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Title: Concord Days
Author: Alcott, A. Bronson
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Concord Days" ***




  "Cheerful and various thoughts not always bound
  To counsel, nor in deep ideas drowned."


  Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1872,
  In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

  _Stereotyped and Printed by_




  DIARIES                                     3
  MY HOUSE                                    4
  OUTLOOK                                    10
  THOREAU                                    11
  SELF-PRIVACY                               21
  SUNDAY LECTURES                            23
  EMERSON                                    25
  RECREATION                                 41
  GENEALOGIES                                45
  SCHOLARSHIP                                49


  RURAL AFFAIRS                              59
  PASTORALS                                  65
  CHANNING'S "NEW ENGLAND"                   66
  CONVERSATION                               72
  MARGARET FULLER                            77
  CRASHAWS'S IDEAL WOMAN                     79
  CHILDHOOD                                  83
  PYTHAGORAS                                 88


  BERRIES                                   117
  CHANNING'S "BLUEBERRY SWAMP"              121
  LETTERS                                   123
  BOOKS                                     133
  SPECULATIVE PHILOSOPHY                    143
  PLOTINUS                                  148
  IDEAL CULTURE                             151
  GOETHE                                    157
  CARLYLE                                   160


  INDEPENDENCE DAY                          167
  PHILLIPS                                  172
  GREELEY                                   176
  AGE OF IRON AND BRONZE                    178
  SWEDENBORG                                187
  HAWTHORNE                                 193
  LANDOR                                    197
  SLEEP AND DREAMS                          201
  GENESIS AND LAPSE                         205


  PLATO'S LETTERS                           213
  PLATO                                     217
  PLATO'S METHOD                            222
  SOCRATES                                  234
  BERKELEY                                  236
  BOEHME                                    237
  MR. WALTON'S LETTER                       240
  CRABBE ROBINSON'S DIARY                   245
  COLERIDGE                                 246
  SELDEN'S TABLE-TALK                       249
  WOMAN                                     253


  WALDEN POND                               259
  CHANNING'S "WALDEN"                       259
  THE IDEAL CHURCH                          265
  COLLYER                                   269
  BEECHER                                   269
  IDEALS                                    270
  HEYWOOD'S "SEARCH AFTER GOD"              273




    "Now fades the last long streak of snow."





Come again into my study, having sat some time for greater comfort
in the sunnier east room by an open fire, as needful in our climate,
almost, as in that of changeable England. Busy days these last, with a
little something to show for them. After all, I am here most at home,
and myself surrounded by friendly pictures and books, free to follow
the mood of the moment,--read, write, recreate. I wish more came of
it all. Here are these voluminous diaries, showy seen from without,
with far too little of life transcribed within. Was it the accident of
being shown, when a boy, in the old oaken cabinet, my mother's little
journal, that set me out in this chase of myself, continued almost
uninterruptedly, and now fixed by habit as a part of the day, like the
rising and setting of the sun? Yet it has educated me into whatever
skill I possess with the pen, I know not to how much besides; has made
me emulous of attaining the art of portraying my thoughts, occupations,
surroundings, friendships; and could I succeed in sketching to the life
a single day's doings, should esteem myself as having accomplished the
chiefest feat in literature. Yet the nobler the life and the busier,
the less, perhaps, gets written, and that which is, the less rewards

    "Life's the true poem could it be writ,
    Yet who can live at once and utter it."

All is in the flowing moments. But who shall arrest these and fix the
features of the passing person behind the pageantry, and write the
diary of one's existence?



My neighbors flatter me in telling me that I have one of the best
placed and most picturesque houses in our town. I know very well the
secret of what they praise. 'Tis simply adapting the color and repairs
to the architecture, and holding these in keeping with the spot.

A house, like a person, invites by amiable reserves, as if it loved
to be introduced in perspective and reached by courteous approaches.
Let it show bashfully behind shrubberies, screen its proportions
decorously in plain tints, not thrust itself rudely, like an inn, upon
the street at cross-roads. A wide lawn in front, sloping to the road
gracefully, gives it the stately air and courtly approach. I like
the ancient mansions for this reason; these old Puritan residences
for their unpretending air, their sober tints, in strict keeping
with Wordsworth's rule of coloring, viz. that of the sod about the
grounds. A slight exaltation of this defines best the architecture by
distinguishing it from surrounding objects in the landscape. Modest
tints are always becoming. White and red intolerable. And for some
variety in dressing, the neighboring barks of shrubbery suggest and
best characterize the coloring.

As for fences and gates, I was told that mine were unlike any other in
the world, yet as good as anybody's, hereby meaning to praise them,
I infer. If less durable than others, the cost is inconsiderable,
and has the associated pleasure, besides, of having come out of such
ideal capital as I had invested in my own head and hands. A common
carpenter would have spent more time in planing and fixing his pickets
and set something in straight lines with angular corners to deform the
landscape; then the painter must have followed with some tint mixed
neither by nature nor art. Now my work delights my eyes whenever I step
out-of-doors, adding its ornament to the spot. Grotesque it may be with
its knotted ornaments, Druid supports, yet in keeping with the woods
behind it. Besides, what pleasure the construction has given! Form,
color, ornamentation alike concern builder and occupant, as they were
blossoms of his taste and of the landscape. A good architect is both
builder and colorist, and should be a good man besides, according to
the ancient authorities. Roman Vitruvius claims as much, if not more,
of him:--

"It is necessary," he says, "that an architect should be instructed in
the precepts of moral philosophy; for he ought to have a great soul,
and be bold without arrogance, just, faithful, and totally exempt
from avarice. He should have a great docility, which may hinder him
from neglecting the advice that is given him, not only of the meanest
artist, but also of those that understand nothing of architecture; for
not only architects but all the world must judge his works."

Houses have their history, are venerable on account of their age and
origin. Even our newly-settled country of but a century or two has
already crowned homesteads still standing with royal honors. Mine, I
conjecture, is not far from one hundred and fifty years' standing.
It was a first-class country house in its day, with its window-seats
in parlor and chambers, ornamental summers and casements, its ample
fireplaces, and lean-to on the northern side. Like most of its period
it was open to the road with overshadowing elms still embowering
the mansion; had a lion-headed door-knocker, and huge chimney-tops
surmounting the gables. Of learned ancestry, moreover; having been
the homestead of a brother of President Hoar, of Harvard College, and
remained in possession of members of that venerable family down to
near the beginning of the present century. The site is hardly surpassed
by any on the old Boston road; the woods behind crowning the range
of hills running north almost to the village, and bordering east on
Wayside, Hawthorne's last residence. It must have been chosen by an
original settler, probably coming with the Rev. Peter Bulkeley from
England, in 1635.[1]

[Footnote 1: Johnson, in his "Wonder Working Providence Concerning
New England," describes the company of settlers on their way from
Cambridge, under the lead of the Rev. Peter Bulkeley, the principal
founder of Concord.]

The ancient elms before the house, of a hundred years' standing and
more, are the pride of the yard. It were sacrilege to remove a limb or
twig unless decayed, so luxuriant and far-spreading, overshadowing the
roof and gables, yet admitting the light into hall and chambers. Sunny
rooms, sunny household. "Build your house," says a mystic author, "upon
a firm foundation, and let your aspect be towards the east, where the
sun rises, that so you may enjoy its fruitfulness in your household and

Whether the first settler planted these elms, or whether they are
survivors of the primitive forest which was felled to make way and
room for the rude shelter of the hardy settlers, is not ascertained.
Their roots penetrate primitive soil; the surrounding grounds have
become productive by the industry and skill, mellowed and meliorated
by the humanities of their descendants. They came honestly by their
homesteads, paying their swarthy claimants fair prices for them; the
landscape is still inviting by its prairie aspects, its brook-sides and
meadows where the red men trod.

It was these broad meadows beside the "Grass ground River" that
tempted alike the white and red man,--the one for pasturage, the other
for fishing,--and brought the little colony through the wilderness
to form the settlement named "Musketaquid," after the river of that
name (signifying grass ground), and later taking that of Concord, not
without note in history.

    "Beneath low hills, in the broad interval
    Through which at will our Indian rivulet
    Winds mindful still of sannup and of squaw,
    Whose pipe and arrow oft the plough unburies;
    Here, in pine houses, built of new-fallen trees,
    Supplanters of the tribe, the planters dwelt."

The view from the rustic seat overlooking my house commands the
amphitheatre in which the house stands, and through which flows Mill
brook, bordered on the south and east by the Lincoln woods. It is a
quiet prospect and might be taken for an English landscape; needs but
a tower or castle overtopping the trees surrounding it. The willows by
the rock bridge over the brook, the winding lane once the main track
of travel before the turnpike branching off from the old Boston road
by Emerson's door was built, adds to the illusion, while on the east
stands the pine-clad hill, Hawthorne's favorite haunt, and hiding his
last residence from sight.

On the southwest is an ancient wood, Thoreau's pride, beyond which is
Walden Pond, distant about a mile from my house, and best reached by
the lane opening opposite Hawthorne's. Fringed on all sides by woods,
the interval, once a mill pond, is now in meadow and garden land, the
slopes planted in vineyards, market gardens and orchards lining the
road along which stand the farmers' houses visible in the opening.

This road has more than a local interest. If any road may claim
the originality of being entitled to the name of American, it is
this,--since along its dust the British regulars retreated from their
memorable repulse at the Old North Bridge, the Concord military
following fast upon their heels, and from the hill-tops giving them
salutes of musketry till they disappeared beyond Lexington, and gave a
day to history.

An agricultural town from the first, it is yet such in large
measure; though like others in its neighborhood becoming suburban
and commercial. Fields once in corn and grass are now in vineyards
and orchards, tillage winding up the slopes from the low lands to
the hill-tops. The venerable woods once crowning these are fast
falling victims to the axe. The farmsteads are no longer the rural
homes they were when every member of the family took part in domestic
affairs; foreign help serves where daughters once served; they with
their brothers having left the housekeeping and farming for school,
factories, trade, a profession, and things are drifting towards
an urbane and municipal civilization, the metropolis extending its
boundaries, and absorbing the townships for many miles round.

Moreover, the primitive features of the landscape are being obliterated
by the modern facilities for business and travel, less perhaps than in
most places lying so near the metropolis; the social still less than
the natural; the descendants of the primitive fathers of the settlement
cherishing a pride of ancestry not unbecoming in a republic, less
favorable for the perpetuation of family distinctions and manners than
in countries under monarchical rule.


  MONDAY, 5.

One's outlook is a part of his virtue. Does it matter nothing to
him what objects accost him whenever he glances from his windows,
or steps out-of-doors? He who is so far weaned from the landscape,
or indifferent to it, as not to derive a sweet and robust habit of
character therefrom, seems out of keeping with nature and himself.
I suspect something amiss in him who has no love, no enthusiasm for
his surroundings, and that his friendships, if such he profess, are
of a cold and isolate quality at best; one even questions, at times,
whether the residents of cities, where art has thrown around them a
world of its own, are compensated by all this luxury of display,--to
say nothing of the social artifices wont to steal into their costly
compliments,--for the simple surroundings of the countryman, which
prompt to manliness and true gentility. A country dwelling without
shrubbery, hills near or in the distance, a forest and water view, if
but a rivulet, seems so far incomplete as if the occupants themselves
were raw and impoverished. Wood and water god both, man loves to
traverse the forests, wade the streams, and confess his kindred
alliance with primeval things. He leaps not from the woods into
civility at a single bound, neither comes from cities and conversations
freed from the wildness of his dispositions. Something of the forester
stirs within him when occasion provokes, as if men were trees
transformed, and delighted to claim their affinities with their sylvan

    Man never tires of Nature's scene,
    Himself the liveliest evergreen.


My friend and neighbor united these qualities of sylvan and human in a
more remarkable manner than any whom it has been my happiness to know.
Lover of the wild, he lived a borderer on the confines of civilization,
jealous of the least encroachment upon his possessions.

    "Society were all but rude
    In his umbrageous solitude."

I had never thought of knowing a man so thoroughly of the country,
and so purely a son of nature. I think he had the profoundest passion
for it of any one of his time; and had the human sentiment been as
tender and pervading, would have given us pastorals of which Virgil and
Theocritus might have envied him the authorship had they chanced to be
his contemporaries. As it was, he came nearer the antique spirit than
any of our native poets, and touched the fields and groves and streams
of his native town with a classic interest that shall not fade. Some
of his verses are suffused with an elegiac tenderness, as if the woods
and brooks bewailed the absence of their Lycidas, and murmured their
griefs meanwhile to one another,--responsive like idyls. Living in
close companionship with nature, his muse breathed the spirit and voice
of poetry. For when the heart is once divorced from the senses and all
sympathy with common things, then poetry has fled and the love that

The most welcome of companions was this plain countryman. One seldom
meets with thoughts like his, coming so scented of mountain and field
breezes and rippling springs, so like a luxuriant clod from under
forest leaves, moist and mossy with earth-spirits. His presence was
tonic, like ice water in dog-days to the parched citizen pent in
chambers and under brazen ceilings. Welcome as the gurgle of brooks
and dipping of pitchers,--then drink and be cool! He seemed one with
things, of nature's essence and core, knit of strong timbers,--like
a wood and its inhabitants. There was in him sod and shade, wilds and
waters manifold,--the mould and mist of earth and sky. Self-poised
and sagacious as any denizen of the elements, he had the key to every
animal's brain, every plant; and were an Indian to flower forth
and reveal the scents hidden in his cranium, it would not be more
surprising than the speech of our Sylvanus. He belonged to the Homeric
age,--was older than pastures and gardens, as if he were of the race of
heroes and one with the elements. He of all men seemed to be the native
New-Englander, as much so as the oak, the granite ledge; our best
sample of an indigenous American, untouched by the old country, unless
he came down rather from Thor, the Northman, whose name he bore.

A peripatetic philosopher, and out-of-doors for the best part of
his days and nights, he had manifold weather and seasons in him;
the manners of an animal of probity and virtue unstained. Of all
our moralists, he seemed the wholesomest, the busiest, and the best
republican citizen in the world; always at home minding his own
affairs. A little over-confident by genius, and stiffly individual,
dropping society clean out of his theories, while standing friendly
in his strict sense of friendship, there was in him an integrity and
love of justice that made possible and actual the virtues of Sparta
and the Stoics,--all the more welcome in his time of shuffling and
pusillanimity. Plutarch would have made him immortal in his pages had
he lived before his day. Nor have we any so modern withal, so entirely
his own and ours: too purely so to be appreciated at once. A scholar by
birthright, and an author, his fame had not, at his decease, travelled
far from the banks of the rivers he described in his books; but one
hazards only the truth in affirming of his prose, that in substance
and pith, it surpasses that of any naturalist of his time; and he is
sure of large reading in the future. There are fairer fishes in his
pages than any swimming in our streams; some sleep of his on the banks
of the Merrimack by moonlight that Egypt never rivalled; a morning of
which Memnon might have envied the music, and a greyhound he once had,
meant for Adonis; frogs, better than any of Aristophanes; apples wilder
than Adam's. His senses seemed double, giving him access to secrets not
easily read by others; in sagacity resembling that of the beaver, the
bee, the dog, the deer; an instinct for seeing and judging, as by some
other, or seventh sense; dealing with objects as if they were shooting
forth from his mind mythologically, thus completing the world all round
to his senses; a creation of his at the moment. I am sure he knew the
animals one by one, as most else knowable in his town; the plants, the
geography, as Adam did in his Paradise, if, indeed, he were not that
ancestor himself. His works are pieces of exquisite sense, celebrations
of Nature's virginity exemplified by rare learning, delicate art,
replete with observations as accurate as original; contributions of the
unique to the natural history of his country, and without which it were
incomplete. Seldom has a head circumscribed so much of the sense and
core of Cosmos as this footed intelligence.

If one would learn the wealth of wit there was in this plain man,
the information, the poetry, the piety, he should have accompanied
him on an afternoon walk to Walden, or elsewhere about the skirts
of his village residence. Pagan as he might outwardly appear, yet
he was the hearty worshipper of whatsoever is sound and wholesome
in nature,--a piece of russet probity and strong sense, that nature
delighted to own and honor. His talk was suggestive, subtle, sincere,
under as many masks and mimicries as the shows he might pass; as
significant, substantial,--nature choosing to speak through his
mouth-piece,--cynically, perhaps, and searching into the marrows of men
and times he spoke of, to his discomfort mostly and avoidance.

Nature, poetry, life,--not politics, not strict science, not society
as it is,--were his preferred themes. The world was holy, the things
seen symbolizing the things unseen, and thus worthy of worship, calling
men out-of-doors and under the firmament for health and wholesomeness
to be insinuated into their souls, not as idolators, but as idealists.
His religion was of the most primitive type, inclusive of all natural
creatures and things, even to "the sparrow that falls to the ground,"
though never by shot of his, and for whatsoever was manly in men, his
worship was comparable to that of the priests and heroes of all time. I
should say he inspired the sentiment of love, if, indeed, the sentiment
did not seem to partake of something purer, were that possible, but
nameless from its excellency. Certainly he was better poised and more
nearly self-reliant than other men.

    "The happy man who lived content
    With his own town, his continent,
    Whose chiding streams its banks did curb
    As ocean circumscribes its orb,
    Round which, when he his walk did take,
    Thought he performed far more than Drake;
    For other lands he took less thought
    Than this his muse and mother brought."

More primitive and Homeric than any American, his style of thinking was
robust, racy, as if Nature herself had built his sentences and seasoned
the sense of his paragraphs with her own vigor and salubrity. Nothing
can be spared from them; there is nothing superfluous; all is compact,
concrete, as nature is.

His politics were of a piece with his individualism. We must admit that
he found little in political or religious establishments answering to
his wants, that his attitude was defiant, if not annihilating, as if he
had said to himself:--

"The state is man's pantry at most, and filled at an enormous cost,--a
spoliation of the human commonwealth. Let it go. Heroes can live on
nuts, and freemen sun themselves in the clefts of rocks, rather than
sell their liberty for this pottage of slavery. We, the few honest
neighbors, can help one another; and should the state ask any favors
of us, we can take the matter into consideration leisurely, and at our
convenience give a respectful answer.

"But why require a state to protect one's rights? the man is all. Let
him husband himself; needs he other servant or runner? Self-keeping is
the best economy. That is a great age when the state is nothing and man
is all. He founds himself in freedom, and maintains his uprightness
therein; founds an empire and maintains states. Just retire from
those concerns, and see how soon they must needs go to pieces, the
sooner for the virtue thus withdrawn from them. All the manliness of
individuals is sunk in that partnership in trade. Not only must I come
out of institutions, but come out of myself, if I will be free and
independent. Shall one be denied the privilege on coming of mature age
of choosing whether he will be a citizen of the country he happens to
be born in, or another? And what better title to a spot of ground than
being a man, and having none? Is not man superior to state or country?
I plead exemption from all interference by men or states with my
individual prerogatives. That is mine which none can steal from me, nor
is that yours which I or any man can take away."

    "I am too high born to be propertied,
    To be a secondary at control,
    Or useful serving man and instrument
    To any sovereign state throughout the world."

A famous speech is recorded of an old Norseman thoroughly
characteristic of this Teuton. "I believe neither in idols nor demons;
I put my sole trust in my own strength of body and soul." The ancient
crest of a pick-axe, with the motto, "Either I will find a way or
make one," characterizes the same sturdy independence and practical
materialism which distinguishes the descendants of Thor, whose symbol
was a hammer.

He wrote in his Journal:--

"Perhaps I am descended from the Northman named Thorer, the dog-footed.
He was the most powerful man of the North. To judge from his name,
_Thorer Hund_ belonged to the same family. Thorer is one of the most,
if not the most common name in the chronicles of the Northmen. Snörro
Sturleson says, 'from Thor's name comes Thorer, also Thorarimnn.'
Again, 'Earl Rognvald was King Harald's dearest friend, and the king
had the greatest regard for him. He was married to Hilda, a daughter
of Rolf Nalfia, and their sons were Rolf and Thorer. Rolf became a
great Viking, and of so stout a growth that no horse could carry him,
and wheresoever he went, he went on foot, and therefore he was called
Gange-Rolf.' Laing says in a note, what Sturleson also tells in the
text, 'Gange-Rolf, Rolf-Ganger, Rolf the walker, was the conqueror of
Normandy. Gange-Rolf's son was William, father of Richard, who was the
father of Richard Longspear, and grandfather of William the Bastard,
from whom the following English kings are descended.'"

"King Harald set Earl Rognvald's son Thorer over Möre, and gave him
his daughter Alof in marriage. Thorer, called the Silent, got the same
territory his father Rognvald had possessed. His brother Einar going
into battle to take vengeance on his father's murderers, sang a kind of
reproach against his brothers, Rollang and Rolf, for their slowness,
and concludes:--

    'And silent Thorer sits and dreams
    At home, beside the mead bowl's streams.'

"Of himself it is related, that 'he cut a spread eagle on the back of
his enemy Halfdan.'

"So it seems that from one branch of the family were descended the
kings of England, and from the other, myself."

In his journal I find these lines:--

    "Light-headed, thoughtless, shall I take my way
    When I to Thee this being have resigned;
    Well knowing when upon a future day,
    With usurer's trust, more than myself to find."

  NOTE. "Thoreau was born in Concord on the 12th of July, 1817.
  The old-fashioned house, its roof nearly reaching to the ground
  in the rear, remains as it was when he first saw the light in
  the easternmost of its upper chambers. It was the residence of
  his grandmother, and a perfect piece of our New-England style
  of building, with its gray, unpainted boards, its grassy,
  unfenced door-yard. The house is somewhat isolate and remote from
  thoroughfares. The Virginia road is an old-fashioned, winding, at
  length deserted pathway, the more smiling for its forked orchards,
  tumbling walks, and mossy banks. About the house are pleasant,
  sunny meadows, deep with their beds of peat, so cheering with its
  homely, heath-like fragrance, and in its front runs a constant stream
  through the centre of that great tract sometimes called 'Bedford
  Levels,'--this brook a source of the Shawsheen River. It was lovely
  that he should draw his first breath in a pure country air, out of
  crowded towns, amid the pleasant russet fields.

  "His parents were active, vivacious people; his grandfather, by
  his father's side, coming from the Isle of Jersey, a Frenchman and
  Catholic, who married a Scotch woman named Jennie Burns. On his
  mother's side the descent is from the well-known Jones family of
  Weston, Mass., and the Rev. Charles Dunbar, a graduate of Harvard
  College, who preached in Salem, and at length settled in Keene, New
  Hampshire. As variable an ancestry as can well be afforded, with
  marked family characters on both sides. About a year and a half from
  Henry's birth, the family removed to the town of Chelmsford, thence
  to Boston, coming back, however, to Concord when he was of a very
  tender age; his earliest memory of most of the town was a ride to
  Walden Pond with his grandmother, when he thought that he should
  be glad to live there. He retained a peculiar pronunciation of the
  letter R, with a decided French accent. He says, 'September is the
  fifth month with a burr in it.' His great-grandmother's name was
  Marie le Galais, and his grandfather, John Thoreau, was baptized
  April 28, 1754, and partook of the Catholic sacrament in the parish
  of St. Helier, Isle of Jersey, in May, 1773. Thus near to old France
  and the church was our Yankee boy.

  "A moment may be spent on a few traits of Thoreau, of a personal
  kind. In height he was about the average. In his build, spare, with
  limbs that were rather longer than usual, or of which he made a
  longer use. His face once seen could not be forgotten; the features
  quite marked, the nose aquiline, or very Roman, like one of the
  portraits of Cæsar (more like a beak, as was said), large overhanging
  brows above the deepest-set blue eyes that could be seen,--blue in
  certain lights, and in others gray,--eyes expressive of all shades of
  feeling, but never weak or near-sighted; the forehead not unusually
  broad or high, full of concentrated energy and purpose; the mouth,
  with prominent lips, pursed up with meaning and thought when shut,
  and giving out when open a stream of the most varied and unusual
  and instructive sayings. His hair was a dark brown, exceedingly
  abundant, fine, and soft, and for several years he wore a comely
  beard. His whole figure had an active earnestness as if he had not
  a moment to waste. The clenched hand betokened purpose. In walking
  he made a short cut if he could, and when sitting in the shade, or
  by the wall-side, seemed merely the clearer to look forward into the
  next piece of activity. Even in the boat he had a wary, transitory
  air, his eyes on the lookout; perhaps there might be ducks, or the
  Blondin turtle, or an otter, or sparrow. He was a plain man in his
  features and dress,--one who could not be mistaken, and this kind of
  plainness is not out of keeping with beauty. He sometimes went as far
  as homeliness, which again, even if there be a prejudice against it,
  shines out at times beyond a vulgar beauty."




    "A sweet self-privacy in a right soul
    Outruns the earth, and lines the utmost pole."

For a diary, slight arches will suffice to convey the day's freight
across; the lighter these, the speedier and more graceful the transit.
Any current event, passing thought, rumor, were transportable, if
simply dispatched. And the more significant, as the more familiar and
private. Life were the less sweet and companionable if cumbered with
affairs, overloaded with thought, dizzied with anxieties. Better the
quiet temper that takes the days as they pass, and as if an eternity
were vouchsafed for completing one's task, the time too short to waste
in murmurs or postponements.

    "Cares, like eclipses, darken our endeavors;
    Our duties are our best gods."

A quiet life furnishes little of incident; dealing with thoughts and
things in a meditative manner, it has the less for those who have a
more stirring stake in current affairs. Yet one fancies that what
interests himself may interest others of like mind, if not of like
pursuits; and more especially when, as in a diary, he writes only of
what has some real or imagined relation to what concerns him. His
record may be careless, inconsequent, like the days it chronicles,
with but the slender thread of sleep connecting its leaves; or perhaps
the newspaper, once an accident, and coming irregularly, links his
evening with morning, morning with evening; newspaper before breakfast,
before business, before sleep; daily bread. One almost defines his
culture, his social standing, by the journals he takes. Observe the
difference between persons and neighborhoods familiar with current
newspapers and those who are not. Very different from the times when
a country boy must ride his miles after his Saturday's work to get
some glimmering of what was passing in the great world around him;
before libraries and lectures were established, steam and lightning
were carriers and couriers for all mankind. No life is insular now.
Every thought resounds throughout the globe. Electricity competes
with thought in the race. The telegraph, locomotive, the press,
render cabinets and colleges almost superfluous. Travel makes all
men countrymen, makes people noblemen and kings, every man tasting
of liberty and dominion. And who but the kings themselves can unking

Still, like most things, our periodical literature is far from being
a pure benefit, and one may quote Plato's saying as applicable to the
superficial culture which this of itself fosters: "Total ignorance
were in no wise a thing so vile and wicked, nor the greatest of evils;
but multifarious knowledge and learning acquired under bad management,
causes much more harm."

Rather what is thought and spoken in drawing-rooms, clubs, in private
assemblies, best intimates the spirit and tendencies of a community.
Things are known but at second-hand as represented in public prints,
or spoken on platforms. Admitted to private houses, one may report
accurately the census of civility, and cast the horoscope of the coming
time. Nor do I sympathize with some of my friends in their dislike
of reporters. One defends himself from intrusion, as a general rule;
but where the public have a generous interest in one's thoughts, his
occupations and manners, the discourtesy is rather in withholding these
from any false modesty. Besides, the version is more likely to be
nearer the truth than if left to chance curiosity, which piques itself
all the more on getting what was thus withheld, with any additions the
mood favors.


  SUNDAY, 11.

The course of Sunday lectures at Horticultural Hall opened in January
closes to-day. They have proved a brilliant success. Each speaker
has attracted, besides the body of steady attendants, his personal
friends, thus varying the audiences from Sunday to Sunday, and giving
an example of varied teaching unprecedented in our time. The reports
of these discourses, imperfect as they are, deserve preservation. They
have relation to the drift of thinking in our New-England community
especially, and are of historical importance. If not accepting all
that has been spoken on this platform by the successive speakers,
one may take a hearty interest in these adventures into the world of
thought and duty; nor can any who have attended steadily from Sunday
to Sunday question their serving a religious need of the time. The
views of persons, distinguished as are most of the speakers, are not
insignificant, since these are not among the least of the influences
secretly, if not openly, moulding the manners and institutions of a
community in which the thoughts and aims of the humblest individuals
have weight, and the young are so eager to learn of their thoughtful

When I recollect the ardor with which I sought the acquaintance of
those whom I imagined had ideas to communicate, and my delight in such
when found, I am led to think how very desirable were an institution to
which young students might resort during such portion of the year as
might be most convenient, to enjoy the fellowship of some of our most
cultivated persons,--scholarships being provided for such as had not
the means of defraying the necessary expenses,--thus enabling bright
young men and women, whether college graduates or not, to complete what
colleges do not give. Not every student comes into that intellectual
sympathy with his professor, which renders instruction most enjoyable,
yet without which the highest ends of culture are not attained. With
a faculty composed of persons whose names a moment's thought will
suggest, opportunities would be given for that sympathetic communion of
mind with mind in which all living instruction and influence consist.


  TUESDAY, 13.

Emerson has lately completed a course of readings on English Poetry
to an appreciative company in Boston. It is a variation of his method
of communicating with his companies, and not less becoming than even
his usual form of lecture. It matters not in his case; for such is the
charm of his manner, that wherever he appears, the cultured class will
delight in his utterances; and one may quote Socrates in Phædrus, where
Plato makes him say, "For as men lead hungry creatures by holding out a
green bough, or an apple, so you, Phædrus, it would seem, might lead me
about all Attica, and, indeed, wherever else you please, by extending
to me discourses out of your books." Not less aptly Goethe describes
him, in his letters to Schiller, where he calls the rhapsodist, "A
wise man, who, in calm thoughtfulness, shows what has happened; his
discourse aiming less to excite than to calm his auditors, in order
that they shall listen to him with contentment and long. He apportions
the interest equally, because it is not in his power to balance a too
lively impression. He grasps backwards and forwards at pleasure. He
is followed, because he has only to do with the imagination, which
of itself produces images, and which, up to a certain degree, is
indifferent what kind he calls up. He does not appear to his auditors,
but recites, as it were, behind a curtain; so there is a total
abstraction from himself, and it seems to them as though they heard
only the voice of the Muses."

See our Ion standing there, his audience, his manuscript before him,
himself also an auditor, as he reads, of the Genius sitting behind him,
and to whom he defers, eagerly catching the words,--the words,--as if
the accents were first reaching his ears too, and entrancing alike
oracle and auditor. We admire the stately sense, the splendor of
diction, and are charmed as we listen. Even his hesitancy between
the delivery of his periods, his perilous passages from paragraph to
paragraph of manuscript, we have almost learned to like, as if he were
but sorting his keys meanwhile for opening his cabinets; the spring of
locks following, himself seeming as eager as any of us to get sight
of his specimens as they come forth from their proper drawers, and we
wait willingly till his gem is out glittering; admire the setting, too,
scarcely less than the jewel itself. The magic minstrel and speaker,
whose rhetoric, voiced as by organ-stops, delivers the sentiment from
his breast in cadences peculiar to himself; now hurling it forth on the
ear, echoing; then, as his mood and matter invite, dying away, like

            "Music of mild lutes,
            Or silver-coated flutes,
    Or the concealing winds that can convey
    Never their tone to the rude ear of day."

He works his miracles with it, as Hermes did, his voice conducting
the sense alike to eye and ear by its lyrical movement and refraining
melody. So his compositions affect us, not as logic linked in
syllogisms, but as voluntaries rather, as preludes, in which one is not
tied to any design of air, but may vary his key or note at pleasure, as
if improvised without any particular scope of argument; each period,
paragraph, being a perfect note in itself, however it may chance chime
with its accompaniments in the piece, as a waltz of wandering stars,
a dance of Hesperus with Orion. His rhetoric dazzles by its circuits,
contrasts, antitheses; imagination, as in all sprightly minds, being
his wand of Power. He comes along his own paths, too, and in his own
fashion. What though he build his piers downwards from the firmament
to the tumbling tides, and so throw his radiant span across the
fissures of his argument, and himself pass over the frolic arches,
Ariel-wise,--is the skill less admirable, the masonry the less secure
for its singularity? So his books are best read as irregular writings,
in which the sentiment is, by his enthusiasm, transfused throughout the
piece, telling on the mind in cadences of a current undersong, giving
the impression of a connected whole,--which it seldom is,--such is the
rhapsodist's cunning in its structure and delivery.

The highest compliment we can pay the scholar is that of having
edified and instructed us, we know not how, unless by the pleasure
his words have given us. Conceive how much the lyceum owes to his
presence and teachings; how great the debt of many to him for their
hour's entertainment. His, if any one's, let the institution pass
into history, since his art, more than another's, has clothed it with
beauty, and made it the place of popular resort, our purest organ of
intellectual entertainment for New England and the Western cities.
And besides this, its immediate value to his auditors everywhere, it
has been serviceable in ways they least suspect; most of his works,
having had their first readings on its platform, were here fashioned
and polished, in good part, like Plutarch's morals, to become the more
acceptable to readers of his published books. Does it matter what topic
he touches? He adorns all with a severe sententious beauty, a freshness
and sanction next to that of godliness, if not that in spirit and

    "The princely mind, that can
    Teach man to keep a God in man;
    And when wise poets would search out to see
    Good men, behold them all in thee."

'Tis over thirty years since his first book was printed. Then followed
volumes of essays, poems, orations, addresses; and during all the
intervening period, down to the present, he has read briefs of his
lectures through a wide range, from Canada to the Capitol; in most
of the Free States; in the large cities, East and West, before large
audiences; in the smallest towns, and to the humblest companies. Such
has been his appeal to the mind of his countrymen, such his acceptance
by them. He has read lectures in the principal cities of England
also. A poet, speaking to individuals as few others can speak, and to
persons in their privileged moments, he is heard as none others are.
The more personal he is, the more prevailing, if not the more popular.
'Tis everything to have a true believer in the world, dealing with men
and matters as if they were divine in idea and real in fact; meeting
persons and events at a glance directly, not at a millionth remove, and
so passing fair and fresh into life and literature.

Consider how largely our letters have been enriched by his
contributions. Consider, too, the change his views have wrought in our
methods of thinking; how he has won over the bigot, the unbeliever,
at least to tolerance and moderation, if not acknowledgment, by his
circumspection and candor of statement.

            "His shining armor,
            A perfect charmer;
        Even the hornets of divinity
        Allow him a brief space,
        And his thought has a place
    Upon the well-bound library's chaste shelves,
    Where man of various wisdom rarely delves."

Poet and moralist, he has beauty and truth for all men's edification
and delight. His works are studies. And any youth of free senses and
fresh affections shall be spared years of tedious toil, in which
wisdom and fair learning are, for the most part, held at arm's-length,
planets' width, from his grasp, by graduating from this college. His
books are surcharged with vigorous thoughts, a sprightly wit. They
abound in strong sense, happy humor, keen criticisms, subtile insights,
noble morals, clothed in a chaste and manly diction, fresh with the
breath of health and progress.

We characterize and class him with the moralists who surprise us
with an accidental wisdom, strokes of wit, felicities of phrase,--as
Plutarch, Seneca, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, Saadi, Montaigne, Bacon,
Selden, Sir Thomas Browne, Cowley, Coleridge, Goethe,--with whose
delightful essays, notwithstanding all the pleasure they give us, we
still plead our disappointment at not having been admitted to the
closer intimacy which these loyal leaves had with their owners' mind
before torn from his note-books, jealous, even, at not having been
taken into his confidence in the editing itself.

We read, never as if he were the dogmatist, but a fair-speaking
mind, frankly declaring his convictions, and committing these to our
consideration, hoping we may have thought like things ourselves;
oftenest, indeed, taking this for granted as he wrote. There is nothing
of the spirit of proselyting, but the delightful deference ever to
our free sense and right of opinion. He might take for his motto
the sentiment of Henry More, where, speaking of himself, he says:
"Exquisite disquisition begets diffidence; diffidence in knowledge,
humility; humility, good manners and meek conversation. For my part,
I desire no man to take anything I write or speak upon trust without
canvassing, and would be thought rather to propound than to assert
what I have here or elsewhere written or spoken. But continually to
have expressed my diffidence in the very tractates and colloquies
themselves, had been languid and ridiculous."

Then he has chosen proper times and manners for saying his good things;
has spoken to almost every great interest as it rose. Nor has he let
the good opportunities pass unheeded, or failed to make them for
himself. He has taken discretion along as his constant attendant and
ally; has shown how the gentlest temper ever deals the surest blows.
His method is that of the sun against his rival for the cloak, and so
is free from any madness of those, who, forgetting the strength of the
solar ray, go blustering against men's prejudices, as if the wearers
would run at once against these winds of opposition into their arms for
shelter. What higher praise can we bestow on any one than to say of
him, that he harbors another's prejudices with a hospitality so cordial
as to give him for the time the sympathy next best to, if, indeed, it
be not edification in, charity itself? For what disturbs more, and
distracts mankind, than the uncivil manners that cleave man from man?
Yet, for whose amendment letters, love, Christianity, were all given!

       *       *       *       *       *

There is a virtuous curiosity felt by readers of remarkable books to
learn something more of their author's literary tastes, habits, and
dispositions, than these ordinarily furnish. Yet to gratify this is a
task as difficult as delicate, requiring a diffidency akin to that with
which one would accost the author himself, and without which graceful
armor it were impertinent for a friend even to undertake it. We may
venture but a stroke or two here.

All men love the country who love mankind with a wholesome love,
and have poetry and company in them. Our essayist makes good this
preference. If city bred, he has been for the best part of his life
a villager and countryman. Only a traveller at times professionally,
he prefers home-keeping; is a student of the landscape, of mankind,
of rugged strength wherever found; liking plain persons, plain ways,
plain clothes; prefers earnest people; shuns egotists, publicity; likes
solitude, and knows its uses. Courting society as a spectacle not less
than a pleasure, he carries off the spoils. Delighting in the broadest
views of men and things, he seeks all accessible displays of both for
draping his thoughts and works. And how is his page produced? Is it
imaginable that he conceives his piece as a whole, and then sits down
to execute his task at a heat? Is not this imaginable rather, and the
key to the construction of his works? Living for composition as few
authors can, and holding company, studies, sleep, exercise, affairs,
subservient to thought, his products are gathered as they ripen,
stored in his commonplaces; their contents transcribed at intervals,
and classified. It is the order of ideas, of imagination observed
in the arrangement, not of logical sequence. You may begin at the
last paragraph and read backwards. 'Tis Iris-built. Each period is
self-poised; there may be a chasm of years between the opening passage
and the last written, and there is endless time in the composition.
Jewels all! Separate stars. You may have them in a galaxy, if you like,
or view them separate and apart. But every one finds that, if he take
an essay, or verses, however the writer may have pleased himself with
the cunning workmanship, 'tis cloud-fashioned, and a blind pathway for
any one else. Cross as you can, or not cross, it matters not, you may
climb or leap, move in circles, turn somersaults;

    "In sympathetic sorrow sweep the ground,"

like his swallow in Hermione. Dissolving views, prospects, vistas
opening wide and far, yet earth, sky,--realities all, not illusions.
Here is substance, sod, sun; much fair weather in the seer as in
his leaves. The whole quaternion of the seasons, the sidereal year,
has been poured into these periods. Afternoon walks furnished their
perspectives, rounded and melodized them. These good things have been
talked and slept over, meditated standing and sitting, read and
polished in the utterance, submitted to all various tests, and, so
accepted, they pass into print. Light fancies, dreams, moods, refrains,
were set on foot, and sent jaunting about the fields, along wood-paths,
by Walden shores, by hill and brook-sides, to come home and claim their
rank and honors too in his pages. Composed of surrounding matters,
populous with thoughts, brisk with images, these books are wholesome,
homelike, and could have been written only in New England, and by our

    "Because I was content with these poor fields,
    Low, open meads, slender and sluggish streams,
    And found a home in haunts which others scorned,
    The partial wood-gods overpaid my love,
    And granted me the freedom of their state,
    And in their secret senate have prevailed
    With the dear, dangerous lords that rule our life,
    Made moon and planets parties to their bond,
    And through my rock-like, solitary wont
    Shot million rays of thought and tenderness.
    For me, in showers, in sweeping showers, the spring
    Visits the valley;--break away the clouds,--
    I bathe in the morn's soft and silvered air,
    And loiter willing by yon loitering stream.
    Sparrows far off, and nearer, April's bird,
    Blue-coated, flying before from tree to tree,
    Courageous, sing a delicate overture
    To lead the tardy concert of the year.
    Onward and nearer rides the sun of May;
    And wide around, the marriage of the plants
    Is sweetly solemnized. Then flows amain
    The surge of summer's beauty; dell and crag,
    Hollow and lake, hill-side, and pine arcade,
    Are touched with Genius. Yonder ragged cliff
    Has thousand faces in a thousand hours.

                  ... The gentle deities
    Showed me the lore of colors and of sounds,
    The innumerable tenements of beauty,
    The miracle of generative force,
    Far-reaching concords of astronomy
    Felt in the plants and in the punctual birds;
    Better, the linked purpose of the whole,
    And, chiefest prize, found I true liberty
    In the glad home plain-dealing nature gave.
    The polite found me impolite; the great
    Would mortify me, but in vain; for still
    I am a willow of the wilderness,
    Loving the wind that bent me. All my hurts
    My garden spade can heal. A woodland walk,
    A quest of river-grapes, a mocking thrush,
    A wild-rose, or rock-loving columbine,
    Salve my worst wounds.
    For thus the wood-gods murmured in my ear:
    'Dost love our manners? Canst thou silent lie?
    Canst thou, thy pride forgot, like nature pass
    Into the winter night's extinguished mood?
    Canst thou shine now, then darkle,
    And being latent feel thyself no less?
    As, when the all-worshipped moon attracts the eye,
    The river, hill, stems, foliage, are obscure,
    Yet envies none, none are unenviable.'"

I know of but one subtraction from the pleasure the reading of his
books--shall I say his conversation?--gives me,--his pains to be
impersonal or discrete, as if he feared any the least intrusion of
himself were an offence offered to self-respect, the courtesy due to
intercourse and authorship; thus depriving his page, his company, of
attractions the great masters of both knew how to insinuate into their
text and talk without overstepping the bounds of social or literary
decorum. What is more delightful than personal magnetism? 'Tis the
charm of good fellowship as of good writing. To get and to give the
largest measure of satisfaction, to fill ourselves with the nectar
of select experiences, not without some intertinctures of egotism so
charming in a companion, is what we seek in books of the class of his,
as in their authors. We associate diffidence properly with learning,
frankness with fellowship, and owe a certain blushing reverence to
both. For though our companion be a bashful man,--and he is the worse
if wanting this grace,--we yet wish him to be an enthusiast behind all
reserves, and capable of abandonment sometimes in his books. I know
how rare this genial humor is, this frankness of the blood, and how
surpassing are the gifts of good spirits, especially here in cold New
England, where, for the most part,

                        "Our virtues grow
    Beneath our humors, and at seasons show."

And yet, under our east winds of reserve, there hides an obscure
courtesy in the best natures, which neither temperament nor breeding
can spoil. Sometimes manners the most distant are friendly foils for
holding eager dispositions subject to the measures of right behavior.
'Tis not every New-Englander that dares venture upon the frankness, the
plain speaking, commended by the Greek poet.

    "Caress me not with words, while far away
    Thy heart is absent, and thy feelings stray;
    But if thou love me with a faithful breast,
    Be that pure love with zeal sincere exprest;
    And if thou hate, the bold aversion show
    With open face avowed, and known my foe."

Fortunate the visitor who is admitted of a morning for the high
discourse, or permitted to join the poet in his afternoon walks to
Walden, the cliffs, or elsewhere,--hours likely to be remembered as
unlike any others in his calendar of experiences. I may say for me
they have made ideas possible by hospitalities given to a fellowship
so enjoyable. Shall I describe them as sallies oftenest into the
cloud-lands, into scenes and intimacies ever new, none the less novel
or remote than when first experienced, colloquies, in favored moments,
on themes, perchance,

    "Of Fate, free-will, foreknowledge absolute;"

nor yet

    "In wand'ring mazes lost,"

as in Milton's page;

    But pathways plain through starry alcoves high,
    Or thence descending to the level plains.

Interviews, however, bringing their trail of perplexing thoughts,
costing some days' duties, several nights' sleep oftentimes to restore
one to his place and poise for customary employment; half a dozen
annually being full as many as the stoutest heads may well undertake
without detriment. Certainly safer not to venture without the sure
credentials, unless one will have his pretensions pricked, his conceits
reduced to their vague dimensions.

    "Fools have no means to meet
    But by their feet."

But to the modest, the ingenuous, the gifted, welcome! Nor can any
bearing be more poetic and polite than his to all such, to youth and
accomplished women especially. I may not intrude further than to
say, that, beyond any I have known, his is a faith approaching to
superstition concerning admirable persons, the divinity of friendship
come down from childhood, and surviving yet in memory if not in
expectation, the rumor of excellence of any sort being like the arrival
of a new gift to mankind, and he the first to proffer his recognition
and hope. His affection for conversation, for clubs, is a lively
intimation of this religion of fellowship. He, shall we say, if any,
must have taken the census of the admirable people of his time, perhaps
numbering as many among his friends as most living Americans, while
he is recognized as the representative mind of his country, to whom
distinguished foreigners are especially commended on visiting us.

Of Emerson's books I am not here designing to speak critically, rather
of his genius and personal influence; yet, in passing, may remark that
his "English Traits" deserves to be honored as one in which England,
Old and New, may alike take national pride as being the liveliest
portraiture of British genius and accomplishments there is,--a book,
like Tacitus, to be quoted as a masterpiece of historical painting, and
perpetuating the New-Englander's fame with that of his race. 'Tis a
victory of eyes over hands, a triumph of ideas. Nor has there been for
some time any criticism of a people so characteristic and complete. It
remains for him to do like justice to New England. Not a metaphysician,
and rightly discarding any claims to systematic thinking; the poet in
spirit, if not always in form; the consistent idealist, yet the realist
none the less,--he has illustrated the learning and thought of former
times on the noblest themes, coming nearest of any to emancipating the
mind of his own from the errors and dreams of past ages.

       *       *       *       *       *

Plutarch tells us that of old they were wont to call men [Greek:
phôta], which imports light, not only for the vehement desire man has
to know, but to communicate also. And the Platonists fancied that the
gods, being above men, had something whereof man did not partake,
pure intellect and knowledge, and they kept on their way quietly. The
beasts, being below men, had something whereof man had less, sense and
growth, so they lived quietly in their way. While man had something
in him whereof neither gods nor beasts had any trace, which gave him
all the trouble, and made all the confusion in the world,--and that was
egotism and opinion.

A finer discrimination of gifts might show that Genius ranges through
this threefold dominion, partaking in turn of their essence and degrees.

Was our poet planted so fast in intellect, so firmly rooted in the
mind, so dazzled with light, yet so cleft withal by duplicity of gifts,
that fated thus to traverse the mid-world of contrast and contrariety,
he was ever glancing forth from his coverts at life as reflected
through his dividing prism, the resident never long of the tracts he
surveyed, yet their persistent Muse nevertheless? And so housed in the
Mind, and sallying forth from thence in quest of his game, whether of
persons or things, he was the Mercury, the merchantman of ideas to his
century. Nor was he personally alone in his thinking. Beside him stood
his townsman, whose sylvan intelligence, fast rooted in Nature, was yet
armed with a sagacity, a subtlety and strength, that penetrated while
divining the essences of creatures and things he studied, and of which
he seemed Atlas and Head.

Forcible protestants against the materialism of their own, as of
preceding times, these masterly Idealists substantiate beyond all
question their right to the empires they sway,--the rich estates of an
original Genius.


  FRIDAY, 16.

A-field all summer, all winter in-doors, was the Anglo-Saxon rule, and
holds good for the Anglo-American to-day. Englishmen still, here in
New England we borrow, at some variance with the sun's courses, our
calendar from the old country. Ordinarily our seasons fall almost a
month later, our winter hardly opening till New-year's, nor spring till
All Fools' Day, the date of which can hardly fall amiss, and with All
Saints' may be left indefinite in wit's almanac. Doubtless there is a
closer sympathy than we suspect between souls and seasons. Sensitive to
climate within as weather without, our intelligence dips or rises as
the signs range from Aries to Pisces in the ideal ephemeris, measuring
to faculty and member in turn the rising or falling tides, and so
determining our solar and lunar periods.

    "'Tis not every day that I
    Fitted am to prophesy;
    No; but when the spirit fills
    The fantastic pinnacles
    Full of fire, then I write
    As the Godhead doth indite.
    Thus enraged, my lines are hurled,
    Like the sibyls, through the world.
    Look, how next the holy fire
    Either slakes, or doth retire;
    So the fancy carols, till when
    That brave spirit comes again."

Nature is the best dictionary and school of eloquence; genius the
pupil of sun and stars, wood-lands, waters, the fields, the spectacle
of things seen under all aspects, in all seasons and moods. Blot
these from his vision, and the scholar's page were of small account.
Letters show pale and poor from inside chambers and halls of learning
alone; and whoever will deal directly with ideas, is often abroad
to import the stuff of things into his diction, and clothe them in
a rhetoric robust and racy, addressing the senses and mind at once.
One is surprised at finding how a little exercise, though taken
for the thousandth time, and along familiar haunts even, refreshes
and strengthens body and mind. A turn about his grounds, a sally
into the woods, climbing the hill-top, sauntering by brook-sides,
brings him back with new senses and a new soul. One's handwriting
becomes illuminated as he turns his leaves, the thoughts standing out
distinctly, which before were blurred, and failed to show their import.
Then his thought is sprightliest, and tells its tale firmly to the end.
It sets flowing what blood one has in his veins, quickening wonderfully
his circulations; he is valiant, humorsome, the soul prevailing in
every part, and he takes hope of himself and the world around him.

An open fire, too, that best of friends to greet him within doors for
most of the months; better than councils of friends to settle numerous
questions wont to smoulder and fret by an air-tight, or flash forth in
no lovely manner at unexpected moments. And where else is conversation
possible? A countryman without an open fire will consider whether he
can afford to spend himself and family to spare his wood-lot. It was
comforting to see the other day on a bookseller's counter, tiles of
porcelain, with suggestive devices of the graceful hospitalities of the
olden time, when every mantelpiece had its attractions of fable and
verse, the conversation enhanced by the friendly blaze, around which
the family gathered and paid their devotions to friendships, human and

    "Go where I will, thou lucky Lar, stay here
    Close by the glittering chimney all the year."

Then, a country-seat for summer and a city residence for the winter
were desirable. For recreation, the due allowance taken from business,
leisures as profitable as labors, alike enjoyable, and promoting the
relish for more.

    "Books, studies, business, entertain the light,
    And sleep as undisturbed as death the night.
    Acquaintance one would have, but when it depends
    Not on the number, but the choice of friends.
    His house a cottage more
    Than palace, and should fitting be
    For all his use, no luxury."

One's house should be roomy enough for his thought, for his family
and guests; honor the ceilings, and geniality the hearthstone. Ample
apartments, a charming landscape and surroundings; these have their
influence on the dispositions, the tastes, manners of the inmates,
and are not to be left out of account. Yet, without nobility to grace
them, what were the costly palace, its parlors and parks, luxuries and
elegancies, within or without,--the handsome house owing its chief
beauty to the occupants, the company, one's virtues and accomplishments
draw inside of the mansion; persons being the figures that grace the
edifice, else unfurnished, and but a showy pile of ostentation and
folly, as desolate within as pretentious without.

    "Two things money cannot buy,
    Breeding and integrity."

"It happens," says Plutarch, "that neither rich furniture, nor
moveables, nor abundance of gold, nor descent from an illustrious
family, nor greatness of authority, nor eloquence, and all the charms
of speaking, can procure so great a serenity of life, as a mind free
from guilt and kept untainted, not only from actions but from purposes
that are wicked. By this means the soul will be not only unpolluted,
but not disturbed; the fountain will run clear and unsullied, and
the streams that flow from it will be just and honest deeds, full of
satisfaction, a brisk energy of spirit which makes a man an enthusiast
in his joy, and a tenacious memory sweeter than hope, which, as Pindar
says, 'with a virgin warmth cherishes old men.' For as shrubs which are
cut down with morning dew upon them, do for a long time after retain
their fragrance, so the good actions of a wise man perfume his mind
and leave a rich scent behind them. So that joy is, as it were, watered
with those essences, and owes its flourishing to them."


  MONDAY, 19.

One values his chosen place of residence, whether he be a native or
not, less for its natural history and advantages than for its civil and
social privileges.

    "The hills were reared, the rivers scooped in vain,
    If learning's altars vanish from the plain."

And all the more, if, while retaining the ancient manners, it cherish
the family sentiment against the straggling habits which separate
members so widely in our times that intercourse is had seldomer than of
old; names of kindred hardly surviving save in the fresh recollections
of childhood by the dwellers apart; far more of life than we know being
planted fast in ancestral homes, the best of it associated with these,
as if there were a geography of the affections that nothing could

A people can hardly have attained to nationality till it knows its
ancestor and is not ashamed of its antecedents. If such studies were
once deemed beneath the dignity of an American, they are no longer.
We are not the less national for honoring our forefathers. Blood
is a history. Blood is a destiny. How persistent it is, let the
institutions of England, Old and New, bear testimony, since on this
prerogative--call it race, rank, family, nature, culture, nationality,
what you will--both peoples stand and pride themselves, lion and eagle,
an impregnable Saxondom, a common speech, blazoning their descent.

    "Ours is the tongue the bards sang in of old,
    And Druids their dark knowledge did unfold;
    Merlin in this his prophesies did vent,
    Which through the world of fame bear such extent.
    Thus spake the son of Mars, and Britain bold,
    Who first 'mongst Christian worthies is enrolled;
    And many thousand more, whom but to name
    Were but to syllable great Shakespeare's fame."

A strong race, the blood flows boldly in its veins, truculent, if need
be, aggressive, and holding its own, as pronounced in the women as in
the men, here in New England as in Old, the dragon couchant and ready
to spring in defence of privileges and titles; magnanimous none the
less, and merciful, as in the times of St. George and Bonduca. One
needs but read Tacitus on the Manners of the Ancient Germans, to find
the parentage of traits which still constitute the Englishmen, Old and
New, showing how persistent, under every variety of geographical and
political conditions, is the genius of races.

'Tis due to every name that some one or more inheriting it should
search out its traits and titles, as these descend along the stream
of generations and reappear in individuals. And we best study the
fortunes of families, of races and peoples, here at their sources. Even
heraldries have their significance. And it is accounted the rule that
names are entitled to the better qualities of their emblazonries, each
having something admirable and to be honored in its origin.[2]

[Footnote 2: Verstegan, in his Restitution of Decayed Intelligence,
in Antiquities concerning the most Noble and Renowned English Nation,
1634, treating of the origin of names, says:--

"For a general rule, the reader may please to note, that our surnames
of families, be they of one or more syllables, that have either a _k_
or a _w_, are all of them of the ancient English race, so that neither
the _k_ or _w_ are used in Latin, nor in any of the three languages
thereon depending, which sometimes causes confusion in the writing our
names (originally coming from the Teutonic) in Latin, Italian, French,
and Spanish languages. Neither the _k_ nor _w_ being in the Latin
nor in the French, they could not be with the Normans in use, whose
language was French, as also their surnames. As for the surnames in our
Norman catalogue which have in them the letters _k_ and _w_, which the
French do not use, these are not to be thought to have been Norman, but
of those gentlemen of Flanders which Baldwin, the Earl of that country
and father-in-law unto the Conquerer, did send to aid him. Besides
these, sundry other surnames do appear to have been in the Netherlands
and not in Normandy; albeit they are without doubt set in the list of
the Normans. And whereas in searching for such as may remain in England
of the race of the Danes, they are not such as, according to the vulgar
opinion, have their surnames ending in _son_. In the Netherlands,
it is often found that very many surnames end in _son_, as Johnson,
Williamson, Phillipson, and the like; _i. e._ sons of that name of
John, etc.

"Then some have their surnames according to the color of hair or
complexion, as white, black, brown, gray, and reddish; and those in
whom these names from such causes begin, do thereby lose their former
denomination. Some again for their surnames have the names of beasts;
and it should seem for one thing or another wherein they represented
some property of theirs; as lion, wolf, fox, bull, buck, hare, hart,
lamb, and the like. Others of birds; as cock, peacock, swan, crane,
heron, partridge, dove, sparrow, and the like. Others of fish; as
salmon, herring, rock, pilchard, and the like. And albeit the ancestors
of the bearers of these had in other times other surnames, yet because
almost all these and other like names do belong to our English tongue,
I do think him to be of the ancient English, and if not all, yet the
most part. And here by occasion of these names, I must note, and that
as it were for a general rule, _that what family soever has their first
and chief coat of arms correspondent unto their surname, it is evident
sign that it had that surname before it had those arms_."]

Thus the Cock is alike the herald of the dawn and sentinel of the
night; the emblem of watchfulness and of wisdom; of vigilance and of
perseverance, and _Semper Vigilans_, the appropriate motto of family
arms bearing the name with its variations.

So the poet


    "Father of Lights! what sunny seed,
    What glance of day, hast thou confined
    Unto this bird? To all the breed
    This busy ray thou hast assigned;
    Their magnetism works all night
    And dreams of paradise and light,
    It seems their candle howe'er done
    Was tin'd and lighted at the sun."



    Apart they sit, the better know,
    Why towns and talk sway men below.

Freedom from affairs, and leisure to entertain his thoughts, is the
scholar's paradise. Hardly less the delight in comparing notes with
another in conversation. It is the chiefest of satisfactions this last,
where sympathy is possible and perfect. One does not see his thought
distinctly till it is reflected in the image of another's. Personal
perspective gives the distance necessary to bring out its significance.
"There are some," says Thoreau, "whose ears help me so much that my
things have a rare significance when I read to them. It is almost too
good a hearing, so that, for the time, I regard my writing from too
favorable a point of view." Yet the criticism of admiration is far more
acceptable and the more likely to be just than that of censure. Much
learning does not make an accomplished critic; taste, sensibility,
sympathy, ideality, are indispensable. A man of talent may apprehend
and judge fairly of works of his class. But genius alone comprehends
and appreciates truly the works of genius.

Nor are all moods equally favorable for criticism. "It may be owing to
my mood at the time," says Goethe, "but it seems to me, that as well
in treating of writings as of actions, unless one speak with a loving
sympathy, a certain enthusiasm, the result is so defective as to have
little value. Pleasure, delight, sympathy in things, is all that is
real; and that reproduces reality in us; all else is empty and vain."
One must seize the traits as they rise with the tender touch, else they
elude and dissolve in the moment; pass into the obscurity out of which
they emerged, and are lost forever. Much depends upon this, that one
make the most of his time, and miss no propitious moods.

Rarely does one win a success with either tongue or pen. Of the books
printed, scarcely never the volume entire justifies its appearance in
type. Much is void of deep and permanent significance, touches nothing
in one's experience, and fails to command attention. Even subjects
of gravest quality, unless treated suggestively, find no place in a
permanent literature. It is not enough that the thing is literally
defined, stated logically; it needs to be complemented ideally,--set
forth in lucid imagery to tell the story to the end. Style carries
weight oftentimes when seemingly light itself. Movement is necessary,
while the logic is unapparent,--all the more profound and edifying as
it appeals to and speaks from the deeper instincts, and so makes claims
upon the reader's mind. That is good which stands strong in its own
strength, detached from local relations. So a book of thoughts suggests
thought, edifies, inspires. Whatever interests at successive readings
has life in it, and deserves type and paper.

My code of composition stands thus, and this is my advice to whom it
may concern:--

Burn every scrap that stands not the test of all moods of criticism.
Such lack longevity. What is left gains immensely. Such is the law.
Very little of what is thought admirable at the writing holds good over
night. Sleep on your writing; take a walk over it; scrutinize it of
a morning; review it of an afternoon; digest it after a meal; let it
sleep in your drawer a twelvemonth; never venture a whisper about it to
your friend, if he be an author especially. You may read selections to
sensible women,--if young the better; and if it stand these trials, you
may offer it to a publisher, and think yourself fortunate if he refuse
to print it. Then you may be sure you have written a book worthy of
type, and wait with assurance for a publisher and reader thirty years
hence,--that is, when you are engaged in authorship that needs neither
type nor publisher.

"Learning," says Fuller, "hath gained most by those books by which the
printers have lost." It must be an enlightened public that asks for
works the most enlightened publishers decline printing. A magazine were
ruined already if it reflected its fears only. Yet one cannot expect
the trade to venture reputation or money in spreading unpopular views.

Ben Jonson wrote to his bookseller:--

    "Thou that mak'st gain thy end, and wisely well
    Call'st a book good or bad, as it doth sell,
    Use mine so too; I give thee leave, but crave
    For the luck's sake, it thus much favor have;--
    To lie upon thy stall, till it be sought,
    Not offered as it made suit to be bought;
    Nor have my title page on posts or walls,
    Or in cleft-sticks advanced to make calls
    For termers, or some clerk-like serving man
    Who scarce can spell the hard names, whose knight less can.
    If, without these vile arts it will not sell,
    Send it to Bucklersbury, there 't will, well."

Time is the best critic, and the better for his intolerance of any
inferiority. And fortunate for literature that he is thus choice and
exacting. Books, like character, are works of time, and must run the
gauntlet of criticism to gain enduring celebrity. The best books may
sometimes wait for their half century, or longer, for appreciative
readers--create their readers; the few ready to appreciate these
at their issue being the most enlightened of their time, and they
diffuse the light to their circle of readers. The torch of truth thus
transmitted sheds its light over hemispheres,--the globe at last.

    "Hail! native language, that with sinews weak
    Didst move my first endeavoring tongue to speak,
    And mad'st imperfect words with childish trips
    Half unpronounced slide through my infant lips,
    Driving dull silence from the portal door
    Where he had mutely sat two years before--
    Here I salute thee, and thy pardon ask
    That now I use thee in my latter task.
    Now haste thee strait to do me once a pleasure,
    And from thy wardrobe bring thy chiefest treasure,
    Not those new-fangled toys, and trimming slight,
    Which takes our late fantastics with delight,
    But cull those richest robes, and gay'st attire,
    Which deepest spirits and choicest wits admire."

Thus wrote Milton at the age of nineteen, and made his college
illustrious and the language afterwards. Yet the purest English is
not always spoken or written by graduates of universities. Speech is
the fruit of breeding and of character, and one shall find sometimes
in remote rural districts the language spoken in its simplicity and
purity, especially by sprightly boys and girls who have not been vexed
with their grammars and school tasks. Ours is one of the richest of
the spoken tongues; it may not be the simplest in structure and ease
of attainment; yet this last may be facilitated by simple and natural
methods of studying it. Taught by masters like Ascham or Milton,
students might acquire the art of speaking and of writing the language
in its purity and elegance, as did these great masters in their day.
Ascham lays down this sensible rule: "He that will write well in any
tongue, must follow this advice of Aristotle: '_to speak as the common
people do, to think as wise men do, and so should every man understand
him, and the judgment of wise men about him_.'"

George Chapman, the translator of Homer, thus speaks of the scholarly
pedantries of his time, of which ours affords too many examples:--

    "For as great clerks can use no English words,
    Because (alas! great clerks) English affords,
    Say they, no height nor copy,--a rude tongue,
    Since 'tis their native,--but, in Greek and Latin
    Their wits are rare, for thence true poesy sprung,
    Through which, truth knows, they have but skill to chat in,
    Compared with what they might have in their own."

Camden said, "that though our tongue may not be as sacred as the
Hebrew, nor as learned as the Greek, yet it is as fluent as the Latin,
as courteous as the Spanish, as court-like as the French, and as
amorous as the Italian; so that being beautified and enriched out of
these tongues, partly by enfranchising and endenizing foreign words,
partly by implanting new ones with artful composition, our tongue is as
copious, pithy, and significative as any in Europe."

If one would learn its riches at sight, let him glance along the pages
of Richardson's Dictionary; and at the same time survey its history
from Gower and Chaucer down to our time.

"If there be, what I believe there is," says Dr. Johnson, "in every
nation, a style which never becomes obsolete, a certain mode of
phraseology so component and congenial to the analogy and principles
of its respective language as to remain settled and unaltered; this
style is probably to be sought in the common intercourse of life, among
those who speak only to be understood, without ambition of eloquence.
The polite are always catching modish expressions, and the learned
depart from established forms of speech, in hope of finding or making
it better; those who wish for distinction forsake the vulgar when
the vulgar is right; but there is a conversation above grossness and
below refinement, where propriety resides, and where Shakespeare seems
to have gathered his comic dialogues. He is therefore more agreeable
to the ears of the present age than any other author equally remote,
and among his other excellences deserves to be studied as one of the
original masters of the language."



    "Sweet country life, to such unknown
    Whose lives are others, not their own,
    But serving courts and cities, be
    Less happy, less enjoying thee."


  MONDAY, 3.

Fair spring days, the farmers beginning the planting of the season's
crops. One cannot well forego the pleasures which the culture of a
garden affords. He must have a little spot upon which to bestow his
affections, and own his affinities with earth and sky. The profits in a
pecuniary way may be inconsiderable, but the pleasures are rewarding.
Formerly I allowed neither hoe, spade, nor rake, not handled by myself,
to approach my plants. But when one has put his garden within covers,
to be handled in a book, he fancies he has earned the privilege of
delegating the tillage thereafter, in part, to other hands, and may
please himself with its superintendence; especially when he is so
fortunate as to secure the services of any who can take their orders
without debate, and execute them with dispatch; and if he care to
compare opinions with them, find they have views of their own, and
respect for his. And the more agreeable if they have a pleasant humor
and the piety of lively spirits.

    "In laborer's ballads oft more piety
    God finds than in _Te Deum's_ melody."

"When our ancestors," says Cato, "praised a good man, they called him a
good agriculturist and a good husbandman; he was thought to be greatly
honored who was thus praised."

Without his plot of ground for tillage and ornamentation, a countryman
seems out of place, its culture and keeping being the best occupation
for keeping himself wholesome and sweet. The garden is the tie uniting
man and nature. How civic an orchard shows in a clearing,--a garden
in a prairie, as if nature waited for man to arrive and complete
her, by converting the wild into the human, and thus to marry beauty
and utility on the spot! A house, too, without garden or orchard, is
unfurnished, incomplete, does not fulfil our ideas of the homestead,
but stands isolate, defiant in its individualism, with a savage,
slovenly air, and distance, that lacks softening and blending with
the surrounding landscape. Besides, it were tantalizing to note the
natural advantages of one's grounds, and at the same time be unskilful
to complete what nature has sketched for the hand of art to adorn and
idealize. With a little skill, good taste, and small outlay of time
and pains, one may render any spot a pretty paradise of beauty and
comfort,--if these are not one in due combination, and not for himself
only, but for those who shall inherit when he shall have left it. The
rightful ownership in the landscape is born of one's genius, partakes
of his essence thus wrought with the substance of the soil, the
structures which he erects thereon. Whoever enriches and adorns the
smallest spot, lives not in vain. For him the poet sings, the moralist
points his choicest periods.

I know of nothing better suited to inspire a taste for rural affairs
than a Gardener's Almanac, containing matters good to be known by
country people. All the more attractive the volume if tastefully
illustrated, and contain reprints of select pastoral verses,
biographies, with portraits of those who have written on country
affairs, and lists of their works. The old herbals, too, with all their
absurdities, are still tempting books, and contain much information
important for the countryman to possess.[3]

[Footnote 3: To the list of ancient authors, as Cato, Columella, Varro,
Palladius, Virgil, Theocritus, Tibullus, selections might be added from
Cowley, Marlowe, Browne, Spenser, Tusser, Dyer, Phillips, Shenstone,
Cowper, Thomson, and others less known. Evelyn's works are of great
value, his Kalendarium Hortense particularly. And for showing the state
of agriculture and of the language in his time, Tusser's Five Hundred
Points of Husbandry is full of information, while his quaint humor
adds to his rugged rhymes a primitive charm. Then of the old herbals,
Gerard's is best known. He was the father of English herbalists, and
had a garden attached to his house in Holbern. Coles published his
Adam in Eden, the Paradise of Plants, in 1659; Austin his Treatise on
Fruit Trees ten years earlier. Dr. Holland's translation of the School
of Salerne, or the Regiment of Health, appeared in 1649. Thos. Tryon
wrote on the virtues of plants, and on health, about the same time, and
his works are very suggestive and valuable. Miller, gardener to the
Chelsea Gardens, gave the first edition of his Gardener's Dictionary
to the press in 1731. Sir William Temple also wrote sensibly on
herbs. Cowley's Six Books of Plants was published in English in 1708.
Phillips' History of Cultivated Plants, etc., published in 1822, is a
book of great merit. So is Culpepper's Herbal.]

Cowley and Evelyn are of rural authors the most attractive. Cowley's
Essays are delightful reading. Nor shall I forgive his biographer
for destroying the letters of a man of whom King Charles said at his
interment in Westminster Abbey, "Mr. Cowley has not left a better in
England." The friend and correspondent of the most distinguished poets,
statesmen, and gentlemen of his time, himself the first poet of his
day, his letters must have been most interesting and important, and but
for the unsettled temper of affairs, would doubtless have been added to
our polite literature.

Had King Charles remembered Cowley's friend Evelyn, the compliment both
to the living and dead would have been just. Evelyn was the best of
citizens and most loyal of subjects. A complete list of his writings
shows to what excellent uses he gave himself. The planter of forests in
his time, he might be profitably consulted as regards the replanting of
New England now.

Respecting his planting, and the origin of his Sylva, he writes to his
friend, Lady Sunderland, August, 1690:--

"As to the Kalendar your ladyship mentions, whatever assistance it may
be to some novice gardener, sure I am his lordship will find nothing in
it worth his notice, but an old inclination to an innocent diversion;
and the acceptance it found with my dear, and while he lived, worthy
friend, Mr. Cowley; upon whose reputation only it has survived seven
impressions, and is now entering on the eighth, with some considerable
improvement more agreeable to the present curiosity. 'Tis now, Madam,
almost forty years since I first writ it, when horticulture was not
much advanced in England, and near thirty years since it was published,
which consideration will, I hope, excuse its many defects. If in the
meantime it deserve the name of no unuseful trifle, 'tis all it is
capable of.

"When, many years ago, I came from rambling abroad, and a great deal
more since I came home than gave me much satisfaction, and, as events
have proved, scarce worth one's pursuit, I cast about how I should
employ the time which hangs on most young men's hands, to the best
advantage; and, when books and grave studies grew tedious, and other
impertinence would be pressing, by what innocent diversions I might
sometimes relieve myself without compliance to recreations I took no
felicity in, because they did not contribute to any improvement of
mind. This set me upon planting of trees, and brought forth my Sylva,
which book, infinitely beyond my expectations, is now also calling
for a fourth impression, and has been the occasion of propagating
many millions of useful timber trees throughout this nation, as I
may justify without immodesty, from many letters of acknowledgement
received from gentlemen of the first quality, and others altogether
strangers to me. His late Majesty, Charles II, was sometimes graciously
pleased to take notice of it to me; and that I had by that book alone
incited a world of planters to repair their broken estates and woods
which the greedy rebels had wasted and made such havoc of. Upon
encouragement, I was once speaking to a mighty man then in despotic
power to mention the great inclination I had to serve his majesty in a
little office then newly vacant (the salary I think hardly £300), whose
province was to inspect the timber trees in his majesty's forests,
etc., and take care of their culture and improvement; but this was
conferred upon another, who, I believe, had seldom been out of the
smoke of London, where, though there was a great deal of timber, there
were not many trees. I confess I had an inclination to the employment
upon a public account as well as its being suitable to my rural genius,
born as I was, at Watton, among woods.

"Soon after this, happened the direful conflagration of this city,
when, taking notice of our want of books of architecture in the English
tongue, I published those most useful directions of ten of the best
authors on that subject, whose works were very rarely to be had, all
written in French, Latin, or Italian, and so not intelligible to
our mechanics. What the fruit of that labor and cost has been, (for
the sculptures, which are elegant, were very chargeable,) the great
improvement of our workmen and several impressions of the copy since
will best testify.

"In this method I thought proper to begin planting trees, because they
would require time for growth, and be advancing to delight and shade at
least, and were, therefore, by no means to be neglected and deferred,
while buildings might be raised and finished in a summer or two, if the
owner pleased.

"Thus, Madam, I endeavored to do my countrymen some little service, in
as natural an order as I could for the improving and adorning of their
estates and dwellings, and, if possible, make them in love with those
useful and innocent pleasures, in exchange for a wasteful and ignoble
sloth which I had observed so universally corrupted an ingenious

"To these I likewise added my little history of Chalcography, a
treatise of the perfection of painting and of libraries, medals, with
some other intermesses which might divert within doors as well as
altogether without."



    False were the muse, did she not bring
    Our village poet's offering--
    Haunts, fields, and groves, weaving his rhymes,
    Leaves verse and fame to coming times.

Is it for the reason that rural life here in New England furnishes
nothing for pastoral verse, that our poets have as yet produced so
little? Yet we cannot have had almost three centuries' residence on
this side of the Atlantic, with old England's dialect, traditions, and
customs still current in our rural districts for perspective, not to
have so adorned life and landscape with poetic associations as to have
neither honey nor dew for hiving in sweet and tender verse, though it
should fall short of the antique or British models. Our fields and
rivers, brooks and groves, the rural occupations of country-folk,
have not been undeserving of being celebrated in appropriate verse.
Our forefathers delighted in Revolutionary lore. We celebrate natural
scenery, legends of foreign climes, historic events, but rarely indulge
in touches of simple country life. And the idyls of New England await
their poet, unless the following verses announce his arrival:--


    "My country, 'tis for thee I strike the lyre;
    My country, wide as is the free wind's flight,
    I prize New England as she lights her fire
    In every Prairie's midst; and where the bright
    Enchanting stars shine pure through Southern night,
    She still is there the guardian on the tower,
    To open for the world a purer hour.

    "Could they but know the wild enchanting thrill
    That in our homely houses fills the heart,
    To feel how faithfully New England's will
    Beats in each artery, and each small part
    Of this great Continent, their blood would start
    In Georgia, or where Spain once sat in state,
    Or Texas, with her lone star, desolate.

         ·     ·     ·     ·     ·

    "'Tis a New-England thought, to make this land
    The very home of Freedom, and the nurse
    "Of each sublime emotion; she does stand
    Between the sunny South, and the dread curse
    Of God, who else should make her hearse
    Of condemnation to this Union's life,--
    She stands to heal this plague, and banish strife.

    "I do not sing of this, but hymn the day
    That gilds our cheerful villages and plains,
    Our hamlets strewn at distance on the way,
    Our forests and the ancient streams' domains;
    We are a band of brothers, and our pains
    Are freely shared; no beggar in our roads,
    Content and peace within our fair abodes.

    "In my small cottage on the lonely hill,
    Where like a hermit I must bide my time,
    Surrounded by a landscape lying still
    All seasons through as in the winter's prime,
    Rude and as homely as these verses chime,
    I have a satisfaction which no king
    Has often felt, if Fortune's happiest thing.

    "'Tis not my fortune, which is meanly low,
    'Tis not my merit that is nothing worth,
    'Tis not that I have stores of thought below
    Which everywhere should build up heaven on earth;
    Nor was I highly favored in my birth;
    Few friends have I, and they are much to me,
    Yet fly above my poor society.

    "But all about me live New-England men,
    Their humble houses meet my daily gaze,--
    The children of this land where Life again
    Flows like a great stream in sunshiny ways,
    This is a joy to know them, and my days
    Are filled with love to meditate on them,--
    These native gentlemen on Nature's hem.

    "That I could take one feature of their life,
    Then on my page a mellow light should shine;
    Their days are holidays, with labor rife,
    Labor the song of praise that sounds divine,
    And better, far, than any hymn of mine;
    The patient Earth sets platters for their food,
    Corn, milk, and apples, and the best of good.

    "See here no shining scenes for artist's eye,
    This woollen frock shall make no painter's fame;
    These homely tools all burnishing deny;
    The beasts are slow and heavy, still or tame;
    The sensual eye may think this labor lame;
    'Tis in the man where lies the sweetest art,
    His true endeavor in his earnest part.

         ·     ·     ·     ·     ·

    "He meets the year confiding; no great throws,
    That suddenly bring riches, does he use,
    But like Thor's hammer vast, his patient blows
    Vanquish his difficult tasks, he does refuse
    To tread the path, nor know the way he views;
    No sad complaining words he uttereth,
    But draws in peace a free and easy breath.

         ·     ·     ·     ·     ·

    "This man takes pleasure o'er the crackling fire,
    His glittering axe subdued the monarch oak,
    He earned the cheerful blaze by something higher
    Than pensioned blows,--he owned the tree he stroke,
    And knows the value of the distant smoke
    When he returns at night, his labor done,
    Matched in his action with the long day's sun.

         ·     ·     ·     ·     ·

    "I love these homely mansions, and to me
    A farmer's house seems better than a king's;
    The palace boasts its art, but liberty
    And honest pride and toil are splendid things;
    They carved this clumsy lintel, and it brings
    The man upon its front; Greece hath her art,--
    But this rude homestead shows the farmer's heart.

    "I love to meet him on the frozen road,
    How manly is his eye, as clear as air;--
    He cheers his beasts without the brutal goad,
    His face is ruddy, and his features fair;
    His brave good-day sounds like an honest prayer;
    This man is in his place and feels his trust,--
    'Tis not dull plodding through the heavy crust.

    "And when I have him at his homely hearth,
    Within his homestead, where no ornament
    Glows on the mantel but his own true worth,
    I feel as if within an Arab's tent
    His hospitality is more than meant;
    I there am welcome, as the sunlight is,
    I must feel warm to be a friend of his.

         ·     ·     ·     ·     ·

    "How many brave adventures with the cold,
    Built up the cumberous cellar of plain stone;
    How many summer heats the bricks did mould,
    That make the ample fireplace, and the tone
    Of twice a thousand winds sing through the zone
    Of rustic paling round the modest yard,--
    These are the verses of this simple bard.

    "Who sings the praise of Woman in our clime?
    I do not boast her beauty or her grace;
    Some humble duties render her sublime,
    She the sweet nurse of this New-England race,
    The flower upon the country's sterile face,
    The mother of New England's sons, the pride
    Of every house where these good sons abide.

    "There is a Roman splendor in her smile,
    A tenderness that owes its depth to toil;
    Well may she leave the soft voluptuous wile
    That forms the woman of a softer soil;
    She does pour forth herself a fragrant oil
    Upon the dark austerities of Fate,
    And make a garden else all desolate.

    "From early morn to fading eve she stands,
    Labor's best offering on the shrine of worth,
    And Labor's jewels glitter on her hands,
    To make a plenty out of partial dearth,
    To animate the heaviness of earth,
    To stand and serve serenely through the pain,
    To nurse a vigorous race and ne'er complain.

    "New-England women are New-England's pride,
    'Tis fitting they should be so, they are free,--
    Intelligence doth all their acts decide,
    Such deeds more charming than old ancestry.
    I could not dwell beside them, and not be
    Enamored of them greatly; they are meant
    To charm the Poet, by their pure intent.

    "A natural honest bearing of their lot,
    Cheerful at work, and happy when 'tis done;
    They shine like stars within the humblest cot,
    And speak for freedom centred all in one.
    From every river's side I hear the son
    Of some New-England woman answer me,
    'Joy to our Mothers, who did make us free.'

    "And when those wanderers turn to home again,
    See the familiar village, and the street
    Where they once frolicked, they are less than men
    If in their eyes the tear-drops do not meet,
    To feel how soon their mothers they shall greet:
    Sons of New England have no dearer day,
    Than once again within those arms to lay.

    "These are her men and women; this the sight
    That greets me daily when I pass their homes;
    It is enough to love, it throws some light
    Over the gloomiest hours; the fancy roams
    No more to Italy or Greece; the loams
    Whereon we tread are sacred by the lives
    Of those who till them, and our comfort thrives.

    "Here might one pass his days, content to be
    The witness of those spectacles alway;
    Bring if you may your treasure from the sea,
    My pride is in my Townsmen, where the day
    Rises so fairly on a race who lay
    Their hopes on Heaven after their toil is o'er,
    Upon this rude and bold New-England shore.

    "Vainly ye pine woods rising on the height
    Should lift your verdant boughs and cones aloft;
    Vainly ye winds should surge around in might,
    Or murmur o'er the meadow stanzas soft;
    To me should nothing yield or lake or crost,
    Had not the figures of the pleasant scene
    Like trees and fields an innocent demean.

    "I feel when I am here some pride elate,
    Proud of your presence who do duty here,
    For I am some partaker of your fate,
    Your manly anthem vibrates in my ear;
    Your hearts are heaving unconsumed by fear;
    Your modest deeds are constantly supplied;
    Your simpler truths by which you must abide.

    "Therefore I love a cold and flinty realm,
    I love the sky that hangs New England o'er,
    And if I were embarked, and at the helm
    I ran my vessel on New England's shore,
    And dashed upon her crags, would live no more,
    Rather than go seek those lands of graves
    Where men who tread the fields are cowering slaves."



  MONDAY, 17.

If one would learn the views of some of our most thoughtful New-England
men and women, he will find their fullest and freshest expression in
the discussions of the Radical Club. Almost every extreme of Liberalism
is there represented, and its manners and methods are as various as
the several members who take part in the readings and conversations.
It is assumed that all subjects proposed for discussion are open to
the freest consideration, and that each is entitled to have the
widest scope and hospitality allowed it. Truth is spherical, and seen
differently according to the culture, temperament, and disposition of
those who survey it from their individual standpoint. Of two or more
sides, none can be absolutely right, and conversation fails if it
find not the central truth from which all radiate. Debate is angular,
conversation circular and radiant of the underlying unity. Who speaks
deeply excludes all possibility of controversy. His affirmation is
self-sufficient: his assumption final, absolute.

    Yes, yes, I see it must be so,
    The Yes alone resolves the No.

Thus holding himself above the arena of dispute, he gracefully settles
a question by speaking so home to the core of the matter as to
undermine the premise upon which an issue had been taken. For whoso
speaks to the Personality drives beneath the grounds of difference, and
deals face to face with principles and ideas.[4]

[Footnote 4: "Dialectics treat of pure thought and of the method of
arriving at it. A current misapprehension on the subject of dialectics
here presents itself. Most people understand it to mean argument, and
they believe that truths may be arrived at and held by such argument
placed in due logical form. They demand the proof of an assertion,
and imply something of weakness in the reasoning power in those who
fail to give this. It is well to understand what proof means. Kant
has shown us in his Critique of Pure Reason, that the course of all
such ratiocination is a movement in a circle. One assumes in his
premises what he wishes to prove, and then unfolds it as the result.
The assumptions are in all cases mere sides of antinomies or opposite
theses, each of which has validity and may be demonstrated against the
other. Thus the debater moves round and round and presupposes one-sided
premises which must be annulled before he can be in a state to perceive
the truth. Argument of this kind the accomplished dialectician never
engages in; it is simply egotism when reduced to its lowest terms. The
question assumed premises that were utterly inadmissible.

"The process of true proof does not proceed in the manner of
argumentation; it does not assume its whole result in its premises,
which are propositions of reflection, and then draw them out
syllogistically. Speculative truth is never contained analytically in
any one or in all of such propositions of reflection. It is rather the
negative of them, and hence is transcendent in its entire procedure.
It rises step by step, synthetically, through the negation of the
principle assumed at the beginning, until, finally, the presupposition
of all is reached. It is essentially a going from the part to the
whole. Whatever is seized by the dialectic is turned on its varied
sides, and careful note is made of its defects, _i. e._ what it lacks
within itself to make it possible. That which it implies is added to
it, as belonging to its totality, and thus onward progress is made
until the entire comprehension of its various phases is attained.
The ordinary analytic proof is seen to be shallow after more or less
experience in it. The man of insight sees that it is a 'child's
play,--a mere placing of the inevitable dogmatism a step or two
back--that is all. _Real speculation proceeds synthetically beyond what
it finds inadequate, until it reaches the adequate._'"


Good discourse sinks differences and seeks agreements. It avoids
argument, by finding a common basis of agreement; and thus escapes
controversy, by rendering it superfluous. Pertinent to the platform,
debate is out of place in the parlor. Persuasion is the better weapon
in this glittering game.

Nothing rarer than great conversation, nothing more difficult to prompt
and guide. Like magnetism, it obeys its own hidden laws, sympathies,
antipathies, is sensitive to the least breath of criticism. It requires
natural tact, a familiarity with these fine laws, long experience, a
temperament predisposed to fellowship, to hold high the discourse by
keeping the substance of things distinctly in view throughout the
natural windings of the dialogue. Many can argue, not many converse.
Real humility is rare everywhere and at all times. If women have the
larger share, and venture less in general conversation, it may be from
the less confidence, not in themselves, but in those who have hitherto
assumed the lead, even in matters more specially concerning woman. Few
men are diffident enough to speak beautifully and well on the finest

Conversation presupposes a common sympathy in the subject, a great
equality in the speakers; absence of egotism, a tender criticism of
what is spoken. 'Tis this great equality and ingenuousness that renders
this game of questions so charming and entertaining, and the more that
it invites the indefinable complement of sex. Only where the sexes are
brought into sympathy, is conversation possible. Where women are, men
speak best; for the most part, below themselves, where women are not.
And the like holds presumably of companies composed solely of women.

Good discourse wins from the bashful and discreet what they have to
speak, but would not, without this provocation. The forbidding faces
are Fates to overbear and blemish true fellowship. We give what we are,
not necessarily what we know; nothing more, nothing less, and only to
our kind, those playing best their parts who have the nimblest wits,
taking out the egotism, the nonsense; putting wisdom, information, in
their place. Humor to dissolve, and wit to fledge your theme, if you
will rise out of commonplace; any amount of erudition, eloquence of
phrase, scope of comprehension; figure and symbol sparingly but fitly.
Who speaks to the eye, speaks to the whole mind.

Most people are too exclusively individual for conversing. It costs
too great expenditure of magnetism to dissolve them; who cannot leave
himself out of his discourse, but embarrasses all who take part in it.
Egotists cannot converse, they talk to themselves only.

Conversation with plain people proves more agreeable and profitable,
usually, than with companies more pretentious and critical. It is wont
to run the deeper and stronger without impertinent interruptions,
inevitable where cultivated egotism and self-assurance are present
with such. There remains this resource, of ignoring civilly the
interruption, and proceeding as if the intrusion had not been

                        "Oft when the wise
    Appears not wise, he works the greater good."

"Never allow yourself," said Goethe, "to be betrayed into a dispute.
Wise men fall into ignorance if they dispute with ignorant men."
Persuasion is the finest artillery. It is the unseen guns that do
execution without smoke or tumult. If one cannot win by force of wit,
without cannonade of abuse, flourish of trumpet, he is out of place in
parlors, ventures where he can neither forward nor grace fellowship.
The great themes are feminine, and to be dealt with delicately. Debate
is masculine; conversation is feminine.

Here is a piece of excellent counsel from Plotinus:--

"And this may everywhere be considered, that he who pursues our form of
philosophy, will, besides all other graces, genuinely exhibit simple
and venerable manners, in conjunction with the possession of wisdom,
and will endeavor not to become insolent or proud, but will possess
confidence, accompanied with reason, with sincerity and candor, and
great circumspection."



Horace Greeley has just issued from the "Tribune" office a uniform
edition of Margaret Fuller's works, together with her Memoirs first
published twenty years ago. And now, while woman is the theme of public
discussion, her character and writings may be studied to advantage.
The sex has had no abler advocate. Her book entitled "Woman in the
Nineteenth Century" anticipated most of the questions now in the air,
and the leaders in the movement for woman's welfare might take its
counsels as the text for their action. Her methods, too, suggest the
better modes of influence. That she wrote books is the least of her
merits. She was greatest when she dropped her pen. She spoke best
what others essayed to say, and what women speak best. Hers was a
glancing logic that leaped straight to the sure conclusion; a sibylline
intelligence that divined oracularly; knew by anticipation; in the
presence always, the open vision. Alas, that so much should have been
lost to us, and this at the moment when it seemed we most needed and
could profit by it! Was it some omen of that catastrophe which gave her
voice at times the tones of a sadness almost preternatural? What figure
were she now here in times and triumphs like ours! She seemed to have
divined the significance of woman, dared where her sex had hesitated
hitherto, was gifted to untie social knots which the genius of a Plato
even failed to disentangle. "Either sex alone," he said, "was but half
itself." Yet he did not complement the two in honorable marriage in his
social polity. "If a house be rooted in wrong," says Euripides, "it
will blossom in vice." As the oak is cradled in the acorn's cup, so the
state in the family. Domestic licentiousness saps every institution,
the morals of the community at large,--a statement trite enough, but
till it is no longer needful to be made is the commonwealth established
on immovable foundations.

    "Revere no God whom men adore by night."

Let the sexes be held to like purity of morals, and equal justice meted
to them for any infraction of the laws of social order. Women are the
natural leaders of society in whatever concerns private morals, lead
where it were safe for men to follow. About the like number as of men,
doubtless, possess gifts to serve the community at large; while most
women, as most men, will remain private citizens, fulfilling private
duties. Her vote as such will tell for personal purity, for honor,
temperance, justice, mercy, peace,--the domestic virtues upon which
communities are founded, and in which they must be firmly rooted to
prosper and endure. The unfallen souls are feminine.

Crashaw's Ideal Woman should win the love and admiration of her sex as
well as ours.

    "Whoe'er she be
    That not impossible she
    That shall command my heart and me;

    "Where'er she lie
    Lock'd up from mortal eye
    In shady leaves of destiny;

    "Till that ripe birth
    Of studied fate stand forth,
    And teach her fair steps to our earth;

    "Till that divine
    Idea take a shrine
    Of crystal flesh, through which to shine,

    "Meet you her my wishes,
    Bespeak her to my blisses,
    And be ye called my absent kisses.

    "I wish her beauty
    That owes not all its duty
    To gaudy tire, or glistening shoe-ty.

    "Something more than
    Taffata or tissue can,
    Or rampant feather, or rich fan.

    "More than the spoil
    Of shop, or silkworm's toil,
    Or a bought blush, or a set smile.

    "A face that's best
    By its own beauty drest,
    And can alone command the rest.

    "A face made up
    Out of no other shop
    Than what nature's white hand sets ope.

    "A cheek where youth
    And blood, with pen of truth,
    Write what the reader sweetly rueth.

    "A cheek where grows
    More than a morning rose,
    Which to no box his being owes.

    "Lips, where all day
    A lover's kiss may play,
    Yet carry nothing thence away.

    "Looks, that oppress
    Their richest tires, but dress
    And clothe their simplest nakedness.

    "Eyes, that displaces
    The neighbor diamond and out-faces
    That sunshine by their own sweet graces.

    "Tresses, that wear
    Jewels, but to declare
    How much themselves more precious are.

    "Whose native ray
    Can tame the wanton day
    Of gems that in their bright shades play.

    "Each ruby there,
    Or pearl that dare appear,
    Be its own blush, be its own tear.

    "A well-tamed heart,
    For whose more noble smart
    Love may be long choosing a dart.

    "Eyes, that bestow
    Full quivers on Love's bow,
    Yet pay less arrows than they owe.

    "Smiles, that can warm
    The blood, yet teach a charm
    That chastity shall take no harm.

    "Blushes, that been
    The burnish of no sin,
    Nor flames of aught too hot within.

    "Days, that need borrow
    No part of their good morrow
    From a fore-spent night of sorrow.

    "Days, that in spite
    Of darkness, by the light
    Of a clear mind are day all night.

    "Life, that dares send
    A challenge to his end,
    And when it comes say, 'Welcome, friend.'

    "Sydneian showers
    Of sweet discourse, whose powers
    Can crown old Winter's head with flowers.

    "Soft silken hours,
    Open suns, shady bowers,
    'Bove all, nothing within that lowers.

    "Whate'er delight
    Can make day's forehead bright,
    Or give down to the wings of night.

    "In her whole frame,
    Have nature all the name,
    Art and ornament the shame.

    "Her flattery,
    Picture and poesy,
    Her counsel her own virtue be.

    "I wish her store
    Of worth may leave her poor
    Of wishes; and I wish--no more."


  SUNDAY, 23.

My little grandsons visit me at this becoming season of birds and apple
blossoms. They accompany me to the brook, and are pleased with their
willow whistles and sail-boats,--toys delightful to childhood from the
first. Their manners, that first of accomplishments, delight us in
return, showing that the sense of beauty has dawned and their culture
fairly begun. 'Tis a culture to watch them through their days' doings.
Endless their fancies and engagements. What arts, accomplishments,
graces, are woven in their playful panorama; the scene shifting with
the mood, and all in keeping with the laws of thought and of things.
Verily, there are invisible players playing their parts through these
pretty puppets all day long.

To conceive a child's acquirements as originating in nature, dating
from his birth into his body, seems an atheism that only a shallow
metaphysical theology could entertain in a time of such marvellous
natural knowledge as ours. "I shall never persuade myself," said
Synesius, "to believe my soul to be of like age with my body." And yet
we are wont to date our birth, as that of the babes we christen, from
the body's advent so duteously inscribed in our family registers, as if
time and space could chronicle the periods of the immortal mind, and
mark its longevity by our chronometers.[5] Only a God could inspire a
child with the intimations seen in its first pulse-plays; the sprightly
attainments of a single day's doings afford the liveliest proofs of
an omniscient Deity revealing his attributes in the motions of the
little one! Nor is maternity less a special inspiration throbbing
ceaselessly with childhood as a protecting Providence, lifelong. Comes
not the mother to make the Creator's word sure that all he has made
is verily good? For without mother and wife, what more than a rough
outline of divinity were drawn? "That man," says Euripides, "hath made
his fortune who hath married a good wife." For what would some of us
have accomplished, what should we have not done, misdone, without her
counsels to temper our adventurous idealism? Heaven added a new power
to creation when it sent woman into it to complete what He had designed.

[Footnote 5: "Infants," says Olympiodorus, "are not seen to laugh
for some time after birth, but pass the greater part of their time
in sleep; however, in their sleep they appear both to smile and cry.
But can this any otherwise happen than through the soul agitating the
circulations of their animal nature in conformity with the passions it
has experienced before birth into the body? Besides, our looking into
ourselves when we seek to discover any truth, shows that we inwardly
contain truth, though concealed in the darkness of oblivion." Does atom
animate and revive thought, or thought animate and illuminate atom? And
which the elder?]

    "He is a parricide to his mother's name,
    And with an impious hand, murthers her fame,
    Who wrongs the praise of woman; that dares write
    Libels on saints, or with foul ink requite
    The milk they lent us."

When one becomes indifferent to women, to children and young people, he
may know that he is superannuated, and has withdrawn from whatsoever is
sweetest and purest in human existence. One of the happiest rewards of
age is the enjoyment of children. And when these inherit one's better
gifts and graces, sinking the worse, or omitting them altogether, what
can be added to fill the cup of parental gratitude and delight? I fail
to comprehend how the old and young folks are to enjoy a future heaven
together, unless they have learned to partake in the enjoyments of
this. Shall we picture future separate heavens for them?

    Sing, sing, the immortals,
      The ancients of days,
    Ever crowding the portals
      Of earth's populous ways;

    The babes ever stealing
    Into Eden's glad feeling;
    The fore-world revealing
    God's face, ne'er concealing.

    Sing, sing, the child's fancies,
    Its graces and glances,
    Plans, pastimes, surprises,
    Slips, sorrows, surmises.

    Youth's trials and treasures,
    Its hopes without measures,
    Its labors and leisures;
    His world all before him,
    High heaven all o'er him;
    Life's lengthening story,
    Opening glory on glory;
    By age ne'er o'ertaken,
    By youth near forsaken.

    Sings none this fair story,
    But dwellers in its glory;
    Who would the youth see,
    A youth he must be;
    Heaven's kingdom alone
    To children doth come.

The family is the sensitive plant of civility, the measure of culture.
Take the census of the homes, and you have the sum total of character
and civilization in any community. Sown in the family, the seeds of
holiness are here to be cherished and ripened for immortality. Here is
the seminary of the virtues, the graces, accomplishments, that adorn
and idealize existence. From this college we graduate for better or for
worse. This faculty of the affections, this drinking freshly at the
springs of genius and sensibility, this intimacy with the loveliest and
best in life, is the real schooling, the truest discipline, without
which neither mind nor heart flourish; all other advantages being
of secondary account; wealth, wit, beauty, social position, books,
travel, fellowships, are but sounding names, opportunities of inferior
importance, compared with this endowment of personal influences.

Here, in this atmosphere of love and sympathy, character thrives and
ripens. And were the skill for touching its tender sensibilities,
calling forth its budding gifts, equal to the charms the child has
for us, what noble characters would graduate from our families,--the
community receiving its members accomplished in the Personal graces,
the state its patriots, the church its saints, all glorifying the
race. One day the highest culture of the choicest gifts will be deemed
essential to the heads of families, and the arts of nurture and of
culture honored as the art of arts.

"Boys are dear to divinity," dear to all mankind. What more charming
than to watch the dawning intelligence, clearing itself from the mists
which obscure its vision of the world into which it has but lately
entered? The more attractive, since a fine sentiment then mingles
mythically with the freshness of thought, confuses the sexes, as if
the boy were being transformed into the girl, first entering her wider
world of affection; and the girl in turn were being metamorphosed into
the boy, first becoming conscious of the newer world of intellect; each
entering, by instinct, into the mind of the other. I know not which
is the more charming each in their ways, the coy manners of girls, or
the shy behavior of beautiful boys,--mysteries both to each other, nor
less to their elders. 'Tis the youthful sentiment, whether feminine
or masculine, that renders friendship delightful, the world lovely;
this gone, all is gone that life can enjoy. "There are periods in one's
life," says Pythagoras, "which it is not in the power of any casual
person to connect finely, these being expelled by one another, unless
some sympathetic friend conduct him from birth in a beautiful and
upright manner."


Of the great educators of antiquity, I esteem Pythagoras the most
eminent and successful. Everything of his doctrine and discipline comes
commended by its elegance and humanity, and justifies the name he bore
of the golden-souled Samian, and founder of the Greek culture. He seems
to have stood in providential nearness to the human sensibility, as
if his were a maternal relation as well, and he owned the minds whom
he nurtured and educated. The first of philosophers, taking the name
for its modesty of pretension, he justified his claim to it in the
attainments and services of his followers; his school having given us
Socrates, Plato, Pericles, Plutarch, Plotinus, and others of almost
equal fame, founders of states and cultures.

He was most fortunate in his biographer. For, next to the Gospels,
I know of nothing finer of the kind than the mythological portrait
drawn of him by Jamblichus, his admiring disciple, and a philosopher
worthy of his master. How mellow the coloring, the drapery disposed
so gracefully about the person he paints! I look upon this piece of
nature with ever fresh delight, so reverend, humane, so friendly in
aspect and Olympian. Nor is the interest less, but enhanced rather
by the interfusion of fable into the personal history, the charm of
a subtle idealism being thus given it, relating him thereby to the
sacred names of all times. There is in him an Oriental splendor, as
of sunrise, reflected on statues, blooming in orchards, an ambrosial
beauty and sweetness, as of autumnal fruits and of women.

                        "In all he did,
    Some picture of the golden times was hid."

Personally, he is said to have been the most beautiful and godlike of
all those who had been celebrated in history before his time. As a
youth, his aspect was venerable and his habits strictly temperate, so
that he was reverenced and honored by elderly men. He attracted the
attention of all who saw him, and appeared admirable in all eyes. He
was adorned by piety and discipline, by a mode of life transcendently
good, by firmness of soul, and by a body in due subjection to the
mandates of reason. In all his words and actions, he discovered an
inimitable quiet and serenity, not being subdued at any time by
anger, emulation, contention, or any precipitation of conduct. He
was reverenced by the multitude as one under the influence of divine
inspiration. He abstained from all intoxicating drinks, and from animal
food, confining himself to a chaste nutriment. Hence, his sleep was
short and undisturbed, his soul vigilant and pure, his body in a state
of perfect and invariable health. He was free from the superstitions
of his time, and pervaded with a deep sense of duty towards God, and
veneration for his divine attributes and immanency in things. He fixed
his mind so intently on the attainment of wisdom, that systems and
mysteries inaccessible to others were opened to him by his magic genius
and sincerity of purpose. The great principle with which he started,
that of being a seeker rather than possessor of truth, seemed ever to
urge him forward with a diligence and an activity unprecedented in the
history of the past, and perhaps unequalled since. He visited every
man who could claim any degree of fame for wisdom or learning, whilst
the relics of antiquity and the simplest operations of nature seemed
to yield to his researches; and we moderns are using his eyes in many
departments of activity into which pure thought enters, being indebted
to him for important discoveries alike in science and metaphysics.

"His institution at Crotona was the most comprehensive and complete of
any of which we read. His aim being at once a philosophical school,
a religious brotherhood, and a political association. And all these
characters appear to have been inseparably united in the founder's
mind. It must be considered as a proof of upright intentions in
Pythagoras which ought to rescue him from all suspicion of selfish
motives, that he chose for his associates persons whom he deemed
capable of grasping the highest truths which he could communicate, and
was not only willing to teach them all he knew, but regarded the utmost
cultivation of the intellectual faculties as a necessary preparation
for the work to which he destined them. He instituted a society, an
order, as one may now call it, composed of young men, three hundred
in number, carefully selected from the noblest families, not only of
Crotona, but of the other Italian cities.

"Those who confided themselves to the guidance of his doctrine and
discipline, conducted themselves in the following manner:--

"They performed their morning walks alone in places where there
happened to be an appropriate solitude and quiet, and where there were
temples and groves, and other things adapted to give delight. For
they thought it was not proper to converse with any one till they had
rendered their own soul sedate and co-harmonized with the reasoning
power. For they apprehended it to be a thing of a turbulent nature to
mingle in a crowd as soon as they rose from bed. But after the morning
walk, they associated with each other, and employed themselves in
discussing doctrines and disciplines, and in the correction of their
manners and lives.

"They employed their time after dinner, which consisted of bread and
honey without wine, in domestic labors and economies, and in the
hospitalities due to strangers and their guests, according to the laws.
All business of this sort was transacted during these hours of the day.

"When it was evening, they again betook themselves to walking, yet not
singly as in the morning walk, but in parties of two or three, calling
to mind, as they walked, the disciplines which they had learned, and
exercising themselves in beautiful studies.

"After bathing again, they went to supper; no more than ten meeting
together for this purpose. This meal they finished before the setting
of the sun. It was of wine and maize, bread and salad. They were of
opinion that any animal, not naturally noxious to the human race,
should neither be injured nor slain.

"After supper, libations were performed; and these were succeeded by
readings, the youngest reading, and the eldest ordering what should be
read and after what manner.

"They wore a white and pure garment, and slept on beds the coverlets of
which were of white linen."


  MONDAY, 24.

My book of Conversations, held with Children in Boston near forty years
ago, has found an admiring reader at last. He writes:--

"I have just found in a second-hand bookstore your two volumes
of Conversations on the Gospels, and have read them with benefit
and delight. Nowhere have I seen the Gospels so spiritualized, so
rationalized, Platonized. The _naïveté_ aside, it seems the product
of a company of idealists. Is it possible that common human nature in
children, thrown upon its own resources, can exhibit such intelligence,
or instinct, if you please to call it so? Were these children taken as
they came, or were they selected, culled?"

They came from families occupying various social advantages, and were a
fair average of children thus born and bred. I give a sample of one of
the conversations as reported from their lips at the time. Their ages
were from six to twelve years.


Mr. Alcott read (having previously read the beginning) the remainder of
the Conversation of Jesus with the woman of Samaria (John iv. 16-30),--

  16. Jesus saith unto her, Go call thy husband, and come hither.

  17. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto
  her, Thou hast well said I have no husband:

  18. For thou hast had five husbands, and he whom thou now hast is not
  thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.

  19. The woman said unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.

  20. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say that in
  Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.

  21. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh when ye
  shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the

  22. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship, for
  salvation is of the Jews.

  23. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall
  worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the father seeketh
  such to worship him.

  24. God _is_ a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship _him_
  in spirit and in truth.

  25. The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is
  called Christ; when he is come, he will tell us all things.

  26. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am _he_.

  27. And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked
  with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest
  thou with her?

  28. The woman then left her water-pot, and went her way into the
  city, and saith to the men,

  29. Come, see a man which told me all things that ever I did: is not
  this the Christ?

  30. Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.

Before he had time to ask the usual question,--

SAMUEL T. (_spoke_). I was most interested in this verse: "He that
drinks of this water shall thirst again, but he that drinks of the
water that I shall give him, shall never thirst." He means by this,
that those who heard what he taught, and did it, should live always,
should never die, their spirits should never die.

MR. ALCOTT. Can spirits die?

SAMUEL T. For a spirit to die is to leave off being good.

EDWARD J. I was interested in the words, "For the water I shall give
him will be in him a well of water." I think it means that when people
are good and getting better, it is like water springing up always.
They have more and more goodness.

SAMUEL R. Water is an emblem of holiness.

MR. ALCOTT. Water means spirit, pure and unsoiled.

EDWARD J. It is holy spirit.

ELLEN. I was most interested in these words: "Ye worship ye know not
what." The Samaritans worship idols, and there was no meaning to that.

MR. ALCOTT. What do you mean by their worshipping idols?

ELLEN. They cared about things more than God.

MR. ALCOTT. What kind of false worship do you think Jesus was thinking
about when he said: "Woman, the hour is coming and now is, when neither
in this mountain--"?

ELLEN. Oh! she thought the place of worship was more important than the
worship itself.

MR. ALCOTT. Well! how did Jesus answer that thought?

ELLEN. He told her what she ought to worship, which was more important
than where.

MR. ALCOTT. Some of you, perhaps, have made this mistake, and thought
that we only worshipped God in churches, and on Sundays. How is
it,--who has thought so?

(_Several held up hands, smiling._)

Who knew that we could worship God anywhere?

(_Others held up hands._)

What other worship is there besides that in the church?

EDWARD J. The worship in our hearts.

MR. ALCOTT. How is that carried on?

EDWARD J. By being good.

NATHAN. We worship God by growing better.

AUGUSTINE. We worship God when we repent of doing wrong.

JOSIAH. I was most interested in this verse: "God is a spirit, and they
that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." It means
that to feel our prayers is more important than to say the words.

LEMUEL. And when we pray and pray sincerely.

MR. ALCOTT. What is praying sincerely?

LEMUEL. Praying the truth.

MR. ALCOTT. What is to be done in praying the truth? When you think of
prayer, do you think of a position of the body--of words?

LEMUEL (_earnestly_). I think of something else, but I cannot express

MR. ALCOTT. Josiah is holding up his hand; can he express it?

JOSIAH (_burst out_). To pray, Mr. Alcott, is to be good, really; you
know it is better to be bad before people and to be good to God alone,
because then we are good for goodness sake, and not to be seen, and
not for people's sake. Well, so it is about prayer. There must be
nothing outward with prayer; but we must have some words, sometimes;
sometimes we need not. If we don't feel the prayer, it is worse than
never to say a word of prayer. It is wrong not to pray, but it is more
wrong to speak prayer and not pray. We had better do nothing about it,
Mr. Alcott! we must say words in a prayer, and we must feel the words
we say, and we must do what belongs to the words.

MR. ALCOTT. Oh! there must be doing, must there?

JOSIAH. Oh! yes, Mr. Alcott! doing is the most important part. We must
ask God for help, and at the same time try to do the thing we are to be
helped about. If a boy should be good all day, and have no temptation,
it would not be very much; there would be no improvement; but if he had
temptation, he could pray and feel the prayer, and try to overcome it,
and would overcome it; and then there would be a real prayer and a real
improvement. That would be something. Temptation is always necessary to
a real prayer, I think. I don't believe there is ever any real prayer
before there is a temptation; because we may think and feel and say our
prayer; but there cannot be any doing, without there is something to be

MR. ALCOTT. Well, Josiah, that will do now. Shall some one else speak?

JOSIAH. Oh, Mr. Alcott, I have not half done!

EDWARD J. Mr. Alcott, what is the use of responding in church?

MR. ALCOTT. Cannot you tell?

EDWARD J. No; I never knew.

JOSIAH. Oh! Mr. Alcott!

MR. ALCOTT. Well, Josiah, do you know?

JOSIAH. Why, Edward! is it not just like a mother's telling her child
the words? The child wants to pray; it don't know how to express its
real thoughts, as we often say to Mr. Alcott here; and the mother says
words, and the child repeats after her the words.

EDWARD J. Yes; but I don't see what good it does.

JOSIAH. What! if the mother says the words, and the child repeats them
and feels them,--really wants the things that are prayed for,--can't
you see that it does some good?

EDWARD J. It teaches the word-prayer--it is not the real prayer.

JOSIAH. Yet it must be the real prayer, and the real prayer must have
some words.

But, Mr. Alcott, I think it would be a great deal better, if, at
church, everybody prayed for themselves. I don't see why one person
should pray for all the rest. Why could not the minister pray for
himself, and the people pray for themselves? and why should not all
communicate their thoughts? Why should only one speak? Why should not
all be preachers? Everybody could say something; at least, everybody
could say their own prayers, for they know what they want. Every person
knows the temptations they have, and people are tempted to do different
things. Mr. Alcott, I think Sunday ought to come oftener.

MR. ALCOTT. Our hearts can make all time Sunday.

JOSIAH. Why, then, nothing could be done! There must be week-days, I
know--some week-days; I said, Sunday oftener.

MR. ALCOTT. But you wanted the prayers to be doing prayers. Now some of
the rest may tell me, how you could pray doing prayers.

GEORGE K. Place is of no consequence. I think prayer is in our hearts.
Christian prayed in the cave of Giant Despair. We can pray anywhere,
because we can have faith anywhere.

MR. ALCOTT. Faith, then, is necessary?

GEORGE K. Yes; for it is faith that makes the prayer.

MR. ALCOTT. Suppose an instance of prayer in yourself.

GEORGE K. I can pray going to bed or getting up.

MR. ALCOTT. You are thinking of time, place, words.

GEORGE K. And feelings and thoughts.

MR. ALCOTT. And action?

GEORGE K. Yes; action comes after.

JOHN B. When we have been doing wrong and are sorry, we pray to God to
take away the evil.

MR. ALCOTT. What evil, the punishment?

JOHN B. No; we want the forgiveness.

MR. ALCOTT. What is for-give-ness? Is it anything given?

LEMUEL. Goodness, holiness.

JOHN B. And the evil is taken away.

MR. ALCOTT. Is there any action in all this?

JOHN B. Why, yes; there is thought and feeling.

MR. ALCOTT. But it takes the body also to act; what do the hands do?

JOHN B. There is no prayer in the hands.

MR. ALCOTT. You have taken something that belongs to another; you pray
to be forgiven; you wish not to do so again; you are sorry. Is there
anything to do?

JOHN B. If you injure anybody, and can repair it, you must, and you
will, if you have prayed sincerely; but that is not the prayer.

MR. ALCOTT. Would the prayer be complete without it?


ANDREW. Prayer is in the spirit.

MR. ALCOTT. Does the body help the spirit?

ANDREW. It don't help the prayer.

MR. ALCOTT. Don't the lips move?

ANDREW. But have the lips anything to do with the prayer?

MR. ALCOTT. Yes; they may. The whole nature may act together; the body
pray; and I want you to tell an instance of a prayer in which are
thoughts, feelings, action; which involves the whole nature, body and
all. There may be prayer in the palms of our hands.

ANDREW. Why, if I had hurt anybody, and was sorry and prayed to be
forgiven, I suppose I should look round for some medicine and try to
make it well.

(_Mr. Alcott here spoke of the connection of the mind with the body, in
order to make his meaning clearer._)

SAMUEL R. If I had a bad habit, and should ask God for help to break
it; and then should try so as really to break it, that would be a

CHARLES. Suppose I saw a poor beggar boy hurt or sick, and all
bleeding; and I had very nice clothes, and was afraid to soil them, or
from any such cause should pass him by, and by and by I should look
back and see another boy helping him, and should be really sorry and
pray to be forgiven, that would be a real prayer; but if I had done the
kindness at the time of it, that would have been a deeper prayer.

AUGUSTINE. When anybody has done wrong, and does not repent for a good
while, but at last repents and prays to be forgiven, it may be too late
to do anything about it; yet that might be a real prayer.

MR. ALCOTT. Imagine a real doing prayer in your life.

LUCIA. Suppose, as I was going home from school, some friend of mine
should get angry with me, and throw a stone at me; I could pray not to
be tempted to do the same, to throw a stone at her, and would not.

MR. ALCOTT. And would the not doing anything in that case be a prayer
and an action? Keeping your body still would be the body's part of it.


ELLEN. I heard a woman say, once, that she could pray best when she
was at work; that when she was scouring the floor she would ask God to
cleanse her mind.

MR. ALCOTT. I will now vary my question. Is there any prayer in

ALL. A great deal.

MR. ALCOTT. In Impatience?

ALL. No; not any.

MR. ALCOTT. In Doubt?

GEORGE K. No; but in Faith.

MR. ALCOTT. In Laziness?

ALL (_but Josiah_). No; no kind of prayer.

JOSIAH. I should think that Laziness was the prayer of the body,
Mr. Alcott.

MR. ALCOTT. Yes; it seems so. The body tries to be still more body; it
tries to get down into the clay; it tries to sink; but the spirit is
always trying to lift it up and make it do something.

EDWARD J. Lazy people sometimes have passions that make them act.

MR. ALCOTT. Yes; they act downwards. Is there any prayer in

ALL. No.

MR. ALCOTT. Is there any in submission? In forbearing when injured? In
suffering for a good object? In self-sacrifice?

ALL (_eagerly to each question_). Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

(_Mr. Alcott here made some very interesting remarks on loving God with
all our heart, soul, mind, etc., and the Idea of Devotion it expressed.
Josiah wanted to speak constantly, but Mr. Alcott checked him, that
the others might have opportunity, though the latter wished to yield
to Josiah._)

JOSIAH (_burst out_). Mr. Alcott! you know Mrs. Barbauld says in her
hymns, everything is prayer; every action is prayer; all nature prays;
the bird prays in singing; the tree prays in growing; men pray; men can
pray more; we feel; we have more--more than nature; we can know and do
right; Conscience prays; all our powers pray; action prays. Once we
said here, that there was a "Christ in the bottom of our spirits" when
we try to be good; then we pray in Christ; and that is the whole.[6]

[Footnote 6: This improvisation is preserved in its words. Josiah, it
may be named, was under seven years of age, and the other children were
chiefly between the ages of six and twelve years.]

MR. ALCOTT. Yes, Josiah, that is the whole. That is Universal
Prayer--the adoration of the Universe to its Author!

CHARLES. I was most interested in this verse--"The day is coming, and
now is, when men shall worship the Father," etc. I think that this
means that people are about to learn what to worship, and where.

MR. ALCOTT. Have you learned this to-day?

CHARLES. Yes; I have learnt some new things, I believe.

MR. ALCOTT. What are you to worship?

CHARLES. Goodness.

MR. ALCOTT. Where is it?

CHARLES. Within.

MR. ALCOTT. Within what?

CHARLES. Conscience, or God.

MR. ALCOTT. Are you to worship Conscience?


MR. ALCOTT. Is it anywhere but in yourself?

CHARLES. Yes; it is in Nature.

MR. ALCOTT. Is it in other people?

CHARLES. Yes; there is more or less of it in other people, unless they
have taken it out.

MR. ALCOTT. Can it be entirely taken out?

CHARLES. Goodness always lingers in Conscience.

MR. ALCOTT. Is Conscience anywhere but in Human Nature?

CHARLES. It is in the Supernatural.

MR. ALCOTT. You said at first that there was something in outward
Nature which we should worship.

CHARLES. No; I don't think we should worship anything but the Invisible.

MR. ALCOTT. What is the Invisible?

CHARLES. It is the Supernatural.

JOHN B. It is the Inward--the Spiritual. But I don't see why we should
not worship the sun a little as well--

MR. ALCOTT. As well as the Sun-maker? But there are sun-worshippers.

JOHN B. Yes; a little; for the sun gives us light and heat.

MR. ALCOTT. What is the difference between your feeling when you think
of the sun, or the ocean (_he described some grand scenes_), and
when you think of Conscience acting in such cases as--(_he gave some
striking instances of moral power_). Is there not a difference?

(_They raised their hands._)

What is the name of the feeling with which you look at Nature?

SEVERAL. Admiration.

MR. ALCOTT. But when Conscience governs our weak body, is it not a
Supernatural Force? Do you not feel the awe of the inferior before a
superior nature? And is not that worship? The sun cannot produce it.

JOSIAH. Spirit worships Spirit. Clay worships Clay.

MR. ALCOTT. Wait a moment, Josiah. I wish first to talk with the
others; let me ask them this question: Do you feel that Conscience is
stronger than the mountain, deeper and more powerful than the ocean?
Can you say to yourself, I can remove this mountain?

JOSIAH (_burst out_). Yes, Mr. Alcott! I do not mean that with my body
I can lift up a mountain--with my hand; but I can feel; and I know that
my Conscience is greater than the mountain, for it can feel and do; and
the mountain cannot. There is the mountain, there! It was made, and
that is all. But my Conscience can grow. It is the same kind of Spirit
as made the mountain be, in the first place. I do not know what it may
be and do. The Body is a mountain, and the Spirit says, be moved, and
it is moved into another place.

Mr. Alcott, we think too much about clay. We should think of Spirit.
I think we should love Spirit, not Clay. I should think a mother now
would love her baby's Spirit; and suppose it should die, that is only
the Spirit bursting away out of the Body. It is alive; it is perfectly
happy. I really do not know why people mourn when their friends die.
I should think it would be matter of rejoicing. For instance: now, if
we should go out into the street and find a box--an old dusty box--and
should put into it some very fine pearls, and by and by the box should
grow old and break, why, we should not even think about the box; but if
the pearls were safe, we should think of them and nothing else. So it
is with the Soul and Body. I cannot see why people mourn for bodies.

MR. ALCOTT. Yes, Josiah; that is all true, and we are glad to hear it.
Shall some one else now speak besides you?

JOSIAH. Oh, Mr. Alcott! then I will stay in the recess and talk.

MR. ALCOTT. When a little infant opens its eyes upon this world, and
sees things out of itself, and has the feeling of admiration, is there
in that feeling the beginning to worship?

JOSIAH. No, Mr. Alcott; a little baby does not worship. It opens its
eyes on the outward world, and sees things, and perhaps wonders what
they are; but it don't know anything about them or itself. It don't
know the uses of anything; there is no worship in it.

MR. ALCOTT. But in this feeling of wonder and admiration which it has,
is there not the beginning of worship that will at last find its object?

JOSIAH. No; there is not even the beginning of worship. It must have
some temptation, I think, before it can know the thing to worship.

MR. ALCOTT. But is there not a feeling that comes up from within, to
answer to the things that come to the eyes and ears?

JOSIAH. But feeling is not worship, Mr. Alcott.

MR. ALCOTT. Can there be worship without feeling?

JOSIAH. No; but there can be feeling without worship. For instance, if
I prick my hand with a pin, I feel, to be sure, but I do not worship.

MR. ALCOTT. That is bodily feeling. But may not the little infant find
its power to worship in the feeling which is first only admiration of
what is without.

JOSIAH. No, no; I know what surprise is, and I know what admiration
is; and perhaps the little creature feels that. But she does not know
enough to know that she has conscience, or that there is temptation.
My little sister feels, and she knows some things; but she does not

MR. ALCOTT. Now I wish you all to think. What have we been talking
about to-day?

CHARLES. Spiritual Worship.[7]

[Footnote 7: Here I was obliged to pause, as I was altogether fatigued
with keeping my pen in long and uncommonly constant requisition. I was
enabled to preserve the words better than usual, because Josiah had so
much of the conversation, whose enunciation is slow, and whose fine
choice of language and steadiness of mind, makes him easy to follow and


  SUNDAY, 30.

I sometimes think the funeral rites and cemeteries of a people best
characterize its piety. Contrast the modern with the primitive
grave-yards,--their funeral services so dismal, doleful, despairing: as
if their faith in immortality were fittest clad in sables, and death
were a descent of souls, instead of an ascension. What fairer views of
life and of immortality our fresher faith exhibits. Verdure, cheerful
marbles, tasteful avenues, flowers, simple epitaphs, inscriptions
celebrating the virtues properly humane. What in the range of English
lyric verse is comparable to Wordsworth's ode, entitled Intimations
of Immortality in Childhood, or his prose Essay on Epitaphs. Nor
is the contrast so disparaging between these and Pagan moralities.
Christianity can hardly add to the sweetness and light, the tenderness,
trust in man's future well-being, shown in Plutarch's consolatory
Letter to his Wife on the death of his little daughter. One becomes
more Christian, even, in copying it.


"As for the messenger you dispatched to tell me of the death of my
little daughter, it seems he missed his way as he was going to Athens.
But when I came to Tanagra I heard of it by my niece. I suppose by
this time the funeral is over. I wish that whatever happens, as well
now as hereafter, may create you no dissatisfaction. But if you have
designedly let anything alone, depending upon my judgment, thinking
better to determine the point if I were with you, I pray let it be
without ceremony or timorous superstition, which I know are far from
you. Only, dear wife, let you and me bear our affliction with patience.
I know very well, and do comprehend what loss we have had; but if I
should find you grieve beyond measure, this would trouble me more than
the thing itself; for I had my birth neither from a stock nor stone,
and you know it full well; I having been assistant to you in the
education of so many children, which we brought up at home under our
own care.

"This much-lamented daughter was born after four sons, which made me
call her by your own name; therefore, I know she was dear to you, and
grief must have a peculiar pungency in a mind tenderly affectionate
to children, when you call to mind how naturally witty and innocent
she was, void of anger, and not querulous. She was naturally mild
and compassionate, to a miracle. And she showed delight in, and gave
a specimen of, her humanity and gratitude towards anything that had
obliged her, for she would pray her nurse to give suck, not only to
other children, but to her very playthings, as it were courteously
inviting them to her table, and making the best cheer for them she
could. Now, my dear wife, I see no reason why these and the like
things which delighted us so much when she was alive, should, upon
remembrance of them, afflict us when she is dead. But I also fear, lest
while we cease from sorrowing, we should forget her, as Clymene said:--

    I hate the handy horned bow,
    And banish youthful pastimes now,

because she would not be put in mind of her son, by the exercises
he had been used to. For nature always shuns such things as are
troublesome. But since our little daughter afforded all our senses
the sweetest and most charming pleasure, so ought we to cherish her
memory, which will in many ways conduce more to our joy than grief. And
it is but just that the same arguments which we have ofttimes used to
others should prevail upon ourselves at this so seasonable a time, and
that we should not supinely sit down and overwhelm the joys which we
have tasted with a multiplicity of new griefs. Moreover, they who were
present at the funeral, report this with admiration, that you neither
put on mourning, nor disguised yourself, or any of your maids; neither
were there any costly preparations, nor magnificent pomp, but that all
things were managed with prudence and moderation. And it seemed not
strange to me, that you, who never used richly to dress yourself, for
the theatre or other public solemnities, esteeming such magnificence
vain and useless, even in matters of delight, have now practised
frugality on this finest occasion.... There is no philosopher of your
acquaintance who is not in love with your frugality, both in apparel
and diet; nor a citizen, to whom the simplicity and plainness of your
dress is not conspicuous, both at religious sacrifices and public shows
in the theatre. Formerly, also, you discovered on a like occasion, a
great constancy of mind when you lost your eldest son. And again, when
the lovely Charon left us. For I remember when the news was brought me
of my son's death, as I was returning home with some friends and guests
who accompanied me to my house, that when they beheld all things in
order, and observed a profound silence everywhere (as they afterwards
declared to others), they thought no such calamity had happened, but
that the report was false. So discreetly had you settled the affairs of
the house at that time, when no small confusion and disorder might have
been expected. And yet you gave this son suck yourself, and endured
the lancing of your breast to prevent the ill effects of a contusion.
These are things worthy of a generous woman, and one that loves her

"Moreover, I would have you endeavor to call often to mind that time
when our daughter was not as yet born to us, then we had no cause to
complain of fortune. Then, joining that time with this, argue thus with
yourself, that we are in the same condition as then. Otherwise, dear
wife, we shall seem discontented at the birth of our little daughter
if we own that our circumstances were better before her birth. But
the two years of her life are by no means to be forgotten by us, but
to be numbered amongst our blessings, in that they afforded us an
agreeable pleasure. Nor must we esteem a small good for a great evil,
nor ungratefully complain of fortune for what she has actually given
us, because she has not added what we wished for. Certainly, to speak
reverently of the gods, and to bear our lot with an even mind, without
accusing fortune, always brings with it a fair reward....

"But if you lament the poor girl because she died unmarried and without
offspring, you have wherewithal to comfort yourself, in that you are
defective in none of these things, having had your share. And those are
not small benefits where they are enjoyed. But so long as she is gone
to a place where she feels no pain, she has no need of our grief. For
what harm can befall us from her when she is free from all hurt? And
surely, the loss of great things abates its grief when it is come to
this, that there is no more ground of grief, or care for them. But thy
Timoxena was deprived but of small matters, for she had no knowledge
but of such, neither took she delight but in such small things. But for
that which she never was sensible of, nor so much as once did enter her
thoughts, how can you say it is taken from you?

"As for what you hear others say, who persuade the vulgar that the
soul when once freed from the body, suffers no inconvenience or evil,
nor is sensible at all, I know that you are better grounded in the
doctrines delivered down to us from our ancestors, as also in the
sacred mysteries of Bacchus, than to believe such stories, for the
religious symbols are well known to us who are of the fraternity.
Therefore, be assured that the soul, being incapable of death, suffers
in the same manner as birds that are kept in a cage. For if she has
been a long time educated and cherished in the body, and by long custom
has been made familiar with most things of this life, she will (though
separable) return to it again, and at length enters the body; nor
ceases it by new birth now and then to be entangled in the chances and
events of this life. For do not think that old age is therefore evil
spoken of and blamed, because it is accompanied with wrinkles, gray
hairs, and weakness of body; but this is the most troublesome thing in
old age, that it stains and corrupts the soul with the remembrances of
things relating to the body, to which she was too much addicted; thus
it bends and loves, retaining that form which it took of the body.
But that which is taken away in youth, being more soft and tractable,
soon returns to its native vigor and beauty, just like fire that is
quenched, which, if it be forthwith kindled again, sparkles and burns
out immediately.

    As soon as e'er we take one breath
    'T were good to pass the gates of death,

before too great love of bodily and earthly things be engendered in
the soul, and it become soft and tender by being used to the body,
and, as it were, by charms and portions incorporated with it. But the
truth of this will appear in the laws and traditions, received from
our ancestors; for when children die, no libations nor sacrifices are
made for them, nor any other of those ceremonies which are wont to be
performed for the dead. For infants have no part of earth or earthly
affections, nor do they hover or tarry about their sepulchres or
monuments, where their dead bodies are exposed. The religion of our
country teaches us otherwise, and it is an impious thing not to believe
what our laws and traditions assert, that the souls of infants pass
immediately into a better and more divine state; therefore, since it is
safer to give credit to our traditions than to call them in question,
let us comply with the custom in outward and public behavior, and let
our interior be more unpolluted, pure and holy."



    Rose leaves and buds, the season's flowers,
    Scenting afresh the summer hours,
    The ruddy morn, the evening's close,
    Day's labors long and night's repose.



Rise with the sun, if you would keep the commandments. The sleep
you get before midnight goes to virtue; after sunrise, to vice. "It
is wise," says Aristotle, "to be up before daybreak, for such habit
contributes to health, wealth, and wisdom." If this virtue, commended
alike by antiquity and by our sense of self-respect, has fallen into
discredit in modern times, it was practised by our forefathers and bore
its fruits. They

    "With much shorter and far sweeter sleep content,
    Vigorous and fresh about their labors went."

"He that in the morning hath heard the voice of virtue," says
Confucius, "may die at night." And it were virtuous to rise early
during our June mornings to breakfast on strawberries with the robins,
or what were as good, partake of Leigh Hunt's delicious Essay on these
berries. One tastes them from his potted pages. And his very quotations
are palatable.

    "My Lord of Ely, when I was last in Holburn,
    I saw good strawberries in your garden there;
    I pray you send for some of them."

An ancient may read "Concord" instead of "my Lord of Ely's" gardens,
and enjoy the sight moreover of his grandson's vermilioned fingers
while picking them; the berries in no wise inferior to his Lordship's
in flavor or color, and far larger in size,--that Yankee superstition.
But one tastes none like the wild ones plucked fresh from the meadows
of his native place, while the dews sparkled in the grasses, and the
bobolink sought to decoy him from her nest there when he approached it.
The lay lingers in the ear still:--

    "A single note, so sweet and low,
    Like a full heart's overflow,
    Forms the prelude,--but the strain
    Gives us no sweet tone again;
    For the wild and saucy song
    Leaps and skips the notes among
    With such quick and sportive play,
    Ne'er was merrier, madder lay."

Herrick dished his with fresh cream from his "little buttery":--

    "You see the cream but naked is,
    Nor dances in the eye
    Without a strawberry,
    Or some fine tincture like to this
    Which draws the sight thereto."

So Milton's Eve in Eden,--

    "From many a berry and from sweet kernels pressed,
    She tempered dulcet creams."

And Aratus, whom St. Paul quotes concerning the gods, calls the berries
in aid in describing the roseate cheek of health:--

    "Fair flesh like snow with vermilion mixed,"

a line that took Goethe's fancy when composing his Theory of Colors.

Randolph, too, Ben Jonson's young friend, rides out of London with
"worthy Stafford" in quest of some,--

    "Come, spur away,
    I have no patience for a longer stay;
    But I must go down
    And leave the changeable air of this great town.
    I will the country see,
    Where old simplicity,
    Though hid in gray,
    Doth look more gay
    Than foppery in plush and scarlet clad;
    Farewell ye city wits that are
    Almost at city war,--
    'Tis time that I grew wise when all the world is mad.

    "Here from the tree
    We'll cherries pluck, and pick the strawberry;
    And every day
    Go see the wholesome girls make hay,
    Whose brown hath lovelier grace
    Than any painted face
    That I do know
    Hyde Park can show.

    "Then full, we'll seek a shade,
    And hear what music's made;
          How Philomel
          Her tale doth tell,
    And how the other birds do fill the choir,
    The thrush and blackbird lend their throats,
    Warbling melodious notes,
    We will all sports enjoy that others do desire."

The strawberry, it appears, was not restored to gardens till within a
century or two back. Evelyn mentions "planting them out of the woods."
I do not find it mentioned as a cultivated plant in the Greek or Roman
rural authors. Phillips, in his History of Fruits, gives this pleasant
account of the origin of its name. That of "an ancient practice of
children threading the wild berries upon straws of grass," somewhat as
rude country boys thread birds' egg-shells like beads, as ornaments for
their mirrors. He says that this is still a custom in parts of England
where they abound, and that so many "straws of berries" are sold for
a penny,--a more picturesque style of marketing than in pottles, or
boxes. Evelyn mentions the kinds common in his time: Common Wood,
English, American, or Virginia, Polona, White, Ivy Red, the Green, and

Culpepper, in his British Herbal, says: "This plant is so well known
that it needs no description. It grows in woods and is planted in
gardens. It flowers in May; the fruit ripens soon after. Venus owns
the herb. The fruit, when green, is cool and dry; but when ripe, cool
and moist." He gives a list of its medical virtues, among which, he
says, "the water of the berries, carefully distilled, is a remedy and
cordial in the panting and beating of the heart." It were almost worth
having this trouble to be cured by his strawberry cordials.

He describes the raspberry, also called thimbleberry, and ascribes to
it similar medical virtues.

Of bilberries, he says there are two sorts common in England,--the
black and red. The red bilberry he calls "whortleberry," and says:
"The black groweth in forests, on the heath, and such like barren
places. The red grows in the north parts of this land, as Lancashire,
Yorkshire, etc., flowers in March and April, the fruit ripening in July
and August." "Both are under the dominion of Jupiter," and, if we may
believe him, are very virtuous, it being "a pity they are used no more
in physic than they are." In August we gather as good in


    "Orange groves mid-tropic lie,
    Festal for the Spaniard's eye,
    And the red pomegranate grows
    Where the luscious southwest blows;
    Myrrh and spikenard in the East
    Multiply the Persian's feast,
    And our northern wilderness
    Boasts its fruits our lips to bless.
    Wouldst enjoy a magic sight,
    And so heal vexation's spite?
    Hasten to my blueberry swamp,--
    Green o'erhead the wild bird's camp;
    Here in thickets bending low,
    Thickly piled the blueberries grow,
    Freely spent on youth and maid,
    In the deep swamp's cooling shade,
    Pluck the clusters plump and full,
    Handful after handful pull!
    Choose which path, the fruitage hangs,--
    Fear no more the griping fangs
    Of the garden's spaded stuff,--
    This is healthy, done enough.
    Pull away! the afternoon
    Dies beyond the meadow soon.
    Art thou a good citizen?
    Move into a blueberry fen;
    Here are leisure, wealth, and ease,
    Sure thy taste and thought to please,
    Drugged with nature's spicy tunes,
    Hummed upon the summer noons.

    "Rich is he that asks no more
    Than of blueberries a store,
    Who can snatch the clusters off,
    Pleased with himself and them enough.
    Fame?--the chickadee is calling;--
    Love?--the fat pine cones are falling;
    Heaven?--the berries in the air,--
    Eternity--their juice so rare.
    And if thy sorrows will not fly,
    Then get thee down and softly die.
    In the eddy of the breeze,
    Leave the world beneath those trees,
    And the purple runnel's tune
    Melodize thy mossy swoon."




    "Love is the life of friendship; letters are
    The life of love, the loadstones that by rare
    Attractions make souls meet and melt, and mix,
    As when by fire exalted gold we fix."

But for letters the best of our life would hardly survive the mood
and the moment. Prompted by so lively a sentiment as friendship, we
commit to our leaves what we should not have spoken. To begin with
"Dear Friend" is in itself an address which clothes our epistle in
a rhetoric the most select and choice. We cannot write it without
considering its fitness and taxing our conscience in the matter. 'Tis
coming to the confessional, leaving nothing in reserve that falls
gracefully into words. A life-long correspondence were a biography of
the correspondents. Preserve your letters till time define their value.
Some secret charm forbids committing them to the flames; the dews of
the morning may sparkle there still, and remind one of his earlier Eden.

"Deeds are masculine, words feminine; letters are neither," wrote
Howel. Rather say, letters are both, and better represent life than
any form in literature. Women have added the better part, the most
celebrated letters having been written by women. If your morning's
letter is not answered and dispatched forthwith, 'tis doubtful if it
will ever be written. Then there are those to whom one never writes,
much as he may wish to cultivate correspondence. He reserves them for
personal intercourse.

I hardly know which I most enjoy, the letter I send after my visitor,
or the visit itself: the presence, the conversation, the recollection.
Memory idealizes anticipation; our visit is made before we make
it, made afterwards, as if love were a reminiscence of pleasures
once partaken in overflowing fulness. The visit that is not all we
anticipated is not made; we meet as idealists, if we meet at all.

    My moments are not mine, thou art in sight
    By days' engagements and the dreams of night,
    Nor dost one instant leave me free
    Forgetful of thy world and thee.

The popular superstition favors long visits. I confess my experience
has not borne out the current creed. Compliment, of course, is of the
other opinion, if we must take her fine accents of "stay, stay longer."
But a week's stay with an angel would hardly bear the epithet angelic
after it was over. Fewer and farther between. Good things are good
to keep long by temperate use. 'Tis true a visitor who comes seldom
should not fly away forthwith. And 'tis a comfort in these fast times
to catch one who has a little leisure on hand, deaf the while to the
engine's whistle. _Stay_ is a charming word in a friend's vocabulary.
But if one does not stay while staying, better let him go where he
is gone the while. One enjoys a visitor who has much leisure in him,
in her especially,--likes to take his friends by sips sweetly, not at
hasty draughts, as they were froth and would effervesce forthwith and
subside. Who has not come from an interview as from a marriage feast,
feeling "the good wine had been kept for him till _now_"?

       *       *       *       *       *

Does it imply a refinement in delicacy that nuptial verses have no
place with us in marriage ceremonies; that the service has lost the
mystic associations wont to be thrown around it by our ancestors
down almost to our time? Once epithalamium verses were esteemed the
fairest flowers, the ornament of the occasion. If the poet sometimes
overstepped modern notions of reserve, the sentiments expressed were
not the less natural if more freely dealt with. Spenser, for instance,
suggests the loveliest images, and with all his wealth of fancy
ventures never a glimpse that a bride can blame; while Donne delights
in every posture of fancy, as if he were love's attorney putting in
his plea for all delights,--yet delicately, oftentimes, and on other
occasions, as in these lines entitled "Love Tokens":--

    "Send me some token that my hope may live,
      Or that my ceaseless thoughts may sleep and rest;
    Send me some honey to make sweet my hive,
      That in my passions I may hope the best.
    I beg no ribbon wrought with thine own hands
      To knit our loves in the fantastic strain
    Of new-touched youth; nor ring to show the stands
      Of our affection:--that as that's round and plain,
    So should our loves meet in simplicity,--
      No, nor the corals which thy wrist infold
    Laced up together in congruity
      To show our thoughts should rest in the same hold:
    No, nor thy picture, though most gracious,
      And most desired since 'tis like the best,
    Nor witty lines which are most copious
      Within the writings which thou hast addressed:
    Send me not this, nor that, to increase my store,
    But swear thou think'st I love thee, and no more."

To the Lady Goodyeare he writes:--

  "MADAM:--I am not come out of England if I remain in the noblest part
  of it, your mind. Yet I confess it is too much diminution to call
  your mind any part of England, or this world, since every part of
  even your body deserves titles to a higher dignity. No Prince would
  be loath to die that were assured of so fair a tomb to preserve his
  memory. But I have a greater advantage than this, for since there is
  a religion in friendship, and death in absence, to make up an entire
  friend there must needs be a heaven too; and there can be no heaven
  so proportional to that religion and that death, as your favor.
  And I am the gladder that it is a heaven, than it were a court, or
  any other high place of this world, because I am likelier to have
  a room there, and better, cheap. Madam, my best treasure is time,
  and my best employment of that (next my thoughts of thankfulness
  to my Redeemer) is to study good wishes for you, in which I am, by
  continual meditation, so learned that any creature except your own
  good angel, when it does you most good, might be content to come and
  take instruction from

    Your humble and affectionate servant,
      J. D.

  Amyens, the 7th of February, year 1611."

What delicacy of compliment, coupled with nobility of sentiment, the
fresh color of flattery not less, the rhetoric so graceful. One asks
if our New-England reserve has added any graces to the Elizabethan
courtliness, and if any feel quite at home in its tight costumes. Is it
a want of taste if one is taken with such courtly compliments, lofty
appreciation of character, such stately idealism, extravagant as it may
appear, and bordering on insincerity? I wish my behavior, my letters,
my address, may blush becomingly, court my friends' eyes as well as
affections, by coy diffidences, win by lively phrase, telling how
lovely presence is. Friendship is a plant that loves the sun,--thrives
ill under clouds. I know temperaments have their zones, and can excuse
the frigid manner of some in whose breasts there burns a hidden flame.
There is a reserve that seems to fear the affections will be frosted
by exposure, if not protected from any wind of acknowledgment. If
"your humble servant" is written seldomer at the end of the letter,
and "Sir" and "Madam" have dropped the once "Dear" and "My Dear"--used
these adjectively for ceremony's sake,--the address has lost so much
warmth and all the _abandon_ the words once implied. Must I withhold
expressing all I would, lest I should seem to imply more than I meant?
And has one nothing personal and private to communicate? It were not
unbecoming to inquire if our Puritan culture still held us in check,
life and literature were under eclipse, and the shadow threatening to
become central and total.

       *       *       *       *       *

Of celebrated letters, Pliny's are among the most delightful. A perusal
of them refreshes and restores the old faith in persons and the
possibilities of friendship. Alas for an age, if indifferent to this
antique of virtue, the fair fellowships it celebrates, in the noble
names of which he gives so many illustrious examples in his charming
pages. Virtue seems something to be sought, to live and die for,
every accomplishment a part of it, and a possession. I confess to a
feeling, as I read, so modern and consonant to ideas and designs dear
to me, that for the time I seem to recover brothers and friends--if it
were not egotism to say it--in the aims and ends which I have so long
loved and still cherish as life's pursuit and problem. A vein of noble
morality pervades these letters which renders them admirable reading
for all times and ages. And his allusions to his own life and pursuits,
the glimpses he gives of his friends, commend his pages to all who seek
virtue and wisdom at their sources. To his friend Paternus he writes
with a tenderness and humanity to which the epithet Christian would add

"The sickness which has lately run through my family, and carried
off several of my domestics, some of them, too, in the prime of their
years, has deeply afflicted me. I have two consolations, however; while
though they are not adequate to so considerable a loss, still they are
consolations. One is, that as I have always very readily manumized my
slaves, their death does not seem altogether immature, if they lived
long enough to receive their freedom; the other, that I have allowed
them to make a kind of will, which I observe as religiously as if they
were legally entitled to that privilege. I receive and obey their
last requests as so many absolute commands, suffering them to dispose
of their effects to whom they please; with this single restriction,
that they leave them to some of the family, which to persons in their
station is to be considered as a sort of commonwealth. But though I
endeavor to acquiesce under these reflections, yet the same tenderness
which led me to show them these indulgences, still breaks out and
renders me too sensitively affected by their deaths. However, I would
not wish to be incapable of these tender impressions of humanity,
though the generality of the world, I know, look upon losses of
this kind in no other view than as a diminution of their property,
and fancy, by cherishing such an unfeeling temper, they discover
superior fortitude and philosophy. Their fortitude and philosophy I
will not dispute; but humane, I am sure they are not; for it is the
very criterion of true manhood to feel those impressions of sorrow
which it endeavors to resist, and to admit not to be above the want
of consolation. But perhaps I have detained you too long upon this
subject, though not so long as I would. There is a certain pleasure
in giving vent to one's grief, especially when we pour out our sorrow
in the bosom of a friend, who will approve, or, at least, pardon our
tears. Farewell."

Again to Geminitus:--

"Have you never observed a sort of people who, though they are
themselves the abject slaves of every vice, show a kind of malicious
indignation against the immoral conduct of others, and are the most
severe to those whom they most resemble? Yet surely a beauty of
disposition, even in persons who have least occasion for clemency
themselves, is of all virtues the most becoming. The highest of
character in my estimation, is His, who is as ready to pardon the moral
errors of mankind as if he were every day guilty of some himself, and
at the same time as cautious of committing a fault as if he never
forgave one. It is a rule, then, which we should upon all occasions,
both private and public, most religiously observe, _to be inexorable to
our own failings, while we treat those of the rest of the world with
tenderness, not excepting even those who forgive none but themselves_,
remembering always that the humane, and, therefore, as well as upon
other accounts, the great Thrasea, used frequently to say, '_He who
hates vice hates mankind_.' You will ask me, perhaps, who it is that
has given occasion to these reflections. You must know a certain person
lately,--but of that when we meet,--though, upon second thoughts, not
even then, lest while I condemn and expose his conduct, I should act
counter to that maxim I particularly recommend. Whoever, therefore, and
whatever he is, shall remain in silence; for though there may be some
use, perhaps, in setting a mark upon the man, for the sake of example,
there will be more, however, in sparing him, for the sake of humanity."


"There are, it seems," he writes to his friend Septitius, "certain
persons who in your company have blamed me, as being upon all occasions
too lavish in commendation of my friends. I not only acknowledge the
charge, but glory in it; for, can there be a nobler error than an
overflowing benevolence? But still, who are these, let me ask, that are
better acquainted with my friends than I am myself? Yet, grant there
are such, why will they deny me the satisfaction of so pleasing an
error? For, supposing my friends deserve not the high encomiums I give
them, certainly I am happy in believing they do. Let them recommend,
then, this ungenerous discernment to those who imagine (and their
number is not inconsiderable) that they show their judgment when they
indulge their censure. As for myself, they will never persuade me that
I can love my friends too well."

       *       *       *       *       *

How amiable and just are sentiments like these rendering odious the
carping censure and ill-natured criticism which finds free currency
between those who, while meeting as acquaintances, perhaps affecting
friendship for each other, yet speak disparagingly, and are loath to
acknowledge the merit which they see in each other's character and
acquirements. It is safer, and certainly more becoming, to overpraise
than to undervalue and dispraise another. Faults are apparent enough,
and, for the most part, superficial; in the atmosphere of affection
and respect they fall away presently and disappear altogether, while
virtues may be too deep sometimes and delicate in expression to be
recognized readily by those who seek for blemishes rather. Modest
praise is the freshest and purest atmosphere for modest virtue to
thrive in and come to maturity. And the most exalted qualities of
character admiration alone brings into the relief that discloses their
proportions and reveals their lustre. A certain sentiment of worship
insinuates itself into our affections for a near and dear friend; and
while endearing us the more, yet holds us at the distance of reverence
and of self-respect that belongs to the noblest friendships. 'Tis the
poverty of life that renders friendship poor and cold. I am drawn to
one who, while I approach yet seems distant still; whose personality
has a quality so commanding as to forbid a familiarity not justified
by affection and reason alike, and whom I never quite come up to, but
yet is akin to me in the attributes that win my regard and insure my
affection. A good man is a bashful man; he affects all who come within
his influence with that grace. Do not the gods blush in descending to
meet alike our affections and our eyes?

    "The eldest god is still a child."



Next to a friend's discourse, no morsel is more delicious than a ripe
book, a book whose flavor is as refreshing at the thousandth tasting
as at the first. Books when friends weary, conversation flags, or
nature fails to inspire. The best books appeal to the deepest in us and
answer the demand. A book loses if wanting the personal element, gains
when this is insinuated, or comes to the front occasionally, blending
history with mythology.

My favorite books have a personality and complexion as distinctly
drawn as if the author's portrait were framed into the paragraphs and
smiled upon me as I read his illustrated pages. Nor could I spare
them from my table or shelves, though I should not open the leaves
for a twelvemonth;--the sight of them, the knowledge that they are
within reach, accessible at any moment, rewards me when I invite their
company. Borrowed books are not mine while in hand. I covet ownership
in the contents, and fancy that he who is conversant with these is the
rightful owner, and moreover, that the true scholar owes to scholars a
catalogue of his chosen volumes, that they may learn from whence his
entertainment during leisure moments. Next to a personal introduction,
a list of one's favorite authors were the best admittance to his
character and manners. His library were not voluminous. He might
specify his favorites on his fingers, and spare the printer's type.

"Books have many charming qualities to such as know how to choose
them." And without Plutarch, no library were complete.

Can we marvel at his fame, or overestimate the surpassing merits of his
writings? It seems as I read as if none before, none since, had written
lives, as if he alone were entitled to the name of biographer,--such
intimacy of insight is his, laying open the springs of character,
and through his parallels portraying his times as no historian had
done before: not Plato, even, in the livelier way of dialogue with
his friends. Then his morals are a statement of the virtues for all
times. And I read the list of his lost writings, not without a sense
of personal wrong done to me, with emotions akin to what the merchant
might feel in perusing the bill of freight after the loss of his
vessel. Hercules, Hesiod, Pindar, Leonidas, Scipio, Augustus, Claudius,
Epaminondas, minds of mark, all these and other precious pieces gone
to the bottom: his books on the Academy of Plato, The Philosophers,
and many more of this imperial freight, to be read by none now. Still,
there remains so much to be grateful for; so many names surviving to
perpetuate virtue and all that is splendid in fame, with his own. I for
one am his debtor, not for noble examples alone, but for portraits of
the possibilities of virtue, and all that is dearest in friendship, in
his attractive pages. It is good exercise, good medicine, the reading
of his books,--good for to-day, as in times it was preceding ours,
salutary reading for all times.

Montaigne also comes in for a large share of the scholar's regard.
Opened anywhere, his page is sensible, marrowy, quotable. He may be
taken up, too, and laid aside carelessly without loss, so inconsequent
is his method, and he so careless of his wealth. Professing nature
and honesty of speech, his page has the suggestions of the landscape,
is good for striking out in any direction, suited to any mood, sure
of yielding variety of information, wit, entertainment,--not to be
commanded, to be sure, without grave abatements, to be read with good
things growing side by side with things not such and tasting of the
apple. Still, with every abatement, his book is one of the ripest and
mellowest, and, bulky as it is, we wish there were more of it. He
seems almost the only author whose success warrants in every stroke of
his pen his right to guide it: he of the men of letters, the prince
of letters; since writing of life, he omits nothing of its substance,
but tells all with a courage unprecedented. His frankness is charming.
So his book has indescribable attractions, being as it were a Private
Book,--his diary self-edited, and offered with an honesty that wins
his readers, he never having done bestowing his opulent hospitalities
on him, gossiping sagely, and casting his wisdom in sport to any who
care for it. Everywhere his page is alive and rewarding, and we are
disappointed at finding his book comes to an end like other books.

Lord Herbert's Autobiography is a like example of sincerity and
naturalness. If he too often play the cavalier, and is of a temper
that brooks not the suspicion of insult, he is equally eager to defend
when friendship or humanity render it a duty. The brothers, Edward
and George, were most estimable characters. To George how largely are
we in debt for his sacred verses, the delight and edification of the
saints wherever they are known. Add Vaughan and Crashaw. And making
due allowance for the time when Herrick's verses were written, his
temptation to suit the tastes of courtiers and kings, his volumes
contain much admirable poetry, tempered with religious devotion. He
wrote sweet and virtuous verse, with lines here and there that should
not have been written. But he is an antidote to the vice in his lines,
and may well have place in the scholar's library with Donne, Daniel,
Cowley, Shakespeare, and contemporaries.

If one would learn the titles and gain insight into the contents of the
best books in our literature, let him track Coleridge in his readings
and notes as these have been collected and published in his Literary
Remains and Table Talk. He explored the wide field of literature and
philosophy, and brought to light richer spoils than any scholar of his
time, or since. His reading was not only choice, but miscellaneous.
Nothing of permanent value appears to have escaped his searching
glance, and his criticisms on books are among the most valuable
contributions to British letters. He knew how to read to get and give
the substance of the book in sprightly comment and annotation on the
text. His judgments are final and exhaustive. To follow him were an
education in itself.

One's diary is attractive reading, and productive, if he have the art
of keeping one.

Thoreau wrote in his:--

"I set down such choice experiences that my own writings may inspire
me, and at last I may make wholes of parts. Certainly it is a distinct
profession to rescue from oblivion and to fix the sentiments and
thoughts which visit all men, more or less, generally, and that the
contemplation of the unfinished picture may suggest its harmonious
completion. Associate reverently and as much as you can with your
loftiest thoughts. Each thought that is welcomed and recorded is
a nest-egg by the side of which another will be laid. Thoughts
accidentally thrown together become a frame in which more may be
developed and exhibited. Perhaps this is the main value of a habit of
writing or keeping a journal,--that is, we remember our best draught,
and stimulate ourselves. My thoughts are my company. They have a
certain individuality and separate existence, large personality.
Having by chance recorded a few disconnected thoughts and then brought
them into juxtaposition, they suggest a whole new field in which it
is possible to labor and think. Thought begets thought. I have a
commonplace-book for facts, and another for poetry. But I find it
difficult always to preserve the vague distinctions which I had in my
mind, for the most interesting and beautiful facts are so much the more
poetry,--and that is their success. They are translated from earth to
heaven. I see that if my facts were sufficiently vital and significant,
perhaps transmuted more into the substance of the human mind, I should
need but one book of poetry to contain them all.

"I do not know but thoughts written down thus in a journal might be
printed in the same form with greater advantage than if the related
ones were brought together into separate essays. They are allied to
life, and can be seen by the reader not to be far-fetched; thus, more
simple, less artful. I feel that in the other case, I should have a
proper form for my sketches. Here facts and names and dates communicate
more than we suspect. Whether the flower looks better in the nosegay
than in the meadow where it grew, and we had to wet our feet to get
it? Is the scholastic air any advantage? Perhaps I can never find so
good a setting for thoughts as I shall thus have taken them out of.
The crystal never sparkles more brightly than in the cavern. The world
have always liked best the fable with the moral. The children could
read the fable alone. The grown-up read both. The truth so told has
the best advantages of the most abstract statement, for it is not the
less universally applicable. Where else will you ever find the true
cement for your thoughts? How will you ever rivet them together without
leaving the marks of your file?

"Yet Plutarch did not so. Montaigne did not so. Men have written
travels in this form; but perhaps no man's daily life has been rich
enough to be journalized. Yet one's life should be so active and
progressive as to be a journey. But I am afraid to travel much, or to
famous places, lest it might completely dissipate the mind. Then I am
sure that what we observe at home, if we observe anything, is of more
importance than what we observe abroad. The far-fetched is of least
value. What we observe in travelling are to some extent the accidents
of the body; but what we observe when sitting at home are in the same
proportion phenomena of the mind itself. A wakeful night will yield as
much thought as a long journey. If I try thoughts by their quality, not
their quantity, I may find that a restless night will yield more than
the longest journey."

These masterpieces, Thoreau's Diaries, are a choice mingling of
physical and metaphysical elements. They show the art above art which
was busied about their composition. They come near fulfilling the
highest ends of expression; the things seen become parts of the
describer's mind, and speak through his Person. Quick with thought, his
sentences are colored and consolidated therein by his plastic genius.

       *       *       *       *       *

Of gifts, there seems none more becoming to offer a friend than a
beautiful book, books of verse especially. How exquisite these verses
of Crashaw's, "Addressed to a Lady with a Prayer Book."

    "Lo, here a little volume, but great book,
        Fear it not, sweet,
        It is no hypocrite,
    Much larger in itself, than in its look.

    "It is, in one rich handful, heaven and all
    Heaven's royal hosts encamp'd, thus small,
    To prove that true schools used to tell
    A thousand angels in one point can dwell.

    "'Tis Love's great artillery
    Which here contracts itself and comes to lie
    Close couched in your white bosom, and from thence
    As from a snowy fortress of defence
    Against the ghostly foe to take your part,
    And fortify the hold of your chaste heart.

    "It is the armory of light,
    Let constant use but keep it bright,
        You'll find it yields
    To holy hands and humble hearts,
        More swords and shields
    Than sin hath snares, or hell hath darts.
        Only be sure
        The hands be pure
    That hold these weapons, and the eyes
    Those of turtles, chaste and true,
        Wakeful and wise.

    "Here is a friend shall fight for you;
    Hold this book before your heart,
    Let prayer alone to play his part.

        "But O! the heart
        That studies this high art,
        Must be a sure housekeeper,
        And yet no sleeper.

    "Dear soul, be strong,
    Mercy will come ere long,
    And bring her bosom full of blessings;
        Flowers of never-fading graces
    To make immortal dressings
        For worthy souls, whose wise embraces
    Store up themselves for him, who is alone
    The spouse of virgins, and the Virgin's Son.

    "But if the noble bridegroom when he come
    Shall find the wandering heart from home,
        Leaving her chaste abode
        To gad abroad
    Amongst the gay mates of the god of flies,
    To take her pleasures, and to play
        And keep the devil's holiday;
    To dance in the sunshine of some smiling
        But beguiling
    Spear of sweet and sugared lies;
    Some slippery pair
    Of false, perhaps as fair,
    Flattering, but forswearing eyes,
    Doubtless some other heart
        Will get the start,
        And stepping in before,
    Will take possession of the sacred store
        Of hidden sweets and holy joys,
        Words which are not heard with ears
        (Those tumultuous shops of noise),
        Effectual whispers, whose still voice
    The soul itself more feels than hears;
    Amorous languishments, luminous trances,
        Sights which are not seen with eyes;
    Spiritual and soul-piercing glances,
    Whose pure and subtle lightning flies
    Home to the heart and sets the house on fire,
    And melts it down in sweet desire,
        Yet doth not stay
    To ask the window's leave to pass that way.
    An hundred thousand loves and graces,
        And many a mystic thing
        Which the divine embraces,
    Of the dear spouse of spirits with them will bring,
        For which it is no shame
    That dull mortality must not know a name.

    Of all this hidden store
    Of blessings, and ten thousand more,
        If when he come
    He find the heart from home,
    Doubtless he will unload
    Himself some otherwhere,
        And pour abroad
        His precious sweets
    On the fair soul whom first he meets."



The first number of Volume III. of the "Journal of Speculative
Philosophy" comes to hand, printed in fair type, with promise of
attracting attention from thinkers at home and abroad. And it is a
significant fact that the most appreciative notice yet taken of this
Journal comes from Germany, and is written by the President of the
Berlin Philosophical Society. Nor less remarkable that this first
attempt to popularize Philosophy, so far as practicable, should
date from the West, and show an ability in dealing with speculative
questions that may well challenge the attainments of thinkers
everywhere,--the translations showing a ripe scholarship, and covering
almost the whole range of historic thinking.[8]

[Footnote 8: "Nothing is more interesting in the history of the human
mind than the tendency of enlightened souls in all ages to gather
in clusters, as in the material world crystallization goes on by
the gathering of individual atoms about one axis of formation. Thus
the schools of Greek Philosophy, the Pythagorean, the Eleatic, the
Peripatetic, the Alexandrian, were human crystallizations about a
central idea, and generally in a given locality,--as Samos, Athens, or
the Lucanian city of Elea, where Zeno learned lessons of Parmenides,
and whence they both journeyed to Athens in the youth of Socrates, and
held their "Radical Club" at the house of Pythodorus in the Ceramicus.
The Schoolmen and the Mystics of the middle ages clustered together in
the same way about Abelard. Thomas Aquinas, Occam, Gerson, Giardano
Bruno, the early Italian poets, rally in groups in the same way; so
do the Elizabethan Dramatists, the Puritan Politicians, the English
Platonists. Coming nearer our own time, there are the Lake Poets of
England, the Weimar circle of genius, in Germany, the Transcendental
Idealists in Concord and Boston, and finally, the German American
Philosophers of St. Louis, concerning whom we now speak. In all
these Schools and Fellowships of the human soul, a common impulse,
aided by accident of locality and other circumstances, trivial only
in appearance, has led to the formation of that strictest bond,
the friendship of united aspirations. New England has so long been
considered the special home of ideas, that it may surprise one to
learn that St. Louis, on the Mississippi, has become the focus of a
metaphysical _renaissance_; yet such it has become. A few Germans,
New Englanders, and Western men gathered there, having found each
other out, began to meet, expatiate, and confer about Kant and Hegel,
Fichte, and Sir William Hamilton. Soon they formed a Philosophical
Society, and by and by, having accumulated many manuscripts, they began
to publish a Magazine of "Speculative Philosophy." At first, this
publication came out semi-occasionally, but finally settled down into
a regular Quarterly, with contributors on both sides of the Atlantic,
and from various schools of metaphysical thought. The January number
is, indeed, a remarkable production. Every article is good, and most of
them profound; no such collection of striking varieties of philosophic
thought has been made public for a long time as this. The Journal
is edited by William T. Harris, LL.D., Superintendent of the Public
Schools of St. Louis."

  _in "Springfield Republican," March, 1869._]

England, too, has at last found a metaphysician that Coleridge would
have accepted and prized. And the more that he follows himself in
introducing philosophy from Germany into Britain. James Hutchison
Stirling's fervor and strength in advocating Hegel's ideas command the
highest respect. Having had Schelling's expositor in Coleridge, we now
have Hegel's in Stirling; and, in a spirit of catholicity shown to
foreign thought unexpected in an Englishman, promising not a little in
the way of qualifying favorably the metaphysics of Britain. Nothing
profound nor absolute can be expected from minds of the type of Mill,
Herbert Spencer, and the rest,--if not hostile, at least indifferent
to and incapable of idealism; naturalists rather than metaphysicians.
It will be a most hopeful indication if Stirling's book, the "Secret of
Hegel," find students among his countrymen. Cavilling there will be,
of course, misapprehension, much nonsense uttered concerning Hegel's
Prime Postulates. But what was thought out fairly in Germany, must find
its way and prompt comprehension in England; if not there, then here
in New England, out of whose heart a fresh philosophy should spring
forth, to which the German Hegel shall give impulse and furtherance.
The work has already begun, with Harris's publishing the thoughts of
the world's thinkers, himself familiar with the best of all thinking.
I look for a more flowing, inspiring type of thought, Teutonic as
Greek, of a mystic coloring transcending Boehme, Swedenborg, and freed
from the biblicisms of the schools of our time. Hegel's secret is that
of pure thought akin with that of Parmenides, Plato, Aristotle, the
ancient masters in philosophy. The One is One out of whose womb the Not
One is born to perish perpetually at its birth. Whoso pronounces PERSON
apprehensively, speaks the secret of all things, and holds the key to
all mysteries in nature and spirit.

For further encouragement, moreover, we are promised a translation
of the complete works of Plotinus, by a learned contributor to the
"Journal," who has qualifications for that service unsurpassed,
perhaps, by any on this side of the Atlantic.

He writes from St. Louis:--

"I have tried my hand on Plotinus, and find it easy to render the text
into modern philosophical phraseology. Until lately I have been unable
to procure a good critical edition of the Greek philosopher. And now,
if my energies are spared, a translation of his entire works is not
very far in the future."[9]

[Footnote 9: His works are comprised in fifty-four books, which his
disciple Porphyry divided into six Enneads, assigning, agreeably to
the meaning of the word, nine books to every Ennead. Thomas Taylor
translated parts of these only.]

It were a good test of one's aptitude for metaphysical studies, his
appreciation of Plotinus. Profound as any predecessor of the Platonic
school of idealism, he had the remarkable merit of treating ideas
in a style at once transparent and subtle, dealing with these as if
they were palpable things, such was his grasp of thought and felicity
in handling. His themes are of universal concernment at all times.
Promoting a catholic and manly method, his books were good correctives
of any exclusiveness still adhering in our schools of science and
divinity, while the tendencies of his time, as in ours, were towards
comparative studies.

A like tendency appeared, also, in England in the studies of the
British Platonists, or Latitudinarians,--Dr. Henry More, Dr. Cudworth,
Dr. Rust, Norris, Glanvil, John Smith, whose writings deserve a place
in theological libraries, and the study of divines especially.

Norris thus praises his friend Dr. More, whose works had high repute
and were much studied in his day:--

    "Others in learning's chorus bear their part,
    And the great work distinctly share;
    Thou, our great catholic professor art,
    All science is annexed to thy unerring chair;
    Some lesser synods of the wise
    The Muses kept in universities;
    But never yet till in thy soul
    Had they a council oecumenical:
    An abstract they'd a mind to see
    Of all their scattered gifts, and summed them up in thee.
    Thou hast the arts whole Zodiac run,
    And fathom'st all that here is known;
    Strange restless curiosity,
    Adam himself came short of thee,--
    He tasted of the fruit, thou bearest away the tree."

And More writes of Plotinus:--

                "Who such things did see,
    Even in the tumult that few can arrive
      Of all are named from philosophy,
    To that high pitch or to such secrets dive."[10]

[Footnote 10: "It would make a most delightful and instructive
essay," says Coleridge, "to draw up a critical, and, where possible,
biographical account of the Latitudinarian party at Cambridge, from the
reign of James I to the latter half of Charles II. The greater number
were Platonists, so called, at least, and such they believed themselves
to be, but more truly Plotinists. Thus Cudworth, Dr. Jackson (chaplain
of Charles I and Vicar of Newcastle upon Tyne), Henry More, John Smith,
and some others (Norris, Glanvil). Jeremy Taylor was a Gassendist, and,
as far as I know, he is the only exception. They were alike admirers
of Grotius, which, in Taylor, was consistent with the tone of all his
philosophy. The whole party, however, and a more amiable never existed,
were scared and disgusted into this by the catachrestic language and
the skeleton half truths of the systematic divines of the synod of
Dort on the one hand, and by the sickly broodings of the Pietists
and Solomon's Song preachers on the other. What they all wanted was
a pre-inquisition into the mind, as part organ, part constituent, of
all knowledge,--an examination of the scales and weights and measures
themselves abstracted from the objects to be weighed or measured by
them; in short, a transcendental æsthetic, logic, and noetic. Lord
Herbert was at the entrance of, nay, already some paces within, the
shaft and adit of the mine; but he turned abruptly back, and the honor
of establishing a complete [Greek: propaideia] (Organon) of philosophy
was reserved for Immanuel Kant, a century or more afterwards."--_Lit.
Remains_, iii. 416.]


Plotinus was by birth an Egyptian, a native of Sycopolis. He died at
the conclusion of the second year of the reign of M. Aurelius Flavius
Claudius, at the age of sixty-six. On his friend Eustochius coming from
a distance and approaching him when dying, he said: "As yet I have
expected you, and now I endeavor that my divine part may return to that
divine nature which flourishes throughout the universe."

Taylor says of him, "He was a philosopher pre-eminently distinguished
for the strength and profundity of his intellect, and the purity and
elevation of his life. He was wise without the usual mixture of human
darkness, and great without the general combination of human weakness
and imperfection. He seems to have left the orb of light solely for the
benefit of mankind, that he might teach them how to repair the ruin
contracted by their exile from good, and how to return to their true
country and legitimate kindred allies. I do not mean that he descended
into mortality for unfolding the sublimest truths to the multitude,
for this would have been a vain and ridiculous attempt, since their
eyes, as Plato justly observes, are not strong enough to look at truth.
But he came as a guide to the few who are born with a divine destiny,
and are struggling to gain the lost region of light, but know not how
to break the fetters by which they are detained; who are impatient to
leave the obscure cavern of sense, where all is delusion and shadow,
and to ascend to the realms of intellect, where all is substance and

His biographers speak of him with the truest admiration. He was foreign
from all sophistical ostentation and pride, and conducted himself in
the company of disputants with the same freedom and ease as in his
familiar discourses; for true wisdom, when it is deeply possessed,
gives affability and modesty to the manners, illumines the countenance
with a divine serenity, and diffuses over the whole external form an
air of dignity and ease. Nor did he hastily disclose to every one the
logical necessities latent in his conversation. He was strenuous in
discourse, and powerful in discovering what was appropriate. While
he was speaking, there was every indication of the predominance of
intellect in his conceptions. The light of it diffused itself over
his countenance, which was indeed, at all times, lovely, but was
then particularly beautiful; a certain attenuated and dewy moisture
appeared on his face, and a pleasing mildness shone forth. Then, also,
he exhibited a gentleness in receiving questions, and demonstrated a
vigor uncommonly robust in their solution. He was rapidly filled with
what he read, and having in a few words given the meaning of a profound
theory, he arose. He borrowed nothing from others, his conceptions
being entirely his own, and his theories original. He could by no means
endure to read twice what he had written. Such, indeed, was the power
of his intellect, that when he had once conceived the whole disposition
of his thoughts from the beginning to the end, and had afterwards
committed them to writing, his composition was so connected, that he
appeared to be merely transcribing a book. Hence he would discuss his
domestic affairs without departing from the actual intention of his
mind, and at one and the same time transact the necessary negotiations
of friendship, and preserve an uninterrupted survey of the things he
had proposed to consider. In consequence of this uncommon power of
intellection, when he returned to writing, after the departure of the
person with whom he had been conversing, he did not review what he had
written; and yet he so connected the preceding with the subsequent
conceptions, as if his composition had not been interrupted. Hence,
he was at the same time present with others and with himself; so that
the self-converted energy of his intellect was never remitted, except
in sleep, which his admirable temperance in meats and drinks, and his
constant conversion to intellect, contributed in no small measure
to expel. Though he was attentive to his pupils and the necessary
concerns of life, the intellectual energy of his soul while he was
awake never suffered any interruption from externals, nor any remission
of vigor. He was likewise extremely mild in his manners, and easy
of access to all his friends and adherents. Hence, so great was his
philosophic urbanity, that though he resided at Rome six and twenty
years, and had been the arbitrator in many litigious causes which he
amicably dissolved, yet he had scarcely an enemy throughout that vast
and illustrious city. Indeed, he was so highly esteemed, not only by
the senate and people of Rome, that the Emperor Galienus and his wife
Salonica honored his person and reverenced his doctrine; and relying
on his benevolence, requested that a city in Campania, which had been
formerly destroyed, might be restored, and rendered a fit habitation
for philosophers, and besides this, that it might be governed by the
laws of Plato, and called Platonopolis.



The new courses of lectures at Harvard University are advertised by
the new President. They are a novelty in our college culture. A marked
peculiarity is the announcement of a course to be given by Emerson, on
the Natural History of Intellect; by Dr. Hedge, on Theism, Atheism, and
Pantheism; and by J. Eliot Cabot, on Kant. The course, or any part of
it, is open "to graduates, teachers, and other competent persons, men
or women."

It is hoped, also, that Hutchison Stirling may be added to the list of
lecturers,--an acquisition certainly that Harvard should be proud to
secure, both for its own and the credit of metaphysical studies on this
side of the Atlantic.

The English mind seems to have held aloof from pure metaphysics,--from
German Idealism, especially. Berkeley, its finest thinker since
Bacon, was for a long time misapprehended, if, indeed, he is
fairly appreciated as yet. Boehme, Kant, Schelling, were unknown
till Coleridge introduced their ideas to the notice of his
contemporaries--Carlyle those of Goethe, and the great scholars of

       *       *       *       *       *

"Great, indeed," says Coleridge, "are the obstacles which an English
metaphysician has to encounter. Amongst his most respectable and
intelligent judges, there will be many who have devoted their attention
exclusively to the concerns and interests of human life, and who bring
with them to the perusal of philosophical systems, an habitual aversion
to all speculations, the utility and application of which are not
evident and immediate.

"There are others whose prejudices are still more formidable, inasmuch
as they are grounded in their moral feelings and religious principles,
which had been alarmed and shocked by the injurious and pernicious
tenets defended by Hume, Priestley, and the French Fatalists, or
Necessitarians, some of whom had perverted metaphysical reasonings
to the denial of the mysteries, and, indeed, of all the peculiar
doctrines of Christianity; and others, to the subversion of all
distinctions between right and wrong.

"A third class profess themselves friendly to metaphysics, and believe
that they are themselves metaphysicians. They have no objection to
system and terminology provided it be the method and nomenclature to
which they have been familiarized in the writings of Locke, Hume,
Hartley, Condillac, or, perhaps, Dr. Reid and Professor Stewart.

"But the worst and widest impediment remains. It is the predominance of
a popular philosophy, at once the counterfeit and mortal enemy of all
true and manly metaphysical research. It is that corruption introduced
by certain immethodical aphorisming Eclectics, who, dismissing, not
only all system, but all logical consequence, pick and choose whatever
is most plausible and showy; who select whatever words can have
semblance of sense attached to them, without the least expenditure of
thought; in short, whatever may enable men to talk of what they do not
understand, with a careful avoidance of everything that might awaken
them to a moment's suspicion of their ignorance."

       *       *       *       *       *

Fifty years and more have passed since this criticism was written; and,
with slight change of names for similar things, it still holds for
the popular estimate put upon metaphysics by too many scholars of our
time. If Coleridge, Schelling, Hegel, and the rest, are still held in
disregard by persons in chairs of philosophy, we may infer the kind of
culture which the universities favor. What he also said of intellectual
culture in his country and time, holds scarcely less true as regards
ours; and this in a republic, too, which in theory educates all its

       *       *       *       *       *

"I am greatly deceived if one preliminary to an efficient popular
education be not the recurrence to a more manly discipline of the
intellect on the part of the learned themselves; in short, a thorough
recasting of the moulds in which the minds of our gentry, the
characters of our future landowners, magistrates, and senators, are to
receive their shape and fashion. What treasures of practical wisdom
would be once more brought to open day by the solution of the problem.
Suffice it for the present to hint the master thought.

"The first man on whom the light of an Idea dawned, did in that
same moment receive the spirit and credentials of a lawgiver. And
as long as man shall exist, so long will the possession of that
antecedent--the maker and master of all profitable experience, which
exists in the power of an idea--be the one lawful qualification for
all dominion in the world of the senses. Without this, experience
itself is but a Cyclops walking backwards under the fascinations
of the past; and we are indebted to a lucky coincidence of outward
circumstances and contingencies, least of all to be calculated on in
a time like the present, if this one-eyed experience does not seduce
its worshippers into practical anachronisms. But, alas! the halls of
the old philosophers have been so long deserted, that we circle them at
shy distance, as the haunt of phantoms and chimeras. The sacred grave
of Academus is held in like regard with the unfruitful trees in the
shadowy world of Maro, that had a dream attached to every leaf. The
very terms of ancient wisdom are worn out; or, far worse, stamped as
baser metal; and whoever should have the hardihood to re-proclaim its
solemn truths, must commence with a glossary."

       *       *       *       *       *

The Dialectic, or Method of the Mind, constitutes the basis of all
culture. Without a thorough discipline in this, our schools and
universities give but a showy and superficial training. The knowledge
of mind is the beginning of all knowledge; without this a theology is
baseless, the knowledge of God impossible. Modern education has not
dealt with these deeper questions of life and being. It has the future
in which to prove its power of conducting a Cultus, answering to the
discipline of the Greek thinkers, Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle.

As yet we deal with mind with far less certainty than with matter; the
realm of intellect having been less explored than the world of the
senses, and both are treated conjecturally rather than absolutely. When
we come to perceive that Intuition is the primary postulate of all
intelligence, most questions now perplexing and obscure will become
transparent; the lower imperfect methods then take rank where they
belong and are available. The soul leads the senses; the reason the
understanding; imagination the memory; instinct and intuition include
and prompt the Personality entire.

The categories of imagination are the poet's tools; those of the
reason, the implements of the naturalist. The dialectic philosopher is
master of both. The tools to those only who can handle them skilfully.
All others but gash themselves and their subject, at best. Ask not a
man of understanding to solve a problem in metaphysics. He has neither
wit, weights, nor scales for the task. But a man of reason or of
imagination solves readily the problems of understanding the moment
these are fairly stated. Ideas are solvents of all mysteries, whether
in matter or mind.

                'Tis clear
                Mind's sphere
                Is not here;
                The Ideal guest
                In ceaseless quest
                Pursues the Best:
                The very Better
                The while her fetter,
                Her desire
                Higher, still higher;
                Ever is fleeing
                Past Seeming to Being;
    Nor doth the sight content itself with seeing,
    As forms emerge they fast from sense are fleeing,
    Things but appear to vanish into Being.

So the Greeks represented thought in their winged god, Hermes, as the
father of speech and messenger of intelligence; they conceiving the
visible world as a globe of forms, whereby objects of thought were
pictured to sense, and held forth to fancy,--a geometry of ideas, a
rhetoric of images.

Sallying forth into nature, the mind clothes its ideas in fitting
images, and thus reflects itself upon the understanding. Things are
symbols of thoughts, and nature the mind's dictionary.

    Mind omnipresent is,
    All round about us lies,
    To fashion forth itself
    In thought and ecstacy,
    In fancy and surprise,
    Things with ideas fraught,
    And nature our dissolving thought.



                    "As good
    Not write as not be understood."

Yet the deepest truths are best read between the lines, and, for the
most part, refuse to be written. Who tells all tells falsely. There are
untold subtleties in things seen as unseen. Only the idealist touches
the core of their secret tenderly, and extracts the mystery; Nature,
like the coy Isis, disclosing these to none else. Most edifying is the
author who suggests, and leaves to his reader the pleasure and profit
of following his thought into its various relations with the whole
of things, thus stimulating him to explore matters to their issues.
The great masters have observed this fine law, and of modern scholars
especially Goethe.

For whether considered as poet or naturalist, he is our finest example
of the reverent faith in nature and tenderness of treatment that
becomes her student and devotees. And hence the rich spoils and prime
suggestions with which he charms and rewards in his books. Wooed
in this spirit, nature vouchsafed him the privilege of reading her
secrets. An eye-witness of the facts, he had the magic pen to portray
them as they rose midway between matter and mind, there caught them
lovingly and held them forth in intertwisted myths and gay marriages to
the sense and sentiment of his reader. Writing faithfully to the form
of things, he yet had a finer moral than these could deliver; the vein
of quiet mysticism in which he delighted, giving a graceful charm to
the writing. How finely his senses symbolized his thought, and his eye
how Olympian! What subtle perception of the contraries in character!
He has treated the strife of the Worst for the Best, the problem of
evil, more cunningly than any; than Moses; than the author of Job of
Uz; than Milton, the Puritan, fitted as he was alike by birth and
culture to deal with this world fable,--his faith in nature being so
entire, his rare gifts at instant command for rendering perfect copies
of what he saw, and loved to represent in its truthfulness to sense
and soul alike. A seer of Spirit, the draughtsman of guile; to him sat
the demons gladly, and he sketched their likenesses,--portraits of the
dualities he knew so well; the same with which most are too familiar;
the drama of the temptation being coeval with man, the catastrophe thus
far repeated disastrously, the striving of the Many against the One,
the world-spirit bribing the will, proffering the present delights
for the future pains. Ah! could he but have found himself in the One,
whom, with such surpassing skill he individualized, but failed to
impersonate. His aloofness from life, his residence in the Many, his
inability to identify himself with the whole of things,--this duplicity
of genius denied him free admittance to unity. Cunning he was, not wise
in the simplicity of wisdom. As the Fates conceived, so they slew him,
yet by subtleties so siren, as to persuade him of an immortality not
theirs to bestow. All he was, his Faust celebrates--admitted to heaven,
as Goethe to glory, without the fee that opens honestly its gates.

Oh, artist of beauty! Couldst thou but have been equal to portray the
Spirit of spirits as cunningly as of Matter! But it was the temper of
that age of transition, and thou wast its priest and poet.

But whatever his deficiencies, he has been one of the world's teachers,
and is to be for some time to come. The spirit and movement of an age
are embodied in his books, and one reads with a growing reverence at
every perusal of the mind that saw and has portrayed the world-spirit
so well. If not the man complete that in our admiration of his genius
we could desire, he yet was faithful to the law of his pen, and
therewith justifies his existence to mankind. Nor do I find any of his
contemporaries who made as much of this human life during his century.
"Light, more light!" With this request he passed behind the clouds into
the fullest radiance.


The ancients accepted in good faith the sway of Fate, or Temperament,
in their doctrine of Destinies, hereby signifying that duplicity or
polarity of forces operative in man's Will by which his personal
freedom is abridged, if not overridden. Nor does it appear that they
conceived deliverance possible from this dread Nemesis of existence; it
was wrought into the substance of their tragedies, binding matter and
mind alike in chains. If the modern thought professes to be freed from
this Old Fatalism, it practically admits it, nevertheless; man's will
being still bound in fetters by inexorable powers, which his Choice
can neither propitiate nor overcome. If Goethe treats the matter more
forcibly, sharply, his dealing differs but in form from the Pagan; man
is the spoil of the demons still. Satan is suppressed for the moment to
be victorious in the end. Carlyle only renders it the more inexorable
and dismaying by all his wealth of thought, force of illustration, his
formidable historical figures, dramatic genius. It is force pitted
against force that he celebrates throughout his embattled pages; a
victim himself with his heroes, yet like them never the victor; all
irritants, but not quellers of the demon; fixed forces in transition

Only seen from this, his habitual standpoint and outlook, is he
justified as the consistent realist, holding fast his faith in the
actual facts of the world, their rigorous following to the remotest
issues,--the most heroic of thinkers. What if, with these dread
convictions and insights of his, he paint out of all keeping with
the actual facts; he is following logically his persuasions of the
destinies that sway human concerns, abating not an iota of the letter
of the text of the dread decalogue, whether for the wicked or the weak;
defending his view of the right at all costs whatsoever. Justice first,
mercy afterwards. His books opened anywhere show him berating the wrong
he sees, but seldom the means of removing. There is ever the same
melancholy advocacy of work to be done under the dread master: force of
strokes, the right to rule and be ruled, the dismal burden. He rides
his Leviathan as fiercely as did his countryman, Hobbes; can be as
truculent and abusive. Were he not thus fatally in earnest, we should
take him for the harlequin he often seems, not seeing the sorrowing
sadness thus playing off its load in this grotesque mirth, this
scornful irony of his; he painting in spite of himself his portraits in
the warmth of admiration, the blaze of wrath, giving us mythology for
history mostly.

Yet with what breadth of perspective he paints these! strength of
outline, the realism appalling, the egotism enormous,--all history
showing in the background of his one figure, Carlyle,--Burns, Goethe,
Richter, Mirabeau, Luther, Cromwell, Frederick,--all dashed from his
flashing pen,--heads of himself alike in their unlikeness, prodigiously
individual, wilful, some of them monstrous; all Englishmen, too, with
their egregious prejudices, prides; no patience, no repose in any. He
brandishes his truncheon through his pages with an adroitness that
renders it unsafe for any, save the few wielding weapons of celestial
temper, to do battle against Abaddon.

Nor will he be silenced; talking terribly against all talking but his
own; agreeing, disagreeing, all the same, he the Jove permitting none,
none, to mount Olympus till the god deign silence and invite. Curious
to see him monologizing, his chin aloft, the pent thunders rolling,
lightnings darting from under his bold brows, words that tell of the
wail within, accents not meant for music, yet made lyrical in the
cadences of his Caledonian refrain, his mirth mad as Lear's, his humor
wilful as the winds. Not himself then is approachable by himself even.

A lovable man, nevertheless, with a great heart in his breast,
sympathies the kindliest, deepest, nor indifferent to the ills the
flesh is heir to. Why, oh ye powers, this wretchedness amidst the means
superabounding for relieving and preventing it? Why this taking up
reform forever from the beggar and felon side, as if these were sole
credentials to sympathy, essential elements of the social state? Rather
let force, persistent yet beneficent, be brought to bear upon mankind,
giving alike to prince and people the dutiful drill that alone equips
for the tasks of life,--this were the State's duty, the province of
rulers; a thing to set about at once with the vigor of righteousness
that justice demands for the rule of the world.

The way of Imperialism this, and playing Providence harshly. He
mistakes in commending absolutism to republicans, especially in times
like ours. England, even, imperial as she is, is too intelligent and
free to accept it. America certainly cannot. If he would but believe in
the people, divide his faith in hero-worship with masses, also. But it
is not easy for a Briton to comprehend properly republican institutions
like ours. Nothing short of success against large odds can convince him
of the feasibility, the safety of a popular government.

    "Success, success; to thee, to thee,
    As to a god, he bends the knee."

Not one of his heroes would serve our turn. Frederick were perhaps a
fit captain to dominate over a brute multitude; Cromwell might serve
in a state of revolution, but must fail altogether at reconstruction.
Even Milton, the republican, would hardly avail with republicans freed
from the old British love of sway.

It is not safe for any to dwell long on Sinai, leaving the multitudes
meanwhile to their idolatries below. In rigors thus austere the
humanities perish. Justice and mercy must alike conspire in the
fulfilment of the decalogue, lest vengeance break the tables and
shatter the divine image also.

"When heaven would save a man, it encircles him with compassion."



    "O tenderly the haughty day
      Fills his blue urn with fire;
    One morn is in the mighty heaven,
      And one in our desire."



  SUNDAY, 4.

And the republic now begins to look sweet and beautiful again, as
if men and patriotic citizens might walk upright without shame or
apologies of any sort. Having managed for a century or more to keep the
black man under foot, provoked a war to this end, and, in our straits,
availed of his life to spare ours, let us cherish the faith that we
are bent honestly now on securing him the rights which his courage and
loyalty have won for him and his while the republic stands. Was this
slaughter of men and expenditure of treasure, with the possible woes to
come, necessary to make us just? And shall we not be careful hereafter
that political parties play not false as before the war; the cry for
union and reconstruction but a specious phrase for reinstating the old
issues under new names? Admitted into the Union, the once rebellious
States may break out into new atrocities for recovering their fallen
fortunes. It behooves the friends of freedom and human rights to know
their friends, and trust those, and only those, who have proved
themselves faithful in the dire struggle,--

    "Who faithful in insane sedition keep,
    With silver and with ruddy gold may vie."

In democratic times like ours, when Power is stealing the world over
from the few to the many, and with an impetus unprecedented in the
world's history, the rightful depositories of Power, the People,
should make sure that their representatives are fitted alike and
disposed to administer affairs honorably; the rule being that of the
Best by the Best,--an aristocracy in essence as in name; since no
calamity can befall a people like the want of good heads to give it
stability and self-respect in its own, or consideration in the eyes of
foreign beholders. Ideas are the royal Presidents; States and peoples
intelligent and prosperous as they are loyal to these Potentates.
Liberty is the highest of trusts committed to man by his Creator, and
in the enjoyment of which man becomes himself a creator,--a trust at
once the most sacred and most difficult to hold inviolate. "Power is
a fillet that presses so hard the temples that few can take it up
safely." Right is the royal ruler alone, and he who rules with least
restraint comes nearest to empire.

And one of the most hopeful aspects of our national affairs is
the coming into importance and power of plain, sensible men, like
Grant and Boutwell,--men owing their places to their honesty and
useful services,--the one in the field, the other in the state. Our
village, also, is honored by the elevation of one of its distinguished
citizens for his eminent legal attainments and personal integrity.
This change for the better in our politics, it seems, came in with
President Lincoln, himself the plainest of the plain, one of the
most American of American men; is (after his successor's lamentable
career) now reinstated in our present chief magistrate, whose
popularity is scarcely secondary to any of his predecessors in the
Presidential Chair. Our national politics have obviously improved in
these respects upon later administrations, and we may reasonably hope
for the prevalence of peace and prosperity, such as the country has
not enjoyed since the times of Washington and Franklin. The reign of
principle appears to have returned into the administration of affairs,
honorable men taking the lead, softening, in large measure, the
asperities and feuds of parties. Great questions affecting the welfare
of the community, and for the solution of which the ablest heads are
requisite, are coming into discussion, and are to be settled for the
benefit, we trust, of all concerned. Reform in capital and labor,
temperance, woman's social and political condition, popular education,
powers of corporations, international communication,--these and the new
issues which their settlement will effect, must interest and occupy
the active forces of the country to plant the republic, upon stable

"An early, good education," says Gray, in his notes on Plato's
Republic, "is the best means of turning the eyes of the mind from the
darkness and uncertainty of popular opinion, to the clear light of
truth. It is the interest of the public neither to suffer unlettered
and unphilosophical minds to meddle with government, nor to allow
men of knowledge to give themselves up for the whole of life to
contemplation; as the first will lack principle to guide them, and
others want practice and inclination to business." One might also
commend to senators and representatives this sentence from Tacitus: "I
speak," he says, "of popular eloquence, the genuine offspring of that
licentiousness to which fools and designing men have given the name of
liberty. I speak of that bold and turbulent oratory, that inflamer of
the people, and constant companion of sedition, that fierce incendiary
that knows no compliance, and scorns to temporize,--busy, rash, and
arrogant, but, in quiet and well-regulated governments, utterly
unknown." Yet I cannot say that I should have written, with my present
notion of political or religious obligation, what follows: "Upon the
whole, since no man can enjoy a state of calm tranquillity, and, at the
same time, raise a great and splendid reputation; to be content with
the benefits of the age in which we live, without detracting from our
ancestors, is the virtue that best becomes us." The sentiment has a
patriotic sound, but conceals the cardinal truth, dear to a patriot,
certainly in our times and republic, that a calm tranquillity is hardly
compatible with a life of heroic action, and that true progress, so
far from detracting from the glory of our ancestors, carries forward
that for which they battled and bled, to clothe them and their
descendants with a fresher and more enduring fame. Not in imitation of
such inflamers of the people, but in the spirit of liberty and loyalty,
have Sumner and Phillips won great and splendid reputations, if not
silenced the fools and designing men whose bold and turbulent oratory,
the genuine offspring of licentiousness, once sounded in our national
halls, and came near the separation of our Union.

    Whom did the people trust?
    Not those, the false confederates of State,
    Who laid their country's fortunes desolate;
    Plucked her fair ensigns down to seal the black man's fate;
    Not these secured their trust.

    But they, the generous and the just,
    Who, nobly free and truly great,
    Served steadfast still the servant race
    As masters in the menial's place;
    By their dark brothers strove to stand
    Till owners these of mind and hand,
    And freedom's banners waved o'er an enfranchised land.

    These were the nation's trust,--
    The patriots brave and just.


    "Some men such rare parts have that they can swim
    If favor nor occasion help not them."

Phillips stands conspicuous above most of his time, as the advocate
of human rights, the defender of the oppressed. By happy fortune, he
enjoys the privilege denied to senators, of speaking unencumbered by
convention or caucus. His speeches have the highest qualities of an
orator. In range of thought, clearness of statement, keen satire,
brilliant wit, personal anecdote, wholesome moral sentiment, the
Puritan spirit, they are unmatched by any of the great orators of his
time. They have, besides, the rare merit, and one in which our public
men have been painfully deficient, of straightforwardness and truth
to the hour. They are addressed to the conscience of the country, are
spoken in the interest of humanity. Many a soldier in the field during
the late war, many a citizen owes his loyalty to hearing his eloquent

Above party, unless it be the honorable and ancient party of mankind,
they embody the temper and drift of the times. How many public men
are here to survive in the pillory of his indignant invectives! The
history of the last thirty years cannot be accurately written without
his facts and anecdotes. There is no great interest of philanthropy in
which he has not been, and still is, active. His words are to be taken
as those of an earnest mind intent on furthering the ends of justice,
interpreted not by their rhetoric, but strict adherence to principle.
Certainly the country has at times hung in the balance of his argument;
cabinets and councils hesitating to do or undo without some regard
to his words, well knowing the better constituency which he better
represents and speaks for,--the people, namely, whose breath can unmake
as it has made.

An earnest, truthful man, he has not shared with other statesmen of his
time in their indifferency nor their despair; and if by some esteemed
a demagogue and disorganizer, such is not his estimate of the part
taken by him in the great issues of the past, political and social. The
friend of progress, he early threw himself into the conflict, addressed
himself to the issues as they rose, rose with them and rode the wave
bravely; sometimes hastening, oftentimes provoking the crisis. What
States would not adventure upon as policy, he espoused as policy and
humanity both. Addressing himself from the first to the great middle
class, whose principles are less corrupted by party politics, in whom
the free destiny of peoples is lodged, he is gathering the elements of
power and authority which, becoming formidable in ability if not in
numbers, must secure the country's confidence, and in due time have
political dictation and rule.

Then, of the new instrumentalities for agitation and reform, the
free Platform derives largely its popularity and efficiency from his
genius. Consider the freedom of speech it invites and maintains, free
as the freest can make it, a stand whereon every one who will gains a
hearing; every opinion its widest scope of entertainment,--the widest
hospitality consistent with the decorum of debate. Hither comes any
one breathing a sentiment of progress, any daring to dissent against
dissent, against progress itself. Here the sexes meet on fair terms.
Here, as not elsewhere, is intimated, if not spoken fittingly, the
popular spirit and tendency. Here come the most effective speakers
by preference to address a free constituency, a constituency to be
theirs, if not already, their words leaping into type from their lips,
to be spread forthwith to the four winds by the reporting press. 'Tis
a school of debate, for oratory, for thought, for practice; has the
remarkable merit of freshness, originality; questions affecting the
public welfare being here anticipated, first deliberated upon by the
people themselves; systems of agitation organized and set on foot
for creating a wholesome popular sentiment; in short, for giving
inspiration, a culture, to the country, which the universities cannot;
training the reason and moral sense by direct dealing with principles
and persons as occasion requires; a school from whence have graduated
not a few of our popular speakers,--the Orator himself, whose speeches
furnish passages for collegiate declamation, from which politicians
plume their rhetoric to win a borrowed fame. Cato said, "An orator was
a good man skilled in the art of speaking."

More than any lecturer, unless it be Emerson, he has made the lecture
a New-England, if not an American institution; is always heard with
profit and pleasure by the unprejudiced auditor,--any course in the
cities and towns being thought incomplete without his. Nor is it
easy to estimate the debt of the free States to his speeches before
associations, conventions, in pulpits, the humblest places where his
words could be secured. He has already taken his place beside Garrison,
has linked his name with the Liberator's, to be on men's lips while the
word _slave_ has significance.

If there be any one to whom the country is more largely indebted than
another for eminent services in his day, it must be Garrison; unless
a doubt may arise in the minds of some, if the hero of Harper's Ferry
be not entitled to like honors, since to these illustrious men must be
attributed the merit of having struck the most effective blows for the
overthrow of slavery, the one inaugurating the era of emancipation, and
the other consummating it.

    "The just man's like a rock, that turns the wroth
    Of all the raging waters into a froth."

The agitation and outside pressure which they were chiefly instrumental
in furthering to its rightful issues, were the most powerful
auxiliaries, if not the power itself, which emancipated the mind of
the country from its subserviency to the slave dominion. They were
the creators of the sentiment that freed the negro at last from his
bonds and cleared the way for a true Republican State. Some power
superior to the Constitution was required to revise it, and free
the whole people from this Arachne's coil that had bound them so
long; was especially needed to extricate the rulers themselves from
its meshes, and to rescue the rights thus imperilled by unscrupulous
placemen who shrunk from the task. These could not help them, caught
in the same snare that bound the nation. "Neither the law, nor the
Constitution, nor the whole system of American institutions," they
were told, "ever had contemplated a case as likely to arise under our
system in which a resort would be necessary to provide outside of the
law and Constitution for amending the Constitution." The case arose,
nevertheless, and was provided for by these powerful agitators, and by
the progress of events. The late civil outbreak compelled the necessary
amendments, sweeping the compromises, the slave Congress and territory
from the statute books and the country itself.

    "Principles like fountains flow round forever,
    Being in a state of perpetual agitation."

"To all new truths, all renovations of old truths," says
Coleridge, "it must be as in the ark between the destroyed and the
about-to-be-renovated world. The raven must be sent out before the
dove, and ominous controversy must precede peace and the olive wreath."


Of political editors, next to Garrison, perhaps Horace Greeley was the
most efficient in furthering this national result; and by his eminent
services in various departments of activity comes nearest to being
the people's man, the best representative of character indigenous to
New England, or more properly America--like Beecher and Phillips. His
power appears to lie in his strong understanding, abundant information,
plain statement of his facts, freed from all rhetorical embellishment.
A rustic Franklin in his direct way of putting his things before his
auditor, he makes plain his meaning in spite of his utter want of all
graces of person, or of oratory, handling his subject as a rude farmer
his axe and crowbar. There is about him a homely charm of good-nature,
a child-like candor, that have all the effect of eloquence, elevating
him for the time into the subject he treats. In the statistics of
things, practical and political, he is a kind of living encyclopedia
of information, and as his chief distinction has made the newspaper a
power it had not been before.

May we not credit New England with giving the country these new
Instrumentalities for Progress, viz.:--

    Greeley, the Newspaper;
    Garrison, a free Platform;
    Phillips, a free Convention;
    Beecher, a free Pulpit;
    Emerson, the Lecture?

The Conversation awaits being added to the list.


  FRIDAY, 9.

Ours can hardly claim to be the Golden Age, but of Bronze and Iron
rather. If ideas are in the ascendant, still mind is fettered by
mechanism. We scale the heavens to grade the spaces. Messrs. Capital &
Co. transact our business for us the globe over. Was it in the Empire
News that I read the company's advertisement for supplying mankind
with gas at a penny _per diem_ annually? And then, proceeding to say,
"that considering the old-time monopoly in the heavenly luminary, the
corporation has constructed at fabulous cost their Brazen Cope to shut
down upon the horizon at day-break punctually, and so graduate to each
customer's tube his just allowance, else darkness for delinquents the
year round."

Certainly a splendid conception for distributing sunbeams by the Globe
Corporation if the solar partner consent to the speculation. Had Hesiod
the enterprise in mind when he sung,--

    "Seek virtue first, and after virtue, coin"?

Or St. Paul, when writing concerning labor and capital: "For I would
not," he says, "that other men should be eased and you burdened, but
by an equality that now at the time your abundance may be a supply for
their want, that their abundance may also be a supply for your want,
that there may be an equality, as it is written, He that had gathered
much, had nothing over, and he that had gathered little, had no lack.
If any man will not work, neither should he eat."

Any attempt to simplify and supply one's wants by abstinence and
self-help is in the most hopeful direction, and serviceable to the
individual whether his experiment succeed or not, the practice of most,
from the beginning, having been to multiply rather than diminish one's
natural wants, and thus to become poor at the cost of becoming rich.
"Who has the fewest wants," said Socrates, "is most like God."

    "Who wishes, wants, and whoso wants is poor."

Our "Fruitlands" was an adventure undertaken in good faith for planting
a Family Order here in New England, in hopes of enjoying a pastoral
life with a few devoted men and women, smitten with sentiments of the
old heroism and love of holiness and of humanity. But none of us were
prepared to actualize practically the ideal life of which we dreamed.
So we fell apart, some returning to the established ways, some soured
by the trial, others postponing the fulfilment of his dream to a more
propitious future.[11]

[Footnote 11: "FRUITLANDS.

"We have received a communication from Messrs. Alcott and Lane, dated
from their farm, _Fruitlands_, in Harvard, Massachusetts, from which we
make the following extract:--

"'We have made an arrangement with the proprietor of an estate of about
a hundred acres, which liberates this tract from human ownership. For
picturesque beauty, both in the near and the distant landscape, the
spot has few rivals. A semicircle of undulating hills stretches from
south to west, among which the Wachusett and Monadnock are conspicuous.
The vale, through which flows a tributary to the Nashua, is esteemed
for its fertility and ease of cultivation, is adorned with groves of
nut trees, maples, and pines, and watered by small streams. Distant not
thirty miles from the metropolis of New England, this reserve lies in a
serene and sequestered dell. No public thoroughfare invades it, but it
is entered by a private road. The nearest hamlet is that of Stillriver,
a field's walk of twenty minutes, and the village of Harvard is reached
by circuitous and hilly roads of nearly three miles.

"'Here we prosecute our effort to initiate a Family in harmony with the
primitive instincts in man. The present buildings being ill placed and
unsightly as well as inconvenient, are to be temporarily used, until
suitable and tasteful buildings in harmony with the natural scene can
be completed. An excellent site offers itself on the skirts of the
nearest wood, affording shade and shelter, and commanding a view of the
lands of the estate, nearly all of which are capable of spade culture.
It is intended to adorn the pastures with orchards, and to supersede
ultimately the labor of the plough and cattle, by the spade and the

"'Our planting and other works, both without and within doors, are
already in active progress. The present Family numbers ten individuals,
five being children of the founders. Ordinary secular farming is
not our object. Fruit, grain, pulse, garden plants and herbs, flax
and other vegetable products for food, raiment, and domestic uses,
receiving assiduous attention, afford at once ample manual occupation,
and chaste supplies for the bodily needs. Consecrated to human freedom,
the land awaits the sober culture of devout men.

"'Beginning with small pecuniary means, this enterprise must be rooted
in a reliance on the succors of an ever-bounteous Providence, whose
vital affinities being secured by this union with uncorrupted fields
and unworldly persons, the cares and injuries of a life of gain are

"'The inner nature of every member of the Family is at no time
neglected. A constant leaning on the living spirit within the soul
should consecrate every talent to holy uses, cherishing the widest
charities. The choice Library (of which a partial catalogue was given
in Dial No. XII) is accessible to all who are desirous of perusing
these records of piety and wisdom. Our plan contemplates all such
disciplines, cultures, and habits as evidently conduce to the purifying
and edifying of the inmates. Pledged to the Spirit alone, the founders
can anticipate no hasty or numerous accession to their numbers. The
kingdom of peace is entered only through the gates of self-denial and
abandonment; and blessedness is the test and the reward of obedience to
the unswerving law of Love.--_The Dial._

"'JUNE 10, 1843.'"]

I certainly esteem it an inestimable privilege to have been bred to
outdoor labors, the use of tools, and to find myself the owner of a
garden, with the advantage of laboring sometimes besides my faithful
Irishman, and compare views of men and things with him. I think myself
the greater gainer of the two by this intercourse. Unbiassed by books,
and looking at things as they stand related to his senses and simple
needs, I learn naturally what otherwise I should not have known so
well, if at all. The sympathy and sincerity are the best part of it.
One sees the more clearly his social relations and duties; sees the
need of beneficent reforms in the economics of labor and capital by
which the working classes shall have their just claims allowed, the
products of hand and brain be more equitably distributed, a finer
sympathy and wiser humanity prevail in the disposition of affairs. No
true man can be indifferent to that great productive multitude, without
whose industry capitalists would have nothing in which to invest;
the callings and the professions lack bread and occupation alike.
Head and hands best co-operate in this interplay of services. Every
gift, besides enriching its owner, should enrich the whole community,
opportunities be opened for the free exercise of all, the golden rule
stand for something besides an idle text. Every one is entitled to a
competence, provided he employs his gifts for the common good. It seems
but right that the gifted should return to the common treasury in the
ratio of their endowments; be taxed at a higher rate than those to whom
like advantages have been denied. Indeed, it is questionable whether
the man who is poor by no fault of his, should be taxed at all; give
him citizenship rather as an inborn right, as a man, not as a mere
producer. Men are loyal from other considerations than self-interest.
One would not check the spirit of accumulation, but the monopoly of the
gift for the sole benefit of the oppressor. A competence, including
every comfort, and even harmless luxuries, is what all men need, all
desire, all might have, were there a fair distribution of the avails
of labor, opportunities for labor of head or hand for all,--the right
to be educated and virtuous included, as the most important. The poor
man cannot compete, practically, successfully, with the rich man, the
laborer with the capitalist, the ignorant with the instructed,--all are
placed at unequal odds, the victims of circumstances which they did not
create, and which those who do may use to their injury if they choose.
The laborer is broken on the wheel his necessities compel him to drive,
feeling the while the wrong done him by those whom he has enriched by
his toil.

No tradition assigns a beginning to justice, but only to injustice.
Before the Silver, the Brazen, the Iron, comes the Golden Age, when
virtue is current, and man at his highest value. It is when man is
degraded that virtue and justice are dishonored, and labor deemed

Poverty may be the philosopher's ornament. Too rich to need, and
self-respecting to receive benefits, save upon terms which render the
receiver the nobler giver, he revenges upon fortune by possessing a
kingdom superior to mischance and incumbrance.

    The gold alone but gold can buy,
    Wisdom's the sterling currency.


[Footnote 12: Printed from notes taken by a lady (Miss Ariana Walker)
at the time. The conversation was held in Boston in December, 1849.]


Mr. Alcott began the conversation by referring to that of Monday
before, on the subject of Temperament and Complexion, and added other
fine thoughts about it.

He said, perhaps he had dwelt too much on the symbol of color, but
conceived himself borne out in all he had said. "The Greeks held that
a brown complexion betokened courage, and those who had fair skins
were called children of light and favorites of the gods. And the
gods themselves were demonic or divine, as tempered by darkness or
light,--the gods Infernal, the Midgods, the Celestials. So Christian
art has painted Satan dark, the Christ fair. And late experiments on
the sunbeam showed that dark substances imprison the rays,--these
absorbing more and delivering less. The more of sun, so much the more
of soul; the less of sun, of passion more, and the strange fire." He
fancied black eyes were of Oriental descent, were tinged less or more
with fairer hues in crossing West. People of sandy hair and florid
complexions were of Northern ancestry. The fusion of the various races
was now taking place, blending all, doubtless, into a more harmonious
and beautiful type.

He asked if there did not lurk in the fancy, if not in our atoms, a
persuasion that complexion, like features, voice, gait, typified and
emblazoned personal traits of their possessors, if the rhetoric of
morals and religion did not revel in like distinctions. "Handsome is
that handsome does." Beauty was the birthright of all, if not their
inheritance. It was shame that brought deformity into the world. Every
child accused, he knew not whom, for any blemish of his. "Why not mine
the happy star, too?" Still some trait was insinuated into the least
favored, and stamped upon the embryonic clay. Ebony, alabaster, indigo,
vermilion, the pigments were all mingled as purity or passion decreed.
Types were persistent, family features standing strong for centuries
and perpetuating themselves from generation to generation. Place the
portraits of a long line of ancestors on the walls, one's features
were all there, with the slight variations arising from intermarriage,
degrees of culture, calling, climate.

    "Our faces were our coats of arms."

"Eyes were most characteristic. These played the prime parts in
life,--eyes and voice. Eyes were a civility and a kingdom: voice a
fortune. There was a culture, a fate in them, direful, divine." And he
quoted, without naming the author:--

    "Black eyes, in your dark orbs doth lie
    My ill or happy destiny;
    If with clear looks you me behold,
    You give me wine and mounts of gold;
    If you dart forth disdainful rays,
    To your own dye you turn my days;
    Black eyes, in your dark orbs doth dwell
    My bane or bliss, my heaven or hell."

Then added, significantly:--

    Ask you _my_ preference, what their hue?
    Surely the safe, celestial blue.

He said: "Voice classified us. The harmonious voice tells of the
harmonious soul. Millions of fiends are evoked in a breath by an
irritated one. A gentle voice converts the Furies into Muses. The
highest saint is not he who strives the most violently, but he upon
whom goodness sits gracefully, whose strength is gentleness, duty
loved, because spontaneous, and who wastes none of his power in effort;
his will being one and above temptation. True love says, 'Come to my
embrace, you are safer with me than you were with yourself, since I am
wise above knowledge, and tasting of the apple.' The sequel is bliss
and peace. But after fascination comes sorrow, remorse. The touch of
the demonized soul is poison. Read Swedenborg's Hells, he added, and
beware of demonized eyes!"

I never saw any one who seemed to purify words as Mr. Alcott does; with
him nothing is common or unclean.

He then spoke of temperance in its widest sense, as being that which
contributed to health of the whole being, body and soul alike. He
said, "We should breakfast on sunrise and sup on sunset." And he read
passages from Pythagoras, recommending music as a diet. "Pythagoras
composed melodies for the night and morning, to purify the brain. He
forbade his disciples the using of flesh meats, or drinks which heated
and disturbed the brain, or hindered the music of dreams."

At this point of the conversation, Miss Bremer and Mr. Benzon, the
Swedish consul, came in, and there was a slight pause.

Mr. Alcott then resumed the subject, and read Emerson's Bacchus,
to which he gave new significance. When he had finished, he said,
"This is the wine we want." He then spoke of the subject proposed
for the evening's conversation, which was Enthusiasm, defining it as
"an abandonment to the instincts. The seer," he said, "was one in
whom memory predominated, and many of his visions were recollections
rather of a former than revelations of a future state." This state of
clairvoyance he named "thought a-bed, or philosophy recumbent"; and
in this view he spoke of "Swedenborg, who was an enthusiast in the
latter sense, and revealed remarkable things." He quoted a passage from
Swedenborg's diary, wherein he speaks of his being created with the
power of breathing inwardly, suspending his outward breathing, and in
this way conversed with angels and spirits.

Miss Bremer asked Mr. Alcott "if he called Swedenborg an enthusiast."

Mr. Alcott said, "Swedenborg was in such fine relations with nature and
spirit, that many things seemed revealed to him beyond the apprehension
of ordinary men. He was a seer rather of supernatural than of spiritual
things; a preternaturalist, rather than spiritualist. He had wonderful
insights into nature, also, which science was almost every day

"His followers claimed that he anticipated important discoveries, both
in natural as in spiritual science, and that his merits were enhanced
by his claim to supernatural illumination. And whatever his gifts,
how assisted, whether by agencies supernatural or preternatural,
their operations were of wonderful sweep, his insights surpassing,
transcending the comprehension of any successor; of a kind that have
led some to suspect that he staggered down under the weight of his
endowments. Certainly, he stands, like Boehme, an exceptional mind, in
the order of nature, and awaits an interpreter to determine his place
in the world of thought. He is the most eminent example furnished in
modern biography of the possibilities of the metempsychosis, as if
we saw in him an ability to translate himself at will, personally,
wheresoever he would, taking his residence for the while in plant,
animal, mineral, atom, with the superadded faculty of ravishing its
secret. Nor content with this, he ransacks the primeval elements, the
limbos of chaos and night. What burglaries he perpetrates! picking of
locks, slitting of mysteries, opening rents into things sacred and
profane,--of these no end. Then such edifices rising from regions of
vagary and shadow, a goblin world, grand, grotesque, seldom lighted
from above, or tipped with azure. His heavens had no prospects; no
perspective; his hells were lurid; the pit bottomless, a Stygian
realm throughout. His genius plunges, seldom soars; is not fledged,
but footed; his heaven but the cope of the abyss in plain sight of
the doomed. His angels are spectral, unwholesome; his celestials too
knowing to be innocent.

"It were a fruitless task to follow him from starting-point to goal,
if goal there be, in his restless racing throughout nature. The
ghost-seer of shadow-land, whereinto he smuggled all natural things
as spiritual phantoms; he needs be studied with due drawback of
doubt, as to the veracity of his claim to divine illumination. Still
with every abatement, here is a body of truth none can gainsay nor
resist; abysses not yet fathomed by any successor, naturalist, or

After this surprising statement of his views of Swedenborg, Miss Bremer
asked more questions about Mr. Alcott's definition of an Enthusiast,
adding: "Christ, then, if we speak of him as a man, was an enthusiast."

Mr. Alcott, smiling, said, "Yes, the divinest of enthusiasts,
surrendering himself entirely to the instincts of the Spirit; might
safely do so, being holy, whole, inspired throughout all his gifts, his
whole Personality,--the divine fire pervaded every part; therefore he
was the celestial man."

The conversation here turned upon Nature, in some way which I do not
now recollect, and Mr. Alcott spoke of the great mission of the prophet
of nature.

    "The public child of earth and sky."

"Nature," he said, "was more to some persons than others; they standing
in closer relations to it."

"But nature," said Miss Bremer, "is not wholly good."

"No," said Mr. Alcott; "there is something of Fate in her, too, as in
some persons. She, too, is a little bitten."

The expression seemed to amuse her, for she repeated it several times,

Mr. Alcott then said, "that nature was not wholly sane. It was given
to the celestial man alone to take from it only what was salutary, as
it was the Nemesis of the demonic man to take what was hurtful. Bees
gathered honey from all flowers."

James Russell Lowell asked "if bees did not sometimes secrete poisonous

Mr. Alcott said "he believed they did, but only when wholesome flowers
were denied them."

Miss Littlehale suggested that "honey was not poisonous to the bees,
but to men only, and Mr. Lowell allowed that it was not."

Miss Bremer now returned to the word Enthusiast. She said Mr. Alcott
had defined it well as "divine intoxication."

I do not follow the order of time in what follows, but record some
scattered sayings of the conversation.

Mr. Alcott spoke of "the celestial, or unfallen man, as not making
choice of good; he was chosen rather; elected, deliberation presupposed
a mixed will, a temptation and a lapse. Then, opening Plotinus, he read
this beautiful passage:--

"Every soul is a Venus. And this, the nativity of Venus, and Love
who was born at the same time with her, obscurely signify. The soul,
therefore, when in a condition conformable to nature, loves God,
wishing to be united to him, being, as it were, the desire of a
beautiful virgin to be conjoined with a beautiful love. When, however,
the soul descends into generation, then being, as it were, deceived
by spurious nuptials, and associating herself with another and mortal
love, she becomes petulant and insolent, through being absent from her
father. But when she again hates wantonness and injustice, and becomes
purified from the defilements which are here, and again returns to
her father, she is affected in the most felicitous manner. And those,
indeed, who are ignorant of this affection, may from worldly love form
some conjecture of divine love, by considering how great a felicity the
possession of a most beloved object is conceived to be; and also, by
considering that those earthly objects of love are mortal and noxious;
that the love of them is nothing more than the love of images, and that
they lose their attractive power because they are not truly desirable,
nor our real good, nor that which we investigate. In the ideal world,
however, the object of love is to be found, with which we may be
conjoined, which we may participate and truly possess, and which is not
externally enveloped with flesh. He, however, who knows this, well knew
what I say, and will be convinced that the soul has another life."

Miss Bremer seemed puzzled by this reading as questioning in her mind a
distinction between virtue and innocence, or holiness, which Mr. Alcott
had discriminated clearly.

Some one inquired, "How can we trust our instincts since these have
been so differently educated?"

Mr. Alcott said "they had rather been overborne by the appetites and
passions. It was the tragedy of life that these were obscured so soon,
and the mind left in confusion. The child was more of an enthusiast
than the man ordinarily. And then so many were born old; even in the
babe one sometimes sees some ancient sinner. Youth is so attractive
because still under the sway of instinct. The highest duty is musical
and sings itself. Business, lusts, draw men downwards. Yet were life
earnest and true to the instincts, it would be music and song. Life
was too much for most. No one was always an enthusiast. It was in the
golden moments that he was filled with the overflowing divinity. The
blissful moments were those when one abandons himself to the Spirit,
letting it do what it will with him. True, most persons were divided,
there were two or more of them,--a Deuce distracting them and they in
conflict with evils, or devils. But what is the bad but lapse from the
good,--the good blindfolded?"

"Ah! Mr. Alcott," said Miss Bremer, laughing, "I am desperately afraid
there is a little bit of a devil, after all."

"One's foes are of his own household," said Mr. Alcott. "If his house
is haunted it is by himself only. Our Choices were our Saviours or

Speaking of the temperaments, Mr. Alcott discriminated these in their
different elements.

The celestial man was composed more largely of light and ether. The
demonic man combined more of fire and vapor. The animal man more of
embers and dust.[13]


    The Sanguine or Aeriform is Fair;
    The Choleric or Fiery is Florid;
    The Lymphatic or Aqueous is Olive;
    The Melancholic or Earthy is Dark.

The four are mostly blended in life, the fusion being frequently

The sacraments might be considered symbolically, as Baptism, or
purification by water.

Fasting, or temperance in outward delights.

Continence, or chastity in personal indulgences.

Prayer, or aspiring aims.

Labor, or prayer in act or pursuits.

These he considered the regimen of inspiration and thought.

Mr. Alcott closed the conversation by reading from the Paradise
Regained a description of the banquet spread by Satan for Christ;
also, the lines in praise of Chastity, from the Comus, whose clear
statue-like beauty always affects one powerfully.


  MONDAY, 19.

Hawthorne was of the darker temperament and tendencies. His
sensitiveness and sadness were native, and he cultivated them
apparently alike by solitude, the pursuits and studies in which
he indulged, till he became almost fated to know gayer hours only
by stealth. By disposition friendly, he seemed the victim of his
temperament, as if he sought distance, if not his pen, to put himself
in communication, and possible sympathy with others,--with his nearest
friends, even. His reserve and imprisonment were more distant and
close, while the desire for conversation was livelier, than any one I
have known. There was something of strangeness even in his cherished
intimacies, as if he set himself afar from all and from himself with
the rest; the most diffident of men, as coy as a maiden, he could only
be won by some cunning artifice, his reserve was so habitual, his
isolation so entire, the solitude so vast. How distant people were from
him, the world they lived in, how he came to know so much about them,
by what stratagem he got into his own house or left it, was a marvel.
Fancy fixed, he was not to be jostled from himself for a moment, his
mood was so persistent. There he was in the twilight, there he stayed.
Was he some damsel imprisoned in that manly form pleading alway for
release, sighing for the freedom and companionships denied her? Or was
he some Assyrian ill at ease afar from the olives and the East? Had he
strayed over with William the Conqueror, and true to his Norman nature,
was the baron still in republican America, secure in his castle, secure
in his tower, whence he could defy all invasion of curious eyes? What
neighbor of his ever caught him on the highway, or ventured to approach
his threshold?

    "His bolted Castle gates, what man should ope,
        Unless the Lord did will
        To prove his skill,
    And tempt the fates hid in his horoscope?"

Yet if by chance admitted, welcome in a voice that a woman might own
for its hesitancy and tenderness; his eyes telling the rest.

    "For such the noble language of his eye,
    That when of words his lips were destitute,
    Kind eyebeams spake while yet his tongue was mute."

Your intrusion was worth the courage it cost; it emboldened to future
assaults to carry this fort of bashfulness. During all the time he
lived near me, our estates being separated only by a gate and shaded
avenue, I seldom caught sight of him; and when I did it was but to
lose it the moment he suspected he was visible; oftenest seen on his
hill-top screened behind the shrubbery and disappearing like a hare
into the bush when surprised. I remember of his being in my house
but twice, and then he was so ill at ease that he found excuse for
leaving politely forthwith,--"the stove was so hot," "the clock ticked
so loud." Yet he once complained to me of his wish to meet oftener,
and dwelt on the delights of fellowship, regretting he had so little.
I think he seldom dined from home; nor did he often entertain any
one,--once, an Englishman, when I was also his guest; but he preserved
his shrinking taciturnity, and left to us the conversation. Another
time I dined with a Southern guest at his table. The conversation
turning on the war after dinner, he hid himself in the corner, as if a
distant spectator, and fearing there was danger even there. It was due
to his guest to hear the human side of the question of slavery, since
she had heard only the best the South had to plead in its favor.

I never deemed Hawthorne an advocate of Southern ideas and
institutions. He professed democracy, not in the party, but large
sense of equality. Perhaps he loved England too well to be quite just
to his native land,--was more the Old Englishman than the New. He
seemed to regret the transplanting, as if reluctant to fix his roots
in our soil. His book on England, entitled "Our Old Home," intimates
his filial affection for that and its institutions. If his themes were
American, his treatment of them was foreign, rather. He stood apart as
having no stake in home affairs. While calling himself a democrat, he
sympathized apparently with the absolutism of the old countries. He
had not full faith in the people; perhaps feared republicanism because
it had. Of our literary men, he least sympathized with the North, and
was tremulously disturbed, I remember, at the time of the New-York
mob. It is doubtful if he ever attended a political meeting or voted
on any occasion throughout the long struggle with slavery. He stood
aloof, hesitating to take a responsible part, true to his convictions,
doubtless, strictly honest, if not patriotic.

He strove by disposition to be sunny and genial, traits not native to
him. Constitutionally shy, recluse, melancholy, only by shafts of wit
and flow of humor could he deliver himself. There was a soft sadness
in his smile, a reserve in his glance, telling how isolate he was.
Was he ever one of his company while in it? There was an aloofness, a
_besides_, that refused to affiliate himself with himself, even. His
readers must feel this, while unable to account for it, perhaps, or
express it adequately. A believer in transmitted traits needs but read
his pedigree to find the genesis of what characterized him distinctly,
and made him and his writings their inevitable sequel. Everywhere
you will find persons of his type and complexion similar in cast of
character and opinions. His associates mostly confirm the observation.


Landor's Biography, edited by James Forster, and lately published
here, well repays perusal. Landor seems to have been the victim of his
temperament all his life long. I know not when I have read a commentary
so appalling on the fate that breaks a noble mind on the wheel of
its passions, precipitating it into the dungeons but to brighten its
lights. Of impetuous wing, his genius was yet sure of its boldest
flights, and to him, if any modern, may be applied Coleridge's epithet
of "myriad mindedness," so salient, varied, so daring the sweep of his
thought. More than any he reminds of Shakespeare in dramatic power; of
Plato, in his mastery of dialogue; in epic force, of Æschylus. He seems
to have been one of the demigods, cast down, out of place, out of his
time, restless ever, and indignant at his destiny,--

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

His stormful, wayward career exemplifies in a remarkable manner the
recoiling Fate pervading human affairs.

"A sharp dogmatic man," says Emerson, who met him when abroad, "with
a great deal of knowledge, a great deal of worth and a great deal of
pride, with a profound contempt for all that he does not understand,
a master of elegant learning and capable of the utmost delicacy of
sentiment, and yet prone to indulge a sort of ostentation of coarse
imagery and language. He has capital enough to have furnished the
brain of fifty stock authors, yet has written no good book. In these
busy days of avarice and ambition, when there is so little disposition
to profound thought, or to any but the most superficial intellectual
entertainments, a faithful scholar, receiving from past ages the
treasures of wit, and enlarging them by his own lore, is a friend and
consoler of mankind. Whoever writes for the love of mirth and beauty,
and not with ulterior ends, belongs to this sacred class, and among
these, few men of the present age have a better claim to be numbered
than Mr. Landor. Wherever genius and taste have existed, wherever
freedom and justice are threatened (which he values as the element in
which genius may work), his interest is here to be commanded. Nay,
when we remember his rich and ample page, wherein we are always sure
to find free and sustained thought, a keen and precise understanding,
an affluent and ready memory familiar with all chosen books, an
industrious observation in every department of life, an experience to
which nothing has occurred in vain, honor for every just sentiment, and
a scourge like that of the Furies for every oppressor, whether public
or private, we feel how dignified is this perpetual censor in his
cerule chair, and we wish to thank a benefactor of the reading world."

No writer of our time in the difficult species of composition, the
dialogue, has attained a success upon so high a plane as Landor
in his Conversations, wherein he has treated almost every human
interest, brought his characters together, like Plato's interlocutors,
from different ages and of differing opinions, using these as
representatives of the world's best literature. And besides these his
masterpieces, his verses have the chaste and exquisite quality of the
best Greek poetry.

"His dialogues number," says his biographer, "not fewer than a hundred
and fifty. Different as these were in themselves, it was not the
less the distinguishing mark of their genius to be, both in their
conformation and in their mass, almost strangely alike; and it is
this unity in their astonishing variety, the fire of an inexpressible
genius running through the whole, that gives to his books containing
them their place among the books not likely to pass away; there is
scarcely a form or function of the human mind, sincere or sprightly,
cogitative or imaginative, historical, fanciful, or real, which has not
been exercised or brought into play in this extraordinary series of
writings. The world, past and present, is reproduced in them, with its
variety and uniformity, its continuity and change."

What Landor says of written dialogue, holds in still wider latitude,
even, in conversation.

"When a man writes a dialogue, he has it all to himself, the pro and
the con, the argument and the reply. Within the shortest given space
of time, he may indulge in every possible variety of mood. He may
contradict himself every minute. In the same page, without any sort of
violence, the most different shades of sentiment may find expression.
Extravagance of statement, which in other forms could not be admitted,
may be fully put forth. Dogmas of every description may be dealt in,
audaciously propounded, or passionately opposed, with a result all the
livelier in proportion to the mere vehemence expended on them. In no
other style of composition is a writer so free from ordinary restraints
upon opinion, or so absolved from self-control. Better far than any
other, it adapts itself to eagerness and impatience. Dispensing with
preliminaries, the jump _in medias res_ may at once be taken safely.
That one thing should be unexpectedly laid aside, and another as
capriciously taken up, is quite natural to it; the subjects being
few that may not permissively branch off into all the kindred topics
connected with them, when the formalities held ordinarily necessary in
the higher order of prose composition have disappeared in the freedom
of conversation."



    "When sleep hath closed our eyes the mind sees well,
    For Fate by daylight is invisible."

Things admirable for the admirable hours. The morning for thought,
the afternoon for recreation, the evening for company, the night for
rest. Having drank of immortality all night, the genius enters eagerly
upon the day's task, impatient of any impertinences jogging the full
glass. The best comes when we are at our best; and who so buoyant
as to be always rider of the wave? Sleep, and see; wake, and report
the nocturnal spectacle. Sleep, like travel, enriches, refreshes,
by varying the day's perspective, showing us the night side of the
globe we traverse day by day. We make transits too swift for our
wakeful senses to follow; pass from solar to lunar consciousness in
a twinkling, lapse from forehead and face to occupy our lower parts,
and recover, as far as permitted, the keys of genesis and of the
foreworlds. "All truth," says Porphyry, "is latent; but this the soul
sometimes beholds when she is a little liberated by sleep from the
employments of the body. And sometimes she extends her sight, but never
perfectly reaches the objects of her vision. Hence, when she beholds,
she does not see it with a free and direct light, but through an
intervening veil, which the folds of darkening nature draw over her
eye. This veil, when in sleep it admits the light to extend as far as
truth, is said to be of horn, whose nature is such, from its tenuity,
that it is pervious to the light. But when it dulls the sight and
repels its vision of truth, it is said to be of ivory, which is a body
so naturally dense, that, however thin it may be scraped, it cannot be
penetrated by the visual rays."

Homer says,--

    "Our dreams descend from Jove."

That is, from the seat of intellect, and declare their import when our
will sleeps. Then are they of weighty and reliable import, yet require
the like suppression of our will to make plain their significance.
Only so is the oracle made reliable. The good alone dream divinely.
Our dreams are characteristic of our waking thoughts and states; we
are never out of character; never quite another, even when fancy seeks
to metamorphose us entirely. The Person is One in all the manifold
phases of the Many through which we transmigrate, and we find ourself
perpetually, because we cannot lose ourself personally in the mazes of
the many. 'Tis the one soul in manifold shapes, ever the old friend of
the mirror in other face, old and new, yet one in endless revolution
and metamorphosis, suggesting a common relationship of forms at their
base, with divergent types as these range wider and farther from their
central archetype, including all concrete forms in nature, each
returning into other, and departing therefrom in endless revolution.[14]

[Footnote 14: The seeming miracle and mystery of the mesmeric, or
clairvoyant vivacity, is best explained by conceiving the instreaming
force of the operator driving the magnetic current from cerebrum to
the cerebellum of his victim, and there, while under the pressure,
reporting the operator's sensations and thoughts through the common
brain of both. And this view is confirmed by the further fact that
under this dominating force the domain of memory is the more deeply
searched, and things revealed which, separate and alone, left unaided
by such agencies, neither could have divined. It is like one's adding
a double brain to his own, and subsidizing it the while to serve his
particular ends.]

"I catch myself philosophizing most eloquently," wrote Thoreau, "when
first returning to consciousness in the night or morning. I make the
truest observations and distinctions then when the will is yet wholly
asleep, and mind works like a machine without friction. I was conscious
of having in my sleep transcended the limits of the individual, and
made observations and carried on conversations which in my waking hours
I can neither recall nor appreciate. As if, in sleep, our individual
fell into the infinite mind, and at the moment of awakening we found
ourselves on the confines of the latter. On awakening, we resume our
enterprise, take up our bodies, and become limited minds again. We
meet and converse with those bodies which we have previously animated.
There is a moment in the dawn when the darkness of the night is
dissipated, and before the exhalations of the day begin to rise, when
we see all things more truly than at any other time. The light is more
trustworthy, since our senses are pure and the atmosphere is less
gross. By afternoon, all objects are seen in mirage."

All men are spiritualists in finer or coarser manners, as temperament
and teaching dictate and determine,--the spiritual world revealing
itself accordingly. Speculation has in all ages delighted itself in
this preternatural realm from whence have risen the ghosts of realties
too unsubstantial and fugitive for ordinary senses to apprehend.
Whatever the facts, they receive interpretation according to the
spirit and intelligence of the believer. The past is full of such
prodigies and phenomena, for whose solution all learning, sacred and
profane, is revived in its turn. It appears that like opinions have
their rounds to run, like theories with their disciples, reappearing
in all great crises of thought, and reaching a fuller solution at each
succeeding period. A faith, were such possible, destitute of an element
of preternaturalism, or of mysticism, pure or mixed, could not gain
general acceptance. Some hold on the invisible connects the known with
unknown, yet leaving the copula to be divined. We define it on our lips
when we pronounce the word Person, and so approach, as near as we may,
to the "I Am" of things.

    Unseen our spirits move, are such,
    So eager they to clasp, they feel, they touch
    While yet our bodies linger, cannot speed
    The distance that divides, confines their need.


  SUNDAY, 25.

"Before the Revolution of 1688," says Coleridge, "metaphysics ruled
without experimental philosophy. Since the Revolution, experimental
psychology has in like manner prevailed, and we now feel the result.
In like manner, from Plotinus to Proclus, that is, from A. D. 250 to
A. D. 450, philosophy was set up as a substitute for religion; during
the dark ages, religion superseded philosophy, and the consequences are
equally instructive."

"The great maxim in legislation, intellectual or physical, is
_subordinate, not exclude_. Nature, in her ascent, leaves nothing
behind; but at each step subordinates and glorifies,--mass, crystal,
organ, sensation, sentience, reflection."

Taken in reverse order of descent, Spirit puts itself before, at each
step protrudes faculty in feature, function, organ, limb, subordinating
to glorify also,--person, volition, thought, sensibility, sense,
body,--animating thus and rounding creation to soul and sense alike.
The naturalist cannot urge too strongly the claims of physical, nor
the plea of the idealist be too vigorously pressed for metaphysical
studies. One body in one soul. Nature and spirit are inseparable, and
are best studied as a unit. "Either without the other," as Plato said
of sex, "is but half itself." Nature ends where spirit begins. The
idealist's point of view is the obverse of the naturalist's, and each
must accost his side with a first love, before use has worn off the
bloom and seduced their vision.

Goethe said of Aristotle that "he had better observed nature than any
modern, but was too rash in his inferences and conclusions"; and he
adds, "we must go to work slowly, and more indulgently with Nature, if
we would get anything from her."

Inspired by his example of dealing thus reverently and lovingly with
nature, the great naturalists of our time are reading secrets hitherto
hidden from less careful and pious observers. If the results thus
far have not satisfied the idealist, it becomes him to consider that
his methods are the reverse of theirs, and that when they shall have
tracked Life in its manifold shapes and modes of working in nature up
to Spirit, their office is fulfilled, their work complete, and their
discoveries are passed over to him for a higher generalization and
genesis. "A physical delineation of nature," says Humboldt, "terminates
at the point where the sphere of intellect begins, and a new world is
opened to our view; it marks the limit, but does not pass it."

Whether man be the successor or predecessor of his inferiors in nature,
is to be determined by exploring faithfully the realms of matter and
of spirit alike, and complementing the former in the latter. Whether
surveyed in order descending or ascending, in genesis or process, from
the side of the idealist or of the naturalist, the keystone of the arch
in either case is an ideal, underpropped by matter or upheld by mind.

    "If men be worlds, there is in every one
    Something to answer in fit proportion
    All the world's riches, and in substance this,--
    PERSON his form's form, and soul's soul, is."

Man, the sum total of animals, transcends all in being a Person, a
responsible creature. "The distinguishing mark," says Aristotle,
"between man and the lower animals is this: that he alone is endowed
with the power of knowing good and evil, justice and injustice, and
it is a participation in this that constitutes a family and a city."
Man is man in virtue of being a Person, a self-determining will, held
accountable to a spiritual Ideal. To affirm that brute creatures are
endowed with freedom and choice, the sense of responsibility, were to
exalt them into a spiritual existence and personality; whereas, it is
plain enough that they are not above deliberation and choice, but below
it, under the sway of Fate, as men are when running counter to reason
and conscience. The will bridges the chasm between man and brute,
and frees the fated creature he were else. Solitary, not himself,
the victim of appetite, inmate of the den, is man till freed from
individualism, and delivered into his free Personality. "Ye must be
born again."

The conflict between man's desires and satisfactions declares his
defection from Personal holiness. While at one personally with
himself, life suffices, his wants are seconded as they rise, and his
self-respect preserved inviolate. But lapsed from personal rectitude,
fallen out of and below himself, he is at variance with things around
as within, his senses deceive, his will is divided, and he becomes the
victim of duplicities, discontents, the prey of remorse.

"'Tis a miserable thing," says Glanvil, "to have been happy; and a
self-contented wretchedness is a double one. Had felicity always
been a stranger to humanity, our present misery had not been. And
had not ourselves been the authors of our ruin, less. We might have
been made unhappy; but since we are miserable, we chose it. He that
gave our outward enjoyments might have taken them from us, but none
could have robbed us of innocence but ourselves. While man knows no
sin, he is ignorant of nothing that it imports humanity to know; but
when he has sinned, the same transgression that opens his eyes to see
his own shame, shuts them against most things else but that, and the
newly-purchased misery. With the nakedness of his body, he sees that of
his soul, and the blindness and disarray of his faculties to which his
former innocence was a stranger; and that which shows them to him makes
them. No longer the creature he was made, he loses not only his Maker's
image, but his own. And does not much more transcend the creatures
placed at his feet, than he comes short of his ancient self."

    Whose the decree
    Souls Magdalens must be
    To know felicity,
    The path to it
    Through pleasure's pit,
    Soft sin undress
    Them of their holiness,--
    Hath heaven so writ?

    Happier the fate
    That opes heaven's gate
    With crystal key
    Of purity,
    And thus fulfils life's destiny.



        "... The milder sun
    Does through a fragrant zodiac run,
    And as it works the industrious bee
    Computes its time as well as we:
    How can such sweet and wholesome hours
    Be reckoned but with fruits and flowers?"




Days like these give dignity and loveliness to the landscape; the scene
enhanced by imperial tints of gold and purple, the orchards bending
with their ruddy burdens. It is the season of nectar and ambrosia, and
suggests the Platonic bees, the literature and conversation of the
Academy and Lyceum.

Very interesting reading these letters of Plato, and a goodly volume
to hold in one's hand, in antique type and binding. Whether a reprint
would reward the publisher, I cannot say. His seventh letter is an
affecting piece of autobiography, and, taken with Plutarch's Dion,
gives the best picture of his journeys to Syracuse that history affords.

       *       *       *       *       *

"For it is a thing," he writes to the Kindred and Friends of Dion,
"altogether correct and honorable for him who aspires after things the
most honorable, both to himself and his country, to suffer whatever
he may suffer; for not one of us is naturally immortal; nor if this
should happen to any one would he become happy, as it seems he would
to the multitude. For in things inanimate there is nothing either good
or evil worthy of mention, but good or ill will happen to each soul,
either existing with the body, or separated from it. But it is ever
requisite to trust really to the sacred accounts of the olden times,
which inform us that the soul is immortal, and has judges of its
conduct, and suffers the greatest punishments when liberated from the
body. Hence, it is requisite to think it is a lesser evil to suffer,
than to commit the greatest sins and injuries."

     ·     ·     ·     ·     ·

"And I should have felt more justly against those who murdered Dion,
an anger, in a certain manner, almost as great as against Dionysius;
for both had injured myself and all the rest, so to say, in the highest
degree. For the former had destroyed a man who was willing to make use
of justice; while the latter was unwilling to make use of it through
the whole of his dominions, although possessing the highest power. In
which dominions had philosophy and power existed really, as it were,
in the same dwelling, they would have set up amongst men, both Greeks
and barbarians, an opinion not vainly shining, and in every respect
the true one, that neither a state nor a man can ever be happy unless
by leading a life with prudence in subjection to justice, whether
possessing those things themselves, or by being brought up in the
habits of holy persons, their rulers, or instructed in justice."

"This injury did Dionysius inflict. But the rest would have been a
trifling wrong as compared to these. But he who murdered Dion did not
know that he had done the same deed as Dionysius. For I clearly know,
as far as possible for one man to speak confidently of another, that if
Dion had attained power, he would never have changed it to any other
form of government than to that by which he first caused Syracuse, his
own country, after he had delivered it from slavery, to look joyous,
and had put it into the garb of freedom; and after all this, he would
by every contrivance have adorned the citizens with laws both befitting
and best; and he would have been ready to do what followed in due order
after this, and have colonized the whole of Sicily, and have freed it
from the barbarians, by expelling some and subduing others, more easily
than Hiero did. But if these things had taken place through a man just,
brave, and temperate, and who was a philosopher, the same opinion of
virtue would have been produced amongst the multitude, as would have
been amongst all men, so to say, and have saved Dionysius, had he been
persuaded by me. But now some dæmon, surely, or some evil spirit,
falling upon with iniquity and impiety, and what is the greatest
matter, with the audacity of ignorance, in which all evils are rooted,
and from which they spring up, and afterwards produce fruit the most
bitter to those who have begotten it,--this has a second time subverted
and destroyed everything. However, let us, for the sake of a good
augury, keep for the third time a well-omened silence."[15]

[Footnote 15: "The great interest is not in the present city of
Syracuse" (writes a traveller, Feb. 9, 1869), "but in its vicinity,
where we inspect the doings of Greeks twenty-five to three thousand
years ago, and of the Romans at a later date. Their works are
constructed out of the solid rock, and have withstood the terrible
earthquakes which have completely destroyed all traces of other works.
Among the interesting objects in the city is the cathedral, formerly
the temple of Minerva, which is a magnificent specimen of Doric
architecture, and has continued to be a place of worship through all
the changes of idolatry and Christianity, for twenty-five hundred
years; the church of St. Marcian here puts in its claim to have been
the first church in Europe in which Christian worship was celebrated.
Full of interest are the catacombs and the ancient prisons in the
quarries from which the materials of Syracuse were taken; here is the
Ear of Dionysius, the tyrant of Syracuse, a prison so arranged that
every word spoken within it was re-echoed into his chamber, where it is
said he passed entire days listening to the complaints of his victims.
Here, too, is the famous fountain of Arethusa, one of the Nereads,
and whom Virgil reckons among the Sicilian nymphs, as the divinity
who inspired pastoral poetry. Syracuse was at different periods the
residence of Plato, Simonides, Zeno, and Cicero; it was the place where
Hicetus first propounded the true revolution of the earth; it was the
birthplace of the poets Theocritus and Moschus, and the philosopher
Archimedes, who lost his life at the capture of the city by the

One sees the noble spirit of Plato in these passages, and feels how the
death of his friend and pupil, Dion, at the moment when he had won the
freedom of his country, and a sphere for proving his master's ideas in
its rule, must have affected Plato, and the friends of Dion. If doubts
have been entertained as to the genuineness of these letters, it is
plain they were written by some intimate friend of his, or of Dion, and
have the merit, at least, of historical accuracy and evidence.


[Footnote 16: Born B.C. 429; died 348.]

It was a common speech among the Athenians, that Apollo begat
Æsculapius and Plato,--the one to cure bodies, the other, souls.
Certainly the last was of divine extraction; his life and thoughts
fruitful in genius and immortality. Like other superior persons, his
birth is traced to a divine ancestry, and dignified with fables.
His mother, Perictione, was a descendant of Solon, and a woman of
extraordinary beauty. Aristo, his father, was of an eminent family.
To him Apollo appeared in a dream, enjoining upon him respect for his
wife's maternity; and, in accordance with the vision, it was affirmed,--

    "He did not issue from a mortal bed;
    A god his sire, a godlike life he led."

Whilst he was yet an infant, carried in his mother's arms, Aristo went
to Hymettus to sacrifice to the Muses, taking his wife and child with
him. As they were busied in the divine rites, she laid the babe in a
thicket of myrtles hard by, to whom, as he slept, came a swarm of bees,
artists of Hymettian honey, flying and buzzing about him, and (so runs
the myth) made a honeycomb in his mouth,--this being a presage of the
singular sweetness of his future eloquence foreseen in infancy.

As things fall out, not by chance, but by divine ordination, and are
intimated in advance, for the most part, so Socrates, who was to win
the noblest of the Athenian youths for his pupil and disciple, dreamed,
the night before Plato was commended to him, that a young swan fled
from Cupid's altar in the Academy, and sat upon his lap, thence flew up
to heaven, delighting both gods and men with its music. Next day, as
he was relating this to some of his friends, Aristo came to him, and
presented his son Plato to be his pupil. As soon as Socrates saw him,
reading in his looks his ingenuity, "Friends," said he, "this is the
swan of Cupid's Academy."

Whilst a child, he was remarkable for his sharpness of apprehension,
and the admirable modesty of his disposition; the beginnings of his
youth being seasoned with labor and love of study, which virtues
increased and harmonized with all others when he came to man's estate.
He early learned the art of wrestling, and became so great a proficient
that he took part in the Isthmian and Pythian games. As in years and
virtue, so likewise he increased extraordinarily in bodily proportion
and shape, insomuch that Aristo named him Plato, which implies breadth
of shoulders and bold eloquence. He also studied painting and poetry,
writing epics after the manner of Homer; but, finding how far he fell
short of him, he committed them to the flames. Intending to contest for
the palm at the Olympic Theatre, he wrote some dramatic pieces, and
gave them to the players, to be performed at the festivals. But the
day before these were to have been presented, chancing to hear Socrates
discourse in the theatre before the Bacchanals, he was so taken with
him that he not only forbore to contest at the time, but wholly gave
over all tragic poetry, and burned his verses. From that time, being
then in his twentieth year, he became a follower of Socrates, and
studied philosophy.

He studied eight years with Socrates, committing, as was the custom
with his scholars, the substance of his master's discourses to writing.
Of these were some of his Dialogues afterwards composed, with such
additions of argument and ornament that Socrates, hearing him recite
his Lysis, exclaimed, "O Hercules! how many things this young man
fables of me!"

He was one of the youngest of the Senate at the time of Socrates'
arraignment. The judges being much displeased with Socrates, Plato
took the orator's chair, intending to plead in his master's defence,
beginning, "Though I, Athenians, am the youngest of those that come
to this place,"--but, as all the Senate were against his speaking, he
was constrained to leave the chair. Socrates being condemned, Plato
offered to obtain the money for purchasing his liberty, which Socrates
refused. Upon the death of Socrates, Plato,--whose excessive grief
is mentioned by Plutarch,--with others of his disciples, fearing the
tyranny of those who put their master to death, fled to Euclid at
Megara, who befriended and entertained them till the storm was blown
over. He afterwards travelled in Italy, where he addicted himself to
the discipline of Pythagoras, which, though he saw it replenished with
curious and high reason, yet he chiefly affected the continence and
chastity, along with the knowledge of nature, possessed by that school.

Desiring to add to the knowledge of the Pythagoreans the benefits of
other disciplines, he went to Cyrene to learn geometry of Theodorus,
the mathematician; thence into Egypt, under pretence of selling
oil,--the scope of his journey thither being to bring the knowledge
of astrology from thence, and to be instructed in the rites of the
prophets and the mysteries. Having taken a full survey of the country,
he settled himself at Sais, learning of the school of wise men there
the doctrines of the universe, the immortality of the soul, and its
transmigrations. From Egypt he returned to Tarentum in Italy, where
he conversed with Archytas the elder, and other Pythagoreans, adding
to the learning of Socrates that of Pythagoras. He would have gone
also to India to study with the Magi; but the wars then raging in Asia
prevented. While in Egypt he probably became familiar with the opinions
of Hermes Trismegistus. That he also received some light from Moses is
probable, since his laws were translated into Greek before Alexander's
time, and Josephus, the Jew, affirms, "that he chiefly followed our
Lawgiver." And Numenius asks, "Of philosophers, what is Plato but Moses
speaking Greek?" It is known that he brought from Sicily, where he went
thrice, at the invitation of Dionysius the younger, the three books of
Philolaus, the Pythagorean, on natural philosophy, the first that were
published out of that school. These he appears to have woven into his
dialogue entitled "Timeus." Timeon accuses him of this appropriation.

    "You Plato with the same affection caught
    With a great sum, a little treatise bought,
    Where all the knowledge which you own was taught,"--

alluding to his having received of Dionysius above eighty talents, and
being flush with his money.

He is said to owe much to Protagoras, and wrote a dialogue under that
title. In politics, as in morals, he drew largely from the opinions of
his master, Socrates; and it is related that he was indebted to the
books of Sophron, which, having been long neglected, were by him first
brought to Athens, and found under his pillow at his death. Certainly
he, of all scholars, had the best right to borrow, since none could
recognize his own in his pages, and any author might glory in being
esteemed worthy of lending a syllable to so consummate a creator.

On returning to Athens from his Egyptian travels, he settled himself in
the Academy, a gymnasium, or place of exercise, in the suburbs of the
city, surrounded by woods, and taking its name from Academus, one of
the heroes.

    "The fluent, sweet-tongued sage first led the way,
    Who writes as smoothly as from some green spray
    Of Academe grasshoppers chirp their lay."

The occasion of his living here was that he owned an orchard adjoining
the Academy. In process of time, this orchard was much enlarged
by good-will, studious persons bequeathing of their riches to the
professors of philosophy, to maintain the quiet and tranquillity of a
philosophical life. Here he first taught philosophy; afterwards in the
Gardens of Colonus. At the entrance of his school was written,--

    "Let none ignorant of geometry enter here";

signifying, by this inscription, not only the proportion and harmony of
lines, but also of inward affections and ideas.

His school took the name of the Academy. He thought it was a great
matter, in the education of youth, to accustom them to take delight
in good things; otherwise, he affirmed, pleasures were the bait of
evil. Education should be conducted with a serene sweetness, never by
force or violence, but by gentleness, accompanied with persuasion and
every kind of invitation. His teaching was conducted by conversation
or dialogue. His method of discourse was threefold,--first, to declare
what that is which is taught; then, for what reason it is asserted,
whether as a principal cause, or as a comparison, and whether to defend
the tenet, or controvert it; thirdly, whether it be rightly said. He
expounded the things which he conceived to be true; confuted those
which were false; suspended his opinions on those which were doubtful.

His philosophy comprised the elements of the school of Heraclitus,
Pythagoras, and Socrates, combined in a system which he distributed
into three parts,--moral, consisting of action; natural, in
contemplation; rational, in distinction of true and false, which,
though useful in all, yet belongs to pure thought. As of old,
in a tragedy the chorus acted alone; then Thespis, making some
intermissions of the chorus, introduced one actor, Æschylus a second,
Sophocles a third; in like manner, philosophy was at first but of one
kind,--physic; then Socrates added ethic; thirdly, Plato, inventing
dialectic, made it perfect.

This third part, dialectic, consisting in reason and dissertation, he
treated thus: Though judgments arise from the sense, yet the judgment
of truth is not in the senses. The mind alone is the judge of things,
and only fit to be credited, because the mind alone sees that which
is simple, uniform, and certain, which is named Idea. All sense he
conceived to be obtuse and slow, and nowise able to perceive those
things which seem subject to sense; those things being so minute that
they cannot fall under sense; so movable and various, that nothing
is one, constant and the same; all are in continual alteration and
movement, and subjects of opinion only. Science he affirmed to be
nowhere but in the reasons and thoughts of the mind, whose objects are
ideas, whence he approved definitions of things, and applied these
to whatsoever subject he discussed, discriminating things and naming
them etymologically. In this consisted the discipline of dialectic;
that is, of speech concluded by reason. Though Socrates practised
conversation by way of question and answer, or dialogue, yet Plato so
much refined the form, both in speech and composition, that he deserves
to be preferred before others, as well for invention as reformation.
The analytical method, which reduces the thing sought into its
principle, is his invention.[17]

[Footnote 17: "Plato," says Grote, "appreciated dialogue, not only as
the road to a conclusion, but for the mental discipline and suggestive
influences of the tentative and verifying process. It was his purpose
to create in his hearers a disposition to prosecute philosophical
researches of their own, and at the same time to strengthen their
ability of doing this with effect. This remark is especially confirmed
in the two dialogues, the Sophisticus and Politicus, wherein he defends
himself against reproaches seemingly made at the time. To what does
all this tend? Why do you stray so widely from your professed topic?
Could you not have reached the point by a shorter road? He replies by
distinctly proclaiming--that the process, with its improving influence
on the mind, stands first in his thoughts, the direct conclusion of the
inquiry only second; that the special topic which he discusses, though
in itself important, is nevertheless chosen primarily with a view to
its effect in communicating general method and dialectical aptitude,
just as a schoolmaster, when he gives out to his pupils a word to be
spelt, looks mainly, not to the exactness in spelling the particular
word, but to their command of good spelling generally. To form
inquisitive testing minds, fond of philosophical debate as a pursuit,
and looking at opinions on the negative as on the positive side, is the
first object of most of Plato's dialogues: to teach positive truth, is
only a secondary object."--_Grote's Plato, Vol. II, p. 399._]

Several words were also introduced by him in philosophy. Of these are
"element," which before his time was confounded with "principle." He
distinguished them thus: "Principle is that which has nothing before
it whereof it might be generated; elements are compounded." The word
"poem" was first used by him. So were "superficies" and "antipodes."
"Divine providence," words since appropriated by Christian theologians,
was first an expression of Plato's. He, too, first considered the force
and efficacy of grammar as the organ of pure thought.

His school was the pride of Athens, and drew into it its most gifted
youth, as well as scholars from abroad. His most distinguished
disciples were Speusippus, his nephew, whom he reformed by his example
and teachings, and who became eminent as a philosopher, succeeding
him in the Academy; Xenocrates, whom he much loved; Aristotle, the
Stagirite, whom Plato used to call a wild colt, foreseeing that he
would oppose him in his philosophy, as a colt, having sucked, kicks its
dam. Xenocrates was slow, Aristotle quick, in extremity; whence Plato
said of them, "See what an unequal team this of mine. What an ass and
horse to yoke together!"

Isocrates the orator, and Demosthenes, were among his auditors; Dion of
Syracuse was an intimate friend of his, and by his persuasions he made
two journeys to Syracuse, at one of which he was sold into slavery by
the tyranny of Dionysius, and being redeemed by his friend, returned to
Athens, as is related by Plutarch. Xenophon was his contemporary.

At home he lived quietly in the Academy, not taking part in public
affairs, the laws and customs of the Athenians not being in harmony
with his ideas of republican institutions. "Princes," he said, "had
no better possessions than the familiarity of such men as could not
flatter, wisdom being as necessary to a prince as the soul to the
body; and that kingdoms would be most happy if either philosophers
ruled, or the rulers were inspired with philosophy, since nothing is
more pernicious than power and arrogance accompanied with ignorance.
Subjects should be such as princes seem to be." And he held that a
philosopher might retire from the commonwealth if its affairs were
unjustly administered. "A just man was a perpetual magistrate."

He affirmed that philosophy was the true helper of the soul, all else
but ornamental; that nothing is more pleasing to a sound mind than to
speak and hear the truth spoken, than which nothing is better or more

The study of philosophy, if it made him select in the choice of his
associates, did not sour his temper, nor render him exclusive in his
intercourse and fellowship with mankind. At the Olympian games, he
once fell into company with some strangers who did not know him, upon
whose affections he gained greatly by his affable conversation, dining
and spending the day with them, never mentioning either the Academy or
Socrates, only saying his name was Plato. When they came to Athens, he
entertained them courteously. "Come, Plato," said the strangers, "now
show us your namesake, Socrates' disciple. Take us to the Academy:
recommend us to him, that we may know him." He, smiling a little, as he
used, said, "I am the man." Whereat they were greatly amazed, having
conversed so familiarly with a person of that eminence, who used no
boasting or ostentation, and showed that, besides his philosophical
discourse, his ordinary conversation was extremely winning.

He lived single, yet soberly and chastely. So constant was he in his
composure and gravity, that a youth brought up under him, returning to
his parents, and hearing his father speak vehemently and loudly, said,
"I never found this in Plato." He ate but once a day, or, if the second
time, very sparingly, abstaining mostly from animal food. He slept
alone, and much discommended the contrary practice.

Of his prudence, patience, moderation, and magnanimity, and other
virtues, there are many instances recorded. When he left his school,
he was wont to say, "See, youths, that you employ your idle hours
usefully. Prefer labor before idleness, unless you esteem rust above

To Philedonus, who blamed him that he was as studious to learn as
teach, and asked him how long he meant to be a disciple, he replied,
"As long as I am not ashamed of growing better and wiser."

Being asked what difference there was between a learned man and
unlearned,--"The same as betwixt a physician and patient."

To Antisthenes, making a long oration,--"You forget that discourse is
to be measured by the hearer, not the speaker."

Hearing a vicious person speak in defence of another,--"This man," said
he, "carries his heart in his tongue." He blamed having musicians at
feasts, "to hinder discourse."

Seeing the Agregentines so magnificent in building, and luxurious in
feasting,--"These people," said he, "build as if they were immortal,
and eat as if they were to die instantly."

He advised "drunken and angry men to look in the glass if they would
refrain from those vices," and Xenocrates, by reason of his severe
countenance, "to sacrifice to the Graces."

Being desirous to wean Timotheus, the son of Canon, the Athenian
general, from sumptuous military feasts, he invited him into the
Academy to a plain moderate supper, such as pleasing sleep succeeds
in a good temper of body. The next day, Timotheus, observing the
difference, said, "They who feasted with Plato never complained the
next morning."

His servant having displeased him for some offence, he said to him,
"Were I not angry, I should chastise you for it." At another time, his
servant being found faulty, he had him lay off his coat; and, while he
stood with his hand raised, a friend coming in asked him what he was
doing. "Punishing an angry man," said he. It was a saying of his, that
"no wise man punishes in respect of past faults, but for preventing
future ones."

On being told that some one spoke ill of him, he answered, "No
matter: I will live so that none shall believe him." When asked
whether there should be any record left to posterity of his actions
or sayings,--"First," said he, "we must get a name, then many things

Continuing a single life to his end, and not having any heirs of his
own, he bequeathed his estate to his nephew, young Adimantus, the son
of Adimantus, his second brother. Besides his orchard and grounds
inherited or added by purchase, he left to him "three mina of silver,
a golden cup, and a finger and ear-rings of gold. The gold ear-ring
was one he wore when a boy, as a badge of his nobility; and the golden
cup was one of sacrifice. He left to his servants, Ticho, Bictus, and
Apolloniades, Dionysius' goods." He "owed no man anything."

He died on his eighty-first birthday, for which reason the Magi at
Athens sacrificed to him, as conceiving him to have been more than man,
and as having fulfilled the most perfect number, nine multiplied into
itself. He died of old age; which Seneca ascribes to his temperance and

This, among other epitaphs, was inscribed on his tombstone:--

    "Earth in her bosom Plato's body hides:
    His soul amongst the deathless gods resides.
    Aristo's son, whose fame to strangers spread,
    Made them admire the sacred life he led."

Plutarch tells that Solon began the story of the Atlantides, which
he had learned of the priests of Sais, but gave it over on account of
his old age and the largeness of the work. He adds that "Plato, taking
the same argument as a waste piece of fertile ground fallen to him by
hereditary right, manured, refined, and inclosed it with large walls,
porches, and galleries, such as never any fable had before; but he
too, undertaking it late, died before completing it. 'The more things
written delight us, the more they disappoint us,' he remarks, 'when
not finished.' For as the Athenian city left the temple of Jupiter,
so Plato's wisdom, amongst many writings, left the Atlantides alone

The order in which his dialogues were written is yet a question of
dispute with scholars. It is conceded, however, that the "Republic" and
the "Laws" were completed, if not wholly written, in his old age. Nor
is the number of his dialogues accurately determined. Some attributed
to him are supposed to be spurious, as are some of the letters. All are
contained in Bohn's edition of the works of Plato, and accessible in
scholarly translations to the English reader.[18]

[Footnote 18: Among the works deserving of a wider circulation is
Thomas Stanley's "History of Philosophy." It well repays perusal,
compiled as it was by an enthusiastic student of ancient thought, from
reliable sources, and embodying, in an attractive style, "the Lives,
Opinions, Actions, and Discourses of the Philosophers of every Sect,
illustrated with Portraits of many of them. Third edition. Folio, pp.
750. London, 1701." The preceding notes are mostly extracted from this

Of the great minds of antiquity, Plato stands preeminent in breadth and
beauty of speculation. His books are the most suggestive, sensible,
the friendliest, and, one may say, most modern of books. And it almost
atones for any poverty of thought in our time, this admission to a
mind thus opulent in the grandeur and graces of intelligence, giving
one a sense of his debt to genius and letters. His works are a cosmos,
as Pythagoras named the world. And one rises from their perusal as if
returned from a circumnavigation of the globe of knowledge, human and
divine. So capacious was his genius, so comprehensive, so inclusive,
so subtile, and so versatile, withal, that he readily absorbed the
learning of his time, moulding this into a body of beauty and harmony
compact; working out, with the skill and completeness of a creator, the
perfect whole we see. His erudition was commensurate with his genius,
and he the sole master of his tools; since in him we have an example,
as successful as it was daring, of an endeavor to animate and give
individuality to his age in the persons whose ideas gave birth to the
age itself. And fortunate it was for him, as for his readers, that he
had before him a living illustration of his time in the person of the
chief character in his dialogues, Socrates himself.

Of these dialogues, the "Republic" is the most celebrated, embodying
his ripest knowledge. It fables a city planted in the divine ideas of
truth and justice as these are symbolized in human forms and natural
things. And one reads with emotions of surprise at finding so much
of sense and wisdom embodied in a form so fair, and of such wide
application, as if it were suited to all peoples and times. Where
in philosophic literature is found a structure of thought so firmly
fixed on natural foundations, and placing beyond cavil or question the
supremacy of mind over matter, portraying so vividly the passage of
ideas through the world, and thus delivering down a divine order of
society to mankind?[19]

[Footnote 19: If his "Republic" and "Laws" hardly justify him against
those who accused him of having written a form of government which he
could persuade none to practise, it may be said, in his favor, that
he gave laws to the Syracusians and Cretans, refusing the like to the
Ayreneans and Thebans, saying, "It was difficult to prescribe laws to
men in prosperity."]

In reading his works, one must have the secret of his method. Written,
as these are, in the simplest style of composition, his reader may
sometimes weary of the slow progress of the argument, and lose
himself in the devious windings of the dialogue. But this is the sole
subtraction from the pleasure of perusal,--the voluminous sacrifices
thus made to method: so much given to compliment, to dulness, in the
interlinked threads of the golden colloquy. Yet Plato rewards as none
other; his regal text is everywhere charged with lively sense, flashing
in every line, every epithet, episode, with the rubies and pearls of
universal wisdom. And the reading is a coronation.[20]

[Footnote 20: "The philosophy of the fourth century, B. C.," says
Grote, "is peculiarly valuable and interesting, not merely from its
intrinsic speculative worth,--from the originality and grandeur of its
two principal heroes, Plato and Aristotle,--from its coincidence with
the full display of dramatic, rhetorical, artistic genius, but also
from a fourth reason not unimportant because it is purely Hellenic;
preceding the development of Alexandrian and the amalgamation of
Oriental veins of thought, with the inspirations of the Academy and
the Lyceum. The Orentes and the Jordan had not yet begun to flow
westward, and to impart their own color to the waters of Attica and
Latium. Not merely the real, but also the ideal, world present to the
minds of Plato and Aristotle, were purely Hellenic. Even during the
century immediately following, this had ceased to be fully true in
respect to the philosophers of Athens; and it became less and less
true with each succeeding century. New foreign centres of rhetoric
and literature, Asiatic and Alexandrian Hellenism, were fostered
into importance by regal enactments. Plato and Aristotle are thus
the special representatives of genuine Hellenic philosophy. The
remarkable intellectual ascendancy acquired by them in their day
and maintained over succeeding centuries, was one main reason why
the Hellenic vein was enabled so long to maintain itself, though in
impoverished condition, against adverse influences from the East,
ever increasing in force. Plato and Aristotle outlasted all their
pagan successors,--successors at once less purely Hellenic and less
gifted. And when St. Jerome, near seven hundred and fifty years
after the decease of Plato, commemorated with triumph the victory of
unlettered Christians over the accomplishments and genius of paganism,
he illustrated the magnitude of the victory by singling out Plato and
Aristotle as the representatives of vanquished philosophy."--_Grote's
Preface to Life of Plato._]

Plato's views of social life are instructive. His idea of woman, of her
place and function, should interest women of our time. They might find
much to admire, and less to criticise than they imagine. His opinions
were greatly in advance of the practice of his own time, and, in some
important particulars, of ours, and which, if carried into legislation,
would favorably affect social purity. His proposition to inflict a
fine on bachelors, and deny them political privileges, is a compliment
to marriage, showing in what estimate he held that relation. So his
provision for educating the children, and giving women a place in the
government of the republic, after they had given citizens to it,
are hints of our modern infant schools and woman's rights movements.
His teachings on social reform generally are the best of studies, in
some respects more modern than the views of our time,--anticipating
the future legislation of communities. On the matter of race and
temperament he thought profoundly, comprehending as have few of our
naturalists the law of descent, complexions, physiognomical features
and characteristics.


"Socrates," says Grote, "disclaimed all pretensions to wisdom. He
announced himself as a philosopher, that is, as ignorant, yet as
painfully conscious of his ignorance and anxiously searching for
wisdom as a correction to it, while most men were equally ignorant,
but unconscious of their ignorance, believed themselves to be already
wise, and delivered confident opinions without ever having analyzed the
matters on which they spoke. The conversation of Socrates was intended,
not to teach wisdom, but to raise men out of this false persuasion of
wisdom, which he believed to be the natural state of the human mind,
into that mental condition which he called philosophy.

"His 'Elenchus' made them conscious of their ignorance, and anxious to
escape from it, and prepared for mental efforts in search of knowledge;
in which search Socrates assisted them, but without declaring, and
even professing inability to declare, where the truth lay in which
this search was to end. He considered this change itself a great and
serious improvement, converting what was evil, radical, ingrained,
into evil superficial and moveable, which was a preliminary condition
to any positive acquirement. The first thing to be done was to create
searchers after truth, men who look at the subject for themselves, with
earnest attention, and make up their own individual convictions. Even
if nothing ulterior were achieved, that alone would be a great deal.

"Such was the scope of the Socratic Conversation, and such the
conception of philosophy (the peculiarity which Plato borrowed from
Socrates), which is briefly noted in the passage of the Lysis and
developed in the Platonic dialogues, especially in the Symposeum."

Observe how confidently the great master of Dialectic went into the
discussion, dealing directly all the while with the Personality of his
auditors, and driving straight through the seeming windings of the
discourse at the seats of thought and of sensibility, by his searching
humor, his delightful irony, thus making the mind the mind's guest and
querist in his suggestive colloquy. Affecting perhaps to know less than
any, he yet showed those with whom he conversed how little they knew,
while professing to know so much, convicting them of being ignorant of
their own ignorance, real wisdom beginning in humility and openness to
instruction. If he puzzled and perplexed, it was but to reduce their
egotism and ignorance, and prepare them for receiving the truths he had
to lay open in themselves. Plato, Aristotle, the German Methodists, but
define and deliver the steps of his method.


Of modern philosophic writers, Berkeley has given the best example of
the Platonic Dialogue, in his "Minute Philosopher," a book to be read
with profit, for its clearness of thought and method. His claim to the
name of metaphysician transcends those of most of his countrymen. He,
first of his nation, dealt face to face with ideas as distinguished
from scholastic fancies and common notions, and thus gave them their
place in the order of mind; and this to exhaustive issues, as his
English predecessors in thought had failed to do. His idealism is
the purest which the British Isles have produced. Platonic as were
Cudworth, Norris, Henry More, in cast of thought less scholastic than
Taylor of Norwich,--who was an exotic, rather, transplanted from
Alexandrian gardens,--Berkeley's thinking is indigenous, strong in
native sense and active manliness. His works are magazines of rare and
admirable learning, subtleties of speculation, noble philanthropies.
They deserve a place in every scholar's library, were it but to mark
the fortunes of thought, and accredit the poet's admiring line:--

    "To Berkeley every virtue under heaven."


  MONDAY, 9.

Write to Walton, the British Boehmist, whose letters interest by the
information they contain of himself and of his literary ventures. Any
disciple of the distinguished Mystic and student of his works, living
in foggy London in these times, is as significant and noteworthy as
are students of Hegel in St. Louis.[21] Mysticism is the sacred spark
that has lighted the piety and illuminated the philosophy of all places
and times. It has kindled especially and kept alive the profoundest
thinking of Germany and of the continent since Boehme's first work,
"The Aurora," appeared. Some of the deepest thinkers since then have
openly acknowledged their debt to Boehme, or secretly borrowed without
acknowledgment their best illustrations from his writings. It is
conceded that his was one of the most original and subtlest of minds,
and that he has exercised a deeper influence on the progress of thought
than any one since Plotinus. Before Bacon, before Newton, Swedenborg,
Goethe, he gave theories of nature, of the signatures of colors and
forms, of the temperaments, the genesis of sex, the lapse of souls, and
of the elementary worlds. He stripped life of its husk, and delivered
its innermost essence. Instead of mythology, he gave, if not science,
the germs, if nothing more. And when the depths of his thinking have
been fathomed by modern observers it will be soon enough to speak of
new revelations and arcana. His teeming genius is the genuine mother
of numberless theories since delivered, from whose trunk the natural
sciences have branched forth and cropped out in scientific systems.
And like Swedenborg, it has borne a theology, cosmology, illustrious
theosophists and naturalists,--Law, Leibnitz, Oken, Schelling, Goethe,
Baader, and other philosophers of Germany.

[Footnote 21: A mystic book entitled "Quinquenergia, or Proposals for a
new Practical Theology," by Henry S. Sutton, was published in London in
1854. Mr. Sutton is plainly tinctured with Boehme's theosophy, if not
a disciple of his as appears from his book. It is a volume of singular
originality, and the latest modern attempt at a Genesis from First
Principles that I have met with. It seems to have attracted few readers
in England or in this country.]

His learned English disciple and translator, Rev. William Law, an
author once highly esteemed and much read by a former generation of
pietists, says of him in his Introduction to Boehme's Works:--

"Whatsoever the great Hermes delivered in oracles, or Pythagoras spoke
by authority, or Socrates or Aristotle affirmed, whatever divine Plato
prophesied, or Plotinus proved,--this and all this, or a far higher
and profounder philosophy, is contained in Boehme's writings. And if
there be any friendly medium that can possibly reconcile these ancient
differences between the divine Wisdom that has fixed her place in Holy
Writ and her stubborn handmaid, natural Reason,--this happy marriage of
the Spirit of God and the soul, this wonderful consent of discords in
harmony,--we shall find it in great measure in Boehme's books; only
let not the non or misunderstanding of the most rational reader (if not
a little sublimed above the sphere of common reason) be imputed as a
fault to this elevated philosopher, no more than it was to the divine
Plotinus, whose scholars, even after much study, failed to comprehend
many of his doctrines."

Dr. Henry More, with a qualifying discrimination of Law's estimate,

"Jacob Boehme, I conceive, is to be reckoned in the number of those
whose imaginative faculty has the preeminence above the rational,
and though he was a holy and good man, his natural complexion,
notwithstanding, was not destroyed but retained its property still, and
therefore his imagination being very busy about divine things, he could
not without a miracle fail of becoming an enthusiast, and of receiving
divine truths upon the account of the strength and vigor of his fancy,
which being so well qualified with holiness and sanctity, proved not
unsuccessful in sundry apprehensions, but in others it fared with him
after the manner of men, the sagacity of his imagination failing him,
as well as the anxiety of reason, does others of like integrity with

[Footnote 22: Students of Boehme have been few and far between. Edward
Taylor appears to have been Boehme's most distinguished disciple in
England before William Law. He published "A Compendious View of the
Teutonic Philosophy." London, 1670. Also Jacob Boehme's "Philosophy
Unfolded in divers Considerations and Demonstrations, and a Short
Account of his Life." London, 1690. John Sparrow published Boehme's
Tracts and Epistles. London, 1662. John Pordage's "Theologia Mystica,
or the Mystic Divinity of the Eternal Invisibles," London, 1683, is a
rare volume.]


"By Theosophy I understand the true science of Deity, Nature, and
Creature. There are two classes of theosophists, or true mystic
philosophers. The one such as Gichtel, the editor of the first German
edition of Jacob Boehme (whose letters and life in seven volumes
are now being translated into English, and if the necessary funds
can be raised they will be printed.) Gichtel truly experimented the
regenerated life of Christianity according to the science thereof
contained in Boehme's writings; Bramwell fathomed Christianity
according to the simple _prima facie_ representation thereof in
the Gospel; in like manner in another form Terstegan was also a
high proficient therein, as were also some of the ancient mystics
and ascetics of France, Spain, and Germany, as referred to in the
Cyclopedia. In the path of Gichtel there have been few and remote

"The other class is composed of those who have intellectually fathomed
the scope of Boehme's philosophy, such as Freher, Law, Lee, Pordage,
and others.

"As to the pretended independent 'seers,' outsiders of Boehme's
revelations,--whose names need not be mentioned,--these are of course
not to be admitted into the category of the standard theologists,
being mere phantasmatists or visionaries, and who, though uttering
a great many good, and to some recondite minds, surprising things,
say in effect nothing but what is to be found in a much more solid
and edifying form in the writings of ancient classic divines and

"As you will see by the accompanying printed papers, I assert that
for theosophy to have its true efficiency in the world, there must
not only be an intellectual acquaintance with all nature, magical,
mental, and physical,--all which is present in every point of sense
and mental essence as revealed in Boehme,--but there must be the
actual realization of the translocated principles of man's threefold
being into their original co-relative positions, and this in high
confirmed reality; which is only another expression for the theological
and alchymical term, 'regeneration.' And further, I say, there must
therewith be a profound knowledge of the science and manifestation of
animal magnetism.

"As to spiritism, of course at present theosophy has nothing to do with
it, except to contemplate the workings of the magia of the fantasy of
the grounds of nature, as shown in it.

"I may just observe, that, if you are not acquainted with the facts,
you will find in V. Schubert, a German Professor, some most interesting
interpretations of and deductions from Boehme's philosophy. He is a
truly ingenious elucidator of many of nature's secrets purely from
his conception of Boehme, and for general reading in theosophy, is
much more interesting than Baader, who is very technical. But, as
for myself, I cannot derive from these or any other authors, what my
understanding requires that is beyond the manuscripts and printed
authors in my sole possession. Those I have, contain the philosophy
of nature and creation far more lucidly and classically opened
than is found in any modern publication, for it is fundamentally
demonstrated therein; whereas in Hamburger and others, Boehme is merely
systematized, leaving his profundities in their original abyss, like
ore in the mine; whereas my authors work it all out as far as they
could in their day.

"I am and have been long engaged in preparing a compendium of the
true principles of all Being, and setting forth all its stages up to
the present time: all which is a great mystery both to philosophy and
science, as you are doubtless aware. It has never yet been done, and is
indeed the grand desideratum. We have never yet been able to reconcile
the seeming or allowed declaration of Scripture concerning the
creation, with the Newtonian philosophy, and the disclosures of modern
chymic, electric, and other sciences, so as to present a solid, united,
and convincing chain of the history of nature from the first point of
mental essence, to the present state of physical things. And yet there
must be such a history and knowledge thereof, latent in the human mind,
and in the present daylight of theosophy and physical science, capable
of being educed thereout, in a manner commending itself on the sight
of it, with almost the force of self-evidence, though in some points
appearing to clash with the seeming sense of Scripture.

"My labors are in the preparation of a series of symbolic
illustrations (like Quarle's Emblems), whereby, with the accompanying
text, to produce this kind of self-evident conviction. Of course I only
open the procedure to the present time. You may conceive the time and
labor and expense entailed by such an effort. Also the fierce daily
long discussions with an avowed and actual rationalist opponent, whom
I have for the purpose, without which the truth or science cannot be
made to rise up apprehensively in the mind, and then only in a mind
in which theosophical and modern scientific knowledge is, as it were,
all in living activity, like a magic looking-glass, wherein the images
are all living, and can be called forth instantly into visibility, as
required by the formula of each successive consideration arising in the
discussion, or during private meditation and reading of Boehme, having
an object in view.

"The science of all things lies in the Mind. In Newton this plant of
Jacob Boehme was largely cultivated for his day; but now, by means of
modern science, the true history of all being can be brought forth as
a complete logical tree. And this is what the world wants, a perfect
philosophy and a perfect theology, as one only sound of the word of
nature. This was the divine object in giving the last dispensation
through Boehme, though this was such a chaos yet unavoidable. From
which revelation of the ground and mystery of all things have ensued
all the grand regenerating discoveries of modern science, as I have
shown, and can now more fully demonstrate. All date from that new
opened puncture of divine light in Boehme.

"I may just mention that I have a collection of all the chief editions
of Boehme, in German, Dutch, English, and French, together with other
elucidations whereby to produce a new and most harmonious edition of
Boehme. Indeed such a thing cannot be accomplished without the means in
my possession. I also have at command with me the literary and critical
knowledge requisite to produce a correct translation. For there are
numerous errors of sense in the German as in the English copies.
Indeed in some cases the sense of the passage is not apprehensible.
I trust the world will call for this work before I die, in order
that I may have the pleasure of preparing, or rather directing, its
accomplishment. If I can procure a copy of the Cyclopedia you write
about, I shall be happy to present it to you.[23]

[Footnote 23: The "Cyclopedia of Pure Christian Theology and Theosophic
Science," is to contain the works of Boehme and his distinguished
followers, Freher, Gechtel, Pordage, Lee, Law, and others. The first
volume is already printed for private circulation, and deposited in
the chief libraries of Europe and America. It contains six hundred and
eighty-eight closely printed pages, chiefly of exposition and comment
on Boehme, with biographical accounts of Boehmists and of their works
interspersed in voluminous notes.]

  "I am, dear Sir, Yours very truly,

  "LONDON, 15th February, 1868."

"The object of these publications," says Mr. Walton, in his Prospectus,
"and of their distribution in the libraries of Great Britain and the
United States, is to induce and promote in a general manner, the study
of pure metaphysical science, commencing at its root and ground in
Deity, thence through all those principles of nature, eternal and
temporal, of mind, spirit, and body, which develop and concentre
themselves in the form, constitution, and support of man, as such, with
a view to render it subservient to its true end and design, namely, the
radical purification of theology throughout the earth, and the final
resolution of it into a fixed and progressive science, and art in its
kind, as contemplated and provided for by Christianity."

For those interested in the history of Mysticism, "Vaughan's Hours with
the Mystics," published in London, 1856, is an interesting volume,
full of information communicated by way of conversation, and in an
attractive style.



Crabbe Robinson's Diary is interesting; all he tells us of Landor,
Wordsworth, Coleridge, is especially so. The book gives, perhaps, the
best personal and literary picture of the times in which he lived. Few
men had a wider circle of literary acquaintances than the author. His
book is a real addition to contemporary literature, and shows the value
of the Diary for preserving in an attractive form what would otherwise
have been lost to the world. Robinson is no Boswell; he knew what to
omit, what to commit to writing, gave fair transcripts of what he saw,
without prepossession or prejudice.


What Robinson tells of Coleridge is especially noticeable.

"I used," he says, "to compare him as a disputant to a serpent,--easy
to kill if you assume the offensive; but if you attack him, his bite is
mortal. Some time after writing this, when I saw Madame De Stael, in
London, I asked her what she thought of him. She replied, 'He is very
great in monologue, but he has no idea of dialogue.'"

Perhaps not. Yet with his equal, he would not have been found wanting
in this respect. Less English than German in genius, he would have
been on terms of equality with thinkers of all times. But for his
introduction of German ideas into English literature, we had waited
a generation or more. He comprehended and interpreted the ideas and
methods of its great thinkers. Better than most, he fulfilled Plato's
canon, that "only the gods discriminate and define." I find him the
most stimulating of modern British thinkers. He had wider sympathies
with pure thought, and cast more piercing glances into its essence and
laws than any contemporary.

I must repeat my sense of obligation to him for the quickening
influence which the perusal of his pages always awakens, at every
paragraph making me his debtor for a thought, an image, which it
were worth while to have lived for, so stimulating is his phrase to
imagination and reason alike; scarcely less to understanding and
memory. If his mysticism tinge his speculations with its shifting
hues, and one threads the labyrinth into which he conducts with wonder
and amazement, he yet surrenders unreservedly to his guide, sure of
coming to the light, with memorable experiences to reward him for the

His appreciation of the Greek, as of the Teutonic genius, is the more
remarkable when we consider how rarely his countrymen have comprehended
foreign ideas; and that Shakespeare even found in him his first

In his Literary Remains, we find these remarkable notes on the Greek

"It is truly singular that Plato--whose philosophy and religion were
both exotic at home, and a mere opposition to the finite in all
things, genuine prophet and anticipator of the protestant era--should
have given in his dialogue of the Banquet a justification of our
Shakespeare. For he relates that, when all the other guests had either
dispersed or fallen asleep, Socrates only, together with Aristophanes
and Agathon, remained awake; and that, while he continued to drink
with them out of a large goblet, he compelled them, though most
reluctantly, to admit that it was the business of one and the same
genius to excel in tragic and comic poetry; or, that the tragic poet
ought, at the same time, to contain within himself the powers of
comedy. Now, as this was certainly repugnant to the entire theory
of the ancient critics, and contrary to all their experience, it is
evident that Plato must have fixed the eye of his contemplation on the
innermost essentials of the drama, abstracted from conditions of age
and country. In another passage he even adds the reason, namely: that
opposites illustrate each other's nature, and in their struggle draw
forth the strength of the combatants, and display the conquered as
sovereign even in the territories of the rival power."

Again: "The tragic poet idealizes his characters by giving to the
spiritual part of our nature a more decided preponderance over animal
cravings and impulses than is met with in real life; the comic poet
idealizes his characters by making the animal the governing power,
and the intellectual the mere instrument. But as tragedy is not a
collection of virtues and perfections, but takes care only that the
vices and imperfections shall spring from the passions, errors, and
prejudices which arise of the soul; so neither is comedy a mere crowd
of vices and follies, but whatever qualities it represents, even though
they are in a certain sense amiable, it still displays them as having
their origin in some dependence on our lower nature, accompanied with a
defect in true freedom of spirit and self-subsistence, and subject to
that unconnection by contradiction of inward being, to which all folly
is owing."

Coleridge, while writing this masterly analysis of the seats of the
tragic and comic in man's inner being, and with the text of Plato and
of Shakespeare before him, must have been contemplating the springs of
his own defects, the strength twinned with his weaknesses, which ever
made him the helpless demigod he was; aspiring ever, yet drawn downward
by the leash of his frailties, as tragic a character as any that
Shakespeare himself has drawn.


  TUESDAY, 24.

"Learned Selden," learned in civil and political wisdom as were few of
his great contemporaries. If his book of Table Talk has less repute
than Bacon's famous Essays, like that, opened anywhere, it displays
the author's eminent discretion, his comprehensive understanding,
apposite illustration of his theme. His homely, familiar manner, has
its attractions as well for the scholar as for the common reader;
pregnant as are his sentences with his great good sense, rare learning,
bringing abstruse subjects home to the affairs of life in a style at
once perspicuous and agreeable. "He was a person," says Lord Clarendon,
"whom no character can flatter, or transmit in any expressions equal
to his merit. He was of such stupendous learning in all kinds of
languages that a man would have thought he had been entirely conversant
among books, and had never spent an hour but in reading and writing.
Yet his humanity, courtesy, and affability were such, that he would
have been thought to have been bred in the best courts, but that his
good-nature, charity, and delight in doing good, and in communicating
all he knew, exceeded his breeding. His style in all his writings seems
harsh, and sometimes obscure, which is not wholly to be imputed to
the abstruse subjects of which he commonly treated, but to a little
undervaluing of style, and too much propensity to the language of
antiquity; but in his conversation he was the most clear discourser,
and had the best faculty of making hard things easy, and of presenting
them to the understanding, of any man that hath been known."

Coleridge, who never let any person of eminence, in thought or
erudition, escape his attention, says: "There is more weighty bullion
sense in this book (The Table Talk) than I ever found in the same
number of pages of any uninspired writer."

Ben Jonson addressed him thus:--

                  ... "You that have been
    Ever at home, yet have all countries seen,
    And like a compass keeping one foot still
    Upon your centre, do your circle fill
    Of general knowledge....
    I wondered at the richness, but am lost
    To see the workmanship so excel the cost!
    To mark the excellent seasoning of your style,
    And manly elocution! not one while
    With horror rough, then rioting with wit,
    But to the subject still the colors fit,
    In sharpness of all search, wisdom choice,
    Newness of sense, antiquity of voice!
    I yield, I yield. The matter of your praise
    Floods in upon me, and I cannot raise
    A bank against it; nothing but the round
    Large clasp of nature such a wit can bound."

One's pen cannot be better drawn across paper, than in transcribing
some of his wise and pithy sayings:--

"_Books._ 'Tis good to have translators, because they serve as a
comment, so far as the judgment of the man goes."

"Quoting of authors is most for matter of fact; and then I cite them as
I would produce a witness, sometimes for a free expression; and then I
give the author his due, and gain myself praise for reading him."

"Henry the Eighth made a law that all men might read the Scripture,
except servants; but no woman except ladies and gentlewomen who had
leisure and might ask somebody the meaning. The law was repealed in
Edward Sixth's days."

"Laymen have best interpreted the hard places in the Bible, such as
Scaliger, Grotius, Salmasius, etc. The text serves only to guess by; we
must satisfy ourselves fully out of the authors that lived about those

"_Ceremony._ Ceremony keeps up all things. 'Tis like a penny glass to a
rich spirit, or some excellent water; without it the water were spilt,
the spirit lost."

"_Damnation._ To preach long, loud, and damnation, is the way to be
cried up. We love a man that damns us, and we run after him to save us."

"_Friends._ Old friends are best. King James used to call for his old
shoes, they were easiest to his feet."

"_Language._ Words must be fitted to a man's mouth. 'Twas well said of
the fellow that was to make a speech for my Lord Mayor: he desired to
take measure of his lordship's mouth."

"_Learning._ No man is wiser for his learning; it may administer matter
to work in, or objects to work upon; but wit and wisdom are born with a

"_Power._ Syllables govern the world."

"_Reason._ The reason of a thing is not to be inquired after till you
are sure the thing itself is so. We commonly are at 'What's the reason
of it?' before we are sure of the thing. 'Twas an excellent question of
my Lady Cotton, when Sir Robert Cotton was magnifying of a shoe which
was Moses' or Noah's, and wondering at the strange shape and fashion of
it,--'But, Mr. Cotton,' says she, 'are you sure it is a shoe?'"

"_Religion._ Religion is like the fashion; one man wears his doublet
slashed, another laced, another plain; but every man has a doublet. So
every man has his religion. We differ about trimming."

"We look after religion as the butcher did after his knife, when he had
it in his mouth."


  SUNDAY, 29.

    Ever the feminine fades into mystery,
    Pales undistinguished into the powers of nature,
    There working with earnest force in silence,
    Bashful and beautiful in its reserves.

Divination seems heightened and raised to its highest power in woman,
like mercury, the more sensitive to the breath of its atmosphere;--the
most delicate metre of character, as if in the finest persons, the sex
predominated to give the salient graces and gifts peculiar to woman.
The difference appears to be of bias, not of positive power, of thought
and feeling differently disposed, and where the extremes merge towards
unity, not easily discriminated. Still, each preserves its distinctive
traits under all differences, neither being mistaken for the other. A
woman's thought is not taken for a man's, nor the contrary; though the
outward expression were the same, each preserves its sexual tone and
color. Any seeming exceptions are counterfeits, and confirm the law
that sentiment is feminine, thought masculine, by whomsoever expressed;
neither can blend fully and confound the other under any metamorphosis,
sex being a constant factor individualizing the personality of souls.
The ancient philosophers had so good an opinion of the sex, that they
ascribed all sciences to the Muses, all sweetness and morality to the
Graces, and prophetic inspiration to the Sibyls.

Women have been subject alike to the admiration and contempt of men. It
were handsomer to quote the poet's praises than blame, the Greek poets
Æschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides especially. I like to enrich my
pages with some of their fine lines, and not less for the new interest
taken in the sex.


    "Wedlock is a state preordained of Destiny, and its
    Obligations are more binding than an oath."

    "Bite thy lips or ever thou speak words of impurity."

    "Can heaven's fair beams show a fond wife a sight
    More welcome than her husband from his wars
    Returned with glory, when she opes the gate
    And springs to welcome him."


    "Men need not try where women fail."

            "To a father waxing old
    Nothing is dearer than a daughter; sons
    Have spirits of a higher pitch, but less inclined
    To sweet endearing tenderness."

            "Happy is it so to place
    A daughter; yet it pains a father's heart
    When he delivers to another's house
    A child, the object of his tender care."

    "A wise man in his house should find a wife
    Gentle and courteous, or no wife at all."

            "With silence of the tongue
    And cheerfulness of look I entertained
    My husband; where my province to command
    I knew, and where to yield obedience to him."

            "When the wife endures
    The ungentle converse of a husband rude
    In manners, in his person rude, to die
    Were rather to be wished."

    "If well accorded, the connubial state
    From all its strings speaks perfect harmony;
    If ill at home, abroad the harsh notes jar,
    And with rude discord wound the ear of peace."

              "For women are by nature formed
    To feel some consolation when their tongue
    Gives utterance to the afflictions they endure."

    "O trebly blest the placid lot of those,
    Whose hearth-foundations are in pure love laid,
    Where husband's breast with tempered ardor glows,
    And wife, oft mother, is in heart a maid."


    "Note well a house that is prosperous among men, and you Will find
    virtue among its women folk."

    "Seek not thy fellow-citizens to guide
    Till thou canst order well thine own fireside."


                  "While slowly o'er the hills
    The unnerved day piles his prodigious sunshine.
    Here be gardens of Hesperian mould,
    Recesses rare, temples of birch and fern,
    Perfumes of light-green sumac, ivy thick,
    And old stone fences tottering to their fall,
    And gleaming lakes that cool invite the bath,
    And most aerial mountains for the West."



  MONDAY, 6.

To Walden with May, who takes a pencil sketch for her collection.
Thoreau's hermitage has disappeared, and the grounds are overgrown
with pines and sumac, leaving the site hardly traceable. The shores of
Walden are as sylvan as ever near Thoreau's haunt, but have been shorn
of wood on the southern side. No spot of water in these parts has a
more interesting history. It well deserved the poet's praises while
Thoreau dwelt on its shores.

    "It is not far beyond the village church,
    After we pass the wood that skirts the road,
    A lake,--the blue-eyed Walden,--that doth smile
    Most tenderly upon its neighbor pines,
    And they as if to recompense this love,
    In double beauty spread their branches forth.
    This lake has tranquil loveliness and breadth,
    And of late years has added to its charms,
    For one attracted to its pleasant edge
    Has built himself a little hermitage,
    Where with much piety he passes life.

    "More fitting place I cannot fancy now,
    For such a man to let the line run off
    The mortal reel, such patience hath the lake,
    Such gratitude and cheer are in the pines.
    But more than either lake or forest's depths
    This man has in himself: a tranquil man,
    With sunny sides where well the fruit is ripe,
    Good front, and resolute bearing to this life,
    And some serener virtues, which control
    This rich exterior prudence, virtues high,
    That in the principles of things are set,
    Great by their nature and consigned to him,
    Who, like a faithful merchant, does account
    To God for what he spends, and in what way.

    "Thrice happy art thou, Walden! in thyself,
    Such purity is in thy limpid springs;
    In those green shores which do reflect in thee,
    And in this man who dwells upon thy edge,
    A holy man within a hermitage.
    May all good showers fall gently into thee;
    May thy surrounding forests long be spared,
    And may the dweller on thy tranquil shores
    Here lead a life of deep tranquillity,
    Pure as thy waters, handsome as thy shores,
    And with those virtues which are like the stars."

"When I first paddled a boat on Walden," wrote Thoreau, "it was
completely surrounded by thick and lofty pine and oak woods, and in
some spots, coves of grape vines had run over the trees and formed
bowers under which a boat could pass. The hills which form its shore
are so steep, and the woods on them so high, that as you looked down
the pond from the west end, it had the appearance of an amphitheatre.
For some kind of sylvan spectacle, I have spent many an hour when I
was younger, floating over its surface as the zephyr willed, having
paddled my boat to the middle, and lying on my back across the seats
in a summer forenoon, and looking into the sky, dreaming awake until I
was aroused by my boat touching the sand, and I arose to see what shore
my fates had impelled me to. In these days, when idleness was the most
attractive and productive industry, many a forenoon have I stolen away,
preferring to spend thus the most valued part of the day. For I was
rich, if not in money, in sunny hours and summer days, and spent them
lavishly. Nor do I regret that I did not waste more of them behind a
counter, or in a workshop, or at the teacher's desk, in which last two
places I have spent many of them.

"I must say that I do not know what made me leave the pond. I left it
as unaccountably as I went to it. To speak sincerely, I went there
because I had got ready to go. I left it for the same reason.

"These woods! why do I not feel their being cut more freely? Does
it not affect me nearly? The axe can deprive me of much. Concord is
sheared of its pride. I am certain by the loss attached to my native
town in consequence, one and a main link is broken. I shall go to
Walden less frequently.

"Look out what window I will, my eyes rest in the distance on a
forest. Is this circumstance of no value? Why such pains in old
countries to plant gardens and parks? A certain sample of wild nature,
a certain primitiveness? The towns thus bordered with a fringe and
tasselled border, each has its preservers. Methinks the town should
have more supervisors to control its parks than it has. It concerns us
all whether these proprietors choose to cut down all the woods this
winter or not. I love to look at Ebby Hubbard's oaks and pines on the
hillside from Brister's Hill, and am thankful that there is one old
miser who will not sell or cut his woods, though it is said that they
are wasting. 'It is an ill wind that blows nobody any good.'"

"Walk round Walden Pond these warm winter days. The wood-chopper finds
that the wood cuts easier than when it had the frost in it, though it
does not split so readily. Thus every change in the weather has its
influence on him, and is appreciated by him in a peculiar way. The
wood-cutter and his practices and experiences are more to be attended
to; his accidents, perhaps, more than any others, should mark the
epochs in a winter's day. Now that the Indian is gone, he stands
nearest to nature. Who has written the history of his day? How far
still is the writer of books from the man, his old playmate, it may
be, who chops in the woods? There are ages between them. Homer refers
to the progress of the wood-cutter's work to mark the time of day on
the plains of Troy. And the inference from such premises commonly is,
that he lived in a more primitive state of society than the present.
But I think this is a mistake. Like proves like in all ages, and the
fact that I myself should take pleasure in preferring the simple
and peaceful labors which are always proceeding; that the contrast
itself always attracts the civilized poet to what is rudest and most
primitive in his contemporaries;--all this rather proves a certain
interval between the poet and the wood-chopper, whose labor he refers
to, than an unusual nearness to him, on the principle that familiarity
breeds contempt. Homer is to be subjected to a very different kind
of criticism from any he has received. That reader who most fully
appreciates the poet, and derives the greater pleasure from his work,
lives in circumstances most like those of the poet himself.

"This afternoon I throw off my outside coat, a mild spring day. I
must hie me to the meadows. The air is full of bluebirds. The ground
is almost entirely bare. The villagers are out in the sun, and every
man is happy whose work takes him out-of-doors. I go by Sleepy Hollow
towards the great fields. I lean over a rail to hear what is in the
air, liquid with the bluebird's warble. My life partakes of infinity.
The air is deep as our natures. Is the drawing in of this vital air
attended with no more glorious results than I witness? The air is a
velvet cushion against which I press my ear. I go forth to make new
demands on life. I wish to begin this summer well. To do something
in it worthy and wise. To transcend my daily routine and that of my
townsmen, to have my immortality now,--that it be in the quality of my
daily life,--to pay the greatest price, the greatest tax of any man
in Concord, and enjoy the most! I will give all I am for my nobility.
I will pay all my days for my success. I pray that the life of this
spring and summer may be fair in my memory. May I dare as I have never
done. May I purify myself anew as with fire and water, soul and body.
May my melody not be wanting to the season. May I gird myself to be a
hunter of the beautiful, that nought escape me. May I attain to a youth
never attained. I am eager to report the glory of the universe: may I
be worthy to do it; to have got through regarding human values, so as
not to be distracted from regarding divine values. It is reasonable
that a man should be something worthier at the end of the year than he
was at the beginning."

       *       *       *       *       *

A delightful volume might be compiled from Thoreau's Journals by
selecting what he wrote at a certain date annually, thus giving a
calendar of his thoughts on that day from year to year. Such a book
would be instructive in many ways,--to the naturalist, the farmer,
woodman, scholar; and as he was wont to weave a sensible moral into his
writings, it would prove a suggestive treatise on morals and religion
also. Not every preacher takes his text from his time, his own eyes,
ears, and feet, in his sensible, superior manner.


  MONDAY, 13.

The divinity students come according to appointment and pass the day.
It is gratifying to be sought by thoughtful young persons, especially
by young divines, and a hopeful sign when graduates of our schools
set themselves to examining the foundations of their faith; the
ceilings alike with underpinnings of the world's religious ideas and
institutions, their genesis and history. Plainly, the drift of thinking
here in New England, if not elsewhere, is towards a Personal Theism,
inclusive of the faiths of all races, embodying the substance of their
Sacred Books, with added forms and instrumentalities suited to the
needs of our time. The least curious observer (I tell my visitors)
cannot fail to see that at no previous period in our religious history,
had so profound and anxious inquiries been made into the springs and
foundations of spiritual truths. The signs of our time indicate that
we are on the eve of a recasting of the old forms. Always there had
been two divisions in the theological as in the political and social
spheres,--the conservative and the radically progressive. This division
marks itself at the present, so sweeping is the wave of religious
speculation, not only among professed Christians, but among the
thoughtful outside of churches. Wherever we look, earnest men are
pondering in what manner they can best serve God and man.

Let us discriminate religious truth from mere opinions. The fruit
of temperament, culture, individuality, these are wont to be local,
narrow, exclusive. The planting of a church to which all men can
subscribe, demands a common bond of sympathy, the feeling of
brotherhood, mutual respect, peculiarities, culture, respect for old
and young. Such is the bond of union for the New Church. The essence
of all creeds is God, Personal, Incarnate, without whom a church and
divine worship were impossible. Not to enter into the metaphysics of
creeds and philosophy of systems, let us sketch an outline of our Ideal

Our forms are of the past, not American. Times modify forms. The
world of thought moves fast; what is good for one time may ill suit
another. The culture of past ages is stealing into our present thought,
deepening, widening it. Sects are provincial, geographical; the coming
church is to speak to every need, every power of humanity. A revelation
is not a full revelation which fails to touch the whole man, quicken
all his powers into beauty and strength of exercise.

First, of the architecture. Let this represent the essential needs of
the soul. Our dwelling-houses best typify the tender domesticities
of life; let the church edifice embody more of this familiar love.
In the ordering of the congregation, let age have precedence; give
the front seats to the eldest members; let families sit together, so
that the element of family affection be incorporated in the worship.
An arrangement of the pews in semicircles will bring all more nearly
at equal gradation of distance from the speaker, whose position is
best slightly elevated above the congregation. Pictures and statues,
representing to the senses the grand events of the religious history of
the past, may be an essential part of the church furniture; the statues
embodying the great leaders of religious thought of all races. These
are not many; the world owes its progress to a few persons. The divine
order gives one typical soul to a race. Let us respect all races and
creeds, as well as our own; read and expound their sacred books like
our Scriptures. Constituting a body of comparative divinity, each is a
contribution to the revelation made to mankind from time to time. Could
any one well remain exclusive or local in his thought from such studies
and teachings? Christianity, as the religion of the most advanced
nations, is fast absorbing the beauty, the thought, the truth of other
religions, and this fact should find expression also.

Let there be frequent interchange of preachers and teachers, since few
can speak freshly to the same congregation for every Sunday in the
year; only the freshest thought, the purest sentiments, were their due.
Let the services be left to the speaker's selection. Let the music be
set to the best lyrical poetry of all ages, poems sometimes read or
recited as part of the services. As for prayer, it may be spoken from
an overflowing heart, may be silent, or omitted at the option of the

Let the children have a larger share in the religious services than
hitherto; one half of the day be appropriated to them. Who can speak
to children can address angels; true worship is childlike. "All
nations," said Luther, "the Jews especially, school their children
more faithfully than Christians. And this is one reason why religion
is so fallen. For till its hopes of strength and potency are ever
committed to the generation that is coming on to the stage. And if this
is neglected in its youth, it fares with Christianity as with a garden
that is neglected in the spring-time. There is no greater obstacle in
the way of piety than neglect in the training of the young. If we would
reinstate religion in its former glory, we must improve and elevate the
children, as it was done in days of old."[24]

[Footnote 24: It appears from "Letchford's Plain Dealings concerning
New England," that the church in Concord was the first in the colony
that adopted the practice of catechising the children on Sundays. "The
unmarried people," he says, "were also required to answer questions,
after which Mr. Bulkeley gave expositions and made applications to the
whole congregation." And this practice soon found its way into all the
churches, became a part of the Sunday service in the church, in the
family at last. From these it passed, subsequently, into the schools, a
part of Saturday forenoon being devoted to recitations, and where the
parents were of different persuasions, the teachers heard these from
the Westminster, or Church of England catechisms, accordingly. Some of
us remember committing both to memory, and having the benefit of so
much comparative divinity as these furnished at that early age.]


Our young divines may study Beecher and Collyer, if they will learn
the types of preaching which the people most enjoy and flock to hear.
Collyer, without pretension to eloquence, is most eloquent in his
plain, homely, human way. He meets his audience as the iron he once
smote, and his words have the ring of true steel. He speaks from crown
to toe, and with a delightful humor that gives his rhetoric almost a
classic charm, his Yorkshire accent adding to the humane quality of
his thought. There is as little of scholarly pretence as of priestly
assumption in his address, and he makes his way by his placid strength,
clear intelligence, breadth of sympathy, putting the rhetoric of the
schools to the blush.


I once entered Beecher's church with a friend who was not often seen
in such sanctuaries. Aisles, body, galleries, every slip, every chair,
all were occupied, many left standing. The praise, the prayer, the
christening,--there were a dozen babes presented for baptism,--all
were devout, touching, even to tears at times. I know I wept, while my
friend was restive, fancying himself, as he declared, in some Pagan
fane. The services all seemed becoming, however. Here was no realm of
Drowsy Head. The preaching was the more effective for its playfulness,
point, strength, pertinency. Coming from the heart, the doctrine found
the hearts of its hearers. The preacher showed his good sense, too, in
omitting the trite phrases and traditions, speaking straight to his
points in plain, homely speech, that carried the moral home to its
mark. It was refreshing to get a touch of human nature, the preaching
so often failing in this respect. The speaker took his audience along
with him by his impetuosity, force of momentum, his wit playing about
his argument, gathering power of persuasion, force of statement as he
passed. His strong sense, broad humanity, abounding animal spirits,
humor, anecdote, perhaps explain the secret of his power and popularity.


  SUNDAY, 19.

Our instincts are idealists. Contradicting impressions of the senses,
they prompt us forth to the noblest aims and endeavors. Aspirants
for the best, they prick us forward to its attainment, the more
successfully as our theories of life lift us above the planes of
precedent and routine, whereon the senses confine us, to the mount
of vision and of renovating ideas. Nor are these too lofty or too
beautiful to be unattainable. 'Tis when practice strays wide and falls
below that they appear visionary and fall into disrepute. Only those
who mount the summits command the valleys at their base.

    "When we ourselves from our own selves do quit,
    And each thing else, then an all-spreading love
    To the vast universe our soul doth fit,
    Makes us half equal to all-seeing Jove;
    Our mighty wings, high-stretched, then clapping light,
    We brush the stars, and make them seem more bright."

Enthusiasm is essential to the successful attainment of any high
endeavor; without which incentive one is not sure of his equality to
the humblest undertaking even. And he attempts little worth living
for if he expects completing his task in an ordinary life-time.
His translation is for the continuance of his work here begun, but
for whose completion time and opportunity were all too narrow and
brief. Himself is the success or failure. Step by step one climbs
the pinnacles of excellence; life itself is but the stretch for that
mountain of holiness. Opening here with humanity, 'tis the aiming at
divinity in ever-ascending circles of aspiration and endeavor. Who
ceases to aspire, dies. Our pursuits are our prayers; our ideals our
gods. And the more persistent our endeavors to realize these, the less
distant they seem. They were not gods could we approach them at once.
We were the atheists of our senses without them. All of beauty and of
beatitude we conceive and strive for, ourselves are to be sometime.
Man becomes godlike as he strives for divinity, and divinity ever
stoops to put on humanity and deify mankind. Character is mythical. The
excellent are unapproachable save by like excellence. A person every
way intelligible falls short of our conception of greatness; he ceases
to be great in our eyes. God is not God in virtue of attributes, but
of the mystery surrounding these. Could we see through the cloud that
envelopes our apprehensions, he were here, and ourselves apparent in
his likeness. "God," says Plato, "is ineffable, hard to be defined, and
having been discovered, to make fully known."

    "He is above the sphere of our esteem,
    And is best known in not defining him."

Any attempted definition would include whatsoever is embraced within
our notion of Personality,--would exhaust our knowledge of nature and
of ourselves. Only as we become One Personally with Him do we know Him
and partake of his attributes.

"In the soul of man," says Berkeley, "prior and superior to intellect,
there is a somewhat of a higher nature, by virtue of which we are one,
and by means of which we are most clearly joined to the Deity. And as
by our intellect we touch the divine intellect, even so by our oneness,
'the very flower of our essence,' as Proclus expresses it, we touch the
First One. Existence and One are the same. And consequently, our minds
participate so far of existence as they do of unity. But it should
seem the personality is the indivisible centre of the soul, or mind,
which is a monad, so far forth as she is a person. Therefore Person is
really that which exists, inasmuch as it partakes of the divine unity.
Number is no object of sense, but an act of the mind. The same thing
in a different conception is one or many. Comprehending God and the
creatures in one general notion, we may say that all things together
make one universe. But if we should say that all things make one God,
this would indeed be an erroneous notion of God, but would not amount
to atheism, so long as mind, or intellect, was admitted to be the
governing part. It is, nevertheless, more respectful, and consequently
the truer notion of God, to suppose Him neither made up of parts, nor
himself to be a part of any whole whatsoever."


    [Footnote 25: By Thomas Heywood, 1590.]

    "I sought Thee round about, O thou my God!
        In thine abode,
    I said unto the earth, 'Speak, art thou He?'
        She answered me,
    'I am not.' I inquired of creatures all
        In general
    Contained therein; they with one voice proclaim
    That none amongst them challenged such a name.

    "I asked the seas and all the deeps below,
        My God to know;
    I asked the reptiles and whatever is
        In the abyss;
    Even from the shrimp to the leviathan
        Inquiry ran,--
    But in those deserts which no line can sound,
    The God I sought for was not to be found.

    "I asked the air if that were He? but, lo,
        It told me, No.
    I from the towering eagle to the wren
        Demanded then
    If any feathered fowl 'mongst them were such?
        But they all, much
    Offended with my question, in full choir
    Answered, 'To find thy God thou must look higher.'

    "I asked the heavens, sun, moon and stars; but they
        Said, 'We obey
    The God thou seek'st.' I asked what eye or ear
        Could see or hear;
    What in the world I might descry or know
        Above, below?
    With an unanimous voice, all these things said,
    'We are not God, but we by Him were made.'

    "I asked the world's great universal mass
        If that God was?
    Which with a mighty and strong voice replied
        As stupefied,
    'I am not He, O man! for know that I
        By Him on high
    Was fashioned first of nothing, thus inflated,
    And swayed by Him by whom I was created.'

    "I sought the court, but smooth-tongued flattery there
        Deceived each ear:
    In the thronged city there was selling, buying,
        Swearing and lying,--
    In the country, craft in simpleness arrayed;
        And then I said,
    'Vain is my search, although my pains be great,
    Where my God is there can be no deceit.'

    "A scrutiny within myself I then
        Even thus began:
    'O man, what art thou?' What more could I say,
        Than dust and clay?
    Frail mortal, fading, a mere puff, a blast
        That cannot last,--
    Enthroned to-day, to-morrow in an urn,
    Formed from that earth to which I must return.

    "I asked myself, what this great God might be
        That fashioned me?
    I answered, the all-potent, solely immense,
        Surpassing sense,
    Unspeakable, inscrutable, eternal,
        Lord over all;
    The only terrible, strong, just and true,
    Who hath no end, and no beginning knew.

    "He is the well of life, for He doth give
        To all that live
    Both breath and being; he is the Creator
        Both of the water,
    Earth, air and fire; of all things that subsist,
        He hath the list;
    Of all the heavenly host, or what earth claims,
    He keeps the scroll, and calls them by their names.

    "And now, my God, by thine illumining grace,
        Thy glorious face
    (So far forth as it may discovered be)
        Methinks I see;
    And though invisible and infinite
        To human sight,
    Thou in thy mercy, justice, truth, appearest,
    In which to our weak senses thou com'st nearest.

    "O, make us apt to seek and quick to find
        Thou God most kind!
    Give us love, hope, and faith in thee to trust,
        Thou God most just!
    Remit all our offences, we entreat,
        Most Good, most Great!
    Grant that our willing, though unworthy quest,
    May through thy grace admit us 'mongst the blest."






  BOOK I.--PRACTICAL.--The Garden. Recreation. Fellowship. Friendship.
  Culture. Books. Counsels.

  BOOK II.--SPECULATIVE.--Instrumentalities. Mind. Genesis.

  "This book of practical and speculative essays invites us to the
  sunshine, the delightful atmosphere, 'the cool retreats,' and the
  quiet of the country."--_Cincinnati Chronicle._

  "Like 'Walden,' it will be bought and read, year by year, by the
  select few for whom it was written."--_Hartford Courant._

  "This book addresses us in a tone of remarkable serenity and repose,
  strangely contrasting with the lively bustle of the age and land we
  live in."--_New York Times._

  "The moral qualities of Mr. Alcott have probably more to do with
  the secret of his influence than his peculiar mental endowments.
  Every page of his writings evinces a singularly pure and unworldly
  character. They appear more like leaves torn from some fragrant
  antique volume, than the products of this competitive, rapacious age.
  They transport us to some peaceful island beyond the reach of the
  ambitions and rivalries of the day. He lives in a serene atmosphere,
  free from all secular perturbations. No earthly stain discolors the
  spotless whiteness of his soul. It is no wonder that he is listened
  to in speechless reverence by an esoteric circle, and that his words
  are clothed with an authority beyond the power of gaudy rhetoric or
  purely intellectual demonstration."--_New York Tribune._

1 vol. 16mo. Cloth, gilt top, $1.50; with photographic title and
portrait, $2.00; same, gilt edges, $2.50.

_Sold everywhere. Mailed, postpaid, by the Publishers,_



LITTLE WOMEN. By LOUISA M. ALCOTT. In Two Parts. Price of each $1.50.

  "Simply one of the most charming little books that have fallen
  into our hands for many a day. There is just enough of sadness in
  it to make it true to life, while it is so full of honest work and
  whole-souled fun, paints so lively a picture of a home in which
  contentment, energy, high spirits, and real goodness make up for the
  lack of money, that it will do good wherever it finds its way. Few
  will read it without lasting profit."--_Hartford Courant._

  "LITTLE WOMEN. By Louisa M. Alcott. We regard these volumes as two
  of the most fascinating that ever came into a household. Old and
  young read them with the same eagerness. Lifelike in all their
  delineations of time, place, and character, they are not only
  intensely interesting, but full of a cheerful morality, that makes
  them healthy reading for both fireside and the Sunday school. We
  think we love "Jo" a little better than all the rest, her genius is
  so happy tempered with affection."--_The Guiding Star._

  The following verbatim copy of a letter from a "little woman" is a
  specimen of many which enthusiasm for her book has dictated to the
  author of "Little Women:"--

  ----March 12, 1870.

  DEAR JO, OR MISS ALCOTT,--We have all been reading "Little Women,"
  and we liked it so much I could not help wanting to write to you. We
  think _you_ are perfectly splendid; I like you better every time I
  read it. We were all so disappointed about your not marrying Laurie;
  I cried over that part,--I could not help it. We all liked Laurie
  ever so much, and almost killed ourselves laughing over the funny
  things you and he said.

  We are six sisters and two brothers; and there were so many things in
  "Little Women" that seemed so natural, especially selling the rags.

  Eddie is the oldest; then there is Annie (our Meg), then Nelly
  (that's me), May and Milly (our Beths), Rosie, Rollie, and dear
  little Carrie (the baby). Eddie goes away to school, and when he
  comes home for the holidays we have lots of fun, playing cricket,
  croquet, base ball, and every thing. If you ever want to play any
  of those games, just come to our house, and you will find plenty
  children to play with you.

  If you ever come to ----, I do wish you would come and see us,--we
  would like it so much.

  I have named my doll after you, and I hope she will try and deserve

  I do wish you would send me a picture of you. I hope your health is
  better, and you are having a nice time.

  If you write to me, please direct ---- Ill. All the children send
  their love.

  With ever so much love, from your affectionate friend,


_Mailed to any address, postpaid, on receipt of the advertised price._



  "Miss Alcott has a faculty of entering into the lives and feelings of
  children that is conspicuously wanting in most writers who address
  them; and to this cause, to the consciousness among her readers that
  they are hearing about people like themselves, instead of abstract
  qualities labelled with names, the popularity of her books is due.
  Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are friends in every nursery and schoolroom,
  and even in the parlor and office they are not unknown; for a good
  story is interesting to older folks as well, and Miss Alcott carries
  on her children to manhood and womanhood, and leaves them only on the
  wedding-day."--_Mrs. Sarah J. Hale in Godey's Ladies' Book._

  "We are glad to see that Miss Alcott is becoming naturalized among
  us as a writer, and cannot help congratulating ourselves on having
  done something to bring about the result. The author of 'Little
  Women' is so manifestly on the side of all that is 'lovely, pure, and
  of good report' in the life of women, and writes with such genuine
  power and humor, and with such a tender charity and sympathy, that
  we hail her books with no common pleasure. 'An Old-Fashioned Girl'
  is a protest from the other side of the Atlantic against the manners
  of the creature which we know on this by the name of 'the Girl of
  the Period;' but the attack is delivered with delicacy as well as
  force."--_The London Spectator._

  "A charming little book, brimful of the good qualities of intellect
  and heart which made 'Little Women' so successful. The 'Old-Fashioned
  Girl' carries with it a teaching specially needed at the present
  day, and we are glad to know it is even already a decided and great
  success."--_New York Independent._

  "Miss Alcott's new story deserves quite as great a success as her
  famous "Little Women," and we dare say will secure it. She has
  written a book which child and parent alike ought to read, for it
  is neither above the comprehension of the one, nor below the taste
  of the other. Her boys and girls are so fresh, hearty, and natural,
  the incidents of her story are so true to life, and the tone is so
  thoroughly healthy, that a chapter of the 'Old-Fashioned Girl' wakes
  up the unartificial better life within us almost as effectually as an
  hour spent in the company of good, honest, sprightly children. The
  Old-Fashioned Girl, Polly Milton, is a delightful creature!"--_New
  York Tribune._

  "Gladly we welcome the 'Old-Fashioned Girl' to heart and home!
  Joyfully we herald her progress over the land! Hopefully we look
  forward to the time when our young people, following her example,
  will also be old-fashioned in purity of heart and simplicity
  of life, thus brightening like a sunbeam the atmosphere around
  them."--_Providence Journal._

_Mailed, postpaid, on receipt of the advertised price, by the



LITTLE MEN: Life at Plumfield with Jo's Boys. By LOUISA M. ALCOTT. With
Illustrations. Price $1.50.

  "The gods are to be congratulated upon the success of the Alcott
  experiment, as well as all childhood, young and old, upon the
  singular charm of the little men and little women who have run
  forth from the Alcott cottage, children of a maiden whose genius is
  beautiful motherhood."--_The Examiner._

  "No true-hearted boy or girl can read this book without deriving
  benefit from the perusal; nor, for that matter, will it the least
  injure children of a larger growth to endeavor to profit by the
  examples of gentleness and honesty set before them in its pages. What
  a delightful school 'Jo' did keep! Why, it makes us want to live
  our childhood's days over again, in the hope that we might induce
  some kind-hearted female to establish just such a school, and might
  prevail upon our parents to send us, 'because it was cheap.'... We
  wish the genial authoress a long life in which to enjoy the fruits of
  her labor, and cordially thank her, in the name of our young people,
  for her efforts in their behalf."--_Waterbury American._

  "Miss Alcott, whose name has already become a household word among
  little people, will gain a new hold upon their love and admiration by
  this little book. It forms a fitting sequel to 'Little Women,' and
  contains the same elements of popularity.... We expect to see it even
  more popular than its predecessor, and shall heartily rejoice at the
  success of an author whose works afford so much hearty and innocent
  enjoyment to the family circle, and teach such pleasant and wholesome
  lessons to old and young."--_N. Y. Times._

  "Suggestive, truthful, amusing, and racy, in a certain simplicity of
  style which very few are capable of producing. It is the history of
  only six months' school-life of a dozen boys, but is full of variety
  and vitality, and the having girls with the boys is a charming
  novelty, too. To be very candid, this book is so thoroughly good that
  we hope Miss Alcott will give us another in the same genial vein, for
  she understands children and their ways."--_Phil. Press._

  A specimen letter from a little woman to the author of "Little Men."

  June 17, 1871.

  DEAR MISS ALCOTT,--We have just finished "Little Men," and like it
  so much that we thought we would write and ask you to write another
  book sequel to "Little Men," and have more about Laurie and Amy,
  as we like them the best. We are the Literary Club, and we got the
  idea from "Little Women." We have a paper two sheets of foolscap
  and a half. There are four of us, two cousins and my sister and
  myself. Our assumed names are: Horace Greeley, President; Susan B.
  Anthony, Editor; Harriet B. Stowe, Vice-President; and myself, Anna
  C. Ritchie, Secretary. We call our paper the "Saturday Night," and we
  all write stories and have reports of sermons and of our meetings,
  and write about the queens of England. We did not know but you would
  like to hear this, as the idea sprang from your book; and we thought
  we would write, as we liked your book so much. And now, if it is not
  too much to ask of you, I wish you would answer this, as we are very
  impatient to know if you will write another book; and please answer
  soon, as Miss Anthony is going away, and she wishes very much to hear
  from you before she does. If you write, please direct to ---- Street,
  Brooklyn, N.Y.

  Yours truly,
  ALICE ----.

_Mailed to any address, postpaid, on receipt of the advertised price,
by the Publishers_,


Transcriber's Note
  -Italic text displayed as _text_.
  -Silently changed mismatched single/double quotes.
  -The typesetter varied usage of "'T is" and "'Tis". I have changed all
   occurrences to the latter.
  -The typesetter indicated elliptical breaks between paragraphs and
   stanzas with a row of dots. I have indicated these with a row of five
   mid-line dots.
  -Change the ligature [oe] to "oe".
  -Page 192: For the paragraph starting "One's foes...", I moved the
   final quote to the end of the paragraph. I found this quoted in two
   other sources: "An Oracle of our Day," _The Century: A Popular
   Quarterly,_ Vol. 5, 1873, p. 517, and Franklin Benjamin Sandborn and
   William Torrey Harris, _A. Bronson Alcott: His Life and Philosophy_,
   Vol. 2, 1893, p. 411.
  -Spelling and word usage retained as they appear in the original
   publication, except as follows:

   PAGE    FROM                        TO
     v     Crashaws's Ideal Woman      Crashaw's Ideal Woman
    67     winters' prime              winter's prime
   136     he is an antedote           he is an antidote
   144     metaphysical renasissance   metaphysical renaissance
   153     system and termology        system and terminology
   163     commending absoluteism      commending absolutism
   164     conspire in the fulfiment   conspire in the fulfilment
   184     indigo, vermillion          indigo, vermilion
   190     she becomes petulent        she becomes petulant
   203     returning to consciousnsss  returning to consciousness
   238     revelations and arcanas     revelations and arcana

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Concord Days" ***

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