of
condescending liveliness, but treating her with that genuine respect
which a feeling of equality inspires.

To doubt the veracity of another is an insult which in most _civilized_
communities must in the so-called higher classes be atoned for by blood,
but, in those same communities, the same men will, with the utmost
lightness, doubt the truth of one who wears a ragged coat, and thus do
all they can to injure and degrade him by assailing his self-respect,
and breaking the feeling of personal honor--a wound to which hurts a man
as a wound to its bark does a tree.

Then how rudely are favors conferred, just as a bone is thrown to a dog!
A gentleman, indeed, will not do _that_ without accompanying signs of
sympathy and regard. Just as this woman said, "If you have told the
truth I will go and see your mother," are many acts performed on which
the actors pride themselves as kind and charitable.

All men might learn from the French in these matters. That people,
whatever be their faults, are really well bred, and many acts might be
quoted from their romantic annals, where gifts were given from rich to
poor with a graceful courtesy, equally honorable and delightful to the
giver and the receiver.

In Catholic countries there is more courtesy, for charity is there a
duty, and must be done for God's sake; there is less room for a man to
give himself the pharisaical tone about it. A rich man is not so
surprised to find himself in contact with a poor one; nor is the custom
of kneeling on the open pavement, the silk robe close to the beggar's
rags, without profit. The separation by pews, even on the day when all
meet nearest, is as bad for the manners as the soul.

Blessed be he, or she, who has passed through this world, not only with
an open purse and willingness to render the aid of mere outward
benefits, but with an open eye and open heart, ready to cheer the
downcast, and enlighten the dull by words of comfort and looks of love.
The wayside charities are the most valuable both as to sustaining hope
and diffusing knowledge, and none can render them who has not an
expansive nature, a heart alive to affection, and some true notion,
however imperfectly developed, of the meaning of human brotherhood.

Such a one can never sauce the given meat with taunts, freeze the viand
by a cold glance of doubt, or plunge the man, who asked for his hand,
deeper back into the mud by any kind of rudeness.

In the little instance with which we began, no help _was_ asked, unless
by the sight of the timid little boy's old jacket. But the license which
this seemed to the well-clothed woman to give to rudeness, was so
characteristic of a deep fault now existing, that a volume of comments
might follow and a host of anecdotes be drawn from almost any one's
experience in exposition of it. These few words, perhaps, may awaken
thought in those who have drawn tears from other's eyes through an
ignorance brutal, but not hopelessly so, if they are willing to rise
above it.


The meeting on Monday night at the Tabernacle was to us an occasion of
deep and peculiar interest. It was deep, for the feelings there
expressed and answered bore witness to the truth of our belief, that the
sense of right is not dead, but only sleepeth in this nation. A man who
is manly enough to appeal to it, will be answered, in feeling at least,
if not in action, and while there is life there is hope. Those who so
rapturously welcomed one who had sealed his faith by deeds of devotion,
must yet acknowledge in their breasts the germs of like nobleness.

It was an occasion of peculiar interest, such as we have not had
occasion to feel since, in childish years, we saw Lafayette welcomed by
a grateful people. Even childhood well understood that the gratitude
then expressed was not so much for the aid which had been received as
for the motives and feelings with which it was given. The nation rushed
out as one man to thank Lafayette, that he had been able, amid the
prejudices and indulgences of high rank in the old _régime_ of society,
to understand the great principles which were about to create a new
form, and answer, manlike, with love, service, and contempt of selfish
interests to the voice of humanity demanding its rights. Our freedom
would have been achieved without Lafayette; but it was a happiness and a
blessing to number the young French nobleman as the champion of American
independence, and to know that he had given the prime of his life to our
cause, because it was the cause of justice. With similar feelings of
joy, pride, and hope, we welcome Cassius M. Clay, a man who has, in like
manner, freed himself from the prejudices of his position, disregarded
selfish considerations, and quitting the easy path in which he might
have walked to station in the sight of men, and such external
distinctions as his State and nation readily confer on men so born and
bred, and with such abilities, chose rather an interest in their souls,
and the honors history will not fail to award to the man who enrolls his
name and elevates his life for the cause of right and those universal
principles whose recognition can alone secure to man the destiny without
which he cannot be happy, but which he is continually sacrificing for
the impure worship of idols. Yea, in this country, more than in the old
Palestine, do they give their children to the fire in honor of Moloch,
and sell the ark confided to them by the Most High for shekels of gold
and of silver. Partly it was the sense of this position which Mr. Clay
holds, as a man who esteems his own individual convictions of right more
than local interests or partial, political schemes, that gave him such
an enthusiastic welcome on Monday night from the very hearts of the
audience, but still more that his honor is at this moment identified
with the liberty of the press, which has been insulted and infringed in
him. About this there can be in fact but one opinion. In vain Kentucky
calls meetings, states reasons, gives names of her own to what has been
done.[41] The rest of the world knows very well what the action is, and
will call it by but one name. Regardless of this ostrich mode of
defence, the world has laughed and scoffed at the act of a people
professing to be free and defenders of freedom, and the recording angel
has written down the deed as a lawless act of violence and tyranny, from
which the man is happy who can call himself pure.

With the usual rhetoric of the wrong side, the apologists for this mob
violence have wished to injure Mr. Clay by the epithets of "hot-headed,"
"visionary," "fanatical." But, if any have believed that such could
apply to a man so clear-sighted as to his objects and the way of
achieving them, the mistake must have been corrected on Monday night.
Whoever saw Mr. Clay that night, saw in him a man of deep and strong
nature, thoroughly in earnest, who had well considered his ground, and
saw that though open, as the truly _noble_ must be, to new views and
convictions, yet his direction is taken, and the improvement to be made
will not be to turn aside, but to expedite and widen his course in that
direction. Mr. Clay is young, young enough, thank Heaven! to promise a
long career of great thoughts and honorable deeds. But still, to those
who esteem youth an unpardonable fault, and one that renders incapable
of counsel, we would say that he is at the age when a man is capable of
great thoughts and great deeds, if ever. His is not a character that
will ever grow old; it is not capable of a petty and short-sighted
prudence, but can only be guided by a large wisdom which is more young
than old, for it has within itself the springs of perpetual youth, and
which, being far-sighted and prophetical, joins ever with the progress
party without waiting till it be obviously in the ascendant.

Mr. Clay has eloquence, but only from the soul. He does not possess the
art of oratory, as an art. Before he gets warmed he is too slow, and
breaks his sentences too much. His transitions are not made with skill,
nor is the structure of his speech, as a whole, symmetrical; yet,
throughout, his grasp is firm upon his subject, and all the words are
laden with the electricity of a strong mind and generous nature. When he
begins to glow, and his deep mellow eye fills with light, the speech
melts and glows too, and he is able to impress upon the hearer the full
effect of firm conviction, conceived with impassioned energy. His often
rugged and harsh emphasis flashes and sparkles then, and we feel that
there is in the furnace a stream of iron: iron, fortress of the nations
and victor of the seas, worth far more, in stress of storm, than all the
gold and gems of rhetoric.

The great principle that he who wrongs one wrongs all, and that no part
can be wounded without endangering the whole, was the healthy root of
Mr. Clay's speech. The report does not do justice to the turn of
expression in some parts which were most characteristic. These, indeed,
depended much on the tones and looks of the speaker. We should speak of
them as full of a robust and homely sincerity, dignified by the heart of
the gentleman, a heart too secure of its respect for the rights of
others to need any of the usual interpositions. His good-humored
sarcasm, on occasion of several vulgar interruptions, was very pleasant,
and easily at those times might be recognized in him the man of heroical
nature, who can only show himself adequately in time of interruption and
of obstacle. If that be all that is wanted, we shall surely see him
wholly; there will be no lack of American occasions to call out the
Greek fire. We want them all--the Grecian men, who feel a godlike thirst
for immortal glory, and to develop the peculiar powers with which the
gods have gifted them. We want them all--the poet, the thinker, the
hero. Whether our heroes need _swords_, is a more doubtful point, we
think, than Mr. Clay believes. Neither do we believe in some of the
means he proposes to further his aims. God uses all kinds of means, but
men, his priests, must keep their hands pure. Nobody that needs a bribe
shall be asked to further our schemes for emancipation. But there is
room enough and time enough to think out these points till all is in
harmony. For the good that has been done and the truth that has been
spoken, for the love of such that has been seen in this great city
struggling up through the love of money, we should to-day be
thankful--and we are so.


The stars tell all their secrets to the flowers, and, if we only knew
how to look around us, we should not need to look above. But man is a
plant of slow growth, and great heat is required to bring out his
leaves. He must be promised a boundless futurity, to induce him to use
aright the present hour. In youth, fixing his eyes on those distant
worlds of light, he promises himself to attain them, and there find the
answer to all his wishes. His eye grows keener as he gazes, a voice from
the earth calls it downward, and he finds all at his feet.

I was riding on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain, musing on an old
English expression, which I had only lately learned to interpret. "He
was fulfilled of all nobleness." Words so significant charm us like a
spell, long before we know their meaning. This I had now learned to
interpret. Life had ripened from the green bud, and I had seen the
difference, wide as from earth to heaven, between nobleness and the
_fulfilment_ of nobleness.

A fragrance beyond any thing I had ever known came suddenly upon the
air, and interrupted my meditation. I looked around me, but saw no
flower from which it could proceed. There is no word for it; _exquisite_
and _delicious_ have lost all meaning now. It was of a full and
penetrating sweetness, too keen and delicate to be cloying. Unable to
trace it, I rode on, but the remembrance of it pursued me. I had a
feeling that I must forever regret my loss, my want, if I did not return
and find the poet of the lake, whose voice was such perfume. In earlier
days, I might have disregarded such a feeling; but now I have learned
to prize the monitions of my nature as they deserve, and learn sometimes
what is not for sale in the market place. So I turned back, and rode to
and fro, at the risk of abandoning the object of my ride.

I found her at last, the queen of the south, singing to herself in her
lonely bower. Such should a sovereign be, most regal when alone; for
then there is no disturbance to prevent the full consciousness of power.
All occasions limit; a kingdom is but an occasion; and no sun ever saw
itself adequately reflected on sea or land.

Nothing at the south had affected me like the magnolia. Sickness and
sorrow, which have separated me from my kind, have requited my loss by
making known to me the loveliest dialect of the divine language.
"Flowers," it has been truly said, "are the only positive present made
us by nature." Man has not been ungrateful, but consecrated the gift to
adorn the darkest and brightest hours. If it is ever perverted, it is to
be used as a medicine; and even this vexes me. But no matter for that.
We have pure intercourse with these purest creations; we love them for
their own sake, for their beauty's sake. As we grow beautiful and pure,
we understand them better. With me knowledge of them is a circumstance,
a habit of my life, rather than a merit. I have lived with them, and
with them almost alone, till I have learned to interpret the slightest
signs by which they manifest their fair thoughts. There is not a flower
in my native region which has not for me a tale, to which every year is
adding new incidents; yet the growths of this new climate brought me new
and sweet emotions, and, above all others, was the magnolia a
revelation. When I first beheld her, a stately tower of verdure, each
cup, an imperial vestal, full-displayed to the eye of day, yet guarded
from the too hasty touch even of the wind by its graceful decorums of
firm, glistening, broad, green leaves, I stood astonished, as might a
lover of music, who, after hearing in all his youth only the harp or
the bugle, should be saluted, on entering some vast cathedral, by the
full peal of its organ.

After I had recovered from my first surprise, I became acquainted with
the flower, and found all its life in harmony. Its fragrance, less
enchanting than that of the rose, excited a pleasure more full of life,
and which could longer be enjoyed without satiety. Its blossoms, if
plucked from their home, refused to retain their dazzling hue, but
drooped and grew sallow, like princesses captive in the prison of a
barbarous foe.

But there was something quite peculiar in the fragrance of this tree; so
much so, that I had not at first recognized the magnolia. Thinking it
must be of a species I had never yet seen, I alighted, and leaving my
horse, drew near to question it with eyes of reverent love.

"Be not surprised," replied those lips of untouched purity, "stranger,
who alone hast known to hear in my voice a tone more deep and full than
that of my beautiful sisters. Sit down, and listen to my tale, nor fear
that I will overpower thee by too much sweetness. I am, indeed, of the
race you love, but in it I stand alone. In my family I have no sister of
the heart, and though my root is the same as that of the other virgins
of our royal house, I bear not the same blossom, nor can I unite my
voice with theirs in the forest choir. Therefore I dwell here alone, nor
did I ever expect to tell the secret of my loneliness. But to all that
ask there is an answer, and I speak to thee.

"Indeed, we have met before, as that secret feeling of home, which makes
delight so tender, must inform thee. The spirit that I utter once
inhabited the glory of the most glorious climates. I dwelt once in the
orange tree."

"Ah?" said I; "then I did not mistake. It is the same voice I heard in
the saddest season of my youth. I stood one evening on a high terrace in
another land, the land where 'the plant man has grown to greatest size.'
It was an evening whose unrivalled splendor demanded perfection in
man--answering to that he found in nature--a sky 'black-blue' deep as
eternity, stars of holiest hope, a breeze promising rapture in every
breath. I could not longer endure this discord between myself and such
beauty; I retired within my window, and lit the lamp. Its rays fell on
an orange tree, full clad in its golden fruit and bridal blossoms. How
did we talk together then, fairest friend! Thou didst tell me all; and
yet thou knowest, that even then, had I asked any part of thy dower, it
would have been to bear the sweet fruit, rather than the sweeter
blossoms. My wish had been expressed by another.

    'O, that I were an orange tree,
          That busy plant!
    Then should I ever laden he,
          And never want
    Some fruit for him that dresseth me.'

Thou didst seem to me the happiest of all spirits in wealth of nature,
in fulness of utterance. How is it that I find thee now in another

"How is it, man, that thou art now content that thy life bears no golden

"It is," I replied, "that I have at last, through privation, been
initiated into the secret of peace. Blighted without, unable to find
myself in other forms of nature, I was driven back upon the centre of my
being, and there found all being. For the wise, the obedient child from
one point can draw all lines, and in one germ read all the possible
disclosures of successive life."

"Even so," replied the flower, "and ever for that reason am I trying to
simplify my being. How happy I was in the 'spirit's dower when first it
was wed,' I told thee in that earlier day. But after a while I grew
weary of that fulness of speech; I felt a shame at telling all I knew,
and challenging all sympathies; I was never silent, I was never alone;
I had a voice for every season, for day and night; on me the merchant
counted, the bride looked to me for her garland, the nobleman for the
chief ornament of his princely hair, and the poor man for his wealth;
all sang my praises, all extolled my beauty, all blessed my beneficence;
and, for a while, my heart swelled with pride and pleasure. But, as
years passed, my mood changed. The lonely moon rebuked me, as she hid
from the wishes of man, nor would return till her due change was passed.
The inaccessible sun looked on me with the same ray as on all others; my
endless profusion could not bribe him to one smile sacred to me alone.
The mysterious wind passed me by to tell its secret to the solemn pine,
and the nightingale sang to the rose rather than me, though she was
often silent, and buried herself yearly in the dark earth.

"I knew no mine or thine: I belonged to all. I could never rest: I was
never at one. Painfully I felt this want, and from every blossom sighed
entreaties for some being to come and satisfy it. With every bud I
implored an answer, but each bud only produced an orange.

"At last this feeling grew more painful, and thrilled my very root. The
earth trembled at the touch with a pulse so sympathetic that ever and
anon it seemed, could I but retire and hide in that silent bosom for one
calm winter, all would be told me, and tranquillity, deep as my desire,
be mine. But the law of my being was on me, and man and nature seconded
it. Ceaselessly they called on me for my beautiful gifts; they decked
themselves with them, nor cared to know the saddened heart of the giver.
O, how cruel they seemed at last, as they visited and despoiled me, yet
never sought to aid me, or even paused to think that I might need their
aid! yet I would not hate them. I saw it was my seeming riches that
bereft me of sympathy. I saw they could not know what was hid beneath
the perpetual veil of glowing life. I ceased to expect aught from them,
and turned my eyes to the distant stars. I thought, could I but hoard
from the daily expenditure of my juices till I grew tall enough, I might
reach those distant spheres, which looked so silent and consecrated,
and there pause a while from these weary joys of endless life, and in
the lap of winter find my spring.

"But not so was my hope to be fulfilled. One starlight night I was
looking, hoping, when a sudden breeze came up. It touched me, I thought,
as if it were a cold, white beam from those stranger worlds. The cold
gained upon my heart; every blossom trembled, every leaf grew brittle,
and the fruit began to seem unconnected with the stem; soon I lost all
feeling; and morning found the pride of the garden black, stiff, and

"As the rays of the morning sun touched me, consciousness returned, and
I strove to speak, but in vain. Sealed were my fountains, and all my
heartbeats still. I felt that I had been that beauteous tree, but now
only was--what--I knew not; yet I was, and the voices of men said, It is
dead; cast it forth, and plant another in the costly vase. A mystic
shudder of pale joy then separated me wholly from my former abode.

"A moment more, and I was before the queen and guardian of the flowers.
Of this being I cannot speak to thee in any language now possible
betwixt us; for this is a being of another order from thee, an order
whose presence thou mayst feel, nay, approach step by step, but which
cannot be known till thou art of it, nor seen nor spoken of till thou
hast passed through it.

"Suffice it to say, that it is not such a being as men love to paint; a
fairy, like them, only lesser and more exquisite than they; a goddess,
larger and of statelier proportion; an angel, like still, only with an
added power. Man never creates; he only recombines the lines and colors
of his own existence: only a deific fancy could evolve from the elements
the form that took me home.

"Secret, radiant, profound ever, and never to be known, was she; many
forms indicate, and none declare her. Like all such beings, she was
feminine. All the secret powers are "mothers." There is but one paternal

"She had heard my wish while I looked at the stars, and in the silence
of fate prepared its fulfilment. 'Child of my most communicative hour,'
said she, 'the full pause must not follow such a burst of melody. Obey
the gradations of nature, nor seek to retire at once into her utmost
purity of silence. The vehemence of thy desire at once promises and
forbids its gratification. Thou wert the keystone of the arch, and bound
together the circling year: thou canst not at once become the base of
the arch, the centre of the circle. Take a step inward, forget a voice,
lose a power; no longer a bounteous sovereign, become a vestal
priestess, and bide thy time in the magnolia.'

"Such is my history, friend of my earlier day. Others of my family, that
you have met, were formerly the religious lily, the lonely dahlia,
fearless decking the cold autumn, and answering the shortest visits of
the sun with the brightest hues; the narcissus, so rapt in
self-contemplation that it could not abide the usual changes of a life.
Some of these have perfume, others not, according to the habit of their
earlier state; for, as spirits change, they still bear some trace, a
faint reminder, of their latest step upwards or inwards. I still speak
with somewhat of my former exuberance and over-ready tenderness to the
dwellers on this shore; but each star sees me purer, of deeper thought,
and more capable of retirement into my own heart. Nor shall I again
detain a wanderer, luring him from afar; nor shall I again subject
myself to be questioned by an alien spirit, to tell the tale of my being
in words that divide it from itself. Farewell, stranger! and believe
that nothing strange can meet me more. I have atoned by confession;
further penance needs not; and I feel the Infinite possess me more and
more. Farewell! to meet again in prayer, in destiny, in harmony, in
elemental power."

The magnolia left me; I left not her, but must abide forever in the
thought to which the clew was found in the margin of that lake of the


Whoever passes up Broadway finds his attention arrested by three fine
structures--Trinity Church, that of the Messiah, and Grace Church.

His impressions are, probably, at first, of a pleasant character. He
looks upon these edifices as expressions, which, however inferior in
grandeur to the poems in stone which adorn the older world, surely
indicate that man cannot rest content with his short earthly span, but
prizes relations to eternity. The house in which he pays deference to
claims which death will not cancel seems to be no less important in his
eyes than those in which the affairs which press nearest are attended

So far, so good! That is expressed which gives man his superiority over
the other orders of the natural world, that consciousness of spiritual
affinities of which we see no unequivocal signs elsewhere.

But, if this be something great when compared with the rest of the
animal creation, yet how little seems it when compared with the ideal
that has been offered to him, as to the means of signifying such
feelings! These temples! how far do they correspond with the idea of
that religious sentiment from which they originally sprung? In the old
world the history of such edifices, though not without its shadow, had
many bright lines. Kings and emperors paid oftentimes for the materials
and labor a price of blood and plunder, and many a wretched sinner
sought by contributions of stone for their walls to roll off the burden
he had laid on his conscience. Still the community amid which they rose
knew little of these drawbacks. Pious legends attest the purity of
feeling associated with each circumstance of their building. Mysterious
orders, of which we know only that they were consecrated to brotherly
love and the development of mind, produced the genius which animated the
architecture; but the casting of the bells and suspending them in the
tower was an act in which all orders of the community took part; for
when those cathedrals were consecrated, it was for the use of all. Rich
and poor knelt together upon their marble pavements, and the imperial
altar welcomed the obscurest artisan.

This grace our churches want--the grace which belongs to all religions,
but is peculiarly and solemnly enforced upon the followers of Jesus. The
poor to whom he came to preach can have no share in the grace of Grace
Church. In St. Peter's, if only as an empty form, the soiled feet of
travel-worn disciples are washed; but such feet can never intrude on the
fane of the holy Trinity here in republican America, and the Messiah may
be supposed still to give as excuse for delay, "The poor you always have
with you."

We must confess this circumstance is to us quite destructive of
reverence and value for these buildings.

We are told, that at the late consecration, the claims of the poor were
eloquently urged; and that an effort is to be made, by giving a side
chapel, to atone for the luxury which shuts them out from the reflection
of sunshine through those brilliant windows. It is certainly better that
they should be offered the crumbs from the rich man's table than nothing
at all, yet it is surely not _the_ way that Jesus would have taught to
provide for the poor.

Would we not then have these splendid edifices erected? We certainly
feel that the educational influence of good specimens of architecture
(and we know no other argument in their favor) is far from being a
counterpoise to the abstraction of so much money from purposes that
would be more in fulfilment of that Christian idea which these assume to
represent Were the rich to build such a church, and, dispensing with
pews and all exclusive advantages, invite all who would to come in to
the banquet, that were, indeed, noble and Christian. And, though we
believe more, for our nation and time, in intellectual monuments than
those of wood and stone, and, in opposition even to our admired Powers,
think that Michael Angelo himself could have advised no more suitable
monument to Washington than a house devoted to the instruction of the
people, and think that great master, and the Greeks no less, would agree
with us if they lived now to survey all the bearings of the subject, yet
we would not object to these splendid churches, if the idea of Him they
call Master were represented in them. But till it is, they can do no
good, for the means are not in harmony with the end. The rich man sits
in state while "near two hundred thousand" Lazaruses linger, unprovided
for, without the gate. While this is so, they must not talk much,
within, of Jesus of Nazareth, who called to him fishermen, laborers, and
artisans, for his companions and disciples.

We find some excellent remarks on this subject from Rev. Stephen Olin,
president of the Wesleyan University. They are appended as a note to a
discourse addressed to young men, on the text, "Put ye on the Lord Jesus
Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts

This discourse, though it discloses formal and external views of
religions ties and obligations, is dignified by a fervent, generous love
for men, and a more than commonly catholic liberality; and though these
remarks are made and meant to bear upon the interests of his own sect,
yet they are anti-sectarian in their tendency, and worthy the
consideration of all anxious to understand the call of duty in these
matters. Earnest attention of this sort will better avail than fifteen
hundred dollars, or more, paid for a post of exhibition in a fashionable
church, where, if piety be provided with one chance, worldliness has
twenty to stare it out of countenance.

"The strong tendency in our religious operations to gather the rich and
the poor into separate folds, and so to generate and establish in the
church distinctions utterly at variance with the spirit of our political
institutions, is the very worst result of the multiplication of sects
among us; and I fear it must be admitted that the evil is greatly
aggravated by the otherwise benignant working of the voluntary system.
Without insisting further upon the probable or possible injury which may
befall our free country from this conflict of agencies, ever the most
powerful in the formation of national and individual character, no one,
I am sure, can fail to recognize in this development an influence
utterly and irreconcilably hostile to the genius and cherished objects
of Christianity. It is the peculiar glory of the gospel that, even under
the most arbitrary governments, it has usually been able to vindicate
and practically exemplify the essential equality of man. It has had one
doctrine and one hope for all its children; and the highest and the
lowest have been constrained to acknowledge one holy law of brotherhood
in the common faith of which they are made partakers. Nowhere else, I
believe, but in the United States--certainly nowhere else to the same
extent--does this anti-Christian separation of classes prevail in the
Christian church. The beggar in his tattered vestments walks the
splendid courts of St. Peter's, and kneels at its costly altars by the
side of dukes and cardinals. The peasant in his wooden shoes is welcomed
in the gorgeous churches of Notre Dame and the Madeleine; and even in
England, where political and social distinctions are more rigorously
enforced than in any other country on earth, the lord and the peasant,
the richest and the poorest, are usually occupants of the same church,
and partakers of the same communion. That the reverse of all this is
true in many parts of this country, every observing man knows full well;
and what is yet more deplorable, while the lines of demarcation between
the different classes have already become sufficiently distinct, the
tendency is receiving new strength and development in a rapidly
augmenting ratio. Even in country places, where the population is
sparse, and the artificial distinctions of society are little known, the
working of this strange element is, in many instances, made manifest,
and a petty coterie of village magnates may be found worshipping God
apart from the body of the people. But the evil is much more apparent,
as well as more deeply seated, in our populous towns, where the causes
which produce it have been longer in operation, and have more fully
enjoyed the favor of circumstances. In these great centres of wealth,
intelligence, and influence, the separation between the classes is, in
many instances, complete, and in many more the process is rapidly

"There are crowded religious congregations composed so exclusively of
the wealthy as scarcely to embrace an indigent family or individual; and
the number of such churches, where the gospel is never preached to the
poor, is constantly increasing. Rich men, instead of associating
themselves with their more humble fellow-Christians, where their money
as well as their influence and counsels are so much needed, usually
combine to erect magnificent churches, in which sittings are too
expensive for any but people of fortune, and from which their
less-favored brethren are as effectually and peremptorily excluded as if
there were dishonor or contagion in their presence. A congregation is
thus constituted, able, without the slightest inconvenience, to bear the
pecuniary burdens of twenty churches, monopolizing and consigning to
comparative inactivity intellectual, moral, and material resources, for
want of which so many other congregations are doomed to struggle with
the most embarrassing difficulties. Can it for a moment be thought that
such a state of things is desirable, or in harmony with the spirit and
design of the gospel?

"A more difficult question arises when we inquire after a remedy for
evils too glaring to be overlooked, and too grave to be tolerated,
without an effort to palliate, if not to remove them. The most obvious
palliative, and one which has already been tried to some extent by
wealthy churches or individuals, is the erection of free places of
worship for the poor. Such a provision for this class of persons would
be more effectual in any other part of the world than in the United
States. Whether it arises from the operation of our political system, or
from the easy attainment of at least the prime necessaries of life, the
poorer classes here are characterized by a proud spirit, which will not
submit to receive even the highest benefits in any form that implies
inferiority or dependence. This strong and prevalent feeling must
continue to interpose serious obstacles in the way of these laudable
attempts. If in a few instances churches for the poor have succeeded in
our large cities, where the theory of social equality is so imperfectly
realized in the actual condition of the people, and where the presence
of a multitude of indigent foreigners tends to lower the sentiment of
independence so strong in native-born Americans, the system is yet
manifestly incapable of general application to the religious wants of
our population. The same difficulty usually occurs in all attempts to
induce the humbler classes to worship with the rich in sumptuous
churches, by reserving for their benefit a portion of the sittings free,
or at a nominal rent. A few only can be found who are willing to be
recognized and provided for as beneficiaries and paupers, while the
multitude will always prefer to make great sacrifices in order to
provide for themselves in some humbler fane. It must be admitted that
this subject is beset with practical difficulties, which are not likely
to be removed speedily, or without some great and improbable revolution
in our religious affairs. Yet if the respectable Christian denominations
most concerned in the subject shall pursue a wise and liberal policy for
the future, something may be done to check the evil. They may retard its
rapid growth, perhaps, though it will most likely be found impossible to
eradicate it altogether. It ought to be well understood, that the
multiplication of magnificent churches is daily making the line of
demarcation between the rich and the poor more and more palpable and
impassable. There are many good reasons for the erection of such
edifices. Increasing wealth and civilization seem to call for a liberal
and tasteful outlay in behalf of religion; yet is it the dictate of
prudence no less than of duty to balance carefully the good and the evil
of every enterprise. It should ever be kept in mind, that such a church
virtually writes above its sculptured portals an irrevocable prohibition
to the poor--'_Procul, O procul este profani_.'"



You have put to me that case which puzzles more than almost any in this
strange world--the case of a man of good intentions, with natural powers
sufficient to carry them out, who, after having through great part of a
life lived the best he knew, and, in the world's eye, lived admirably
well, suddenly wakes to a consciousness of the soul's true aims. He
finds that he has been a good son, husband, and father, an adroit man of
business, respected by all around him, without ever having advanced one
step in the life of the soul. His object has not been the development of
his immortal being, nor has this been developed; all he has done bears
upon the present life only, and even that in a way poor and limited,
since no deep fountain of intellect or feeling has ever been unsealed
for him. Now that his eyes are opened, he sees what communion is
possible; what incorruptible riches may be accumulated by the man of
true wisdom. But why is the hour of clear vision so late deferred? He
cannot blame himself for his previous blindness. His eyes were holden
that he saw not. He lived as well as he knew how.

And now that he would fain give himself up to the new oracle in his
bosom, and to the inspirations of nature, all his old habits, all his
previous connections, are unpropitious. He is bound by a thousand chains
which press on him so as to leave no moment free. And perhaps it seems
to him that, were he free, he should but feel the more forlorn. He sees
the charm and nobleness of this new life, but knows not how to live it.
It is an element to which his mental frame has not been trained. He
knows not what to do to-day or to-morrow; how to stay by himself, or how
to meet others; how to act, or how to rest. Looking on others who chose
the path which now invites him at an age when their characters were yet
plastic, and the world more freely opened before them, he deems them
favored children, and cries in almost despairing sadness, Why, O Father
of Spirits, didst thou not earlier enlighten me also? Why was I not led
gently by the hand in the days of my youth? "And what," you ask, "could
I reply?"

Much, much, dear H----, were this a friend whom I could see so often
that his circumstances would be my text. For no subject has more engaged
my thoughts, no difficulty is more frequently met. But now on this poor
sheet I can only give you the clew to what I should say.

In the first place, the depth of the despair must be caused by the
mistaken idea that this our present life is all the time allotted to man
for the education of his nature for that state of consummation which is
called heaven. Were it seen that this present is only one little link in
the long chain of probations; were it felt that the Divine Justice is
pledged to give the aspirations of the soul all the time they require
for their fulfilment; were it recognized that disease, old age, and
death are circumstances which can never touch the eternal youth of the
spirit; that though the "plant man" grows more or less fair in hue and
stature, according to the soil in which it is planted, yet the
principle, which is the life of the plant, will not be defeated, but
must scatter its seeds again and again, till it does at last come to
perfect flower,--then would he, who is pausing to despair, realize that
a new choice can never be too late, that false steps made in ignorance
can never be counted by the All-Wise, and that, though a moment's delay
against conviction is of incalculable weight the mistakes of forty
years are but as dust on the balance held by an unerring hand. Despair
is for time, hope for eternity.

Then he who looks at all at the working of the grand principle of
compensation which holds all nature in equipoise, cannot long remain a
stranger to the meaning of the beautiful parable of the prodigal son,
and the joy over finding the one lost piece of silver. It is no
arbitrary kindness, no generosity of the ruling powers, which causes
that there be more joy in heaven over the one that returns, than over
ninety and nine that never strayed. It is the inevitable working of a
spiritual law that he who has been groping in darkness must feel the
light most keenly, best know how to prize it--he who has long been
exiled from the truth seize it with the most earnest grasp, live in it
with the deepest joy. It was after descending to the very pit of sorrow,
that our Elder Brother was permitted to ascend to the Father, who
perchance said to the angels who had dwelt always about the throne, Ye
are always with me, and all that I have is yours; but this is my Son; he
has been into a far country, but could not there abide, and has
returned. But if any one say, "I know not how to return," I should still
use words from the same record: "Let him arise and go to his Father."
Let him put his soul into that state of simple, fervent desire for truth
alone, truth for its own sake, which is prayer, and not only the sight
of truth, but the way to make it living, shall be shown. Obstacles,
insuperable to the intellect of any adviser, shall melt away like
frostwork before a ray from the celestial sun. The Father may hide his
face for a time, till the earnestness of the suppliant child be proved;
but he is not far from any that seek, and when he does resolve to make a
revelation, will show not only the _what_, but the _how_; and none else
can advise or aid the seeking soul, except by just observation on some
matter of detail.

In this path, as in the downward one, must there be the first step that
decides the whole--one sacrifice of the temporal for the eternal day is
the grain of mustard seed which may give birth to a tree large enough to
make a home for the sweetest singing birds. One moment of deep truth in
life, of choosing not merely honesty, but purity, may leaven the whole


    I gave the world the fruit of earlier hours:
    O Solitude! reward me with some flowers;
    Or if their odorous bloom thou dost deny,
    Rain down some meteors from the winter sky!

_Poesy._--The expression of the sublime and beautiful, whether in
measured words or in the fine arts. The human mind, apprehending the
harmony of the universe, and making new combinations by its laws.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Poetry._--The sublime and beautiful expressed in measured language. It
is closely allied with the fine arts. It should sing to the ear, paint
to the eye, and exhibit the symmetry of architecture. If perfect, it
will satisfy the intellectual and moral faculties no less than the heart
and the senses. It works chiefly by simile and melody. It is to prose as
the garden to the house. Pleasure is the object of the one, convenience
of the other. The flowers and fruits may be copied on the furniture of
the house, but if their beauty be not subordinated to utility, they lose
the charm of beauty, and degenerate into finery. The reverse is the case
in the garden.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Nature._--I would praise alike the soft gray and brown which soothed my
eye erewhile, and the snowy fretwork which now decks the forest aisles.
Every ripple in the snowy fields, every grass and fern which raises its
petrified delicacy above them, seems to me to claim a voice. A voice!
Canst thou not silently adore, but must needs be doing? Art thou too
good to wait as a beggar at the door of the great temple?

_Woman--Man._--Woman is the flower, man the bee. She sighs out melodious
fragrance, and invites the winged laborer. He drains her cup, and
carries off the honey. She dies on the stalk; he returns to the hive,
well fed, and praised as an active member of the community.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Action symbolical of what is within._--Goethe says, "I have learned
to consider all I do as symbolical,--so that it now matters little to me
whether I make plates or dishes." And further, he says, "All manly
effort goes from within outwards."

       *       *       *       *       *

_Opportunity fleeting._--I held in my hand the cup. It was full of hot
liquid. The air was cold; I delayed to drink, and its vital heat, its
soul, curled upwards in delicatest wreaths. I looked delighted on their
beauty; but while I waited, the essence of the draught was wasted on the
cold air: it would not wait for me; it longed too much to utter itself:
and when my lip was ready, only a flat, worthless sediment remained of
what had been.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Mingling of the heavenly with the earthly._--The son of the gods has
sold his birthright. He has received in exchange one, not merely the
fairest, but the sweetest and holiest of earth's daughters. Yet is it
not a fit exchange. His pinions droop powerless; he must no longer soar
amid the golden stars. No matter, he thinks; "I will take her to some
green and flowery isle; I will pay the penalty of Adam for the sake of
the daughter of Eve; I will make the earth fruitful by the sweat of my
brow. No longer my hands shall bear the coal to the lips of the inspired
singer--no longer my voice modulate its tones to the accompaniment of
spheral harmonies. My hands now lift the clod of the valley which dares
cling to them with brotherly familiarity. And for my soiling, dreary
task-work all the day, I receive--food.

"But the smile with which she receives me at set of sun, is it not worth
all that sun has seen me endure? Can angelic delights surpass those
which I possess, when, facing the shore with her, watched by the quiet
moon, we listen to the tide of the world surging up impatiently against
the Eden it cannot conquer? Truly the joys of heaven were gregarious and
low in comparison. This, this alone, is exquisite, because exclusive and

Ah, seraph! but the winter's frost must nip thy vine; a viper lurks
beneath the flowers to sting the foot of thy child, and pale decay must
steal over the cheek thou dost adore. In the realm of ideas all was
imperishable. Be blest while thou canst. I love thee, fallen seraph, but
thou shouldst not have sold thy birthright.

"All for love and the world well lost." That sounds so true! But genius,
when it sells itself, gives up, not only the world, but the universe.

Yet does not love comprehend the universe? The universe is love. Why
should I weary my eye with scanning the parts, when I can clasp the
whole this moment to my beating heart?

But if the intellect be repressed, the idea will never be brought out
from the feeling. The amaranth wreath will in thy grasp be changed to
one of roses, more fragrant indeed, but withering with a single sun!

       *       *       *       *       *

_The Crisis with Goethe._--I have thought much whether Goethe did
well in giving up Lili. That was the crisis in his existence. From that
era dates his being as a "Weltweise;" the heroic element vanished
irrecoverably from his character; he became an Epicurean and a Realist;
plucking flowers and hammering stones instead of looking at the stars.
How could he look through the blinds, and see her sitting alone in her
beauty, yet give her up for so slight reasons? He was right as a genius,
but wrong as a character.

       *       *       *       *       *

_The Flower and the Pearl._---- has written wonders about the mystery of
personality. Why do we love it? In the first place, each wishes to
embrace a whole, and this seems the readiest way. The intellect soars,
the heart clasps; from putting "a girdle round about the earth in forty
minutes," thou wouldst return to thy own little green isle of emotion,
and be the loving and playful fay, rather than the delicate Ariel.

Then most persons are plants, organic. We can predict their growth
according to their own law. From the young girl we can predict the
lustre, the fragrance of the future flower. It waves gracefully to the
breeze, the dew rests upon its petals, the bee busies himself in them,
and flies away after a brief rapture, richly laden.

When it fades, its leaves fall softly on the bosom of Mother Earth, to
all whose feelings it has so closely conformed. It has lived as a part
of nature; its life was music, and we open our hearts to the melody.

But characters like thine and mine are mineral. We are the bone and
sinew, these the smiles and glances, of earth. We lie nearer the mighty
heart, and boast an existence more enduring than they. The sod lies
heavy on us, or, if we show ourselves, the melancholy moss clings to us.
If we are to be made into palaces and temples, we must be hewn and
chiselled by instruments of unsparing sharpness. The process is
mechanical and unpleasing; the noises which accompany it, discordant and
obtrusive; the artist is surrounded with rubbish. Yet we may be polished
to marble smoothness. In our veins may lie the diamond, the ruby,
perhaps the emblematic carbuncle.

The flower is pressed to the bosom with intense emotion, but in the home
of love it withers and is cast away.

The gem is worn with less love, but with more pride; if we enjoy its
sparkle, the joy is partly from calculation of its value; but if it be
lost, we regret it long.

For myself, my name is Pearl.[42] That lies at the beginning, amid slime
and foul prodigies from which only its unsightly shell protects. It is
cradled and brought to its noblest state amid disease and decay. Only
the experienced diver could have known that it was there, and brought it
to the strand, where it is valued as pure, round, and, if less brilliant
than the diamond, yet an ornament for a kingly head. Were it again
immersed in the element where first it dwelt, now that it is stripped of
the protecting shell, soon would it blacken into deformity. So what is
noblest in my soul has sprung from disease, present defeat,
disappointment, and untoward outward circumstance.

For you, I presume, from your want of steady light and brilliancy of
sparks which are occasionally struck from you, that you are either a
flint or a rough diamond. If the former, I hope you will find a home in
some friendly tinder-box, instead of lying in the highway to answer the
hasty hoof of the trampling steed. If a diamond, I hope to meet you in
some imperishable crown, where we may long remain together; you lighting
up my pallid orb, I tempering your blaze.

_Dried Ferns about my Lamp-shade._--"What pleasure do you, who have
exiled those paper tissue covers, take in that bouquet of dried ferns?
Their colors are less bright, and their shapes less graceful, than those
of your shades."

I answer, "They grew beneath the solemn pines. They opened their hearts
to the smile of summer, and answered to the sigh of autumn. _They_
remind me of the wealth of nature; the tissues, of the poverty of man.
They were gathered by a cherished friend who worships in the woods, and
behind them lurks a deep, enthusiastic eye. So my pleasure in seeing
them is 'denkende' and 'menschliche.'"

"They are of no use."

"Good! I like useless things: they are to me the vouchers of a different
state of existence."

       *       *       *       *       *

_Light._--My lamp says to me, "Why do you disdain me, and use that
candle, which you have the trouble of snuffing every five minutes, and
which ever again grows dim, ungrateful for your care? I would burn
steadily from sunset to midnight, and be your faithful, vigilant friend,
yet never interrupt you an instant."

I reply, "But your steady light is also dull,--while his, at its best,
is both brilliant and mellow. Besides, I love him for the trouble he
gives; he calls on my sympathy, and admonishes me constantly to use my
life, which likewise flickers as if near the socket."

       *       *       *       *       *

_Wit and Satire._--I cannot endure people who do not distinguish between
wit and satire; who think you, of course, laugh at people when you laugh
_about_ them; and who have no perception of the peculiar pleasure
derived from toying with lovely or tragic figures.


Farewell to New York city, where twenty months have presented me with a
richer and more varied exercise for thought and life, than twenty years
could in any other part of these United States.

It is the common remark about New York, that it has at least nothing
petty or provincial in its methods and habits. The place is large
enough: there is room enough, and occupation enough, for men to have no
need or excuse for small cavils or scrutinies. A person who is
independent, and knows what he wants, may lead his proper life here,
unimpeded by others.

Vice and crime, if flagrant and frequent, are less thickly coated by
hypocrisy than elsewhere. The air comes sometimes to the most infected

New York is the focus, the point where American and European interests
converge. There is no topic of general interest to men, that will not
betimes be brought before the thinker by the quick turning of the wheel.

_Too_ quick that revolution,--some object. Life rushes wide and free,
but _too fast_. Yet it is in the power of every one to avert from
himself the evil that accompanies the good. He must build for his study,
as did the German poet, a house beneath the bridge; and then all that
passes above and by him will be heard and seen, but he will not be
carried away with it.

Earlier views have been confirmed, and many new ones opened. On two
great leadings, the superlative importance of promoting national
education by heightening and deepening the cultivation of individual
minds, and the part which is assigned to woman in the next stage of
human progress in this country, where most important achievements are to
be effected, I have received much encouragement, much instruction, and
the fairest hopes of more.

On various subjects of minor importance, no less than these, I hope for
good results, from observation, with my own eyes, of life in the old
world, and to bring home some packages of seed for life in the new.

These words I address to my friends, for I feel that I have some. The
degree of sympathetic response to the thoughts and suggestions I have
offered through the columns of the Tribune, has indeed surprised me,
conscious as I am of a natural and acquired aloofness from many, if not
most popular tendencies of my time and place. It has greatly encouraged
me, for none can sympathize with thoughts like mine, who are permanently
insnared in the meshes of sect or party; none who prefer the formation
and advancement of mere opinions to the free pursuit of truth. I see,
surely, that the topmost bubble or sparkle of the cup is no voucher for
the nature of its contents throughout, and shall, in future, feel that
in our age, nobler in that respect than most of the preceding ages, each
sincere and fervent act or word is secure, not only of a final, but of a
speedy response.

I go to behold the wonders of art, and the temples of old religion. But
I shall see no forms of beauty and majesty beyond what my country is
capable of producing in myriad variety, if she has but the soul to will
it; no temple to compare with what she might erect in the ages, if the
catchword of the time, a sense of _divine order_, should become no more
a mere word of form, but a deeply-rooted and pregnant idea in her life.
Beneath the light of a hope that this may be, I say to my friends once
more a kind farewell!





    The shrine is vowed to freedom, but, my friend,
    Freedom is but a means to gain an end.
    Freedom should build the temple, but the shrine
    Be consecrate to thought still more divine.
    The human bliss which angel hopes foresaw
    Is liberty to comprehend the law.
    Give, then, thy book a larger scope and frame,
    Comprising means and end in Truth's great name.


    The long-anticipated morning dawns,
    Clear, hopeful, joyous-eyed, and pure of breath.
    The dogstar is exhausted of its rage,
    And copious showers have cooled the feverish air,
    The mighty engine pants--away, away!

    And, see! they come! a motley, smiling group--
    The stately matron with her tempered grace,
    Her earnest eye, and kind though meaning smile,
    Her words of wisdom and her words of mirth.
    Her counsel firm and generous sympathy;
    The happy pair whose hearts so full, yet ever
    Dilating to the scene, refuse that bliss
    Which excludes the whole or blunts the sense of beauty.

    Next two fair maidens in gradation meet,
    The one of gentle mien and soft dove-eyes;
    Like water she, that yielding and combining,
    Yet most pure element in the social cup:
    The other with bright glance and damask cheek,
    You need not deem concealment there was preying
    To mar the healthful promise of the spring.

    Another dame was there, of graver look,
    And heart of slower beat; yet in its depths
    Not irresponsive to the soul of things,
    Nor cold when charmed by those who knew its pass-word.

    These ladies had a knight from foreign clime,
    Who from the banks of the dark-rolling Danube,
    Or somewhere thereabouts, had come, a pilgrim,
    To worship at the shrine of Liberty,
    And after, made his home in her loved realm,
    Content to call it fatherland where'er
    The streams bear freemen and the skies smile on them;
    A courteous knight he was, of merry mood,
    Expert to wing the lagging hour with jest,
    Or tale of strange romance or comic song.

    And there was one I must not call a page,
    Although too young yet to have won his spurs;
    Yet there was promise in his laughing eye,
    That in due time he'd prove no carpet knight;
    Now, bright companion on a summer sea,
    With wingéd words of gay or tasteful thought,
    He was fit clasp to this our social chain.

    And now, the swift car loosened on its way,
    O'er hill and dale we fly with rapid lightness,
    While each tongue celebrates the power of steam;
    O, how delightful 'tis to go so fast!
    No time to muse, no chance to gaze on nature!
    'Tis bliss indeed if "to think be to groan!"

    The genius of the time soon shifts the scene:
    No longer whirled over our kindred clods,
    We, with as strong an impulse, cleave the waters.
    Now doth our chain a while untwine its links,
    And some rebound from a three hours' communion
    To mingle with less favored fellow-men;
    One careless turns the leaves of some new volume;
    The leaves of Nature's book are too gigantic,
    Too vast the characters for patient study,
    Till sunset lures us with majestic power
    To cast one look of love on that bright eye,
    Which, for so many hours, has beamed on us.
    The silver lamp is lit in the blue dome,
    Nature begins her hymn of evening breezes,
    And myriad sparks, thronging to kiss the wave,
    Touch even the steamboat's clumsy hulk with beauty.
    Then, once more drawn together, cheerful talk
    Casts to the hours a store of gentle gifts,
    Which memory receives from these bright minds
    And careful garners them for duller days.

    The morning greets us not with her late smile;
    Now chilling damp falls heavy on our hopes,
    And leaden hues tarnish each sighed-for scene.
    Yet not on coloring, majestic Hudson,
    Depends the genius of thy stream, whose wand
    Has piled thy banks on high, and given them forms
    Which have for taste an impulse yet unknown.
    Though Beauty dwells here, she reigns not a queen,
    An humble handmaid now to the Sublime.
    The mind dilates to receive the idea of strength,
    And tasks its elements for congenial forms
    To create anew within those mighty piles,
    Those "bulwarks of the world," which, time-defying
    And thunder-mocking, lift their lofty brows.

    Now at the river's bend we pause a while,
    And sun and cloud combine their wealth to greet us.
    Oft shall the fair scenes of West Point return
    Upon the mind, in its still picture-hours,
    Its cloud-capped mountains with their varying hues,
    The soft seclusion of its wooded paths,
    And the alluring hopefulness of view
    Along the river from its crisis-point.
    Unlike the currents of our human lives
    When they approach their long-sought ocean-mother,--
    This stream is noblest onward to its close,
    More tame and grave when near its inland founts.
    Now onward, onward, till the whole be known;
    The heart, though swollen with these new sensations,
    With no less vital throb beats on for more,
    And rather we'd shake hands with disappointment
    Than wait and lean on sober expectation.

    The Highlands now are passed, and Hyde Park flies,--
    Catskill salutes us--a far fairy-land.
    O mountains, how do ye delude our hearts!
    Let but the eye look down upon a valley,
    We feel our limitations, and are calm;
    But place blue mountains in the distant view,
    And the soul labors with the Titan hope
    To ascend the shrouded tops, and scale the heavens.

    O, pause not in the murky, old Dutch city,
    But, hasting onward with a renewed steam power,
    Bestow your hours upon the beauteous Mohawk;
    And here we grieve to lose our courteous knight,
    Just at the opening of so rich a page.

    How shall I praise thee, Mohawk? How portray
    The love, the joyousness, felt in thy presence?
    When each new step along the silvery tide
    Added new gems of beauty to our thought,
    And lapped the soul in an Elysium
    Of verdure and of grace, fed by thy sweetness.
    O, how gay Fancy smiled, and deemed it home!
    This is, thought she, the river of my garden;
    These are the graceful trees that form its bowers,
    And these the meads where I have sighed to roam.
    I now may fold my wearied wings in peace.




    If this faint reflex from those days so bright
      May aught of sympathy among you gain,
      I shall not think these verses penned in vain;
    Though they tell nothing of the fancies light,
      The kindly deeds, rich thoughts, and various grace
    With which you knew to make the hours so fair,
      That neither grief nor sickness could efface
    From memory's tablet what you printed there.
    Could I have breathed your spirit through these lines,
      They might have charms to win a critic's smile,
      Or the cold worldling of a sigh beguile.
    I could but from my being bring one tone;
    May it arouse the sweetness of your own.


          THE HIGHLANDS.

    I saw ye first, arrayed in mist and cloud;
      No cheerful lights softened your aspect bold;
      A sullen gray, or green, more grave and cold,
    The varied beauties of the scene enshroud.
    Yet not the less, O Hudson! calm and proud,
      Did I receive the impress of that hour
      Which showed thee to me, emblem of that power
    Of high resolve, to which even rocks have bowed;
      Thou wouldst not deign thy course to turn aside,
    And seek some smiling valley's welcome warm,
      But through the mountain's very heart, thy pride
    Has been, thy channel and thy banks to form.
      Not even the "bulwarks of the world" could bar
      The inland fount from joining ocean's war!



    How fair at distance shone yon silvery blue,
      O stately mountain-tops, charming the mind
      To dream of pleasures which she there may find,
    Where from the eagle's height she earth can view!
    Nor are those disappointments which ensue;
      For though, while eyeing what beneath us lay,
      Almost we shunned to think of yesterday,
    As wonderingly our looks its course pursue.
      Dwarfed to a point the joys of many hours,
    The river on whose bosom we were borne
    Seems but a thread, of pride and beauty shorn;
      Its banks, its shadowy groves, like beds of flowers,
    Wave their diminished heads;--yet would we sigh,
    Since all this loss shows us more near the sky?



    Could I my words with gentlest grace imbue,
      Which the flute's breath, or harp's clear tones, can bless,
      I then might hope the feelings to express,
    And with new life the happy day endue,
      Thou gav'st, O vale, than Tempe's self more fair!
    With thy romantic stream and emerald isles,
    Touched by an April mood of tears and smiles
      Which stole on matron August unaware;
    The meads with all the spring's first freshness green,
      The trees with summer's thickest garlands crowned,
    And each so elegant, that fairy queen
      All day might wander ere she chose her round;
    No blemish on the sense of beauty broke,
    But the whole scene one ecstasy awoke.



    The sun, impatient, o'er the lofty trees
      Struggles to illume as fair a sight as lies
      Beneath the light of his joy-loving eyes,
    Which all the forms of energy must please;
      A solemn shadow falls in pillared form,
    Made by yon ledge, which noontide scarcely shows,
      Upon the amber radiance, soft and warm,
    Where through the cleft the eager torrent flows.
      Would you the genius of the place enjoy,
    In all the charms contrast and color give?
      Your eye and taste you now may best employ,
    For this the hour when minor beauties live;
      Scan ye the details as the sun rides high,
      For with the morn these sparkling glories fly.



    A calmer grace o'er these still hours presides;
      Now is the time to see the might of form;
    The heavy masses of the buttressed sides,
      The stately steps o'er which the waters storm;
    Where, 'neath the mill, the stream so gently glides,
      You feel the deep seclusion of the scene,
      And now begin to comprehend what mean
    The beauty and the power this chasm hides.
    From the green forest's depths the portent springs,
      But from those quiet shades bounding away,
      Lays bare its being to the light of day,
    Though on the rock's cold breast its love it flings.
      Yet can all sympathy such courage miss?
      Answer, ye trees! who bend the waves to kiss.



    I deemed the inmost sense my soul had blessed
      Which in the poem of thy being dwells,
      And gives such store for thought's most sacred cells;
    And yet a higher joy was now confessed.
    With what a holiness did night invest
      The eager impulse of impetuous life,
      And hymn-like meanings clothed the waters' strife!
    With what a solemn peace the moon did rest
      Upon the white crest of the waterfall;
    The haughty guardian banks, by the deep shade,
    In almost double height are now displayed.
      Depth, height, speak things which awe, but not appall.
    From elemental powers this voice has come,
    And God's love answers from the azure dome.


            In times of old, as we are told,
          When men more child-like at the feet
              Of Jesus sat, than now,
            A chivalry was known more bold
              Than ours, and yet of stricter vow,
          Of worship more complete.

        Knights of the Rosy Cross, they bore
        Its weight within the heart, but wore
    Without, devotion's sign in glistening ruby bright;
        The gall and vinegar they drank alone,
        But to the world at large would only own
    The wine of faith, sparkling with rosy light.

        They knew the secret of the sacred oil
        Which, poured upon the prophet's head,
    Could keep him wise and pure for aye.
        Apart from all that might distract or soil,
        With this their lamps they fed.
    Which burn in their sepulchral shrines unfading night and day.

          The pass-word now is lost,
        To that initiation full and free;
          Daily we pay the cost
        Of our slow schooling for divine degree.
    We know no means to feed an undying lamp;
    Our lights go out in every wind or damp.

    We wear the cross of ebony and gold,
      Upon a dark background a form of light,
    A heavenly hope upon a bosom cold,
      A starry promise in a frequent night;
    The dying lamp must often trim again,
    For we are conscious, thoughtful, striving men.

    Yet be we faithful to this present trust,
    Clasp to a heart resigned the fatal must;
    Though deepest dark our efforts should enfold,
    Unwearied mine to find the vein of gold;
    Forget not oft to lift the hope on high;
    The rosy dawn again shall fill the sky.

    And by that lovely light, all truth-revealed,
    The cherished forms which sad distrust concealed,
    Transfigured, yet the same, will round us stand,
    The kindred angels of a faithful band;
    Ruby and ebon cross both cast aside,
    No lamp is needed, for the night has died.

    Happy be those who seek that distant day,
    With feet that from the appointed way
              Could never stray;
    Yet happy too be those who more and more,
    As gleams the beacon of that only shore,
              Strive at the laboring oar.

    Be to the best thou knowest ever true,
      Is all the creed;
    Then, be thy talisman of rosy hue,
      Or fenced with thorns that wearing thou must bleed,
    Or gentle pledge of Love's prophetic view,
      The faithful steps it will securely lead.

    Happy are all who reach that shore,
      And bathe in heavenly day,
    Happiest are those who high the banner bore,
      To marshal others on the way;
    Or waited for them, fainting and way-worn,
              By burdens overborne.


    In a fair garden of a distant land,
      Where autumn skies the softest blue outspread,
      A lovely crimson dahlia reared her head,
    To drink the lustre of the season's prime;
      And drink she did, until her cup o'erflowed
      With ruby redder than the sunset cloud.

    Near to her root she saw the fairest rose
      That ever oped her soul to sun and wind.
    And still the more her sweets she did disclose,
      The more her queenly heart of sweets did find,
      Not only for her worshipper the wind,
    But for bee, nightingale, and butterfly,
    Who would with ceaseless wing about her ply,
      Nor ever cease to seek what found they still would find.

    Upon the other side, nearer the ground,
      A paler floweret on a slender stem,
    That cast so exquisite a fragrance round,
      As seemed the minute blossom to contemn,
    Seeking an ampler urn to hold its sweetness,
    And in a statelier shape to find completeness.

    Who could refuse to hear that keenest voice,
    Although it did not bid the heart rejoice,
    And though the nightingale had just begun
    His hymn; the evening breeze begun to woo,
    When through the charming of the evening dew,
    The floweret did its secret soul disclose?
    By that revealing touched, the queenly rose
    Forgot them both, a deeper joy to hope
    And heed the love-note of the heliotrope.



    Beloved friends! Earth hath known brighter days
      Than ours; we vainly strive to hide this truth;
    Would history be silent in their praise,
      The very stones tell of man's glorious youth,
    In heavenly forms on which we crowd to gaze;
      But that high-favored race hath sunk in night;
      The day is ours--the living still have sight.

    Friends of my youth! In happier climes than ours,
      As some far-wandering countrymen declare,
    The air is perfume; at each step spring flowers.
      Nature has not been bounteous to our prayer;
    But art dwells here, with her creative powers,
      Laurel and myrtle shun our winter snows,
      But with the cheerful vine we wreathe our brows.

    Though of more pomp and wealth the Briton boast,
      Who holds four worlds in tribute to his pride,--
    Although from farthest India's glowing coast
      Come gems of gold to burden Thames' dull tide,
      And _bring_ each luxury that Heaven denied,--
    Not in the torrent, but the still, calm brook,
    Delights Apollo at himself to look.

    More nobly lodged than we in northern halls,
      At Angelo's gate the Roman beggar dwells;
    Girt by the Eternal City's honored walls,
      Each column some soul-stiring story tells;
    While on the earth a second heaven dwells,
      Where Michael's spirit to St. Peter calls;
    Yet all this splendor only decks a tomb;
    For us fresh flowers from every green hour bloom

    And while we live obscure, may others' names
      Through Rumor's trump be given to the wind;
    New forms of ancient glories, ancient shames,
      For nothing new the searching sun can find,
      As pass the motley groups of human kind;
    All other living things grow old and die--
    Fancy alone has immortality.




    Come, breath of dawn! and o'er my temples play;
      Rouse to the draught of life the wearied sense;
    Fly, sleep! with thy sad phantoms, far away;
      Let the glad light scare those pale troublous shadows hence!


    I rise, and leaning from my casement high,
      Feel from the morning twilight a delight;
    Once more youth's portion, hope, lights up my eye,
      And for a moment I forget the sorrows of the night.


    O glorious morn! how great is yet thy power!
      Yet how unlike to that which once I knew,
    When, plumed with glittering thoughts, my soul would soar,
      And pleasures visited my heart like daily dew!


    Gone is life's primal freshness all too soon;
      For me the dream is vanished ere my time;
    I feel the heat and weariness of noon,
      And long in night's cool shadows to recline.


    We deemed the secret lost, the spirit gone,
      Which spake in Greek simplicity of thought,
      And in the forms of gods and heroes wrought
    Eternal beauty from the sculptured stone--
    A higher charm than modern culture won,
      With all the wealth of metaphysic lore,
      Gifted to analyze, dissect, explore.
    A many-colored light flows from our sun;
    Art, 'neath its beams, a motley thread has spun;
      The prison modifies the perfect day;
    But thou hast known such mediums to shun,
      And cast once more on life a pure white ray.
    Absorbed in the creations of thy mind,
    Forgetting daily self, my truest self I find.



    Hark! the church-going bell! But through the air
    The feathery missiles of old Winter hurled,
    Offend the brow of mild-approaching Spring;
    She shuts her soft blue eyes, and turns away.
    Sweet is the time passed in the house of prayer,
    When, met with many of this fire-fraught clay,
    We, on this day,--the tribe of ills forgot,
    Wherewith, ungentle, we afflict each other,--
    Assemble in the temple of our God,
    And use our breath to worship Him who gave it.
    What though no gorgeous relics of old days,
    The gifts of humbled kings and suppliant warriors,
    Deck the fair shrine, or cluster round the pillars;
    No stately windows decked with various hues,
    No blazon of dead saints repel the sun;
    Though no cloud-courting dome or sculptured frieze
    Excite the fancy and allure the taste,
    No fragrant censor steep the sense in luxury,
    No lofty chant swell on the vanquished soul.

    Ours is the faith of Reason; to the earth
    We leave the senses who interpret her;
    The heaven-born only should commune with Heaven,
    The immaterial with the infinite.
    Calmly we wait in solemn expectation.
    He rises in the desk--that earnest man;
    No priestly terrors flashing from his eye,
    No mitre towers above the throne of thought,
    No pomp and circumstance wait on his breath.
    He speaks--we hear; and man to man we judge.
    Has he the spell to touch the founts of feeling,
    To kindle in the mind a pure ambition,
    Or soothe the aching heart with heavenly balm,
    To guide the timid and refresh the weary,
    Appall the wicked and abash the proud?
    He is the man of God. Our hearts confess him.
    He needs no homage paid in servile forms,
    No worldly state, to give him dignity:
    To his own heart the blessing will return,
    And all his days blossom with love divine.

    There is a blessing in the Sabbath woods,
    There is a holiness in the blue skies;
    The summer-murmurs to those calm blue skies
    Preach ceaselessly. The universe is love--
    And this disjointed fragment of a world
    Must, by its spirit, man, be harmonized,
    Tuned to concordance with the spheral strain,
    Till thought be like those skies, deeds like those breezes,
    As clear, as bright, as pure, as musical,
    And all things have one text of truth and beauty.

    There is a blessing in a day like this,
    When sky and earth are talking busily;
    The clouds give back the riches they received,
    And for their graceful shapes return they fulness;
    While in the inmost shrine, the life of life,
    The soul within the soul, the consciousness
    Whom I can only _name_, counting her wealth,
    Still makes it more, still fills the golden bowl
    Which never shall be broken, strengthens still
    The silver cord which binds the whole to Heaven.

    O that such hours must pass away! yet oft
    Such will recur, and memories of this
    Come to enhance their sweetness. And again
    I say, great is the blessing of that hour
    When the soul, turning from without, begins
    To register her treasures, the bright thoughts,
    The lovely hopes, the ethereal desires,
    Which she has garnered in past Sabbath hours.
    Within her halls the preacher's voice still sounds,
    Though he be dead or distant far. The band
    Of friends who with us listened to his word,
    With throngs around of linked associations,
    Are there; the little stream, long left behind,
    Is murmuring still; the woods as musical;
    The skies how blue, the whole how eloquent
    With "life of life and life's most secret joy"!


    Remembrancer of joys long passed away,
      Relic from which, as yet, I cannot part,
    O, hast thou power to lengthen love's short day?
      Stronger thy chain than that which bound the heart?

    Lili, I fly--yet still thy fetters press me
      In distant valley, or far lonely wood;
    Still will a struggling sigh of pain confess thee
      The mistress of my soul in every mood.

    The bird may burst the silken chain which bound him,
      Flying to the green home, which fits him best;
    But, O, he bears the prisoner's badge around him,
      Still by the piece about his neck distressed.
    He ne'er can breathe his free, wild notes again;
    They're stifled by the pressure of his chain.



    These pallid blossoms thou wilt not disdain,
      The harbingers of thy approach to me,
    Which grew and bloomed despite the cold and rain,
      To tell of summer and futurity.

    It was not given them to tell the soul,
      And lure the nightingale by fragrant breath:
    These slender stems and roots brook no control,
      And in the garden life would find but death.
    The rock which is their cradle and their home
    Must also be their monument and tomb;
    Yet has my floweret's life a charm more rare
    Than those admiring crowds esteem so fair,
    Self-nurtured, self-sustaining, self-approved:
    Not even by the forest trees beloved,
    As are her sisters of the Spring, she dies,--
    Nor to the guardian stars lifts up her eyes,
    But droops her graceful head upon her breast,
    Nor asks the wild bird's requiem for her rest,
    By her own heart upheld, by her own soul possessed.

    Learn of the clematis domestic love,
      Religious beauty in the lily see;
    Learn from the rose how rapture's pulses move,
      Learn from the heliotrope fidelity.
    From autumn flowers let hope and faith be known;
    Learn from the columbine to live alone,
    To deck whatever spot the Fates provide
    With graces worthy of the garden's pride,
    And to deserve each gift that is denied.

    These are the shades of the departed flowers,
    My lines faint shadows of some beauteous hours,
    Whereto the soul the highest thoughts have spoken,
    And brightest hopes from frequent twilight broken.
    Preserve them for my sake. In other years,
    When life has answered to your hopes or fears,
    When the web is well woven, and you try
    Your wings, whether as moth or butterfly,
    If, as I pray, the fairest lot be thine,
    Yet value still the faded columbine.
    But look not on her if thy earnest eye,
    Be filled by works of art or poesy;
    Bring not the hermit where, in long array,
    Triumphs of genius gild the purple day;
    Let her not hear the lyre's proud voice arise,
    To tell, "still lives the song though Regnor dies;"
    Let her not hear the lute's soft-rising swell
    Declare she never lived who lived so well;
    But from the anvil's clang, and joiner's screw,
    The busy streets where men dull crafts pursue,
    From weary cares and from tumultuous joys,
    From aimless bustle and from voiceless noise,
    If there thy plans should be, turn here thine eye,--
    Open the casket of thy memory;
    Give to thy friend the gentlest, holiest sigh.



"Composed as I stood sentinel on the banks of the Elbe."

    Fatherland! Thou call'st the singer
          In the blissful glow of day;
    He no more can musing linger,
      While thou dost mourn a tyrant's sway.
          Love and poesy forsaking,
      From friendship's magic circle breaking,
      The keenest pangs he could endure
          Thy peace to insure.

    Yet sometimes tears must dim his eyes,
      As, on the melodious bridge of song,
    The shadows of past joys arise,
      And in mild beauty round him throng.
    In vain, o'er life, that early beam
    Such radiance shed;--the impetuous stream
    Of strife has seized him, onward borne,
    While left behind his loved ones mourn.

    Here in the crowd must he complain,
      Nor find a fit employ?
    Give him poetic place again,
      Or the quick throb of warlike joy.
    The wonted inspiration give;
    Thus languidly he cannot live;
    Love's accents are no longer near;
      Let him the trumpet hear.

    Where is the cannon's thunder?
      The clashing cymbals, where?
    While foreign foes our cities plunder,
      Can we not hasten there?
    I can no longer watch this stream;
    _In prose_ I die! O source of flame!
    O poesy! for which I glow,--
    A nobler death thou shouldst bestow!


    Mercury has cast aside
    The signs of intellectual pride,
    Freely offers thee the soul:
      Art thou noble to receive?
    Canst thou give or take the whole,
      Nobly promise, and believe?
    Then thou wholly human art,
    A spotless, radiant, ruby heart,
    And the golden chain of love
    Has bound thee to the realm above.
    If there be one small, mean doubt,
    One serpent thought that fled not out,
    Take instead the serpent-rod;
    Thou art neither man nor God.
    Guard thee from the powers of evil;
    Who cannot trust, vows to the devil.
    Walk thy slow and spell-bound way;
    Keep on thy mask, or shun the day--
    Let go my hand upon the way.



    "Why wilt thou not thy griefs forget?
    Why must thine eyes with tears be wet?
    When all things round thee sweetly smile,
    Canst thou not, too, be glad a while?"

    "Hither I come to weep alone;
    The grief I feel is all mine own;
    Dearer than smiles these tears to me;
    Smile you--I ask no sympathy!"

    "Repel not thus affection's voice!
    While thou art sad, can we rejoice?
    To friendly hearts impart thy woe;
    Perhaps we may some healing know."

    "Too gay your hearts to feel like mine,
    Or such a sorrow to divine;
    Nought have I lost I e'er possessed;
    I mourn that I cannot be blessed."

    "What idle, morbid feelings these!
    Can you not win what prize you please?
    Youth, with a genius rich as yours,
    All bliss the world can give insures."

    "Ah, too high-placed is my desire!
    The star to which my hopes aspire
    Shines all too far--I sigh in vain,
    Yet cannot stoop to earth again."

    "Waste not so foolishly thy prime;
    If to the stars thou canst not climb,
    Their gentle beams thy loving eye
    Every clear night will gratify."

    "Do I not know it? Even now
    I wait the sun's departing glow,
    That I may watch them. Meanwhile ye
    Enjoy the day--'tis nought to me!"


    Though many at my feet have bowed,
      And asked my love through pain and pleasure,
    Fate never yet the youth has showed
      Meet to receive so great a treasure.

    Although sometimes my heart, deceived,
      Would love because it sighed _to feel_,
    Yet soon I changed, and sometimes grieved
      Because my fancied wound would heal.


    SUNDAY, _May 12, 1833_.

    The clouds are marshalling across the sky,
    Leaving their deepest tints upon yon range
    Of soul-alluring hills. The breeze comes softly,
    Laden with tribute that a hundred orchards
    Now in their fullest blossom send, in thanks
    For this refreshing shower. The birds pour forth
    In heightened melody the notes of praise
    They had suspended while God's voice was speaking,
    And his eye flashing down upon his world.
    I sigh, half-charmed, half-pained. My sense is living,
    And, taking in this freshened beauty, tells
    Its pleasure to the mind. The mind replies,
    And strives to wake the heart in turn, repeating
    Poetic sentiments from many a record
    Which other souls have left, when stirred and satisfied
    By scenes as fair, as fragrant. But the heart
    Sends back a hollow echo to the call
    Of outward things,--and its once bright companion,
    Who erst would have been answered by a stream
    Of life-fraught treasures, thankful to be summoned,--
    Can now rouse nothing better than this echo;
    Unmeaning voice, which mocks their softened accents.
    Content thee, beautiful world! and hush, still busy mind!
    My heart hath sealed its fountains. To the things
    Of Time they shall be oped no more. Too long,
    Too often were they poured forth: part have sunk
    Into the desert; part profaned and swollen
    By bitter waters, mixed by those who feigned
    They asked them for refreshment, which, turned back,
    Have broken and o'erflowed their former urns.

    So when ye talk of _pleasure_, lonely world,
    And busy mind, ye ne'er again shall move me
    To answer ye, though still your calls have power
    To jar me through, and cause dull aching _here_.

    Not so the voice which hailed me from the depths
    Of yon dark-bosomed cloud, now vanishing
    Before the sun ye greet. It touched my centre,
    The voice of the Eternal, calling me
    To feel his other worlds; to feel that if
    I could deserve a home, I still might find it
    In other spheres,--and bade me not despair,
    Though "want of harmony" and "aching void"
    Are terms invented by the men of this,
    Which I may not forget.

                            In former times
    I loved to see the lightnings flash athwart
    The stooping heavens; I loved to hear the thunder
    Call to the seas and mountains; for I thought
    'Tis thus man's flashing fancy doth enkindle
    The firmament of mind; 'tis thus his eloquence
    Calls unto the soul's depths and heights; and still
    I deified the creature, nor remembered
    The Creator in his works.

                              Ah now how different!
    The proud delight of that keen sympathy
    Is gone; no longer riding on the wave,
    But whelmed beneath it: my own plans and works,
    Or, as the Scriptures phrase it, my "_inventions_"
    No longer interpose 'twixt me and Heaven.

    To-day, for the first time, I felt the Deity,
    And uttered prayer on hearing thunder. This
    Must be thy will,--for finer, higher spirits
    Have gone through this same process,--yet I think
    There was religion in that strong delight,
    Those sounds, those thoughts of power imparted. True,
    I did not say, "He is the Lord thy God,"
    But I had feeling of his essence. But
    "'Twas pride by which the angels fell." So be it!
    But O, might I but see a little onward!
    Father, I cannot be a spirit of power;
    May I be active as a spirit of love,
    Since thou hast ta'en me from that path which Nature
    Seemed to appoint, O, deign to ope another,
    Where I may walk with thought and hope assured;
    "Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief!"
    Had I but faith like that which fired Novalis,
    I too could bear that the heart "fall in ashes,"
    While the freed spirit rises from beneath them,
    With heavenward-look, and Phoenix-plumes upsoaring!


    Poet of Nature, gentlest of the wise,
      Most airy of the fanciful, most keen
    Of satirists, thy thoughts, like butterflies,
      Still near the sweetest scented flowers have been:
    With Titian's colors, thou canst sunset paint;
      With Raphael's dignity, celestial love;
    With Hogarth's pencil, each deceit and feint
      Of meanness and hypocrisy reprove;
    Canst to Devotion's highest flight sublime
      Exalt the mind; by tenderest pathos' art
      Dissolve in purifying tears the heart,
    Or bid it, shuddering, recoil at crime;
      The fond illusions of the youth and maid,
    At which so many world-formed sages sneer,
      When by thy altar-lighted torch displayed,
    Our natural religion must appear.
      All things in thee tend to one polar star;
      Magnetic all thy influences are;
    A labyrinth; a flowery wilderness.
      Some in thy "slip-boxes" and honeymoons
    Complain of--want of order, I confess,
      But not of system in its highest sense.
    Who asks a guiding clew through this wide mind,
    In love of nature such will surely find,
      In tropic climes, live like the tropic bird,
    Whene'er a spice-fraught grove may tempt thy stray;
      Nor be by cares of colder climes disturbed:
    No frost the summer's bloom shall drive away;
      Nature's wide temple and the azure dome
      Have plan enough for the free spirit's home.


    With equal sweetness the commissioned hours
    Shed light and dew upon both weeds and flowers.
    The weeds unthankful raise their vile heads high,
    Flaunting back insult to the gracious sky;
    While the dear flowers, with fond humility,
    Uplift the eyelids of a starry eye
    In speechless homage, and, from grateful hearts,
    Perfume that homage all around imparts.


    When leaves were falling thickly in the pale November day,
    A bird dropped here this feather upon her pensive way.
    Another bird has found it in the snow-chilled April day;
    It brings to him the music of all her summer's lay.
    Thus sweet birds, though unmated, do never sing in vain;
    The lonely notes they utter to free them from their pain,
    Caught up by the echoes, ring through the blue dome,
    And by good spirits guided pierce to some gentle home.

    The pencil moved prophetic: together now men read
    In the fair book of nature, and find the hope they need.
    The wreath woven by the river is by the seaside worn,
    And one of fate's best arrows to its due mark is borne.



    Thy other book to fill, more than eight years
    Have paid chance tribute of their smiles and tears;
    Many bright strokes portray the varied scene--
    Wild sports, sweet ties the days of toil between;
    And those related both in mind and blood,
    The wise, the true, the lovely, and the good,
    Have left their impress here; nor such alone,
    But those chance toys that lively feelings own
    Weave their gay flourishes 'mid lines sincere,
    As 'mid the shadowy thickets bound the deer
    Accept a volume where the coming time
    Will join, I hope, much reason with the rhyme,
    And that the stair his steady feet ascend
    May prove a Jacob's ladder to my friend,
    Peopled with angel-shapes of promise bright,
    And ending only in the realms of light.

    May purity be stamped upon his brow,
    Yet leave the manly footsteps free as now;
    May generous love glow in his inmost heart,
    Truth to its utterance lend the only art;
    While more a man, may he be more the child;
    More thoughtful be, but the more sweet and mild;
    May growing wisdom, mixed with sprightly cheer,
    Bless his own breast and those which hold him dear;
    Each act be worthy of his worthiest aim,
    And love of goodness keep him free from blame,
    Without a need straight rules for life to frame.

    Good Spirit, teach him what he ought to be,
    Best to fulfil his proper destiny,
    To serve himself, his fellow-men, and thee.
    These pages then will show how Nature wild
    Accepts her Master, cherishes her child;
    And many flowers, ere eight years more are done,
    Shall bless and blossom in the western sun.



    A new-fledged eaglet spread his wings
    To seek for prey;
    Then flew the huntsman's dart and cut
    The right wing's sinewy strength away.
    Headlong he falls into a myrtle grove;
    There three days long devoured his grief,
    And writhed in pain
    Three long, long nights, three days as weary.
    At length he feels
    The all-healing power
    Of Nature's balsam.
    Forth from the shady bush he creeps,
    And tries his wing; but, ah!
    The power to soar is gone!
    He scarce can lift himself
    Along the ground
    In search of food to keep mere life awake;
    Then rests, deep mourning,
    On a low rock by the brook;
    He looks up to the oak tree's top,
    Far up to heaven,
    And a tear glistens in his haughty eye.

    Just then come by a pair of fondling doves,
    Playfully rustling through the grove.
    Cooing and toying, they go tripping
    Over golden sand and brook;
    And, turning here and there,
    Their rose-tinged eyes descry
    The inly-mourning bird.
    The dove, with friendly curiosity,
    Flutters to the next bush, and looks
    With tender sweetness on the wounded king.
    "Ah, why so sad?" he cooes;
    "Be of good cheer, my friend!
    Hast thou not all the means of tranquil bliss
    Around thee here?
    Canst thou not meet with swelling breast
    The last rays of the setting sun
    On the brook's mossy brink?
    Canst wander 'mid the dewy flowers,
    And, from the superfluous wealth
    Of the wood-bushes, pluck at will
    Wholesome and delicate food,
    And at the silvery fountain quench thy thirst?
    O friend! the spirit of content
    Gives all that we can know of bliss;
    And this sweet spirit of content
    Finds every where its food."
    "O, wise one!" said the eagle, deeper still
    Into himself retiring;
    "O wisdom, thou speakest as a dove!"


    Content in purple lustre clad,
    Kingly serene, and golden glad;
    No demi hues of sad contrition,
    No pallors of enforced submission;
    Give me such content as this,
    And keep a while the rosy bliss.



    Foreseen, forespoken not foredone,--
    Ere the race be well begun,
    The prescient soul is at the goal,
    One little moment binds the whole;
    Happy they themselves who call
    To risk much, and to conquer all;
    Happy are they who many losses,
    Sore defeat or frequent crosses,
    Though these may the heart dismay,
    Cannot the sure faith betray;
    Who in beauty bless the Giver;
    Seek ocean on the loveliest river;
    Or on desert island tossed,
    Seeing Heaven, think nought lost.
    May thy genius bring to thee
    Of this life experience free,
    And the earth vine's mysterious cup,
    Sweet and bitter yield thee up.
    But should the now sparkling bowl
    Chance to slip from thy control,
    And much of the enchanted wine
    Be spilt in sand, as 'twas with mine,
    Let blessings lost being consecration,
    Change the pledge to a libation.
    For the Power to whom we bow
    Has given his pledge, that, if not now,
    They of pure and steadfast mind,
    By faith exalted, truth refined,
    Shall hear all music, loud and clear,
    Whose first notes they ventured here.
    Then fear not thou to wind the horn
    Though elf and gnome thy courage scorn;
    Ask for the castle's king and queen,
    Though rabble rout may come between,
    Beat thee, senseless, to the ground,
    In the dark beset thee round;
    Persist to ask, and they will come.
    Seek not for rest a humbler home,
    And thou wilt see what few have seen,
    The palace home of king and queen.


    There are who separate the eternal light
    In forms of man and woman, day and night;
    They cannot bear that God be essence quite.

    Existence is as deep a verity:
    Without the dual, where is unity?
    And the "I am" cannot forbear to be;

    But from its primal nature forced to frame
    Mysteries, destinies of various name,
    Is forced to give what it has taught to claim.

    Thus love must answer to its own unrest;
    The bad commands us to expect the best,
    And hope of its own prospects is the test.

    And dost thou seek to find the one in two?
    Only upon the old can build the new;
    The symbol which you seek is found in you.

    The heart and mind, the wisdom and the will,
    The man and woman, must be severed still,
    And Christ must reconcile the good and ill.

    There are to whom each symbol is a mask;
    The life of love is a mysterious task;
    They want no answer, for they would not ask.

    A single thought transfuses every form;
    The sunny day is changed into the storm,
    For light is dark, hard soft, and cold is warm.

    One presence fills and floods the whole serene;
    Nothing can be, nothing has ever been,
    Except the one truth that creates the scene.

    Does the heart beat,--that is a seeming only;
    You cannot be alone, though you are lonely;
    The All is neutralized in the One only.

    You ask _a_ faith,--they are content with faith;
    You ask to have,--but they reply, "IT hath."
    There is no end, and there need be no path.

    The day wears heavily,--why, then, ignore it;
    Peace is the soul's desire,--such thoughts restore it;
    The truth thou art,--it needs not to implore it.

    _The Presence_ all thy fancies supersedes,
    All that is done which thou wouldst seek in deeds,
    _The_ wealth obliterates all seeming needs.

    Both these are true, and if they are at strife,
    The mystery bears the one name of _Life_,
    That, slowly spelled, will yet compose the strife.

    The men of old say, "Live twelve thousand years,
    And see the end of all that here appears,
    And Moxen[45] shall absorb thy smiles and tears."

    These later men say, "Live this little day.
    Believe that human nature is the way,
    And know both Son and Father while you pray;

    And one in two, in three, and none alone,
    Letting you know even as you are known,
    Shall make the you and me eternal parts of one."

    To me, our destinies seem flower and fruit
    Born of an ever-generating root;
    The other statement I cannot dispute.

    But say that Love and Life eternal seem,
    And if eternal ties be but a dream,
    What is the meaning of that self-same _seem_?

    Your nature craves Eternity for Truth;
    Eternity of Love is prayer of youth;
    How, without love, would have gone forth your truth?

    I do not think we are deceived to grow,
    But that the crudest fancy, slightest show,
    Covers some separate truth that we may know.

    In the one Truth, each separate fact is true;
    Eternally in one I many view,
    And destinies through destiny pursue.

    This is _my_ tendency; but can I say
    That this my thought leads the true, only way?
    I only know it constant leads, and I obey.

    I only know one prayer--"Give me the truth,
    Give me that colored whiteness, ancient youth,
    Complex and simple, seen in joy and ruth.

    Let me not by vain wishes bar my claim,
    Nor soothe my hunger by an empty name,
    Nor crucify the Son of man by hasty blame.

    But in the earth and fire, water and air,
    Live earnestly by turns without despair,
    Nor seek a home till home be every where!"


        Thoughts which come at a call
    Are no better than if they came not at all;
        Neither flower nor fruit,
        Yielding no root
        For plant, shrub, or tree.
        Thus I have not for thee
        One good word to say,
    Except that I prize thy gentle heart,
    Free from ambition, falsehood, or art,
        And thy good mind,
        Daily refined,
        By pure desire
    To fan the heaven-seeking fire:
    May it rise higher and higher;
        Till in thee
    Gentleness finds its dignity,
    Life flowing tranquil, pure and free,
    A mild, unbroken harmony.


    If the same star our fates together bind,
    Why are we thus divided, mind from mind?
    If the same law one grief to both impart,
    How couldst thou grieve a trusting mother's heart?

    Our aspiration seeks a common aim;
    Why were we tempered of such differing frame?
    But 'tis too late to turn this wrong to right;
    Too cold, too damp, too deep, has fallen the night.

    And yet, the angel of my life replies,
    Upon that night a morning star shall rise,
    Fairer than that which ruled thy temporal birth,
    Undimmed by vapors of the dreamy earth.

    It says, that, where a heart thy claim denies,
    Genius shall read its secret ere it flies;
    The earthly form may vanish from thy side,
    Pure love will make thee still the spirit's bride.

    And thou, ungentle, yet much loving child,
    Whose heart still shows the "untamed haggard wild,"
    A heart which justly makes the highest claim,
    Too easily is checked by transient blame.

    Ere such an orb can ascertain its sphere,
    The ordeal must be various and severe;
    My prayer attend thee, though the feet may fly;
    I hear thy music in the silent sky.



     "Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright, for the end of that
     man is peace."--_Psalms_ xxxvii. 37.

    The man of heart and words sincere,
      Who truth and justice follows still,
    Pursues his way with conscience clear,
      Unharmed by earthly care and ill.
    His promises he never breaks,
      But sacredly to each adheres;
    Honor's straight path he ne'er forsakes,
      Though danger in the way appears.
    He never boasts, will ne'er deceive,
      For vanity nor yet for gain;
    All that he says you may believe;
      For worlds he would not conscience stain.
    If he desires what others do,
      And they deserve it more than he,
    He gives to them what is their due,
      Happy in his humility.
    Not to his friends alone he's kind,
      But his foes too with candor sees;
    Not to their good intentions blind,
      Though hopeless their dislike t' appease.
    His eyes are clear, his hands are pure,
      To God it is his constant prayer
    That, be he rich or be he poor,
      He never may wrong actions dare.
    If rich, he to the suffering gives
      All he can spare, and thinks it just,
    That, since he by God's bounty lives,
      He should as steward hold his trust.
    If poor, he envies not; he knows
      How covetousness corrupts the heart,
    Whatever a just God bestows
      Receiving as his proper part.
    O Father, such a man I'd be;
      Like him would act, like him would pray:
    Lead me in truth and purity
      To win thy peace and see thy day.



    Virgin Mother, Mary mild!
    It was thine to see the child,
      Gift of the Messiah dove,
      Pure blossom of ideal love,
    Break, upon the "guilty cross,"
      The seeming promise of his life;
    Of faith, of hope, of love, a loss,
      Deepened all thy, bosom's strife,
    Brow down-bent, and heart-strings torn,
    Fainting, by frail arms upborne.

    All those startled figures show,
      That they did not apprehend
    The thought of Him who there lies low,
      On whom those sorrowing eyes they bend.
    They do not feel this holiest hour;
    Their hearts soar not to read the power,
      Which this deepest of distress
      Alone could give to save and bless.

    Soul of that fair, now ruined form,
    Thou who hadst force to bide the storm,
      Must again descend to tell
      Of thy life the hidden spell;
    Though their hearts within them burned,
    The flame rose not till he returned.

    Just so all our dead ones lie;
    Just so call our thoughts on high;
    Thus we linger on the earth,
    And dully miss death's heavenly birth.


    On the boundless plain careering,
    By an unseen compass steering,
    Wildly flying, reappearing,--
    With untamed fire their broad eyes glowing,
    In every step a grand pride showing,
    Of no servile moment knowing,--

    Happy as the trees and flowers,
    In their instinct cradled hours,
    Happier in fuller powers,--

    See the wild herd nobly ranging,
    Nature varying, not changing,
    Lawful in their lawless ranging.

    But hark! what boding crouches near?
    On the horizon now appear
    Centaur-forms of force and fear.

    On their enslaved brethren borne,
    With bit and whip of tyrant scorn,
    To make new captives, as forlorn.

    Wildly snort the astonished throng,
    Stamp, and wheel, and fly along,
    Those centaur-powers they know are strong.

    But the lasso, skilful cast,
    Holds one only captive fast,
    Youngest, weakest--left the last.

    How thou trembledst then, Konick!
    Thy full breath came short and thick,
    Thy heart to bursting beat so quick;

    Thy strange brethren peering round,
    By those tyrants held and bound,
    Tyrants fell,--whom falls confound!

    With rage and pity fill thy heart;
    Death shall be thy chosen part,
    Ere such slavery tame thy heart.

    But strange, unexpected joy!
    They seem to mean thee no annoy--
    Gallop off both man and boy.

    Let the wild horse freely go!
    Almost he shames it should be so;
    So lightly prized himself to know.

    All deception 'tis, O steed!
    Ne'er again upon the mead
    Shalt thou a free wild horse feed.

    The mark of man doth blot thy side,
    The fear of man doth dull thy pride,
    Thy master soon shall on thee ride.

    Thy brethren of the free plain,
    Joyful speeding back again,
    With proud career and flowing mane,

    Find thee branded, left alone,
    And their hearts are turned to stone--
    They keep thee in their midst alone.

    Cruel the intervening years,
    Seeming freedom stained by fears,
    Till the captor reappears;

    Finds thee with thy broken pride.
    Amid thy peers still left aside,
    Unbeloved and unallied;
    Finds thee ready for thy fate;
    For joy and hope 'tis all too late--
    Thou'rt wedded to thy sad estate.

           *       *       *       *       *

    Wouldst have the princely spirit bowed?
    Whisper only, speak not loud,
    Mark and leave him in the crowd.

    Thou need'st not spies nor jailers have;
    The free will serve thee like the slave,
    Coward shrinking from the brave.

    And thy cohorts, when they come
    To take the weary captive home,
    Need only beat the retreating drum.



    No Essex here!--unblest--they give no sign.
    And shall such live, while earth's best nobleness
    Departs and leaves her barren? Now too late
    Weakness and cunning both are exorcised.
    How could I trust thee whom I knew so well?

    Am I not like the fool of fable? He
    Who in his bosom warmed the frozen viper,
    And fancied man might hope for gratitude
    From the betrayer's seed? Away! begone!
    No breath, no sound shall here insult my anguish.
    Essex is dumb, and they shall all be so;
    No human presence shall control my mood.
    Begone, I say! The queen would be alone!

          (_They all go out._)

    Alone and still! This day the cup of woe
    Is full; and while I drain its bitter dregs,
    Calm, queenlike, stern, I would review the past.
    Well it becomes the favorite of fortune,
    The royal arbitress of others' weal,
    The world's desire, and England's deity,
    Self-poised, self-governed, clear and firm to gaze
    Where others close their aching eyes, to _dream_.

    Who feels imperial courage glow within
    Fears not the mines which lie beneath his throne;
    Bold he ascends, though knowing well his peril--
    Majestical and fearless holds the sceptre.
    The golden circlet of enormous weight
    He wears with brow serene and smiling air,
    As though a myrtle chaplet graced his temples.
    And thus didst _thou_. The far removed thy power
    Attracted and subjected to thy will,
    The hates and fears which oft beset thy way
    Were seen, were met, and conquered by thy courage.
    Thy tyrant father's wrath, thy mother's hopeless fate,
    Thy sister's harshness,--all were cast behind;
    And to a soul like thine, bonds and harsh usage
    Taught fortitude, prudence, and self-command,
    To act, or to endure. Fate did the rest.

    One brilliant day thou heard'st, "Long live the Queen!"
    A queen thou wert; and in the heart's despite,
    Despite the foes without, within, who ceaseless
    Have threatened war and death,--a queen thou _art_,
    And wilt be, while a spark of life remains.
    But this last deadly blow--I feel it here!
    Yet the low, prying world shall ne'er perceive it.
    "Actress" they call me,--'tis a queen's vocation!
    The people stare and whisper--what would they
    But acting, to amuse them? Is deceit
    Unknown, except in regal palaces?
    The child at play already is an actor.

    Still to thyself, let weal or woe betide,
    Elizabeth! be true and steadfast ever!
    Maintain thy fixed reserve: 'tis just; what heart
    Can sympathize with a queen's agony?
    The false, false world,--it wooes me for my treasures,
    My favors, and the place my smile confers;
    And if for love I offer mutual love,
    My minion, not content, must have the crown.
    'Twas thus with Essex; yet to thee, O heart!
    I dare to say it, thy all died with him!

    Man must experience--be he who he may--
    Of bliss a last, irrevocable day.
    Each owns this true, but cannot bear to live
    And feel the last has come, the last has gone;
    That never eye again in earnest tenderness
    Shall turn to him,--no heart shall thickly beat
    When his footfall is heard,--no speaking blush
    Tell the soul's wild delight at meeting,--never
    Rapture in presence, hope in absence more,
    Be his,--no sun of love illume his landscape!
    Yet thus it is with me. Throughout this heart
    Deep night, without a star! What all the host
    To me,--my Essex fallen from the heavens!
    To me he was the centre of the world,
    The ornament of time. Wood, lawn, or hall,
    The busy mart, the verdant solitude,
    To me were but the fame of one bright image;
    That face is dust,--those lustrous eyes are closed,
    And the frame mocks me with its empty centre.

    How nobly free, how gallantly he bore him,
    The charms of youth combined with manhood's vigor!
    How sage his counsel, and how warm his valor,--
    The glowing fire and the aspiring flame!
    Even in his presumption he was kingly!

    But ah! does memory cheat me? What was all,
    Since Truth was wanting, and the man I loved
    Could court his death to vent his anger on me,
    And I must punish him, or live degraded.
    I chose the first; but in his death I died.
    Land, sea, church, people, throne,--all, all are nought,
    I live a living death, and call it royalty.
    Yet, wretched ruler o'er these empty gauds,
    A part remains to play, and I will play it.
    A purple mantle hides my empty heart,
    The kingly crown adorns my aching brow,
    And pride conceals my anguish from the world.

    But in the still and ghostly midnight hour,
    From each intruding eye and ear set free,
    I still may shed the bitter, hopeless tear,
    Nor fear the babbling of the earless walls.
    I to myself may say, "I die! I die!
    Elizabeth, unfriended and alone,
    So die as thou hast lived,--alone, but queenlike!"


      "And his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us?
    Behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.
      "And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not
    that I must be about my Father's business? "--_Luke_ ii. 48, 49


    Thus early was Christ's course begun,
      Thus radiant dawned celestial day;
    And those who such a race would run,
      As early should be on the way.


    His Father's business was his care,
      Yet in man's favor still he grew:
    O, might we learn, by thought and prayer,
      Like him a work of love to do!


    Wisdom and virtue still he sought,
      Nor ignorant nor vile despised:
    True was each action, pure each thought,
      And each pure hope he realized.


    The empires of this world, in vain,
      Offered their sceptres to his hand;
    Fearless he trod the stormy main,
      Fearless 'mid throngs of foes could stand.


    Yet with his courage and his power
      Combined such sweetness and such love,
    He could revere the simplest flower,
      The vilest sinners firm reprove.


    For all mankind he came, nor yet
      An infant's visit would deny;
    Nor friend nor mother did forget
      In his last hour of agony.


    O, children, ask him to impart
      That spirit clear and temper mild,
    Which made the mother in her heart
      Keep all the sayings of her child.


    Bless him who said, of such as you
      His Father's kingdom is, and still,
    His yoke to bear, his work to do,
      Study his life to learn his will.



    With my lamenting touched, the lofty trees
    Incline their graceful heads without a breeze;
    The listening birds forego their joyous song,
    For soft and mournful strains, which echoes faint prolong.

    Lions and bears resign the charms of sleep
    To hear my lonely plaint, and see me weep;
    At my approaching death e'en stones relent.
      Yet though yourself the fatal cause you know,
    Not once on me those lovely eyes are bent:
      Flow freely, tears! 'tis meet that you should flow!

    Although for my relief thou wilt not come,
    Leave not the place where once thou loved'st to roam!
    Here thou mayst rove secure from meeting me;
    With a torn heart forever hence I flee.
    Come, if 'twere this alone thy footsteps stayed,
    Here the soft meadow, the delightful shade,
    The roses now in flower, the waters clear,
    Invite thee to the valley once so dear.

    Come, and bring with thee thy late-chosen love;
    Each object shall thy perfidy reprove;
    Since to another thou hast given thy heart,
    From this sweet scene forever I depart.
    And soon kind Death my sorrows shall remove,
    The bitter ending of my faithful love.




    O, blesséd be this sweet May day,
      The fairest of the year;
    The birds are heard from every spray,
      And the blue sky shines so clear!
    White blossoms deck the apple tree,
      Blue violets the plain;
    Their fragrance tells the wand'ring bee
      That Spring is come again.
    We'll cull the blossoms from the bough
      Where robins gayly sing,
    We'll wreathe them for our queen's pure brow,
      We'll wreathe them for our king.


    The winter wind is bleak and sad,
      And chill the winter rain;
    But these May gales blow warm and glad,
      And charm the heart from pain.
    The sick, the poor rejoice once more,
      Pale cheeks resume their glow,
    And those who thought their day was o'er
      New life to May suns owe.
    And we, in youth and health so gay,
      Sheltered by love and care,
    How should we joy in blooming May,
      And bless its balmy air!


    We are the children of the Spring;
      Our home is always green;
    Green be the garland of our king,
      The livery of our queen.
    The gardener's care the seed has strown,
      To deck our home with flowers;
    Our Father's love from high has shone,
      And sent the needed showers.
    Barren indeed the plants must be,
      If they should not disclose,
    Tended and cherished with such toil,
      The lily and the rose.


    Meanwhile through the wild wood we'll rove,
      Where earliest flowerets grow,
    And greet each simple bud with love,
      Which tells us what to do--
    That, though untended, we may bloom
      And smile on all around,
    And one day rise from earth's low tomb,
      To live where light is found.
    A modest violet be our queen,
      Still fragrant, though alone,
    Our king a laurel--evergreen--
      To which no blight is known.


    So let us bless the sweet May day,
      And pray the coming year
    May see us walk the upward way--
      Minds earnest, conscience clear;
    That fruit Spring's amplest hope may crown,
      And every wingéd day
    Make to our hearts more dear, more known,
      The hope, the peace of May!
    So cull the blossoms from the bough
      Where birds so gayly sing;
    We'll wreathe them for our queen's pure brow,
      We'll wreathe them for our king.


    Let not the heart o'erladen hither fly,
    Hoping in tears to vent its misery:
    She soars not like the lark with eager cry,
    Not hers the robin's notes of love and joy;
    Nor, like the nightingale's love-descant, tells
    Her song the truths of the heart's hidden wells.
    Come, if thy soul be tranquil, and her voice
    Shall bid the tranquil lake laugh and rejoice;
    Shall lightly warble, flutter, hover, dance,
    And charm thee by its sportive elegance.
    A finished style the highest art has given,
    And a fine organ she received from heaven:
    But genius casts not here one living ray;
    Thou shalt approve, admire, not weep, to-day.



    As by the wayside the worn traveller lies,
      And finds no pillow for his aching brow,
    Except the pack beneath whose weight he dies,--
      If loving breezes from the far west blow,
    Laden with perfume from those blissful bowers
    Where gentle youth and hope once gilded all his hours,
    As fans that loving breeze, tears spring again,
    And cool the fever of his wearied brain.

    Even so to me the soft romantic dream
      Of one who still may sit at fancy's feet,
    Where love and beauty yet are all the theme,
      Where spheral concords find an echo meet.
    To the ideal my vexed spirit turns,
    But often for communion vainly burns.
    Blest is that hour when breeze of poesy
    From far the ancient fragrance wafts to me;
    _This time_ thrice blest, because it came unsought,
    "Sweet suppliance," and _dear_, because _unbought_.


    The sun, the moon, the waters, and the air,
    The hopeful, holy, terrible, and fair;
    Flower-alphabets, love-letters from the wave,
    All mysteries which flutter, blow, skim, lave;
    All that is ever-speaking, never spoken,
    Spells that are ever breaking, never broken,--
    Have played upon my soul, and every string
    Confessed the touch which once could make it sing
    Triumphal notes; and still, though changed the tone,
    Though damp and jarring fall the lyre hath known,
    It would, if fitly played, and all its deep notes wove
    Into one tissue of belief and love,
    Yield melodies for angel-audience meet,
    And pæans fit creative power to greet.

    O, injured lyre! thy golden frame is marred;
    No garlands deck thee; no libations poured
    Tell to the earth the triumphs of thy song;
    No princely halls echo thy strains along;
    But still the strings are there; and if at last they break,
    Even in death some melody will make.
    Mightst thou once more be strung, might yet the power be given,
    To tell in numbers all thou hast of heaven!
    But no! thy fragments scattered by the way,
    To children given, help the childish play.
    Be it thy pride to feel thy latest sigh
    Could not forget the law of harmony,
    Thou couldst not live for bliss--but thou for truth couldst die!

TO MISS R. B.[47]

    A graceful fiction of the olden day
    Tells us that, by a mighty master's sway,
    A city rose, obedient to the lyre;
    That his sweet strains rude matter could inspire
    With zeal his harmony to emulate;
    Thus to the spot where that sweet singer sat
    The rocks advanced, in symmetry combined,
    To form the palace and the temple joined.
    The arts are sisters, and united all,
    So architecture answered music's call.

    In modern days such feats no more we see,
    And matter dares 'gainst mind a rebel be;
    The faith is gone such miracles which wrought;
    Masons and carpenters must aid our thought;
    The harp and voice in vain would try their skill
    To raise a city on our hard-bound soil;
    The rocks have lain asleep so many a year,
    Nothing but gunpowder will make them stir;
    I doubt if even for your voice would come
    The smallest pebble from its sandy home;
    But, if the minstrel can no more create,
    For _building_, if he live a little late,
    He wields a power of not inferior kind,
    No longer rules o'er matter, but o'er mind.
    And when a voice like yours its song doth pour,
    If it can raise palace and tower no more,
    It can each ugly fabric melt away,
    Bidding the fancy fairer scenes portray;
    Its soft and brilliant tones our thoughts can wing
    To climes whence they congenial magic bring;
    As by the sweet Italian voice is given
    Dream of the radiance of Italia's heaven.

    Whether in round, low notes the strain may swell,
    As if some tale of woe or wrong to tell,
    Or swift and light the upward notes are heard,
    With the full carolling clearness of a bird,
    The stream of sound untroubled flows along,
    And no obstruction mars your finished song.
    No stifled notes, no gasp, no ill-taught graces,
    No vulgar trills in worst-selected places,
    None of the miseries which haunt a land
    Where all would learn what so few understand,
    Afflict in hearing you; in you we find
    The finest organ, and informed by mind.

    And as, in that same fable I have quoted,
    It is of that town-making artist noted,
    That, where he leaned his lyre upon a stone,
    The stone stole somewhat of that lovely tone,
    And afterwards each untaught passer-by,
    By touching it, could rouse the melody,--
    Even thus a heart once by your music thrilled,
    An ear which your delightful voice has filled,
    In memory a talisman have found
    To repel many a dull, harsh, after-sound;
    And, as the music lingered in the stone,
    After the minstrel and the lyre were gone,
    Even so my thoughts and wishes, turned to sweetness,
    Lend to the heavy hours unwonted fleetness;
    And common objects, calling up the tone,
    I caught from you, wake beauty not their own.


    Triune, shaping, restless power,
    Life-flow from life's natal hour,
    No music chords are in thy sound;
    By some thou'rt but a rattle found;
    Yet, without thy ceaseless motion,
    To ice would turn their dead devotion.
    Life-flow of my natal hour,
    I will not weary of thy power,
    Till in the changes of thy sound
    A chord's three parts distinct are found.
    I will faithful move with thee,
    God-ordered, self-fed energy.
    Nature in eternity.


    The peasant boy watches the midnight sky;
    He sees the meteor dropping from on high;
    He hastens whither the bright guest hath flown,
    And finds--a mass of black, unseemly stone.
    Disdainful, disappointed, turns he home.
    If a philosopher that way had come,
    He would have seized the waif with great delight,
    And honored it as an aerolite.
    But truly it would need a Cuvier's mind
    High meaning in _my_ meteors to find.
    Well, in my museum there is room to spare--
    I'll let them stay till Cuvier goes there!


    Lonely lady, tell me why
    That abandonment of eye?
    Life is full, and nature fair;
    How canst thou dream of dull despair?

    Life is full and nature fair;
    A dull folly is despair;
    But the heart lies still and tame
    For want of what it may not claim.

    Lady, chide that foolish heart,
    And bid it act a nobler part;
    The love thou couldst be bid resign
    Never could be worthy thine.

    O, I know, and knew it well,
    How unworthy was the spell
    In its silken band to bind
    My heaven-born, heaven-seeking mind.

    Thou lonely moon, thou knowest well
    Why I yielded to the spell;
    Just so thou didst condescend
    Thy own precept to offend.

    When wondering nymphs thee questioned why
    That abandonment of eye,
    Crying, "Dian,[49] heaven's queen,
    What can that trembling eyelash mean?"

    Waning, over ocean's breast,
    Thou didst strive to hide unrest
    From the question of their eyes,
    Unseeing in their dull surprise.

    Thy Endymion had grown old;
    Thy only love was marred with cold;
    No longer to the secret cave
    Thy ray could pierce, and answer have.

    No more to thee, no more, no more,
    Till thy circling life be o'er,
    A mutual heart shall be a home,
    Of weary wishes happy tomb.

    No more, no more--O words which sever
    Hearts from their hopes, to part forever!
    They can believe it never!


    Some names there are at sight of which will rise
    Visions of triumph to the dullest eyes;
    They breathe of garlands from a grateful race,
    They tell of victory o'er all that's base;
    To write them eagles might their plumage give,
    And granite rocks should yield, that they may live.

    Others there are at sight of which will rise
    Visions of beauty to all loving eyes,
    Of radiant sweetness, or of gentle grace,
    The poesy of manner or of face,
    Spell of intense, if not of widest power;
    The strong the ages rule; the fair, the hour.

    And there are names at sight of which will rise
    Visions of goodness to the mourner's eyes;
    They tell of generosity untired,
    Which gave to others all the heart desired;
    Of Virtue's _uncomplaining_ sacrifice,
    And holy hopes which sought their native skies.

    If I could hope that at my name would rise
    Visions like these, before those gentle eyes,
    How gladly would I place it in the shrine
    Where many honored names are linked with thine,
    And know, if lone and far my pathway lies,
    My name is living 'mid the good and wise.

    It must not be, for now I know too well
    That those to whom my name has aught to tell
    O'er baffled efforts would lament or blame.
    Who heeds a breaking reed?--a sinking flame?
    Best wishes and kind thoughts I give to thee,
    But mine, indeed, an _empty name_ would be.

TO S. C.

    Our friend has likened thee to the sweet fern,
      Which with no flower salutes the ardent day,
      Yet, as the wanderer pursues his way,
    While the dews fall, and hues of sunset burn,
      Sheds forth a fragrance from the deep green brake,
      Sweeter than the rich scents that gardens make.
    Like thee, the fern loves well the hallowed shade
      Of trees that quietly aspire on high;
    Amid such groves was consecration made
      Of vestals, tranquil as the vestal sky.

    Like thee, the fern doth better love to hide
      Beneath the leaf the treasure of its seed,
    Than to display it, with an idle pride,
      To any but the careful gatherer's heed--
    A treasure known to philosophic ken,
    Garnered in nature, asking nought of men;
      Nay, can invisible the wearer make,
      Who would unnoted in life's game partake.
    But I will liken thee to the sweet bay,
      Which I first learned, in the Cohasset woods,
    To name upon a sweet and pensive day
      Passed in their ministering solitudes.

    I had grown weary of the anthem high
      Of the full waves, cheering the patient rocks;
    I had grown weary of the sob and sigh
      Of the dull ebb, after emotion's shocks;
    My eye was weary of the glittering blue
      And the unbroken horizontal line;
    My mind was weary, tempted to pursue
      The circling waters in their wide design,
    Like snowy sea-gulls stooping to the wave,
      Or rising buoyant to the utmost air,
    To dart, to circle, airily to lave,
      Or wave-like float in foam-born lightness fair:
    I had swept onward like the wave so full,
    Like sea weed now left on the shore so dull.

    I turned my steps to the retreating hills,
      Rejected sand from that great haughty sea,
    Watered by nature with consoling rills,
      And gradual dressed with grass, and shrub, and tree;
    They seemed to welcome me with timid smile,
    That said, "We'd like to soothe you for a while;
      You seem to have been treated by the sea
      In the same way that long ago were we."

    They had not much to boast, those gentle slopes,
      For the wild gambols of the sea-sent breeze
    Had mocked at many of their quiet hopes,
      And bent and dwarfed their fondly cherished trees;
    Yet even in those marks of by-past wind,
    There was a tender stilling for my mind.

    Hiding within a small but thick-set wood,
    I soon forgot the haughty, chiding flood.
    The sheep bell's tinkle on the drowsy ear,
    With the bird's chirp, so short, and light, and clear,
    Composed a melody that filled my heart
    With flower-like growths of childish, artless art,
    And of the tender, tranquil life I lived apart.

    It was an hour of pure tranquillity,
    Like to the autumn sweetness of thine eye,
    Which pries not, seeks not, and yet clearly sees--
    Which wooes not, beams not, yet is sure to please.
    Hours passed, and sunset called me to return
    Where its sad glories on the cold wave burn.

    Rising from my kind bed of thick-strewn leaves,
    A fragrance the astonished sense receives,
    Ambrosial, searching, yet retiring, mild:
    Of that soft scene the soul was it? or child?
    'Twas the sweet bay I had unwitting spread,
    A pillow for my senseless, throbbing head,
    And which, like all the sweetest things, demands,
    To make it speak, the grasp of alien hands.

    All that this scene did in that moment tell,
      I since have read, O wise, mild friend! in thee.
      Pardon the rude grasp, its sincerity,
    And feel that I, at least, have known thee well.
    Grudge not the green leaves ravished from thy stem,
      Their music, should I live, muse-like to tell;
    Thou wilt, in fresher green forgetting them,
      Send others to console me for farewell.
    Thou wilt see why the dim word of regret
    Was made the one to rhyme with Margaret.

    But to the Oriental parent tongue,
      Sunrise of Nature, does my chosen name,
    My name of Leila, as a spell, belong,
      Teaching the meaning of each temporal blame;
    I chose it by the sound, not knowing why;
      But since I know that Leila stands for night,
    I own that sable mantle of the sky,
      Through which pierce, gem-like, points of distant light;
    As sorrow truths, so night brings out her stars;
      O, add not, bard! that those stars shine too late!
    While earth grows green amid the ocean jars,
      And trumpets yet shall wake the slain of her long century-wars.


      As late we lived upon the gentle stream,
        Nature refused us smiles and kindly airs;
      The sun but rarely deigned a pallid gleam;
        Then clouds came instantly, like glooms and tears,
      Upon the timid flickerings of our hope;
        The moon, amid the thick mists of the night,
      Had scarcely power her gentle eye to ope,
        And climb the heavenly steeps. A moment bright
      Shimmered the hectic leaves, then rudely torn
        By winds that sobbed to see the wreck they made,
      Upon the amber waves were thickly borne
        Adonis' gardens for the realms of shade,
    While thoughts of beauty past all wish for livelier life forbade.

      So sped the many days of tranquil life,
        And on the stream, or by the mill's bright fire,
      The wailing winds had told of distant strife,
        Still bade us for the moment yield desire
    To think, to feel, the moment gave,--we needed not aspire!

      Returning here, no harvest fields I see,
        Nor russet beauty of the thoughtful year.
      Where is the honey of the city bee?
        No leaves upon this muddy stream appear.
      The housekeeper is getting in his coal,
        The lecturer his showiest thoughts is selling;
      I hear of Major Somebody, the Pole,
        And Mr. Lyell, how rocks grow, is telling;
      But not a breath of thoughtful poesy
        Does any social impulse bring to me;
      But many cares, sad thoughts of men unwise,
        Base yieldings, and unransomed destinies,
        Hopes uninstructed, and unhallowed ties.

      Yet here the sun smiles sweet as heavenly love,
        Upon the eve of earthly severance;
      The youthfulest tender clouds float all above,
        And earth lies steeped in odors like a trance.
      The moon looks down as though she ne'er could leave us,
    And these last trembling leaves sigh, "Must they too deceive us?"
        Surely some life is living in this light,
        Truer than mine some soul received last night;
      I cannot freely greet this beauteous day,
      But does not _thy_ heart swell to hail the genial ray?
    I would not nature these last loving words in vain should say.

TO E. C.


      Dost thou remember that fair summer's day,
      As, sick and weary on my couch I lay,
      Thou broughtst this little book, and didst diffuse
      O'er my dark hour the light of Herbert's muse?
      The "Elixir," and "True Hymn," were then thy choice,
      And the high strain gained sweetness from thy voice.
      The book, before that day to me unknown,
      I took to heart at once, and made my own.

      Three winters and three summers since have passed,
        And bitter griefs the hearts of both have tried;
      Thy sympathy is lost to me at last;
        A dearer love has torn thee from my side;
      Scenes, friends, to me unknown, now claim thy care;
      No more thy joys or griefs I soothe or share;
      No more thy lovely form my eye shall bless;
      The gentle smile, the timid, mute caress,
    No more shall break the icy chains which may my heart oppress.

      New duties claim us both; indulgent Heaven
      Ten years of mutual love to us had given;
      The plants from early youth together grew,
      Together all youth's sun and tempests knew.
      At age mature arrived, thou, graceful vine!
      Didst seek a sheltering tree round which to twine;
      While I, like northern fir, must be content
    To clasp the rock which gave my youth its scanty nourishment.

    The world for which we sighed is with us now;
    No longer musing on the _why_ or _how_,
    _What_ really does exist we now must meet;
    Life's dusty highway is beneath our feet;
    Life's fainting pilgrims claim our ministry,
    And the whole scene speaks stern _reality_.

    Say, in the tasks reality has brought,
    Keepst _thou_ the plan that pleased thy childish thought?
    Does Herbert's "Hymn" in thy heart echo now?
    Herbert's "Elixir" in thy bosom glow?
    In Herbert's "Temper" dost thou strive to be?
    Does Herbert's "Pearl" seem the true pearl to thee?
    O, if 'tis so, I have not prayed in vain!--
    My friend, my sister, we shall meet again.

    I dare not say that _I_ am always true
    To the vocation which my young thought knew;
    But the Great Spirit blesses me, and still,
    Though clouds may darken o'er the heavenly will,
    Upon the hidden sun my thoughts can rest,
    And oft the rainbow glitters in the west.
    This earth no more seems all the world to me;
    Before me shines a far eternity,
    Whose laws to me, when thought is calmly poised,
    Suffice, as they to angels have sufficed.
    I know the thunder has not ceased to roll,
    Not all the iron yet has pierced my soul;
    I know no earthly honors wait for me,
    No earthly love my heart shall satisfy.
    Tears, of these eyes still oft the guests must be,
    Long hours be borne, of chilling apathy;
    Still harder teachings come to make me wise,
    And life's best blood must seal the sacrifice.

    But He who still seems nearer and more bright,
    Nor from my _seeking_ eye withholds his light,
    Will not forsake me, for his pledge is given;
    Virtue shall teach the soul its way to heaven.

    O, pray for me, and I for thee will pray;
    And more than loving words we used to say
    Shall this avail. But little more we meet
    In life--ah, how the years begin to fleet!
    Ask--pray that I may seek beauty and truth,
    In their high sphere we shall renew our youth.
    On wings of _steadfast faith_ there mayst _thou_ soar,
    And _my_ soul fret at barriers no more!

       *       *       *       *       *


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       *       *       *       *       *

The following typographical errors were corrected by the etext

No less pedantic is the style in which the grown-up, in stature at
least, undertake to become acquainted with Dante.=> No less pedantic is
the style in which the grown-up, in stature at least, undertakes to
become acquainted with Dante.

Even the proem shows how large is his nature=>Even the poem shows how
large is his nature

There is a little poem in the Schnellpost, by Mority Hartmann=>There is
a little poem in the Schnellpost, by Moritz Hartmann

If a character be uncorrrpted=>If a character be uncorrupted

of a noble dscription=>of a noble description

law with her titluar lord and master=>law with her titular lord and

       *       *       *       *       *


[1] "He who would do great things must quickly draw together his forces.
The master can only show himself such through limitation, and the law
alone can give us freedom."

[2] Except in "La belle France."

[3] Eckermann's Conversations with Goethe, translated from the German
by my sister, form one volume of the "Specimens of Foreign Literature,"
edited by Rev. George Ripley, and published in 1839. This volume has
been republished by James Munroe & Co., Boston, within a few years.--ED.

[4] The name of Macaria is one of noblest association. It is that of the
daughter of Hercules, who devoted herself a voluntary sacrifice for her
country. She was adored by the Greeks as the true Felicity.

[5] "By the Author of Essays of Summer Hours."

[6] The Life of Beethoven, including his Correspondence with his
Friends, numerous characteristic Traits, and Remarks on his Musical
Works. Edited by Ignace Moscheles, Pianist to His Royal Highness Prince

[7] See article on Beethoven, in Margaret's volume, entitled "Art,
Literature, and the Drama."--ED.

[8] Ormond, or the Secret Witness; Wieland, or the Transformation; by
Charles Brockden Brown.

[9] The Raven and other Poems, by Edgar A. Poe, 1845.

[10] The Autobiography of Alfieri, translated by C. E. Lester. Memoirs
of Benvenuto Cellini, translated by Roscoe.

[11] Although the errors here specially referred to by my sister have
been corrected in this volume, I let her statement remain as explanation
of any other errors which may possibly have crept into type, in this
volume, through the illegibility of some of her manuscripts from which I
have been compelled to copy for this work.--ED.

[12] Napoleon and his Marshals, by J. T. Headley.

[13] Physical Education and the Preservation of Health, by John C.

[14] Physiological and Moral Management of Infancy, by Andrew Combe, M.

[15] Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave,
written by himself.

[16] Philip van Artevelde, A Dramatic Romance, by Henry Taylor.

[17] For a translation by my sister of this Drama, see Part III. of her
"Art, Literature, and the Drama," where it is now, for the first time,
published, simultaneously with the appearance of this volume.--ED.

[18] The Poetical Works of Percy Bysche Shelley. First American edition
(complete.) With a Biographical and Critical Notice, by G. G. Foster.

[19] Festus: A Poem, by Philip James Bailey. First American edition,

[20] Balzac, Eugene Sue, De Vigny.

[21] Etherology, or the Philosophy of Mesmerism and Phrenology:
Including a New Philosophy of Sleep and of Consciousness, with a Review
of the Pretensions of Neurology and Phreno-Magnetism. By J. Stanley

[22] A German newspaper.

[23] Letters and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell, by Thomas Carlyle.

[24] I conclude the poor boy Oliver has already fallen in these wars;
none of us knows where, though his father well knew.

[25] Sir Philip Warwick's Memoirs, (London, 1701,) p. 249.

[26] Essays, Second Series, by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

[27] A Defence of Capital Punishment, and an Essay on the Ground and
Reason of Punishment, with Special Reference to the Penalty of Death New
York, 1846.

[28] [In refusing to repeal what are technically and significantly
termed her "Black Laws," relating to the settlement of colored men, and
their rights within that state.--ED.]

[29] John Quincy Adams.

[30] For her treatment of a sister republic in our late war with Mexico.

[31] Miss Delia Webster.

[32] Hon. Samuel Hoar, sent to Charleston, S. C., to test in the courts
her laws, and driven thence with his daughter by a mob.

[33] It is well known that in this sketch my sister gives an account of
an incident in the history of her own school-girl life. I need scarcely
say that only so far as this incident is concerned is the story of
Mariana in any sense autobiographical.--ED.

[34][Agis, king of Sparta, the fourth of that name. "One of the most
beautiful characters of antiquity."--ED.]

[35] [In New York.--ED.]

[36] Meta, the wife of Klopstock, one of Germany's most celebrated
poets, is doubtless well known to many of our readers through the
beautiful letters to Samuel Richardson, the novelist, or through Mrs.
Jameson's work, entitled the Loves of the Poets. It is said that
Klopstock wrote continually to her even after her death.

[37] Fact, that this is affirmed.

[38] Facts.

[39] Facts.

[40] Facts.

[41] The destruction of Mr. Clay's press by a mob.--ED.

[42] _Margaret_ means _Pearl_.--ED.

[43] Published in the New York Tribune, Aug. 1, 1846, just previous to
sailing for Europe.--ED.

[44] Goethe says, "A little golden heart, which I had received from
Lili in those fairy hours, still hung by the same little chain to which
she had fastened it, love-warmed, about my neck. I seized hold of
it--kissed it." This was the occasion of these lines. The poet now was
separated from Lili, and striving to forget her in journeying

[45] Buddhist term for absorption into the divine mind.

[46] This horse, Konick, was caught early, marked, and then let loose
again, for a time, among the herd. He still retains a wild freedom and
beauty in his movements.

[47] A sweet and beautiful singer.--ED.

[48] A musical instrument of the ancients, employed by the Egyptians in
the worship of Isis. It was to be kept in constant motion, and,
according to Plutarch, was intended to indicate the necessity of
constant motion on the part of men--the need of being often shaken by
fierce trials and agitations when they become morbid or indolent.--ED.

[49] Diana is represented as driving the chariot of the moon, as Apollo
that of the sun. Mythology states that while enlightening the earth as
Luna, the moon, she beheld the hunter Endymion sleeping in the forest.
With her rays she kissed the lips of the hunter--a favor she had never
before bestowed on god or man.--ED.

[50] These lines were written without her signature attached.--ED.

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