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No. I. 

The Great Lawsuit . ^A ' *^i . .. . . . . 1 

The Youth of the Poet and the Painter, by William E. Channing, 48 

Ethnical Scriptures 59 

Abou Ben Adhem .63 

The Earth 64 

Social Tendencies 65 

A Song of Death 87 

Notes from the Journal of a Scholar 88 

Manhood 92 

Gifts . , 93 

Past and Present 96 

An Old Man 103 

To Rhea 104 

The Journey 106 

Notes on Art and Architecture 107 

The Glade 115 

Voyage to Jamaica '. . . . 116 

Record of the Months 134, 135 

Intelligence . . . 135, 136 

No. II. 

Hennell on the Origin of Christianity 137 

A Day with the Shakers 165 

The Youth of the Poet and the Painter 174 

Autumn 186 

Social Tendencies . . 188 

Ethnical Scriptures 205 

Via Sacra . . ' 210 

A Winter Walk .211 

The Three Dimensions 226 

Voyage to Jamaica 227 

The Mother's Grief ........ 244 

Sweep Ho! 245 

The Sail 246 

The Comic 247 

Ode to Beauty 257 

Allston's Funeral 259 


To the Muse 260 

William Toll's Song 261 

A Letter 262 

New Books 270 

No. III. 

The Youth of the Poet and the Painter 273 

Translation of Dante 285 

Homer. Ossian. Chaucer 290 

Lines 306 

The Modern Drama ........ 307 

ToR. B .349 

Autumn Woods 350 

Brook Farm 351 

Tantalus 357 

The Fatal Passion . . 364 

Interior or Hidden Life . 373 

Pindar 379 

The Preaching of Buddha ....... 391 

Ethnical Scriptures 401 

The Times 405 

Critical Notices 407 

No. IV. 

Immanuel Kant 409 

Life in the Woods 415 

The Emigrants 425 

The Youth of the Poet and the Painter 427 

The Twin Loves 455 

Dialogue . . ' 458 

The Consolers 469 

To Readers 470 

The Death of Shelley 471 

A Song of the Sea . . i-v//:.t^, . - . . . , 472 

To the Poets. — Fourierism . (■■'' V i 473 

The Young American. By R. W. Emerson .... 484 

Herald of Freedom 507 

Fragments of Pindar 513 

The Tragic 515 

Saturday and Sunday among the Creoles . . . . 521 

The Moorish Prince 525 

The Visit 528 

Ethnical Scriptures 529 

Millennial Church 537 

Human Nature 540 


Vol. IV. JULY, 1 843. No. I. 


MAN versus MEN. WOMAN .versus WOMEN. 

This great suit has now been carried on through many 
ages, with various results. The decisions have been nu- 
merous, but always followed by appeals to still higher 
courts. How can it be otherwise, when the law itself is 
the subject of frequent elucidation, constant revision ? 
Man has, now and then, enjoyed a clear, triumphant hour, 
when some irresistible conviction warmed and purified the 
atmosphere of his planet. But, presently, he sought repose 
after his labors, when the crowd of pigmy adversaries bound 
him in his sleep. Long years of inglorious imprisonment 
followed, while his enemies revelled in his spoils, and no 
counsel could be found to plead his cause, in the absence 
of that all-promising glance, which had, at times, kindled 
the poetic soul to revelation of his claims, of his rights. 

Yet a foundation for the largest claim is now established. 
It is known that his inheritance consists in no partial sway, 
no exclusive possession, such as his adversaries desire. For 
they, not content that the universe is rich, would, each one 
for himself, appropriate treasure ; but in vain ! The many- 
colored garment, which clothed with honor an elected son, 
when rent asunder for the many, is a worthless spoil. A 
band of robbers cannot live princely in the prince's castle; 
nor would he, like them, be content with less than all, 
though he would not, like them, seek it as fuel for riotous 
enjoyment, but as his principality, to administer and guard 
for the use of all living things therein. He cannot be satis- 
fied with any one gift of the earth, any one department of 
knowledge, or telescopic peep at the heavens. He feels 

VOL. IV. NO. I. 1 

2 The Great Lawsuit. [July? 

himself called to understand and aid nature, that she may, 
through his intelHgence, be raised and interpreted ; to be a 
student of, and servant to, the universe-spirit; and only 
king of his planet, that, as an angelic minister, he may 
bring it into conscious harmony with the law of that spirit. 

Such is the inheritance of the orphan prince, and the 
illegitimate children of his family will not always be able to 
keep it from him, for, from the fields which they sow with 
dragon's teeth, and water with blood, rise monsters, which 
he alone has power to drive away. 

But it is not the purpose now to sing the prophecy of his 
jubilee. We have said that, in clear triumphant moments, 
this has many, many times been made manifest, and those 
moments, though past in time, have been translated into 
eternity by thought. The bright signs they left hang in 
the heavens, as single stars or constellations, and, already, 
a thickly-sown radiance consoles the wanderer in the dark- 
est night. Heroes have filled the zodiac of beneficent 
labors, and then given up their mortal part* to the fire 
without a murmur. Sages and lawgivers have bent their 

* Jupiter alloquitur, 

Sed enim, ne pectora vano '' 

Fida metu paveant, CEteas spernite flammas, 
Omnia qui vicit, vincet, quos cernitis, ignes ; 
Nee nisi materna Vulcanum parte potentem 
Sentiet. Aeternum est, a me quod traxit, et expexs 
Atque immune necis, nullaque domabile flamma 
Idque ego defunctum terra coelestibus oris 
Accipiam, cunctisque meum Isetabile factum 
Dis fore confido. Si quis tamen, Hercule, si quis 
Forte Deo doliturus erit, data proemia nollet; 
Sed meruisse dari sciet, invitusque probabit. 
Assensere Dei. 
Ovid, Apotheosis of Hercules, translated into clumsy English by Mr. 
Gay, as follows. 

Jove said, 

Be all your fears forborne, 
Th' CEtean fires do thou, great hero, scorn ; 
Who vanquished all things, shall subdue the flame; 
The part alone of gross maternal frame, 
Fire siiall devour, while that from me he drew 
Shall live immortal, and its force renew ; 
That, when he's dead, I'll raise to realms above, 
May all the powers the righteous act approve. 
If any God dissent, and judge too great 
The sacred iionors of the heavenly seat, 
Even he shall own his deeds deserve the sky, 
Even he, reluctant, shall at length comply. 
Th' assembled powers assent. 

1843.} Man vs. Men. 3 

whole nature to the search for truth, and thou£^lit them- 
selves liappy if they could buy, with the sacrifice of all 
temporal ease and pleasure, one seed for the future Eden. 
Poets and priests have strung the lyre with heart-strings, 
poured out their best blood upon the altar which, reared 
anew from age to age, shall at last sustain the flame which 
rises to highest heaven. Wliat shall we say of those who, 
if not so directly, or so consciously, in connection with the 
central truth, yet, led and fashioned by a divine instinct, 
serve no less to develop and interpret the open secret of 
love passing into life, the divine energy creating for the 
purpose of happiness ; — of the artist, whose hand, drawn 
by a preexistent harmony to a certain medium, moulds it 
to expressions of life more highly and completely organ- 
ized than are seen elsewhere, and, by carrying out the 
intention of nature, reveals her meaning to those who are 
not yet sufficiently matured to divine it ; of the philoso- 
pher, who listens steadily for causes, and, from those obvi- 
ous, infers those yet unknown ; of the historian, who, in 
faith that all events must have their reason and their aim, 
records them, and lays up archives from which the youth 
of prophets may be fed. The man of science dissects the 
statement, verifies the facts, and demonstrates connection 
even where he cannot its purpose. 

Lives, too, which bear none of these names, have yielded 
tones of no less significance. The candlestick, set in a 
low place, has given light as faithfully, where it was needed, 
as that upon the hill. In close alleys, in dismal nooks, the 
Word has been read as distinctly, as when shown by angels 
to holy men in the dark prison. Those who till a spot of 
earth, scarcely larger than is wanted for a grave, have deser- 
ved that the sun should shine upon its sod till violets answer. 

So great has been, from time to time, the promise, that, 
in all ages, men have said the Gods themselves came down 
to dwell with them ; that the All-Creating wandered on the 
earth to taste in a limited nature the sweetness of virtue, 
that the All-Sustaining incarnated himself, to guard, in space 
and time, the destinies of his world ; that heavenly genius 
dwelt among the shepherds, to sing to them and teach them 
how to sing. Indeed, 

" Der stets den Hirten gnadig sich bewies." 

" He has constantly shown himself favorable to shepherds." 

4 ' The Great Lawsuit. [July, 

And these dwellers in green pastures and natural stu- 
dents of the stars, were selected to hail, first of all, 
the holy child, whose life and death presented the type 
of excellence, which has sustained the heart of so large a 
portion of mankind in these later generations. 

Such marks have been left by the footsteps of man, 
whenever he has made his way through the wilderness of 
men. And whenever the pigmies stepped in one of these, 
they felt dilate within the breast somewhat that promised 
larger stature and purer blood. They were tempted to 
forsake their evil ways, to forsake the side of selfish per- 
sonal existence, of decrepit skepticism, and covetousness 
of corruptible possessions. Conviction flowed in upon 
them. They, too, raised the cry ; God is living, all is 
his, and all created beings are brothers, for they are his 
children. These were the triumphant moments; but, as we 
have said, man slept and selfishness awoke. 

Thus he is still kept out of his inheritance, still a pleader, 
still a pilgrim. But his reinstatement is sure. And now, no 
mere glimmering consciousness, but a certainty, is felt and 
spoken, that the highest ideal man can form of his own capa- 
bilities is that which he is destined to attain. Whatever the 
soul knows how to seek, it must attain. Knock, and it shall 
be opened ; seek, and ye shall find. It is demonstrated, it is 
a maxim. He no longer paints his proper nature in some 
peculiar form and says, '' Prometheus had it," but " Man 
must have it." However disputed by many, however igno- 
rantly used, or falsified, by those who do receive it, the fact 
of an universal, unceasing revelation, has been too clearly 
stated in words, to be lost sight of in thought, and sermons 
preached from the text, " Be ye perfect," are the only ser- 
mons of a pervasive and deep-searching influence. 

But among those who meditate upon this text, there is 
great difference of view, as to the way in which perfection 
shall be souglit. 

Through the intellect, say some ; Gather from every 
growth of life its seed of thought ; look behind every 
symbol for its law. If thou canst see clearly, the rest will 

Through the life, say others ; Do the best thou knowest 
to-day. Shrink not from incessant error, in this gradual, 
fragmentary state. Follow thy light for as much as it will 

1843.] Ma?i vs. Men, 5 

show thee, be faithful as far as thou canst, in hope that 
faith presently will lead to sight. Help others, without 
blame that they need thy help. Love much, and be for- 

It needs not intellect, needs not experience, says a third. 
If you took the true way, these would be evolved in purity. 
You would not learn through them, but express through 
them a higher knowledge. In quietness, yield thy soul to 
the causal soul. Do not disturb its teachings by methods 
of thine own. Be still, seek not, but wait in obedience. 
Thy commission will be given. 

Could we, indeed, say what we want, could we give a 
description of the child that is lost, he would be found. 
As soon as the soul can say clearly, that a certain demon- 
stration is wanted, it is at hand. When the Jewish prophet 
described the Lamb, as the expression of what was required 
by the coming era, the time drew nigh. But we say not, 
see not, as yet, clearly, what we would. Those who call 
for a more triumphant expression of love, a love that can- 
not be crucified, show not a perfect sense of what has 
already been expressed. Love has already been expressed, 
that made all things new, that gave the worm its ministry 
as well as the eagle ; a love, to which it was alike to de- 
scend into the depths of hell, or to sit at the right hand of 
the Father. 

Yet, no doubt, a new manifestation is at hand, a new 
hour in the day of man. We cannot expect to see him a 
completed being, when the mass of men lie so entangled 
in the sod, or use the freedom of their limbs only with wolf- 
ish energy. The tree cannot come to flower till its root be 
freed from the cankering worm, and its whole growth open 
to air and light. Yet something new shall presently be 
shown of the life of man, for hearts crave it now, if minds 
do not know how to ask it. 

Among the strains of prophecy, the following, by an 
earnest mind of a foreign land, written some thirty years 
ago, is not yet outgrown ; and it has the merit of being a 
positive appeal from the heart, instead of a critical declara- 
tion what man shall not do. 

" The ministry of man implies, that he must be filled from the 
divine fountains which are being engendered through all eter- 
nity, so that, at the mere name of his Master, he may be able to 

6 The Great Lawsuit. [July, 

cast all his enemies into the abyss ; that he may deliver all parts 
of nature from the barriers that imprison them ; that he may 
purge the terrestrial atmosphere from the poisons that infect it ; 
that he may preserve the bodies of men from the corrupt influ- • 
ences that surround, and the maladies that afflict them ', still 
more, that he may keep their souls pure from the malignant in- 
sinuations which pollute, and the gloomy images that obscure 
them ; that we may restore its serenity to the Word, which false 
words of men fill with mourning and sadness; that he may sat- 
isfy the desires of the angels, who await from him the develop- 
ment of the marvels of nature ; that, in fine, his world may be 
filled with God, as eternity is." * 

Another attempt we will give, by an obscure observer of 
our own day and country, to draw some lines of the de- 
sired image. It was suggested by seeing the design of 
Crawford's Orpheus, and connecting with the circumstance 
of the American, in his garret at Rome, making choice of 
this subject, that of Americans here at home, showing 
such ambition to represent the character, by calling their 
prose and verse, Orphic sayings, Orphics. Orpheus was a 
lawgiver by theocratic commission. He understood nature, 
and made all her forms move to his music. He told her 
secrets in the form of hymns, nature as seen in the mind 
of God. Then it is the prediction, that to learn and to do, 
all men must be lovers, and Orpheus was, in a high sense, a 
lover. His soul went forth towards all beings, yet could re- 
main sternly faithful to a chosen type of excellence. Seek- 
ing what he loved, he feared not death nor hell, neither 
could any presence daunt his faith in the power of the ce- 
lestial harmony that filled his soul. 

It seemed significant of the state of things in this coun- 
try, that the sculptor should have chosen the attitude of 
shading his eyes. When we have the statue here, it will 
give lessons in reverence. 

Each Orpheus must to the depths descend, 
For only thus the poet can be wise, 

Must make the sad Persephone his friend, 
And buried love to second life arise; 

Again his love must lose through too much love, 
Must lose his life by living life too true, 

For what he sought below is passed above, 

• St. Martin. 

1843.] Man vs. Men. 7 

Already done is all that he would do ; 

Must tune all being with his single lyre, 
Must melt all rocks free from their primal pain, 

Must search all nature with his one soul's fire, 
Must bind anew all forms in heavenly chain. 

If he already sees what he must do. 
Well may he shade his eyes from the far-shining view. 

Meanwhile, not a few believe, and men themselves have 
expressed the opinion, that the time is come when Euri- 
dice is to call for an Orpheus, rather than Orpheus for 
Euridice ; that the idea of man, however imperfectly 
brought out, has been far more so than that of woman, 
and that an improvement in the daughters will best aid the 
reformation of the sons of this age. 

It is worthy of remark, that, as the principle of lib- 
erty is better understood and more nobly interpreted, a 
broader protest is made in behalf of woman. As men be- 
come aware that all men have not had their fair chance, 
they are inclined to say that no women have had a fair 
chance. The French revolution, that strangely disguised 
angel, bore witness in favor of woman, but interpreted her 
claims no less ignorantly than those of man. Its idea of 
happiness did not rise beyond outward enjoyment, unob- 
structed by the tyranny of others. The title it gave was 
Citoyen, Citoyenne, and it is not unimportant to woman 
that even this species of equality was awarded her. Before, 
she could be condemned to perish on the scaffold for trea- 
son, but not as a citizen, but a subject. The right, with 
which this title then invested a human being, was that of 
bloodshed and license. The Goddess of Liberty was im- 
pure. Yet truth was prophesied in the ravings of that 
hideous fever induced by long ignorance and abuse. Eu- 
rope is conning a valued lesson from the blood stained page. 
The same tendencies, farther unfolded, will bear good fruit 
in this country. 

Yet, in this country, as by the Jews, when Moses was 
leading them to the promised land, everything has been 
done that inherited depravity could, to hinder the promise 
of heaven from its fulfilment. The cross, here as else- 
where, has been planted only to be blasphemed by cruelty 
and fraud. The name of the Prince of Peace has been 
profaned by all kinds of injustice towards the Gentile whom 

8 The Great Lawsuit [July, 

he said he came to save. But I need not speak of what 
has been done towards the red man, the black man. These 
deeds are the scoff of the world ; and they have been ac- 
companied by such pious words, that the gentlest would not 
dare to intercede with, " Father forgive them, for they know 
not what they do." 

Here, as elsewhere, the gain of creation consists always 
in the growth of individual minds, which live and aspire, 
as flowers bloom and birds sing, in the midst of morasses ; 
and in the continual development of that thought, the 
thought of human destiny, which is given to eternity to 
fulfil, and which ages of failure only seemingly impede. 
Only seemingly, and whatever seems to the contrary, 
this country is as surely destined to elucidate a great moral 
law, as Europe was to promote the mental culture of man. 

Though the national independence be blurred 'by the 
servility of individuals ; though freedom and equality have 
been proclaimed only to leave room for a monstrous dis- 
play of slave dealing, and slave keeping ; though the free 
American so often feels himself free, like the Roman, only 
to pamper his appetites and his indolence through the 
misery of his fellow beings, still it is not in vain, that the 
verbal statement has been made, "All men are born free and 
equal." There it stands, a golden certainty, wherewith to 
encourage the good, to shame the bad. The new world 
may be called clearly to perceive that it incurs the utmost 
penalty, if it reject the sorrowful brother. And if men are 
deaf, the angels hear. But men cannot be deaf. It is inevita- 
ble that an external freedom, such as has been achieved for 
the nation, should be so also for every member of it. That, 
which has once been clearly conceived in the intelligence, 
must be acted out. It has become a law, as irrevocable as 
that of the Medes in their ancient dominion. Men will pri- 
vately sin against it, but the law so clearly expressed by a 
leading mind of the age, 

" Tutti fatti a sembianza d' un Solo ; 
Figli tutti d' un solo riscatto, 
In qual era. in qual parte del suolo 
Trascorriamo quest' aura vital, 
Siam fratelli, siam stretti ad un patto : 
Maladetto colui che lo infrange, 

1843J Man vs. Men. 9 

Che s' innalza sul fiacco che piarige, 
Che contrista uno spirto immortal." * 

''All made in the likeness of the One, 
All children of one ransom, 
In whatever hour, in whatever part of the soil 
We draw this vital air, 

We are brothers, we must be bound by one compact. 
Accursed he who infringes it, 
Who raises himself upon the weak who weep, 
Who saddens an immortal spirit." 

cannot fail of universal recognition. 

We sicken no less at the pomp than the strife of words. 
We feel that never were lungs so puffed with the wind of 
declamation, on moral and religious subjects, as now. We 
are tempted to implore these " word-heroes," these word- 
Catos, word-Christs, to beware of cant above all things ; to 
remember that hypocrisy is the most hopeless as well as 
the meanest of crimes, and that those must surely be polluted 
by it, who do not keep a little of all this morality and reli- 
gion for private use.f We feel that the mind may '' grow 
black and rancid in the smoke" even of altars. We start 
up from the harangue to go into our closet and shut the 
door. But, when it has been shut long enough, we re- 
member that where there is so much smoke, there must be 
some fire ; with so much talk about virtue and freedom 
must be mingled some desire for them ; that it cannot be 
in vain that such have become the common topics of con- 
versation among men ; that the very newspapers should 
proclaim themselves Pilgrims, Puritans, Heralds of Holi- 
ness. The king that maintains so costly a retinue cannot 
be a mere Count of Carabbas fiction. We have waited 
here long in the dust ; we are tired and hungry, but the 
triumphal procession must appear at last 

Of all its banners, none has been more steadily upheld, 
and under none has more valor and willingness for real 
sacrifices been shown, than that of the champions of the 

* Manzoni, 

t Dr. Johnson's one piece of advice should be written on every door ; 
" Clear your mind 'of cant." But Byron^ to whom it was so acceptable, 
in clearing away the noxious vine, shook down the building too. Stir- 
ling's emendation is note-worthy, " Realize your cant, not cast it off." 

VOL. IV. NO. I. 2 

10 The Great Lawsuit. [July, 

enslaved African. And this band it is, which, partly in 
consequence of a natural following out of principles, partly 
because many women have been prominent in that cause, 
makes, just now, the warmest appeal in behalf of woman. 

Though there has been a growing liberality on this point, 
yet society at large is not so prepared for the demands of 
this party, but that they are, and will be for some time, 
coldly regarded as the Jacobins of their day. 

" Is it not enough," cries the sorrowful trader, " that 
you have done all you could to break up the national 
Union, and thus destroy the prosperity of our country, but 
now you must be trying to break up family union, to take 
my wife away from the cradle, and the kitchen hearth, to 
vote at polls, and preach from a pulpit? Of course, if she 
does such things, she cannot attend to those of her own 
sphere. She is happy enough as she is. She has more 
leisure than I have, every means of improvement, every 

" Have you asked her whether she was satisfied with 
these indulgences?" 

" No, but I know she is. She is too amiable to wish 
what would make me unhappy, and too judicious to wish 
to step beyond the sphere of her sex. I will never consent 
to have our peace disturbed by any such discussions." 

" ' Consent ' — you ? it is not consent from you that is in 
question, it is assent from your wife." 

" Am not I the head of my house ? " 

^' You are not the head of your wife. God has given 
her a mind of her own." 

" I am the head and she the heart."" 

" God grant you play true to one another then. If the 
head represses no natural pulse of the heart, there can be 
no question as to your giving your consent. Both will be 
of one accord, and there needs but to present any question 
to get a full and true answer. There is no need of pre- 
caution, of indulgence, or consent. But our doubt is 
whether the heart consents with the head, or only acqui- 
esces in its decree ; and it is to ascertain the truth on this 
point, that we propose some liberating measures." 

Thus vaguely are these questions proposed and discussed 
at present. But their being proposed at all im[)lies much 
thought, and suggests more. Many women are considering 

1843. J Man vs. Men. Woman vs. Women. 1 1 

within themselves what they need that they have not, and 
what they can have, if they find they need it. Many men 
are considering whether women are capable of being and 
having more than they are and have, and whether, if they 
are, it will be best to consent to improvement in their con- 

The numerous party, whose opinions are already labelled 
and adjusted too much to their mind to admit of any new 
light, strive, by lectures on some model-woman of bridal-like 
beauty and gentleness, by writing or lending little treatises, 
to mark out with due precision the limits of woman's 
sphere, and woman's mission, and to prevent other than the 
rightful shepherd from climbing the wall, or the flock from 
using any chance gap to run astray. 

Without enrolling ourselves at once on either side, let us 
look upon the subject from that point of view which to-day 
oflfers. No better, it is to be feared, than a high house-top. 
A high hill-top, or at least a cathedral spire, would be desir- 

It is not surprising that it should be the Anti-Slavery par- 
ty that pleads for woman, when we consider merely that she 
does not hold property on equal terms with men ; so that, if 
a husband dies without a will, the wife, instead of stepping 
at once into his place as head of the family, inherits only a 
part of his fortune, as if she were a child, or ward only, not 
an equal partner. 

We will not speak of the innumerable instances, in which 
profligate or idle men live upon the earnings of industrious 
wives ; or if the wives leave them and take with them the 
children, to perform the double duty of mother and father, 
follow from place to place, and threaten to rob them of the 
children, if deprived of the rights of a husband, as they 
call them, planting themselves in their poor lodgings, fright- 
ening them into paying tribute by taking from them the 
children, running into debt at the expense of these other- 
wise so overtasked helots. Though such instances abound, 
the public opinion of his own sex is against the man, and 
when cases of extreme tyranny are made known, there is 
private action in the wife's favor. But if woman be, in- 
deed, the weaker party, she ought to have legal protection, 
which would make such oppression impossible. 

And knowing that there exists, in the world of men, a 

12 The Great Lawsuit. [July? 

tone of feeling towards women as towards slaves, such as 
is expressed in the common phrase, " Tell that to women 
and children;" that the infinite soul can only work 
through them in already ascertained limits ; that the pre- 
rogative of reason, man's highest portion, is allotted to them 
in a much lower degree ; that it is better for them to be en- 
gaged in active labor, which is to be furnished and directed 
by those better able to think, &c. &c. ; we need not go 
further, for who can review the experience of last week, 
without recalling words which imply, whether in jest or 
earnest, these views, and views like these ? Knowing this, 
can we wonder that many reformers think that measures 
are not likely to be taken in behalf of women, unless 
their wishes could be publicly represented by women ? 

That can never be necessary, cry the other side. All 
men are privately influenced by women ; each has his wife, 
sister, or female friends, and is too much biassed by these 
relations to fail of representing their interests. And if this 
is not enough, let them propose and enforce their wishes 
with the pen. The beauty of home would be destroyed, 
the delicacy of the sex be violated, the dignity of halls of 
legislation destroyed, by an attempt to introduce them 
there. Such duties are inconsistent with those of a mother ; 
and then we have ludicrous pictures of ladies in hysterics 
at the polls, and senate chambers filled with cradles. 

But if, in reply, we admit as truth that woman seems 
destined by nature rather to the inner circle, we must add 
that the arrangements of civilized life have not been as 
yet such as to secure it to her. Her circle, if the duller, 
is not the quieter. If kept from excitement, she is not from 
drudgery. Not only the Indian carries the burdens of the 
camp, but the favorites of Louis the Fourteenth accompany 
him in his journeys, and the washerwoman stands at her tub 
and carries home her work at all seasons, and in all states 
of health. 

As to the use of the pen, there was quite as much oppo- 
sition to woman's possessing herself of that help to free- 
agency as there is now to her seizing on the rostrum or the 
desk ; and she is likely to draw, from a permission to plead 
her cause that way, opposite inferences to what might be 
wished by tfiose who now grant it. 

As to the possibihty of her filling, with grace and dignity, 

1843.] Doubts. 13 

any such position, we should think those who had seen the 
great actresses, and heard the Quaker preachers of modern 
times, would not doubt, that woman can express publicly 
the fulness of thought and emotion, without losing any of 
the peculiar beauty of her sex. 

As to her home, she is not likely to leave it more than 
she now does for balls, theatres, meetings for promoting 
missions, revival meetings, and others to which she flies, in 
hope of an animation for her existence, commensurate with 
what she sees enjoyed by men. Governors of Ladies' 
Fairs are no less engrossed by such a charge, than the 
Governor of the State by his ; presidents of Washingtonian 
societies, no less away from home than presidents of con- 
ventions. If men look straitly to it, they will find that, 
unless their own lives are domestic, those of the women 
will not be. The female Greek, of our day, is as much in 
the street as the male, to cry, What news ? We doubt not 
it was the same in Athens of old. The women, shut out 
from the market-place, made up for it at the religious fes- 
tivals. For human beings are not so constituted, that they 
can live without expansion ; and if they do not get it one 
way, must another, or perish. 

And, as to men's representing women fairly, at present, 
while we hear from men who owe to their wives not only 
all that is comfortable and graceful, but all that is wise in 
the arrangement of their lives, the frequent remark, " You 
cannot reason with a woman," when from those of deli- 
cacy, nobleness, and poetic culture, the contemptuous 
phrase, ^' Women and children," and that in no light sally 
of the hour, but in w^orks intended to give a permanent 
statement of the best experiences, when not one man in 
the million, shall I say, no, not in the hundred million, can 
rise above the view that woman was made for man, when 
such traits as these are daily forced upon the attention, can 
we feel that man will always do justice to the interests of 
woman ? Can we think that he takes a sufficiently dis- 
cerning and religious view of her office and destiny, ever 
to do her justice, except when prompted by sentiment; 
accidentally or transiently, that is, for his sentiment will 
vary according to the relations in which he is placed. The 
lover, the poet, the artist, are likely to view her nobly. The 
father and the philosopher have some chance of lib- 

14 The Great Lawsuit. [July? 

erality ; the man of the world, the legislator for expediency, 

Under these circumstances, without attaching importance 
in themselves to the changes demanded by the champions 
of woman, we hail them as signs of the times. We would 
have every arbitrary barrier thrown down. We would have 
every path laid open to woman as freely as to man. Were 
this done, and a slight temporary fermentation allowed to 
subside, we believe that the Divine would ascend into 
nature to a height unknown in the history of past ages, and 
nature, thus instructed, would regulate the spheres not only 
so as to avoid collision, but to bring forth ravishing har- 

Yet then, and only then, will human beings be ripe for 
this, when inward and outward freedom for woman, as 
much as for man, shall be acknowledged as a right, not 
yielded as a concession. As the friend of the negro as- 
sumes that one man cannot, by right, hold another in bond- 
age, so should the friend of woman assume that man cannot, 
by right, lay even well-meant restrictions on woman. If 
the negro be a soul, if the woman be a soul, apparelled in 
flesh, to one master only are they accountable. There is 
but one law for all souls, and, if there is to be an interpre- 
ter of it, he comes not as man, or son of man, but as Son 
of God. 

Were thought and feeling once so far elevated that man 
should esteem himself the brother and friend, but nowise 
the lord and tutor of woman, were he really bound with 
her in equal worship, arrangements as to function and em- 
ployment would be of no consequence. What woman 
needs is not as a woman to act or rule, but as a nature to 
grow, as an intellect to discern, as a soul to live freely, and 
unimpeded to unfold such powers as were given her when 
we left our common home. If fewer talents were given 
her, yet, if allowed the free and full employment of these, 
so that she may render back to the giver his own with 
usury, she will not complain, nay, I dare to say she will bless 
and rejoice in her earthly birth-place, her earthly lot. 

Let us consider what obstructions impede this good era, 
and what signs give reason to hope that it draws near. 

I was talking on this subject with Miranda, a woman, 
who, if any in the world, might speak without heat or bit- 

1843.] Miranda. 15 

terness of the position of her sex. Her father was a man 
who cherished no sentimental reverence for woman, but a 
firm belief in the equality of the sexes. She was his eldest 
child, and came to him at an age when he needed a com- 
panion. From the lime she could speak and go alone, he 
addressed her not as a plaything, but as a living mind. 
Among the few verses he ever wrote were a copy address- 
ed to this child, when the first locks were cut from her 
head, and the reverence expressed on this occasion for that 
cherished head he never belied. It was to him the temple 
of immortal intellect. He respected his child, however, too 
much to be an indulgent parent. He called on her for 
clear judgment, for courage, for honor and fidelity, in short 
for such virtues as he knew. In so far as he possessed the 
keys to the wonders of this universe, he allowed free use 
of them to her, and by the incentive of a high expectation 
he forbade, as far as possible, that she should let the privi- 
lege lie idle. 

Thus this child was early led to feel herself a child of 
the spirit. She took her place easily, not only in the 
world of organized being, but in the world of mind. A 
dignified sense of self-dependence was given as all her por- 
tion, and she found it a sure anchor. Herself securely an- 
chored, her relations with others were established with 
equal security. She was fortunate, in a total absence of 
those charms which might have drawn to her bewildering 
flatteries, and of a strong electric nature, which repelled 
those who did not belong to her, and attracted those who 
did. With men and women her relations were noble ; af- 
fectionate without passion, intellectual without coldness. 
The world was free to her, and she lived freely in it. 
Outward adversity came, and inward conflict, but that faith 
and self-respect had early been awakened, which must al- 
ways lead at last to an outward serenity, and an inward 

Of Miranda I had always thought as an example, that 
the restraints upon the sex were insuperable only to those 
who think them so, or who noisily strive to break them. 
She had taken a course of her own, and no man stood in 
her way. Many of her acts had been unusual, but excited 
no uproar. Few helped, but none checked her ; and the 
many men, who knew her mind and her life, showed to her 

16 The Great Lawsuit. [July, 

confidence as to a brother, gentleness as to a sister. And 
not only refined, but very coarse men approved one in 
whom they saw^ resolution and clearness of design. Her 
mind w^as often the leading one, always effective. 

When I talked with her upon these matters, and had 
said very much what I have written, she smilingly replied, 
And yet we must admit that I have been fortunate, and 
this should not be. My good father's early trust gave the 
first bias, and the rest followed of course. It is true that 
I have had less outward aid, in after years, than most women, 
but that is of little consequence. Religion was early awak- 
ened in my soul, a sense that what the soul is capable to ask 
it must attain, and that, though I might be aided by others, 
I must depend on myself as the only constant friend. This 
self-dependence, which was honored in me, is deprecated as 
a fault in most women. They are taught to learn their 
rule from without, not to unfold it from within. 

This is the fault of man, who is still vain, and wishes to 
be more important to woman than by right he should be. 

Men have not shown this disposition towards you, I 

No, because the position I early was enabled to take, 
was one of self-reliance. And were all women as sure of 
their wants as I was, the result would be the same. The 
difficulty is to get them to the point where they shall nat- 
urally develop relf-respect, the question how it is to be 

Once I thought that men would help on this state of 
things more than I do now. I saw so many of them 
wretched in tlie connections they had formed in weakness 
and vanity. They seemed so glad to esteem women when- 
ever they could ! 

But early I perceived that men never, in any extreme of 
despair, wished to be women. Where they admired any 
woman they were inclined to speak of her as above her 
sex. Silently I observed this, and feared it argued a rooted 
skepticism, which for ages had been fastening on the heart, 
and which only an age of miracles could eradicate. 

Ever I have been treated with great sincerity; and I look 
upon it as a most signal instance of this, that an intimate 
friend of the other sex said in a fervent moment, that I 
deserved in some star to be a man. Another used as high- 

1843.] Woman vs. Women. IT 

est praise, in speaking of a character in literature, the words 
"a manly woman." 

It is well known that of every strong woman they say 
she has a masculine mind. 

This by no means argues a willing want of generosity 
towards woman. Man is as generous towards her, as he 
knows how to be. 

Wherever she has herself arisen in national or private 
history, -and nobly shone forth in any ideal of excellence, 
men have received her, not only willingly, but with triumph. 
Their encomiums indeed are always in some sense morti- 
fying, they show too much surprise. 

In every-day life the feelings of the many are stained with 
vanity. Each wishes to be lord in a little world, to be 
superior at least over one ; and he does not feel strong 
enough to retain a life-long ascendant over a strong nature. 
Only a Brutus would rejoice in a Portia. Only Theseus 
could conquer before he wed the Amazonian Queen. Her- 
cules wished rather to rest from his labors with Dejanira, 
and received the poisoned robe, as a fit guerdon. The 
tale should be interpreted to all those who seek repose with 
the weak. 

But not only is man vain and fond of power, but the 
same want of development, which thus affects him morally 
in the intellect, prevents his discerning the destiny of wo- 
man. The boy wants no woman, but only a girl to play 
ball with him, and mark his pocket handkerchief. 

Thus in Schiller's Dignity of Woman, beautiful as the 
poem is, there is no " grave and perfect man," but only 
a great boy to be softened and restrained by the influence 
of girls. Poets, the elder brothers of their- race, have usu- 
ally seen further ; but what can you expect of every-day 
men, if Schiller was not more prophetic as to what women 
must be ? Even with Richter one foremost thought about 
a wife was that she would " cook him something good." 
' The sexes should not only correspond to and appreciate 
one another, but prophesy to one another. In individual 
instances this happens. Two persons love in one another 
the future good which they aid one another to unfold. 
This is very imperfectly done as yet in the general life. 
Man has gone but little way, now he is waiting to see 
whether vv^oman can keep step with him, but instead of 

VOL. IV. NO. I. 3 

18 The Great Laivsuit. [Ju^Jj 

calling out like a good brother ; You can do it if you only 
think so, or impersonally ; Any one can do what he tries to 
do, he often discourages with school-boy brag ; Girls cant do 
that, girls cant play ball. But let any one defy their taunts, 
break through, and be brave and secure, they rend the air 
with shouts. 

No ! man is not willingly ungenerous. He wants faith 
and love, because he is not yet himself an elevated 
being. He cries with sneering skepticism ; Give us a sign. 
But if the sign appears, his eyes glisten, and he offers not 
merely approval, but homage. 

The severe nation which taught that the happiness of 
the race was forfeited through the fault of a woman, and 
showed its thought of what sort of regard man owed her, 
by making him accuse her on the first question to his God, 
who gave her to the patriarch as a handmaid, and, by the 
Mosaical law, bound her to allegiance like a serf, even they 
greeted, with solemn rapture, all great and holy women as 
heroines, prophetesses, nay judges in Israel ; and, if they 
made Eve listen to the serpent, gave Mary to the Holy 
Spirit. In other nations it has been the same down to our 
day. To the woman, who could conquer, a triumph was 
awarded. And not only those whose strength was recom- 
mended to the heart by association with goodness and 
beauty, but those who were bad, if they were steadfast and 
strong, had their claims allowed. In any age a Semiramis, 
an Ehzabeth of England, a Catharine of Russia makes her 
place good, whether in a large or small circle. 

How has a little wit, a little genius, always been celebra- 
ted in a woman ! What an intellectual triumph was that 
of the lonely Aspasia, and how heartily acknowledged ! 
She, indeed, met a Pericles. But what annalist, the rudest 
of men, the most plebeian of husbands, will spare from his 
page one of the few anecdotes of Roman women ? — Sap- 
p!io, Eloisa ! The names are of thread-bare celebrity. 
The man habitually most narrow towards women will be 
flushed, as by the worst assault on Christianity, if you say 
it has made no improvement in her condition. Indeed, 
those most opposed to new acts in her favor are jealous of 
the reputation of those which have been done. 

We will not speak of the enthusiasm excited by ac- 
tresses, improvisatrici, female singers, for here mingles the 
charm of beauty and grace, but female authors, even 

1843.] Woman vs. Women. 19 

learned women, if not insufferably ugly and slovenly, from 
the Italian professor's daughter, who taught behind the cur- 
tain, down to Mrs. Carter and Madame Dacier, are sure of 
an admiring audience, if they can once get a platform on 
wliich to stand. 

But how to get this platform, or how to make it of rea- 
sonably easy access is the difficulty. Plants of great vigor 
will almost always struggle into blossom, despite impedi- 
ments. But there should be encouragement, and a free, 
genial atmosphere for those of more timid sort, fair play 
for each in its own kind. Some are like the little, delicate 
flowers, which love to hide in the dripping mosses by the 
sides of mountain torrents, or in the shade of tall trees. 
But others require an open field, a rich and loosened soil, 
or they never show their proper hues. 

It may be said man does not have his fair play either ; 
his energies are repressed and distorted by the interposition 
of artificial obstacles. Aye, but he himself has put them 
there ; they have grown out of his own imperfections. If 
there is a misfortune in woman's lot, it is in obstacles being 
interposed by men, which do not mark her state, and if 
they express her past ignorance, do not her present needs. 
As every man is of woman born, she has slow but sure 
means of redress, yet the sooner a general justness of thought 
makes smooth the path, the better. 

Man is of woman born, and her face bends over him in 
infancy with an expression he can never quite forget. Em- 
inent men have delighted to pay tribute to this image, and 
it is a hacknied observation, that most men of genius boast 
some remarkable development in the mother. The rudest 
tar brushes off a tear with his coat-sleeve at the hallowed 
name. The other day I met a decrepit old man of seven- 
ty, on a journey, who challenged the stage-company to 
guess where he was going. They guessed aright, " To 
see your mother." "Yes," said he, "she is ninety-two, 
but has good eye-sight still, they say. I 've not seen her 
these forty years, and I thought I could not die in peace 
without." I should have liked his picture painted as a 
companion piece to that of a boisterous little boy, whom I 
saw attempt to declaim at a school exhibition. 

" O that those lips had language ! Life has passed 
With me but roughly since I heard thee last." 

20 The Great Lawsuit. [July? 

He got but very little way before sudden tears shamed him 
from the stage. 

Some gleams of the same expression which shone down 
upon his infancy, angelically pure and benign, visit man 
again with hopes of pure love, of a holy marriage. Or if 
not before, in the eyes of the mother of his child they 
again are seen, and dim fancies pass before his mind, that 
woman may not have been born for him alone, but have 
come from heaven, a commissioned soul, a messenger of 
truth and love. 

In gleams, in dim fancies, this thought visits the mind of 
common men. It is soon obscured by the mists of sensu- 
ality, the dust of routine, and he thinks it was only some 
meteor or ignis fatuus that shone. But, as a Rosicrucian 
lamp, it burns unwearied, though condemned to the sohtude 
of tombs. And, to its permanent life, as to every truth, 
each age has, in some form, borne witness. For the truths, 
which visit the minds of careless men only in fitful gleams, 
shine with radiant clearness into those of the poet, the 
priest, and the artist. 

Whatever may have been the domestic manners of the 
ancient nations, the idea of woman was nobly manifested 
in their mythologies and poems, where she appeared 
as Sita in the Ramayana, a form of tender purity, in the 
Egyptian Isis, of divine wisdom never yet surpassed. In 
Egypt, too, the Sphynx, walking the earth with lion tread, 
looked out upon its marvels in the calm, inscrutable beauty 
of a virgin's face, and the Greek could only add wings to 
the great emblem. In Greece, Ceres and Proserpine, sig- 
nificantly termed ^' the great goddesses,-" were seen seated, 
side by side. They needed not to rise for any worshipper 
or any change ; they were prepared for all things, as those 
initiated to their mysteries knew. More obvious is the 
meaning of those three forms, the Diana, Minerva, and 
Vesta. Unlike in the expression of their beauty, but alike 
in this, — that each was self-sufficing. Other forms were 
only accessories and illustrations, none the complement to 
one like these. Another might indeed be the companion, 
and the Apollo and Diana set off one another's beauty. 
Of the Vesta, it is to be observed, that not only deep-eyed, 
deep-discerning Greece, but ruder Rome, who represents 
the only form of good man (the always busy warrior) that 

1843.] Woman vs. Women. 21 

could be indifferent to woman, confided the permanence 
of its glory to a tutelary goddess, and her wisest legislator 
spoke of Meditation as a nymph. 

In Sparta, thought, in this respect as all others, was ex- 
pressed in the characters of real life, and the women of 
Sparta were as much Spartans as the men. The Citoyen, 
Citoyenne, of France, was here actualized. Was not the 
calm equality they enjoyed well worth the honors of chiv- 
alry ? They intelligently shared the ideal life of their 

Generally, we are told of these nations, that women oc- 
cupied there a very subordinate position in actual life. It 
is difficult to believe this, when we see such range and 
dignity of thought on the subject in the mythologies, and 
find the poets producing such ideals as Cassandra, Iphi- 
genia, Antigone, Macaria, (though it is not unlike our own 
day, that men should revere those heroines of their great 
princely houses at theatres, from which their women were 
excluded,) where Sibylhne priestesses told the oracle of the 
highest god, and he could not be content to reign with a 
court of less than nine Muses. Even Victory wore a fe- 
male form. 

But whatever were the facts of daily life, I cannot com- 
plain of the age and nation, which represents its thought by 
such a symbol as I see before me at this moment. It is a 
zodiac of the busts of gods and goddesses, arranged in 
pairs. The circle breatlies the music of a heavenly order. 
Male and female heads are distinct in expression, but equal 
in beauty, strength, and calmness. Each male head is that 
of a brother and a king, each ^female of a sister and a 
queen. Could the thought, thus expressed, be lived outy 
there would be nothing more to be desired. There would 
be unison in variety, congeniality in difference. 

Coming nearer our own time, we find religion and poetry 
no less true in their revelations. The rude man, but just 
disengaged from the sod, the Adam, accuses woman to his 
God, and records her disgrace to their posterity. He is 
not ashamed to wiite that he could be drawn from heaven 
by one beneath him. But in the same nation, educated by 
time, instructed by successive prophets, we find woman in 
as high a position as she has ever occupied. And no figure^ 
that has ever arisen to greet our eyes, has been received 

22 The Great Lawsuit, [July, 

with more fervent reverence than that of the Madonna. 
Heine calls her the Dame du Comptoir of the Catholic 
Church, and this jeer well expresses a serious truth. 

And not only this holy and significant image was wor- 
shipped by the pilgrim, and the favorite subject of the 
artist, but it exercised an immediate influence on the des- 
tiny of the sex. The empresses, who embraced the cross, 
converted sons and husbands. Whole calendars of female 
saints, heroic dames of chivalry, binding the emblem of 
faith on the heart of the best-beloved, and wasting the 
bloom of youth in separation and loneliness, for the sake of 
duties they thought it religion to assume, with innumerable 
forms of poesy, trace their lineage to this one. Nor, how- 
ever imperfect may be the action, in our day, of the faith 
thus expressed, and though we can scarcely think it nearer 
this ideal than that of India or Greece was near their ideal, 
is it in vain that the truth has been recognised, that woman 
is not only a part of man, bone of his bone and flesh of 
his flesh, born that men might not be lonely, but in them- 
selves possessors of and possessed by immortal souls. This 
truth undoubtedly received a greater outward stability from 
the belief of the church, that the earthly parent of the 
Saviour of souls was a woman. 

The Assumption of tlie Virgin, as painted by sublime 
artists, Petrarch's Hymn to the Madonna, cannot have 
spoken to the world wholly without result, yet oftentimes 
those who had ears heard not. 

Thus, the Idea of woman has not failed to be often and 
forcibly represented. So many instances throng on the 
mind, that we must stop herp, lest the catalogue be swelled 
beyond the reader's patience. 

Neither can she complain that she has not had her share 
of power. This, in all ranks of society, except the lowest, 
has been hers to the extent that vanity could crave, far be- 
yond what wisdom would accept. In the very lowest, 
where man, pressed by poverty, sees in woman only the 
partner of toils and cares, and cannot hope, scarcely has 
an idea of a comfortable home, he maltreats her, often, and 
is less influenced by her. In all ranks, those who are 
amiable and uncomplaining, suffer much. They suffer long, 
and are kind; verily, they have their reward. But wher- 
ever man is sufficiently raised above extreme poverty, or 

1843.] Woman vs. Women. 23 

brutal stupidity, to care for the comforts of the fireside, or 
the bloom and ornament of life, woman lias always power 
enough, if she choose to exert it, and is usually disposed to 
do so in proportion to her ignorance and childish vanity. 
Unacquainted with the importance of life and its purposes, 
trained to a selfish coquetry and love of petty power, she 
does not look beyond the pleasure of making herself felt at 
the moment, and governments are shaken and commerce 
broken up to gratify the pique of a female favorite. The 
English shopkeeper's wife does not vote, but it is for her 
interest that the politician canvasses by the coarsest flattery. 
France suffers no woman on her throne, but her proud no- 
bles kiss the dust at the feet of Pompadour and Dubarry, 
for such flare in the lighted foreground where a Roland 
would modestly aid in the closet. Spain shuts up her 
women in the care of duennas, and allows them no book 
but the Breviary ; but the ruin follows only the more surely 
from the worthless favorite of a worthless queen. 

It is not the transient breath qf poetic incense, that 
women want ; each can receive that from a lover. It is 
not life-long sway ; it needs but to become a coquette, a 
shrew, or a good cook, to be sure of that. It is not money, 
nor notoriety, nor the badges of authority, that men have 
appropriated to themselves. If demands made in their 
behalf lay stress on any of these particulars, those who 
make them have not searched deeply into the need. It is for 
that which at once includes all these and precludes them ; 
which would not be forbidden power, lest there be tempta- 
tion to steal and misuse it ; which would not have the mind 
perverted by flattery from a worthiness of esteem. It is 
for that which is the birthright of every being capable to 
receive it, — the freedom, the religious, the intelligent free- 
dom of the universe, to use its means, to learn its secret 
as far as nature has enabled them, with God alone for their 
guide and their judge. 

Ye cannot believe it, men ; but the only reason why 
women ever assume what is more appropriate to you, is 
because you prevent them from finding out what is fit for 
themselves. Were they free, were they wise fully to de- 
velop the strength and beauty of woman, they would 
never wish to be men, or manlike. The well-instructed 
moon flies not from her orbit to seize on the glories of her 

24 The Great Lawsuit. [July, 

partner. No ; for she knows that one law rules, one 
heaven contains, one universe replies to them alike. It is 
with women as with the slave. 

'' Vor dem Sklaven, wenn er die Kette bricht, 
Vor dem freien Menschen erzittert nicht." 

Tremble not before the free man, but before the slave who 
has chains to break. 

In slavery, acknowledged slavery, women are on a par 
with men. Each is a work-tool, an article of property, — 
no more ! In perfect freedom, such as is painted in Olym- 
pus, in Swedenborg's angelic state, in the heaven where 
there is no marrying nor giving in marriage, each is a puri- 
fied intelligence, an enfranchised soul, — no less! 

Jene himmlische Gestalten 
Sie fragen nicht nach Mann und Weib, 

Und keine Kleider, keine Falten 
Umgeben den verklarten Leib. 

The child who sang this was a prophetic form, expres- 
sive of the longing for a state of perfect freedom, pure 
love. She could not remain here, but was transplanted to 
another air. And it may be that the air of this earth will 
never be so tempered, that such can bear it long. But, 
while they stay, they must bear testimony to the truth they 
are constituted to demand. 

That an era approaches which shall approximate nearer 
to such a temper than any has yet done, there are many 
tokens, indeed so many that only a few of the most prom- 
inent can here be enumerated. 

The reigns of Elizabeth of England and Isabella of 
Castile foreboded this era. They expressed the beginning 
of the new state, while they forwarded its progress. These 
were strong characters, and in harmony with the wants of 
their time. One showed that this strength did not unfit a 
woman for the duties of a wife and mother ; the other, 
that it could enable her to live and die alone. Elizabeth is 
certainly no pleasing example. In rising above the weak- 
ness, she did not lay aside the weaknesses ascribed to her 
sex ; but her strength must be respected now, as it was in 
her own time. 

We may accept it as an omen for ourselves, that it was 

1843. J Woman vs. Women. , 25 

Isabella who furnished Columbus with the means of coming 
hither. This land must pay back its debt to woman, with- 
out whose aid it would not have been brought into alliance 
with the civilized world. 

The influence of Elizabeth on literature was real, though, 
by sympathy with its finer productions, she was no more 
entitled to give name to an era than Queen Anne. It was 
simply that the fact of having a female sovereign on the 
throne affected the course of a writer's tlioughts. In this 
sense, the presence of a woman on the throne always 
makes its mark. Life is lived before the eyes of all men, 
and their imaginations are stimulated as to the possibilities 
of woman. "We will die for our King, Maria Theresa," 
cry the wild warriors, clashing their swords, and the sounds 
vibrate through tlie poems of that generation. The range 
of female character in Spenser alone might content us for 
one period. Britomart and Belphoebe have as much room 
in the canvass as Florimel ; and where this is the case, the 
haughtiest Amazon will not murmur that Una should be 
felt to be the highest type. 

Unlike as was the English Q,ueen to a fairy queen, we 
may yet conceive that it was the image of a queen before 
the poet's mind, that called up this splendid court of 

Shakspeare's range is also great, but he has left out the 
heroic characters, such as the Macaria of Greece, the Bri- 
tomart of Spenser. Ford and Massinger have, in this 
respect, shown a higher flight of feeling than he. It was 
the holy and heroic woman they most loved, and if they 
could not paint an Imogen, a Desdemona, a Rosalind, 
yet in those of a stronger mould, they showed a higher 
ideal, though with so much less poetic power to represent 
it, than we see in Portia or Isabella. The simple truth of 
Cordelia, indeed, is of this sort. The beauty of Cordelia 
is neither male nor female ; it is the beauty of virtue. 

The ideal of love and marriage rose high in the mind 
of all the Christian nations who were capable of grave and 
deep feeling. We may take as examples of its English 
aspect, the lines, 

" I could not love thee, dear, so much, 
Loved I not honor more." 

VOL. IV. — NO. I. 4 

^6 The Great Lawsuit, [July, 

The address of the Commonwealth's man to his wife as 
she looked out from the Tower window to see him for the 
last time on his way to execution. " He stood up in the 
cart, waved his hat, and cried, 'To Heaven, my love, to 
Heaven ! and leave you in the storm ! ' " 

Such was the love of faith and honor, a love which 
stopped, like Colonel Hutchinson's, " on this side idolatry," 
because it was religious. The meeting of two such souls 
Donne describes as giving birth to an " abler soul." 

Lord Herbert wrote to his love, 

" Were not our souls immortal made, 
Oar equal loves can make them such." 

In Spain the same thought is arrayed in a sublimity, 
which belongs to the sombre and passionate genius of the 
nation. Calderon's Justina resists all the temptation of the 
Demon, and raises her lover with her above the sweet lures 
of mere temporal happiness. Their marriage is vowed at 
the stake, their souls are liberated together by the martyr 
flame into "a purer state of sensation and existence." 

In Italy, the great poets wove into their lives an ideal 
love which answered to the highest wants. It included 
those of the intellect and the affections, for it was a love of 
spirit for spirit. It was not ascetic and superhuman, but 
interpreting all things, gave their proper beauty to details 
of the common life, the common day ; the poet spoke of 
his love not as a flower to place in his bosom, or hold care- 
lessly in his hand, but as a light towards which he must 
find wings to fly, or '' a stair to heaven." He delighted 
to speak of her not only as the bride of his heart, but the 
mother of his soul, for he saw that, in cases where the right 
direction has been taken, the greater delicacy of lier frame, 
and stillness of her life, left her more open to spiritual in- 
flux than man is. So he did not look upon her as betwixt 
him and earth, to serve his temporal needs, but rather be- 
twixt him and heaven, to purify his affections and lead him 
to wisdom through her pure love. He sought in iier not so 
much the Eve as the Madonna. 

In these minds the thought, which glitters in all the le- 
gends of chivalry, shines in broad intellectual effulgence, 
not to be misinterpreted. And their thought is reverenced 
by the world, though it lies so far from them as yet, so far, 
that it seems as though a gulf of Death lay between. 

1843.] Woman vs. Women. 27 

Even with such men the practice was often widely dif- 
ferent from the mental faith. I say mental, for if the heart 
were thoroughly alive with it, the practice could not be 
dissonant. Lord Herbert's was a marriage of convention, 
made for him at fifteen ; he was not discontented with it, 
but looked only to the advantages it brought of perpetuat- 
ing his family on the basis of a great fortune. He paid, in 
act, what he considered a dutiful attention to the bond ; his 
thoughts travelled elsewhere, and, while forming a high 
ideal of the companionship of minds in marriage, he seems 
never to have doubted that its realization must be postpon- 
ed to some other stage of being. Dante, almost immedi- 
ately after the death of Beatrice, married a lady chosen for 
him by his friends. 

Centuries have passed since, but civilized Europe is still 
in a transition state about marriage, not only in practice, 
but in thought. A great majority of societies and individ- 
uals are still doubtful whether earthly marriage is to be a 
union of souls, or merely a contract of convenience and 
utility. Were woman established in the rights of an im- 
mortal being, this could not be. She would not in some 
countries be given away by her father, with scarcely more 
respect for her own feelings than is shown by the Indian 
chief, who sells his daughter for a horse, and beats her if 
she runs away from lier new home. Nor, in. societies where 
her choice is left free, would she be perverted, by the cur- 
rent of opinion that seizes her, into the belief that she 
must marry, if it be only to find a protector, and a home 
of her own. 

Neither would man, if he thought that the connection 
was of permanent importance, enter upon it so lightly. 
He would not deem it a trifle, that he was to enter into the 
closest relations with another soul, which, if not eternal in 
themselves, must eternally aftect his growth. 

Neither, did he believe woman capable of friendship, 
would he, by rash haste, lose the chance of finding a friend 
in the person who might, probably, live half a century by 
his side. Did love to his mind partake of infinity, he 
would not miss his chance of its revelations, that he might 
the sooner rest from his weariness by a bright fireside, and 
have a sweet and graceful attendant, " devoted to him 
alone." Were he a step higher, he would not carelessly 

28 ^ The Great Lawsuit. [July? 

enter into a relation, where he might not be able to do the 
duty of a friend, as well as a protector from external ill, to 
the other party, and have a being in his power pining for 
sympathy, intelHgence, and aid, that he could not give. 

Where the thought of equality has become pervasive, it 
shows itself in four kinds. 

The household partnership. In our country the woman 
looks for a -'smart but kind" husband, the man for a 
''capable, sweet-tempered '' wife. 

The man furnishes the house, the woman regulates, 
it. Their relation is one of mutual esteem, mutual de- 
pendence. Their talk is of business, their affection 
shows itself by practical kindness. They know that life 
goes more smoothly and cheerfully to each for the other's 
aid; they are grateful and content. The wife praises her 
husband as a " good provider," the husband in return 
compliments her as a "capital housekeeper." This rela- 
tion is good as far as it goes. 

Next comes a closer tie which takes the two forms, either 
of intellectual companionship, x>x mutual idolatry. The 
last, we suppose, is to no one a pleasing subject of contem- 
plation. The parties weaken and narrow one another ; 
they lock the gate against all the glories of the universe that 
they may live in a cell together. To themselves they seem 
the only wise, to all others steeped in infatuation, the gods 
smile as they look forward to the crisis of cure, to men the 
woman seems an unlovely syren, to women the man an ef- 
feminate boy. 

The other form, of intellectual companionship, has be- 
come more and more frequent. Men engaged in public 
life, literary men, and artists have often found in their 
wives companions and confidants in thought no less than 
in feeling. And, as in the course of things the intellec- 
tual development of woman has spread wider and risen 
higher, they have, not un frequently, shared the same em- 
ployment. As in the case of Roland and his wife, who 
were friends in the household and the nation's councils, 
read together, regulated home affairs, or prepared public 
documents together indifferently. 

It is very pleasant, in letters begun by Roland and finished 
by his wife, to see the harmony of mind and the difference 
of nature, one thought, but various ways of treating it. 

1843.] Woman vs. Women. 29 

This is one of the best instances of a marriage of friend- 
ship. It was only friendship, whose basis was esteem ; 
probably neither party knew love, except by name. 

Roland was a good man, worthy to esteem and be es- 
teemed, his wife as deserving of admiration as able to do 
without it. Madame Roland is the fairest specimen we 
have yet of her class, as clear to discern her aim, as val- 
iant to pursue it, as Spenser's Britomart, austerely set 
apart from all that did not belong to her, whether' as wo- 
man or as mind. She is an antetype of a class to which 
the coming time will afford a field, the Spartan matron, 
brought by the culture of a book-furnishing age to intellec- 
tual consciousness and expansion. 

Self-sufficing strength and clear-sightedness were in her 
combined with a power of deep and calm affection. The 
page of her life is one of unsullied dignity. 

Her appeal to posterity is one against the injustice of 
those who committed such crimes in the name of liberty. 
She makes it in behalf of herself and her husband. I 
would put beside it on the shelf a little volume, con- 
taining a similar appeal from the verdict of contemporaries 
to that of mankind, that of Godwin in behalf of his wife, 
the celebrated, the by most men detested Mary Wolstone- 
craft. In his view it was an appeal from the injustice of 
those who did such wrong in the name of virtue. 

Were this little book interesting for no other cause, it 
would be so for the generous affection evinced under the 
peculiar circumstances. This man had courage to love and 
honor this woman in the face of the world's verdict, and of 
all that was repulsive in her own past history. Fie believed 
he saw of what soul she was, and that the thoughts she 
had struggled to act out were noble. He loved her and 
he defended her for the meaning and tendency of her inner 
life. It was a good fact. 

Mary Wolstonecraft, like Madame Dudevant (commonly 
known as George Sand) in our day, was a woman whose ex- 
istence better proved the need of some new interpretation of 
woman's rights, than anything she wrote. Such women as 
these, rich in genius, of most tender sympathies, and capa- 
ble of high virtue and a chastened harmony, ought not to 
find themselves by birth in a place so narrow, that in break- 
ing bonds they become outlaws. Were there as much 

30 The Great Lawsuit. [^^^y, 

room in the world for such, as in Spenser's poem for Brito- 
mart, they would not run their heads so wildly against its 
laws. They find their way at last to purer air, but the 
world will not take off the brand it has set upon them. 
The champion of the rights of woman found in Godwin 
one who plead her own cause like a brother. George 
Sand smokes, wears male attire, wishes to be addressed as 
Mon frere ; perhaps, if she found those who were as brothers 
indeed/ she would not care whether she were brother or 

We rejoice to see that she, who expresses such a painful 
contempt for men in most of her works, as shows she must 
have known great wrong from them, in La Roche Mauprat, 
depicting one raised, by the workings of love, from the 
depths of savage sensualism to a moral and intellectual life. 
It was love for a pure object, for a steadfast woman, one of 
those who, the Italian said, could make the stair to heaven. 

Women like Sand will speak now, and cannot be silenced ; 
their characters and their eloquence alike foretell an era 
when such as they shall easier learn to lead true lives. 
But though such forebode, not such shall be the parents of 
it. Those who would reform the world must show that 
they do not speak in the heat of wild impulse ; their lives 
must be unstained by passionate error ; they must be severe 
lawgivers to themselves. As to their transgressions and 
opinions, it may be observed, that the resolve of Eloisa to 
be only the mistress of Abelard, was that of one who saw 
the contract of marriage a seal of degradation. Wherever 
abuses of this sort are seen, the timid will suffer, the bold 
protest. But society is in the right to -outlaw them till she 
has revised her law, and she must be taught to do so, by 
one who speaks with authority, not in anger and haste. 

If Godwin's choice of the calumniated authoress of the 
" Rights of Woman," for his honored wife, be a sign of 
a new era, no less so is an article of great learning and 
eloquence, published several years since in an English re- 
view, where the writer, in doing full justice to Eloisa, shows 
his bitter regret that she lives not now to love him, who 
might have known better how to prize her love than did 
the egotistical Abelard. 

These marriages, these characters, with all their imper- 
fections, express an onward tendency. They speak of aspi- 

1843.] Woman vs. Women. 31 

ration of soul, of energy of mind, seeking clearness and 
freedom. Of a like promise are the tracts now publishing 
by Goodwyn Barmby (the European Pariah as he calls him- 
self) and his wife Catharine. Whatever we may think of 
their measures, we see in them wedlock, the two minds are 
wed by the only contract that can permanently avail, of a 
common faith, and a common purpose. 

We might mention instances, nearer home, of minds, 
partners in work and in life, sharing together, on equal 
terms, public and private interests, and which have not on 
any side that aspect of offence which characterizes the at- 
titude of the last named ; persons who steer straight onward, 
and in our freer life have not been obliged to run their 
heads against any wall. But the principles which guide 
them might, under petrified or oppressive institutions, have 
made them warlike, paradoxical, or, in some sense, Pariahs. 
The phenomenon is different, the law the same, in all these 
cases. Men and women have been obliged to build their 
house from the very foundation. If they found stone ready 
in the quarry, they took it peaceably, otherwise they alarmed 
the country by pulling down old towers to get materials. 

These are all instances of marriage as intellectual com- 
panionship. The parties meet mind to mind, aod a 
mutual trust is excited which can buckler them against a 
million. They work together for a common purpose, and, 
in all these instances, with the same implement, the pen. 

A pleasing expression in this kind is aflbrded by the 
union in the names of the Hewitts. William and Mary 
Howitt we heard named together for years, supposing them 
to be brother and sister ; the equality of labors and reputa- 
tion, even so, was auspicious, more so, now we find them man 
and wife. In his late work on Germany, Howitt mentions 
his wife with pride, as one among the constellation of dis- 
tinguished English women, and in a graceful, simple man- 

In naming these instances we do not mean to imply that 
community of employment is an essential to union of this 
sort, more than to the union of friendship. Harmony ex- 
ists in difference no less than in likeness, if only the same 
key-note govern both parts. Woman the poem, man the 
poet ; woman the heart, man the head ; such divisions are 
only important when they are never to be transcended. If 

32 The Great Lawsuit. [July? 

nature is never bound down, nor the voice of inspiration 
stifled, that is enough. We are pleased that women should 
write and speak, if they feel the need of it, from having 
something to tell ; but silence for a hundred years would be 
as well, if that silence be from divine command, and not 
from man's tradition. 

While Goetz von Berlichingen rides to battle, his wife 
is busy in the kitchen ; but difference of occupation does 
not prevent that community of life, that perfect esteem, 
with which he says, 

" Whom God loves, to him gives he such a wife ! " 

Manzoni thus dedicates his Adelchi. 

'' To his beloved and venerated wife, Enrichetta Luigia Blon- 
del, who, with conjugal affections and maternal wisdom, has 
preserved a virgin mind, the author dedicates this Adelchi, 
grieving that he could not, by a more splendid and more dura- 
ble monument, honor the dear name and the memory of so many 

The relation could not be fairer, nor more equal, if she too 
had written poems. Yet the position of the parties might 
have been the reverse as well ; the woman might have 
sung the deeds, given voice to the life of the man, and 
beauty would have been the result, as we see in pictures 
of Arcadia the nymph singing to the shepherds, or the 
shepherd with his pipe allures the nymphs, either makes a 
good picture. The sounding lyre requires not muscular 
strength, but energy of soul to animate the hand which can 
control it. Nature seems to delight in varying her arrange- 
ments, as if to show that she will be .fettered by no rule, 
and we must admit the same varieties that she admits. 

I have not spoken of the higher grade of marriage 
union, the religious, which may be expressed as pilgrimage 
towards a common shrine. This includes the others ; 
home sympathies, and household wisdom, for these pilgrims 
must know how to assist one another to carry their burdens 
along the dusty way ; intellectual communion, for how sad 
it would be on such a journey to have a companion to 
whom you could not communicate thoughts and aspira- 
tions, as they sprang to life, who would have no feehng 
for the more and more glorious prospects that open as we 
advance, who would never see the flowers that may be 

1843,] M^oman vs. Women. 33 

gathered by the most industrious traveller. It must include 
all these. Such a fellow pilgrim Count Zinzendorf seems 
to have found in his countess of whom he thus writes. 

" Twenty-five years' experience has shown me that just the 
help-mate whom I have is the only one that could suit my voca- 
tion. Who else could have so carried through my family 
affairs? Who lived so spotlessly before the world? Whoso 
wisely aided me in my rejection of a dry morality ? Who so 
clearly set aside the Pharisaism which, as years passed, threat- 
ened to creep in among us ? Who so deeply discerned as to 
the spirits of delusion which sought to bewilder us? Who 
would have governed my whole economy so wisely, richly, and 
hospitably when circumstances commanded? Who have taken 
indifferently the part of servant or mistress, without on the one 
side affecting an especial spirituality, on the other being sullied 
by any worldly pride ? Who, in a community where all ranks 
are eager to be on a level, would, from wise and real causes, 
have known how to maintain inward and outward distinctions? 
Who, without a murmur, have seen her husband encounter such 
dangers by land and sea? Who undertaken with him and sus- 
tained such astonishing pilgrimages ? Who amid such difficulties 
always held up her head, and supported me ? Who found so 
many hundred thousands and acquitted them on her own credit? 
And, finally, who, of all human beings, would so well under- 
stand and interpret to others my inner and outer being as this 
one, of such nobleness in her way of thinking, such great intel- 
lectual capacity, and free from the theological perplexities that 
enveloped me ? " 

An observer* adds this testimony, 

"W-e may in many marriages regard it as the best arrange- 
ment, if the man has so much advantage over his wife that she 
can, without much thought of her own, be, by him, led and 
directed, as by a father. But it was not so with the Count and 
his consort. She was not made to be a copy ; she was an origi- 
nal ; and, while she loved and honored him, she thought for 
herself on all subjects with so much intelligence, that he could 
and did look on her as sister and friend also." 

Such a woman is the sister and friend of all beings, as 
the worthy man is their brother and helper. 

Another sign of the time is furnished by the triumphs of 
female authorship. These have been great and constantly 

* Spangenberg. 
VOL. IV. NO. I. 5 

34 The Great Laivsuit. [July? 

increasing. They have taken possession of so many prov- 
inces for which men had pronounced them unfit, that 
though these still declare there are some inaccessible to 
them, it is difficult to say just where they must stop. 

The shining names of famous women have cast light 
upon the path of the sex, and many obstructions have been 
removed. When a Montague could learn better than her 
brother, and use her lore to such purpose afterwards as an 
'Observer, it seemed amiss to hinder women from preparing 
themselves to see, or from seeing all they could when pre- 
pared. Since Somerville has achieved so much, will any 
young girl be prevented from attaining a knowledge of the 
physical sciences, if she wishes it ? De Stael's name was 
not so clear of offence ; she could not forget the woman in 
the thought ; while she was instructing you as a mind, she 
wished to be admired as a woman ; sentimental tears often 
dimmed the eagle glance. Her intellect, too, with all its 
splendor, trained in a drawing room, fed on flattery, was 
tainted and flawed ; yet its beams make the obscurest school 
house in New England warmer and lighter to the little 
rugged girls, who are gathered together on its wooden 
bench. They may never through life hear her name, but 
she is not the less their benefactress. 

This influence has been such that the aim certainly is, 
how, in arranging school instruction for girls, to give them 
as fair a field as boys. These arrangements are made as 
yet with little judgment or intelligence, just as the tutors 
of Jane Grey, and the other famous women of her time, 
taught them Latin and Greek, because they knew nothing 
else themselves, so now the improvement in the education 
of girls is made by giving them gentlemen as teachers, who 
only teach what has been taught themselves at college, 
while methods and topics need revision for those new cases, 
which could better be made by those who had experienced 
the same wants. Women are often at the head of these 
institutions, but they have as yet seldom been thinking 
women, capable to organize a new whole for the wants of 
the time, and choose persons to officiate in the departments. 
And when some portion of education is got of a good sort 
from the school, the tone of society, the much larger pro- 
portion received from the world, contradicts its purport. 
Yet books have not been furnished, and a little elementary 

1843.] Woman vs. Women. 35 

instruction been given in vain. Women are better aware 
how large and rich the universe is, not so easily blinded by 
the narrowness and partial views of a home circle. 

Whether much or little has or will be done, whether wo- 
men will add to the talent of narration, the power of sys- 
tematizing, whether they will carve marble as well as draw, 
is not important. But that it should be acknowledged that 
they have intellect which needs developing, that they 
should not be considered complete, if beings of affection 
and habit alone, is important. 

Yet even this acknowledgment, rather obtained by wo- 
man than proffered by man, has been sullied by the usual 
selfishness. So much is said of women being better edu- 
cated that they may be better companions and mothers of 
men ! They should be fit for such companionship, and we 
have mentioned with satisfaction instances where it has 
been established. Earth knows no fairer, holier relation 
than that of a mother. But a being of infinite scope must 
not be treated with an exclusive view to any one relation. 
Give the soul free course, let the organization be freely de- 
veloped, and the being will be fit for any and every relation 
to which it may be called. The intellect, no more than 
the sense of hearing, is to be cultivated, that she may be a 
more valuable companion to man, but because the Po\ver 
who gave a power by its mere existence signifies that it 
must be brought out towards perfection. 

In this regard, of self-dependence and a greater simpli- 
city and fulness of being, we must hail as a preliminary the 
increase of the class contemptuously designated as old 

We cannot wonder at the aversion with which old bach- 
elors and old maids have been regarded. Marriage is the 
natural means of forming a sphere,' of taking root on the 
earth : it requires more strength to do this without such an 
opening, very many have failed of this, and their imperfec- 
tions have been in every one's way. They have been 
more partial, more harsh, more officious and impertinent 
than others. Those, who have a complete experience of 
the human instincts, have a distrust as to whether they can 
be thoroughly human and humane, such as is hinted at in 
the saying, " Old maids' and bachelors' children are well 
cared for," which derides at once their ignorance and their 

36 The Great Lawsuit. ' [J^ily, 

Yet the business of society has become so complex, that 
it could now scarcely be carried on without the presence of 
these despised auxiliaries, and detachments from the army 
of aunts and uncles are wanted to stop gaps in every 
hedge. They rove about, mental and moral Ishmaelites, 
pitching their tents amid the fixed and ornamented habita- 
tions of men. 

They thus gain a wider, if not so deep, experience. They 
are not so intimate with others, but thrown more upon 
themselves, and if they do not there find peace and inces- 
sant life, there is none to flatter them that they are not very 
poor and very mean. 

A position, which so constantly admonishes, may be of 
inestimable benefit. The person may gain, undistracted 
by other relationships^ a closer communion with the One. 
Such a use is made of it by saints and sibyls. Or she may 
be one of the lay sisters of charity, or more humbly only 
the useful drudge of all men, or the intellectual interpreter 
of the varied life she sees. 

Or she may combine all these. Not ^' needing to 
care that she may please a husband," a frail and limited 
being, all her thoughts may turn to the centre, and by 
steadfast contemplation enter into the secret of truth and 
love, use it for the use of all men, instead of a chosen few, 
and interpret through it all the forms of life. 

Saints and geniuses liave often chosen a lonely position, 
in the faith that, if undisturbed by the pressure of near ties 
they could give themselves up to the inspiring spirit, it 
would enable them to understand and reproduce life better 
than actual experience could. 

How many old maids take this high stand, we cannot 
say ; it is an unhappy fact that too many of those who 
come before the eye are gossips rather, and not always 
good-natured gossips. But, if these abuse, and none make 
the best of their vocation, yet, it has not failed to produce 
some good fruit. It has been seen by others, if not by 
themselves, that beings likely to be left alone need to be 
fortified and furnished within themselves, and education 
and tliought have tended more and more to regard beings 
as related to absolute Being, as well as to other men. It 
has been seen that as the loss of no bond ought to destroy 
a human being, so ought the missing of none to hinder 

1843.] Woman vs. Women. 37 

him from growing. And tlius a circumstance of the time 
has helped to put woman on the true platform. Perhaps 
the next generation will look deeper into this matter, and 
find that contempt is put on old maids, or old women at all, 
merely because they do not use the elixir which will keep 
the soul always young. No one thinks of Michael Ange- 
lo's Persican Sibyl, or St. Theresa, or Tasso's Leonora, or 
the Greek Electra as an old maid, though all had reached 
the period in life's course appointed to take that degree. 

Even among the North American Indians, a race of men 
as completely engaged in mere instinctive life as almost any 
in the world, and where each chief, keeping many wives as 
useful servants, of course looks with no kind eye on celib- 
acy in woman, it was excused in the following instance 
mentioned by Mrs. Jameson. A woman dreamt in youth 
that she was betrothed to the sun. She built her a wig- 
wam apart, filled it with emblems of her alliance and means 
of an independent life. There she passed her days, sus- 
tained by her own exertions, and true to her supposed en- 

In any tribe, we believe, a woman, who lived as if she 
was betrothed to the sun, would be tolerated, and the rays 
which made her youth blossom sweetly would crown her 
with a halo in age. 

There is on this subject a nobler view than heretofore, if 
not the noblest, and we greet improvement here, as much 
as on the subject of marriage. Both are fertile themes, 
but time permits not here to explore them. 

If larger intellectual resources begin to be deemed ne- 
cessary to woman, still more is a spiritual dignity in her, or 
even the mere assumption of it listened to with respect. 
Joanna Southcote, and Mother Anne Lee are sure of a 
band of disciples; Ecstatica, Dolorosa, of enraptured be- 
lievers who will visit them in their lowly huts, and wait for 
hours to revere them in their trances. The foreign noble 
traverses land and sea to hear a few words from the lips of 
the lowly peasant girl, whom he believes especially visited 
by the Most High. Very beautiful in this way was the 
influence of the invalid of St. Petersburg, as described by 
De Maistre. 

To this region, however misunderstood, and ill-develop- 
ed, belong the phenomena of Magnetism, or Mesmerism, 

38 The Great Laivsuit. [July? 

as it is now often called, where the trance of the Ecstatica 
purports to be produced by the agency of one human being 
on another, instead of, as in her case, direct from ihe spirit. 

The worldling has his sneer here as about the services of 
religion. '^ The churches can always be filled with wo- 
men." " Show me a man in one of your magnetic states, 
and I will believe." 

Women are indeed the easy victims of priestcraft, or 
self-delusion, but this might not be, if the intellect was de- 
veloped in proportion to the other powers. They would 
then have a regulator and be in better equipoise, yet must 
retain the same nervous susceptibility, while their physical 
structure is such as it is. 

It is with just that hope, that we welcome everything 
that tends to strengthen the fibre and develop the nature 
on more sides. When the intellect and affections are in 
harmony, when intellectual consciousness is calm and deep, 
inspiration will not be confounded with fancy. 

The electrical, the magnetic element in woman has not 
been fairly developed at any period. Everything might be 
expected from it ; she has far more of it than man. This 
is commonly expressed by saying, that her intuitions are 
more rapid and more correct. 

But I cannot enlarge upon this here, except to say that 
on this side is highest promise. Should I speak of it fully, 
my title should be Cassandra, my topic the Seeress of Pre- 
vorst, the first, or the best observed subject of magnetism 
in our times, and who, like her ancestresses at Delphos, was 
roused to ecstasy or phrenzy by the touch of the laurel. 

In such cases worldlings sneer, bu4; reverent men learn 
wondrous news, either from the person observed, or by the 
thoughts caused in themselves by the observation. Fene- 
lon learns from Guyon, Kerner from his Seeress what we 
fain would know. But to appreciate such disclosures one 
must be a child, and here the phrase, " women and chil- 
dren," may perhaps be interpreted aright, that only little 
children sliall enter into the kingdom of heaven. 

All these motions of the time, tides that betoken a wax- 
ing moon, overflow upon our own land. The world at 
large is readier to let woman learn and manifest the capaci- 
ties of her nature than it ever was before, and here is a 
less encumbered field, and freer air than anywhere else. 

1843.] Woman vs. Women, 39 

And it ought to be so ; we ought to pay for Isabella's 

The names of nations are feminine. Religion, Virtue, 
and Victory are feminine. To those who have a supersti- 
tion as to outward signs, it is not without significance that 
the name of the Queen of our mother-land should at this 
crisis be Victoria. Victoria the First. Perhaps to us it 
may be given to disclose the era there outwardly presaged. 

Women here are much better situated than men. 
Good books are allowed with more time to read them. 
They are not so early forced into the bustle of life, nor so 
weighed down by demands for outward success. The per- 
petual changes, incident to our society, make the blood cir- 
culate freely through the body politic, and, if not favorable 
at present to the grace and bloom of life, they are so to 
activity, resource, and would be to reflection but for a low 
materialist tendency, from which the women are generally 

They have time to think, and no traditions chain them, 
and few conventionalities compared with v/hat must be met 
in other nations. There is no reason why the fact of a 
constant revelation should be hid from them, and when the 
mind once is awakened by that, it will not be restrained by 
the past, but fly to seek the seeds of a heavenly future. 

Their employments are more favorable to the inward life 
than those of the men. 

Woman is not addressed religiously here, more than else- 
where. She is told to be worthy to be the mother of a 
Washington, or the companion of some good man. But in 
many, many instances, she has ah-eady learnt that all bribes 
have the same flaw ; that truth and good are to be sought 
for themselves alone. And already an ideal sweetness 
floats over many forms, shines in many eyes. 

Already deep questions are put by young girls on the 
great theme, What shall I do to inherit eternal life? 

Men 'are very courteous to them. They praise them 
often, check them seldom. There is some chivalry in the 
feeling towards " the ladies," which gives them the best 
seats in the stage-coach, frequent admission not only to 
lectures of all sorts, but to courts of justice, halls of legis- 
lature, reform conventions. The newspaper editor ^' would 
be better pleased that the Lady's Book were filled up ex- 

40 The Gi^eat Lawsuit. [Ju^y? 

clusively by ladies. It would then, indeed, be a true gem, 
worthy to be presented by young men to the mistresses of 
their affections." Can gallantry go farther? 

In this country is venerated, wherever seen, the charac- 
ter which Goethe spoke of as an Ideal. " The excellent 
woman is she, who, if the husband dies, can be a father to 
the children." And this, if rightly read, tells a great deal. 

Women who speak in public, if they have a moral pow- 
er, such as has been felt from Angelina Grimke and Abby 
Kelly, that is, if they speak for conscience' sake, to serve a 
cause which they hold sacred, invariably subdue the pre- 
judices of their hearers, and excite an interest proportion- 
ate to the aversion with which it had been the purpose to 
regard them. 

A passage in a private letter so happily illustrates this, 
that I take the liberty to make use of it, though there is 
not opportunity to ask leave either of the writer or owner 
of the letter. I think they will pardon me when they see 
it in print ; it is so good, that as many as possible should 
have the benefit of it. 

Abby Kelly in the Town-House of 

*' The scene was not unheroic. — to see that woman, true to 
humanity and her own nature, a centre of rude eyes and tongues, 
even gentlemen feeling licensed to make part of a species of 
mob around a female out of her sphere. As she took her seat 
in the desk amid the great noise, and in the throng full, like a 
wave, of something to ensue, I saw her humanity in a gentle- 
ness and unpretension, tenderly open to the sphere around her, 
and, had she not been supported by the power of the will of 
genuineness and principle, she would have failed. It led her 
to prayer, which, in woman especially, is childlike; sensibility 
and will going to the side of God and looking up to him ; and 
humanity was poured out in aspiration. 

" She acted like a gentle hero, with her mild decision and 
womanly calmness. All heroism is mild and quiet and gentle, 
for it is life and possession, and combativeness and firmness 
show a want of actualness. She is as earnest, fresh, and sim- 
ple as when she first entered the crusade. I think she did much 
good, more than the men in her place could do, for woman feels 
more as being and reproducing ; this brings the subject more 
into home relations. Men speak through and mostly from in- 
tellect, and this addresses itself in others, which creates and is 

1843.] Woman vs. Women. 41 

Not easily shall we find elsewhere, or before this time, 
any written observations on the same subject, so delicate 
and profound. 

The late Dr. Channing, whose enlarged and tender and 
religious nature shared every onward impulse of his time, 
though his thoughts followed his wishes with a deliberative 
caution, which belonged to his habits and temperament, 
was greatly interested in these expectations for women. 
His own treatment of them was absolutely and thoroughly re- 
ligious. He regarded them as souls, each of which had a des- 
tiny of its own, incalculable to other minds, and whose leading 
it must follow, guided by the light of a private conscience. 
He had sentiment, delicacy, kindness, taste, but they were all 
pervaded and ruled by this one thought, that all beings had 
souls, and must vindicate their own inheritance. Thus all 
beings were treated by him with an equal, and sweet, 
though solemn courtesy. The young and unknown, the 
woman and the child, all felt themselves regarded with an 
infinite expectation, from which there was no reaction to 
vulgar prejudice. He demanded of all he met, to use his 
favorite phrase, "great truths." 

His memory, every way dear and reverend, is by many 
especially cherished for this intercourse of unbroken re- 

At one time when the progress of Harriet Martineau 
through this country, Angelina Grimke's appearance in 
public, and the visit of Mrs. Jameson had turned his 
thoughts to this subject, he expressed high hopes as to what 
the coming era would bring to woman. He had been 
much pleased with the dignified courage of Mrs. Jameson 
in taking up the defence of her sex, in a way from which 
women usually shrink, because, if they express themselves 
on such subjects with sufficient force and clearness to do 
any good, they are exposed to assaults whose vulgarity 
makes them painful. In intercourse with such a woman, 
he had shared her indignation at the base injustice, in many 
respects, and in many regions done to the sex ; and been 
led to think of it far more than ever before. He seemed 
to think that he might some time write upon the subject. 
That his aid is withdrawn from the cause is a subject of 
great reget, for on this question, as on others, he would have 
known how to sum up the evidence and take, in the 

VOL. IV. NO. I. 6 

42 The Great Lawsuit. [July, 

noblest spirit, middle ground. He always furnished a plat- 
form on which opposing parties could stand, and look at 
one another under the influence of his mildness and en- 
lightened candor. 

Two younger thinkers, men both, have uttered noble 
prophecies, auspicious for woman. Kinmont, all whose 
thoughts tended towards the establishment of the reign of 
love and peace, thought that the inevitable means of this 
would be an increased predominance given to the idea of 
woman. Had he lived longer to see the growth of the 
peace party, the reforms in life and medical practice which 
seek to substitute water for wine and drugs, pulse for ani- 
mal food, he would have been confirmed in his view 
of the way in which the desired changes are to be ef- 

In this connection T must mention Shelley, who, like all 
men of genius, shared the feminine development, and, un- 
like many, knew it. His life was one of the first pulse- 
beats in the present reform-growth. He, too, abhorred 
blood and heat, and, by his system and his song, tended to 
reinstate a plant-like gentleness in the development of en- 
ergy. In harmony with this his ideas of marriage were 
lofty, and of course no less so of woman, her nature, and 

For woman, if by a sympathy as to outward condition, 
she is led to aid the enfranchisement of the slave, must no 
less so, by inward tendency, to favor measures which 
promise to bring the world more thoroughly and deeply 
into harmony with her nature. When the lamb takes 
place of the lion as the emblem of nations, both women 
and men will be as children of one spirit, perpetual learn- 
ers of the word and doers thereof, not hearers only. 

A writer in a late number of the New York Pathfinder, 
in two articles headed " Femality," has uttered a still more 
pregnant word than any we have named. He views woman 
truly from the soul, and not from society, and the depth 
and leading of his thoughts is proportionably remarkable. 
He views the feminine nature as a harmonizer of the vehe- 
ment elements, and this has often been hinted elsewhere ; 
but what fie expresses most forcibly is the lyrical, the in- 
spiring and inspired apprehensivcness of her being. 

Had I room to dwell upon this topic, I could not say 

1843.] ^ Woman vs. Women. 43 

anything so precise, so near the heart of the matter, as may 
be found in that article ; but, as it is, 1 can only indicate, 
not declare, my view. / 

There are two aspects of woman's nature, expressed by 
the ancients as Muse and Minerva. It is the former to 
which the writer in the Pathfinder looks. It is the latter 
which Wordsworth has in mind, when he says, 

''With a placid brow, 
Which woman ne'er should forfeit, keep thy vow." 

The especial genius of woman I believe to be electrical 
in movement, intuitive in function, spiritual in tendency. 
She is great not so easily in classification, or re-creation, as 
in an instinctive seizure of causes, And a simple breathing 
out of what she receives that has the singleness of life, 
rather than the selecting or energizing of art. 

More native to her is it to be the living model of the 
artist, than to set apart from herself any one form in ob- 
jective reality ; more native to inspire and receive the 
poem than to create it. In so far as soul is in her com- 
pletely developed, all soul is the same ; but as far as it is 
modified in her as woman, it flows, it breathes, it sings, 
rather than deposits soil, or finishes work, and that which is 
especially feminine flushes in blossom the face of earth, 
and pervades like air and water all this seeming solid globe, 
daily renewing and purifying its life. Such may be the 
especially feminine element, spoken of as Femality. But it 
is no more the order of nature that it should be incarnated 
pure in any form, than that the masculine energy should 
exist unmingled with it in any form. 

Male and female represent the two sides of the great 
radical dualism. But, in fact, they are perpetually passing 
into one another. Fluid hardens to solid, solid rushes to 
fluid. There is no wholly masculine man, no purely fem- 
inine woman. 

History jeers at the attempts of physiologists to bind 
great original laws by the forms which flow from them. 
They make a rule ; they say from observation, what can and 
cannot be. In vain ! Nature provides exceptions to every 
rule. She sends women to battle, and sets Hercules spin- 
ning; she enables women to bear immense burdens, cold, 
and frost ; she enables the man, who feels maternal love, to 
nourish his infant like a mother. Of late she plays still 

44 The Great Lawsuit. [July, 

gayer pranks. Not only she deprives organizations, but 
organs, of a necessary end. She enables people to read 
with the top of the head, and see with the pit of the 
stomach. Presently she will make a female Newton, and 
a male Syren. 

Man partakes of the feminine in the Apollo, woman of 
the masculine as Minerva. 

Let us be wise and not impede the soul. Let her work as 
she will. Let us have one creative energy, one incessant 
revelation. Let it take what form it will, and let us not 
bind it by the past to man or woman, black or white. Jove 
sprang from Rhea, Pallas from Jove. So let it be. 

If it has been the tendency of the past remarks to call 
woman rather to the Minerva side, — if I, unlike the more 
generous writer, have spoken from society no less than the 
soul, — let it be pardoned. It is love that has caused this, 
love for many incarcerated souls, that might be freed could 
the idea of religious self-dependence be established in them, 
could the weakening habit of dependence on others be 
broken up. 

Every relation, every gradation of nature, is incalculably 
precious, but only to the soul which is poised upon itself, 
and to whom no loss, no change, can bring dull discord, for 
it is in harmony with the central soul. 

If any individual live too much in relations, so that he 
becomes a stranger to the resources of his own nature, he 
falls after a while into a distraction, or imbecility, from 
which he can only be cured by a time of isolation, which 
gives the renovating fountains time to rise up. With a so- 
ciety it is the same. Many minds, deprived of the tra- 
ditionary or instinctive means of passing a cheerful exist- 
ence, must find help in self-impulse or perish. It is therefore 
that while any elevation, in the view of union, is to be hailed 
with joy, we shall not decline celibacy as the great fact of 
the time. It is one from which no vow, no arrangement, 
can at present save a thinking mind. For now the rowers 
are pausing on their oars, they wait a change before they 
can pull together. All tends to illustrate the thought of a 
wise contemporary. Union is only possible to those who 
are units. To be fit for relations in time, souls, whether of 
man or woman, must be able to do without them in the 

1843.] Woman vs. Women. 45 

It is therefore that T would have woman lay aside all 
thought, such as she habitually cherishes, of being taught 
and led by men. 1 would have her, like the Indian girl, 
dedicate herself to the Sun, the Sun of Truth, and go no 
where if his beams did not make clear the path. I would 
have her free from compromise, from complaisance, from 
helplessness, because I would have her good enough and 
strong enough to love one and all beings, from the fulness, 
not the poverty of being. 

Men, as at present instructed, will not help this work, 
because they also are under the slavery of habit, I have 
seen with delight their poetic impulses. A sister is the 
fairest ideal, and how nobly Wordsworth, and even Byron, 
have written of a sister. 

There is no sweeter sight than to see a father with his 
little daughter. Very vulgar men become refined to the eye 
when leading a little girl by the hand. At that moment 
the right relation between the sexes seems established, and 
you feel as if the man would aid in the noblest purpose, if 
you ask him in behalf of his little daughter. Once two 
fine figures stood before me, thus. The father of very in- 
tellectual aspect, his falcon eye softened by affection as he 
looked down on his fair child, she the image of himself, 
only more graceful and brilhant in expression. I was re- 
minded of Souihey's Keham.a, when lo, the dream was 
rudely broken. They were talking of education, and he 

" I shall not have Maria brought too forward. If she 
knows too much, she will never find a husband ; superior 
women hardly ever can." 

" Surely," said his wife, with a blush, ^' you wish Maria 
to be as good and wise as she can, whether it will help her 
to marriage or not." 

" No," he persisted, " I want her to have a sphere and 
a home, and some one to protect her when I am gone." 

It was a trifling incident, but made a deep impression. 
I felt that the holiest relations fail to instruct the unpre- 
pared and perverted mind. If this man, indeed, would 
have looked at it on the other side, he was the last that 
would have been willing to have been taken himself for the 
home and protection he could give, but would have been 
much more likely to repeat the tale of Alcibiades with his 

46 The Great Lawsuit. [July, 

But men do not look at both sides, and women must 
leave off asking them and being influenced by them, but 
retire within themselves, and explore the groundwork of 
being till they find their peculiar secret. Then when they 
come forth again, renovated and baptized, they will know* 
how to turn all dross to gold, and will be rich and free 
though they live in a hut, tranquil, if in a crowd. Then 
their sweet singing shall not be from passionate impulse, 
but the lyrical overflow of a divine rapture, and a new 
music shall be elucidated from this many-chorded world. 

Grant her then for a while the armor and the javelin. 
Let her put from her the press of other minds and medi- 
tate in virgin loneliness. The same idea shall reappear in 
due time as Muse, or Ceres, the afl-kindly, patient Earth- 

I tire every one with my Goethean illustrations. But it 
cannot be helped. 

Goethe, the great mind which gave itself absolutely 
to the leadings of truth, and let rise through him the 
waves which are still advancing through the century, was 
its intellectual prophet. Those who know him, see, daily, 
his thought fulfilled more and more, and they must speak 
of it, till his name weary and even nauseate, as all great 
names have in their time. And I cannot spare the reader, 
if such there be. his wonderful sight as to the prospects and 
wants of women. 

As his Wilhelm grows in life and advances in wisdom, 
he becomes acquainted with women of more and more 
character, rising from Mariana to Macaria. 

Macaria, bound with the heavenly bodies in fixed revo- 
lutions, the centre of all relations, herself unrelated, ex- 
presses the Minerva side. 

Mignon, the electrical, inspired lyrical nature. 

All these women, though we see them in relations, we 
can think of as unrelated. They all are very individual, 
yet seem nowhere restrained. They satisfy for the pres- 
ent, yet arouse an infinite expectation. 

The economist Theresa, the benevolent Natalia, the fair 
Saint, have chosen a path, but their thoughts are not nar- 
rowed to it. The functions of life to them are not ends, 
but suggestions. 

Thus to them all things are important, because none is 

1843.] Woman vs. Women, 4t 

necessary. Their different characters have fair play, and 
each is beautiful in its minute indications, for nothing is 
enforced or conventional, but everything, however slight, 
grows from the essential life of the being. 

Mignon and Theresa wear male attire when they like, 
and it is graceful for them to do so, while Macaria is con- 
fined to her arm chair behind the green curtain, and the 
Fair Saint could not bear a speck of dust on her robe. 

All things are in their places in this little world because 
all is natural and free, just as '' there is room for every- 
thing out of doors." Yet all is rounded in by natural har- 
mony which will always arise where Truth and Love are 
sought in the light of freedom. 

Goethe's book bodes an era of freedom like its own, of 
" extraordinary generous seeking," and new revelations. 
New individualities shall be developed in the actual 
world, which shall advance upon it as gently as the figures 
come out upon his canvass. 

A profound thinker has said ''no married woman can 
represent the female world, for she belongs to her husband. 
The idea of woman must be represented by a virgin." 

But that is the very fault of marriage, and of the present 
relation between the sexes, that the woman does belong to 
the man, instead of forming a wliole with him. Were it 
otherwise there would be no such limitation to the thought. 

Woman, self-centred, would never be absorbed by any 
relation ; it would be only an experience to her as to man. 
It is a vulgar error that love, a love to woman is her whole 
existence ; she also is born for Truth and Love in their 
universal energy. Would she but assume her inheritance, 
Mary would not be the only Virgin Motfier. Not Manzoni 
alone would celebrate in his wife the virgin mind with the 
maternal wisdom and conjugal affections. The soul is ever 
young, ever virgin. 

And will not she soon appear? The woman who shall 
vindicate their birthright for all women ; who shall teach 
them what to claim, and how to use what they obtain ? 
Shall not her name be for her era Victoria, for her country 
and her life Virginia ? Yet predictions are rash ; she herself 
must teach us to give her the fitting name. 

48 Youth of the Poet and the Painter. [July, 





Dear Hope, 

I HAVE been a week in this beautiful place. I am glad 
to fly the round of forms for the breath of the green fields 
This sweet spot was carved, by the Spirit of beauty, for a 
fairer race than mortals ; and if I am not happy, it is that 
I wander alone, with the faithless figures of hope to light 
the path. I believe in solitude, with one friend. Do you 
remember our week at Hillsborough, and those homelike 
evenings, after our tramps up the mountains, and our strolls 
in the meadows ? What a peculiar sympathy is that which 
can tolerate society at such seasons ; and I believe I shall 
never meet another, with whom I shall be so willing to wan- 
der, as with you. Have you sailed much on the inland riv- 
ers? When we wandered, we did not use the stream, so 
smoothly gliding at the foot of purple mountains, but I 
spend much time in my boat now. I love its motion, and 
pass among the trees, free from being entangled in the 
branches, and rustle ,the long grass of the morass in dry 
shoes. The leafy walls on each side produce new combina- 
tions of shade, picturesque and artistical, and their reflec- 
tions double the forest, with the clouds brought so low, that 
I fear the actual woods may lose part of their pleasure, when 
I again tread their recesses. This spot combines the at- 
traction of two rivers. The larger, in contrast with the 
less, seems almost a sea, from its high banks. The sunset, 
streaming across the water, reminds me of the ocean. 
There is a wildness, in the larger river, that would better suit 
you, than my little boating-ground ; the woods, on the lofty 
shores, are bold and massive, and the hills soar into the sky. 
When the wind blows fresh, there are waves, and the sail- 
boats dash through the foam, as if the mimicry of the sea 
acted on their keels, and excited them with its life. 

My little skitf dares not tempt the flow of the large river, 
and winds its way on the tranquil bosom of the Willow, — 

1843.] Youth of the Poet and the Painter. 49 

for this is the name given to the little stream, from many 
groups of this graceful tree, floating on tlie margin. I am 
sheltered from storms in a cove, circled with trees, where 
the banks nod with white and red flowers ; my caverns are 
roofed with leaves and brown branches, and, instead of sea- 
gulls, I have robins and thrushes sweeping over the crags 
of verdure, and the blue king-fisher glances between tiie 
two skies, and calls shrilly to me. If I feel the wind, it is 
in the mimic rain pattering in the leaves, or see the tiny 
waves frolic below me, where the forest opens. I never 
hear better music than listening to these songs on the river. 
I wish I had your talent, and could bring these scenes home 
in a sketch-book, or was poet enough to express my ac- 
quaintance with this delightful river, in verse. He, who 
can do this, need not ask men to give ; nature has enriched 
him. I suppose his poetry is more valuable to the poet, 
than to his auditors, and I wonder at his sensitiveness, and 
delicacy, as to his productions. It is enough for him to 
embalm the world in human affection, for himself. 

At some distance, from the mill where I live, up the 
Willow, is a sand-bank, covering some acres, on which not 
a tree grows, nor a blade of grass. I came to it, fresh 
from reading some African travels, and felt I had discov- 
ered a little Sahara, in these green plains. Though it was 
noon, I wandered over it, in a festive mood, and if the soles 
of my shoes did not burn, I felt the solid heat. ] have no 
doubt, you will dub me African traveller, and claim me for 
a second Ledyard, whom you used greatly to admire, and 
say there had been no other modern man of a similar 
character. I am sitting on this sand-bank, and writing my 
letter, just on its edge, under the shade of an oak, whose 
glossy leaves shine in the sun. The broad fields of sand are 
everywhere covered with warmth, yet nothing grows ; if 
you dig down only two inclies, how damp and clammy is 
the soil. I have found some Indian arrow-heads upon it, 
and I see various shining insects hopping about. 

Have you been much in a mill? It is a domestic 
place. There is an honest tone in the spinning stones, 
the impersonation of a loaf of bread ; it is a speech of 
power besides, rolling and whirling. The beams, coated 
with dust, glow like dead alabaster, and every spider's 
web is made from white yarn. Even at noon, the 

VOL. IV. NO. I. 7 

50 Youth of the Poet and the Painter. [July, 

rooms are lit badly, and, at twilight, they gloom. I am 
startled when the miller treads the creaking stairs ; and the 
trap-doors and odd passages seem like an old castle. 
When grinding stops, silence hangs over the chambers, 
tenanted by squab figures, in while clothes, while down 
stairs the water trickles under the wheel, and the rats play 
hide-and-go-seek. Sometimes I am miller, and once I nearly 
set the building on fire by letting the grist run out of the 

I am more than ever convinced, since I came herQ, you 
have made a mistake in not attending more to coloring, to 
the neglect, if you please, of so much outline-drawing. 
As I float down the river, I am detained by the color. 
These rich reflections, black in their depths, shining on 
their surfaces, with a delicate coating of silver, and glossing 
the trees, in masses, with an uncertain body-tint, could 
never be used in outline. You must pile on color, glaze 
and re-glaze. What would be the value of that starry 
group of willow-foliage, in your neutral pencil-drawing, de- 
prived of its light, glimmering green, or this emerald bank, 
bearing a wreath of vermilion cardinals ? I long to put 
these preparatory years of yours into one, and give it to a 
study so vexatious as this of outline, and then set you free 
into gorgeous colors that press forward and lie at your feet. 
Come from your neat chamber to my river, and we will float 
in splendid sunsets and ro}'al moonlights, till you forget all 
but your picture, and create this smiling worM over again. 
They will furnish a room in the mill, where you hear the 
hum of the lazy water-wheel, and the jowl's screech, out of 
the forest on the opposite bank. We have good sweet 
meal, an orchard of scraggly apple-trees, and a deep kitchen 
hearth for cool evenings. Come, I entreat. 




My Dear Sox, 

I was surprised to learn you had suddenly deserted col- 
lege, and made your way to some place in the country, 
without either consulting me or the president. As your 

1843.] Youth of the Poet and the Painter, 51 

mother, and nearest living relative, your feelings should 
have led you to inform me of this very serious change in 
your course of life. You left Doughnut, apparently con- 
tented to reside at college, and President Littlego's first 
letter was perfectly satisfactory. In his second I was mor- 
tified to learn you did not attend prayers, so often as was 
required, though regular at recitations ; and in his third, 
v^ith feelings I cannot describe, I learned you had left your 
room, and the greater portion of your clothes, and taken up 
your residence at some obscure farmhouse, in a country 

It was from a letter to your friend Hope, I discovered to 
what point you had gone, and I write immediately on hear- 
ing, to beseech you to return to Doughnut, even if you do 
not instantly go back to Triflecut. At least, write on the 
receipt of this, and inform me by what reasons you sustain 
your present extraordinary course of conduct. You must 
feel this is due to me, as well as to your other friends, and 
to President Littlego. 

After so long a course of studies, in this city, under the 
best preceptor I could obtain, I naturally felt that you would 
enter college with superior advantages, and obtain a high 
rank in your class. L know, my dear son, that as a young 
man, — a very young man, — just entering into life, your 
responsibilities do not seem so important as they will. I 
regard a good position at college extretnely desirable on one 
account, as the means of securing a good social position. 
You entered with the most respectable youth of this city, as 
associates in your class, and in other classes you have ac- 
quaintances, your friend Hope, and others of the same 
standing. I trust it will be your purpose to rank with these 
excellent young men. Again, the discipline gained from 
the study of foreign languages, and mathematics, will afford 
you a good basis on which you can erect your future 

You know, my dear Edward, my pecuniary circumstan- 
ces, and that it is by limiting myself and your sister, I have 
been able to send you to Triflecut, without infringing too 
far upon the course of life we pursue in Doughnut. Yet I 
shall cheerfully make a greater sacrifice, if it will conduce 
to your greater happiness. If your room was unsuitable, 
or not furnished according to your wish, or if your ward- 

52 Youth of the Poet and the Painter. [July, 

robe did not content you, I beg you will lay the cause 
before your mother's eye, and she will gladly devote any 
portion of her store to supply what you require. 

Hope informs me, you pass part of your time in a boat 
or some old mill. I beg of you not to be out in the even- 
ing air ; remember your health, and how dear you are to 
me. Old mills are badly ventilated, and you have a ten- 
dency to cough. I have procured from Mrs. Puffy your 
flannel waistcoats, which I forward, together with another 
bottle of Smith's Lotion for sore throat. In case you 
should be unwell, send at once for a physician. 1 feel you 
will come home at once. God bless you, my dear son. 
Your affectionate mother, 

Rebecca Ashford. 




What has got into your brains now, Ned, goes beyond 
the powers of your Uncle Dick ! I happened to come to 
Doughnut the day they expected you from Triflecut. I ar- 
rived at 1 1 o'clock, in the stage, and found mother and 
sister Fanny working at your winter stockings, in the little 
back parlor. At 12 the bell rung, and the^ Triflecut coach 
stopped. Fanny flew to the window, your mother ran to 
the door, and in came a dapper-looking college man, in a 
black coat, and handed us a letter, \yhich contained the 
astounding intelligence, that you had fled the soft embraces 
of President Lilllego. and now smacked your lips over 
johnny-cakes and apple-dumplings, in a distant although 
romantic grist-mill. I was introduced to Mr. Hope, and 
asked him what could induce a quiet young gentleman, like 
you, to cut such a trick ; at which he smiled, drew up his 
eye-brows, twirled his hat, and said, " I wish I was there 
with him." "The devil you do," said I. I have not 
laughed so much since I burnt oft' deacon Bugbear's queue 
at a revival lecture. 

Your mother popped a series of maternal questions at 
Mr. Hope, to discover what motives led her darling boy to 
such a display of independence. Mr. Hope, who is a quiz 

1843.] Youth of the Poet and the Painter, 53 

plainly, informed her your sudden disappearance was as 
much matter of surprise to him, as to herself, and went, 
leaving us as wise as when he came. He supposed the 
classic shades of Triflecut, as your mother calls scrub 
commons and twopenny tutors, might have wearied your 
imaginative head, and that the beautiful village of Lovedale 
was more adapted to it. I have lived a long time, my dear 
Ned, and have seen a good deal of life. I did not run 
away, when a youth, but was put up and labelled — sailor, 
and despatched in a dirty ship, to plough my way through 
the furrows of the ocean. I thought I should have a good 
time, rocking on the billows, far from the torments of six 
brpthers, the plague of school, and the dull routine of a 
little seaport. My first voyage " cleansed my bosom of 
this perilous stuff." I came home, "a sadder and a wiser" 
ladj — but I had to equip for another voyage, and sailed the 
sea twenty-six long years. At the end I came back to the 
little seaport, "an ancient mariner," with no property but 
the clothes on my back, some yarns about my travels, gray 
hair, and a rheumatism, to burden my family and look after 
my nephews. 

Do what you like, only be careful to go to sea with a 
rudder. I rarely give advice, but I can recommend you 
never to do anything without seeing where your path goes, 
and, if you can, keep the old road. You will find the 
beaten track pleasanter, on the whole, and, if the scenery 
is tame, the accommodation is good at the taverns. 

Your friend Hope made me laugh, as I say, by his cool 
indifference to your mother's tenderness. He has an old 
head on young shoulders. He told me, Triflecut was 
thrown into an agreeable excitement by your disappearance. 
Mrs. Puffy was in consternation, to lose so quiet a boarder 
with such a small appetite, and the good soul really feared 
that the hard fare of the University must have driven you 
desperate. A few of the young ladies have manifested 
some sympathy, and set you down as a rejected suitor. 
Pray appease your mother's distressed heart, by writing her. 

We are in a quandary here. I have had a notion I 
would get a lawyer's advice, — perhaps we could take you 
with a habeas corpus, but it is a good way to send a sher- 
iff's officer, and it would be a blank business to have a non 
est inventus returned. Your mother begs me to engage 

54 Youth of the Poet and the Painter. [July, 

a vehicle and drive down myself; your sister Fanny sug- 
gests we bribe you to come back by the offer of a study 
and pens, a hbrary, and permission to pass a week in se- 
clusion. What we shall resolve, I cannot say; in the mean 
time I pufF my pipe, at my leisure, in the garret, and read 
some old French plays I bought at a book stall. 

Your Uncle, 





I acknowledge what you say of outline is partly true, 
my dear Ashford, but I think you have drawn too hasty a 
conclusion. We must, in art, make a beginning, — to leap 
from the outset to the end, cannot produce any work above 
that of a petit-maitre. It is the fault of our time to escape 
deliberation, to mar by haste, and to suggest, rather than 
perfect. I am chagrined to hear you remark, you wish the 
Poet's power belonged to you, for I have always thought 
you were born to write verse. 

I console myself by reflecting that every true poet has felt 
this deficiency at the outset, and my chagrin was the result 
of the same want of maturity I find everywhere ; for how 
could I require you, just beginning to write, to produce 
anything sublime ? I want courage to assert my right to 
the pencil, as much as you do to the pen. 1 believe our 
age is not only that of immaturity, but of disbelief; we 
are neither willing to graduate nor confide ; we finish in 
haste, and read our failure of necessity. When I consider 
how the masters, who have stamped eternal foot-prints in 
the sands of time, spent years in writing characters which 
were instantly washed out, I resolve to sit in love and ad- 
miration, and value my ill-formed outsets as some tendency 
towards real beauty, as the alphabet to the bible of art. 
My outlines, in this hght, are worth preserving, and I grieve 
that I was not possessed of this patience years ago, for it 
would have led me to keep my first sketches, and I might 
now see such a change for the better as to make golden my 

1843.] Youth of the Poet and the Painter. 55 

loftiest aspirations. So much do we learn in youth, and 
so unfortunate it seems to grow old early, and abridge this 
holiday-floor, where, in games, we harvest deep experience. 
I have been long laboring at outlines, yet feel I have accom- 
plished little, compared with what I might, other pursuits 
have so abridged my time. I have not yielded to your ear- 
nest request, to dwell only in art, to abandon these college 
studies; in short, to identify my whole external existence 
with the beautiful. I prize the unselfish enthusiasm that 
leads you to desire for your friend only the happiest results. 
For your sake I should love to yield myself entirely to the 
radiant sunlight of picture, and dispense with the cold econ- 
omy of the world. 

What will you think if I confess I have not that confi- 
dence which enables me to say entirely, that I can produce 
anything to warrant me in following an artist's life? An ir- 
resistible impulse draws me to landscape. I take my pen- 
cil, but the scenes do not flow warm and living. In a 
measure I satisfy myself, yet not to that extent I desire. 
You will send the lesson I have just read, on haste, and 
the necessity of taking degrees in art, step by step. Alas 1 
I find I can read lessons to everybody better than practise 

It would not avail to be an amateur; I must be all or 
nothing; and in fully feeling this, I found my right to be- 
come a painter. He, who truly aspires to the loftiest, has 
the consolation of knowing he can make no failure ; yet 
to pass life in stepping from one stone to another, would 
not be sufficient excuse for deserting what other avenues I 
may have to knowledge. I am an unresting man ; all I 
hear, all I see, all I do, is but the faint uncertain dawn of 
what I am equal to ; and it would be a sensation profoundly 
satisfactory, did I seize what jewels are strewn by the way ; 
but I seem to be carried forward with such rapidity that I 
cannot stoop to seize even these. I am possessed with the 
idea, that I cannot neglect any of the common avenues to 
knowledge, and find myself faithfully performing every 
college duty, no matter how dry, with the instinct that 
something may be in it. The ancients yield me more fruit 
than the moderns, and Homer, iEschylus, Lucan, and Vir- 
gil, I would not exchange for any four of the moderns. I 
woald not aim at acquiring a critical knowledge of the 

56 Youth of the Poet and the Painter. [July? 

dead languages ; but these four years, we spend at college, 
are a convenient period for mastering them sufficienllyw 
These are youth's leisure days, in our age, to read the past. 
The Greeks I never tire of. I have lately made a prize in 
a bust of the Apollo, vv^hich was sent from Italy as a speci- 
men cast, and now have it in a corner of my chamber. I 
have captured, this week, Flaxman's Homer, and spent 
some pleasant hours over it, in wliich I wished you with 
me. What manly fellows these Greeks were ! So bold, 
so finished, so splendidly wrought up to a pure, stern ideal, 
yet without that sentiment which spoils our ideahty. 

What a strange point of history is this, when we stand 
in an age not capable of producing any work of sublime 
excellence, yet having a back ground filled with monu- 
ments cut in eternal beauty. That there should have been 
preserved, through the dark ages, these sayings of former 
civilization, which we now comprehend, yet cannot repro- 
duce, makes our time a youth of speechless beauty, whose 
eyes penetrate the shroud before his birth ; and how indi- 
vidual we are, for we only survey the future with promise.- 
I knovi' of nothing so singular, as tiiat our age should be 
the age of reform. I doubt, indeed, that it is. Our peo- 
ple of reform love to cover their imperfections with this 
vanity, while their eyes swim with tears, when they look 
into the bright face of the past. Give me, if not the pow- 
er of present creation, the capacity to appreciate those 
matchless ancients who sat supreme among forms, and bend 
their successors into an unsuccessful imitation. If I can 
make nothing new, if this is a winter's, day, when the fields 
flowers do not bloom, let me twine my brows with the ever- 
green laurels of the summer past. I can, at least, live with 
the divinities, if I cannot match them in performance. I 
can worship in silence, and believe, though speechless. 

There has been a revival, of late years, all over Europe, 
of the Greek spirit, surprising to behold, and finally the 
discovery that if Shakspeare is the first of moderns, it is 
only that he inherited, the largest share of the ancient. 
Yet, I do not look upon Slmkspeare as such an immortal as 
Homer, and fancy 1 can discover traces that he shakes on 
his seat. But you know that I am not such a Shakspeare- 
man as you ; if he should suffer, I think it will be a par- 
tial obscuration, caused by the extreme meanness of his 

1843.] Youth of the Poet and the Painter. 57 

late critics, who have overloaded the public mind v^^ith their 
leaden lumber. 

Even in America, the puritan side of modern cultivation, 
I see this Greek spirit marching forward to conquer cus- 
tom. This new development of sculptors, is a warning, 
while late poets tend to a smoothness, a finish, and neat- 
ness, which gives us the workmanship of Pope's time, while 
we possess besides a liberal idea. I rejoice in this, and cling 
to my old books the closer, when I see they are beginning 
to warm the mass. I will not quarrel with your devotion to 
what is only new, and shall always be delighted with your 
mill, and your sails on the river. 

I have fallen in with a new person this last week, whom 
I met on Grecian hill, where we used to walk. He was 
loitering, apparently, like myself, a cloud-gazer. I found 
more tenderness in his eyes than in his speech, and that he 
did not do credit to his heart. We conversed about books 
and pictures. He was not so fond of the ancients as I. 
He professed not to be a favorite in general society, yet I 
saw, by the manner in which he spoke of several of our 
mutual acquaintances, that he had approached in a way 
agreeable to them, as he was full master of their faults. I 
detected he was impatient of defects, yet would not tole- 
rate a stately beauty, with great external polish, because he 
believed nature knew best how to win affection, and that 
the apex of cultivation, if lofty, was covered with snow. 
In this, he differed from me, as I believe that true poHsh 
can do no more than proportion nature. T found he dwelt 
more on defects than beauties, and that it was owing to his 
love of the ridiculous which set out the imperfection, if 
never so small, in a humorous light, leaving the equal graces 
to shine unobserved. He had detected this tendency, as in 
speaking of some of the old humorists, he said, "They are 
like me ; they love the comic, yet see what lies below with- 
out mentioning it." Still, I thought, from his conversation, 
which lacked any one distinguishing peculiarity, that his 
humor was not natural, but the product of sorrow united 
with an original mirthfulness, whose proper outlet would 
have been fair smiles. He had no wit, but labored with 
his power to express himself; and though what he said 
sounded fresh and honest, from an occasional alteration, or 
a repetition of the same thought, I concluded he found it 

VOL. IV. NO. I. 8 

58 Youth of the Poet and the Painter. [July, 

difScult to fit expression precisely to thought. He must 
have been a writer, rather than a painter ; but yet as he 
showed a keen sense of beauty in the landscape, which, 
you remember, is one of those that do nothing but suggest, 
I concluded he had studied pictures. We spoke of love, 
and he mused moodily, and showed he had been disap- 
pointed in some passion. I believed, from the fair oval of 
his brow and the undrooped eyelids, that his character was 
trusting, and that a long life of affection lay before him, to 
be tinged with occasional shade from the recollection of 
his past affections. As we strolled on, I was charmed with 
the quick eyes he had for every object. Nothing escaped, 
neither cloud, flower, tree, bird, nor insect, and I was glad 
to find he valued masses, and where the landscape opened 
he traced a good foreground, a wide distance, and a side- 
light which struck a group of trees in the middle, brought 
out a winding brook, a small golden valley, and an elm 
tree with a cottage under it, and connected these domestic 
emblems with a group of gray clouds. He looked at me, 
as if this picture did not satisfy him, but had formed a bet- 
ter in his mind, which he did not show. When I spoke 
to him of books, I found he had read a number ; yet on his 
quoting some poetry, discovered he did not give it correct- 
ly, though he added words which made it better, and seem- 
ed musing whether he had read the right line. He selected 
some half dozen books out of all he had read, as the sum 
and substance of books, and placed them on his shelves, as 
silent reserves, specimens of what had been done, which 
held in them no obligation for him to read. I spoke of the 
old masters, and the Greek sculpture, and found he loved 
painting best, but did not prefer any special artist. I spoke 
with him, also, of philosophers, and found he had read them 
rather in his imagination than in fact, and formed figures of 
the past men, as well as epochs, without having really taken 
much notice of their works. In the midst of very serious 
criticisms, he called me off to point to some tree waving 
by the wall's side, or plant at our feet, and I saw he was 
firmly fixed in nature rather than art. 

Pray send me another letter from your mill, before long, 
and if you write any verses, some copies, and if I find a 
chance, I will send some of my late outlines. 
Ever yours, 


1843.] Ethnical Scriptures. 69 



[Preliminary Note. The Desatir or Regulations, purports to be a collec- 
tion of the writings of the different Persian prophets, being fifteen in number, 
of whom Zerdusht or Zoroaster was the thirteenth, and ending with the fifth 
Sasan, who lived in the time of Chosroes, contemporary with the Emperor He- 
raclius. In England, attention was first called to this book by Sir William 
Jones in the Second Volume of the Asiatic Researches, and the book was after- 
wards translated from the Persian by Mr. Duncan, Governor of Bombay, and by 
Mulla Firuz Bin Kaus, a Hindoo, and published at Bombay in 1818.] 


Let us take refuge with Mezdam from evil thoughts 
which mislead and afflict us. 

O creator of the essence of supports and stays ; O thou 
who showerest down benefits ; O thou who formest the 
heart and soul ; O fashioner of forms and shadows • O 
Light of lights 1 

Thou art the first, for there is no priority prior to thee. 
Thou art the last, for there is no posteriority posterior to thee. 

O worthy to be lauded ! dehver us from the bonds of 
terrestrial matter. 

Rescue us from the fetters of dark and evil matter. 

Intelligence is a drop from among the drops of the ocean 
of thy place of souls. 

The Soul is a flame from among the flames of the fire of 
thy residence of Sovereignty. 

Mezdam is hid by excess of light. He is Lord of his 
wishes ; not subject to novelties ; and the great is small, and 
the tall short, and the broad narrow, and the deep is as a 
ford unto him. 

Who causeth the shadow to fall. 

The Inflamer that maketh the blood to boil. 

In the circle of thy sphere, which is without rent, which 
neither assumeth a new shape, nor putteth off" an old one, 
nor taketh a straight course ; 

Thou art exalted, O our Lord ! From thee is praise, and 
to thee is praise. 

60 Ethnical Scriptures. [July, 

Thy world of forms, the city of bodies, the place of 
created things, is long and broad and deep. Thou art the 
accomplisher of desires. 

The eyes of purity saw thee by the lustre of thy sub- 
stance. Dark and astounded is he who hath seen thee by 
the efforts of the Intellect. 


Every prophet whom I send goeth forth to stablish re- 
ligion, not to root it up. 

Thou wilt be asked, By what dost thou know God? 
Say, By what descendeth on the heart. For could that be 
proved false, souls would be utterly helpless. There is in 
thy soul a certain knowledge, which, if thou display it to 
mankind, they will tremble like a branch agitated by a 
strong wind. Say unto mankind, Look not on the Self- 
existent with this eye : ask for another eye. 

The Nurakh sages ask. What use is there for a prophet 
in this world? A prophet is necessary on this account, 
that men are connected with each other in the concerns of 
life : therefore rules and laws are indispensable that all 
may act in concert : that there may be no injustice in 
giving, or taking, or partnership, but that the order of the 
world may endure. And it is necessary that these rules 
should proceed from Mezdam, that all men may obey them. 
For this high task a prophet must be raised up. How can 
we know that a prophet is really called to his office ? By 
his knowing that which others do not know ; and by his 
giving you information regarding your own heart ; and by 
his not being puzzled by any question that is asked ; and 
by this, that another cannot do what he doeth. 

O Ferzinsar ! son of Yasanajam : thee have I selected 
for prophecy. Revive the religion of the prophet of proph- 
ets, the great Abad ; and worship Hersesram (Saturn) in 
this sort, that he may lend thee his aid ; — I pray of thee, 
O Father ! Lord ! that thou ask by the splendor of thy 
soul from thy Father and Lord, thy prime Cause and Lover, 
and of all the free and blazing lights that possess intelli- 
gence, that they would ask of their Father and Lord, the 
most approved wish that can be asked of tlie Stablisher of 
all, to make me one of those who approach the band of 

1843.] Ethnical Scriptures. 61 

his lights and the secrets of his Essence, and to pour hght 
on the Band of hght and splendor, and to nnagnify them, 
and to purify them and us, while the world endureth, and 
to all eternity. 


My light is on thy countenance ; my word is on thy 
tongue. Me thou seest, me thou hearest, me thou smell- 
est, me thou tastest, me thou touchest. What thou say- 
est, that I say ; and thy acts are my acts. And I speak by 
thy tongue, and thou speakest to me, though mortals im- 
agine that thou speakest to them. 

I am never out of thy heart, and I am contained in 
nothing but in thy heart. And I am nearer unto thee than 
thou art unto thyself. Thy soul reacheth me. 

In the name of Mezdam. O Siamer ! I will call thee 
aloft, and make thee my companion ; the lower world is 
not thy place. Many times daily thou escapest from thy 
body and comest unto me. 

Now thou art not satisfied with coming unto me from 
time to time, and longest to abide continually nigh unto 
me ; I too am not satisfied with thy absence. Although 
thou art with me, and I with thee, still thou desirest and I 
desire that thou shouldest be still more intimately with me. 
Therefore will I release thee from thy terrestrial body, and 
make thee sit in my company. 


[The first time that I was called to the world above, the 
heavens and stars said unto me, O Sasan ! we have bound 
up our loins in the service of Yezdan, and never with- 
drawn from it, because he is worthy of praise ; and we are 
filled with astonishment how mankind can wander so wide 
from the commands of God.] 

Whatever is on earth is the resemblance and shadow 
of something that is in the sphere. While that resplen- 
dent thing remaineth in good condition, it is well also with 
its shadow. When that resplendent thing removeth far 
from its shadow, life removeth to a distance. Again, that 

62 Ethnical Scriptures, [Ju^y? 

light is the shadow of something more resplendent than 
itself. And so on, up to Me, who am the Light of lights. 
Look therefore to Mezdam, who causeth the shadow to 


Purity is of two kinds, real and formal. The real con- 
sisteth in not binding the heart to evil ; and the formal in 
cleansing away what appears evil to the view. 

True self-knowledge is knowledge of God. Life is af- 
fected by two evils, Lust and Anger. Restrain them with- 
in the proper mean. Till man can attain this self-control, 
he cannot become a celestial. 

The perfect seeth unity in multiplicity, and multiplicity 
in unity. 

The roads tending to God are more in number than the 
breathings of created beings. 


The spider said, Wherein consisteth the superior excel- 
lence of man ? The sage Simrash said, Men understand 
talismans, and charms, and magic arts, while animals do 
not. The spider answered. Animals exceed men in these 
respects ; knowest thou not that crawling things and in- 
sects build triangular and square houses without wood or 
brick ? behold my work, how without loom, I weave fine 
cloth. Simrash replied, Man can write and express his 
thoughts on paper, which animals cannot. The spider 
said, Animals do not transfer the secrets of Mezdam from 
a living heart to a lifeless body. Simrash hung down his 
head from shame. 


With what a still, untroubled air, 
The spring comes stealing up the way, 
Like some young maiden coyly fair, 
Too modest for the light of day. 

1843.] Ahou Ben Adhem. 63 



Abou Ben Adhem, (may his tribe increase!) 

Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace, 

And saw within the moonlight in the room. 

Making it rich and like a lily in bloom, 

An angel writing in a book of gold ; 

Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold. 

And to the Presence in the room he said, 

" What writest thou? " The vision raised its head, 

And with a look made all of sweet accord. 

Answered, " The names of those who love the Lord."^ 

" And is mine one ? " said Adhem. " Nay, not so," 

Replied the angel. Adhem spoke more low. 

But cheerly still, and said, "I pray thee, then, 

Write me as one who loves his fellow-men." 

The angel wrote and vanished ; the next night 

He came again with a great wakening light. 

And showed their names whom love of God had blest^ 

And lo ! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest. 


They breathe the feeling of thy happy soul. 
Intricate Spring ! too active for a word ; 
They come from regions distant as the pole ; 
Thou art their magnet, — seedsman of the bird. 

64 The Earth. [July, 


By William E. Channing. 

My highway is unfeatured air, 
My consorts are the sleepless stars, 
And men, my giant arms upbear. 
My arms unstained and free from scars. 

I rest forever on my way, 
Rolling around the happy sun. 
My children love the sunny day, 
But noon and night to me are one. 

My heart hath pulses like their own, 
I am their mother, and my veins, 
Though built of the enduring stone. 
Thrill as do theirs with godlike pains. 

The forests and the mountains high, 
The foaming ocean and its springs. 
The plains, — O pleasant company. 
My voice through all your anthems rings. 

Ye are so cheerful in your minds. 
Content to smile, content to share. 
My being in your silence finds 
The echo of my spheral air. 

No leaf may fall, no pebble roll. 
No drop of water lose the road, 
The issues of the general soul. 
Are mirrored in their round abode. 

1843.] Social Tendencies, ' 65 


"the divine end in society is humane perfection." 

How strange a sound is this heard along the shore ! Un- 
like either the last plashes of a recent storm, or the swell of 
a coming gale, its indications cannot be read by experience. 
In irregular intervals, the new waves curl, crisp and yeasty, 
over the shell-strewn beach, with an unusual surge, although 
no fresh breeze is sensible above the surface of the waters. 
The oldest, time-worn caves, echo the unfamiliar sound, 
and even their inmost recesses seem sensible of the forth- 
coming of some event, which may destroy their venerable 
forms forever, and crumble them to common earth. It is as 
the apprehension of an earthquake, against which no con- 
trivance can prevail, and which no skill can avert. The 
ancient fishermen, they who seem to be as imperishable as 
the waters, stand mute. Their boats and nets are drifted 
to and fro by the influence of the unseen power which they 
have not the courage to resist, or deem it as impossible to 
oppose as the south-western gale in its highest fury. Yet 
the elemental world above is serene ; no portents cloud the 
sky ; and the perpetual sun shines on in steady splendor. 
In a murmuring prophet-note this new impulse is princi- 
pally indicated. 

May we worthily speculate on the origin, operation, and 
probable futurity of this new movement in the human 
ocean. Peradventure we may divine the interpretation of 
the omen. 

Certain it is, that the political chiefs of the earth no 
longer execute that initiative function for which their office 
was created. The monarch and his prime minister are now 
but the chairman and his deputy,at a convention where the 
government really rests in the hands of the majority. The 
governor has ceased to rule ; he is there only to hear reso- 
lutions propounded and to count the votes. The old ditty 
begins to be realized, and each one now is substantially 
" king in his turn." Happy fact, that humanity is so much 
nearer mankind, and is escaping from the leading-strings 
self-imposed in the nursery. 

VOL. IV. NO. I. 9 

66 Social Tendencies, [July, 

The depths from which the surface-movements spring, 
are as various as their outward appearances ; and their ori- 
gins are as separate and distinct as the strange and broken 
wavelets which indicate them. 

Some minds, moved as by personal irritation at a particular 
vice in existing institutions, will be invited to apply every 
energy to its reformation or annihilation. Unquiet souls, 
under the most favorable circumstances, have some com- 
plaints to utter. By no means are the objects generally 
aimed at by the great mass of men to be deemed worthy 
of real human effort. Yet there is a number, almost de- 
serving the appellation, " a multitude," who, beii]g moved 
from a greater depth than ordinary, manifest a purpose 
which may, with less liability to the charge of ostentation, 
be designated human. Whosoever shall go about seek- 
ing these, may, without much difficulty, discover them, 
though they are hidden from the external observer's eye. 
Heretofore mingled in the stream of professed reformers,, 
until they found such a course could not lead to their satis- 
faction, they stand aloof from troubled waters, they now 
declare they are impelled by an inspiration to build up a 
new social existence, such as history records not, such as 
experience does not manifest. 

These consist not of malcontent or rebellious souls, who, 
from a pugnacious nature, attack whatever in existence may 
stand in their way ; nor of such as, from an avaricious ap- 
petite, hunger for new food ; nor of disappointed or dis- 
gusted self-indulgents, whose elasticity has been worn away 
by excess in low delights ; but they appear to consist of the 
loving, the peaceful, the calm, the considerate, the youth- 
ful, seeking an external state conformable to the spirit 
within. They propose not a monastery for soured sinners; 
nor incarceration of moral debtors, to add, by refined idle- 
ness, to a debt already too large ; nor a pest-house to 
accommodate disease ; nor an alms-house to create poverty. 

There seems now born into the world a newer, fresher 
spirit ; an infant race craving nourishment of a higher kind 
than was heretofore asked for. Unto us children are 
given who cannot imbibe the old world's draff, nor be 
clothed in the old world's abraded garments. 

Here and there, in places distant and obscure, but be- 
coming less distant and better known, are heard the cries 

1843.] Social Tendencies. Q7 

of this infant voice. Feeble it has yet been, and deemed 
mostly foreign ; but there is not wanting a maternal ear, 
which, being 0})en to the slightest sound from real humanity, 
recognises these juvenile faint utterances. This maternity, 
though itself unable to enjoy the new conditions and the 
new food, may provide them for the young and new-born, 
who may thenceforward unite in sufficient numbers for the 
perfect accomplishment of the new life. 

Such are some of the characteristics of the latest-born 
idea of human progress. Between it, and the reforming 
mind, whose notions of improvement are satisfied by a re- 
pair of the guide-post, stand almost all the human family. 
The thought, the wish, the hope for something better, is all 
but universal. The question rather is, which is the good, 
than whether there is a good yet to be attained. It is the 
intuitive certainty of a better morrow, which makes to-day's 
ills tolerable. 

Assuredly, the world abounds sufficiently in evil to arouse 
in the dullest an ardent desire to secure some amendment. 
Not a few are still so obtuse in opposition to progress, that 
their entire existence is a hinderance. They stretch far be- 
yond all rational conservatism, and must rather be called 
Hinderers than Conservatives ; hindering no less their own 
individual weal, than the common good in all. Save these, 
all are banded in one common sentiment, the improvement 
of man and his conditions. 

The Conservative is now a reformer, both intellectually 
and practically, however strongly in feeling he may be dis- 
inclined to changes. The notion, that no melioration is 
possible, either in mode or principle, is confined to the 
Hinderers, who are glad to hide their morbid peculiarity in 
the bosom of conservatism, which thus generously succors 
a pest it should reject. Hinderance is the zero in the 
moral thermometer, of which conservatism makes the freez- 
ing grade, radicalism fluctuating in the intermediate degrees, 
and destructiveness is denoted by the boiling point. Only 
the cold and hot extremes are obnoxious. The genial tem- 
perature lies between the two points of radicalism and 
.conservation, and this is where a benign providence dis- 
poses the moral atmosphere. 

Conservatism perceives the propriety of amendment in 
the administration of the established institutions. A reform 

68 Social Tendencies. [July? 

in small matters is suited to its taste. There are certain 
popular principles, or rather a {qw vague say4ngs, which 
conservatives have for a long series of years repeated, in- 
volving them to some extent in the class of reformers. 
Thus, " retrenchment and economy" are familiar terms, 
even in royal speeches ; and although they are employed to 
cover actual ''waste and extravagance,^' the admission, ver- 
bally, that honesty and truth should govern mankind, is a 
point gained. This slow and unspontaneous acknowledg- 
ment, that something must be conceded to the youthful 
spirit, that '' the boys must have it," is cheering, when we 
know how tardily the better is allowed a place. 

Were mankind to be polled, it is pretty certain that a 
very large majority would be found in advance of this po- 
sition, notwithstanding it is so long kept in it. Of this we 
have the strongest assurance in the fact, that the hinderers 
are violently opposed to a counting of votes in that manner. 
Did they feel assured that the majority is with them, they 
would instantly appeal to man. But the mode of reckoning 
is cunningly fastened upon another principle. Instead of 
estimating man by virtue, or talent, or skill, he is valued 
according to certain results, which may sometimes grow out 
of th.ese antecedents, but which, in fact, may, and more 
frequently do grow out of vice, or rapacity, or fraud. Man 
is weighed by property. The State-doctors, like those who 
study medicine, judge of humanity by its excrements, or 
wait until itself is excrement. They are only clear after a 
post mortem examination. When the man bodily is de- 
stroyed by a surfeit of food, and the man moral by a super- 
abundance of wealth, the doctors can admit him to their 
conservatory museums, and give a good account of him. 
But the age demands a consideration of healthful, living 
men ; and daily the living are growing more and more un- 
easy under the old dead weights. 

Urged by no better principle than the pressure from 
without, the holders of political power slowly and reluc- 
tantly concede some of the ground which might, in bygone 
times, wrested from the domains of love, but no new prin- 
ciple is recognised. A few more voters are admitted into 
the circle ; but there is not sufficient courage to act uni- 
versally, and cast aside all the barriers. Conservatism is 
still ruler by virtue of barricades. Election laws are modi- 

1843.] Social Tendencies. 69 

fied. Sanguinary codes are meliorated. Poor laws are 
reconsidered. Black slavery is softened down to appren- 
ticeship. White slavery is refined by a poetic periodical, 
or rendered more tolerable by music. This mending and 
patching, or cutting into pattern to suit the demands of the 
market, promises ages of employment for moderate reform- 
ers. It is not probable, scarcely possible, that if the pro- 
gress of social man is thus capriciously dependent, much 
good will be attained during the next five or ten centuries. 

Perceiving which fact, some men are desirous to move on 
a little faster, and more steadily, than the ever-varying 
winds will carry the State vessel, to the desired haven. 
They are disposed to render all new discoveries available for 
universal ends, as well as for particular advantage, and hence 
propose to lay on a degree of steam power to carry us over 
the ocean. These call for organic changes, and invite new 
experiments. They are deemed, by the old captains, the 
most dangerous part of the crew, though acknowledged to 
be amongst the most useful working sailors. 

Hence, in Old and in New England, Chartism has birth. 
This is essentially a new form, including some new materi- 
als; not a reform in that definite sense which signifies a 
going back to ancient forms of ancient materials. Ortho- 
dox reform means simply a restoration to the primitive out- 
ward condition, in which institutions originally stood. But 
this is an idea as clearly impossible of actualization, as to 
restore to animal life the men who, some centuries back, 
established such institutions. Heterodox reform, therefore, 
is necessarily proposed ; because men see plainly that it is 
not any outward state of things, beautifully adapted, per- 
haps, to some remote period, that can be found suitable for 
them at this day. Organic changes, then, are needed, as 
well as purity in administration and melioration in practice. 
And from what point shall these changes date ? According 
to what standard shall they be set up ? The principles for 
the construction of such new institutions are not to be 
sought in any hitherto known mode, for they are new, they 
profess to be new. The standard, then, is that which is 
the antecedent to new measures, to all new measures, for 
all have the same antecedent, that is to say, the spirit of 
truth in the human soul. Men may diflfer respecting the 
interpretation of this spirit, but they will differ kindly and 

70 Social Tendencies. [July, 

graciously. When they disagree, it happens because one 
party at least is not, perhaps both parties are not really appeal- 
ing to this standard. The universal spirit has many modes, 
but they all harmonize. The selfish spirit takes a multi- 
tude of jarring forms. 

The contest grows hot, when the organic reformer, bold 
in the rectitude of his purpose, and justified by pure, inte- 
terior convictions, stands forth beyond the limits which 
frigid conservatism deigns to permit. Such an action is 
like the soul attempting to attain to ends beyond the body's 
capacity. The body, the corporate existence, doggedly 
withstands any attempts to proceed taster, or farther than 
its accustomed pace and destination ; and binds down the 
swifter-moving mind, as much as it can, to its own limits. 
This action is doubtless in conformity to a law established 
for the good of both. So with the ponderous drawback, 
which progress encounters from the unwilling and unyield- 
ing nature embodied in the corporate interests of the unre- 
forming world. 

Chartism is the lowest phase of reform, which has any claims 
to an affirmative position. Though not without a large def- 
erence to established modes and existing current thought, 
Chartism yet has some positive and primitive assertions to 
make. Its best principles are drawn from the same foun- 
tain whence all principles flow. The chartist has traced 
backwards and inwards to the origin of the institutions, 
which the conservative will spill his last drop of blood to de- 
fend, and discovers the same reality which underlies both. 
The maintenance of " the throne and the altar,'^ in Eng- 
land, in the year 1796, is synonymous with "law and or- 
der," in Rhode Island, in 1843 ; for each, being interpret- 
ed to its clearest meaning, signifies, " protect my wealth 
and ease." The same reality thus is ever varying its sign ; 
and half a century may probably suffice to convert " liber- 
ty and equality " to the same end. Traced still deeper, 
the investigation lands us at a point even more comprehen- 
sive of parties ; and Chartists, as well as Hinderers, design 
nothing more than the largest possible income from the 
outlay of their capital, skill, and labor. In relation to self- 
ishness, it is merely as a domestic strife. Both parties 
equally desire the greatest good of the greatest number, or 
the happiness of the whole ; the said whole being neither 
more nor less than each man's self. 

1843.] Social Tendencies, 71 

A better aim for each man, in his earthly career, could 
not be devised. As happiness is atiainable by goodness 
alone, goodness in each man being secured, the goodness 
and happiness of all are secured. Men differ only about 
the mode of it. Through all time, and in all places, this 
has been the debate. From pot-house gossip to legislative 
dispute, this is the burden of the song. Doubts, waver- 
ings, changes, each man and each sect undergoes ; for they 
(irmly f^elieve the truth lies somewhere about, though they 
have it not. The thought rarely occurs, that the truth is 
not thus amongst them ; and he vi^ould be universally voted 
a pestilent fellow, who should venture to hint as much. 

Ever since the invention of civilized society, the result 
has been found so unhappy, and so inadequate to the out- 
lay, that there has been a constant aim to amend it. Even 
now, after so much labor, we seem as distant as ever from 
the desirable condition. In a state of barbarism, the indi- 
vidual man gives up but a very small portion of himself; 
he looks little to others for support ; he is self-reliant. He 
runs not to the baker for bread, to the butcher for flesh, to 
the teacher for grammar ; but hunts, and cooks, and speaks 
for himself. It is true he develops some of the misfor- 
tunes of civilization, and occasionally, in his weakness, car- 
ries fees to the doctor and priest. But the essential quality 
in barbarism is that integrity of development, which keeps 
man away from a dependence on other individuals ; and 
while it circumscribes his supplies, also limits his cravings 
to a more natural and rational amount. On the other hand, 
the very pith and heart of civilization is mutual depend- 
ence, which, in action, comes out in the representative 
form. Everything, every person is vicarious. No one 
lives out his own life, but lives for all. This is the great 
merit and boast of civilization : this, too, is its misfortune 
and its loss. By its advocates, this short coming in happi- 
ness is attributed, not to the inherent nature of civilization, 
but to its imperfect working out; upon which the recom- 
mendation is to expend more and more anxiety upon the 
attempt ; which anxiety having to be reimbursed before 
society is as much in happiness as previous to this addition- 
al outlay, the m6ral estate of the people becomes as hope- 
less as their pecuniary estate, where national debts are 
multiplied in the attempt to obtain relief from present dif- 

72 Social Tendencies. [July? 

Ramifications of this idea are found in every department 
of civilized life. The farmer applies fresh quantities of 
foul animal manure to force heavier crops from his exhaust- 
ed fields ; which, when consumed, generate a host of dis- 
eases as foul as the manures to which they are responsible. 
The consumer, attracted by cheapness, pays dearly in his 
doctor's bill, but in ignorance of nature's laws, which he 
has so entirely abandoned, he fails to connect cause and 
effect, and repeats his error to repeat his pain. Faith in 
man would, indeed, appear to be no scarce commodity on 
earth. Every one looks abroad to every other one ; no 
one looks within to himself ; — a universal representative 
life, in which the legislator represents the conscience, the 
judge the gravity, the priest the piety, the doctor the learn- 
ing, the mechanic the skill of the community ; and no one 
person needs be conscientious, grave, pious, learned, and 
skilful. Out of this grow those monstrous and dreadful 
conditions which large cities, the very acme of civilized 
life, without exception, exhibit. Exalted intellect, on the 
part of a few, which at the expense, frequently, of moral 
and physical life, elevates national renown, with extreme 
ignorance of all that really concerns them, on the part of 
the masses. A few intense spots of wealth, learning, or 
heroism, amongst an endless range of poverty, ignorance, 
and degradation, accumulated, apparently, for no higher 
end than the meretricious employment of the three oppo- 
site qualities. 

This faith begins, in some quiet and serene corners, to 
abate, and it will soon be exhausted, when eyes are opened 
to perceive that the imagined perfection of the scheme of 
civilization does, in fact, not belong to it. Politically, the 
idea of representation could not be more fully and purely 
carried out, than it is in North America. In some of the 
States, if not in all, the majority is correctly and entirely 
represented. The majority rules in a direct manner; and 
although, on minor points, parties are more nicely balanced, 
yet, in the wider range of every-day life, this majority is a 
very large portion. Yet, to say that the people are happy ; 
that they are a well developed race ; that they manifest an 
existence as near the perfect as their representative system 
approaches the perfect, would be a series of libels, which 
their complaints, their habits, their very countenances loud- 
ly gainsay. 

1843.] Social Tendencies. 73 

In the perfection of the representative system, in the 
very ripeness of civihzation, is its downfall accomplished. 
Like other fruits, those of this tree will be timely shed by 
the spirit in beneficent nature, fresh leaves shall germin- 
ate, and new blossoms be put forth for the healing of the 

How small does this parade of legislation, and this 
march of science, and this increase of wealth, appear by 
the comparison with the unsophisticated intuition of man's 
purpose and destiny 1 Not more ridiculous would be an- 
cient armor in a modern battle field, or royal robes and 
ermine in republican assemblies, than these same speech- 
making, newspaper-reported, republican assemblies are in 
the presence of real humanity. Court intrigues, the per- 
sonal disposal of kingdoms, the regulation of whole nations 
according to individual caprice, are chances for humanity 
scarcely, if at all, more strange and alien to the true end, 
than its delusive amusement by statistical renown, antago- 
nistic union, or dissocial society. The regalia of the throne 
in Europe, the judge's powdered wig, the door-keeper's 
gold-laced hat, with all antique regards and time-honored 
observances, are as comforting to the heart, and perhaps 
not more outrageous to man's real needs, than the fancied 
security of legislative perfection, and representative self- 
government. We see the folly in the old, but are not 
quick-witted enough to perceive it in the new. Because 
the music, and the incense, and the wax candles are no 
longer used, men deem they have escaped all papal errors. 
But the triumph of intellectuality is not always the victory 
of reason. The misfortunes of a church can fall upon a 
people assembled in the plainest hall, where music, or sweet 
odors, or lights by day never appear. 

We need not marvel, therefore, at the dissatisfiedness 
which not only rings throughout Europe, but is heard even 
here in the sylvan expanse of North America; the free, 
the youthful, the hopeful nation of the world. The Amer- 
icans are like a troop of truant boys escaped from school, 
to the woods, for a day or two ; who only remember the 
ways and modes of the old pedagogue, and have not yet 
had time to develop an original course of action for them- 
selves. But it will come out of them, and the old peda- 
gogue shall be ashamed that he kept the boys so long in 

VOL. IV. NO. I. 10 

74 Social Tendencies. [Ju^y? 

fear and thraldom ; and he will conform to an amicable 
truce with the more demure and broken-spirited boys who 
still submit to the old school discipline at home. Self- 
interested love of ease shall, at least, secure some amelio- 

In the mean time, through the great instrument of 
teaching, pungent experience, we ascertain the true value 
of these pursuits and objects, for the free attainment of 
which we ventured our all to escape from the tyrannical 
old disciplinarian. Mankind may undoubtedly be much 
slower and more inapt to learn than to enjoy ; but duller 
than Lethe's stream should we have been in failing to dis- 
cover the rocky spots and barren wastes in the new land. 
The game of government, for which the boys eloped to 
the woods, is found a profitless affair, by the best of men. 
They who have really ripened into manhood in the newly 
acquired freedom, are desirous of keeping out of this 
amusement as a sport for children only. This is a grand 
secret, a sacred revelation for both those who have gone 
ahead, and those who stay behind. 

No man who is qualified to be a political leader, and by 
democratic vicissitudes, some day finds himself placed in 
that position, but is anxious to declare how hollow and cor- 
rupt is that fruit, which, to the exoteric eye, appears so 
plump and ruddy. The ease with which mankind are 
governed, or, as he would say, gulled, is a soul-sickening 
contemplation to such a person. On initiation into the 
facts, he instantly becomes satiated of his false ambition,, 
and intuitively perceives the real pettiness of political 
greatness. These things are sources of vanity and of 
vexed spirit now as they ever were. Heroism exhibited in 
this manner becomes renowned, more by the degradation 
of the mass, than l)y any extraordinary elevation of the 
individual. If there were no masses of crime, the jurist 
would excite little attention to his codes. If there were 
no distressful pecuniary exigency, the treasury-secretary 
would only be an accountant. Many are the men daily 
called upon for more ability, in private life, than we de- 
mand of public men. The teacher of a large school, or 
a busy shop-keeper, must honor larger drafts for patience 
and prompt calculation, than the functionaries^of govern- 
ment, who are withdrawn from their own pertinent duties 

18/13.] Social Tendencies. 75 

by the attractions of popular gossip, and ephemeral impor- 
tance of office. 

During the latter days of ancient Rome, the imperial 
dignity was purchasable by the highest bidder, to whom the 
mercenary praetorian bands passed it in quick succession. 
But ruhng minds were never among the purchasers. So is 
it in our time. Tlie temporary and apparent dominion of 
men is attainable at a market price, but no virtuously con- 
scious mind can consent to pay it. For it is as certain 
now as of old, that the mercenary bands will slay every 
soul which is not sufficiently compliant to their purposes, 
as of old they slew the body. Office can be gained 
in gyves only. " Bound hand and foot" is the common 
expression of the victims themselves, who, with a zeal wor- 
thy a nobler cause, suffer their better nature to be sacrificed 
on the vain cross of public political life. 

A state of things, thus subversive of all true greatness, 
is necessarily equivalent to an impassable barrier against 
real manhood. The dove finds little that is congenial to 
its nature in that muck heap which ushers the viper into 
day. The best men are thus the first to be convinced, that 
the present order of existence is not so much to be desig- 
nated as erroneous, as that it is essentially an error ; a 
magnificent error possibly, but no less an error ; a mistake 
which no perfecting of the system can rectify, but rather 
must render its inherent crookedness more obvious. At- 
tempted perfection thus becomes a beneficence ; for men, 
who have resolved upon any course as true, are not wont 
to be convinced of its delusion, until they have run to the 
end of it. While, therefore, the progressive man cheers 
onward every projected reform, he is not to be assailed as 
faithless, because he has no hope in reformed old institu- 
tions as the ultimate in human earthly existence. The pa- 
rent, who is quite conscious that youth leads to manhood, 
may, nevertheless, supply his boy with the toys he asks for. 
And the world, still in its youth, is merely crying for toy 
after toy, in succession, according to its age ; and the more 
freely and quickly the world is indulged, the more fully and 
speedily will it be convinced of their worthlessness. There 
seems to be no other mode of progress for a race generated 
so deeply in ill as the present stock of humanity. If our 
being dated from wisdom and love, so much effort to bring 
us back again to those qualities would not be required. 

76 Social Tendencies. U^h% 

For fifteen hundred years, Western civilization, with the 
lustre of Christianity superadded, has been struggling to 
perfection, an ideal perfection of its own ; and at the close 
of that period, the acknowledgement is more complete, that 
we have approximated little towards the true end, beyond 
men of pagan civilization, or barbaric sylvanism. 

An entiiusiastic ardor, a pressure upward to a higher and 
purer life, is an indestructible instinct in the human soul. 
Hope is the truly youthful spirit, the characteristic nature, 
which distinguishes the brighest specimens amongst the 
duller human mass. It is the sacred fire, which, on the 
altar of human clay, perpetuates the remembrance and 
the connexion of heaven. Caught by the first luminous 
sparks which appear in the social temple, such purer beings 
attach themselves, in entire simplicity, to the shining lights 
of the age, with little inquiry, and little power to discrim- 
inate to vv'hat end they will lead. Sad experience proves 
that they lead nowhere. Deceived, but not depressed, the 
youthful spirit still relies. Its faith again deceived is again 
and again renewed, until reliance on men or measures be- 
comes itself a breach of faith. In disappointment and 
disgust of reform and reformers, how many noble souls are 
now wandering objectless, almost hopeless, in tartarean 

Diffidence, humble self-estimation, is ever a quality in the 
true soul. Hence the most sincere are seldom found in the 
front rank in political reform. They defer to leaders, who 
with some partial dazzling talent, but no determined inten- 
tion of carrying principle into action,, talk loudlyjn echo 
of what they suppose to be the general sentiment. Year 
after year witnesses the rise of these wavelets on the polit- 
ical ocean, which as soon are succeeded and suppressed by 
the ofTspring of a fresh wind. Of late these bubbles have 
arisen and passed away, with such rapidity, that reliance 
on them is almost worn out. Their mere frequency ex- 
poses their instability. In the days of slow travelling, the 
mercantile community still entertained hope that rapid 
communication would aid their prosperity ; but now that 
steam packets and rail ways almost bring the ends of the 
earth together, the delusion has vanished, and the merchant 
no longer thinks he should be relieved, if communication 
were electrically instant. His hopes no longer are based 
on mechanical contrivances. Thus is it, also, in the moral- 

1843.] Social Tendencies. 77 

political sphere. The noisy, heartless, external refornners, 
have risen and sunk with such rapidity, that experience of 
their futility is revealed to every one. A life, short as it is, 
is no more required to develop to the simplest observer the 
hollowness of political reforms and reformers. But it re- 
quires some faculties to become a simple observer; which 
the misled multitude yet possess not. So that there is 
still an occupation left for a few small actors on this stage. 

Comparatively great efforts are, however, now needed to 
maintain politics on anything like a respectable footing. 
So that to predict their speedy downfall is not a very haz- 
ardous prophecy. To think by deputy is found to be as 
unhappy for the mind, as to cast our fair share of physical 
labor upon others is fraudulent to the body. Drudge poli- 
ticians are no less degraded than drudge laborers. It is 
now grown so evident that the pure mind cannot have 
its garment's hem touched by the hand of public life, 
without feeling that the virtue has gone out of it, that the 
superior minds in all countries are working in other direc- 

For these other directions, the great mass, also, are evi- 
dently preparing. So frequently have the people been told 
that some great event was on the eve of development, that 
now is the appointed time, that they cease to have faith in 
such calculators. One crotchet after another, which it 
cost not a little to attain, has been accomplished, and hap- 
piness seems distant as ever. Magna Charta, Bill of Rights, 
Trial by Jury, Purity of Parliament, Diminished Taxa- 
tion, Democracy, Separation of Church and State, Univer- 
sal Suffrage, Pure Republicanism, Universal Education, 
Physical Abundance, — all these have been gained; and, 
although not in vain, yet it is uncertain whether they are 
really worth the powder, shot, and mental anxiety which 
they cost. Monarchy, hierarchy, despotism, monopoly, ex- 
clusion, and every other outward political form of selfish- 
ness men may, one after another, set aside ; but as fast as 
destructive reform proceeds in one section, hindering cor- 
ruption is growing in another ; and so long as men remain 
unreformed within, there always will be a crop ripe for the 
reformer's sickle. Now this fact is rising into consciousness 
in so many bosoms, that there is almost a general readiness 
to follow those superior minds, which, recoiling from the 

78 Social Tendencies. [July? 

uncomeliness in all state affairs, are each, in their several 
directions, essaying their best for humanity. 

The Literary Class, by nature, by genius, the friend of 
virtue, of liberty, of man, ever ready to announce and to 
explain new truths, — what do its best members at such a 
crisis ? Sad to say, but the fact must out, that the divine 
gift of literary or poetic utterance is not always alhed to 
taintless integrity. " We must Hve," say the writers. " Bread 
must be had. We have as much right to the market value 
of our mental organization, as the holder of physical strength 
has to the results of his energies," Thus a large number 
at once justify the extremest hiring which a commercial 
press can offer. The trading spirit buys the productions ; a 
trader is the factor between the author and the reader. 
How then can the writer escape the general pollution ? A 
few, more nice in mental sensibility, must have readers in 
some degree conformed to their own intuitions, and sell 
themselves to a select circle only. But iew are there who 
either now are, or seek to become acquainted with the dig- 
nity of poverty, if complete fidelity to their mission should 
involve such a consequence. Nay when, at distant inter- 
vals, an unsold, uncompromising pen appears, the hireling 
recreants are ever ready to assail the disloyal rebel whose 
example might leave tliem breadless. 

Pitiable, indeed, is this bankruptcy of soul. For these 
are the appointed means, in their degree, for man's mental 
redemption. They are the morning watchmen sleeping on 
the walls. Their dormancy is fatal to the whole city. Nay, 
worse is their treason, for they are bought by the arch-en- 
emy of the good citizens. And he who, though denouncing 
them not, is faithful to his trust, they fail not to slander as 
the recreant. 

The degeneracy of literature taints the age. Instead of 
reclaiming men to uprightness; instead of stirring them 
once more to their feet ; it accepts the wretched price of 
bread to confirm them in ignoble indolence of heart, and an 
activity of head still more ignoble. It receives its dun 
color from an ill-tinctured source, and returns one of a still 
darker shade. Time was when the author and the prophet 
were one. Then the oracle and the oracular were not sepa- 
rated, and there was no weighing and adjusting in the scales 
of popular approbation, before the voice spake what the 

1843.] Social Tendencies. 79 

heart felt. Misgivings of the people are deplorable ; de- 
falcations of statesmen are sad ; but when the purest of 
popular instruments thus fail, when the very ladder, by 
which we are to ascend from words to being, is constructed 
of rotten wood, what hope can remain for the nations? 

Literature, then, is a false dependence. Since its di- 
vorce from real being, it is unavoidably barren. It is 
divorced whenever for a price it concedes favors. Of it 
nothing is to be expected. At the best, it presents to the 
people pretty pictures, which there is no intention what- 
ever to realize. Of these paintings the world possesses a 
large stock, and it seems still increasing, every addition to 
which constitutes a fresh obstacle to human progress. The 
masonry, designed by the architect for a road to facilitate, 
is built into a wall to obstruct, and each added slab serves 
only to augment the hindrances. When men escaped from 
the confined air of the cloistered church, they imagined 
not they should fall into the meshes of a new priestcraft. 
When men are liberated from the hireling priest, they are 
little aware how they are caught by the hireling press. It 
is as fatal to thought, to purity, to integrity, to religion, for 
a nation to be press-ridden, as it is to be priest-ridden. 

Of mere literature, therefore, there is no hope. Logical 
acumen, argumentative force, fluent expression, prompt wit, 
do not ensure moral rectitude, although originally they must 
have been allied to it. But integrity does not seem so 
marketable as its faculties. That can neither be bought 
nor sold; — these are ever purchaseable, and have, of late, 
found so ready a market, that the expectation is of the next 
change being an increased supply, and a superabundant 
stock. When intellectuality is so plentiful as to be worth 
little in the market, the home demand may possibly be 
served. Since men have concluded that knowledge is 
power, and that ignorance is the source of all our woes, 
they have indefatigably pursued the accumulation not of 
fact-knowledge, but of the records of fact-knowledge and 
of fact-speculation, until the sun of truth is almost hidden 
from their eyes. Literature is indeed a telescope which 
takes the whole firmament within its visual field ; but, un- 
fortunately, its lenses are constructed of paper instead of 
glass ; a semitransparent shade, reflecting its own imprinted 
errors ; not a lucid medium transmitting pure light. Lite- 

80 Social Tendencies, U^^Yr 

rature cannot purify and elevate man, since itself needs so 
much to be purified and elevated. 

Words are, however, such sacred types of the divine ora- 
cle, so near akin to thai word which in the ever beginning is, 
that as being the mode in which the loftiest and purest 
must utter themselves to the common understanding, even 
our current literature is dashed occasionally by a purer rill 
than the body of the broad stream. In the warm season, 
sundry little freshets come down from the mountains, spark- 
ling in the sun, bathing and quenching the thirst of the 
arid soul. But this literature, by reason of its very origin- 
ality, is so quaint and strange that the great Mississippi 
flood is not at one with it until it becomes saturated with 
its unsubsiding silt ; and the condition of its acceptance is 
to adopt the old prevailing muddiness. Thus virtue's self 
grows powerless ; and, to maintain existence, life is de- 

From this account of the general bearing of literature, 
we exempt all those efforts of the morahst, who only 
employs the pen or the press, or the tongue, as means, and 
neither of them the best, by which the moral purpose is to 
be declared. Of these efforts something must be said here- 

Science is a prop on which men have of late almost uni- 
versally leaned ; but, wnth what impropriety, is daily 
growing more and more apparent. Ungracious in the ex- 
treme is it to say aught against science, against knowledge, 
against intellectual cuhure. These, in their order, and as 
opposed to their negations, are so beautiful, that the tongue 
recoils from the smallest whisper in their dispraise. Yet the 
declaration must go forth, that science is not moral virtue ; 
and that, being an accommodation road with two branches, 
it is as frequently the avenue to degradation as to elevation. 
Scarcely a projector, or inventor, or intense s.tudent, has 
broached the object of his absorbing pursuit, without affirm- 
ing also that it was the means for human regeneration. 
The profits on gas light were to pay off national debts and 
set the bankrupt world upright to start afresh. Spinning- 
jennies, steam-engines, power-looms, canals, rail-roads, have 
each in turn been made to promise pecuniary and moral 
redemption to the insolvent and hardened human race. 
But this species of redemptory designs is nearly worn 

1843.] Social Tendencies. 81 

threadbare. The hope in science is as attenuated as the 
hope in politics. They are, in fact, branches of the same 
stock. Expansions from the great trunk of selfishness, they 
bear the same kind of fruit. 

Little novelty as there is in the announcement, that 
knowledge is subordinate to goodness, and difficult as it is 
to avoid cant in the annunciation, it must yet again be 
said, — Knowledge, pursued as an accumulation of useful 
store ; science, studied with the omission of the master 
science — con-science — is, at best, like an examination of 
the nutshell without a penetration to the kernel. Science 
has in vain ventured into every possible department of hu- 
man life on our behoof; and vain must ever be such 
enterprise. A stone is but a stone, polish it as smoothly as 
we may ; and it can never be chipped into a corn stalk. 
The grass, too, living as it is, must be taken in and digested, 
its refuse passed away, before its elements can be assimi- 
lated to animal being.' So too of science. It may be the 
air which the moral nature breathes in, and thus it may be 
used by its superior, but never can it generate, or be the 
parent of, moral life. 

Science has gathered our cottage spinners and spinsters 
and knitters from their separated firesides to the magnifi- 
cent and heated cotton mills ; it transforms sailors and 
stage drivers into brakemen and stokers ; it penetrates 
mountain's ; it quickly crosses oceans. Like the elephant's 
trunk, nothing is too large for its strength, nothing too mi- 
nute for its sensibility. It permeates everything and every- 
where. Cotton, woollen, needles, buttons, ships, books, 
society, and theology; all are brought to the bar of sci- 
ence. The analytic, the doctrinal, the skilful, prevail over 
the synthetic, the loveful, the unitive. Whatever can be 
proved by logic, or made to appear rational by argument, is 
accepted ; while that which is deeper than all proof, and is 
the basis of all rationality, is to go for nought. 

With a perpetual deferring of hope, which, by perverting 
the heart's eye from the true and stable centre upon the 
turbulent and dazzling circumference^ makes the soul for- 
ever sad and sick, science still attracts as the magnet of 
human resuscitation. Man appears to have engaged sci- 
ence as a special pleader in the court of conscience, to avert 
the consequences of his culprit conduct. Hired extenua- 

VOL. IV. NO. I. 11 

82 Social Tendencies, [July, 

tioii is deemed cheaper than self-repentance. To know 
every wise saw and moral sentiment that ever were uttered, 
is not nearer to a realization of them in the man who re- 
members them, than in the paper on which they are writ- 
ten. All this fact knowledge, or report of fact knowledge, 
of which the world is so full, seems barren of the desired 
consequences. We know how may millions of miles lie 
between Saturn and the Sun, and how many thousand 
seconds light is travelling from the fixed stars to our little 
planet, but are wandering much as ever from the road to 
happiness, and are as unready as the ignorant to enter 
thereon by its only wicket gate. 

" Science may be applied to inadequate objects." True. 
We may exaggerate or ridicule when we say the optician 
will never spy out bliss for us through his lenses, nor the 
cotton-mill spin iiappiness with its million yards of unmin- 
gled yarn. So analysis and rationality step forward into a 
new sphere, and venture to elaborate a Science of Society. 
Amongst the recent offspring of the scientific nature, are 
political economy and human association. The right di- 
vine of kings has, through the right divine of landlords, 
descended to the crowned heads of factory owners, and 
the orthodox doctrine is now the right divine of cotton 
lords. Hereditary monarchy, subdued by blood aristocracy, 
to be in its turn levelled by opulent democracy. In all of 
which the res publiccB are equally neglected ; the common 
wealth is swallowed up by individual miserliness and indi- 
vidual misery. 

Magnificence of idea and of execution have not, how- 
ever, been wanting in the recent modes any more than in 
the ancient. The argosies of merchant princes are eclipsed 
by townships of busy industry, and the feudal cavalcade is 
surpassed by the fairy-like gliding of the mail train, which 
only needs the dimness of remote time and the glance of 
genius, to render as poetic as its predecessors. These ex- 
tensive schemes for the increase of wealth, these unprece- 
dented combinations for the augmentation of individual 
happiness, could not long exist without suggesting to the 
benevolent mind ideas of the like nature for the common 
good. Thus the science of society, no longer left, 
as of old, to individual private enterprise, has been pro- 
jected into the grand, the public, the combinative. Of 

1843.] Social Tendencies. 83 

these several plans have been some time before the world, 
and, for- one or two, there are now practical operations 
commenced. Various doctrines of human nature are mixed 
up with these practical schemes ; and pleasant withal it is 
to the moral metaphysician to be confirmed in his a priori 
intuitions of considering first the man, and secondarily the 
plans, lo see that all parties are necessarily brought back 
again who venture to reverse this mode. 

Amongst the many schemes for aggrandisement by means 
of joint-stock companies, it has been submitted to capital- 
ists that greater security and a larger return await their 
outlay in schemes for the bettering of human beings, than 
they can obtain in any other kind of risk. Capital is, how- 
ever, slow in adventuring ; and, as yet, only a few small 
associations have been formed with this object, in addition 
to the efforts of one or two persons who have boldly ven- 
tured to embark individually. At Citeaux, in the south 
of France, Mr. Arthur Young, formerly an Amsterdam mer- 
chant, has laid out 1,450,000 francs for an estate of thirteen 
hundred acres, and 154,000 francs more for stock in hand, 
on which a Phalanstery is formed. The chateau is repre- 
sented as very magnificent ; and the whole buildings and 
court yards cover thirteen acres. Mr. Young transfers 
shares on equitable conditions to purchasers either resident 
or not. The basis of recompense is threefold ; having re- 
lation to investments of capital, skill, and labor, the latter 
enjoying the larger return, the first receiving the smallest 
percentage. It need scarcely be observed that Arthur 
Young is a faithful disciple of Charles Fourier. It does 
not appear that any other such plan of association is in 
operation, or even projected in the continental countries of 
Europe. The various old religious foundations may pro- 
bably supply some of the conditions provided in such 

In England, however, where the almshouse or the union- 
workhouse is the highest refuge which society oflfers to 
unemployed labor or virtuous skill, in age or youth, the 
subject of social science has been regarded with the deep- 
est attention. A nation almost ceaselessly engaged in com- 
batting with poverty, and having strong desires for ease, 
unavoidably catches at whatever may present the smallest 
hope for a respite from ill-requited toil. No wonder, there- 

84 Social Tendencies. [July? 

fore, that the British Isles have heard a loud response in 
favor of thoughts so comprehensive, as to promise relief 
from every clerical, legal, governmental, doctrinal, and prac- 
tical evil. In the multitude of inventions w^hich ground 
the people down, one was descried which proposed to ex- 
empt them from the galling mill-stone. However noble 
may have been the contemplated design, it was accepted as 
means of increasing the supply of bread, and of averting 
the consciousness of blame. Hope and consolation for 
body and mind, therefore, met a reception in idea much 
greater than in practice. And as the poverty to be melicj,- 
rated was too excessive to help itself, nothing has been 
done of a permanent character until very recently. 

At Tytherly, in Hampshire, estates amounting to about 
one thousand acres, held principally on long leases, have 
been appropriated by some wealthy individuals, in conjunc- 
tion with a widely spread list of smaller subscribers, to the 
carrying out of the idea which has adopted especially the 
term "social." The principles are mainly, in morals, that 
" the character of man is made not by him, but for him ; " 
and, in economy, that of a community of goods. In what 
way, or to what extent, these principles will work out with 
human materials generated and educated, as all have more 
or less been, on the opposite doctrines and practice, future 
reports must show. Time has not yet permitted the requi- 
site experience. The buildings erected are furnished on 
the most commodious, and even luxurious scale, for the re- 
ception of about two hundred persons, but at an expendi- 
ture which threatens the profitable action of the industrial 
materials. An investment of about £30,000 comprises the 
pecuniary capital of this adventure. 

Upon this attempt innumerable eyes are fixed, as upon 
the day-star of hope. Should it rise, countless hearts will 
be gladdened, which, in the dim uncertain twilight, durst 
not so much as venture to announce their sympathy. Some, 
also, contemplate its possible success with terror, as the up- 
rooting of all that is sacred and comfortable. Not alone, 
however, the toil-worn, ill-requited artisan, is an anxious 
spectator of this scene, but even the successful trader, dis- 
gusted with the processes to wealth, as well as dissatisfied in 
its possession, hopes to liberate his offspring from such soul- 
staining courses. 

1843.] ^Social Tendencies. 85 

Although from the unavoidable defects of inexperienced 
leaders, wayward followers, and uncontrollable circumstan- 
ces, many excuses may be afforded to these two distinct 
establishments; yet they must develop, in their respective 
careers, some of the effects of acting upon the two princi- 
ples of community of property, and of individuality of re- 
compense. It is quite possible that the two vessels thus 
started at the same time may, ultimately, land their pas- 
sengers in the same country ; but to know the difference in 
the navigation will repay the cost of the charts. They 
will, at least, illustrate the laws of human organization, if 
they do not determine the law of human nature. 

The moral principles of the French and the English 
experiment are, however, more importantly asunder than 
their economies. The English has entirely a material ba- 
sis ; and, though sympathetic and religious sentiments are 
superadded, they are only introduced as tasteful ornaments 
to please the eye, and are not mingled with the bread as 
component parts of healthful diet. The French combines 
the material and the spiritual ; and enters, from the first, 
into all questions touching the feelings, sympathies, and 
views of individuals. One sets out with the idea that, al- 
though human beings are now endlessly varied, they may 
all be made of uniformly good character, by favorable cir- 
cumstances, with such slight differences in organization as 
shall not impugn the general truth. The other proposes 
no uniformity of character as essential to success, but seeks 
to provide attractive occupation for all dispositions and 
tastes, and rather bases its hopes upon variety, than upon 
sameness. The Phalanstery, therefore, seems to be a 
more comprehensive view of humanity than the Communi- 
ty. Both are, perhaps, equally wanting in respect to the 
inmost life-germ, for the development of which the human 
egg is laid ; but, mentally considered, only, that is, without 
relation to practical operations, one appears to be the shell 
alone, and the other the yolk and shell. 

The poetry in life, the soul of things, the spirit in the 
soul, the warmth in the light, — in what human association 
shall we find this the primal element? In the religious 
associations of the old world, or the new ; in the convent, 
the monastery ; the Shakers, the New England fraternities, 
the joint stock industrials ? 

86 Social Tendencies. [July, 

Man cannot have a heart or not, at the good will and 
pleasure of philosophers, how benevolent soever they may 
be. Nor can he set it aside at his own convenience. He 
has it always. And it is something more than a mere .hy- 
draulic machine. It is even more than a possession. It is 
himself. Man, as a heart, as a nature more occult than an 
intelligence, is a riddle yet unsolved by intellectual philoso- 
phers. These profess to discourse of the understanding, 
while they deny that any reality whatever, stands under 
the intellectual or analytical powers. Fortunately, however, 
there is also a synthetic nature, which must know and feel 
all things as whole, as one, and provision for this nature 
must be part of the common stock, but, as far as we can 
judge by an inspection of the inventories, there is rarely 
any store laid in. 

With the sincerest wishes for the success of any pro- 
gramme having for aim the bettering of man, or his condi- 
tions, we still can entertain but faint hopes where we per- 
ceive the scheme rather than man is placed first in impor- 
tance. That there is to be a gradual outworking of socie- 
ty, a vast progress for mankind, cannot be doubtful to the 
steady observer. A sufficient arc is known to prove the 
fact of a concentric orbit. But that orbicular track cannot 
be calculated by the moral astronomers, who are not cen- 
tralized beings. It is a calculation, too, which cannot be 
put beforehand into books, and systems, but must be real- 
ized, day by day, from the centre itself, as are the planeta- 
ry motions. Skeptics and scoffers of social melioration 
have yet some misgiving of their wit, and their objections, 
but they are rather confirmed than converted by preorgani- 
zations never realized, and which, at the same time, serve 
rather to disappoint than to encoura2:e the faithful. 

Various smaller associations in England and America 
might be spoken of as either in existence or proposed. But 
for all those which are not bound down by theological tests, 
it may be remarked, that they are yet in so incipient a state 
that their immediate observers, or even the members them- 
selves, can scarcely pronounce decisively on the elucidation 
of any one principle. For material results, the period is too 
short : for mental order, the elements too chaotic; for spir- 
itual growth, the subject too little heeded. 

{To be continued.) C. L. 

1843.1 A Song of Death. 87 


Death is here and death is there 

But the shattered shaft and dome, 
Emblem of a stern despair, 
Mark that utter sorrow, where 
Faith yet wants a home. 

Yonder with the blue-veined lid 

Closed o'er eyes whose light is o'er, 

Like twin angels that forbid 

Beauty to be widowed, 

Though they come no more ; 

So he sleeps ! The day is fair. 
Summer breezes come and go, 

Gambol with his curling hair. 

And no wail of sorrow bear 
On their sunny flow. 

Give the flower unto the earth, 

But salt tears will l^light its bloom ; 
All that in him was of worth. 
Let it find in thee new birth, 
Not a shrouded tomb. 

Bury him at morning time. 

When the dew is on the grass, 
Then the fox-bells ring a chime. 
As from out some warmer clime 
Morning breezes pass. 

88 Notes from the Journal of a Scholar. [July, 

NO. H. 


I CANNOT pinch the Genie, and shut him into a casket. 
The Hfe that I Hve is a various, sahent, wide-lying life. 
The spirit of the creature is not to be expressed in senten- 
ces of a journal, but lives and leaps along the uneven road 
of human aflfairs, — now wrangling with obstructions, now 
manfully overcoming, now sportful, now prayerful. It is 
not the pieces, it is the forming whole I study. If I chose 
to press flowers of conversation, like a hortus siccus in my 
book, and keep them to entertain me in a winter's day, 
when no such flowers bloom, — I might, — such flowers I 
find and pluck, — none fairer, sweeter; but I wear them in 
my heart. They go to perfume and enrich the imagina- 
tion, a garden where they drop their seed, and spring again, 
after snows and dead leaves have covered and deformed 
the ground. 


May. — I do not know but one of the ancient metamor- 
phoses will some day overtake me, and I shall shoot into a 
tree, or flow in a stream, I do so lose my human nature, and 
join myself to that which is without. A few days ago I 
spent the afternoon in the warm hollows of Canterbury. 
The robin, the blue-bird, a moist frog with green uniform 
and gold enamelled eye, were my companions, rather than 
W. with whom I went, for we straggled wide apart. I found 
the saxifrage, just urging through moss and leaves its little 
ear of buds. And now, a glass of water is on my shelf, 
wherein are met, drinking sociably together, anemones and 
hepaticas, the pearly fair arbutus and crimson columbine, 
with other green, white, and pink friends from the fields. 

We are so near to nature, and yet so far ! Glorious kind 
moon and stars that beam love ; air that sweeps and sings 
through the chambers of heaven ; flowers, beautiful and 
sweet; — you have your life, and I mine, and a different 

1843.] Notes from the Journal of a Scholar. 89 

one ; I cannot wholly possess you. We draw near to each 
other, — perhaps a delicate and passionless kiss is breathed 
towards you, but you live on in vestal state, and I am eve- 
rywhere repulsed from an embrace that shall mix our 

July 9. — Verily your seal and beaver and the submarines 
are your only comfortable livers, when the mercury stands 
at 98 in the shade. A little aspen has flourished two 
summers in the spout of a building on Cornhill ; and nod- 
ded kindly to rne each day, but I doubt the zeal of this 
sun will burn up its roots. 

Aug. 2. — The fields grow yellow to the harvest; the 
autumn flowers are budding; the industrious globe hastens 
to finish its year. I like to tell at the top of my page 
what's o'clock. It is pleasant to be folded in the arms of 
a celestial order, and the course of seasons, days and years 
is like a rocking motion which tranquilhzes our tumultuous 

JLug. 22. — Almost autumn, the sunsets say, and golden- 
ly publish along half the horizon, — and lam glad. If 
oaks have spiritual creatures, whose being is linked with 
the life of the tree, I do not know but there is a like sym- 
pathy between my nature and the seasons. In spring, 
there leaps up a fount of love, and hope, and animal exhila- 
ration ; in summer, 1 suffer a Hindoo repose ; in autumn, 
a broad clear spirit is mine, which, if it partake of a stoical 
scorn, is perhaps the stronger armed to endure the labor 
and pain of living. 

Sept.2i. — Autumn is the afternoon of the year; but 
there are those whom the afternoon pleases more than the 
fresh morn. Autumn is the Odyssey, wherein the genius 
of nature blazes less high than in her Iliad summer ; yet 
the season, like the poem, hath those who set its beauty's 
praise above its brilliant sister. I feel so much stronger as 
the sun goes off" the back side of the world, that o'er the 
ruin* of the year I savage exult. 

The days go, and come, and go. Here from my win- 
dow towards the East, I shall presently peruse at length 
large-limbed Orion, my shining chronicler of many a 
winter. God be thanked who set the stars in the sky, 
planted their bright watch along the infinite deep, and or- 
dained such fine intelligence betwixt us and them ; yea, God 

VOL. IV. NO. I. 12 

91 Notes from the Journal of a Scholar. [July, 

be thanked for all in nature that is the symbol of purity 
and peace. 

Nov. 10. — I have spent my Sunday in God's first temples. 
The wind was choir and organ, now singing its anthems, 
now whispering its dirges. For Bible and psalmbook, I 
had the grand page of nature, and many a holy verse I 
read from off the brown sward and the trees. But my 
sermon came to me from the distant hills, and the blue 
heaven on which was traced their profile. They preached 
strength and a serene trust. I found me a, sunny, sheltered 
chapel framed of the living rock, and there I prayed as I 
could. It was high holiday in the fields. Old Mother 
Earth said, she had ceased from her labors, and no more 
for one while was she to pour her life-giving juices to be 
sucked up through all the arteries of this lavish vegetation. 
The woods too said, — we have done ; we will rest, we 
have (etched and carried up and down our old trunks the 
sap that fed these frivolous leaves, that now drop from us 
at the scent of a cold breeze. "Off, off you lendings 1" 
We will battle it alone Vi'ith winter. The leaning stalks of 
the aster and the golden-rod, and the red flaunting wax- 
work, that had climbed over the walls and the savin-trees to 
show its pomp of berries, — and the dead stems of hun- 
dreds of little flowerets, each holding up its ripened plume 
or pod of seed, — all said, — " We have done, we will rest, 
we have borne, each after his kind. Son of Man ! who 
hast come hither to look at us, do thou too bear thy fruit, 
then too around thee shall it hang ornaments and trophies ; 
thou too shalt rest, while over thee the sky shall be blue, the 
sun shall be bright." 


Let us not vail our bonnets to circumstance. If we act 
so, because we are so ; if we sin from strong bias of temper 
and constitution, at least we have in ourselves the measure 
and the curb of our aberration. But if they, who are 
around us, sway us ; if we think ourselves incapable of 
resisting the cords, by which fathers and mothers, and a 
host of unsuitable expectations, and duties falsely so called, 
seek to bind us, — into what helpless discord shall we not 
fall ! Do you remember in the Arabian Nights the princes 
who climbed the hill to bring away the singing-tree, — how 

1843.] Notes from the Journal of a Scholar. 91 

the black pebbles clamored, and the princes looked round, 
and became black pebbles themselves? 

I hate whatever is imitative in states of mind as well as 
in action. The moment I say, to myself, "I ought to feel 
thus and so," life loses its sweetness, the soul her vigor and 
truth. I can only recover my genuine self, by stopping 
short, refraining from every effort,to shape my thought after 
a form, and giving it boundless freedom and horizon. 
Then, after oscillation more or less protracted, as the mind 
has been more or less forcibly pushed from its place, I fall 
again into my orbit, and recognise myself, and find with 
gratitude that something there is in the spirit which changes 
not, neither is weary, but ever returns into itself, and par- 
takes of the eternity of God. 

Do not let persons and things come too near you. These 
should be phenomenal. The soul should sit island-like ; a 
pure cool strait should keep the external world at its dis- 
tance. Only in the character of messengers, charged with 
a mission unto us from the Everlasting and True, should 
we receive what befals us or them who stand near us. 
This is the root of my dislike to laughter, and nervous 
hands, and discomposed manners ; they imply too close a 
neighborhood of sensible objects. Even love is more ex- 
quisitely sweet when it marries, with the full consent of the 
will, souls not lightly moved, which do not take the print 
of common occurrences and excitements. 

Life changes with us. We have perhaps no worse 
enemy to combat than a bad recantation of first love and 
first hope, a coxcomb-like wrapping of the cloak about us, 
as if we had a right to be hurt at the course which the 
world takes, and were on cool terms with God. 


It is a miserable smallness of nature to be shut up within 
the circle of a few personal relations, and to fret and fume 
whenever a claim is made on us from God's wide world 
without. If we are impatient of the dependence of man 
on man, and grudge to take hold of hands in the ring, the 
spirit in us is either evil or infirm. If to need least, is 
nighest to God, so also is it to impart most. There is no 
soundness in any philosophy short of that of unlimited debt. 

92 Manhood. [July, 

As no man but is wholly made up of the contributions of God, 
and the creatures of God, so there is none who can reason- 
ably deny himself to the calls which in the economy of the 
world he was provided with the means of satisfying. The 
true check of this principle is to be found in another gen- 
eral law, that each is to serve his fellow men in that way 
he can best. The olive is not bound to leave yielding its 
fruit and go reign over the trees ; neither is the astronomer, 
the artist, or the the poet to quit his work, that he may do 
the errands of Howard, or second the efforts of Wilber- 


Dear, noble soul, wisely thy lot thou bearest, 

For like a god toiling in earthly slavery, 

Fronting thy sad fate with a joyous bravery, 

Each darker day a sunnier smile thou wearest. 

No grief can touch thy sweet and spiritual smile, 

No pain is keen enough that it has power 

Over thy childlike love, that all the while 

Upon the cold earth builds its heavenly bower ; 

And thus with thee bright angels make their dwelling. 

Bringing thee stores of strength when no man knoweth 

The ocean-stream from God's heart ever swelling, 

That forth through each least thing in Nature goeth, 

In thee, O truest hero, deeper floweth ; 

With joy I bathe, and many souls beside 

Feel a new life in the celestial tide. 

C. A. D. 

1843.] Gifts. 93 


Now that Christmas and New Year are at a safe dis- 
tance, and one can speak without suspicion of personality, 
I have a word to say of gifts. It is said, that the world is 
in a state of bankruptcy, that the world owes the world 
more than the world can pay, and ought to go into chancery, 
and be sold. I do not think this general insolvency which 
involves in some sort all the population, the reason of the 
difficulty annually or oftener experienced in bestowing 
gifts ; since it is always so pleasant to be generous, but 
very vexatious to pay debts. But the obstacle lies in the 
difficulty of choosing ; if at any time it comes to me with 
force that a present is due from me to somebody, I am puzzled 
what to give, until the opportunity is gone. Flowers and fruits 
are always fit presents ; flowers, because they are a proud 
assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of 
the world ; and fruits, because they are the flower of com- 
modities, and at once admit of fantastic values being 
attached to them. If a man should send to me to come a 
hundred miles to visit him, and should set before me a basket 
of fine summer fruit, I should think there was some propor- 
tion between the labor and the reward. For~ common 
gifts, necessity makes pertinences and beauty every day, 
and one is thankful when an imperative leaves him no op- 
tion, since if tl]e man at the door have no shoes, you have 
not to think whether you could procure him a paint-box. 
And as it is always pleasing to see a man eat bread or 
drink water in the house or out of doors, so it is always a 
great satisfaction to supply these first wants. Necessity 
does everything well. Also 1 have heard a friend say, 
that the rule for a gift was, to convey to some person that 
which properly belonged to their character, and was easily 
associated with them in thought. But our tokens of com- 
pliment and love are for the most part barbarous. Rings 
and jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts. The only 
gift is a portion of thyself. Thou must bleed for me. 
Therefore the poet brings his poem ; the shepherd his 
lamb ; the farmer, corn ; the miner, a stone ; the painter, 
his picture ; the girl, a handkerchief of her own sewing. 
This is right; and we feel a profound pleasure, for it re- 

94 Gifts, [July, 

stores society in so far to its primary basis, when a man's 
biography is conveyed in his gift, and every man's wealth is 
an index of his merit. But it is a cold, lifeless business 
when you go to the shops to buy me something, which does 
not represent your life and talent to me, but a goldsmith's. 
This is fit for kings, and rich men who represent kings, 
and a false state of property, to make presents of gold and 
silver stutTs, as a kind of symbolical sin-offering and payment 
of tribute. 

But this matter of gifts is delicate, and requires careful 
sailing, or rude boats. It is not the office of a man to 
receive gifts. How dare you give them ? We ask to be 
self-sustained, nothing less ; we hate to receive a gift. We 
hate the hand that feeds us ; we can receive anything 
from love, for that is a way of receiving it from ourselves, 
but not from any one who assumes to bestow. We hate 
the animal food which we eat, because there seems some- 
thing of degrading dependence in living by it. 

" Brother, if Jove to thee a present make, 
Take heed that from his hands thou nothing take." 

We ask all ; nothing less than all will content us. We 
quarrel with society, and rightfully, as we think, if it do 
not give us love also, love and reverence and troops of 

Who is up so high as to receive a gift well ? We are 
either glad or sorry at a gift, and both emotions are unbe- 
coming. Some violence I think is done, some degradation 
borne, when I rejoice or grieve at a gift. I am sorry when 
my independence is invaded, or when a gift comes from 
such as do not know my spirit, and so tlie act is not sup- 
ported ; and if the gift pleases me overmuch, then I 
should be ashamed that the donor should read my heart, 
and see that I love his commodity and not him. The gift 
to be true must be the flowing of the giver unto me, cor- 
respondent to my flowing unto him. When the waters are 
at level, then my goods pass to him, and his to me. All 
his are mine, all mine his. I say to him, How can you give 
me this pot of oil, or this flagon of wine, when all your oil 
and wine is mine, which belief of mine this gift of yours 
seems to deny? Hence the fitness of beautiful, not useful 
things for gifts. This giving is flat usurpation, and there- 

1843.] Gifts. 95 

fore when the beneficiary is ungrateful, as all beneficiaries 
hate all Timons, not at all considering the value of the gift, 
but looking back to the greater store it was taken from, I 
rather sympathize with the beneficiary than with the anger 
of my Lord Timon. For the expectation of gratitude is 
mean, and is continually punished by total insensibility. 
And truly considered, it is a great happiness to get off 
without injury and heart-burning from one who has had 
the ill luck to be served by you. It is very onerous busi- 
ness, this of being served, and the debtor naturally wishes 
to give you a slap. A golden text for these gentlemen 
is that which I so admire in the Buddhist, who never 
thanks, and who says, " Do not flatter your benefactors." 

But the reason of these discords 1 take to be that there is 
no commensurabillty between a man and any gift. You can- 
not give any thing to a magnanimous person. After you have 
served him, he at once puts you in debt by his magnanimity. 
The service a man renders his friend is trivial and selfish, com- 
pared with the service he knows his friend stood in readi- 
ness to yield him, alike before be had begun to serve his 
friend and now also. Compared with that great goodrwill 
I bear my friend, the benefit it is in my power to render him 
seems small. Besides, our action on each other, good as well 
as evil, is so random and remote. We can seldom hear 
the acknowledgments of any person who would thank us for 
a benefit, without some shame and humiliation, for we feel 
that it was not direct, but incidental. We can seldom ^ 
strike a direct stroke, but must be content with an oblique 
one ; I mean, we seldom have the satisfaction of yielding a 
direct benefit, which is directly received. But rectitude 
scatters favors all around without knowing it, and receives 
with wonder the thanks of people. 

I like to see that we cannot be bought and sold. The 
best of hospitality and of generosity is also not in the will, 
but in fate. I find that I am not much to you, you do not 
need me ; you do not feel me ; then am I thrust out of 
doors, though you proflTer me house and lands. No servi- 
ces are of any value, but likeness only. When I have 
attempted to join myself to others by services, it proved an 
intellectual trick, no more. They eat your service like 
apples, and leave you out. But love them, and they feel 
you, and delight in you all the time. 

96 Past and Present. [July 3 


Here is Carlyle's new poem, his Iliad of English woes, to 
follow his poem on France, entitled the History of the French 
Revolution. In its first aspect, it is a political tract, and 
since Burke, since Milton, we have had nothing to compare 
with it. It grapples honestly with the facts lying before all 
men, groups and disposes them with a master's mind, — and 
with a heart full of manly tenderness, offers his best counsel 
to his brothers. Obviously it is the book of a powerful and 
accomplished thinker, who has looked with naked eyes at 
the dreadful political signs in England for the last few 
years, has conversed much on these topics with such wise 
men of all ranks and parties as are drawn to a scholar's 
house, until such daily and nightly meditation has grown 
into a great connexion, if not a system of thoughts, and the 
topic of Enghsh politics becomes the best vehicle for the 
expression of his recent thinking, recommended to him by 
the desire to give some timely counsels, and to strip the 
worst mischiefs of their plausibility. It is a brave and just 
book, and not a semblance. " No new truth," say the 
critics on all sides. Is it so? truth is very old ; but the 
merit of seers is not to invent, but to dispose objects in the'ir 
right places, and he is the commander who is always in the 
mount, whose eye not only sees details, but throws crowds 
of details into their right arrangement and a larger and 
juster totality than any other. The book makes great ap- 
proaches to true contemporary history, a very rare success, 
and firmly holds up to daylight the absurdities still tolerated 
in the English and European system. It is such an appeal 
to the conscience and honor of England as cannot be for- 
gotten, or be feigned to be forgotten. It has the merit 
which belongs to every honest book, that it was self-ex- 
amining before it was eloquent, and so hits all other men, 
and, as the country people say of good preaching, '' comes 
bounce down into every pew." Every reader shall carry 
away something. The scholar shall read and write, the 

* Past and Present. By Thomas Carlyle. Boston : Charles C. Little 
and James Brown. 

1843.] Past and Present. 97 

farmer and mechanic shall toil with new resolution, nor 
forget the book when they resume their labor. 

Though no theocrat, and more than most philosophers 
a believer in political systems, Mr. Carlyle very fairly finds 
the calamity of the times not in bad bills of Parliament, 
nor the remedy in good bills, but the vice in false and 
superficial aims of the people, and the remedy in honesty 
and insight. Like every work of genius, its great value is 
in telling such simple truths. As we recall the topics, we 
are struck with the force given to the plain truths ; the 
picture of the English nation all sitting enchanted, the poor 
enchanted so that they cannot work, the rich enchanted so 
that they cannot enjoy, and are rich in vain ; the exposure 
of the progress of fraud into all arts and social activities ; 
the proposition, that the laborer must have a greater share in 
his earnings ; that the principle of permanence shall be ad- 
mitted into all contracts of mutual service ; that the state 
shall provide at least school-master's education for all the 
citizens ; the exhortation to the workman, that he shall re- 
spect the work and not the wages ; to the scholar, that he 
shall be there for light ; to the idle, that no man shall sit idle ; 
the picture of Abbot Samson, the true governor, who " is not 
there to expect reason and nobleness of others, he is there to 
give them of his own reason and nobleness ; " and the as- 
sumption throughout the book, that a new chivalry and nobili- 
ty, namely the dynasty of labor is replacing the old nobilities. 
These things strike us with a force, which reminds us of 
the morals of the Oriental or early Greek masters, ahd of 
no modern book. Truly in these things there is great re- 
ward. It is not by sitting still at a grand distance, and 
calling the human race larv^, that men are to be helped, 
nor by helping the depraved after their own foolish fashion, 
but by doing unweariedly the particular work we were 
born to do. Let no man think himself absolved because 
he does a generous action and befriends the poor, but let 
him see whether he so holds his property that a benefit 
goes from it to all. A man's diet should be what is sim- 
plest and readiest to be had, because it is so private a 
good. His house should be better, because that is for the 
use of hundreds, perhaps of thousands, and is the property 
of the traveller. But his speech is a perpetual and public 

VOL. IV. NO. I. 13 

98 Past and Present. [Ju^y> 

instrument ; let that always side with the race, and yield 
neither a lie nor a sneer. His manners, — let them be hos- 
pitable and civihzing, so that no Phidias or Raphael shall 
have taught anything better in canvass or stone ; and his acts 
should be representative of the human race, as one who 
makes them rich in his having and poor in his want. 

It requires great courage in a man of letters to handle 
the contemporary practical questions ; not because he then 
has all men for his rivals, but because of the infinite en- 
tanglements of the problem, and the waste of strength in 
gathering unripe fruits. The task is superhuman ; and the 
poet knows well, that a little time will do more than the 
most puissant genius. Time stills the loud noise of 
opinions, sinks the small, raises the great, so that the 
true emerges without effort and in perfect harmony to all 
eyes ; but the truth of the present hour, except in particu- 
lars and single relations, is unattainable. Each man can 
very well know his own part of duty, if he will ; but to 
bring out the truth for beauty and as literature, surmounts 
the powers of art. The most elaborate history of to-day 
will have the oddest dislocated look in the next generation. 
The historian of to-day is yet three ages off. The poet 
cannot descend into the turbid present without injury to 
his rarest gifts. Hence that necessity of isolation which 
genius has always felt. He must stand on his glass tripod, 
if he would keep his electricity. 

But when the political aspects are so calamitous, that the 
sympathies of the man overpower the habits of the poet, 
a higher than literary inspiration may succor him. It is 
a costly proof of character, that the most renowned 
scholar of England should take his reputation in his hand, 
and should descend into the ring, and he has added to his 
love whatever honor his opinions may forfeit. To atone for 
this departure from the vows of the scholar and his eternal 
duties, to this secular charity, we have at least this gain, 
that here is a message which those to whom it was ad- 
dressed cannot choose but hear. Though they die, they 
must listen. It is plain that whether by hope or by fear, 
or were it only by delight in this panorama of brilliant, 
images, all the great classes of English society must read, 
even those whose existence it proscribes. Poor Queen 
Victoria, — poor Sir Robert Peel, — poor Primate and 

1843.] Past and Present. 99 

Bishops, — poor Dukes and Lords! there is no help in 
place or pride or in looking another way ; a grain of wit is 
more penetrating than the lightning of the night-storm, 
which no curtains or shutters will keep out. Here is a 
book which will be read, no thanks to anybody but itself. 
What pains, what hopes, what vows, shall come of the 
reading ! Here is a book as full of treason as an e^g is 
full of meat, and every lordship and worship and high form 
and ceremony of English conservatism tossed like a foot- 
ball into the air, and kept in the air with merciless kicks 
and rebounds, and yet not a word is punisliable by statute. 
The wit has eluded all official zeal ; and yet these dire 
jokes, these cunning thrusts, this flaming sword of Cheru- 
bim waved high in air illuminates the whole horizon, and 
shows to the eyes of the universe every wound it inflicts. 
Worst of all for the party attacked, it bereaves them before- 
hand of all sympathy, by anticipating the plea of poetic and 
humane conservatism, and impressing the reader with the 
conviction, that the satirist himself has the truest love for 
everything old and excellent in English land and institu- 
tions, and a genuine respect for the basis of truth in those 
whom he exposes. 

We are at some loss how to state what strikes us as the 
fault of this remarkable book, for the variety and excellence 
of the talent displayed in it is pretty sure to leave all 
special criticism in the wrong. And we may easily fail in 
expressing the general objection which we feel. It ap- 
pears to us as a certain disproportion in the picture, 
caused by the obtrusion of the whims of the painter. 
In this work, as in his former labors, Mr. Carlyle reminds 
us of a sick giant. His humors, are expressed with 
so much force of constitution, that his fancies are more 
attractive and more credible than the sanity of duller men. 
But the habitual exaggeration of the tone wearies whilst it 
stimulates. It is felt to be so much deduction from the 
universality of tlie picture. It is not serene sunshine, but 
everything is seen in lurid stormlights. Every object 
attitudinizes, to the very mountains and stars almost, under 
the refractions of this wonderful humorist, and instead of 
the common earth and sky, we have a Martin's Creation or 
Judgment Day. A crisis has always arrived which re- 
quires a deus ex machind. One can hardly credit, whilst 

100 Past and Present. [J^ly? 

under the spell of this magician, that the world always had 
the same bankrupt look, to foregoing ages as to us, — as of 
a failed world just recollecting its old withered forces to 
begin again and try to do a little business. It was perhaps 
inseparable from the attempt to write a book of wit and imag- 
ination on English politics, that a certain local emphasis and 
of effect, such as is the vice of preaching, should appear, 
producing on the reader a feeling of forlorn ness by the 
excess of value attributed to circumstances. But the splen- 
dor of wit cannot outdazzle the calm daylight, which al- 
ways shows every individual man in balance with his age, 
and able to work out his own salvation from all the follies 
of that, and no such glaring contrasts or severalties in that 
or this. Each age has its own follies, as its majority is 
made up of foolish young people ; its superstitions appear 
no superstitions to itself; and if you should ask the contem- 
porary, he would tell you with pride or with regret (accord- 
ing as he was practical or poetic) that it had none. But 
after a short time, down go its follies and weakness, and 
the memory of them ; its virtues alone remain, and its 
limitation assumes the poetic form of a beautiful supersti- 
tion, as the dimness of our sight clothes the objects in the 
horizon with mist and color. The revelation of Reason is 
this of the unchangeableness of the fact of humanity under 
all its subjective aspects, that to the cowering it always 
cowers, to the daring it opens great avenues. The ancients 
are only venerable to us, because distance has destroyed 
what was trivial ; as the sun and stars affect us only grand- 
ly, because we cannot reach to their smoke and surfaces, 
and say, Is that all? 

And yet the gravity of the times, the manifold and in- 
creasing dangers of the English state, may easily excuse 
some over-coloring of the picture, and we at this distance 
are not so far removed from any of the specific evils, and 
are deeply participant in too many, not to share the gloom, 
and thank the love and the courage of the counsellor. This 
book is full of humanity, and nothing is more excellent in 
this, as in all Mr. Carlyle's works, than the attitude of the 
writer. He has the dignity of a man of letters who knows 
what belongs to him, and never deviates from his sphere ; 
a continuer of the great line of scholars, and sustains tiieir 
office in the highest credit and honor. If the good heaven 

1843.] Past and Present. 101 

have any word to impart to this unworthy generation, here 
is one scribe qualified and clothed for its occasion. One 
excellence he has in an age of Mammon and of criticism, 
that he never suffers the eye of his wonder to close. Let 
wlio will be the dupe of trifles, he cannot keep his eye 
off from that gracious Infinite which embosoms us. As a 
literary artist, he has great merits, beginning with the main 
one, that he never wrote one dull line. How well read, 
how adroit, what thousand arts in his one art of writing; 
with his expedient for expressing those unprov^en opinions 
which he entertains but will not endorse, by summoning 
one of his men of straw from the cell, and the respectable 
Sauerteig, or Teufelsdrock, or Dryasdust, or Picturesque 
Traveller says what is put into his mouth and disappears. 
That morbid temperament has given his rhetoric a some- 
what bloated character, a luxury to many imaginative and 
learned persons, like a showery south wind with its 
sunbursts and rapid chasing of lights and glooms over the 
landscape, and yet its offensiveness to multitudes of reluctant 
lovers makes us often wish some concession were possible 
on the part of the humorist. Yet it must not be forgotten 
that in all his fun of castanets, or playing of tunes with a 
whiplash like some renowned charioteers, —in all this glad 
and needful venting of his redundant spirits, — he does yet 
ever and anon, as if' catching the glance of one wise man 
in the crowd, quit his tempestuous key, and lance at him 
in clear level tone the very word, and then with new glee 
returns to his game. He is like a lover or an outlaw who 
wraps up his message in a serenade, which is nonsense to 
the sentinel, but salvation to the ear for which it is meant. 
He does not dodge the question, but gives sincerity where 
it is due. 

One word more respecting this remarkable style. We 
have in literature few specimens of magnificence. Plato is 
the purple ancient, and Bacon and Milton the moderns of 
the richest strains. Burke sometimes reaches to that 
exuberant fulness, though deficient in depth. Carlyle in his 
strange half mad way, has entered the Field of the Cloth 
of Gold, and shown a vigor and wealth of resource, which 
has no rival in the tourney play of these times; — the 
indubitable champion of England. Carlyle is the first 
domestication of the modern system with its infinity of 

102 Past and Present. [July, 

details into style. We have been civilizing very fast, build- 
ing London and Paris, and now planting New England 
and India, New Holland and Oregon, — and it has 
not appeared in literature, — there has been no analogous 
expansion and recomposition in books. Carlyle's style is 
the first emergence of all this wealth and labor, with which 
the world has gone with child so long. London and 
Europe tunnelled, graded, corn-lawed, with trade-nobility, 
and east and west Indies for dependencies, and America, 
with the Rocky Hills in the horizon, have never before 
been conquered in literature. This is the first invasion 
and conquest. How like an air-balloon or bird of Jove 
does he seem to float over the continent, and stooping here 
and there pounce on a fact as a symbol which was never a 
symbol before. This is the first experiment ; and something 
of rudeness and haste must be pardoned to so great an 
achievment. It will be done again and again, sharper, 
simpler, but fortunate is he who did it first, though never 
so giant-like and fabulous. This grandiose character per- 
vades his wit and his imagination. We have never had 
anything in literature so like earthquakes, as the laughter 
of Carlyle. He " shakes with his mountain mirth." It is 
like the laughter of the Genii in the horizon. These jokes 
shake down Parliament-house and Windsor Castle, Tem- 
ple, and Tower, and the future shall echo the dangerous 
peals. The other particular of magnificence is in his 
rhymes. Carlyle is a poet who is altogether too burly in his 
frame and habit to submit to the limits of metre. Yet he 
is full of rhythm not only in the perpetual melody of his 
periods, but in the burdens, refrains, and grand returns of 
his sense and music. Whatever thought or motto has 
once appeared to him fraught with meaning, becomes an 
omen to him henceforward, and is sure to return with deeper 
tones and weightier import, now as promise, now as threat, 
now as confirmation, in gigantic reverberation, as if the 
hills, the horizon, and the next ages returned the sound. 

1843.] An Old Man, 103 


Heavy and drooping, 

By himself stooping, 

Half of his body left. 

Of all his mind bereft, 

Antiquate positive. 

Forgotten causative, — 

Yet he still picks the ground. 

Though his spade makes no sound, 

Thin fingers are weak. 

And elbows a-peak. 

He talks to himself. 

Of what he remembers, 

Rakes over spent embers, 

Recoineth past pelf, 

Dreams backwards alone, 

Of time gnawing the bone. 

Too simple for folly. 

Too wise for content. 

Not brave melancholy. 

Or knave eminent. 

Slouched hat, and loose breeches, 

And gaping with twitches, — 

Old coin found a-ploughing. 

Curious but cloying. 

How he gropes in the sun. 

And spoils what he 's done. 

104 To Rhea. [July, 


Thee, dear friend, a brother soothes 

Not with flatteries but truths, 

Which tarnish not, but purify 

To light which dims the morning's eye. 

I have come from the spring woods, 

From the fragrant solitudes. 

Listen what the poplar tree 

And murmuring waters counselled me. 

If with love thy heart has burned, 
If thy love is unretarned, 
Hide thy grief within thy breast, 
Though it tear thee unexpressed. 
For when love has once departed 
From the eyes of the falsehearted. 
And one by one has torn off quite 
The bandages of purple light. 
Though thou wert the loveliest 
Form the soul had ever drest. 
Thou shalt seem in each reply 
A vixen to his altered eye. 
Thy softest pleadings seem too bold. 
Thy praying lute will seem to scold. 
Though thou kept the straightest road. 
Yet thou errest far and broad. 

But thou shalt do as do the gods 
In their cloudless periods ; 
For of this be thou assured. 
Though ihou forget, the gods secured 
Forget never their command, 
But make the statute of this land. 
As they lead, so follow all, 
Ever have done, ever shall. 

1843.] To Rhea, 105 

Warning to the blind and deaf, 
'T is written on the iron leaf, 
Who drinks of Cupid's nectar cup | 
Loveth downwarel, and not up. 
Therefore who loves of gods or men, 
Shall not by the same be loved again ; 
His sweetheart's idolatry 
Falls in turn a new degree. 
But when a god is once beguiled 
By beauty of a mortal child, 
And by? her radiant youth delighted. 
He is not fooled, but warily knoweth 
His love shall never be requited, 
And thus the wise Immortal doeth. 
It is his study and delight 
To bless that creature, day and night. 
From all evils to defend her. 
In her lap to pour all splendor, 
To ransack earth for riches rare. 
And fetch her stars to deck her hair; 
He mixes music with her thoughts. 
And saddens her with heavenly doubts ; 
All grace, all good, his great heart knows 
Profuse in love the king bestows ; 
Saying, " Hearken ! Earth, Sea, Air ! 
This monument of my despair 
Build I to the All-Good, All-Fair. 
Not for a private good. 
But I from my beatitude. 
Albeit scorned as none was scorned. 
Adorn her as was none adorned. 
I make this maiden an ensample 
To Nature through her kingdoms ample, 
Whereby to model newer races. 
Statelier forms and fairer faces. 
To carry man to new degrees 
Of power and of comeliness. 

VOL. IV. NO. I. 14 

106 The Journey. [Ju^y> 

. These presents be the hostages 
Which I pawn for my release ,* 
See to thyself, O Universe ! 
Thou art better and not worse." 

And the god having given all, 
Is freed forever from his thrall. 


A BREEZY softness in the air 

That clasped the gentle hand of spring, 

And yet no brooklet'^s voice did sing, 

And all was perfect silence there. 

Unless the soft light foliage waved ; 

Those boughs were clothed in shining green^ 

Through which ne'er angry tempests raved, 

And sunlight shone between. ^^ 

Beneath an oak a palmer lay. 
Upon the green sward was his bed. 
And rich luxuriance bound the gray, 
The silver laurel round his head. 
A picture he of calm repose, 
A dateless monument of life, 
Too placid for the fear of woes. 
Too grateful to be worn by strife ; 
I should have passed, — he bade me stay,, 
And tranquilly these words did say. 
" O curtain of the tender spring ! 
Thy graces to my old eyes bring, — 
The recollection of those years, 
When sweet are shed our early tears ; 
Those days of sunny April weather. 
Changeful and glad with everything, 
When youth and age go linked together. 
Like sisters twain and sauntering 
Down mazy paths in ancient woods. 
The garland of such solitudes." 


1843.] Art and Architecture. 107 


[Note. A few sheets have fallen into our hands, which contain such good 
sense on the subject of architecture, that we shall not be deterred by their in- 
complete method from giving them to our readers, in the hope that they will 
come to the eye of some person proposing to build a house or a church, in time 
to save a new edifice from some of the faults, which make our domestic and what 
we call our religious architecture insignificant.] 


There are three periods of art. First, when the thought 
is in advance of the execution. Second, when the expres- 
sion is adequate to the thought. And third, when the 
expression is in advance of the thought. The first is the 
age of the Giottos and Cimabues ; the second, of Raphaels 
and Michel Angelos. The third is the only one we know 
by experience. How inexpressibly interesting are those 
early works, where art is only just able to shadow forth 
dimly the thought the master was burdened with. They 
seem to suggest the more, because of their imperfect utter- 

True art is an expression of humanity, and like all other 
expressions, when it is finished, it cannot be repeated. 
It is therefore childish to lament the absence of good 
painters. We should lament the absence of great 
thoughts, for it is the thought that makes the painters. 

Art is the blossoming of a century-plant. Through hun- 
dreds of years the idea grows onward in the minds of men, 
and when it is ripe, the man appears destined to gather it. 
It was not Raphael who painted, but Italy, Greece, and all 
antiquity painting by his hand, and when that thought was 
uttered, the flowers dropped. The aloe blossomed in the 
Gothic Architecture of the middle ages; — and Bach and 
Beethoven have in their art unfolded its wondrous leaves. 

In this belief may we find consolation when all around 
us looks so cheerless. The noble plant whose blossoms we 
would so fain see, must have its root, must have its slow 
growing, massive leaves, must have its cold and retarding 
spring, its green growth of the stalk, that it may in summer 

108 Art and Architecture. [July, 

bring forth its flowers. Shall we not then honor earth, 
root, leaves, flower-stalk, nay, shall we repine that we must 
perhaps by our destiny be one of these, since these are 
part of the flower, and the flower of tliem, the flower is the 
sum of their united force and beauty transfigured, glori- 

The artist who is fast-grounded in this pure belief is 
beyond the reach of disappointment and failure. If he 
truly loves art, he knows that he is bearing on his should- 
ers one stone for that stately future edifice, not the key- 
stone, perhaps, but a necessary stone, and silently and 
faithfully he works, perfecting as he may his talent, not 
looking to outward success, but to inward satisfaction. 
Such a man knows that to advance the edifice at which he 
labors, are needed not gorgeous successes apparent, but 
conscientiousness, severity, truth. What would Angelico 
da Fiesole have done, had some devil tempted him to work 
out effects, instead of painting from his heart. These men 
yv'ho laid the foundation of the great Italian art were relig- 
ious men, — men fearing God, and seeing his hand at work 
even in the mixing of their colors, — men who painted on 
their knees. Such too were the forerunners of the great 
German musicians, such the Greeks, — such men have laid 
the foundations of greatness everywhere. 


What architecture must a nation situated as we are 
adopt? It has no indigenous architecture, it is not there- 
fore a matter of religion with us, but a matter of taste. 
We may and must have all the architectures of the world, 
but we may ennoble them all by an attention to truth, 
and a contempt of littleness. Nay, is not our position, if 
we will use our advantages properly, the more fortunate, 
inasmuch as we are not by the force of circumstance or 
example, bound to be or to build in this or that particular 
way, — but all ways are before us to choose. If our posi- 
tion is unfavorable to a speedy development of national 
taste, it is most adapted to give fair play to individual. 

The crowning and damning sin of architecture with us, 
nay, that of bad taste everywhere, is, the doing of unmean- 
ing, needless things. A Friends' meeting sits silent till one 

1843.] Art and Architecture. 109 

has something to say ; so should a man always, — so should 
the building man never presume to do aught without rea- 
son. To adorn the needful, to add a frieze to life, this is 

Rightly does the uninstructed caviller ask, when he sees 
a fine house, for what purpose is this balustrade, or that 
screen, these windows blocked up, and so on. Let any 
man of good sense say to himself what sort of a house he 
would have for convenience, supposing him to have the 
space to build it on ; then let him frame and roof these 
rooms, and if he has made his house truly convenient, its 
appearance cannot be absurd. Well, but he says, my 
house is plain, I want it to be beautiful, — I will spend 
what you choose upon it, but it shall be the most beautiful 
in the country. Very good, my friend. We will not 
change a single line, but we will ornament these lines. 
We will not conceal but adorn your house's nakedness ; 
delicate mouldings shall ornament every joint ; whatever is 
built for convenience or use, shall seem to have been built 
for beautiful details ; your very doorlatch and hinges shall 
be beautiful. For house, say church ; for the purposes 
of daily life, say the worship of God, and behold we have 
the history of architecture. 

There is nothing arbitrary in true architecture, even to 
the lowest detail. The man, who should for the first lime 
see a Greek temple of marble, would indeed ask and with 
reason, what meaning there was in triglyph, and metope, 
and frieze ; but when he is told that this is a marble imi- 
tation of a wooden building, a reproduction in a more 
costly material of a sacred historical form, he then sees in 
the triglyph the end of the wooden beam, with the marks of 
the trickling water drops, in the metope the flat panel 
between. But, saysLour modern builder, there is no reason 
that I should use triglyphs and metopes. I have no histori- 
cal recollection to beautify them ; what shall I use for or- 
naments ? My friend, what form has ever struck you as 
beautiful ? He answers, Why, the form of every living 
thing, of every tree and flower and herb. And can you ask 
then what ornaments you shall use? If your cornice 
were a wreath of thistles and burdocks curiously carved 
or cast, can you not see how a hundred mouths would pro- 
claim its superiority over yonder unmeaning layer of 
plaster ? 

110 Art and Architecture. [July, 

A mistaken plainness has usurped the place of true sim- 
plicity, which is the same mistake as an affected plainness in 
manners or appearance, lest one should be suspected of 
foppery. All houses, all churches are finished within side 
by the plane (or mould-plane) and plaster-smoother. Has 
a man made a fortune, he moves from his plain house 
which cost ten thousand, to one winch cost an hundred 
thousand. Now perhaps his poor friend shall see some- 
thing beautiful. Alas, it is but the old house three times 
as large, the walls and the woodwork three times as smooth ; 
a little warmer house in winter, than the old one, a little 
airier in summer. Verily, friend, thou hast done little with 
thy hundred thousand, beyond enriching thy carpenter. 

To see materials used skilfully and in accordance with 
their peculiar qualities is a great source of beauty in archi- 
tecture. The vice of many of our would-be pretty build- 
ings is that the material is entirely disguised, so that for 
aught we know they may be marble, or wood, or paste- 
board ; all we see is a plain white surface. Have done with 
this paltry concealment ; let us see how the thing is built. 
A Swiss cottage is beautiful, because it is wooden par ex- 
cellence ; every joint and timber is seen, nay the wood is 
not even painted but varnished. So of the old heavy-tim- 
bered picturesque houses of England. 

Hope says ; '' Je n'ai pas besoin d'appuyer ici sur la perfec- 
tion que les Grecs ont donnee a toutes les parties, essentielles 
ou accessoires de leurs edifices ; elle alia si loin que, dans cer- 
tains temples ils paraissent avoir ete animes d'un sentiment 
purement religieux, penetres de I'idee que la divinite voyait ce 
qui echappait a roeil de Thomme, et qu'il fallait rendre toutes 
les parties egalement dignes de i'etre immortel auquel I'edifice 
etait consacre. 

" L'addresse en mecanique est une faculte tout-a-fait dis- 
tinct du gout dans les beaux arts. 

'' En Grece, la colonne etait un element de construction plus 
characteristique et plus essentiel que la muraille." 

Among the Romans, on the contrary, the luall was the 
integral part of the building, of which the columns served 
only to adorn the nakedness. Among ourselves, although 
the pillars we so frequently see have the real purpose of 
sustaining a projection^ to protect from the rays of the 
sun ; yet there is no reason that we should adopt for this 

1843.] Art and Architecture. Ill 

purpose a model of proportions that were meant to support 
the immense weight of the whole structure in Greece. How 
much more elegant would our verandahs be, were the 
wooden columns just so large as is needful for the purpose 
for which they were erected. 

" Ainsi, les premieres basiliques chretiennes n'offraient, dans 
toute leur entendue, si I'on excepte leurs colonnes antiques, 
aucune moulure, aucune partie qui ressortit et se detachat 
de leur surface plane et perpendiculaire ; elles ne presen- 
taient, au-dessus de leurs murailles nues que la charpente 
transversale de leur plafond, et de leur toit; elles res- 
semblaient en un mot a de vastes granges, que Ton aurait bati 
de somptueux" rtiateriaux, mais la simplicite, la purete, la mag- 
nificence, I'harmbnie de toutes leurs parties constitutives, don- 
naient a ces granges un air de grandeur que nous cherchons 
en vain dans Farchitecture plus compliquee des eglises mo- 

In the eye of every New Englander, the essential parts 
of a church are a spire or tower, half-disengaged from the 
building and formerly a porch, and a simple oblong build- 
ing like a barn, forming the main body of the edifice; 
within, the pulpit at the end opposite the tower, a gallery 
running round the other three sides, supported by columns 
which in some cases also shoot upward to aid in supporting 
the roof. In spite of the almost total absence of beautiful 
specimens, it is in vain to say that this form is not as well 
adapted to beauty as the basilica or any other. If the 
builder would content himself with putting together these 
essential parts with the utmost simplicity, without any ex- 
crescences or breaking up, striving only to balance the 
members against each other, so that each should have its 
proper proportion, he would produce a specimen of national 
church architecture. The spire would seem to be in better 
taste than the square tower, partly because of the associa- 
tions, but also because its form is agreeable to a construc- 
tion in wood, which we shall long see in this country. 
The artist may employ all his taste and imagination in 
decorations, (always entirely subordinate,) of these main 
parts, taking care that his decorations are in keeping with 
the uses of the building. How unmeaning beside the un- 
pretending simplicity of such a building, is the pretence of 
a Grecian front, — not that the native product shows so 

112 Art and Architecture, [J^^y? 

much genius in the invention, but that it has a sacred as- 
sociation in our eyes, which the otiier has not. 

In the same way that the hterature of the ancient world, 
for so long a time dwarfed the authors of a modern date, 
does the ancient architecture, Gothic and Grecian, dwarf 
our builders. They dare not invent for themselves, for their 
inventions would seem so puerile beside the great works to 
which the world would compare them. It is cheaper for 
them and more satisfactory to their customers, to borrow a 
form that all the world has admitted to be beautiful, and 
almost inevitably degrade it by putting it to a wrong use. In 
poesy no one longer doubts that the nature around us is the 
nature from which Homer and Phidias drew inspiration, 
and it is the spirit and not the forms of ancient art that 
make its productions almost divine. Scarcely in architec- 
ture do we see the first faint light of such a dawn, yet it 
depends upon ourselves, that ours shall be that glory. An 
intense thirst for the beautiful exists among us, — it only 
requires a direction. It is idle for us to complain of the 
want of models, the want of instruction. England has 
wealth of these beyond count, yet builds nowadays no 
more tastefully than we ; it must come from ourselves, from 
reflection, from the study of nature. 

Materials rightly employed grow more beautiful with 
age. In pure architecture, everything is to be rejected, 
that will grow less beautiful with age. For this end, it 
is sufficient that every material should be employed with 
an eye to its peculiar properties. This rule, if strictly 
followed, would indeed do away with several materials, 
the cheapness of which has rendered their use almost 
universal, but which deserve no place in the severe 
and simple architecture which should distinguish our 
churches. Let it not be our reproach that we are a nation 
of lath and plaster and temporary shifts ; let our joints and 
beams be made beautiful, not hidden, — let our wood work 
show the grain of tiie wood for ornament, not hide it under 

Suppose one of our churches were to be left alone for 
fifty years, when we enter how unlovely would it be, the 
plaster dropping away, showing the laths like ribs beneath, 
the paint dingy and mouldy, reminding us of nothing but 
the tomb ; — but the interior of the unpainted, unplastered. 

1843.] Art and Architecture. 113 

gothic church would still be beautiful in age, and frag- 
ments of carved oak be treasured at its weight in silver. 

Architecture is a tendency to organization. Nature or- 
ganizes matter, and endows it with individual life. Man 
organizes it for his own ends, but it has no life but so far as 
he has been able to endow it with his own. Now in 
natural organizations as the tree or animal, we see no part 
that has not a meaning and use, and each part of tliat 
material which answers to its end. This also is a funda- 
mental law of architecture. 

The ancient architecture is entitled to that great praise 
of producing on the mind an effect of unity. It has been 
too often the bane of modern architecture, that what one 
man designed, his successor changed, so that to the most 
unpractised eye, the grossest inconsistencies are constantly 
apparent ; till we are almost ready to say in despair, 
there is no good architecture but in the mind of the artist. 
It cannot be doubted that either Bramante, Sangallo, or 
M. Angelo, alone, would have made a far finer building 
than the actual St. Peters. 

The modern architects certainly attempted more difficult 
things than the ancient. The Greek had not to invent the 
form of his edifice. Nature and immemorial custom had 
done that for him. He was only to see that all his details 
were in due proportion. There was not so much room for 
bad taste. But the church architect of the renaissance had 
the whole dome of the heavens to exhibit his antics in. 


In regard to monuments it may be laid down as a rule 
that all sentimental monuments are bad, and all conceits of 
every sort ; as, a broken column, a mother weeping over 
her child, a watchful dog, &,c. They strike at first, but 
the mind wearies to death of them the moment they are 
repeated. To my mind, a monument should be an archi- 
tectural structure (including any admitted form of obelisk, 
pyramid, or of any style of architecture), which should be 
only striking by the simplicity and purity of its form. Its 
adornments may be infinitely rich, but always entirely sub- 

VOL. IV. -~ NO. I. 15 

114 Art and Architecture. [July, 

ordinate ; so that at a distance the effect shall always be of 
simplicity and repose. A simple headstone might be 
wrought by a Phidias, might contain the most exquisite 
sculptures, and still never lose its character of a simple 
headstone. Our monuments are all in the open air; con- 
sequently those Gothic tombs that with all their splendor 
have so severely religious an air, are denied us. I prefer 
upon a tomb figures of a vague character, what are called 
academic figures. These, when noble in their form and ex- 
pression, produce an effect analogous to architecture, sug- 
gestive, — whereas all figures of a fixed character, Charities, 
Hopes, Griefs, &c., irresistibly put their own character for- 
ward, and give the intellect an occupation where we should 
awaken only feelings. It is as if we should introduce 
descriptive music into a requiem. A monument should 
never tell you what to think or feel, but only suggest 

The renowned monument of Lorenzo di Medici by 
Michel Angelo is an illustration. The feeling of repose, 
not of forgetfulness, but of deepest thought, which it im- 
presses, is so completCj that the gazer almost forgets himself 
to stone, and it seems like an intrusion to ask what the 
figures mean. We feel that they mean all things. 

The style and spirit of the Grecian Architecture is so 
pure that when an architect adopts it, he must carry it 
out. As far as the details are concerned, nothing can with 
propriety be added to or taken from them. They are 
things fixed. If a man uses the Ionic, we demand a pure 
Greek Ionic, and everybody knows what it ought to be. 
To adapt tliese details in Greek spirit to modern needs, 
this is what classic architecture has in modern times to do. 
The architects who have accomplished this feat in a satis- 
factory manner, in modern times, are so few, that one may 
number them on his fingers and scarce need his left hand. 
To do this a man must be a Greek, and more than a 
Greek. He has to live in the past and present at the same 
time. He must be independent of his time, and yet able 
to enter fully into it. 

The Gothic and the Lombard architecture, on the other 
hand, make no such all but impossible demands, — or at 
least did not, at tfie time in which they flourished, though 
it is no less hard for us to enter into their spirit than into 

1S43.] The Glade. 115 

the Grecian, — perliaps even harder, since the principle of 
the Gothic is complex, and the ideas which controlled both 
it and the Lombard have told their errand, and have past 
away from the world. The Grecian being conceived in a 
more universal spirit, aspiring to absolute perfection, has in 
it the principle of life, it has been the parent of the others, 
and yet flourishes green and strong, while its offspring have 
passed into decrepitude. 

It would be well for us, once for all, to abandon the 
attempt to transplant hither the Gothic Architecture. The 
noble trees yet stand in the old world, but,their seeds are 
decayed, the woodwork, that we dignify by this name, can 
only excite a sigh or a smile at its utter want of harmony 
and use. A few fine churches we may have, like Trinity 
church in New York, but they can be only approximations 
to foreign works. There is nothing new to be done in 
Gothic architecture. Its capacities, infinite as they seem, 
are in fact limited, and are exhausted. Not so with the 
Grecian. It is not indeed to be expected that we shall 
make more perfect specimens than were made two thousand 
years ago, but we may reproduce those in endless new 
combinations. This is what Palladio and Bramante did, 
and new Palladios and Bramantes would always find 


A GREEN and vaporous cloud of buds, the larch 
Folds in soft drapery above the glade, 

Where deeper-foliaged pines high over-arch, 
And dignify the heavy, stooping shade, 

There yellow violets spring, in rarest show, 

And golden rods in secret clusters blow. 

There piping hylas fill the helpless air, 

And chattering black-birds hold their gossip by, 

And near I saw the tender maiden-hair, 

With the fine, breeze-born, white anemone ; 

The glade, though undisturbed by human art, 

Has richer treasures than the busy mart 

116 Voyage to Jamaica. [July, 


I LEFT Boston, or rather Charlestovvn wharf, on Friday 
the 6th of March, in the brig Ohve, Capt. M., bound 
for Havana, via Kingston, Jamaica. There was a fine 
strong breeze in the afternoon on which we sailed, and 
when we began to cast off, the brig swung round by the 
stern, see-sawing and straining on her fasts, — apparently 
very impatient to be under way, and we were soon going 
down the bay, at the rate of six or seven knots an hour. 
1 always, and I suppose it is the same with you and most 
people, have some little scrap or other running silently 
through my head, whenever I am at all excited, and as 
we sailed rapidly down the bay, passing object after object, 
I began with the Ancient Mariner, 

The ship was cheered, the harbor cleared, 

Merrily did we drop 
Below the kirk, — below the hill, 

Below the lighthouse top, &c. Sic. 

But directly, nearly all Charlestown having disappeared, 
except the Bunker Hill Monument, these fragments gave 
way to Webster's oration. "Let it rise to meet the sun in 
his coming," &c. "Let it be the last object on which the 
eye of the mariner shall linger," &c. &c. But I had not 
time to see whether or not the facts of the case would bear 
out the wishes of the orator, before these scraps gave place 
in their turn to others of a different character, among 
which were certain stanzas from Don Juan's sea voyage, 
about the " Euxiiie," &c., and this from King Lear: — 

Regan. Sick, Oh sick ! 

Goneril (aside.) Or else, I '11 ne'er trust poison. 

I took but little notice of what was going on during the 
first three days of the voyage. I recollect on the third night 
out, there was much noise on deck, the captain and crew 
being up nearly all the time, and a strong wind blowing, 
which caused the brig to labor so much, that I was obliged 
to hold on to the side of my berth. But I made no inqui- 
ry, supposing that alihough it seemed very rough to me, it 
was a matter of ordinary occurrence at sea. They told 

1843.] Voyage to Jamaica. 117 

me in the iriorning that it had been blowing a severe gale, 
and that we had been "lying to under a reefed top sail." 
And 1 then learnt for the first time that to " lay to " means 
to take in all sail except enough to steady the vessel, turn 
her head as near to the wind as possible, and then let her 
drift backwards. On the fourth, though the sea ran rather 
high, the weather was fine, and I crawled out on deck. 
As I was lying on the binacle, trying to read, I heard the 
captain berating the man at the helm, for shipping without 
understanding seaman's duty. " Where did you come from ?" 
asked the captain. " From G., near Worcester, sir,'" was the 
answer. 1 looked round at the sailor. He was a good 
looking young man, of about eighteen or twenty. " I 
thought so, I thought so," said the Captain, •' just out of the 
bush. And you have never been at sea before, I suppose." 
" Yes, sir, I have just returned from a whaling voyage." 
'• Well you are no helmsman, and I 'il have you logged," 
[noted on the log-book.] " Nobody is going to draw full 
pay here unless he earns it." " Very well, sir, I only want 
what I earn." The Captain soon after went below, when 
I turned to the young man. " Do you know the L.'s of 
G. ? " said I. "Yes, sir." Do you know Major L. ? 
" He was my father, sir. He is dead." " And Edward L. ?" 
" He is my brother, sir." Edward was a classmate of 
mine at Harvard College, and we were a good deal to- 

We had more blows and lying to on the 11th and 12th, 
and on the latter, a snow and sleet storm, which encrusted 
everything on deck. But on the morning of the 13th, the 
seventh day out, it set in for serious work. It began to blow 
about three o'clock in the morning, and by six we were 
obliged to take in all sail possible, and lie to again. At 
eight, the foretopmast stay sail got unfurled by accident, 
and was torn to shreds in an instant ; and the sea, which 
all along had been running very high, began to knock in our 
bulwarks, until at twelve we had scarcely a plank left on 
the windward side. Heavy seas now began to break on 
deck ; and first the long boat was carried over board, with 
all its contents, oars, handspikes, rigging, &c. Shortly after, 
there came another tremendous sea and carried off the 
galley (cook shop) vv^ith all the cook's concerns. Things 
now began to get rather scarce, forward on deck ; and the 

lis Voyage to Jamaica. [July, 

seas from some cause, not from instinct, I presume, though 
it seemed so to me, broke on us farther aft, where there 
were some hogsheads of water lashed to the bulwarks, and 
some other articles secured. I was sick, as I still continued 
to be, whenever the weather was at all rough, and had not 
been on deck that morning, but only looked out of the 
companion-way occasionally. But the increased noise aft, 
and. the mate who was a Swede, howling to the men to 
" trow dem caskets overboard," (they having broke from 
their lashings,) aroused my languid fears and curiosity, and 
I crawled out again, that is, I looked out, just as the men 
were staving and throwing overboard the hogsheads of 
water, some of which, were still tumbling backward and 
forward on deck, like toys in a cradle. I found things look- 
ing bad enough on deck. The decks were all swept clear 
of everything, the bulwarks were all knocked in; and the 
men looked no better. All were pale and anxious. I sup- 
pose it was now about two o'clock in the afternoon, and 
about ten hours since the commencement of the ga!le, and 
the winds and the sea were still increasing in violence. 
Directly there came over us a sea so very heavy as to cause 
the brig to " broach to " (fall into the wind) and throw her 
down on her side. But her cargo being solid did not shift, 
she therefore righted immediately. The captain now put 
her about, finding she would lie to no longer in such a sea, 
and endeavored to ''send her before the wind under bare 
poles." I had, for the last hour or so, been sitting up in 
the companion-way looking out, for I found this better 
than to lie quaking below in my berth ; but as the cook 
wanted to pass up and down, to stow away things, I, being 
in his way, went below. And it was well for me I did so, 
for I was scarcely seated on the transom, holding on to a 
berth, when there came a crash like a cannon-shot, and 
down poured a huge mass of water into the cabin, filling it 
to the height of four feet in an instant. I knew, by the 
sbout of terror I heard on deck, that something serious had 
befallen us, but all I could see, as yet, was, that the com- 
panion way had been carried away, the cabin stairs and 
adjoining timbers coming below at the same time with the 
water. Either by these, or the water, or the shock of the 
vessel, I was knocked down among the rubbish ; but I 
soon struggled out, thinking at first I had cut my temple, 

1843.] Voyage to Jamaica. 119 

but it was only bruised, and as soon as 1 had recovered 
myself, I made all haste ta gain the deck, for I thought 
our time was come, and we were fast filling to sink. I was 
very much terrified, as you may suppose, and could not bear 
the thought of dying in this way ; for a few moments, I felt 
something very much like rage ; but although the fear of 
death, the horrid conviction that I must die, was the 
"ground tone," as musicians say, of all my thoughts and 
feelings, I found that the many details of our misfortune, 
which necessarily, attracted my attention, had the happy 
effect of staving off, and breaking up, in some degree, the 
overwhelming influence of this, otherwise most intolerable 
idea, just as the force of a waterfall is broken by jutting 
crags ; and that even the ludicrous, though it may not have 
amused at the time, did not fail to make an impression. 
The first object I noticed, when I looked on deck, (for I 
did not venture to step out, but stood on some barrels look- 
ing out at the hole or " hatch," where the companion-way 
had been) was the cook, a Nova Scotia negro. He was 
clinging to the main-rigging by one hand, and with the 
other very earnestly, but as I thought uselessly (consider- 
ing our probable fate) endeavoring to sa\;e a little wooden 
kid which was drifting past him. And then, as I looked 
round on deck, a certain old book of shipwrecks, which I 
used to read when a boy, with wood-cuts representing all 
varieties of shipwrecked extremity, flashed on my memory 
for an instant, and naturally enough ; for the same sea 
which stove in the cabin, and which had struck us astern, 
(the brig not being able to outrun the sea in " scudding " 
without any sail) had split the trisail mast, carried away 
the stern boat, the boom gaft and trisail, and one whole 
quarter of the lea bulwarks, even with the deck, breaking 
off or tearing out the stanchions. The sea was still mak- 
ing a " clean breast," as they say, over the brig forward 
and amid ships, and two men, the cook and another, 
who were all I could see, were clinging to the main- 
rigging to prevent being washed overboard. I then, by 
mere instinct, for I knew it would be in vain, should the 
vessel sink, cast about for some means of saving myself. 
I dropped off my shoes, threw my handkerchief round my 
neck, and shut my knife on it, and looked to an empty water- 
cask with some lashings attached to it, which still remained 

120 Voyage to Jamaica. [July, 

near the stern. All this occupied but a moment. Just 
then I saw a bloody face rise out of the foam, close 
along-side, where the bulwarks and stancheons had all 
been broken away, and then sink again. It was the mate, 
and he caught a rope which was hanging overboard, and 
the captain and two men, who had now recovered them- 
selves, having all been knocked down, drew him on board. 
My attention was next drawn to the boy, who stood whim- 
pering, a few feet to the right of me on the other quarter, 
and pointing out over the stern. I concluded from his man- 
ner that somebody else was overboard, and thought I could 
distinguish, above the roaring of the storm, the name of 
'■' Antonio," the Italian sailor. But I saw he was on deck. 
In his fright, the boy had got the wrong name. It was 
poor L. I just caught a glimpse of him floating out several 
rods astern, as he balanced for a moment on the crest of a 
wave, throwing up his arms, I suppose, with the vain 
hope that we should thus be drawn to his assistance, — 
when a sea broke over him, and he sunk. The storm still 
continued to rage as fiercely as ever. The waves, though 
high and huge masses of water, still did not appear to be 
quite so high as I saw them two days afterward when 
there was very little wind. For they were now apparently 
pressed down and condensed by the mighty power of the 
wind, which outrunning them, cut off and knocked into 
spray their crests as soon as they rose above a certain 
height. Their force and speed were wonderful. That 
most disastrous one, which we shipped over our stern, 
crooked, when it struck the deck, a Ijeam which supports 
the deck over the cabin, of 11 inches by 8 in diameter, clean 
across its lower face, knocking off and splitting in pieces its 
casings. How far in the fracture extends, I cannot say, but it 
is sensibly sprung, and I presume will have to be taken out. 
And for the wind, it was one steady roar. No one could hear 
you speak clearly, unless your mouth was close to his ear, and 
I found it very difficult to look towards it and breathe. 
There were none of those alternations of rise and fall 
which we have on land. It did not change a note per- 
ceptibly three times during the storm ; but continued to 
roar on, hour after hour, with the same terrible monotony, 
like the sound of a great waterfall, or a furnace a thousand 
times magnified. 

1843.] Voyage to Jamaica. 121 

Our main purpose now was to keep the water out of the 
brig ; and the mate, bruised as he was, as soon as he was 
fairly on deck, was the first to call out for spare sails to 
nail over the hatches left by the binacle, skylight, and 
companion way. When he came to the companion hatch 
where I stood, I debated with myself a moment, whether 
to go below and be nailed down, or to stay on deck. But 
I reflected that I was too weak to do any good there, — 
that 1 should be soon chilled, (for I was drenched,) and 
be in great danger of being swept overboard. So, with 
many misgivings, I went below, and heard them nail down 
the hatch over my head. I sat under it, however, with my 
knife, ready to cut my way out, should the cabin begin to 
fill. The captain now lashed down the helm, for he had 
been much bruised, and could steer no longer, and let the 
brig lie in the " trough of the sea," drifting at random. 
The men were ordered to the pumps, for, on sounding, 
there was found to be four feet of water in the hold. A 
little before sunset, the captain, making an opening in the 
small after-skylight-hatch, came below, looking the picture 
of despair, intimating that it was all up with us, for the 
men could not gai.i on the leak, and there were no signs 
of abatement in the storm. He appeared rather sullen, or 
at least not inclined to talk, but directly " turned in," and 
seemed to be employed in prayer, partly aloud and partly to 
himself. I now went and sat on the transom under the 
small after-hatch, where we shipped but little water, and 
remained there all the earlier part of the night. The mate- 
and men, though nearly worn out, still continued on deck, 
by turns at the pump. I was disconsolate enough. My 
feelings were far more uncomfortable than when I was on 
deck ; for now, being no longer able to see our danger, 
my fears or imagination had it all their own way. Any 
unusual noise on deck seemed the note of some closing 
disaster; and every shout from the sailors, as it pierced 
through the roar of the storm, sunk into my heart like the 
final cry of despair. And not only this, but I found it very 
difficult to divest myself of the feeling of personality in 
the storm. The idea was urging itself upon me continual- 
ly, that some enormous and malignant power, which I more 
than once (heathen-like) found myself half deprecating, 
must be beneath the ocean, heaving up these great masses of 

VOL. IV. NO. 1. 16 

122 Voyage to Jamaica. [July, 

water for our special destruction. And then again, when 
I remembered looking off to sea, the waves seemed an in- 
terminable pack of great giant hell-hounds, hallooed on by 
the winds, bounding and howling on towards us, with the 
bitter, fixed, remorseless purpose of tearing us in pieces. This 
was one of my disagreeable thoughts as I sat cooped up in 
the cabin. And there was another thing troubled me. I 
must confess, at the risk of losing your good opinion, that 
the praying of the captain afforded me anything but con- 
solation. It looked so like giving up the ship, and was 
such a plain intimation, that all hope of being saved by 
earthly aid was at an end, that I could not but feel discour- 
aged by it. Like Bonaparte on his return from Russia, 
(to compare small things to large,) he seemed to have a 
dread of hearing details, and apparently wished to abstract 
his mind from what was going on around him, and, 
taking it for granted that we should be all lost, set very 
zealously about what he considered the necessary process 
for saving his own soul. I do not intend to sneer at him 
for praying. To pray in times of great danger is as natu- 
ral as to breathe. At such times all men, whether Chris- 
tians, atheists, or reprobates, pray instinctively, — though 
for the most part by snatches and in silence. I only mean 
to say that the master of a vessel should be the last man 
aboard to show, by any change of manner, a falling off in 
confidence. But our captain was an old man, of a gloomy 
temperament, and, though not cowardly, was weighed down 
by a perfect night-mare of superstition, and I found after- 
wards had a presentiment that this would be his last voy- 
age. At about ten or eleven o'clock at night, one of the 
men came to the hatch and asked for bread. They had 
had nothing to eat all day. I groped about below, for our 
lamps were lost, till I found some bread, and having handed 
it up, before the hatch was closed, took a look out on deck. 
The moon, at that moment (for it was for the most part a dry 
storm) was shining full and clear. The same sea was raging, 
and the same wind roaring, just as they were seven hours 
prevFous, and our forlorn, shattered brig was still battling it 
out witli them alone uj^on the ocean. I do remember it 
now, for a scene of awful beauty and sublimity, but so fai: 
as I recollect, I only felt at the time that it was awful. I 
have heard of men who could forget imminent danger in 

1843.] Voyage to Jamaica. 123 

their admiration of the sublime ; and of a painter,* who 
lashed himself to the mast that he might draw the sea in a 
terrible storm. I take this to be chiefly babble ; at any 
rate, for myself, I was sick and weak. It was cold, — my 
clothes were wet. I was collapsed, and doubled up with 
inanition, — the fear of death was pressing heavily upon 
me, and I confess the artist-feeling did not so prevail over 
the man. I went below, and for the purpose of getting 
warm, for sleep was out of the question, I took to my berth. 
I first piled into it all the wet clothes I could find, (for we 
had no other,) and then tried to pull off my coat. But it 
was so wet, and the brig rolled so much, that after slitting 
it down the back, and tearing one sleeve nearly out, I gave 
it up and got in with all my clothes on, between the straw 
bed and the mattress, both of which were thoroughly satu- 
rated, and in less than an hour, I found myself in a sort of 
steam bath of very comfortable temperature. About every 
quarter of an hour during the night I heard the man on 
the watch give a cry of warning to those at the pumps, 
followed by the tumbling of a heavy sea on deck, and then 
a lurch of the vessel, which it took all my holding on to 
keep from throwing me out of my berth. Then the water 
streamed down through the hatches to increase the quanti- 
ty in the hold, bearing with it mollusca or some phosphoric 
matter, which left ghastly streaks of light on the planks, — 
or rather looked like pale, liquid fire, trickling down the 
bulk-head. Our great danger was that in lurching, on ac- 
count of these heavy seas, the brig would throw her masts 
out, or as the mate afterwards expressed it, " shake the 
sticks out of herself," and 1 was dreading all night to hear 
them fall, every time v^q shipped a sea. My mind, howev- 
er, was not exclusively occupied by these fearful details, 
nor, as I have remarked before, by the dreaded catastrophe. 
At times some scrap or other, such as, 

" Backward and forward half her length. 
With a short uneasy motion," 

would suddenly come into my head, and in a moment I 
was striving, like a boy reciting at school, to recal the suc- 
ceeding lines. That ode of Horace, containing, 
"Illi robur et aes triplex," 

* Joseph Vernet, the French painter of Sea-scenes. 

124 Voyage to Jamaica. [July? 

of which I could remember at first only this one line, haunt- 
ed me thus for a long time. My memory seemed to take 
it up on her own account, with the obstinate determination 
to conquer it, and was succeeding better than I am able to 
do at this moment, when another great sea and a lurch of 
the brig put it to flight. At another time I found myself 
very busy with the ballad, of which the following is a 
stanza ; 

" Three merry men and three merry men 

And three merry men are we, . • 

I on the sea, and thou on the land, 
/ And Jack on the gallows tree." 

It soon struck me, that it was very ridiculous and inap- 
propriate to be thinking of old ballads, situated as I was ; 
but a moment after, there it was again, buzzing through my 
mind to a merry tune, 

" I on the sea, and thou on the land," &c. 

and I felt somewhat like poor Christian who, do what he 
would, could not but listen to the horrid whisperings of 
the devils, as he was going through the valley of the 
shadow of death, though I confess his was the more aggra- 
vated case. 

You must not consider what I have just written as al- 
together trivial. It appears to me that these and similar 
phantasies, varying no doubt according to our various hab- 
its of mind, are the kindly devices of nature to draw away 
our thoughts from the one terrible question, the sword 
hanging by the hair, which, fall or not, it is useless and 
intolerable to contemplate. The captain and I inter- 
changed but few words during the night, for as I said be- 
fore, he seemed testy when disturbed. 1 once suggested 
the closing of one of the hatches more securely, in order to 
keep out the water ; but he, seeming quite indifferent 
whether it was done or not, said I might call the men if 
I chose ; and then, after a pause, added, *' what is the use 
in fretting? I can't save your life." The men suffered 
miuch from exposure, and incessant exertion, having all 
been on deck the greater part of the time, since three 
o'clock in the morning; and they were also without water 
all night ; for that which we had brought on deck was lost, 
and the casks stowed in the run (the part of the hold 

1843.] Voyage to Jamaica. 125 

under the cabin) no one had found lime to get out. To- 
wards morning, two of them gave over, and went into the 
forecastle and got drunk. The boy had been sent below 
something earher, to prevent him from being washed over- 
board, for he was so fatigued (that is, so they said,) that 
whenever he was set to watch, he would invariably setde 
down on deck, and go to sleep. But the mate and one 
Peter Nelsen, a Dane, stood by bravely all night, especially 
the latter, a tall, rough-looking, silent man, who worked on, 
making no complaint himself, nor listening to any despon- 
dency in the others. Even to the mate, who at one time 
began to soften, and talk of his wife (he had been lately 
married) whom he thought he should never see again, he 
respectfully intimated, in his broken English, that he ought 
not to speak in that way, in the presence of the men. I 
suppose in fact that this Nelsen was the only man on 
board, who was of the right material for a time of great 
danger. He was always on the alert, never for a moment 
lost his self-possession. When he with the others was 
knocked down by the sea, he was seen to seize the rudder 
with one hand, and with the other, to reach out, and grasp 
the boy by the leg, who was just going overboard. In 
short, as Dr. Johnson says of Prince Hal, " he was great 
without effort," and did more to save the vessel, and ap- 
parently thought less of what he had done, than all the 
others on board. 

In the morning the mate came below to find his shoes. 
He was a strong, willing, honest fellow, but simple-hearted 
and childlike. He had been much bruised w'hen he went 
overboard, the bones of his face near the nose were frac- 
tured, his jaw wrenched round, and since receiving these 
injuries, he had been constantly on deck for fifteen hours, 
and as I was afterwards told, drank salt water in the night. 
He fretted about the cabin like a sick child. *' If I could 
only find mine soos, then I could work." And as he 
stood on the transom looking for them, having come below 
merely for that purpose, he happened to lean against one 
of the berths. The sensation of rest was too sweet to be 
resisted. He balanced a moment on the side with a sort 
of grin, and then rolled over into it, and in two min- 
utes was, to all appearances, in a deep sleep ; from which 
he did not awake for more than forty-eight hours. 

126 Voyage to Jamaica. [-^uly, 

The captain now " turned out " and began to show 
somewhat more of interest in our temporal affairs, th^n he 
had done during the night. When he went on deck, he 
found the foremast sprung, the crosstrees spHt, and the 
rigging which supports the mast fast chafing away, and it 
"was evident the latter could not stand much longer, unless 
the gale should abate. Peter, too, said that spite of all he 
could do, the water was still gaining in the hold. The 
fact was that the warm water of the Gulf-stream, in which 
we were drifting, taken in at the hatches and other holes 
on deck, in addition to leakage, was melting away the ice, 
of which our cargo consisted, very rapidly ; and unless this 
melting could be stopped, we must soon loose our ballast, 
and be "water-logged," that is, the brig would fill and sink 
about even with the surface of the water, and then be 
rolled over and over, in the trough of the sea. The captain 
therefore secured the hatches, nailed leather over the holes 
on deck, and turned out the drunken fellows to relieve 
Peter in pumping. The sea was quite as high as ever; but 
the wind certainly had not increased, and though the cap- 
tain did not say that he thought it had fallen, he remarked 
that h*e had been praying for it to do so, all night, thereby 
leaving me to refer as much of the abatement, if any 
should ensue, as I pleased, to his influence. It was plain, 
however, that either by prayer or rest, probably both, he 
had regained, in some degree, his proper tone of mind, and 
ability for exertion. But hope had scarcely yet begun to 
beam upon us. I recollect that morning overhauling my 
trunk to find, if possible, a dry clean'shirt, and having the 
disagreeable thought, as I put it on, that I was putting 
on my own winding sheet, and thinking also, that it was 
folly to take the trouble. But our instincts are not to be 
frightened away by the near approach of death. At this 
time, too, I had perhaps, a sadder moment, than any be- 
fore. It was occasioned by seeing in my trunk certain 
little matters which reminded me of friends. And once be- 
fore, when that great sea struck us, which I have men- 
tioned some pages back, a momentary thought of my 
mother came over me, as I said to myself, " and so I am 
to be the first to go of the eight ; " but in general, neither 
emotions of this kind, nor regret at leaving the world, nor 
remorse of conscience, nor thoughts of a future state, nor 

1843.] Voyage to Jamaica, 127 

yet prayer, except by suppressed ejaculation at some 
critical instant, occupied my mind, any considerable part 
of the time. I have no doubt that the most of the cap- 
tain's praying was mechanical, that is partially so, just as 
were my mental recitations of poetry, and that both mainly 
served for occupation to the mind. The dreaded moment 
of dissolution, the last awful plunge was doubtless the main 
question with both ; but this was qualified and softened 
down, and at times almost withdrawn from view, or 
the mind most kindly lured away from the contemplation 
of it, as I have before endeavored to explain. I tell you 
these things out of simple honesty, and if you will allow me 
to say so, as a philosopher, for my experience contradicts, 
in some degree, the preconceived ideas, which I had re- 
ceived, from whatever source, of the state of a man's mind, 
situated as we were on this occasion ; and I see no good 
reason, why such expositions, when honestly made, should 
be, as I believe they are, considered unmanly. 

At about one o'clock in the afternoon, it became evident 
the wind was somewhat on the decline. It still con- 
tinued to blow a gale ; but by comparing one hour with 
another, we could discover a sensible abatement. The 
men too, encouraged by Peter's example, all worked on 
vigorously, and a little before sunset reported that they 
were gaining on the water in the hold. The appalling 
sense of pressing and immediate danger was now gone, 
and I went to bed and slept soundly. In the morning, 
when I looked onr deck, I found a signal of distress, that 
is, our ensign, with the union down, flying in the main 
rigging. The wind was blowing, not a gale, but strongly 
from the north-west ; and the sea, though by no means so 
violent, still ran as high as the day previous. The men 
had at length got the brig free, but could only keep her so 
by constant pumping. The captain now called a consulta- 
tion about leaving the vessel. He first came to me, but I 
declined giving an opinion, on account of inexperience. 
The mate was still asleep, and he now called the men aft, 
and made the proposition to them. They all seemed to 
look to Peter to answer for them, and Peter said at once, 
that we must not give up the brig. We had our rudder, 
and one mast sound, and sails and men enough left to get 
her in somewhere, unless there should come on another 

128 Voyage to Jamaica. [July, 

gale, and we must therefore stay by her. In this opinion 
all seemed to concur. This morning a raw ham was cut up 
and served out to the men, of which they all eat ravenously, 
some with, and some without molasses. I tried a little of 
it, but soon gave it up, and contented myself with 
bread and water. At a little after noon the wind fell down 
nearly to a calm, but the sea appeared to be higher even 
than I had yet seen it. It was no longer at all violent, but 
the waves (their rage being spent) were tumbling slowly and 
loosely about, perfectly harmless, like huge beasts at play. 
The brig was continually in a hollow, surrounded by hills 
of water, apparently from twenty to twenty-five feet high, 
and from three to five rods in length, from base to summit, 
one of which she seemed constantly on the point of going 
up; and as this spread out and sunk down under her bows, 
it was succeeded by another, so that for a time we could 
only see a few rods in any direction. In an hour or so, 
however, it began to cloud up, and blow more fresh ; and 
then almost in an instant, the face of the water was 
changed. The waves were now increased in number and 
activity, but diminished in size ; and we had our sea view 
again. Just about sunset, the captain and I being below, one 
of the hands forward cried out " sails," and the boy ran aft, 
and repeated it down the hatch way. We both hurried on 
deck, and saw the sail, which the captain said was a British 
brig, " bearing down to " us, about a mile oK I never be- 
fore had a clear idea of the adaptedness of a^hip to the 
ocean. She wimpled up and down on the water, as light as 
an eggshell. Her masts flourished about in the air, and 
then whipped over on one side until her yards nearly 
dipped, and then giving a plunge forward, she resumed 
her equilibrium. In short, she seemed to defy all the 
powers of the sea " to take her off" her legs," and reminded 
me of nothing so much, as of one of those little cork 
images, with lead in its feet, which, at school, we used to 
call a witch ; and Hke a witch, on a wild horse reconnoiter- 
ing, she made, as she came near, a broad sweep out, and 
danced clear round us, in order to get near enough to 
speak, and at ihe same time avoid coming in contact with 
us. Just as her broadside came to bear on ours the second 
time, her captain brought his trumpet to his mouth ; 
"What's your name?" he brayed out. "Olive M. ' 

1843.1 Voyage to Jamaica. 129 

Boston," shouted our captain putting his hand to his mouth, 
for he had lost his trumpet. " What's the matter with 
you ? " " We've been tore all to pieces in a gale." " What 
do you want with us ? " '' We want to be taken off." 
" Then wear round to the northward, and keep in our 
wake till we can board you." " What's your longitude? " 
said our captain. But before the British captain could as- 
certain an answer, the vessels were too far apart for a 
voice from either to be heard ; but he marked it down with 
chalk on a large board, and held it up, and then went on 
his way. The longitude was 63 and something ; we were 
therefore four or five degrees to the eastward of our course. 
The captain explained his having requested to be taken off, 
by saying that he merely wished to induce the British brig 
to " lay by " till morning, in order to furnish us with means 
for repair. 

The next day was fine, the first really fine day which we 
had seen, since coming to sea. All hands were now busy 
in getting the brig into sailing order, and the captain 
thought of taking her into Bermuda. But at noon, on 
taking the sun, he found we were considerably to the 
north east of that island, and in latitude about 35°. We 
therefore shaped our course for our port of destination in 
Jamaica. Towards night we spoke another British brig, 
the Amelia, of Whitby, a small port in Yorkshire, who sup- 
plied us with nails and spikes, &c. for repairs, and also 
cooking utensils, and that evening we had cooked food, — 
the first we had seen for six days. 

We were all well now, but the mate. He was still very 
sick from the injuries he had received when he went over- 
board. When he first awoke out of his long sleep, I was 
the only person below. He turned wildly about, for a 
moment, being flighty from having drank salt water, and 
then sang out, "on deck there" and ordered me aloft, to 
do something, — apparently taking me for a sailor, and as 
it seemed, a very poor one ; — for he directly added — 
" No, you can't do it," and then giving me a hard contemp- 
tuous look, ''What for did you come to sea for ? — you 
bloody sheep, — to mind de cabin?" We bathed and 
poulticed him as well as we could, but he was in a very 
miserable plight until he obtained surgical aid at Kingston. 

After this, the weather continued fine for the remainder 

VOL. IV. NO. I. 17 

130 Voyage to Jamaica. [July? 

of the passage, and we had only the ordinary incidents of 
a sea voyage. I was most of the time on deck. Perhaps 
there is no situation in which one can read with more ad- 
vantage and tranquility, than at sea in fine weather. The 
motion of the vessel gives you just that slight physical ex- 
ercise, which every one desires when reading. Sometimes 
I watched the stormy petrels, or Mother Carey's chickens, — 
wondering where they would go to roost. They would 
follow on our wake for hours, with a scarcely audible cheep 
— touching every where as carefully as Dr. Johnson used 
to the posts, between Temple Bar and St: John's Gate. 
Sometimes a school of porpoises would plunge along across 
our bow — or a flock of flying fish start up, or a shark 
come " shucking " slowly round the vessel — with his 
dorsal fin out of the water — seeking what he might 
devour ; and once or twice, I saw a huge black fish, a 
species of whale, throw his whole enormous bulk out of 
the water, at some distance from the vessel, and then 
come down with a stupendous plunge. All these are inci- 
dents which highly interest a passenger, on his first voyage. 
The flying fish has less strength of wing than 1 had sup- 
posed. They rose out of the water, like birds in flocks, — 
apparently disturbed by the approach of the vessel, and 
fluttering along, from three to five feet above the surface, 
for five or six rods, struck into a wave and disappeared. 
One of them flew on deck ; it was about five inches long, 
and of a bright silver color. Its wings were merely longer 
and larger pectoral fins, than are found on other fishes of 
the same size. 1 sympathized with tlie poor thing, for he 
reminded me of rather a large class of young men of the 
present day, of which perhaps, I am one, — who are neither 
entirely men of the world, nor men of books; but just 
enougli of each, to spoil them for either. We cannot swim 
well enough to escape, — much less to compete with the 
sharks and dog-fish ; and when we take to the air, we 
show too little power of wing to pass for respectable birds, 
and therefore we flounder on through a life of very doubt- 
ful comfort and security, like this poor fish. 1 was for 
returning him to the water after examination, but the cook 
claimed him as his property. Poor soul ; the cook himself 
is now food for fishes. 

I occasionally assisted the mate in writing up his log, 

1843.] Voyage to Jamaica. 1^1 

— particularly that part of it relating to our disaster, 
as it was necessary that this portion of it should be 
full and accurate on account of insurance. One morn- 
ing, as we were busy at this work, — I writing to the 
mate's dictation, the Captain interrupted us with some 
warmth, and addressing the mate, — "That's not the 
way to make out a log, (says he.) If you nick — nick — 
nick — things along in, in that way — one after another — 
the long boat in the morning, and the galley at noon, — the 
underwriters will never believe they were lost by the " act 
of God ; " a phrase in old policies on bills of lading, now 
I believe disused. You should take the sails, boats, boom, 
mast, companion-way, and bulwarks, and bouse 'em all in 
together with a slap; and then," said he, with increasing 
earnestness, " the underwriters can't deny but that it was 
the act of God." I had the impression before sailing, that 
the proverbial superstition of seamen was a good deal on 
the decline, at least among masters ; and this, no doubt, is 
the case, to some extent, but it was not so with our cap- 
tain. ■ 

Ever since the storm, I had been determined, whenever 
opportunity should offer, to have some conversation with 
Peter. The Captain told me, he had sailed with him two 
voyages before the present, and that he was one of the 
best and most trusty men, he ever knew, both at sea and 
in port. He was certainly a favorite with all on board, not 
only on account of his conduct during the storm, but from 
his quiet, good-natured, and obliging manners afterwards. 
The boy took to him, as to a father. One Sunday, as he 
was leaning over the bows, smoking by himself, I went for- 
ward and drew him into talk of his previous life. He was 
about twenty-seven, though he looked thirty-five, and 
was born near Copenhagen. At a very tender age, (I think 
nine,) he was pressed into the naval service, from which, at 
about fifteen, he rati away, and joined the merchant service, 
and sailed from various ports in Europe, till past twenty- 
one. At length he shipped at Amsterdam on board a 
Dutch merchantman, bound for Baltimore, intending to sail 
out of the United States, because he had heard wages 
were better there. At Baltimore, his captain refused to 
discharge him, and therefore leaving his clothes and wages, 
(the price at which a sailor usually exchanges one country 

132 Voyage to Jamaica. [July? 

for another,) he ran away into the country. — " Away up 
into de country — into de bush — more as fifty or forty 
miles," said he, glancing up, as if he expected to find me 
looking somewhat surprised, — where he remained until 
his captain had sailed. Since this time, which is five or 
six years, he has sailed out of the United States. But his 
sixteen or eighteen dollars per month here, he finds no 
better than his seven or eight in Denmark — the higher 
prices of board and clothing in this country making all 
the difierence. He wanted to make money enough to 
buy a farm, — ''just a leetle farm," and then go home, 
where, five years ago, he had a mother and two sisters 
living. He had once laid up " more as a couple hun- 
dred dollars," — but one day, about two years ago, in 
going into Norfolk, on board the barque Brontes of Boston, 
Capt. Kobler, he fell from the main-yard and " broke 
his neck," he said, (putting his hand on his collar bone,) 
and when he came to his senses, he found himself in 
the hospital. His chest was by his bed, with the key 
in it, but his money and best clothes were gone ; — the 
barque had sailed. Since then, he has saved a little more 
money, but not so much. I felt very much at the time, as 
if I should have liked to ship Peter off to Denmark, to his 
mother and sisters, with money enough to buy his little 
farm. But it is very easy for people who have never made 
any money to be liberal, in theory and even in fact, when- 
ever they possess any little, extemporaneous means ; but 
the truth is, we never have had the nursing of a heap of 
dollars. We have never watched its growth from infancy 
upwards, with anxious brooding care, and of course, know 
nothing of the strong parental attachment, which almost 
necessarily arises from this process. We are, therefore, not 
well prepared to appreciate the sense of deep bereavement, 
shown by many business men who have had such experi- 
ence — nor even the reluctance of tolerably good men — 
whenever any other than a legitimate business occasion, or 
a public charity, calls on them to part with the money, 
which they have learned to love, — not wisely, perhaps, — 
but too well. I shall however represent the case to the 
owner, and if, as t'alstafi" says, he will do Peter any honor, 
— so, if not, let him save the next brig himself. But I 
have reason to believe that this magnanimity, — this self- 

1843.] Voyage to Jamaica. 133 

devotion, as a matter of course, is a thing of no uncommon 
occurrence at sea. " Why." therefore, says the owner, 
"should I pay for that which is mine by right ? It is like 
taxing a fair wind. It is putting a market value on that, 
which has heretofore been a free privilege of the merchant, 
which is against the usages of trade, and must not be." 
" Besides," says the moral theorist, " is it not a pity to spoil 
this magnanimity, by placing a pecuniary value upon it ? 
The moment you offer to pay it liberally, it awakes to con- 
sciousness. It touches money, and, as in the case of 
charming away diseases, the peculiar virtue ceases at once." 
" And not only this," says the ' seaman's friend,' " if he 
would only always live at one of our ' homes,' when in 
port, and be happy in our way instead of his own, some- 
thing might be done. But the captain tells us, he has no 
sense of his fallen condition, but swore, 'even during the 
storm." Poor Peter ! I suspect he must still labor on, as 
heretofore, at his vocation, in which he appears to be not 
unhappy. Saving the lives and property of rich men, and 
thinking nothing of it, and little thought of himself, until 
he arrives at something past the middle age, when his iron 
frame shall at length yield to hardship and exposure, and 
at some chance port, where he shall have broken down, he 
finds his way to the hospital, and thence to the dissecting- 
table : — or, which perhaps will be quite as well, until on 
some stormy passage, in which his craft shall be driven to 
still greater extremity than ours has been, he shall, after 
one more hard, manly struggle, yield up his life to the ocean, 
on which he has passed the most of his days. To one or 
the other of these results, I have little doubt Peter will 
come. In the mean time let this be our consolation, — that 
the elements which go to form true manliness of character 
can never be lost. 

We are sorry to omit Notices which we had prepared of " Thoughts on 
Spiritual Subjects, translated from Fenelon " ; of " The Doctrine of 
Life," by William B. Greene; " Mainzer's Musical Times " ; and of a 
" Lecture on the Human Soul, by L. S. Hough," which are crowded out 
by the unexpected length of our printed articles. 

134 Record of the Months. [July? 


Antislavei^y Poems. By John Pierpont. Boston : Oliver 
Johnson. 1843. 

These poems are much the most readable of all the metrical 
pieces we have met with on the subject ; indeed, it is strange 
how little poetry this old outrage of negro slavery has produced. 
Cowper's lines in the Task are still the best we have. Mr. Pier- 
pont has a good deal of talent, and writes very spirited verses, 
full of point. He has no continuous meaning which enables 
him to write a long and equal poem, but every poem is a series 
of detached epigrams, some better, some worse. His taste is 
not always correct, and from the boldest -flight he shall suddenly 
alight in very low places. Neither is the motive of the poem 
ever very high, sq that they seem to be rather squibs than pro- 
phecies or imprecations ; but for political satire, we think the 
" Word from a Petitioner " very strong, and the "Gag" the 
best piece of poetical indignation in America. 

Sonnets and other Poems. By William Lloyd Garrison. 
Boston. 1843. pp. 96. 

Mr Garrison has won his palms in quite other fields than 
those of the lyric muse, and he is far more likely to be the sub- 
ject than the author of good poems. He is rich enough in the 
earnestness and the success of his character to be patient with 
the very rapid withering of the poetic garlands he has snatched 
in passing. Yet though this volume contains little poetry, both 
the subjects and the sentiments will everywhere command re- 
spect. That piece in the volume, which pleased us most, was 
the address to his first-born child. 

America — an Ode; and other Poems. By N. W. Coffin. 
Boston : S. G. Simpkins. 

Our Maecenas shakes his head very doubtfully at this well- 
printed Ode, and only says, " An ode nowadays needs to be ad- 
mirable to carry sail at all. Mr. Sprague's Centennial Ode, and 
Ode at the Shakspeare Jubilee, are the only American lyrics 
that we have prospered in reading, — if we dare still remember 
them." Yet he adds mercifully, " The good verses run like gold- 
en brooks through the dark forests of toil, rippling and musical, 
and undermine the heavy banks till they fall in and are borne 
away. Thirty-five pieces follow the the Ode, of which every- 
thing is neat, pretty, harmonious, tasteful, the sentiment pleas- 
ing, manful, if not inspired. If the poet have nothing else, he 
has a good ear." 

1843.] Intelligence. , 135 

Poems hy William Ellery Channing. Boston. 1843. 

We have already expressed our faith in Mr. Channing's 
genius, which in some of the finest and rarest traits of the poet 
is without a rival in this country. This little volume has al- 
ready become a sign of great hope and encouragement to the 
lovers of the muse. The refinement and the sincerity of his 
mind, not less than the originality and delicacy of the diction, 
are not merits to be suddenly, apprehended, but are sure to find 
a cordial appreciation. Yet we would willingly invite any lover 
of poetry to read " The Earth-Spirit," "Reverence," "The 
Lover's Song," "Death," and "The Poet's Hope." 

TJie H. Family. The President's Daughters. By Frederika 
Bremer. Boston : James Munroe & Co. 1843. 

The Swedish authoress has filled all sitting-rooms with her 
fame. One of our best friends writes us of the " President's 
Daughters," that it is a good piece, much better than the " H. 
Family," not so well as the " Neighbours." Miss Bremer is a 
vivacious, right-minded woman, from whom a good novel may 
yet be expected. 


We have received a communication from Messrs. Alcott and 
Lane, dated from their farm, Fruitlands, in Harvard, Massa- 
chusetts, 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 owner- 
ship. For picturesque beauty both in the near and the distant land- 
scape, the spot has few rivals. A semi-circle of undulating hills 
stretches from south to Avest, among which the Wachusett and Monad- 
noc 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 

136 Intelligence. [July? 1843. 

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 pruning knife. 

" Our planting and other works, both without and within doors, are 
already in active progress. The present Family numbers ten individ- 
uals, 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 avoided. 

" 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 ail 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 felicity is the test and the reward of obedience 
to the unswerving law of Love. 

June 10, 1843. 


We are greatly indebted to several friends, for the most part anony- 
mous, for literary contributions, and not less indebted in those cases in 
which we have not found the pieces sufficiently adapted to our purpose 
to print them. The Dial has been almost las much a journal of friend- 
ship as of literature and morals, and its editors have felt the otier of 
any literary aid as a token of personal kindness. Had it been practica- 
ble, we should gladly have obeyed the wish to make a special acknow- 
ledgment of each paper that has been confided to us, explaining in each 
instance the reason for withholding it. We wish to say to our Corre- 
spondents, that, printed or unprinted, these papers are welcome and use- 
ful to us, if only as they confirm or qualify our own opinions, and give 
us insight into the thinking of others. 

In the last quarter, we liave received several papers, some of wliich, 
after some iiesitation, wc decide not to print. One of these is a transla- 
tion which (without comparing it with the original) seems to us excel- 
lent, of Scliiller's Critifjue on Goethe's Egmont, and that it may not 
through our omission, fail lo he read, vvc shall leave the MS. for a time 
with our publishers, su[)jcct to the order of the writer. We have also 
received from A.Z.'n. poetical translation from Richter; from A. C. L. A. 
a paper on the Spirit of Polytlieism ; from a friend at Byfield, a poetical 
fragment called '• The Ship" ; from our correspondent C. at New Bed- 
ford, a poem called "The Two Argosies"; from R. P. R. some elegiac 
verses; from J.A.S. '• Lady Mirbel's Dirge." 


Vol. IV. OCTOBER, 1843. No. II. 


The present aspect of the world of Theology is highly- 
interesting to a philosophic looker-on ; a new geological 
formation seems to be taking place in the Great Sahara of 
theological speculation. Doctrines which have come down 
to us, bearded with venerable antiquity; conclusions that 
have passed unchallenged through centuries of doubt ; 
oracles and myths and confident assertions and timid con- 
jectures, emboldened at last by success to assume command 
over ingenuous youth and experienced wisdom, — all of 
these meet with a reception in our time a little different 
from what they have received in days of yore. There was a 
time when the Spirit of Freedom dared not enter the domain 
of Theology. The Priest uttered the Anathema: he that 
DOUBTETH IS DAMNED, and Freedom fled away. Next, 
men insinuated what they dared not say. The descendants 
of Porphyry, Celsus, Marcion, might be hanged or burn- 
ed, but the children of Lucian and Olympiodorus continued 
to flourish. Servetus could be got rid of, but Bayle could 
not be hanged ; and as for reasoning with such men, it 
were as well to reason with a cloud, or to wrestle with 
Proteus and Nereus. They defied equally argument and 
faggots. Now a different day has come, and grave men 
venture in their own name, and with no coverture, to 
assail doctrines ancient and time-honored, and ask them 
their right to be. It is curious to see how this spirit 

* An Inquiry concerning the Origin of Christianity, by Charles C. 
Hennell. Second Edition. London : Sold by T. Allman, 42 Holborn 
Hill. 1841. 

VOL. IV. NO. II. 18 

138 Hennell on the Origin of Christianity. [Oct. 

appears in all countries distinguished by liberal culture, at 
the same time ; and often under circumstances, which prove 
that hearty thinkers have come independently to the same 
result. We see this in New England, in Old England, 
France, and Germany. Matters long ago hammered and 
pronounced complete, are brought up again to the fur- 
nace and the anvil ; old questions are asked over anew, 
when the old answer did not suit the case ; others come 
up each century anew. 

Some tell us the Reformation was a mistake ; that " we 
have too much religious knowledge," exclaiming at sunrise, 
as the Jews in exile, '' would God it were night ! " They 
see the religious world lies weak and low, diseased vvith 
materialism, covetousness, sick as Job with complicated 
distress ; that the consecrated leeches are confounded, and 
have no counsel, but that of Job's friends ; they look back 
to the hour of past darkness and say, '' We remember the 
flesh which we did eat in Egypt freely ; the cucumbers 
and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the 
garlic. Let us return thither ; the gods of Egypt were 
true gods, they baked us bread, and they thought for us. 
Let us put on the surplices and the copes and the stoles 
and the hoods and the cassocks and the bands of our 
fathers, and let us kneel as they knelt, and repeat their 
prayers and their psaltery and their vows, and we shall be 
as gods." Others think the past was all wrong, the present 
all bad. We are to prepare for the future by forgetting all 
that has been learned in six thousand years of toil. 
"Experience," say they, "lies; History is a deceiver; a 
fact is a falsehood ; nothing is so doubtful as what men are 
certain of The world is sick, but the cure is easy. Abolish 
marriage, and unchastity will perish ; annihilate property, 
covetousness and indolence will die out with no struggle ; 
repeal the laws, destroy the jails, hang the Judges, crime 
sliall end ; shut up the schools, annul the Sabbath, burn 
the Bible, and pluck down the churches, all men will in- 
stantly become wise as Plato, and holy as Francis of Sales. 
Cold and famine shall be no more, if you will go naked and 
leave the earth untillcd. Come up to us, ye sons of men, 
and we will teacii you the way of Life." 

Now between these two parties — which we have but 
little overcolorcd — are all sorts of sects and opinions, 

1843.] Hennell on the Origin of Christianity. 139 

fighting with promiscuous din. 'Men of one idea, which 
they call the universe ; men of vast thought, at least of 
vast counsel ; a philosopher, chasing his own shadow and 
clutching thereat, as if it were the very substance, or even 
the Archetypal Idea ; a poet, who would reform the world 
with moonshine, and men here and there, who apply right 
reasons to facts, and all these, acting with freedom 
never known before — no wonder there is some little con- 
fusion in the world. We have often thought if there were 
what the ancients called " a soul of the world," it must 
have a hard time of it. But out of what seems anarchy to 
finite eyes, the all-bountiful Father surely wins the fair re- 
sult of universal harmony; — 

"All nature's difference makes all nature's peace." 

But to return from our wanderings. There is one point 
in theological discussion of great interest at the present 
day, that is, the History of the New Testament, or the 
History of Christ, for the two are most intimately connect- 
ed, though not essentially so, for it is plain Jesus was the 
same before as after the New Testament was written. 
The New Testament has never since the second century 
been so freely examined and speculated upon as now. The 
several important works relative to this subject, which have 
recently appeared in France, Germany, and England, are 
curious signs of the times.* If we compare these, as 
a whole, with former works on the same theme, we see 
they are written in a new method and in a new spirit ; 
written with freedom and openness, and without insinua- 
tions and sneers. Some writers, we believe, still contend 
that every word in the New Testament and Old Testament 
is to be regarded as the word of God, infallible, divine, 
miraculously given to mankind. Others attempt, though 
guardedly, to separate Christianity from its documents ; so 
they deny that it is to stand or fall with the inspiration of 
the Old Testament. Then they attempt to rationalize the 
New Testament by expunging from it, as far as possible, 
all that is most hostile to reason. Thus some, in high 
theological place, do not hesitate to say that mythical 
stories run through the New Testament ; that Paul some- 
times reasons ill ; that the early apostles were deceived in 

* The works of Salvador, Hase, Strauss, and Bauer. 

140 Hennell on the Origin of Christianity. [Oct. 

fancying the world was soon to end, in their time ; that, 
even in the Gospels there are things which cannot be 
credited ; that the conscientious Christian is not bound to 
believe that the angels, who announced the miraculous 
birth of Jesus, had Hebrew or Babylonian names, or that 
they sung passages out of the Alexandrian version of the 
Old Testament, and misquoted as they sung. Some grave 
men in New England, of undoubted soundness in the faith, 
teach that the angel, who delivered Peter from the prison, 
was a man ^with a bag of money to bribe the jailor. 
Some, too, vvhile they hold fast to each iota of the canoni- 
cal text of the New Testament, allow themselves good 
latitude in explaining the Old Testament, and teach that 
Moses wrote no part of it ; that its miracles are false ; its 
Psalms but good devotional poetry ; and its Prophets were 
but pious and noble-minded men, who had no more of 
miraculous inspiration than Malchus and Cassandra and 
Tiresias. These admissions they make from love of truth, 
and out of regard to the letter of the New Testament, for 
they are willing to save the most valuable by losing the 
inferior part. 

The questions about the origin of the Christian records, 
about the origin and history of Christ, we think are 
not 7'eligious nor even theological questions. They are 
interesting subjects of inquiry, and belong to the depart- 
ment of human archaeology ; subjects of great interest, but 
not of the same vital moment with the inquiry about God, 
the Soul, Religion, Immortality, and Life. We rejoice ex- 
ceedingly in the attention now bestowed upon these themes, 
and have no doubt it will produce rriuch good for the pres- 
ent and the future. The work of Mr. Hennell is a remarka- 
ble phenomenon in English Theology, appearing contempo- 
rary with the strong conservative movement of the more 
spiritual part of the established church. The author — 
like Abelard, Grotius, Leclerc, Eichhorn, and Gesenius, 
and other great names in Theology — is not a clergyman. 
He is, we are told, a merchant of London, who has found 
time to make tiie requisite research into ancient and mod- 
ern writers, and produce this new and valuable treatise on 
the origin of Christianity. The first edition was published 
in 1838. He says " the hypothesis, that there is a mixture 
of truth and fable in the Gospels, has been admitted . . by 

1843.] Hennell on the Origin of Christianity. 141 

many critics bearing the Christian name. The same method 
of free investigation, which led Priestley and Belsham to 
throw doubt upon the truth of the opening chapters of 
Matthew and Luke, may allow other inquirers to make 
•further excisions from the gospel history.'^* The author 
began his own inquiry in the belief, that the miraculous 
facts supposed to lie at the foundation of Christianity could 
not be shaken. He aimed to get at the truth ; thus avoid- 
ing the twofold error of the believer, who starts with the 
fixed idea, that the New Testament is divinely inspired, and 
of the unbeliever, who searches for faults rather than the 
truth. He wishes his book to be considered " as employed 
in the real service of Christianity rather than an attack 
upon it." His aim is " simply to investigate the origin of 
the religion, uninfluenced by speculation on the conse- 

The work is divided into eighteen chapters, on the fol- 
lowing subjects: — Historical Sketch from the Babylonish 
captivity to the death of Jesus, and thence to the end of 
the first century ; the date and credibility of the Gospels 
of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John ; Examination of the 
accounts of the Resurrection and Ascension, and on the 
other miracles in the four Gospels, and those in the Acts of 
the Apostles ; general objections to the miracles of Jesus, 
and the evidence afforded to the miracles by the Apostolic 
writings ; on the prophecies ; the parts of Isaiah supposed 
to relate to Christianity ; on the book of Daniel ; whether 
Jesus foretold his own death and resurrection ; on the 
character, views, and doctrine of Jesus ; comparison of the 
precepts of Jesus with Jewish writings ; concluding reflec- 
tions. A brief Appendix is added, which treats more 
minutely some points touched upon in the text. 

We will give an analysis of the more important portions 
of the book. He shows the gradual growth of the Mes- 
sianic idea among the Jews, and the romantic form it 
assumed in the time of their restoration from captivity. He 
gives, from Josephus and Philo, an account of the Essenes, 

* This has been done already by some moderns. Mr. Norton, in his 
highly valuable treatise, The Evidences of the Genuineness of the 
Gospels, Boston, 1837, thinks the following passages highly doubtful : 
Math, chaps, i., ii., xxvii. 3-10, 52, 53. Mark xvi. 9-20. Luke xxii. 
43, 44. John v. 3, 4, vii. 53, viii. 11, xxi. 24, 25. 

142 Hennell on the Origin of Christianity, [Oct. 

the third philosophical sect of the Jews. As Josephus is 
in all hands we will only refer to his works,* but will give 
the extract from Philo describing the Essenes. 

" Palestine and Syria are not unproductive of honorable and 
good men, but are occupied by numbers, not inconsiderable, 
compared even with the very populous nation of the Jews. 
These, exceeding four thousand, are called Essenes, which 
name, ihougli not, in my opinion, formed by strict analogy, cor- 
responds in Greek to the word ' holy.' For they have attained 
the highest holiness in the worship of God, and that not by sac- 
rificing animals, but by cultivating purity of heart. They live 
principally in villages. Some cultivate the ground ; others pur- 
sue the arts of peace, and such employments as are beneficial 
to themselves without injury to their neighbors. They are the 
only people who, though destitute of money and possessions, 
felicitate themselves as rich, deeming riches to consist in frugal- 
ity and contentment. Among them no one manufactures darts, 
arrows, or weapons of war. They decline trade, commerce, 
and navigation, as incentives to covetousness ; nor have they any 
slaves among them, but all are free, and all in their turn admin- 
ister to others. They condemn the owners of slaves as tyrants, 
who violate the principles of justice and equality. 

" As to learning, they leave that branch of it which is called 
logic, as not necessary to the acquisition of virtue, to fierce dis- 
putants about words ; and cultivate natural philosophy only so 
far as respects the existence of God and the creation of the uni- 
verse : other parts of natural knowledge they give up to vain 
and subtle metaphysicians, as really surpassing the powers of 
man. But moral philosophy they eagerly study, conformably to 
the established laws of their country, the excellence of which 
the human mind can hardly comprehend without the inspiration 
of God. 

" These laws they study at all times, but more especially on 
the Sabbath. Regarding the seventh day as holy, they abstain 
on it from all other works, and assemble in those sacred places 
which are called Synagogues, arranging themselves according to 
their age, the younger below his senior, with a deportment grave, 
becoming, and attentive. Then one of them, taking the Bihle, 
reads a portion of it, the obscure parts of which are explained 
by another more skilful person. For most of the Scriptures 
they interpret in that symbolical sense which they have zealously 
copied from the patriarchs ; and the subjects of instruction are 
piety, holiness, righteousness ; domestic and political economy ; 
the knowledge of things really good, bad, and indifferent; what 

WarSj ii. ch. 8. Antiq. xviii. 1. 

1843.] Hennell on the Origin of Christianity. 143 

objects ought to be pursued, and what to be avoided. In discuss- 
ing these topics, the ends which they have in view, and to which 
they refer as so many rules to guide them, are the love of God, 
the love of virtue, and the love of man. Of their love to God 
they give innumerable proofs by leading a life of continued 
purity, unstained by oaths and falsehoods, by regarding him as 
the author of every good, and the cause of no evil. They 
evince their attachment to virtue by their freedom from avarice, 
from ambition, from sensual pleasure ; by their temperance and 
patience; by their frugality, simplicity, and contentment; by 
their humility, their regard to the laws, and other similar virtues. 
Their love to man is evinced by their benignity, their equity, and 
their liberality, of which it is not improper to give a short ac- 
count, though no language can adequately describe it. 

" In the first place, there exists among them no house, how- 
ever private, which is not open to the reception of all the rest ; 
and not only the members of the same society assemble under 
the same domestic roof, but even strangers of the same persua- 
sion have fre6 admission to join them. There is but one treas- 
ure, whence all derive subsistence ; and not only their provis- 
ions, but their clothes are common property. Such mode of 
living under the same roof, and of dieting at the same table, 
cannot, in fact, be proved to have been adopted by any other 
description of men. 

" The sick are not despised or neglected, but live in ease and 
affluence, receiving from the treasury whatever their disorder or 
their exigencies require. The aged, too, among them, are loved, 
revered, and attended as parents by affectionate children ; and a 
thousand hands and hearts prop their tottering years with com- 
forts of every kind. Such are the champions of virtue, which 
philosophy, without the parade of Grecian oratory, produces, 
proposing, as the end of their institutions, the performance of 
those laudable actions which destroy slavery and render freedom 

" This effect is evinced by the many powerful men who rise 
against the Essenes in their own country, in consequence of 
differing from them in principles and sentiments. Some of 
these persecutors, being eager to surpass the fierceness of un- 
tamed beasts, omit no measure that may gratify their cruelty ; 
and they cease not to sacrifice whole flocks of those within their 
power; or like butchers, to tear their limbs in pieces, until them- 
selves are brought to that justice, which superintends the affairs 
of men. Yet not one of these furious persecutors has been able 
to substantiate any accusation against this band of holy men. 
On the other hand, all men, captivated by their integrity and 
honor, unite with them as those who truly enjoy the freedom and 
independence of nature, admiring their communion and liber- 

144 Hennell on the Origin of Christianity. [Oct. 

ality, which language cannot describe, and which is the surest 
pledge of a perfect and happy life." — pp. 17-20. 

Of the Pharisees and Sadducees nothing need now be 
said. He gives an account of what Josephus calls a fourth 
philosophic sect, of which Judas, the Galilean, was the 
author, and adds : — 

'' It appears very clear that the most distinguishing feature of 
the new sect of Judas, was the revival in a more emphatic 
manner of the ancient traditionary expectation of a Kingdom of 
God, or of Heaven. He taught that men should regard God as 
their only ruler and Lord, and despise the apparent strength of 
the hateful foreigners, since God who had so often delivered his 
people, would be able to protect them again, if they were not 
wanting to themselves. He called into new life the slumbering 
hopes of Israel, and bid him endeavor to regain the glories of 
his long-lost theocracy, which might possibly be destined to re- 
appear speedily, and in splendor proportionate to its present 
obscuration, provided only the nation would perform its own 
part."— pp. 27,28. 

He considers John the Baptist an enthusiastic Essene, who 
iffiitated Elijah, as announced by Malachi, and combined 
the doctrines of the Essenes with those of Judas, omitting 
the warlike tendency of the latter. John produced a strong 
excitement ; crowds came to hear him, and such as be- 
lieved " partook of the waters of purification," and were 
baptized after the fashion of the Essenes. Among his fol- 
lowers " was a Galilean named Jesus, the son of Joseph, a 
carpenter of Nazareth, — a peasant of Galilee, possessed 
of one of those gifted minds which are able to make an 
impression on mankind." He expected the miraculous 
elevation of the Jews, and thought himself the prophet and 
prince who should fill the throne of David. A sincere be- 
liever in the authority of Moses and the prophets, he drew 
his chief materials of thought from observation on men 
and things about him ; commented freely on the Scriptures, 
giving them his own meaning, and delivering his own 
thoughts with great power. He retained the pure morality 
of the Essenes, but omitted their austerities ; adopted the 
liberalism of Judas, but not his incendiary policy. Jesus 
determined to imitate Moses by assuming the character of 
the Messiah. The preaching of John raised him from the 
obscurity of a carpenter of Nazareth, and he then began to 

1843.] Hennell on the Origin of Christianity. 145 

preach the kingdom of Heaven, which was quite as nnuch 
pohtical as spiritual.* This, we think, is one of the weak- 
est parts of the book, and wonder how a writer so clear- 
headed and free from prejudice should arrive at this con- 
clusion. But to proceed. Rude men would suppose a man 
of great spiritual power must command nature as well as 
man ; Jesus himself might share the opinion ; therefore, 
when the multitude urged him to heal their diseases, he 
spoke the word, and their confidence in his power in some 
cases effected a cure.f Certain diseases were popularly as- 
cribed to demons entering the human body ; it was believed 
some men had power of expelling them. In some an 
authoritative word might effect a momentary calm, or the 
excitement of the patient produce the appearance of re- 
covery. The story would be enlarged in passing from 
mouth to mouth, and the reputation of Jesus as a miracle- 
worker soon be established. The Jewish rulers who had 
put John to death, sought to arrest Jesus. He avoided the 
danger by flying to the desert. But this could not last 
long. He determined to go to Jerusalem and claim the 
Messiahship ; made his entry into Jerusalem riding on an 
ass-colt, to apply to himself a passage of Zechariah sup- 
posed to relate to the Messiah. The people proclaimed 
him as the Son of David, and he preached to them in de- 
fiance of the rulers. A few of the nobles befriended him 
in secret. But Jesus began to change his own views, and 
to expect a kingdom hereafter to be revealed from Heaven, 
and when in the time of greatest trial ^- behaved like a 
Prophet, Messiah, and Son of God, for he believed himself 
to be such." 

After his burial in the tomb and garden, Mr. Hennell 
thinks Joseph feared that trouble might befall him for his 
connection with Jesus, and therefore removed the body 
from the tomb, or that part of it where it had been first 
placed, and " directed the agent who remained in charge 
of the open sepulchre to inform the visitants that Jesus was 

* See Reinhard's Plan of the Founder of Christianity (New York, 
1841), where this and similar views are ably opposed. 

t Instances of this sort, we are told, are not unknown to medical men. 
A writer so enlightened as Mr. Furness (Jesus and his Biographers) 
thinks great spiritual excellence gives power over nature. Father Mat- 
thew, it is said, has sometimes found it difficult to convince the rude 
men of Ireland that he could not work a miracle. 
VOL. IV. NO. II. 19 

146 Hennell on the Origin of Christianity. [Oct, 

not there, but that they should behold him in Galilee.'^ 
The message was first given to Mary Magdalene, and the 
occurrence was at length converted into the appearance of 
an angel, of two angels, and finally of Jesus himself. 
Then came the old notion that the Messiah must come in 
the clouds of Heaven, and the apparently mysterious cir- 
cumstances of his death strengthened their belief in his 
Messiahship, and the expectation of his approaching king- 
dom returned as the belief of his future reappearance 
gained ground. The followers of Christ were only to wait. 
They now preached as before the kingdom of God, but 
added, that Jesus was the Messiah and would soon re- 
appear as King of Israel and introduce that kingdom. The 
resurrection of Jesus confirmed the Pharisaic and popular 
doctrine of the restoration of the body. At the feast, 
seven weeks after the crucifixion, three thousand' joined the 
followers of Jesus, and a little later five thousand more. 
Here was a new religious party among the Jews. The 
Pharisees favored it ; but as it became unpopular with 
them, it became acceptable with the Judaizing Gentiles. 
Cornelius, a centurion of Cesarea, and others, were bap- 
tized as followers of Jesus. Two parties were formed in 
the new sect, the one adhering strictly to the old Mosaic 
ritual, the other departing from it. The character of the 
Messiah is changed from the " Son of David," and " King 
of Israel," to " the Judge of mankind." Paul is con- 
verted, and the new faith is modified still more. 

" The form, then, which the Essene Judaism assumed in the 
hands of Paul was this, — that men were everywhere called to 
repentance and purity of life, in order to prepare them for the 
kingdom of God and the second coming of the Messiah or 
Christ, whose office was to judge the world ; that Jesus of Naz- 
areth had been proved to be the Messiah by being raised from 
the dead ; and that, in order to partake in the privileges of his 
kingdom, an open acknowledgment of his authority, and a belief 
in his resurrection, were alone necessary." — p. 68. 

" Judaism, or the religion of one Deity, as reformed by Paul, 
and disencumbered of circumcision and the Mosaic rites, found 
a ready reception amongst the Greeks and Romans, with whom 
polytheism was nearly grown out of fashion. The philosophy of 
Epicurus had degenerated into sensualism. Plalonism consisted 
of speculations unintelligible out of the schools. Christianity as 
preached by Paul was well adapted to fill the void in the philo- 

1843.] Hennell on the Origin of Christianity, 147 

sophic and religious world. It contained the sublime and agree- 
able doctrines of the paternal character of God and the resur- 
rection of mankind ; its asserted miracles and accomplished 
prophecies, the resurrection of Jesus, and the coming judgment 
of the world, were of a nature to please and excite the imagina- 
tion ; and its fraternal system of society tended to excite emula- 
tion and keep up enthusiasm. To follow a crucified Jew might 
be at first a fearful stumbling-block ; but the mournful fates of 
Osiris, Adonis, and Hercules, followed by a glorious apotheosis, 
would suggest parallels sufficient to throw lustre on the story of 
Jesus; and the Messiah, persecuted to death and raised again, 
probably appealed more strongly to the imagination and the 
heart than if he had appeared merely as another triumphant 
hero demanding allegiance. Besides, the death of Christ came 
to be invested with a mysterious grandeur, by being represented 
as the great antetype of an ancient and venerable system of 
sacrifices, and as the offering of a paschal Iamb on behalf of all 
mankind." — p. 70. 

When the great troubles befel the Jewish state, the 
Christians expected the end of the w^orld, and the re- 
appearance of Christ. The men of Jerusalem showed that 
the Messiah must be only a spiritual king. The first Gos- 
pel was published about 68 or 70, A. C, and followed by 
many imitations. The distance of thirty-seven years from 
the death of Christ allowed the introduction of many 
fables concerning his person and character, and the doc- 
trine of the miraculous conception arose, which the greater 
part of the Jewish church refused to admit. Christianity 
formed an alliance with the Platonism of the Alexandrian 
school, the result of which was a new doctrine concerning 
the person of Jesus, to which prominence was given by the 
publication of another Gospel under the name of John. 
Plato had spoken of the Logos, the divine wisdom or in- 
telligence. The Platonic Jews personified it as a divine 
emanation, — the visible image of the invisible God, the 
medium by which he made the world and communicated 
with Abraham, Moses, and the prophets. The writer of 
the fourth Gospel added that Jesus was the Logos. Thus 
to the Jews, Christ fulfilled the Law and the Prophets ; to 
the Greeks, he appeared to complete the scheme of Plato. 
Thus the Judaism of Nazareth gave the important truths of 
Platonism an influence in the business of the world, and 
opened for them an entrance into the afTectionSj and ob- 

148 Hennell on the Origin of Christianity. [Oct. 

tained for them an empire over the will of the multitudes. 
By the end of the first century "Jesus of Nazareth had 
advanced from the characters of the carpenter's son, the 
prophet of Gallilee, the king of Israel, the Judge of man- 
kind, to be the Logos, or incarnate representative of 
THE Deity ; and shortly afterwards the gradation was com- 
pleted by identifying him with God hoiself." p. 93. 

Mr. Hennell next proceeds to consider the credibility of 
the four Gospels. The contents of the first Gospel show 
that it was written between 66 and 70, A. C., for chapter 
xxiv. mentions things which agree very well with events up 
to that time, but disagree with them after it. Irenseus, 
Origen, and Epiphanius, mention a Gospel of Matthew writ- 
ten in Hebrew, but we know little about him. He quotes 
from the Old Testament, as prophecies relating to Jesus, 
texts which are found to have nothing to do with Jesus.* 
If he would force the prophecies to accommodate his own 
views, he might also tamper with facts. In the second 
series of fourteen kings, ch. i., he omits four kings. The 
account of Herod murdering the young children is not con- 
firmed by other historians ; that of the birth of Jesus, if 
found by itself, would be considered as a wild Eastern tale ; 
his adventures with the devil would be mentioned by few 
persons in modern times, except as a poetical vision. In 
the account of the crucifixion, the author of this Gospel 
mentions an earthquake, a rending of the rocks, the open- 
ing of the graves, and the resurrection of many bodies of 
the saints, — events no where else alluded to in the New 
Testament. He mentions six supernatural dreams ; f some- 
times he relates events in a natural manner ; but sometimes 
adds what could not be known. Thus he gives the prayers 
and tells the movements of Jesus in the garden of Geth- 
semane, when the only persons present were asleep. This 
sort of embellishment shows itself frequently in the dis- 
courses and parables. The passage, x. 16 - 42, contains 
some things which could hardly have been intelligible in 
the time when they are alleged to have been spoken, but 
were suitable to the period when the book was written. 

* E. g. ii. 15 (compare Hos. xii. 1) ii. 6, (Mic. v. 2) ii. 23 is not in the 
Old Testament, (but see Jud. xiii. 5, ch. ii. 17 sq., iv. 19 sq., xxi. 1; 
Zach. ix. 9, &.c. ike.) 

t I. 20; ii. 12, 13, 19,22; xxvii. 19. 

1843.] Hennell on the Origin of Christianity. 149 

He thinks that real events occupy a larger part of this 
book than fiction ; that it contains many things as they 
were delivered by the original eyewitness, and many more 
proceeding from him, but with some variation. It is clear 
that Matthew was this eyewitness, but not that he was the 
compiler of the ivhole Gospel. Many parts could scarcely 
proceed from an eyewitness. If the writer had been an 
apostle, he would have written independent of the church 
traditions, and if necessary have corrected them; but, on 
the contrary, he seems to gather his materials from them, 
as it appears from the double version of the same event, 
the cure of the blind man, the feedings, the demand of a 
sign, the accusation respecting Beelzebub. Again Papias and 
others say that Matthew wrote in Hebrew ; but no one men- 
tions that he ever saw the Hebrew original of the Greek 
Gospel according to Matthew. Hence it might be sup- 
posed that Matthew wrote only some fragments (Logia as 
Papias calls them) in Hebrew, and some one after him 
wrote the Greek Gospel in our hands, incorporating those 
fragments, and so it was called the Gospel according to 
Matthew, and in the next century the work of that 

" Upon the whole, then, the most that we can conclude seems 
to be, that this Gospel was the work of some one who became a 
member of the Jewish church before the war, and who collected 
the relics of the acts and sayings of Jesus reported by Matthew 
the apostle, introducing some traditions which he found else- 
where, and filling up copiously from his own invention. His 
aim was, probably, to do honor to Jesus and the common cause, 
to strengthen the church under the trying circumstances of the 
times, and to be the author of a work which should be generally 
acceptable to his brethren. That such a man should not always 
adhere to strict truth seems quite consistent with human nature, 
since in the subsequent times, and in the Christian Church, we 
find pious men and sincere believers allowing themselves to 
countenance palpable falsehoods." — p. 124. 

The second Gospel is ascribed to Mark, the companion 
of Peter. For its authorship we have the testimony of 
Papias, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Eusebius, 

* See the recent literature on the subject of the language and author 
of the first Gospel in Neudecker, Lehrbuch der hist. krit. Einleit. in 
N. T. Leip. 1840. § 23. sqq. 

150 Hennell on the Origin of Christianity. [Oct. 

Epiphanius, and others. But these authorities do not de- 
cide that Peter sanctioned or knew what Mark wrote. He 
copied from Matthew in part, and adds other historical 
details, but mixes these relics of reality with some spurious 
matter. He seems to " have had access to one of the chan- 
nels of original information not very far from its source." 
But he is often unconscious of the primary nature of what 
he records, for he saw things through the medium of his 
time and place, and not in their original light. He has lost 
sight of the semi-political bearing of the Messianic scheme ; 
identifies the kingdom of God with the spread of the gos- 
pel, to soften the severe Judaism, that appears in Matthew, 
into a shape more fitting for Gentile readers.* He attempts 
to aggrandize Jesus by repeating the amazement of the be- 
holders of his miracles, the great numbers attracted by 
him, the confession of the devils, and neglects the greater 
part of the most eloquent discourses and parables in Mat- 
thew. He becomes a kind of tacit commentator on the 
first Gospel, and we see that an intimate friend of Peter 
omits some of the most striking passages of Matthew, the 
miraculous birth and temptation of Christ, Peter's casting 
himself into the sea, the promise of the keys, and the mira- 
cle of the fish with money in its mouth. He omits also the 
dream of Pilate's wife, as well as the other five dreams of 
Matthew ; the resurrection of the saints, and the earth- 
quake. " It is difficult to avoid concluding that he omit- 
ted these things because he did not believe them." " He 
found that they were not sanctioned by Peter, or by any 
traditions of repute, . . and determined that his work should 
not be encumbered with so much* total and pure orna- 
mental ficiion." 

" It is impossible to regard Mark's suppression of these pas- 
sages otherwise than as a tacit condemnation of Matthew. In 
later times, when the means of ascertaining the truth of each 
story had diminished, and the whole four Gospels came to be 
believed in a mass, as resting upon the same authority, divine 
inspiration, these same questionable passages have been favorite 
ones with Christians, as proving most strikingly the miraculous 
character of Jesus." — p. 148, 

* See i. 14, 15; compare iii. 14, 15, with Math. x. 1-8; vi. 30, 31, 
with Math xiv. 12, 13. He omits passages of Matthew which related 
chiefly to Jewish interests. 

1843. J Hennell on the Origin of Christianity. 151 

Taken by itself the second is less intelligible than the 
first Gospel ; but with that and Josephns, it not only throws 
light on the attempt of Jesus, but marks the grade in the 
modifications under which his disciples afterwards viewed 

Luke made use of both his predecessors, but has many 
stories and parables of his own, which he selected from 
popular tradition or previous writers. He sometimes agrees 
with Matthew and Mark, but sometimes differs from them ; 
for in his time they were not received with the same defer- 
ence as now. His order is confused, and probably in some 
instances he did not know the meaning of what he re- 
peated. He does not expand parables and discourses to 
suit his own times. The fictions he adopts — the visits of 
Gabriel to Zacharias and Mary, the scenes at the temple, 
the appearance of the angels to the shepherds, and of Jesus 
to the two disciples at Emmaus, — indicate a more re- 
fined imagination, than the tales of Joseph and the angel, 
Herod and the Magi. The parables which he adds, — the 
lost sheep, the prodigal son, the good Samaritan, Lazarus 
and the rich man, — are equal to any in the Gospels. But 
VJQ find also in him the ascetic and monastic doctrines of 
the more rigorous Essenes. Luke does not say he had his 
facts from eyewitnesses. 

To take all the three Gospels together — it appears that 
they were written a considerable time after the events they 
relate ; it is probable, though not certain, that the writers 
learned some parts from apostles or eyewitnesses, but it is 
uncertain which the parts are, and it is probable they are 
largely mingled with second-hand narratives, hearsay, and 
traditions ; '' there is strong probability that the accordant 
portions of the three histories contain a tolerably correct 
outline of the chief events of Christ's life ; but some errors 
might find their way into all three by the mistakes or in- 
ventions of the first writers, or the traditions on which 
they all depended." " So in the three Gospels, after 
making every allowance for probable, veritable, and fiction, 
. . . there still seems to remain so much of reality, that the 
attempt of Jesus to assume the Messiahship, his public 
preaching in Galilee and Jerusalem, and his crucifixion 
might be considered from the testimony of these three 
writers alone, as facts deserving a place in history ; which 

152 Hennell on the Origin of Christianity. [Oct. 

conclusion is strongly supported by other writings and sub- 
sequent events." — pp. 175, 176. 

The fourth Gospel, he thinks, was written about 97 A. C. 
This is of a very different character. Christ's discourses 
are long controversial orations without parables ; the King- 
dom of Heaven is nearly lost sight of; the fall of Jerusalem 
never alluded to. Several new subjects are introduced : 
the incarnation of the Logos in Christ ; his coming down 
from Heaven, and the promise of the Comforter or Holy 
Spirit. Mr. Hennell thinks it probable that John did not 
put the detached parts of the book together himself, and 
adds that it is difficult to determine whether the compiler 
or transcriber did not add the last chapter, and improve 
upon the apostle's words elsewhere. The circumstances 
of the place (Ephesus) and time explain the difference in 
the subjects treated of in this and the former Gospels. 

"This Gospel appears accordingly to be the attempt of a half- 
educated but zealous follower of Jesus, to engraft his concep- 
tions of the Platonic philosophy upon the original faith of the 
disciples. The divine wisdom, or logos, or light, proceeding 
from God, of which so much had been said in the Alexandrian 
school, he tells us became a man or flesh in the person of Jesus, 
dwelt for a time on earth, and ascended up where he was before, 
and where he had been from the beginning, into the bosom of 
the Father. 

"Consequently, this Gospel shows throughout a double, or 
Christiano-Platonic object ; first to prove that Jesus is the ChrFst, 
which was common to all the apostles, and secondly that the 
Christ is the Son of God or Logos which descended from heaven 
to g\\e light to men." — p. 180. 

" To endeavor to reconcile John with his predecessors on the 
hypothesis, that all four wrote invariably true and correct history, 
is evidently hopeless. The discrepancies are so far important 
as to lead us inevitably to infer that in some of them, and prob- 
ably in all four, tliere is a large measure of that incorrectness 
which proceeds from imperfect knowledge, forgetful ness, or 
neglect. In the case of John, they are to such an extent as to 
show that neither he nor his compiler paid much regard to the 
Gospels of his predecessors, or used them as a guide in forming 
a new one. An apostle indeed could not be expected sedulously 
to frame his discourses so as to agree with the works of previous 
compilers, if he had known them ; but a disregard of them, 
allowing of manifest contradictions, implies either that those 
works were but little known in liis church, or that they had not 
yet become standards of authority." — p. 186. 

1843.] Hennell on the Origin of Christianity. 153 

In Ch. VII. he examines the accounts of the resurrection 
and ascension of Christ, with much ingenuity, patience, 
and candor, as it seems to us, and comes to the conclusion 
we have already stated. Perhaps it is the most valuable 
chapter in the whole treatise. We shall attempt no analy- 
sis of it. From the valuable chapters on miracles we will 
quote the following. 

" John alone relates the raising of Lazarus, which, if his 
account were true, was the most splendid and public of all the 
miracles. For, according to him, it was done before friends and 
enemies, without any of the usual prohibitions to tell of it ; many 
came to see Lazarus at the supper at Bethany, and the people 
bare record of it when Jesus entered publicly into Jerusalem. 

"But, notwithstanding all this, neither Matthew, Mark, nor 
Luke appears to have had any knowledge of the affair." — 
p. 280. 

" The story of Lazarus seems again to be forced upon the 
attention of the first three Evangelists, when they relate the 
entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, and the conduct of the multitude ; 
for John says, that the people then bare record of his having 
raised Lazarus. But here also they make not the slightest al- 
lusion to it. 

" It is impossible to conceive any plausible reason for this con- 
cealment, when the same three Evangelists appear so willing to 
relate all the miracles they were acquainted wiih, and actually 
relate some which were said to be done in secret. That they had 
all forgotten this miracle so completely that it did nat once occur 
to them whilst relating the connected circumstances, cannot be 
imagined ; and if any miracle deserved a preference in the eyes 
of narrators disposed to do honor to Christ, or even to give a 
faithful account of him, it was this. 

" The Acts and Epistles nowhere allude to this story, although 
it would have afforded Paul a very good instance of the resur- 
rection of the body. 1 Cor. xv. 35. 

"The first mention, therefore, of the most public and decisive 
of the miracles appears in a writing published at Ephesus sixty 
years afterwards." — pp. 281, 282. 

" Most of the miracles attributed to Christ are of the same 
kind, viz. the removal of natural penalties. If, on opening the 
book which records his claims as a divine messenger, we were 
to find, instead of these stories of such difficult verification, 
declarations of the causes of blindness, fever, and palsy, and 
warnings to mankind to abstain from the courses which lead to 
such evils, the book would carry with it an evidence increasing 

VOL. IV. NO. IT. 20 

154 Hennell on the Origin of Christianity. [Oct. 

with the lapse of ages ; since the possession of such knowledge 
by a person in tlie age, country, and circumstances of Christ, 
would be as miraculous as any of the works referred to : and all 
readers on finding that the results of the most advanced stages 
of human knowledge had been anticipated by the peasant of 
Galilee, must themselves exclaim, '' Whence had this man this 
knowledge, having never learned ? " and " Eabbi, we know that 
thou art a teacher sent by God, for no man could have this wis- 
dom unless God were with him." — p. 298. 

Chapters XII., XIII., and XIV. on the prophecies, are 
valuable essays, which we shall pass over, as similar views 
have long since been openly avowed and publicly taught 
by some learned men in this century.* We will, however, 
give the following extracts. 

" There are few nations whose early literature does not con- 
tain predictions and pretended accomplishments of predictions. 
But Cumse and Delphos lost their credit even in ancient times. 
The supposed Jewish oracles still play a conspicuous part in the 
religion of the day. Yet on comparing them closely with histo- 
ry, accomplishment and failure alternate to such an extent, that 
one important resemblance to their heathen kindred becomes 
palpable : their credit can only be maintained by preserving 
their ambiguity." 

"As to the New Testament fulfilling the prophecies of the 
Old, — in the two most conspicuous features of Jewish prophecy 
there could not be a more decided failure. A triumphant suc- 
cessor of David was promised, and a carpenter's son was cruci- 
fied. Zion was to be exalted, and Zion was demolished. Nor 
were the Christian prophecies more fortunate. — The Son of 
man was to appear again before that generation passed away, 
and he has not yet appeared." 

'* The iEneid contains many prophetical allusions to the affairs 
of Rome, and in the sixth book the shade of Anchises shows 
himself well acquainted with R,oman History up to the time of 
Augustus, but attempts to foretel nothing beyond it. From pas- 
sages of this kind the common reader would have inferred the 
time of the writer to be about or after that date. But suppose 
that Virgil had concealed his name and date, and that some reli- 
gious interest were attached to the belief in the divine inspira- 
tion of his writings ; it would then be taken for granted that the 
author lived at the beginning, not the end, of the prophecy, and 
the whole poem might by the allegorizing system be easily con- 
verted into a prophetical type. If the interpreter were a 

* See Chribtian Examiner for 1833, vol. xvi. p. 32J , sqq. See also vol. 
V. p. 348, sq. 

1S43.] Hennell on the Origin of Christianity. 155 

Catliollc, the victories of the TroJMn hero might prefigure the 
small beginnings of the Roman see on the same plains of Lalium ; 
his pious abandonment of the Carthaginian queen being exactly 
the type of Papal Rome's compulsory separation by divine decree 
from its mistress Constantinople. The prediction of Anchises, 
' Tu regere imperio populos, Romane, memento,' was fully veri- 
fied, as Peter's pence could bear witness. " Ccelique meatus 
describent alii melius,' Galileo proved to be true. ' Debellare 
superbos,' how exactly fulfilled in the person of the Emperor 
Henry IV., and ' parcere subjectis,' in the lenity shown by Pius 
VII. towards Napoleon, who was, or ought to have been, spirit- 
ually his subject ! Certainly a Papist, who might be inclined 
thus to turn Virgil to account, would find less labor than has been 
encountered by Protestant divines, with the Book of Daniel, for 
the sake ef identifying the Pope with the ' man of sin.' " — pp. 
401, 402, 403. 

Mr. Hennell thinks Jesus naturally foresaw that he must 
fall a martyr to his convictions, but by no means uttered 
such distinct prophecies of his death and resurrection as 
the Evangelists put into his mouth. If he had done so, 
we could not explain the surprise of the disciples and their 
unwillingness to believe the resurrection, which John ex- 
plains by saying, " They knew not the Scriptures, that he 
must rise again from the dead." 

The chapter " on the character, views, and doctrine of 
Christ," is to us more repulsive than any other in the book. 
He considers Jesus to have been an Enthusiast, who be- 
lieved himself the predicted King of the Jews ; a Revolu- 
tionist, expecting to restore the kingdom to Israel, by 
means of a popular insurrection, and procuring everlasting 
life to such as forsook houses and lands for his sake ! 
How any one can come to this conclusion we cannot readi- 
ly discern. True, he calls himself the Son of God ; but 
does he make that claim for none but himself? True, he 
preached the kiiigdom of God ; but is it so certain that 
kingdom was political? Did he not shun all chance of 
personal aggrandisement ; forbid the love of power ; bless 
the meek, the peaceful, the suffering? But we shall not 
now enter into an argument on this point. Mr. Hennell also 
makes him a Reformer, who taught that Religion consisted 
in the internal purity of the thoughts, and the practice of 
morality. He thinks, however, that he did not design to 
depart from the ritual Law of Moses, and would not in 

156 Hennell on the Origin of Christianity. [Oct. 

this matter have gone so far as Paul ! But he that summed 
up the Law and Prophets in Love to God and Man, is 
hardly chargeable with Jewish conservatism. As^ain he 
adds, Jesus was a moral and religious teacher. Here he 
finds the sublimity of Christ's character. His teachings 
are marked by their devotional spirit, the belief in immor- 
tality, which he found popularly taught, by the great stress 
he lays on the rare and unpopular virtues of humility and 
resignation. He thinks that the character of Christ was 
not without its defects ; but adds in closing the chapter: — 

" Enough is seen of Christ to leave the impression of a real 
and strongly marked character ; and the dimness, which is left 
around it, permits the exercise of the imagination in a manner 
both pleasing and useful. The indistinctness of the image allows 
it to become the gathering centre for all those highly exalted 
ideas of excellence which a more closely defined delineation 
might have prevented from resting upon it. To the superhuman 
powers attributed to him by his early followers, later admirers 
are at liberty to add all the qualities of mind and character which 
can delight and attract in a human being. To awaken men to 
the perception of moral beauty is the first step towards enabling 
them to attain it. But the contemplation of abstract qualities is 
difficult ; some real or fictitious form is involuntarily sought as a 
substratum for the excellence which the moralist holds to view. 
Whilst no human character in the history of the world can be 
brought to mind, which, in proportion as it could be closely ex- 
amined, did not present some defects disqualifying it for being 
the emblem of moral perfection, we can rest with least check, 
or sense of incongruity, on the imperfectly known character of 
Jesus of Nazareth. If a representative be sought of human 
virtue, enough is still seen of his benevolent doctrine, attractive 
character, and elevated designs, lo direct our eyes to the Prophet 
and Martyr of Galilee." — p. 450, 451. 

The last chapter, entitled ^' Concluding Reflections, is 
one of great beauty and richness both of thought and sen- 

"Whatever be the spirit with which the four Gospels be ap- 
proached, it is impossible to rise from the attentive perusal of 
them without a strong reverence for Jesus Christ. Even the 
disposition to cavil and ridicule is forced to retire before the 
majestic simplicity of the prophet of Nazareth. Unlike Moses 
or Mahomet, he owes no part of the lustre which surrounds him 
to his acquisition of temporal power ; his is the ascendancy 
which mankind, in proportion to their mental advancement, are 

1843.] Hennell on the Origin of Christianity. Vol 

least disposed to resist — that of moral and intellectual greatness. 
Besides, his cruel fate engages men's affections on his behalf, 
and gives him an additional hold upon their allegiance. A noble- 
minded reformer and sage, martyred by crafty priests and brutal 
soldiers, is a spectacle which forces men to gaze in pity and ad- 
miration. The precepts from such a source come with an 
authority which no human laws could give; and Jesus is more 
powerful on the cross of Calvary than he would have been on 
the throne of Israel. 

" The viriue, wisdom, and sufferings of Jesus, then, will se- 
cure to him a powerful influence over men so long as they con- 
tinue to be moral, intellectual, and sympathizing beings. And 
as the tendency of human improvement is towards the progres- 
sive increase of these qualities, it may be presumed that the 
empire of Christianity, considered simply as the influence of 
the life, character, and doctrine of Christ over the human mind, 
will never cease. 

" When a higher office is claimed for Christ, that of a mes- 
senger accredited from God by a supernatural birth, miraculous 
works, a resin-rection, and an ascension, we may reasonably ex- 
pect equal strength of evidence. But how stands the case ? 
The four Gospels on these points are 7iot confirmed by testimony 
out of the church, disagree with each other, and contain rela- 
tions contrary to the order of things. The evidence on these 
points is reduced to the authority of these narratives themselves. 
In the?n^ at least, the most candid mind may require strong proofs 
of authenticity and veracity ; but again, what is the case ? 
They are anonymous productions; their authorship is far from 
certain ; they were written from forty to seventy years after the 
events which they profess to record ; the writers do not explain 
how they came by their information ; two of them appear to 
have copied from the first ; ail the four contain notable discre- 
pancies and manifest contradictions ; they contain statements at 
variance with histories of acknowledged authority ; some of 
them relate wonders which even many Christians are obliged to 
reject as fabulous ; and in general they present no character by 
which we can distinguish their tales of miracles from the fictions 
which every church has found some supporters ready to vouch 
for on its behalf." — pp. 476, 477, 478. 

" The miraculous birth, works, resurrection, and ascension 
of Christ, being thus successively surrendered, to be classed 
amongst the fables of an obscure age, what remains of Christi- 
anity ? and what is there in the life and doctrine of Jesus that 
they should still claim the attention and respect of mankind in 
remote ages ? This : Christianity forms a striking passage in 
the history of human nature, and appears as one of the most 

]58 Hennell on the Origin of Christianity. [Oct. 

prominent of the means employed in its improvement. Tt no 
longer boasts of a special divine origin, but shares in that which 
the Tlieist attributes to the world and the whole order of its 
events. It has presented to the world a system of moral excel- 
lence ; it has led forth the principles of humanity and benevo- 
lence from the recesses of the schools and groves, and compelled 
them to take an active part in the affairs of life. It has consoli- 
dated the moral and religious sentiments into a more definite and 
influential form than had before existed, and thereby constituted 
an engine which has worked powerfully towards humanizing and 
civilizing the world. 

" Moreover, Christianity has given currency to the sublime 
doctrines of man's relationship to the Deity, and of a future 
state. The former was a leading feature of Judaism, and the 
latter of Platonism. Christianity has invested them with the 
authority of established principles, and thereby contributed much 
to the moral ele'valion of mankind." — pp. 480, 481. 

" Christianity hself proceeded from a nation in deep advers- 
ity ; out of the distresses of Israel issued the cry for immortality. 
May we not regard all irremediable earthly afflictions as intended 
to suggest Christianity to each sufferer, and to whisper, that there 
must be a Father in heaven, and mansions of the blessed ? " 

" We see at present the incipient upheavings of another of 
these revolutions — the subversion of the belief in miraculous 
revelations, and the gradual advance of a system of natural 
religion, of which we cannot yet predict the whole creed, but of 
which we may already perceive two essential features, the 
recognition of a God, and that of an inherent moral nature in 
man. As the clearing away of the antiquated piles of the old 
law made way for the simpler structure of faith in Christ, so will 
the release from the exclusive authority of written precept 
enable men to hear more distinctly the Voice of the moral nature 
within them. Reformed Judaism will be succeeded by reformed 
Christianity, and each change appear the transition to a more 
perfect law of liberty. 

" Let not, then, the mind which is compelled to renounce its 
belief in miraculous revelations deem itself bound to throw aside, 
at the same time, all its most cherished associations. Its gener- 
ous emotions and high contemplations may still Hnd an occasion 
for exercise in the review of the interesting incidents which have 
forever consecrated the plains of Palestine ; but it may also find 
pleasure in the thought tliai, for this exercise, no single spot of 
earth, and no one page of its history, furnishes the exclusive 
theme. Whatever dimness may gather from the lapse of time 
and the obscurity of records about the events of a distant age, 
these capabilities of the mind itself remain, and always will re- 

1843.] Hennell on the Origin of Christianity. 159 

main, in full freshness and beauty. Other Jerusalenas will excite 
the glow of patriotism, other Bethanies exhibit the affections of 
home, and other minds of benevolence and energy seek to hasten 
the approach of the kingdom of man's perfection. Nor can 
scriptures ever be wanting — the scriptures of the physical and 
of the moral world — the book of the universe. Here the page 
is open, and the language intelligible to all men ; no transcribers 
have been able to interpolate or erase its texts ; it stands before 
us in the same genuineness as when first written; the simplest 
understanding can enter with delight into criticism upon it ; the 
volume does not close, leaving us to thirst for more, but another 
and another epistle still meets the inquisitive eye, each signed 
with the author's own hand, and bearing undoubted characters 
of divine inspiration. Unable at present to comprehend the 
whole, we can still feel the privilege of looking into it at pleas- 
ure, of knowing a part, and of attempting the opening of further 
leaves. And if, after its highest efforts, the mind be compelled 
to sink down, acknowledging its inability, in some parts, to satis- 
fy itself with any clear conclusion, it may remain serene at least, 
persuaded that God will not cause any soul to fare the worse 

for not knowing what he has o-iven it no means to knov/. 

Enough is understood to enable us to see, in the Universe itself, 

a Son which tells us of a Father, and in all the natural beauty 
and moral excellence which meet us in the world an ever-pres- 
ent Logos, which reveals the grace and truth of its invisible 
source. Enough is understood to convince us that, to have a 
place on this beautiful planet, on almost any terms, is an un- 
speakable privilege ; that virtue produces the highest happiness, 
whether for this or another world ; and that there does exist an 
encircling mysterious Intelligence, which, as it appears to mani- 
fest its energy in arrangements for the general welfare of the 
creation, must ensure a provision for all the real interests of 
man. From all our occasional excursions into the abysses of 
the unseen world, and from all our efforts to reach upwards to 
the hidden things of God, both reason and piety bid us return 
tranquilly to our accustomed corner of earth, to use and enjoy 
fully our present lot, and to repose implicitly upon the higher 
wisdom in whose disposal we stand, whilst indulging the thought 
that a time is appointed when the cravings of the heart and of 
the intellect will be satisfied, and the enigma of our own and 
the world's existence be solved." — pp. 486, 487, 488, 489. 

There are several things in this book to which we can- 
not assent ; some things we should regard as errors. But 
when the whole work is examined, a very high praise must 
needs be granted to it, vv^hether we agree or disagree with 

160 Hennell on the Origin of Christianity. [Oct. 

the writer. It is marked by candor, faithful research, good 
sense, and a love of truth to a degree almost unequalled in 
theological works. Nothing is conceded ; nothing forced. 
It is free from sneers and denunciations. We see in it 
neither the scorn of the Pyrrhonist, nor the heartless blas- 
phemy of the bigot. It is cool, manly, and tranquil. 
Sometimes the author rises to a touching pathos and real 
eloquence. Love of man, and reverence for man's Maker, 
are conspicuous in its pages ; and we thank him heartily 
for the service he has done the Christian world by the 
timely publication of a book so serene and manly. 

But what is to be the effect of such publications, in 
this sickly nineteenth century ? Some men appear to heed 
not the signs of the times, nor to notice that the waters of 
theology are getting troubled in all corners of the world. 
One effect is obvious. Some will decry human reason al- 
together, and go back as far as possible into the darkness, 
seeking to find the Kingdom of Heaven in the past. It 
is not easy to understand all of the numerous classes of 
men, who take that course. But is the matter to end in 
the publication of their books ; in the retrograde move- 
ments of some timid or tenacious men, of some pious men 
and some pharisees ? They know little of the past, who 
will hazard such a conjecture. Four centuries ago it was 
contended, that the vulgate Latin version of the Bible was 
divine, and the infallible word of God. How many men 
in Europe now think it so? In the seventeenth century 
men contended that the Hebrew vowel points were ancient 
and divine ; that the Alexandrian version of the Old Tes- 
tament was made by miraculous help from on high. 
But the vowel points and the Alexandrian version have 
gone to their proper place. Now some men will contend, 
that the miraculous part of the History of Jesus of Naza- 
reth is not worthy of belief; that the Christ, so far as we 
can learn, was a man, born as we all are, tried and tempted 
like the rest of us ; man's brother, not his master ; that his 
inspiration was only supernatural, in the sense that all truth 
is of God ; that the Bible is divine so far as true, but no 
farther, and has no more right to bind and to loose than 
any other collection of books equally good. New questions 
will be asked, and will get answered. It is not many years 
since Transubstantiation and " the Real Presence " were 

1843.] Hennell on Christian Theism. 161 

subjects of great dispute. But they have gone their way ; 
and the windy war they once provoked seems as foolish to 
us — who happily live some thousands of miles from Ox- 
ford — as our contentions, logomachies, and skiomachies, 
will appear in the next century. No doubt in a hundred 
years the work of Mr. Hennell, that of Dr. Strauss, and 
many others of our day, will be turned over with a smile, 
at the folly of an age, when such books were needed ; when 
Christians would not believe a necessary and everlasting 
truth, unless it were accompanied and vouched for by a 
contingent and empirical event, which they presumed to 
call a miracle ! Well they might smile ; but such as live 
in our day can scarcely see the ludicrous features of the 
matter. It is said to be dangerous to be wise before one's 
time, and truly it is scarcely decorous to be merry before it. 

We cannot dismiss this work of Mr. Hennell without 
mentioning another from his pen, which forms a sort of 
sequel to the first, we mean his Christian Theism,* a work 
of singular beauty and worth. We will content ourselves 
with a few extracts. 

" With no hostility, then, towards Christ and Christianity may 
the Theist renounce his faith in miracles and prophecy ; and 
without inconsistency may he be willing that the long train of 
associations which Christianity possesses with the history, the 
literature, the poetry, the moral and religious feelings of man- 
kind, should long contribute their powerful influences in behalf of 
the cause of human improvement. Let all benefactors of man- 
kind continue to look to Jesus as their forerunner in this great 
cause, and recognize a kindred mind in the Galilean who preached 
lessons of wisdom and benevolence in an early age of the world, 
and fell a sacrifice to the noble idea of introducing a kingdom of 
heaven upon earth. Let the good Samaritan still be cited as 
the example of humanity; the passover-supper be remembered 
as the farewell of Jesus to his friends ; and God be worshipped 
under the character which he attributed to him, — the Father 
in heaven. Let painting and music still find solemn themes in 
the realities and fables relating to Jesus ; let feasts and holydays 
still take their names from the events of his life, our time 
be dated from his birth, and our temples be surmounted by 
his cross. 

* Christian Theism, by the Author of An Inquiry concerning the 
Origin of Christianity. London : Smallfield and Son, 69 Newgate 
Street. 1839. 

VOL. IV. NO. II. 21 

162 Hennell oji Christian Theism. [Oct. 

" Christianity, then, has been neither evil nor useless ; but out of 
it will proceed a further mental growth. The religion of Egypt, 
Judaism, Christianity, and the more advanced system, which at 
a future time may, by the appearance of some remarkable 
individual, or combination of events, come to be designated by 
another name, — are all so many successive developments of the 
religious principle, which, with the. progress of mankind, will 
assume a form continually approaching nearer to perfect truth. 
And in proportion as other religions make the same approxima- 
tion, it will be gradually recognized that God hath made all 
nations of one mind, as well as of one blood, to dwell upon all 
the face of the earth." — pp. 18, 19. 

"In what manner do we know a man best and most tho- 
roughly } — By his appearance ? No. — By his conversation ? 
Better; but not so well as by experiencing his conduct in a long 
series of deeds. These speak in the surest manner; they speak 
to our moral and intellectual senses; and thus may we know 
thoroughly him whom we have never seen or heard. 

" And thus does God chose to speak to man — by deeds. A 
more subtle mode of communication than the brightest vision or 
the softest whisper ; but, to the thinking, more refined, more 
pleasing, more intelligible. Let children look for cherubim, and 
rhapsodists for voices from heaven ; mature reason and feeling 
appreciate more highly Works of beauty and beneficence. In 
what language should God have spoken to men from heaven, or 
written his message in the sky ? In Hebrew 1 In Greek ! In 
Sanscrit ! He has chosen his own language ; and has he not 
well chosen ? Does not the rose or the hyacinth speak as plainly 
as could any noun or participle, the verdure running before the 
breeze exceed the sense of any aorist, and the star rising above 
the wood convey more than any Hebrew point? God can do 
without hiphil and hophal, without pluperfect and paulo-post 
future : he is perfect in the language of signs, and the whole 
material creation is his symbol-picture to all I'anks of intelli- 
gence." — pp. 37, 38. 

"With this Scripture we may be well content; and knowing 
that here it is appointed for us to learn all we can and ought to 
know of God, his nature, and his will, cease to regret the loss of 
that strange existence which made a capricious covenant with 
Abraham, or of the voice which delivered to Moses moral pre- 
cepts, intermingled with directions concerning the fringe of the 
tabernacle and knobs of the candlestick, or of the Being who 
declared himself at one time long suffering and gracious, and 
at another denounced heavy punishments for sparing the wives 
and children of the vanquished. A more refined conception 
followed these, in so far as man's expanding mind began to 

1843.] Hennell on Christian Theism. 163 

catch the lone and spirit of nature. But nature is more durable 
than man's words, whether conveyed through other men's mem- 
ories, or by paper and parchment. We can appeal to her 
direct, without help- from any translator or expounder, besides 
our own head and heart. The God whom she proclaims is a 
certainty in a far higher degree than any God revealed to us 
through distant records, for the pledges of his existence are the 
things around us and within us every moment, free from all sus- 
picion of forgery, delusion, or imposture." — p. 53. 

" Honored be the spirits which have anticipated such a religion 
of nature, and depicted the Cause of the universe in this attrac- 
tive form. The lower feelings found in the godhead a mere 
Jupiter Tonans, a vindictive and jealous tyrant of heaven, the 
partial protector of a family or chosen nation. But more 
enlarged thought and higher feeling described him as the King 
and Father of men, Jupiter greatest and best. Especially 
honored be lie who loved to contemplate, and to address, the 
unseen Mind as the Father in heaven, hearing and having com- 
passion on all men; and who taught men to avail themselves of 
this refuge for sorrow. Whatever else he were, he was one of 
those who have helped to raise and refine, as well as to 
strengthen, human nature. Philosophy sitting calmly in the 
schools, or walking at ease in the groves, could not do all that 
men require; the despised Galilean, with his religion of sorrow, 
gave strength where philosophy left them weak, and completed 
the armor of the mind. It was reserved for a persecuted man 
of a persecuted nation to open the divine depths of sorrow, 
and to direct men towards the hidden riches of their nature 
in abysses where, at the first entrance, all appeared barren 
gloom?' — p. 60. 

" Tiie distinction between God's works and God's word no 
longer exists. They are the same. His works are his word. 
No longer need the mind which seeks its Creator be cramped 
within the limits of a written volume. O thou, whose earliest 
conceptions of a creative intelligence awakened by the sight of 
a wonderful world, and, seeking for further expansion, have 
been directed to the so-called word of God as the proper fountain 
of this high knowledge, where the sublimest ardor vv^as to be 
satisfied, and the great idea fully developed, — hast thou never 
experienced something like disappointment, when, turning wearily 
over many pages of the boasted revelation, thou hast found but 
little to respond to thy nascent desires of truth, and timidity, 
half self-accusing, asked thyself. Can this really be that loudly 
extolled book of Revelation, which is to instruct men fully con- 
cerning God and his ways ? Is it indeed so superior to the 
instruction of nature, that it deserves to be called pre-eminently 

164 Hennell on Christian Theism. [Oct. 

the Word of God ? I find here and there high thoughts and 
beautiful conceptions, which shew that between the Nile and the 
Euphrates, as well as elsewhere, men possessed a nature capa- 
ble of being moved occasionally to the contemplation of the 
mighty Cause of heaven and earth ; but do these ancient writers 
really impart knowledge concerning him beyond the reach of 
all other sages, and speak in strains unequalled by any other 
muse ? Alas ! they seldom sustain my mind long in that high 
region which it was seeking ; but drag it down into an earthly 
atmosphere of low trifling thoughts, petty local interests, and 
individual or national resentments. This, the book to which 
stupendous Nature itself was only the preface! — which the 
Creator of sun and skies has thought it worth while to attest 
by special messages and inspirations ! Neither its genealogies, 
histories, nor poems, satisfy my want. The spirit of adoration 
seems to be, by long perusal of this volume, excluded from the 
great temple of the universe, and compressed into the holy ark 
of Israel, or into an upper chamber at Jerusalem. Can this book 
really be the highest field of human study and thought ? There 
must be some mistake. 

" Rejoice, and set thy mind free ; there has been a great 
mistake. The book, as well as thyself, was injured by the false 
pretensions set up on its behalf; and the workings of the 
Human mind in remote ages, in themselves deeply interesting, 
rendered ridiculous by being extolled into oracles of the Divine. 
Cease to weary thyself in following Israel through the desert, 
and in pondering each supposed weighty sentence of prophets 
and apostles. Neither Moses nor Samuel, Isaiah nor Zechariah, 
nor Jesus, nor Paul, nor John, can speak more of God than 
they themselves have learned from the sources which he has 
placed within the reach of all, nature and man's own mind. 
But look up and around, and say if man may not be well 
satisfied with these ; and if in Orion and the Pleiades, in the 
green earth and its copious productions, and especially in the 
Godlike Human Mind itself, manifested in art, science, poetry, 
and action, God has not provided eloquent and intelligible evan- 
gelists." — |)p. 65 to 67. 

"Jesus made virtue the chief qualification for partaking of the 
kingdom of heaven. To love God and one's neighbor, was to be 
not far from the kingdom of God. And he laid particular stress 
on virtues of the meek and benevolent kind. Blessed are the 

meek^ for they shall inherit the earth Blessed are the 

peacemakers., for they shall be called the children of God 

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake, 
for theirs is the kingdom of lieaven. Those who in spirit are 
like little children, rather than the contenders for greatness, are 

1843.] A Day with the Shakers. 165 

fit for the kingdom of God. 'By this shall all men know that 
ye are my disciples, if ye have love to one another.' 'Love 
your enemies.' In all this, Jesus accords strikingly with the 
most advanced morality of ihe present age, which admits that the 
prevalence of these dispositions is the most essential requisite to 
the improvement of the world." — p. 10. 


Between two and three miles northward of the centre 
village in the township of Harvard, Massachusetts, the trav- 
eller discerns a rustic guide board, on which is inscribed 
"To the Shaker Village." Uncouth name for any associ- 
ation of serious people seriously to adopt ; yet we never 
hear them called otherwise. The Quakers, we all know, 
denominate themselves " the Society of Friends," but these 
people seem to have no other appellation besides this gro- 
tesque one thus placed at the road's head. Possibly, how- 
ever, the town erected the board, and they did not originate 
the popular and current designation of themselves. 

At about half a mile up this road we arrive at three or 
four houses of no very attractive exterior, with a large 
stone barn, having very much the appearance of a prison, 
which for the animals contained therein probably it is. At 
this station, which is the probationary village for such per- 
sons as propose to join the family, the visitor is met by 
some of the brethren, amongst whom will be found one of 
superior intelligence, who in good temper answers questions 
to which he has probably responded some hundreds of times 
before. Most likely the conversation turns upon the sub- 
ject of self-denial, and thence naturally to their especial 
instance of it, that is to say abstinence from marriage. Of 
him you may learn that the number in the family is about 
two hundred persons, of whom only thirty-eight are under 
sixteen years of age, and not one is younger than four ; 
that they did not settle here from any choice of this rough 
and sterile domain of about fifteen hundred acres, but be- 
cause their founder, Ann Lee, received from the persons 

166 A Day imth the Shakers. [Oct. 

who resided here during her brief earthly sojourn that cor- 
dial support and sympathy which frequently attends the 
career of the pious. 

Passing this group of buildings, on a turn of the road 
to the left hand over a broad slab of rock, a street of houses 
is presented to the view. Some of these buildings are 
small and old ; some are large and new. Many active 
laborers are in the fields and gardens, and improvements 
are carried on with vigor ; but there is much to be done, by 
reason of the original rudeness of this spot, in order to 
bring the external appearances to a like elevation with that 
which common report has assigned to other stations. The 
orchards and gardens are the most striking achievements, 
and this family trades extensively in seeds. 

No formal introduction is required ; on the contrary, 
there is a general disposition on the part of both the more 
intelligent men and women to enter into free conversation 
at once upon their distinguishing practice of self-sacrifice. 
On the subject of abstinence from outward marriage they 
are as lively and energetic as recent converts. It reigns so 
monarchically in their hearts that they have always a stir- 
ring topic whereon to speak, and an exalting object for 
which to act. So far from being lifeless or indiflferent 
about other persons, they seem to be fully aware that unless 
fresh comers are gatliered in from the world at large, their 
family must decline gradually to total extinction. There 
is, therefore, great promptness manifested in laying their 
arguments before sincere inquirers, although they are not 
so zealous as to send forth especial missionary brethren. 
Words alone they may perhaps consider would be fruit- 
less ; while in conjunction with a life fully realizing them, 
they become almost irresistible. The family being thus 
sustained by the addition of convinced minds, and not by 
the imposition of educative habits, there will probably be 
ever found a degree of animation and heartfelt zeal un- 
known amongst other religious orders. 

Our business being the purchase of a few seeds, and the 
gardener being occupied out of doors, the trading agent 
attended us to the store, and supplied the articles with an 
activity and business intelligence, which prove him qualified 
to conduct any such transactions they may have with the 
old world. Their trade, he informed us, amounts generally 

1843.] A Day with the Shakers. 167 

to the large sum of ten thousand dollars a year. For per- 
sons of simple habits, desirous of relief from circumstances 
morally depressive, this is far too great an involvement in 
money affairs ; but it seems to grow out of their peculiar 
position, and the want of true simplicity in many particu- 
lars. Their estate does not at present produce a full sup- 
ply of bread-corn ; most of the members, except the 
children, consume flesh-meat ; much milk is used ; and the 
aged amongst them still drink tea, or coffee, and the like. 
For these reasons some of their produce has to be exchanged, 
which occasions considerable traffic. To provide for their 
wants they also are extensive manufacturers of various 
clothing and other fabrics, and have to buy raw material 
to work upon, as well as to sell the goods when finished. 
These proceedings require more extensive interchanges of 
money, and more frequent intercourse with the world, than 
seems compatible with a serene life. 

Yet their life is serene. The repose, quiet, and cleanli- 
ness reigning throughout the establishment are indeed as 
remarkable as attractive. As a retreat for the thoughtful 
or poetic mind, it seems most desirable. You could there 
"walk gowned," conscious of feelings as reverential as 
those which pervade the bosom of the worshipper when he 
enters the ancient cathedral. Nor is the superstition there, 
nor the outward devotion which results from the artistic 
effects of architecture, painting, music, and the rest. Of 
these they can boast none. As they have built several 
spacious houses for themselves, their idea has necessarily 
been expressed by an architecture of some character, yet 
wanting in most or all of those artifices which distinguish 
edifices erected by other religionists. The building last 
erected is large and plain. Externally it has somewhat the 
appearance of a school-house or church. Internally, how- 
ever, it is divided into separate apartments, and is of sev- 
eral stories. Corridors in the middle, with rooms on each 
side, keep the whole well-ventilated, light, and cheerful. 
The stairs and most of the floors being covered with a home- 
made carpet, the foot-tread is inaudible. At this house 
visitors are received and entertained ; and, if they remain 
during a meal time, here take their repast; the accommo- 
dations being reported too small to permit even all the in- 
mates to eat together. The internal fittings of the new 

168 A Bay with the Shakers. [Oct. 

house are of the most comfortable knid. Window-sashes, 
spring-bhnds, closets, &.c. are of the best workmanship and 
most convenient contrivances for endurance. The join- 
ery is not painted, but varnished slightly, so that it can be 
cleaned with facility ; and the only objection seems to be 
the use of close stoves instead of open fire-places. The 
furniture is not home-made, but is wrought mostly in a 
more ancient fashion still common to the country, and much 
more cheap than elegant or luxurious. 

Here we enjoyed an animated conversation with several 
of the brethren and sisters, or, as they would say, men and 
women. They are faithful to the precept of '' Aye " and 
"Nay" in their replies, and are as new and fresh in mind 
as we may suppose the Society of Friends were within 
sixty years of their founder's time. 

It appears that in consequence of the number of visitors 
who came to their weekly worship, with other than devo- 
tional feelings, they have ceased to permit any chance of 
interruption, so that we had no optical evidences of their 
peculiar religious modes and forms. But their books, of 
which we purchased copies, show that they advocate danc- 
ing as a religious exercise, claiming ior it the same virtues 
and station which are by most churches awarded to sing- 
ing. Their scriptural confirmations of its propriety strong- 
ly fortify them in the practice, though they admit, that 
what was originally an involuntary emotion is now repeated 
as a voluntary duty. 

The clearest book they have published is entitled '' A 
Summary View of the Millennial Church, or United Society 
of Believers, (commonly called Shakers,) comprising the 
rise, progress, and practical order of the Society ; " printed 
at Albany in 1823. This work, in the first place, reveals 
their legitimate title ; and secondly, narrates the origin and 
progress of the Society under the auspices of Ann Lee, 
who was born at Manchester in England in the year 1736, 
arrived in America in 1774, and collected the first family in 
1787, at New Lebanon, near Albany, in the State of New- 
York. Notwithstanding the difficult passage they had to 
steer during the revolutionary war, so as to avoid the charge 
of partisanship, and subsequently the still more limitary 
effect of their doctrine and lives, the number of believers 
in all the States of the Union is considered now to be over 
six tliousand. 

1843.] A Day ivith t/ie Shakers. 169 

Their theological system is strictly scriptural. At the 
same time they are not mere verbalists. They say tliat 
" nothing but the real and abiding presence of Christ, by 
the indwelling of his spirit, ever did, or ever could save one 
soul. Such as reject Christ, and take their own wisdom 
for their guide, never were, nor ever can be saved. And 
in no better situation are they who profess faith in an ab- 
sent Saviour, who believe that Christ was once upon earth, 
but is now departed to some remote and unknown heaven, 
where it is impossible for the weak capacities of mortals to 
reach him." They look upon Ann Lee as the female 
principle or supplementary nature to Jesus Christ, who w^as 
the male complement, and that she initiated the second ad- 
vent, of which this church exhibits the progress. 

As Christ did not marry, neither will true believers who 
really " take up the cross and follow him." The number 
of scripture texts in favor of a celibate life, quoted in this 
book, is much greater, as well as much more decisive than 
ordinary readers suppose ; and we do not hesitate to say, 
they have strong authority on their side. At the same 
time, there is nothing gloomy in their general doctrines, nor 
monkish in their tone of mind. They have not yet ban- 
ished all the lusts of the table, though these are evidently 
the excitements to other lusts which they find it to be their 
principal cross to restrain. They still believe in the per- 
petual battle against this desire, and scarcely contemplate 
a life on earth which shall be above this temptation in the 
same degree as the really sober man is superior to the 
allurements of the glass. Though they do say (p. 99) 
'' The doctrine of christian sinners, or the idea of chris- 
tians living in sin, so strenuously advocated by many, is 
utterly inconsistent with every attribute of God. All doc- 
trines, which imply that real christians cannot live without 
sin, are inconsistent with the attributes of power and good- 
ness, and indeed with every divine attribute. ' Whosoever 
abideth in him, sinneth not; whosoever sinneth, hath not 
seen him, nor known him.' " 

In this book all the leading theological doctrines are ably 
discussed on scriptural and rational grounds. They esteem 
the Adamic fall to consist in a yielding to sexual tempta- 
tion. " The temptation was first addressed to the mind : 
' Ye shall be as Gods ; ' and thence applied to the animal 

VOL. IV. NO. 11. 22 

iTO A Day with the Shakers. [Oct. 

propensities, which were inferior to the rational powers. 
The faculties of the soul, being superior to those of the 
body, ought to have had the government. But when the 
man's animal sensations were addressed, and excited by 
the temptation, though he possessed a governing power in 
the faculties of his soul ; yet he gave up that power, and 
gave loose to his animal desires, and under their excitement 
yielded to the temptation. This occasioned his fall ; and 
hence the loss which ensued." p. 107. A doctrine which 
coincides with that held by most of the ancient philoso- 
phers, as narrated by Jamblichus in his work on the Mys- 
teries, p. 250. " There is a time when we become wholly 
soul, are out of the body, and sublimely revolve on high, 
in conjunction with all the immaterial Gods. And there is 
also a time when we are bound in the testaceous body, 
are detained by matter, and are of a corporeal-formed na- 
ture. Again, therefore, there will be a twofold mode of 
worship. For one mode, indeed, will be simple, incorpore- 
al, and pure from all generation ; and this mode pertains to 
undefiled souls. But the other is filled with bodies, and 
everything of a material nature, and is adapted to souls 
which are neither pure nor liberated from all generation." 

The believers have undoubtedly stronger ground than 
conjecture for affirming that the government of the animal 
propensities is what is signified by the command to abstain 
from the good-and-evil-knowledge tree. " As the power 
of generation was given to man solely for the purpose of 
procreation, and not for the gratification of his animal na- 
ture, the dignity of his creation required that he should 
maintain a greater degree of order ,and purity in the work 
of generation than was required of the inferior part of the 
creation, which was governed by the law of nature. This 
was the more essential, as the offspring of man were to be 
rational and immortal souls. The power was entrusted to 
the living and rational soul of man ; and the command of 
God was sufficient to maintain that power so long as the 
soul maintained its obedience. This was the point of trial ; 
on this depended the state and character of his offspring : 
for like begets like ; and if parents are alienated frdtn God, 
they will of course produce an alienated offspring." p. 124. 

Without resorting to repetitions, which, in their discon- 
nection, might be more tiresome than convincing, it is not 

1843.] A Day ivith the Shakers. 171 

possible to do justice to their whole argument. In both the 
mystic and actual senses there is much truth in the doctrine 
of the Female Messiah. As the emblem and personifica- 
tion of Moral Love, Woman must ere long give the ruling 
tone to society ; and Love itself, as the Spirit substance, 
must rule in the human heart. So the woman-seed shall 
bruise the serpent-head. 

Nor are their arguments directed against union under all 
circumstances. On the contrary they affirm the generative 
law in terms which can scarcely be gainsaid. " The 
original law of nature was given of God, and was very 
good in its place and order, and might have remained so 
till repealed by the Lawgiver, had it not been violated, 
and basely corrupted : and that it still continues to be viola- 
ted in the most shameful manner, has been sufficiently prov- 
ed. Therefore, those who still plead the law of nature, or 
the law of God, to justify sexual coition, under a pretended 
necessity of maintaining the work of generation, ought 
first to examine their secret motives in it ; and if they are 
able to lay the propensities of lust entirely aside, and enter 
upon that work without the influence of any other motive 
than solely that of obeying the will of God, in the propa- 
gation of a legitimate oft'spring, to be heirs of the kingdom 
of heaven, then they are able to fulfil the law of na- 
ture.^^ p. 145. 

" It may be proper to remark, that it is not the work 
of generation, in itself considered, in the order of nature, 
which is condemned ; but it is that libidinous and lawless 
passion which was infused by the serpent at the beginning, 
and by which the work of generation has been, and still 
continues to be so basely corrupted ; it is that which has 
filled the earth with abominations, and that is the object of 
condemnation. If that cursed nature could be entirely 
purged out of the natural ma?i, so that his feelings could 
be wholly governed by the will of God, he would feel a 
very different sensation in this act, and would be in no 
danger of violating the true order of nature by it." p. 146. 

To literary minds the Shaker principles may present little 
of an attractive nature ; as to the artist their external appear- 
ances may indicate but a moderate love for the beautiful. 
Yet the truth must be affirmed that in the absence of much 
literature, of the fine arts, and of those studies which are 

172 A Day ivith the Shakers. [Oct. 

thought to be essential in human progress, they seem to be 
far on the road, if they have not already attained the solu- 
tion of a chaste, scientific, and self-sustained life. It was 
a notable saying of their mother Ann, " Put your hands to 
work, and give your hearts to God." Here is no provision 
made for the disposal of the intellect. Yet they are nei- 
ther void of common sense, nor of refinement. Their 
simplicity has not descended to rigid forms, nor to ungra- 
cious deportment. For economy they have adopted one 
fashion in the cut of their garments, though at first glance 
it is scarcely observable. The men do not disuse the ordi- 
nary courtesies of life. They are not afraid of nodding 
their heads to familiar acquaintances, or of bending their 
bodies to receive the stranger. This flexibility in behavior 
is attributable to their recognition of one principle, which 
in theological parties is as rare as it is beautiful ; that is to 
say, the principle of progress. From what has been quoted 
above regarding the eternal presence of Christ as the living 
Spirit, we are prepared for this result. But, then, what 
sect is there which has not put forth, in its origin, a similar 
declaration ? And how soon it has fallen to a verbal dog- 
ma ! When the Quakers were no older as a sect than the 
Shakers now are, they too were an animated, lively, spirit- 
moved party. By the time the Shakers are as aged, they 
may be as sepulchral and frigid ; but from the essential na- 
ture and constitution of the society we have higher hopes. 
In fact it seems scarcely possible that a church, which, if it 
continue in existence at all, must be kept together by the 
addition of new and integrally convinced members, should 
ever fall into the melancholy mood which characterizes so 
many parties, who at their outset most efficiently proclaimed 
the Spirit's work in them. The union of the two sexes in 
government, in influence, in religion, in chaste celibacy, is 
an achievement worthier of renown than many works of 
greater fame. The extent of its operation, and its impor- 
tant consequences, are yet but faintly discernible. It is 
also worthy of remark, that this most successful experiment 
of associate life, and community of property, was founded 
by A Woman. 

Ann Lee seems to have had in her mind the true idea of 
a holy family ; that of representing through the simplest do- 
mestic labors the most exalted spiritual sentiments. In 

1843.] A Day with the Shakers. 173 

speaking to a spiritual sister she gave the following coun- 
sel : "Be faithful to keep the gospel ; be neat and industri- 
ous ; keep your fannily's clothes clean and decent; see that 
your house is kept clean ; and your victuals prepared in 
good order ; that when the brethren come home from hard 
work, they can bless you, and eat their food with thankful- 
ness, without murmuring, and be able to worship God in 
the beauty of hohness. Watch and be careful ; don't 
•jpeak harshly, nor cast reflections upon them ; but let your 
words be few and seasoned with grace." p. 29. And her 
brother, tliough he had been bred in the rough school of 
the royal Oxford Blues, was so meliorated and humanized 
by her spirit, that he was wont to reprove the believers for 
walking about in a careless, undignified manner, as if re- 
gardless of the divine presence; and would say to them, 
'• In your intercourse you should salute or pass each other 
like angels." 

Like the Roman Catholic church, this people requires of 
any one joining the family, that he or she should consecrate 
all property to the divine service ; but there is no stipulation 
for the bringing in of any wealth ; and not many persons 
rich in this world's goods have joined them. Although 
they have a noviciate process, their family is evidently no 
place for those who are merely speculating on the practica- 
bility of association. Unless the heart and hands are given 
up, a true union is impossible ; and where those are really 
and sincerely devoted, wealth cannot be retained. The 
soul determined to a holy life, as soon as rationally con- 
vinced of the stability of the associates, does not wait 
to count coins, nor does it stipulate for a possible self- 

The world as yet but slightingly appreciates the domestic 
and humane virtues of this recluse people ; and we feel 
that in a record of associative attempts for the actualization 
of a better life, their designs and economies should not be 
omitted, especially as, during their first half century, a re- 
markable success has been theirs. A further proof that 
whatsoever is sown in piety, must, under the sun of Divine 
grace, ripen to an abundant harvest. 

c. L. 

June, 1843. 

174 Youth of the Poet mid the Painter. [Oct. 


[Continued from p. 58 of last Number.] 


My Dear Brother, 

No letter from you yet, although you have now been 
a fortnight at Lovedale. This is too cruel. So far as I 
am concerned, I am willing to have you in the country, and 
away from College ; but for mother's sake you should write 
her a full account of yourself. She grieves and laments 
over your abrupt departure, as if you were ruined for life ; 
and seems to think you can never retrieve your lost stand- 
ing in your class. You know she had set her heart on 
your success ; and this frightful dissolution of your collegi- 
ate bands has created a perfect dismay in her tender heart. 
If you will only write her a full account of it, how it all 
took place, she will, I doubt not, become perfectly satisfied, 
and you will regain your place in her affection. 

Who do you think has visited us, to our evident conster- 
nation as I fear, but the illustrious head of Triflecut College, 
the majestic President Littlego. Of all pompous persons 
he is the chief; and the extreme self-sufficiency of the man 
put me out of patience with him in five minutes. He held 
a conversation with mother about you, which 1 will report 
for your benefit as nearly as I can. - 

"Madam," said the President, ^'I hope your health is 
good. We have had very hot weather this season ; and 
the boys returned to their tasks without much spirit. Have 
you received any intelligence from your son Edward since 
he saw fit to leave his duties ? " 

" We heard from him," she replied, " through his friend, 
Mr. Hope." 

" I hope he did not remark in that letter," said the ma- 
jestic Littlego, " that any too difficult tasks had been 
imposed upon him by the several departments in college. 
We treat all the boys alike ; the utmost republicanism pre- 
vails in our system ; and it is impossible that Ashford should 

1843.] Youth of the Poet and the Painter. 175 

have been overloaded with requirements. I am surprised 
he should have left us, and I am authorized to say by the 
board of control, that even now, if he cliooses to return 
immediately, he will be permitted to again unite himself 
with his class. This privilege has been conceded to him 
for your sake Madam, no less than his own. I shall feel 
it my duty to correspond with Ashford on this subject ;" 
and bowing very gravely, this majestic gentleman stalked 
slowly out of the parlor. 

Poor mother was nearly frightened to death by this visit 
of the dignitary, and I fear it will hold as long in her 
memory as the visit of " my gracious Prince" tolMrs. 
Bellenden in the novel. Since you left, we have had a 
little party, as usual, at this time ; but it went off poorly, 
however, as mother mourns over your absence so se- 
verely ; and she, you know, is the life of all parties. Your 
friend Hope came, out of whom I can make nothing, ex- 
cept as being your friend, seemed in capital spirits, and 
whenever he talked with mother about you, smiled with 
more than his usual brilliancy. Pray write us at once. 
Your affectionate 




I am yet on the river, and love to float on the sparkling 
waters ; but I feel sad and cold this sunny day. It is too 
solitary, I believe, yet much better than the dull noise of 
the city, and the stupid form at college. Nature can 
never be enough, yet how much better than the society of 
most men. I run away to the forest as if 1 was pursued by 
a demon, to avoid the fellowship of these kind-hearted 
people, yet know not why. I suppose we were not born 
in the same planet, and different colored blood runs in our 
veins. What a mistake that we are all brothers in this 
world, and how rarely we find a true brother's, or even a 
cousin's friendly eye fixed on us. 

176 Youth of the Poet and the Painter. [Oct. 

To-day has been pure golden sunshine since morning; 
and how the day-god played with the trunks of the trees, 
as if the forest were one great harp. In the morning, as I 
sat among golden-rods, under the shade of a pine, where 
on every side these sunny flowers grew, it seemed as if the 
sunlight had become so thickly knotted and intertwined 
with the roots and stems of the plants and grasses, that it 
could not escape, but must remain and shine forever; yet 
the pine tree's shadow, at sunset and before, fell long across 
the place, and the gay light had fled, like the few bright 
days of life, which fly so rapid by. The old tell us we 
are young, and can know nothing of life ; to me, it seems 
I have lived centuries, out of which I can reckon on my 
fingers the days of pleasure, when my heart beat high. I 
fancy, there is a race of men born to know only the loss of 
life by its joys, — to live by single days, and to pass their 
time for the most part in shadowy vistas, where there is 
neither darkness nor light, but perpetual mist. I am one 
of these ; and though I love nature, the river, the forest, 
the clouds, she is only a phantom, like myself, and passes 
slowly, an unexplained mystery, like my own conscious- 
ness, which shows through a want of perfect knowledge. 
I see myself, only as what I do not know, and others, as 
some reflection of this ignorance, an iceberg among other 
icebergs, slowly drifting from the frozen pole of birth to 
the frozen pole of death, through a sunny sea. 

I feel, that within lies a heap of perpetual snow, encir- 
cled by a fair ring of grass and flowers, over which the sun 
plays, yet this central cold never melts to nourish their roots, 
but shines mild and graceful, thougJi never warm. Can I 
ever become warm in this snowy peak? I should be, for 
there alone does it se.em that the air of my life is clear. I 
should be resigned to this penance, would society leave me 
to myself; but, in addition to this pressure of inward ice, I 
am doomed to perpetual conflict with those around; and I 
have not only my individual part to play, but to act in do- 
mestic tragedies beside. 

At the earnest request of a mother, who, if too tender- 
hearted, has a real love for me, though of my cliaracter she 
understands no one part, I went to the college, in hope 
to burrow concealed behind stupid folios while in the 
house, and leave them to stand and smile grim defiance in 

1843.J Youth of the Poet and the Painter, 177 

the face of the tutors while away. I resolved to devote so 
much time to one or two languages as would keep up the 
appearance of study, for my mother's sake, and for the 
rest to wander in the fields, if I could find any in the 
mean village of Triflecut. In doing so I felt I was acting 
so far for my mother, without making the life too wretched 
to bear. 1 came out of the sanctity of my little chamber 
at home, where at least all was in keeping, where I had 
memories of many a walk, my favorite books, and a few 
pictures, into the barren interior of the staring brick edifice 
at Triflecut. I recited some two or three lessons tolerably 
I believe, although I felt it was useless work ; and went I 
think to five prayers. But the latter, I very soon gave 
over, for I could submit no longer to the dull, droning 
voice of the college minister, grinding out his requests for 
health and happiness, with not near the life of a hand- 
organ. I became so perfectly tired of this nonsensical 
stuflf, that I unconsciously went in any direction sooner 
than to the Chapel. On Sunday, 1 did not go to church, 
and was summoned before the President, who told me I must 
go like a good boy to church, or be turned away ; to which 
I replied, that I should do as I thought best, and returned to 
my room. I saw that in reciting our lessons to the con- 
ceited tutors, who think College is the Universe, and the 
President Jupiter, they had the impudence to give us 
marks for what we did, as if we, paying them for so much 
aid in our lessons, were therefore to be rewarded by them 
with a couple of pencil scratches. Such a system as this 
fell below the discipline of the school I last attended, where 
we had neither marks nor punishments, were neither 
kicked nor flattered, blamed nor praised. At College, I 
found we were treated, not only as machines, but to be set 
up or down, at the discretion of these tutors, who had 
merely to scratch down a mark, and thus decide our fates. 
This foolery I felt 1 could not agree to, even for my 
mother's sake. I was led, by what predisposition I cannot 
say, unless by the general idea I had of a class, called 
scholars, to fancy there was something romantic and beautiful 
in the life in Colleges. I conjured a ghost from the mid- 
dle ages, dim cloisters, retired meditations, and beautiful 
persons, who dwelt together Jn a religious community, 
where only sunrise and twilight divided the day, and all was 

VOL. IV. NO. II. 23 

178 Youth of the Poet and the Painter. [Oct. 

order, silence, and gentle repose. I saw the pale scholar, 
gliding like a shade through the aisles of a solitary chapel, 
or studiously bent upon his miglity volume in a recess of 
the vaulted library. I should be one of these scholars, 
have my gown and spiritual republic with the rest, and take 
my place in mysterious debates on subjects too lofty for 
the vulgar eye to profane, and feel fear as I wandered in 
the retired court-yards, that I should never rise to the 
lofty place of the true scholar. I had wove some such 
webs, which, it is true, hung on my mother's request, before 
I went to Triflecut. 

I found here no scholars whatever. Some young men, 
deficient in grace, were wearing out the elbows of their 
coats, in getting by heart some set lessons of some little 
text-books, and striving, which should commit them the 
most perfectly to memory. This perfection lay in the 
point of a tutor's pencil, and was at last decided on by the 
votes of a band of professors, who loved wine and pud- 
dings better than literature or art, and whose chief merit 
lay in keeping their feet dry. The collegians seemed lost 
in the microscopic side of learning ; and 1 felt I could see 
no poetry there, nor get any marks, and might either wait 
to be formally turned out by the vote of the professors, 
headed by the President, or fly myself. I chose the latter. 

I have had a little formal letter from the President, in- 
forming me, that 1 may come back, if I will be a good boy, 
or stay away, if T will be a bad one ; I shall not reply, for 
I have nothing to say. It was childish to go to College, 
and yet more childish to stay more than one day, when I 
was there. 

As I sat on my sand-bank to-day, looking at a finely-shap- 
ed arrow-head I had found, I could not but recall the forms 
of those uncivilized men who once pitched their wigwams 
under the groves on its border. I saw them circling me, 
in their mazy dance, like a company of demons come from 
the depths of nature, to torment me in my poor condition ; 
they shook their long, straight hair, in raven clouds above 
their flat foreheads, wliile some maidens, who sat in a group 
apart, smiled on me, with tiioso moon-like watery smiles, 
which make meat onco frantic and powerless. Apart from 
the maidens, and the dancing group, to the trunk of a tree, 
bared for the purpose, was bound by tight-drawn sinews 

1843.] Youth of the Poet and the Painter. 179 

a youth, whose curling hair, and pale cheeks showed he 
had been stolen from some other clime. Those fearful 
bands pressed close into his tender flesh, and it seemed the 
blood would gush from them every instant ; yet the expres- 
sion of his countenance was calm and resigned, as if the 
patience of years lay within his unaltering eyes ; as the 
Indian girls smiled, I saw a fainter smile yet, of the same 
cast, flow over his thin cheek, and a tall, muscular chief 
from the dancing group raised his heavy spear and balanced 
it, in his upraised arm, as if he would throw it. 

There was a most glorious sunset this evening, and I 
stood on the high bank of the river to watch it. The long 
line of dancing light was traced from my feet across 
the river, till it sunk at the foot of some black hills. The 
sky above was flecked with spots of fused gold, with a 
lake of the richest blue, surrounded by yellow banks, and 
crimson mountains, rolling and towering into a host of laugh- 
ing rosy clouds. This is the setting of the life in the 
clouds, while our sunlight here falls into the arms of the 
black hills. Still, our little boats dance down the golden 
tide, play with the shining foam, and leave behind a long- 
row of pretty bubbles, which expand and fade in an instant. 
I shall love better to play among the purple mountains, and 
the silver trees. I am haunted to-day by some figures from 
the sky, though O ! how seldom they come. 




My Dear Hope, 

I have received your letter, in which you describe your 
friend Edward, and wish to know my opinion, as to what 
you can do for him, in his present situation. I am not sure 
that I can offer you one suggestion on the subject, which will 
clear your mind of doubt, or render your duty as a friend 
more easy. It is not unknown to you, that 1 have long re- 
garded Edward, from his connection with you, as one of my 

1 80 Youth of the Poet and the Painter. [Oct. 

friends ; and the various conversations we have held upon 
him make me feel, though I have never seen him, as if I 
was an old acquaintance. 

He is one of a class of young persons, who have lately 
sprung into existence, as distinct from the youth of the 
last generation, as Italians from Icelanders, — the children 
of the new birth of the century, whose places have not 
been found. This mania for what is natural, and this 
distaste for conventionalisms, is exhibited as the popular 
idea, yet inaccessible to the class in which he was born, and 
which is the last to feel the auroral influences of reform. 
But not in our day will this new idea of civilization com- 
plete itself, and hence these unconscious reformers will be 
the last to discover their true position. They cannot 
unite themselves with sects or associations, for the centre of 
their creed consists in the disavowal of congregations, and 
they wander solitary and alone, the true madmen of this 
nineteenth century. The youth of our age will be the 
manhood of the next, and though Edward will not become 
a man of the world so deep are his peculiarities, the great 
number of those, who profess a like belief with him, disa- 
vow in later life the ideal tendencies of their early years. 
The vein in them was not a central one, which ran to the 
core of their existence. 

I sympathize with what you say of Edward's family, and 
especially of his mother. Educated as she was, to say 
nothing of her original character, I fear she cannot stand 
in the right place, to see him as he is. She feels sensitive 
about each new step he takes, without comprehending how 
impossible it is for him to run astray in the vices and fol- 
lies, which followed the want of occupation, in the young 
men she was brought up with, and asks anxiously of his 
every movement, how will the world regard this? forgetting, 
how indifferent the .world is of her son's affairs. Your 
desire, that I should write her on the subject, with her 
previous knowledge of my character, I cannot accede to ; 
for though I am older than you, and better known, she 
would have more confidence in what you might furnish. 
If you write, I would not insist on Edward's youth, or ad- 
vance the old common-places, that years will bring discre- 
tion, and experience open closed eyes, as I know you 
would, if you happened to be struck with the folly of the 

1843.] Youth of the Poet and the Painter. 181 

opinion ; I would calmly ask her to wait for a season, and 
not precipitate her judgment, and dwell upon the exquisite 
delicacy of her son's character, which I do not believe 
either she or her daughter appreciate. 

You inquire, " Do you think Ashford a poet, or simply 
a lover of verse, who writes by force of imitation ? " 
What the world generally calls a poet, I believe he will 
never be, that is, to carefully prepare a good many dull- 
verses, print them on the whitest paper, with notes of in- 
troduction, and engage a favorable critic to make them a 
pretty review. Whether he publishes anything, I consider 
doubtful ; but from the poem you showed me, I judge the 
production of verse is natural to him, and that by abund- 
ant encouragement from his friends, he may be led to write 
with more attention to critical rules, though for some 
years he will pay the least possible respect to measure and 
formal art. He will have a favorable beginning for a poet, 
and his verse become the product of necessity and nature. 
I am glad he inclines to so much privacy, for this port-folio 
literature has long had a charm for me, which I cannot 
value too greatly. T would do my best to inspire him with 
a belief in his powers, though I should make a very gradu- 
al approach to any formal criticism of what he may send. 
Above all, I would leave his life to himself. How many 
years I required to untie the dexterous noose, which the 
stern education of my youth knotted about my faculties, 
and in fact, what day passes, in which I do not wage vio- 
lent war with the legends of boyhood. How much more 
difficult for such a person as Edward, who has scarce- 
ly any control over himself, to become free, should he 
once fall into the snare of custom. I hope he will remain 
at Lovedale, as it pleases him, for I long to hear some one 
brought up poetically in nature. Soon enough, time will 
hammer his chains of practice, if they are not forging already. 

M. G. 



My Dear Ned, 

Thou art no more to be come at than the south shore, 
under a north-easter, and I have abandoned all hope of 

1 82 Youth of the Poet and the Painter. [Oct. 

seeing your face again. I have been besought by your 
acquaintances, both male and female, excepting your friend 
Hope, to communicate with you at Lovedale in person, 
and so ''beard the lion in his den." To say nothing of 
the rheumatism, of which I have had several horrible 
twinges lately, I hold any intrusion into your solitude a pal- 
try business ; I am willing to let you alone, and would not 
write you a letter for a Dukedom, was I not the only 
medium of communication between the main land and your 

You have played us a snug trick, and graduated at a 
college of your owm founding. I heard a piece of your 
letter to Hope, which forced the water out of my eyes, as 
if they had been sponges. Your magnificent explosion of 
the College, as if it was a fuze, and very wet at that, ex- 
ceeds in comic these old plays, I am reading ; and if I was 
not a tolerable hand at laughing these many years, I had 
become one at reading that. The President took an oath 
on the four evangelists, that you were mad as a March 
hare ; the Board of Control washed their hands of you 
at once, and you are now no more a member of Triflecut, 
than of Bedlam. Being free of College, consider within 
yourself what line of business you mean to pursue, and 
send us word. Your mother's heart is nearly broken, if 
that affords you any satisfaction, while your sister thinks 
you a cold-hearted villain, just good enough for the State's 
Prison, or the Lunatic Hospital. These agreeable conclu- 
sions, to which I have arrived from actual inspection, 1 
fear will throw a fog over your passage, and perhaps in- 
duce you to put your helm hard up. and run for some 
other beacon. One thing consider settled, you cannot go 
back to College, for they are all your mortal enemies there, 
except Hope, and he is a quiz. 

I am authorized, by your mother, as your oldest male 
relative, to inform you, that you can, if you choose, return 
to Doughnut, and enter the office of Lawyer Smealmin, to 
study law. Smealmin I advised with yesterday. He is a 
dry, spare, plugged-looking creature, with more laws in his 
head than straws in a wheat-stack. He sits at an angle 
of forty-five degrees, and lives on apples and sour milk. 
In his office you will be expected to hold a law book be- 
tween your face and the fire in winter, and in the summer 

1843.] Youth of the Poet and the Painter. 183 

try to keep your temperature low, by drinking iced water, 
and playing the flute. In his premises are two other 
young gentlemen sucking law, who look plump, and ap- 
pear very cheerful. I cannot form an opinion as to your 
fitness for the law, as a profession, but will inform you, 
what is expected of a lawyer, and then you will be able to 
judge for yourself. I was once engaged in a protracted 
law-suit, which lasted three years, and then died of con- 
sumption, its lungs (the lawyers) having absorbed the 
whole substance. If you are a lawyer, you must be able 
to eat two dinners every day, one with your client, and the 
other with the bar ; to purchase a dozen voluines, bound 
in law-calf, and full of law-veal, or, as it is sometimes 
called, mutton-head. In the morning, you enter your 
office at half- past eight, read the paper till nine, and then, 
if you feel able, walk as far as the Court-house. There 
you are provided with a seat by the Sheriff, and cold water 
by the deputy Sheriff. You next stare at the Court, con- 
sisting of one or more judges, twelve jurymen, a crim- 
inal or civil case, four baize tables, and a lot of attorneys. 
You next begin to make motions, which consists in getting 
a case put off, or put on, as you happen to feel, and run 
your eye over the docket, which is kept at the clerk's table, 
in a ledger, for the accommodation of the county, and the 
clerk's family. If it is your case which comes on, you open 
your eyes wide, talk a great deal about nothing, and dine 
with the bar. Occasionally you will feel sleepy after din- 
ner, but awake yourself by smoking a cigar, or driving into 
the country. This, my dear Ned, is the general life of 
lawyers, so far as I have been able to learn, into which you 
can be initiated, if you will only say so. 

Your mother is equally willing you should study medi- 
cine with Doctor Phosphorus, whom I have also consulted. 
Of the two, I should prefer to become a doctor. In this 
case, you enter the medical College, and attend three 
courses of lectures, and pass one examination. Medicine 
seems to be a delicious occupation. You have great priv- 
ileges at the dissecting-room, where you will find a greasy 
demonstrator in a red jacket, cutting up the carcase of a 
refugee Frenchman, who died at the poor-house of starva- 
tion, and as nobody would bury him, took shelter here, in 
the pleasant society of the students. You will be in ad- 

184 Youth of the Poet and the Painter. [Oct. 

dition allowed to visit the public hospital every other day, 
and become acquainted with all the Doughnut paupers, 
who preferred to be scientifically killed by the doctors, to 
unskilful death in the streets by the city authorities. These 
form an interesting class of men, and their diseases are so 
exceedingly compound, that if they cannot die of one 
complaint, they can certainly of some other. Besides this, 
there is Doctor Phosophorus' private practice, who physics 
all the old women gratis, and produces highly diseased 
conditions by artificial methods for the sole benefit of 
science and his students. The medical books are all 
written in what w^e sailors call " hog-Latin," and are far 
more entertaining, than if they were composed in common 
English ; besides nobody can read them, except Doctors. 
As a physician you will not only be compelled to work all 
day, but frequently be called up at night, to visit a three- 
year-old infant, who eat an apple-peel in the morning, and 
has the gripes, besides living two miles in a straight line 
from your office, and when you prescribe, its aflfectionate 
parent will inform you, that she guesses it will do pretty 
well without any physic, and that she only wanted you to 
come and look at it. This, my dear boy, is a delicious 
manner of passing your earthly existence, and has claims 
on your attention, which, I fear, will prove irresistible. — 
There is still left to you, if you choose it, to become a 
merchant, in which condition many of the most respectable 
citizens of Doughnut pass their lives. The great art in 
being a merchant is, to look wise, and ride in a carriage, 
— to build a large house, and invite your friends to dinner. 
At first, very true, you must learn to cipher and write let- 
ters, but this will not detain you long, — the great thing is, 
to look wise, and ride in a carriage. 

I, my dear Ned, have always been accounted a humorist, 
since I came home from my last voyage, mounted a wig, 
and smoked a pipe ; and I believe myself, that I am more 
than half. As to what you really mean to do, 1 will not 
venture one word of advice, for I have been to sea all my 
days, and can tell nothing about what trades suit the land 
best. Only if you begin to do anything, stick to it, like 
a burr, and never desert the ship, as long as you can keep 
a rag dry. Set your canvass, handle your rudder, and 
make straight to some point by the chart of the passage. 
Do'nt flounder about, like a lobster-box, without a tie. 

1843.] Youth of the Poet and the Painter. 185 

Your mother is willing to set off what property belongs 
to you, and let you have the whole control, now and for- 
ever, if you choose ; but I advise you to leave it where it is, 
for it will burn, like as not, in your pockets. 

I have seen more of your friend, Hope, and I maintain 
what I said, the fellow is a quiz, whether he knows it or 
not. A good boy, though, and I am glad he takes so much 
interest in you. The rarest thing in this life is a true 
friend. Interest ties us mostly together, and our chains 
are made of bank-bills. The golden bracelets of love 
unite very few. 

Your Uncle, 



How much more we see of nature in some moods, than 
in others. It seems, I could be for an instant content in the 
sunny beauty of the calm, autumn day. I cannot blame 
my constitution, that varies its sympathy so often, but I 
mourn I am cold and indifferent to the common customs 
and occupations of men. If each man has been entrusted 
with the gift of doing some one thing better than another, 
how happens it, I discover no pursuit which seems my 
rightful destiny ? 

At times, I think I must be a poet ; and am armed with 
a strong resolve to compose some verses, which shall 
utter the music of my thoughts. The rhymes come, 
the essence is wanting, and what I meant for song, has 
only its form. I am desirous to be as humble as a child. 
If I am granted any success, how proud I shall feel ; I 
never ask for a greater blessing. I have this ardent desire 
after verse, if I begin to write, I can think of nothing else, 
either when walking, or in the house. Some spirit in- 
habits the else empty chambers of my mind, and leads me 
after this mirage, over the bare fields of existence, and 
entreats me to quench its thirst at the sweet spring of 
poetry. When I write, and see what poor success I meet, 

VOL. IV. NO. II. 24 

186 Youth of the Poet and the Painter. [Oct. 

I feel more dispirited than before. Was it once thus with 
the masters of song ? I should be glad, had they left the 
record of their experience in their mighty vocation, for I 
might then be better prepared to fail. There remains only 
their beautiful success, and it is impossible to believe they 
faded beneath these harrowing disappointments, under 
which I lie cold and sorrowful. I read the sublime strains 
dejected by my feeble trial to follow their daring footsteps, 
and have concluded many times, that I cannot be a poet. 
Again the desire comes, again I long to sing, and add a 
new thorn to my pillow in my failure. 

You cannot think how singular it is, you should say I 
was born a poet. Your keen eyes, that usually search 
every secret, have been blinded by love. You do not see, 
with the impartiality of a stranger, of what in another, you 
call trifling with the muse, you think, because I send it, 
poetry. I lately wrote some verse which I send you, as I 
do not feel like writing more to-day. 

E. A. 


A VARIED wreath the autumn weaves 
Of cold grey days, and sunny weather, 

And strews gay flowers and withered leaves 
Along my lonely path together. 

I see the golden-rod shine br-ight, 
As sun-showers at the birth of day, 

A golden plume of yellow light. 

That robs the Day-god's splendid ray. 

The aster's violet rays divide 

The bank with many stars for me, 

And yarrow in blanch tints is dyed. 
As moonlight floats across the sea. 

I see the emerald woods prepare 
To shed tlieir vestiture once more, 

And distant elm-trees spot the air 
With yellow pictures softly o'er. 

1843.] Youth of the Poet and the Painter. 187 

1 saw an ash burn scarlet red 

Beneath a pine's perpetual green, 
And sighmg birches hung their head, 

Protected by a hemlock screen. 

Yet light the verdant willow floats 

Above the river's shining face, 
And sheds its rain of hurried notes 

With a swift shower's harmonious grace. 

The petals of the cardinal 

Fleck with their crimson drops the stream, 
As spots of blood the banquet hall, 

In some young knight's romantic dream. 

No more the water-lily's pride 

In milk-white circles swims content. 

No more the blue weed's clusters ride 
And mock the heaven's element. 

How speeds from in the river's thought 

The spirit of the leaf that falls, 
It's heaven in this calm bosom wrought. 

As mine among those crimson walls. 

From the dry bough it spins to greet 

Its shadow in the placid river, 
So might I my companion meet. 

Nor roam the countless worlds forever. 

Autumn, thy wreath and mine are blent 

With the same colors, for to me 
A richer sky than all is lent. 

While fades my dream-like company. 

Our skies glow purple, but the wind 

Sobs chill through green trees and bright grass, 

To-day shines fair, and lurk behind 
The times that into winter pass. 

So fair we seem, so cold we are. 

So fast we hasten to decay. 
Yet through our night glows many a star. 

That still shall claim its sunny day. 

Social Tendencies. [Oct. 


[Continued from Dial for July.] 

Our organic reforms are not organic enough. Or rather 
organic reform throughout all forms and all organism will 
never reach to the life which is in the organ, and that most 
needs reform. Change the present social order altogether, 
and introduce forms entirely new ; let the organs of exhi- 
bition and imbibition for social man be newly created, still 
man himself, who is the being in the organism, remains 
unchanged. He is thereby made no better, and it is his 
bettering which is the one desirable end. Whereas if he 
were elevated, the organization and form of society would 
necessarily be also elevated. Were man drawn to the 
centre, all his circumferential motions would be harmonious. 
Few truths are now more obvious than that reformers them- 
selves need to be reformed. So will it be visible with regard 
to associative experiments. They cannot be better than the 
men and women who jointly make them ; upon whom, 
after all other expedients, the work of reform has to be 

It is not then by means of a vision seen from his pres- 
ent state, that man can project a better life. But by living 
up strictly to-day to his deepest convictions of rectitude, 
there may be opened to him new and deeper consciousness 
to-morrow. Thus not from day to day will he project new 
schemes, but from day to day he lives new life. And in 
this faith, both the scoffer and the hopeful may find a com- 
mon ground for union. This seems to be the mastering 
obstacle. This is the thread which it is so difficult to 
wind up, — a golden thread too, hanging down from heaven 
to earth preserving unbroken man's celestial relation. Man 
appears to progress by a certain law in which time is not 
an essential element. He may be as long as he will, before 
he takes a second step, but he can never attain to the third 
until the second is complete. Social infancy has no fixed 
period, but youth must come next, and manhood afterwards. 
Let the boy be ever so old in years, yet as long as his de- 
light rests in playing at marbles and other childish pursuits. 

1843.] Social Tendencies. 189 

he never ranks as an adult. Our social youth stays too 
long playing at commerce in the market-house. His com- 
mercial marbles have rolled into all places and things, foul 
and clean, from heaps of human flesh to linen and silk, 
and his fingers are yet unwashed. 

Though none of our projectors may yet have alighted 
on it, there is undoubtedly somewhere discoverable the true 
avenue to human happiness. The idea of a true life is 
almost a universal intuition, and by consequence that the 
present life is false. Admitted to be possibly in order when 
contemplated as a whole from beginning to end, yet by 
the pain we experience, we know it to be but the order of 
disorder. Invisible, inaudible, intangible as are pain and 
pleasure, of their reality none can doubt, and such knowl- 
edge should suggest that deeper realities are also in the 
hidden and spirit-world. Amongst such realities this of a 
true life may there be learnt. In no other quarter may it 
successfully be sought. Whence man receives the intuition 
of true life, thence he should seek the knowledge of what 
it is. They, who have received this information from men 
by tradition, will naturally look to men for the solution, 
and to scientific facilities as the means. But they, who 
have the higher authority of a nature for it in themselves, 
will look in the same direction for further advice. To such 
the question now remaining is rather that one only, 
" What are the hindrances to the realization of true life ? " 
For they no longer doubt that there is a true earthly life 
to be realized. 

Consistently with their metaphysics, the advocates of the 
omnipotence of circumstances may plead, that the great and 
prevailing hindrances to heroic and virtuous existence lie 
in the very many untoward conditions by which humanity 
is surrounded. But the really courageous heart takes a 
different view ; and, looking broadly as well as deeply at 
the facts, is free to admit that the great difficulties do not 
reside in the circumambient materialities or spiritualities ; 
neither in the world of actual life nor in that of opinion, 
but in the being itself. Human degeneration is a self-act. 
To an escape from degeneration human volition is ne- 
cessary. The primary hindrance to holy life is to be 
found in the Will itself. Men are not yet disposed for it ; 
they are not yet Willing. In their self-willedness, active and 

1 90 Social Tendencies. l:'' r '[Oct. 

deep, and all-prevalent as it is, there is no room for the 
universal will and impulse to enter. To which the circum- 
stantial philosopher replies to the effect, that man makes 
not his own will or disposition, but that it is made for him 
by circumstances. Not to wander too deeply into the ques- 
tion of free will, nor to assume more than may without 
prejudice be conceded, we may confine the assertion to 
these limits, that so far as man knows what is true and 
good, and is at liberty to act up to his knowledge, he does 
not do so. There is not a resignation to the absolute true 
so far as it is revealed. There is not a sect nor perhaps 
a man at this moment acting fully up to their knowledge 
and perception of right : and that not because of any ob- 
structive influence in the circumstances, but from a lack of 
courage or self-denial or self-resolution, of which there is 
at the best and calmest moments an entire consciousness. 
Each one apprehending the inmost truth has to say, it is in 
myself that the principal hindrance lies. The primal ob- 
struction is in myself, or rather is myself. Something in 
the nature of a sacrifice, a giving up, a forbearing to take, 
is needful on my part ; and no outward influence prevents 
my practising this, which my heart and my head, my feel- 
ings and my rational powers alike demonstrate to be the 
first great needful step in human melioration. 

Either this principle is denied, or it is admitted. If de- 
nied, on account of the supremacy of circumstances, then 
men must be left to suffer and complain, until the despot 
circumstances shall be changed by some other circum- 
stances, which are to be generated of circumstances in some 
manner yet hidden. But if the principle of man's self- 
power, or heaven-derived influence be admitted, then, we 
say, the point is clear, and every one has to avow, it rests 
with me to let the world be amended. I have a revelation 
of the good and true, which is not yet realized so far as I 
am capable of elevating it to practice, and I am not justi- 
fied in looking abroad for reasons for my inertia, when I 
am sensible that the defection is in my own will, in myself, 
in the very identity and individuality of my own existence. 
Next to tiie hindrances which a man discovers in his own 
inmost existence, may be ranked those moral obstructions 
which grow out of his own wilfulness. The opinions, 
thoughts, modes of reasoning, which form, as it were, the 

1843.] Social Tendencies. 191 

store of his mind, have been all collected or formed by 
that will or wilfulness which is his grand misfortune. They 
accord with it ; they are almost one with it. In case, how- 
ever, of a conversion of will, or of a semi-conversion, 
which is a disposition to good, these mental stores are seen 
to be prejudices, conjectures, and habits difficult to be 
overcome. These form the glass through which we doubly 
see all other men and all created things. " Such is the 
condition of man,'^ says Dugald Stewart, " tliat a great 
part of a philosopher's life must necessarily be spent, not 
in enlarging the scope of his knowledge, but in unlearning 
the errors of tlie crowd, and the pretended wisdom of the 
schools." These may be called accumulations on the out- 
side of the soul ; and amongst these may also be classed 
those appetites and passions whose indulgence takes place 
through the body. For they do not, as is sometimes as- 
sumed, belong to the body. The attractions of eating 
and drinking and other sensualities are not attributed 
to our physical nature. Greediness is a vice of the 
soul, which is only manifested, not originated, in the 
body. It is sometimes embodied in heaps of gold and 
silver, at other times in popular applause, or private 
ease, at others in viands and stimulants, at others in 
wife and children. These are but its modes of life ; 
the passion itself is in the soul ; and it but goes forth and 
reenters through the portals of the senses. Such are 
amongst the most potent obstacles to present progress. It 
is not difficult to obtain mental assent to beautiful creeds, 
doctrines, or speculations, which demand no practical 
change in habits or diminution of personal indulgence ; but 
whenever it is proposed in the smallest degree to abridge 
gratifications which hinder the soul's clearness, and really 
prevent progress in goodness, the intellectual powers be- 
come suddenly active, and energies are exhibited which by 
their self-origin put to ignominious flight the notion, that 
man is always mentally ruled by mental circumstances. 
For an original intellect of comparatively surprising acute- 
ness suddenly springs up. It is not until these formidable 
opponents within doors are subdued, that we need look 
abroad for any reasons to account for the non-attainment 
of our convictions of true life. These have, however, been 
so frequently exposed and so diligently assailed, that there 

192 Social Tendencies: [Oct. 

seems little occasion to dwell further on them. They have 
their origin in the same source where as our individual obsta- 
cles are accumulated. Every opinion and principle, right or 
wrong, commenced in an individual mind, and the congre- 
gate acceptance of these we call ciiurch and state, accord- 
ing as they relate to sacred or to secular affairs. The pre- 
judices of art, science, taste, and profession are not small, 
yet they may all more or less be escaped, until they take the 
concrete nature upon them, and become part and parcel 
of church or state. So long as they remain unstamped by 
either of these seals, their plastic nature remains in a semi- 
fluid condition, and the strong-minded individual may 
counteract their oppressions. But as soon as warm spon- 
taneous thoughts are chilled into orthodoxy, the fluid stream, 
which would facilitate our progress, is frozen into an un- 
yielding barrier. 

The clearness with which men see that the present state 
of human affairs is incapable of furnishing to them the de- 
sirable results for which they live, is the hopefullest indica- 
tion observable in the moral horizon. No noisy demagogue, 
no exciting writer is needful to the production of this state 
of mind. Even those, who thrive most brilhantly on what 
is deemed the prosperous side of social arrangements, are 
ready to admit their inefficacy for permanent good. Life 
at the heart appears to be a toilsome engagement in a pro- 
cess which has no termination ; a preparation for which 
there is no post-paration ; a perpetual circulation of steam- 
engine and machinery which do no work beyond moving 
themselves ; a hunting in which nothing is caught ; a shaft 
without an aim ; a pursuit without a goal. 

These are the feelings and views in considerate minds, 
and next follow speculations for the future. Led, or rather 
misled, by the rule of experience, men have in vision be- 
held a public social state, in which every family being de- 
veloped, every want satisfied, every tendency elevated, 
existence should,^become as redolent of bliss as now it is of 
woe. Competition, punishment, dogmatism, private prop- 
erty being banished, there would remain cooperation, 
pleasure, freedom, common property, and a cessation of 
every evil would ensue. But on examination it must be 
concluded, either that such plans do not proceed far enough, 
or_ that they are projected in a wrong direction. They 

1843.] Social Tendencies. 193 

seem to be made too dependent on extensive scientific ar- 
rangements, into which we do not ghde in an almost un- 
observant manner, as the growth of animate bodies pro- 
ceeds, but there is a strained effort to a preordained result 
more comparable to the erection of a dead granite building 
than the perfection of a living being. The future state of 
man will not be any one that is scientifically prophesied, 
although scientific prophecies may have some influence ; 
and so far as they are utterances from the law of life in 
man, they must influence. But in action, men proceed 
socially as they do artistically. Human society is in fact 
an art, and not a science. It is erroneous to treat it ex- 
clusively in a scientific manner. The " science of society " 
is a phrase and an expression of feeling which must be 
superseded by that of the ''art of society," which includes, 
too, the all of science which is needful, but in a subordinate 
manner only. The social art is the engagement and occu- 
pation of the true artist. And as the divisional artist in- 
stinctively proceeds to utter himself through such materials 
as he finds lying about, whether they be rough or refined, 
so the social artist manifests, by the like unerring instinct, 
the law of his being in new life, through whatever social or 
human materials may be present. Both work instinctively. 
The law of criticism is to be developed from their works, 
and their works cannot be constructed according to a pre- 
scribed critical dogma. So far as this artist-spirit is born, 
there is an actual effort to embody it in some work. The 
artist-spirit always recoils from the dictation of science, to 
obey which, would indeed seem to be like a submission of the 
painter's design to the colors and pencils. Society attempt- 
ed wholly on scientific principles, without the central artistic 
nature, would be found as impracticable as the opposite at- 
tempt of producing an outward work or object of art with- 
out the aid of science. It is in the marriage of the two, 
that the resulting offspring of an outward social existence 
is possible. As to painters, poets, and sculptors, so 
there is a perpetually new revelation to the social artist, 
but it comes not through science. Science lies on the 
other side ; and it is from the social artistic nature, through 
science as a means, that the revelation is to be made man- 
ifest. This art, like all others, is progressive ; and the 
progress of science, originally an issue from it, yet aids 

VOL. IV. NO. II. 25 

194 Social Tendencies. [Oct. 

it. The music-art developed musical instruments, and 
scientific improvements lend an aid in return to the artist 
in his expressions. These are the relative positions of art 
and science ; and if scientifically arranged associations 
have not yet met with that cordial response which their 
benevolent projectors anticipated, they should be reminded 
that this omission is necessarily fatal. Without the femi- 
nine principle, without piety, without poetry, without art, 
as the primal origin, the prevalent idea, no project seems 
worthy of the time and thought required in the attempt to 
realize it. 

Society is worthy in the degree in which art, in this 
sense, rules in it. Because there is no poetry, no warmth 
now in it, is the soul moved to a change. The wrecks of 
feudalism served long to sustain the succeeding crafts and 
guilds ; but these stores being all exhausted, and science 
having swept up every scrap of chivalry to be converted 
into bread, the skill of political economists being now 
worn to its last remnant, some change is demanded to suc- 
cor the famished soul. Now, it is very certain that man 
in this state will take up that which lies nearest to his 
hand. He appears individually incapable of much ; — so 
that a bold conduct on the part of scientific projectors may 
elicit a support they do not legitimately claim. Such a 
course would merely amount to another chapter in the 
present order of disorder, a beautifying on the outside, and 
would not be very productive of either good or harm. We 
shall, in that case, simply have to return, or rather we shall 
still have to discover the right course. 

Again man will adopt that which next is offered, and un- 
less that is in harmony with his true progress, the result is 
again disappointment. Tliere are, however, always two 
roads lying equally near to his feet. One is really out of 
his way, but seductive ; the other is the true way, but is at 
the outset repulsive. Hitherto he has oftenest travelled out 
of his way, or the outer way, and has not really taken up 
that pursuit which lay next him. He still looks abroad for 
that which he can find only at home. He seeks in science 
that which dwells alone in art. Really that which stands 
next to a man to do, is to live up this day, this hour, to the 
best intuition of which he is sensible. This is an inner 
road which it is hard to travel, but the principle is that 

1843.] Social Tendencies. 195 

which all moralists have enunciated, and which they who 
most dilis^ently pursue, are oftenest charged with deserting. 
How mistaken men are as to the cause of their unhappi- 
ness, or how unready they are to admit it, is evident in the 
great variety of subjects to which human misery has been 
attributed. Hereditary monarchy, hereditary aristocracy, 
a law-established church, corrupt parliaments, national 
debts, taxation, machinery, education, ignorance, over-pro- 
duction, over-population, excessive commercial enterprise, 
banking, and various other facts have been suggested to 
account for the discontented condition of man. It 
only needs a geographical survey to see that in coun- 
tries, where most of these afflictions are unknown, happi- 
ness does not yet attend man. A survey of the old or 
eastern continent of the globe shows almost no nations ex- 
empt from most of these forms of ill ; and from the rest, 
the greater part of the new continent is exempt. It is not 
to be denied that more or less of physical misery abounds, 
as these forms of evil more or less prevail, but the soul- 
sickness seems to depend little on these causes. When 
the English emigrant escaped from the dark and dismal 
miseries of the manufacturing town of his birth, to the 
American swamp, he no more left behind him the origin of 
unhappiness than he did his mother tongue ; and we must 
not be surprised to find his descendants heirs to one, as well 
as to the other. Misery they inherit as a generation f 
language they learn to lisp by education. But the initia- 
tion of both is equally certain, and from the same source. 
This fact is, we trust, becoming too well known to permit ma- 
ny more classes of ephemeral reforms or exoteric amendments 
to be seriously proposed or extensively relied on by man- 
kind. It ought to be well understood that to rely so much 
on external plans, which are to be worked by others, is the 
most backsliding and treasonable treatment conceivable of 
that original impulse which is the basis of our amending 
desires. These persons and these plans become the great 
deluders. Their operation is that of throwing a tub to the 
whale. Minds which left alone would become intense in 
purpose, clear in thought, and strong in action, have been in- 
duced to lean on crutches, which will let them down into the 
mire. As soon as the weight is really placed on them, they 
break. Echoes of the great sounds of political economy, 

196 Social Tendencies. [Oct. 

which but a few years ago promised emancipation to man, 
have not all died away. At this forge were to be wrought 
machines to support men in every predicament. Yet how 
soon these fires are cold, and the hammers silent. Econo- 
my as a science has been as little prolific of good, as fac- 
tious party politics. So do all short-sighted schemes wear 
out, and we have to return to the primitive stimulant which 
moves us. Were this the universal course, there would be 
no want of outward concurrence. In fact this is the only 
sound mode for its attainment. Outward union is not 
brought about by calling for it, but by the like spirit work- 
ing in all men. We have now to see whether the present 
appetite is really one in all the individuals, which is partly 
to be known by the sort of food it craves. We have to 
ascertain whether the new spirit is an unfolding from the 
universal basis, and if it tends to one social order. 

Viewed broadly, and as a whole, there is much that is 
cheering in the moral prospect A deeper sense, a purer 
tint, seems spread over all moral thought. Wit has possi- 
bly run almost to the end of its barren career, and must 
await the coming up of affection. 

In the general demand throughout the world for reformed 
government, we remark one of the workings of the youth- 
ful spirit. It is not by an accident ; it is not by local asso- 
ciation that men have become thus like-minded. Sympa- 
thy comes not by the rubbing together of corrupt human 
frames. Unity in mind is not generated by the aggregation 
of bodies. We may no longer fancy that men are urged 
as of old to a demand for political privileges by local or 
temporary scarcity of bread. We can no longer believe 
that the ''■ vox popuW^ issues only from an empty stomach, 
though in famishment it requires a deeper, bolder, wilder 
tone. The politician now seeks rather by the organization 
of imposing numbers, than the array of physical instru- 
ments, to attain his end. His argument now is accumulation 
of minds, not tlie best dry gunpowder. He is no believer 
in force by bodies ; or at least his idea of physical power 
is changed from that of muscular energy, to that of mind, 
as the mover. This is at length brought in as the 
primary element in the new political compound, and is the 
heart in the modern tyrant "public opinion;" a heart 
which joined with an undivided head and an unbroken 

1843.] Social Tendencies. 197 

body would be unbearable. But integrity the body never 
had, and never can have. Integrity is not constituted of 
an aggregate collection, and this is the highest unitive 
idea which occurs to the mind of the political reformer. 

This is the very infancy of central thought ; the crudest 
notion of unity. The development of but one leaf more 
in the human bud exposes the externality of this object, 
and effects a reaction inwards, throwing the mind more 
consciously on itself, when the idea of universal education 
is next vividly entertained. Hence over-honest politicians 
expand into educationists. As soon as it is perceived that 
wise and liberal government is only possible with wise and 
liberal citizens, the effort is to make them so. 

No thinker, at least no benevolent thinker, can have 
missed of the idea of universal education. The redemp- 
tion of all mankind from the degradation of ignorance is 
the aim of every true scholar. The student who labors 
incessantly in his closet, apparently for himself only, is 
working for the entire human race, whether he knows it or 
not ; and ultimately he discovers this fact with exceeding 
joy. The joy of aiding human emancipation by pure men- 
tal means is unknown to the political agitator, who is only 
tolerable in the roughest sketchings of social thought. 
Even the sluggish conservative joins in schemes of educa- 
tion, though with a different motive. For he perceives the 
assuaging effects of literature and gentle pursuits, and re- 
lies on them to tame the public spirit, and spare him a little 
longer the position wherein he stands. 

There is a stage in human development where the frivoilty 
of politics, and the short-coming of education are rendered 
manifest. At this stage, a deeper work is demanded. Po- 
litical reform succeeds political reform, and men are no bet- 
ter — and no happier. Education proceeds, and with it, 
penitentiaries and jails, hospitals and insane asylums are 
multiplied. Churches compass sea and land to make one 
proselyte, and the result is as of old. 

The consciousness of such results frequently drives men 
back to individual narrowness. In his fruitless reliance, the 
publicist turns misanthrope. In contemplation of perverse 
humanity, the mentalist sinks into the book-collector, the 
literary critic, or the speculaiist. The churchman becomes 
a skeptic. 

198 Social Tendencies. [Oct. 

Some few, qualified to act a leading part, are neither 
misanthropic, nor visionary, nor skeptical under any want of 
outward success. They are loveful, real, and faithful. 
But they are not found on every hill-side, nor in every 
study, nor in every factory. In courts and colleges we seek 
them not. With spade, or mallet, or shutde in hand, they 
are to be found, full of youth, and practicality, and hope. 
Of what they really stand in need, many such are yet una- 
ware. Their immediate object is nearly as obscure as the 
deep-moving impulse. Collected, located, united, they 
would be as a city seated on a hill ; while dispersed, they 
are unknown to each other, and are overshadowed by the 
dark mass of the world, by which they are either to be 
wholly hid from light, or suffered to rise in egotistic splen- 
dor equally fatal to all good. 

These are willing laborers ; they shrink not from physi- 
cal nor from mental duties : they desire not to avoid the 
outward responsibilities, in making a provision for the in- 
ward life. The lower necessities they joyfully submit to, 
for the happiness of the higher freedom. The love-spirit 
is strong in them potentially, as the labor-principle is pres- 
ent in them actually. The unitive means alone seem want- 
ing, the mediator between love and labor. 

Baffled, beset, or persecuted by the old hindering spirit, 
as progressive newness ever has been, the first aim is now, 
as in all foretime, to erect a fence against such assaults. 
The few new must defend themselves from the many 
old. The first duty — spirit-integrity ; the first law — 
spirit-conservation, demand such a course. The most 
beautiful corollary of this law, the conservation of good in 
the whole, equally enforces it. 

Are the few new yet numerous enough or strong enough 
to erect this fence in the outward world ? Are they prepared 
to be this stockade ? Are they sufficiently potent and cer- 
tain in being ? Rude may be the assaults attempted from 
without, but ruder far are those which must be mastered 
within. Man meets with a great enemy in the declared 
opponent ; he finds even a greater in false friendship ; but 
his greatest enemies are in his own heart ; verily, just where 
his greatest friend also abides. And there they are, face to 
face, the fiend and the friend. Which shall triumph ? 
Shall we have the strength of friendship to join the old 

1843.] Social Tendencies. 199 

world in its hindering negation, or shall we be embraced 
by tlie love in friendship, and join the new world in its 
creative affirmation ? Onward we must. The distinguish- 
ed mission of the love-enlightened is to create a new 
sphere for the acting man ; to construct a new cradle for 
the infant humanity, to nurse the new-born, to tend the 
weak, to foster the needful, to enlighten the dark, to sym- 
pathize with the lowly, to meliorate the arrogant, to 
sweeten the bitter. 

Creation, construction, generation, not of life itself, but 
of new, beautiful, harmonious modes of it, is now man's 
great work. He is to open a place, to clear an arena for 
the manifestation of spirit under a new aspect. This pre- 
cinct must be kept pure and unspotted from the world, free 
from old corruption in food, in raiment, in law, in com- 
merce, in wedlock. Holiness, innocence, lustre must over- 
spread all things, inspire all acts, permeate all being. Such 
a commencement shall be as the Word in the Beginning, 
in the ever Beginning ; a seed whose tree shall overshadow 
all nations, and find sap for its roots in every soil. 

Although future events are not to be read out of the 
past, yet may the coming be glanced at from the same 
point which generated the past, and generates the present. 
If there be any one fact in human existence deserving the 
character of universal, it is, that every human being enters 
the world as the member of a family. The creator, in 
using two human instruments to produce a third, maintains 
an irreversible decree, which may not be left unconsidered. 
The family may now be an example of anything rather 
than of amity ; yet exist it must ; and from this relation- 
ship all action must be dated. Marriage is something more, 
and something better than a contrivance for the perpetua- 
tion of the animal nature. Universal love rather than old- 
bachelor philosophies may suggest that public kind of 
treatment of children, which has so often been discussed, 
yet at the same time there seems no greater infraction of 
universal love in parental than in connubial affection. Mor- 
al sympathy is the basis of wedded union ; a mental like- 
ness precedes the liking, and these elements, no less than 
physical similarity, are repeated in the offspring. Were 
entire separation of parents and children decreed at the 
earliest movement which physical sustenance permits, sym- 

200 Social Tendencies. [Oct. 

pathy and likemindedness would, in no small number of 
cases, generate an unerring family register, Affection then 
is something ; sympathy, passion, tendency, genius, are to 
be taken into the account. Falsely fed hitherto, they yet 
are true wants in human nature. Universal love is ever 
manifested in individual acts, and on individual objects in 
different degrees. Divinity itself has not made the tree 
and the man susceptible of the same amount of divine 
love ; yet the love is one. Neither can man, though he 
love all objects with the same love, love them all in the 
same degree. The family then need not be a hindrance 
to a love for the whole human race. Nor indeed is it so ; 
though not unfrequently is it made the apology and excuse 
for unloving conduct. Where the family originates in self- 
love, its existence is likely enough to manifest the fact in 
the strongest manner. Marriage and children do not gen- 
erate selfishness, but selfishness generates them. Marriage 
is the mode of it with the married, as is single life with 
the bachelor and the spinster. Marriage and its results 
are not more corrupting than any other social institution ; 
they do but serve to declare in the most marked manner, 
the power which rules in humanity. By its fruits the hu- 
man tree is known. 

Considerations of the kinds here glanced at, indicate the 
possibility for human emergence by easier transition than is 
presented in extended scientific arrangements. While the 
family kindred is a universal ordinance, it is equally cer- 
tain that every individual is related to the whole human 
race ; yet not in the same degree. Divine justice would 
scarcely be perceptible in making the improvement or 
health of one individual wholly dependent on the improve- 
ment and health of every other. In a measure, it is so ; 
but the relation of some is so distant, that the influence 
scarcely reaches. And, at all events, the more it is so, the 
more potent the outward influence may be deemed — the 
greater is the urgency for individual healthfulness. So of 
the family. In the mere fact of association, families will 
not be improved. In the scientific and artistic association 
of families, sometliing may be attained, but such an ar- 
rangement calls for skill in outward arrangements and 
knowledge of human materials, which the world has not 
yet witnessed. And, in the mean time, the regeneration of 

1843.] Social Tendencies. 201 

any one should not be so wholly dependent on the rcgenei- 
ation of all. The one willing should not be a victim of 
the unwilling many. Moreover it is at least questionable 
whether individuals or families can be harmoniously asso- 
ciated until harmony reigns in them individually. 

The family has no more received justice at the hands of 
the world than the individual has. Institutions, laws, cus- 
toms, habits, are as opposed to the well-working of true 
family as of true individual life. Yet it is the fashion to 
condemn the one as the origin of social ill, and to pity the 
other as the victim. Public life commits a serious error, 
on its own principles, when it recognizes individuals, or 
rather individual man only without admitting female influ- 
ences to a like extent. Society is male, not family, not 
humane. The sacredness of the family has only been 
talked about ; while really it never has been profaned. 
The supremacy of the family has not so much as been con- 
templated. Church, state, commerce, wealth, wit, com- 
mand. To the external forms of some of these all family 
claims succumb ; and although, as an idea, it has been 
mentally entertained, and, as a fact, has had its influence, 
yet the position which to the family duly belongs has 
never been awarded. In this the Church and State should 
live. In this alone should they be exhibited in outward 
form ; living form. On no other basis can living forms de- 
pend. Neither Church, nor State, nor Commerce can pro- 
duce one living human being. They are but dead exter- 
nals, animated by so much of life as creeps into them from 
the family origin. Commerce should consist in the inter- 
changes of aftection. The State is rightfully the family 
economies: in this all questions of law, of government, of 
justice should be discussed and determined. The Church 
is nowhere, if not in the holy family : its prayers, its sacra- 
ments, its praises are hourly, continually repeated. 

The necessity for permitting what may be called the 
female element in society to grow up in its due proportion, 
has recently presssed more and more upon the mind. Wo- 
man and her rights, duties, and position, is the theme for 
many pens. In almost all cases, whether of male or female 
authority, the mistake seems to exist, that whatever advance 
woman may make in the social sphere, is to take place by 
reason of a concession granted by man. This is clear- 

VOL. IV. NO. II. 26 

202 Social Tendencies. [Oct. 

ly so large a vice in the premises, that the consequences 
must be vicious too. It must not be so. Man may indeed 
cease to hinder woman's just hfe ; but with no other 
sentiment than that until now he has been in error ; he has 
done too much, and he must now do less that the right 
may be. 

In many other ways, also, we may catch glimpses of a 
coming newness, as much broader in outward character than 
the present, as it is deeper in spirit-origin. That origin 
really may be one, but in the apparent world it works step 
by step. First one round of the ladder is mounted, and 
then another is attained, leading unto a third. We have 
only to be certain that we do go upwards, and are not 
merely shifting our feet and coming back continually to the 
same level. Clearly this is too much the case ; or rather it 
has been. Let us hope the world is wiser now. And 
there is so much the greater promise, inasmuch as for the 
bettering of both man and his conditions, the greater part 
of the achievement consists in that easy process of ceasing 
to do. The honest man inquires, '^ shall I go into trade ?" 
and the prompt response is " no." The aspirant says 
" shall I benefit men as a legislator ? " and common sense 
replies ''you cannot elevate man by degrading yourself." 
The pious mind would find in a church the fraternal sphere 
which conscience tells him the hireling desecrates. How 
much of that which exists, must the new man cease to 
touch. Neither wealth, nor public life, nor church, as at 
present known, presents an attraction to him which he dare 
accept. Cleanliness of hand, of head, of heart, are not 
found compatible with these things. As the laws against 
smugglers, or slave-traders, they are nought to him. He 
touches them not; they touch not him ; unless indeed as 
affording ground for false accusation, of which no small 
share awaits him. In this sense of living out of the pres- 
ent order, the progressive man may be said to outlive it. 
And daily are the ranks of such progressive men augment- 
ed. It is the legitimate order of human progress in this 
twofold manner to eflfect its purpose. He who abstains 
from alcohol, effectively destroys the distilleries, and need 
not be so unwise as to strike his mallet against the building. 
Active destructivcncss is not the function of the true man, 
but his cessation of use causes l)y-gone customs to fall off 
like tattered 

1843.] Socicd Tendencies. 203 

Practically, the steps will be gained somewhat after this 
manner. More and more recruits will daily be enlisted 
from the old crowd, and swell the orderly of the new pha- 
lanx ; but let it not be forgotten that the family relations 
cannot be lightly or irreverently treated. Not in public 
halls, but around the hearth-stone it ever has happened 
that improvement has been first discussed. Not in the noisy 
bustle of life where they are preached, but in the quiet re- 
cesses of home, all high, dignified, and heroic actions have 
their origin. In the family, the last, the noblest, the re- 
deeming secret lies hid. Perhaps it is true that in this cir- 
cle man's fall originated, and in it is perpetuated ; but 
logically and retributively that fact should at least not pre- 
clude, if it does not confirm the prognostic, that in the fami- 
ly are to be sown the permanent seeds of new life. 

Man's healthfullest feelings are of home-origin. Even 
the most ambitious will confess this. Catch the busy 
scribe, on whose pen the public waits for its miserable 
newspaper-wit, or for its political instructions, and he will 
own he hopes by his labors to make his family happy. — 
Speak in private with the orator, and he will admit that 
between the shallow pretensions of his cause, and the 
stimulants necessary to keep up his frame, he is a ruined 
being. Of the wealth-seeker we need make no inquiry. 
His only pretence for chicane is the protection of his family 
from his own morally disastrous process. These pursuits 
are so foreign to the legitimate purpose of life that devo- 
tion to them is social and domestic death ; and, as far as 
permanent good is concerned, the world has to be ever 
begun anew. The public sentiment which now condemns 
war, and slave-trading, and hanging of men, must extend 
its condemnation to the quieter and subtler contrivances of 
legislation, and tradecraft, and presscraft, which more cer- 
tainly obstruct the attainment of human happiness. These 
institutions are equally fatal to the reign of the human 
family, and the highest, purest human affections on earth. 
While the sceptre is in the hands of an artificial and facti- 
tious father called King, or Governor, or President, it can- 
not be with the true parent. All usurped dominion has to 
cease before the lawful empire can be commenced. To 
this consummation, as we predict, there is a strong tenden- 
cy. Notwithstanding the great activity infused into the 

204 Sociol Tendencies. [Oct. 

present order, there is little faith anywhere in its stability. 
ThroneSj credits, estates, fame, may ahnost be calculated 
at so many years' purchase. But there is not yet so clearly 
presented, as some minds desire, that unity on which a new 
faith is to be built. Here lies the difficulty in the new 
movement. Men cannot give up the old rites and cere- 
monies of the church, until they are vitally sensible of the 
ever present God within their own hearts. Men cannot 
abandon courts of law and state legislation, until they are 
fully conscious of the permanence of eternal justice and 
divine law in themselves. Men cannot give up the pur- 
suit of wealth, until they are quite convinced that they are 
themselves the true riches of the earth. It is not on the 
exchange, it is not in the public assembly, it is not in the 
formal church that men will become aware of these deep 
truths. Hence the quivering anxiety to draw them to the 
meeting and the mart. The great opponent of death, as 
the great friend to life, is privacy. Quiet, serenity, vigor of 
soul, originality of thought are fatal to a system which lives 
by noise, bustle, decrepitude, and imitation. 

Sacred precinct is the family : and supreme it should be 
also. Every home-act should be as sacred as the secretest 
emotions in the soul ; effusing a perpetual sabbath. Eve- 
ry humane action is a sacrament, every human effort a work 
of art, having for object its own construction. This is the 
great end in creation. But humanity can only work in 
this order, when connected livingly, purely, generatively 
with the creating spirit. Until then, all is disorder, chaos, 
profanity. All that attracts men, all that engages their at- 
tention, is only tolerated on the excuse of its subserviency 
to the sacredness of home ; a sacredness which is pre- 
tended to be upheld by the very processes which violate its 
sanctuary, so that really it is not. Men are hopefully ask- 
ing why this illusion should be prolonged. And as no sat- 
isfactory response is heard, they ask it more and more 
earnestly. Their earnestness is the omen of its downfall. 

c. L. 

1843.] ElJuiical Scriptures. 205 



[Preliminary Note. Since we printed a few selections from Dr. 
Marsliman's translation of the sentences of Confucius, we have received 
a copy of *' the Chinese Classical Work, commonly called the Four 
Books, translated and illustrated with notes by the late Rev. David 
Collie, Principal of the Anglo-Chinese College, Malacca. Printed at 
the Mission Press." This translation, which seems to have been 
undertaken and performed as an exercise in learning the language, is the 
most valuable contribution we have yet seen from the Chinese literature. 
That part of the work, which is new, is the Memoirs of Mencius in two 
books, the Sliang Mung and Hea Mung, which is the production of Mung 
Tsze (or Mencius,) who flourished about a hundred years after Confucius. 
The subjoined extracts are chiefly taken from these books.] 

All things are contained complete in ourselves. There 
is no greater joy than to turn round on ourselves and be- 
come perfect. 

The human figure and color possess a divine nature, but 
it is only the sage who can fulfil what his figure promises. 

The superior man's nature consists in this, that benevo- 
lence, justice, propriety, and wisdom, have their root in his 
heart, and are exhibited in his countenance. They shine 
forth in his face and go through to his back. They are 
manifested in his four members. 

Wherever the superior man passes, renovation takes 
place. The divine spirit which he cherishes above and 
below, flows on equal in extent and influence with heaven 
and earth. 

Tsze Kung says, The errors of the superior man are 
like the eclipses of the sun and moon. His errors all men 
see, and his reformation all men look for. 

Mencius says. There is not anything but is decreed ; 
accord with and keep to what is right. Hence he, who 
understands the decrees, will not stand under a falling 
wall. He, who dies in performing his duty to the utmost 
of his power, accords with the decrees of heaven. But 
he who dies for his crimes, accords not with the divine de- 

There is a proper rule by which we should seek, and 
whether we obtain what we seek or not, depends on the 
divine decree. 

206 Ethnical Scriptures. [Oct. 

Put men to death by the prhiciples which have for their 
object the preservation of hfe, and they will not grumble. 


Teen, son of the king of Tse, asked what the business 
of the scholar consists in ? Mencius replied, In elevating 
his mind and inclination. What do you mean by ele- 
vating the mind? It consists merely in being benevolent 
and just. Where is the scholar's abode ? In benevolence. 
Where is his road ? Justice. To dwell in benevolence, 
and walk in justice, is the whole business of a great man. 

Benevolence is man's heart, and justice is man's path. 
If a man lose his fowls or his dogs, he knows how to seek 
them. There are those who lose their hearts and know 
not how to seek them. The duty of the student is no 
other than to seek his lost heart. 

He who employs his whole mind, will know his nature. 
He who knows his nature, knows heaven. 

It were better to be without books than to believe all 
that they record. 


Sincerity is the Taou or way of heaven. To aim at it 
is the way of man. 

From inherent sincerity to have perfect intelligence, is 
to be a sage by nature ; to attain sincerity by means of 
intelligence, is to be such by study. Where there is sin- 
cerity, there must be intelligence. - Where intelligence is, 
it must lead to sincerity. 

He who offends heaven, has none to whom he can pray. 

Mencius said. To be benevolent is man. When man 
and benevolence are united, they are called Taou. 

To be full of sincerity, is called beauty. To be so full 
of sincerity that it shines forth in the external conduct, is 
called greatness. When this greatness renovates others, it 
is called sageness. Holiness or sageness which is above 
comprehension, is called divine. 

Perfection (or sincerity) is the way of heaven, and to 
wish for perfection is the duty of a man. It has never 
been the case that he who possessed genuine virtue in the 

1843.] Ethnical Scriptures. 207 

highest degree, could not influence others, nor has it ever 
been the case that he who was not in the highest degree 
sincere could influence others. 

There is a divine nobility and a human nobility. Be- 
nevolence, justice, fidelity, and truth, and to delight in 
virtue without weariness, constitute divine nobility. To 
be a prince, a prime minister, or a great officer of state con- 
stitute human nobility. The ancients adorned divine 
nobility, and human nobility followed it. 

The men of the present day cultivate divine nobility in 
order that they may obtain human nobility ; and when they 
once get human nobility, they throw away divine nobility. 
This is the height of delusion, and must end in the loss of 


Taou is not far removed from man. If men suppose that 
it lies in something remote, then what they think of is 
not Taou. The ode says, " Cut hatchet handles." This 
means of doing it, is not remote ; you have only to take hold 
of one handle, and use it to cut another. Yet if you look 
aslant at it, it will appear distant. Hence the superior man 
employs man, (that is, what is in man,) to reform man. 

When Tsze Loo heard anything that he had not yet fully 
practised, he was afraid of hearing anything else. 

The governor of Yih asked respecting government. Con- 
fucius replied, Make glad those who are near, and those 
who are at a distance will come. 

The failing of men is that they neglect their own field, 
and dress that of others. They require much of others, 
but httle of themselves. 


Mencius said, From this time and ever after I know the 
heavy consequences of killing a man's parents. If you 
kill a man's elder brother, he will kill your elder brother. 
Hence although you do not yourself kill them, you do near- 
ly the same thing. 

When man says, I know well how to draw up an army, 
I am skilled in fighting, he is a great criminal. 

208 Ethnical Scriptures. [Oct. 


Ke Kang asked Confucius respecting government. Con- 
fucius replied, Government is rectitude. 

Ke Kang was harassed by robbers, and consulted Con- 
fucius on the subject. Confucius said, If you, sir, were not 
covetous, the people would not rob, even though you 
should hire them to do it. 

Mencius said, Pih E's eye would not look on a bad color, 
nor would his ear listen to a bad sound. Unless a prince 
w^ere of his own stamp, he would not serve him, and un- 
less people were of his own stamp, he would not employ 
them. In times of good government, he went into office, 
and in times of confusion and bad government, he retired. 
Where disorderly government prevailed, or where disorderly 
people lived, he could not bear to dwell. He thought that 
to live with low men was as bad as to sit in the mud with 
his court robes and cap. In the time of Chou, he dwelt 
on the banks of the North Ka, watching till the Empire 
should be brought to peace and order. Hence, when the 
fame of Pih E is heard of, the stupid become intelligent, 
and the weak determined. 

E Yin said. What of serving a prince not of one's own 
stamp ! What of ruling a people which are not to your 
mind ! In times of good government he went into office, 
and so did he in times of disorder. He said, heaven has 
given life to this people, and sent those who are first en- 
lightened to enlighten those who are last, and has sent 
those who are first aroused to arouse those who are last. I 
am one of heaven's people who ajn first aroused. I will 
take these doctrines and arouse this people. He thought 
that if there was a single man or woman in the Empire, 
who was not benefited by the doctrines of Yaou and Shun, 
that he was guilty of pushing them into a ditch. He took 
the heavy responsibility of the Empire on himself. 

Lew Hea Hooi was not ashamed of serving a dirty 
Prince, nor did he refuse an inferior office. He did not con- 
ceal the virtuous, and acted according to his principles. 
Although he lost his place, he grumbled not. In poverty 
he repined not. He lived in harmony with men of little 
worth, and could not bear to abandon them. He said, 
*' You are you, and I am I ; although you sit by my side 

1843.] Ethnical Scriptures. 209 

with your body naked, how can you defile me? " Hence 
wlien the fame of Lew Hea Hooi is heard of, the mean 
man becomes hberal, and the miserly becomes generous. 


Chung Kung asked, What is perfect virtue ? Confucius 
said, What you do not wish others to do to you, do not 
to them. 

Sze Ma Neu asked. What constitutes perfect virtue ? 
Confucius replied ; It is to find it difficult to speak. " To 
find it difficult to speak ! Is that perfect virtue ?" Confu- 
cius rejoined. What is difficult to practise, must it not be 
difficult to speak ? 

Confucius says, Virtue runs swifter than the royal pos- 
tillions carry despatches. 

The She King says, '' Heaven created all men having 
their duties and the means or rules of performing them. It 
is the natural and constant disposition of men to love beau- 
tiful virtue." Confucius says, that he who wrote this ode 
knew right principles. 

Confucius exclaimed. Is virtue far oflf? I only wish for 
virtue, and virtue comes. 

Confucius said, I have not seen any one who loves virtue 
as we love beauty. 

Confucius says, The superior man is not a machine which 
is fit for one thing only. 

Tze Kung asked. Who is a superior man ? Confucius 
replied, He who first practises his words, and then speaks 

The principles of great men illuminate the whole uni- 
verse above and below. The principles of the superior 
man commence with the duties of common men and 
women, but in their highest extent they illuminate the 

Confucius said, Yew, permit me to tell you what is 
knowledge. What you are acquainted with, consider that 
you know it ; what you do not understand, consider that 
you do not know it ; this is knowledge. 

Confucius exclaimed. How vast the influence of theKwei 
Shin (spirits or gods). If you look for them, you cannot 
see them ; if you listen, you cannot hear them ; they 

VOL. IV. — - NO. II. 27 

210 Via Sacra. [Oct. 

embody all things, and are what things cannot be separated 
from. When they cause mankind to fast, purify, and 
dress themselves, everything appears full of them. They 
seem to be at once above, and on the right, and on the left. 
The ode says, The descent of the gods cannot be com- 
prehended ; with what reverence should we conduct our- 
selves ! Indeed that which is least, is clearly displayed. 
They cannot be concealed. 


Slowly along the crowded street I go, 

Marking with reverent look each passer's face, 

Seeking, and not in vain, in each to trace 

That primal soul whereof he is the show. 

For here still move, by many eyes unseen, 

The blessed gods that erst Olympus kept, 

Through every guise these lofty forms serene 

Declare the all-holding Life hath never slept ; 

But known each thrill that in Man's heart hath been, 

And every tear that his sad eyes have wept. 

Alas for us ! the heavenly visitants, — 

We greet them still as most unwelcome guests, 

Answering their smile with hateful looks askance, 

Their sacred speech with foolish, bitter jests; 

But oh ! what is it to imperial Jove 

That this poor world refuses all his love ! 

C. A. D. 

1843.1 A Winter Walk. 211 


The wind has gently naurmured through the blinds, or 
puffed with feathery softness against the windows, and oc- 
casionally sighed like a summer zephyr lifting the leaves 
along, the livelong night. The meadow mouse has slept 
in his snug gallery in the sod, the owl has sat in a hollow 
tree in the depth of the swamp, the rabbit, the squirrel, and 
the fox have all been housed. The watch-dog has lain 
quiet on the hearth, and the cattle have stood silent in 
their stalls. The earth itself has slept, as it were its first, 
not its last sleep, save when some street-sign or wood-house 
door, has faintly creaked upon its hinge, cheering forlorn 
nature at her midnight work. — The only sound awake 
twixt Venus and Mars, — advertising us of a remote inward 
warmth, a divine cheer and fellowship, where gods are met 
together, but where it is very bleak for men to stand. But 
while the earth has slumbered, all the air has been alive with 
feathery flakes, descending, as if some northern Ceres 
reigned, showering her silvery grain over all the fields. 

We sleep and at length awake to the still reality of a 
winter morning. The snow lies warm as cotton or down 
upon the window-sill ; the broadened sash and frosted 
panes admit a dim and private light, which enhances the 
snug cheer within. The stillness of the morning is impres- 
sive. The floor creaks under our feet as we move toward 
the window to look abroad through some clear space over 
the fields. We see the roofs stand under their snow bur- 
den. From the eaves and fences hang stalactites of snow, 
and in the yard stand stalagmites covering some concealed 
core. The trees and shrubs rear white arms to the sky on 
every side, and where were walls and fences, we see fantastic 
forms stretching in frolic gambols across the dusky land- 
scape, as if nature had strewn her fresh designs over the 
fields by night as models for man's art. 

Silently we unlatch the door, letting the drift fall in, and 
step abroad to face the cutting air. Already the stars 
have lost some of their sparkle, and a dull leaden mist 
skirts the horizon. A lurid brazen light in the east pro- 
claims the approach of day, while the western landscape is 

212 A Winter Walk, [Oct. 

dim and spectral still, and clothed in a sombre Tartarean 
light, like the shadowy realms. They are Infernal sounds 
only that you hear, — the crowing of cocks, the barking 
of dogs, the chopping of wood, the lowing of kine, all 
seem to come from Pluto's barn-yard and beyond the 
Styx ; — not for any melancholy they suggest, but their 
twilight bustle is too solemn and mysterious for earth. 
The recent tracks of the fox or otter, in the yard, remind 
us that each hour of the night is crowded with events, 
and the primeval nature is still working and making 
tracks in the snow. Opening the gate, we tread briskly 
along the lone country road, crunching the dry and 
crisped snow under our feet, or aroused by the sharp clear 
creak of the wood-sled, just starting for the distant mar- 
ket, from the early farmer's door, where it has lain the 
summer long, dreaming amid the chips and stubble. 
For through the drifts and powdered windows we see 
the farmer's early candle, like a paled star, emitting a 
lonely beam, as if some severe virtue were at its matins 
there. And one by one the smokes begin to ascend from 
the chimneys amidst the trees and snows. 

The sluggish smoke curls up from some deep dell, 
The stiffened air exploring in the dawn. 
And making slow acquaintance with the day ; 
Delaying now upon its heavenward course, 
In wreathed loiterings dallying with itself, 
With as uncertain purpose and slow deed, 
As its half-wakened master by the hearth, 
Whose mind still slumbering and- sluggish thoughts 
Have not yet swept into the onward current 
Of the new day ; — and now it streams afar, 
The while the chopper goes with step direct, 
And mind intent to swing the early axe. 

First in the dusky dawn he sends abroad 
His early scout, his emissary, smoke, 
The earliest, latest pilgrim from the roof, 
To feel the frosty air, inform the day ; 
And while he crouches still beside the hearth. 
Nor musters courage to unbar the door, 
It has gone down tiic glen with the light wind, 
And o'er the plain unfurled its venturous wreath. 
Draped the tree tops, loitered upon the hill. 
And warmed the pinions of the early bird; 

1843.] A Winter Walk. 213 

And now, perchance, high in the crispy air, 
Has caught sight of the day o'er the earth's edge, 
And greets its master's eye at his low door, 
As some refulgent cloud in the upper sky. 

We hear the sound of wood-chopping at the farmers' 
doors, far over the frozen earth, the baying of the house 
dog, and the distant clarion of the cock. The thin and 
frosty air conveys only the finer particles of sound to our 
ears, with short and sweet vibrations, as the waves sub- 
side soonest on the purest and lightest liquids, in which 
gross substances sink to the bottom. They come clear 
and bell-like, and from a greater distance in the horizon, 
as if there were fewer impediments than in summer to 
make them faint and ragged. The ground is sonorous, 
like seasoned wood, and even the ordinary rural sounds 
are melodious, and the jingling of the ice on the trees 
is sweet and liquid. There is the least possible moisture 
in the atmosphere, all being dried up, or congealed, and 
it is of such extreme tenuity and elasticity, that it 
becomes a source of delight. The withdrawn and 
tense sky seems groined like the aisles of a cathe- 
dral, and the polished air sparkles as if there were 
crystals of ice floating in it. Those who have resided 
in Greenland, tell us, that, when it freezes, ''the sea 
smokes like burning turf land, and a fog or mist arises, 
called frost smoke," which " cutting smoke frequently 
raises blisters on the face and hands, and is very pernic- 
ious to the health." But this pure stinging cold is an 
elixir to the lungs, and not so much a frozen mist, as a 
crystallized mid-summer haze, refined and purified by 

The sun at length rises through the distant woods, as 
if with the faint clashing swinging sound of cymbals, 
melting the air with his beams, and with such rapid steps 
the morning travels, that already his rays are gilding the_ 
distant western mountains. We step hastily along through 
the powdery snow, warmed by an inward heat, enjoying 
an Indian summer still, in the increased glow of thought 
and feeling. Probably if our lives were more conformed 
to nature, we should not need to defend ourselves against 
her heats and colds, but find her our constant nurse and 

214 A Winter Walk. [Oct. 

friend, as do plants and quadrupeds. If our bodies were 
fed with pure and simple elements, and not with a stimu- 
lating and heating diet, they would afford no more pasture 
for cold than a leafless twig, but thrive like the trees, 
which find even winter genial to their expansion. 

The wonderful purity of nature at this season is a most 
pleasing fact. Every decayed stump and moss-grown 
stone and rail, and the dead leaves of autumn, are con- 
cealed by a clean napkin of snow. In the bare fields and 
tinkling woods, see what virtue survives. In the coldest 
and bleakest places, the warmest charities still maintain 
a foot-hold. A cold and searching wind drives away all 
contagion, and nothing can withstand it but what has a 
virtue in it ; and accordingly, whatever we meet with in 
cold and bleak places, as the tops of mountains, we 
respect for a sort of sturdy innocence, a Puritan tough- 
ness. All things beside seem to be called in for shelter, 
and what stays out must be part of the original frame of 
the universe, and of such valor as God himself. It is in- 
vigorating to breathe the cleansed air. Its greater fine- 
ness and purity are visible to the eye, and we would fain 
stay out long and late, that the gales may sigh through 
us too, as through the leafeless trees, and fit us for the 
winter: — as if we hoped so to borrow some pure and 
steadfast virtue, which will stead us in all seasons. 

At length we have reached the edge of the woods, 
and shut out the gadding town. We enter within their 
covert as we go under the roof of a cottage, and cross its 
threshold, all ceiled and banked up with snow. They 
are glad and warm still, and as genial and cheery in 
winter as in summer. As we stand in the midst of the 
pines, in the flickering and checkered light which strag- 
gles but little way into their maze, we wonder if the 
towns have ever heard their simple story. It seems to 
us that no traveller has ever explored them, and notwith- 
standing the wonders which science is elsewhere reveal- 
ing every day, who would not like to hear their annals ? 
Our humble villages in the plain, are their contribution. 
We borrow from the forest the boards which shelter, and 
the sticks which warm us. How important is their 
evergreen to the winter, that portion of the summer 
which does not fade, the permanent year, the un withered 

1843.J A Winter Walk. 215 

grass. Thus simply, and with little expense of altitude, 
is the surface of the earth diversified. What would hu- 
man life be without forests, those natural cities? From 
the tops of mountains they appear like smooth shaven 
lanes, yet whither shall we walk but in this taller grass? 

There is a slumbering subterranean fire in nature 
which never goes out, and which no cold can chill. It 
finally melts the great snow, and in January or July is 
only buried under a thicker or thinner covering. In the 
coldest day it flows somewhere, and the snow melts 
around every tree. This field of winter rye, which 
sprouted late in the fall, and now speedily dissolves the 
snow, is where the fire is very thinly covered. We feel 
warmed by it. In the winter, warmth stands for all vir- 
tue, and we resort in thought to a trickling rill, with its 
bare stones shining in the sun, and to warm springs in 
the woods, with as much eagerness as rabbits and robins. 
The steam which rises from swamps and pools, is as dear 
and domestic as that of our own kettle. What fire 
could ever equal the sunshine of a winter's-day, when 
the meadow mice come out by the wallsides, and the 
chicadee lisps in the defiles of the wood ? The warmth 
comes directly from the sun, and is not radiated from the 
earth, as in summer; and when we feel his beams on 
our back as we are treading some snowy dell, we are 
grateful as for a special kindness, and bless the sun which 
has followed us into that by-place. 

This subterranean fire has its altar in each man's breast, 
for in the coldest day, and on the bleakest hill, the traveler 
cherishes a warmer fire within the folds of his cloak 
than is kindled on any hearth. A healthy man, indeed, 
is the complement of the seasons, and in winter, summer 
is in his heart. There is the south. Thither have all 
birds and insects migrated, and around the warm springs 
in his breast are gathered the robin and the lark. 

In this glade covered with bushes of a year's growth, 
see how the silvery dust lies on every seared leaf and 
twig, deposited in such infinite and luxurious forms as by 
their very variety atone for the absence of color. Ob- 
serve the tiny tracks of mice around every stem, and 
the triangular tracks of the rabbit. A puEe elastic heaven 
hangs over all, as if the impurities of the summer sky, 

216 A Winter Walk. [Oct. 

refined and shrunk by the chaste winter's cold, had 
been winnowed from the heavens upon the earth. 

Nature confounds her summer distinction at this season. 
The heavens seem to be nearer the earth. The elements 
are less reserved and distinct. Water turns to ice, rain 
to snow. The day is but a Scandinavian night. The 
winter is an arctic summer. 

How much more living is the life that is in nature, 
the furred life which still survives the stinging nights, and, 
from amidst fields and woods covered with frost and snow, 
sees the sun rise. 

*' The foodless wilds 
Pour forth their brown inhabitants." 

The grey-squirrel and rabbit are brisk and playful in the 
remote glens, even on the morning of the cold Friday. 
Here is our Lapland and Labrador, and for our Esquimaux 
and Knistenaux, Dog-ribbed Indians, Novazemblaites, 
and Spitzbergeners, are there not the ice-cutter and wood- 
chopper, the fox, muskrat, and mink ? 

Still, in the midst of the arctic day, we may trace the 
summer to its retreats, and sympathize with some con- 
temporary life. Stretched over the brooks, in the midst of 
the frost-bound meadows, we may observe the submarine 
cottages of the caddice worms, the larvae of the Plicipen- 
nes. Their small cylindrical caves built around them- 
selves, composed of flags, sticks, grass, and withered 
leaves, shells and pebbles, in form and color like the 
wrecks which strew the bottom — now drifting along 
over the pebbly bottom, now whirling in tiny eddies and 
dashing down steep falls, or sweeping rapidly along with 
the current, or else swaying to and fro at the end of some 
grass blade or root. Anon they will leave their sunken 
habitations, and crawling up the stems of plants, or float- 
ing on the surface like gnats, or perfect insects, hence- 
forth flutter over the surface of the water, or sacrifice 
their short lives in the flame of our candles at evening. 
Down yonder little glen the shrubs are drooping under 
their burden, and the red alder-berries contrast with the 
white ground. Here are the marks of a myriad feet 
which have already been abroad. The sun rises as proudly 
over such a glen, as over the valley of the Seine or the 

1843.] A Winter Walk. 217 

Tiber, and it seems the residence of a pure and self-sub- 
sistent valor, such as they never witnessed ; which never 
knew defeat nor fear. Here reign the simphcity and purity 
of a primitive age, and a heahh and hope far remote from 
towns and cities. Standing quite alone, far in the forest, 
while the wind is shakhig down snow from the trees, and 
leaving the only human tracks behind us, we find our re- 
flections of a richer variety than the life of cities. The 
chicadee and nut-hatch are more inspiring society than 
the statesmen and philosophers, and we shall return to 
these last, as to more vulgar companions. In this 
lonely glen, with its brook draining the slopes, its creased 
ice and crystals of all hues, where the spruces and hem- 
locks stand up on either side, and the rush and sere wild 
oats in the rivulet itself, our lives are more serene and wor- 
thy to contemplate. 

As the day advances, the heat of the sun is reflected 
by the hillsides, and we hear a faint but sweet music, 
where flows the rill released from its fetters, and the 
icicles are melting on the trees ; and the nut-hatch and 
partridge are heard and seen. The south wind melts the 
snow at noon, and the bare ground appears with its with- 
ered grass and leaves, and we are invigorated by the per- 
fume which expands from it, as by the scent of strong 

' Let us go into this deserted woodman's hut, and see 
how he has passed the long winter nights and the short 
and stormy days. For here man has lived under this 
south hill-side, and it seems a civilized and public spot. 
We have such associations as when the traveller stands 
by the ruins of Palmyra or Hecatompolis. Singing birds 
and flowers perchance have begun to appear here, for 
flowers as well as weeds follow in the footsteps of man. 
These hemlocks whispered over his head, these hickory 
logs were his fuel, and these pitch-pine roots kindled his 
fire; yonder foaming rill in the hollow, whose thin and 
airy vapor still ascends as busily as ever, though he is far 
ofi'now, was his well. These hemlock boughs, and the 
straw upon this raised platform, were his bed, and this 
broken dish held his drink. But he has not been here 
this season, for the phaebes built their nest upon this 
shelf last summer. I find some embers left, as if he had 

VOL. IV. NO. II. 28 

218 A Winte7' Walk. [Oct. 

but just gone out, where he baked his pot of beans, and 
while at evening he smoked his pipe, whose stemless 
bowl lies in the ashes, chatted with his only companion, 
if perchance he had any, about the depth of the snow on 
the morrow, already falling fast and thick without, or 
disputed whether the last sound was the screech of an 
owl, or the creak of a bough, or imagination only ; and 
through this broad chimney-throat, in the late winter 
evening, ere he stretched himself upon the straw, he 
looked up to learn the progress of the storm, and seeing the 
bright stars of Cassiopeia's chair shining brightly down 
upon him, fell contentedly asleep. 

See how many traces from which we may learn the 
chopper's history. From this stump Ave may guess the 
sharpness of his axe, and from the slope of the stroke, on 
which side he stood, and whether he cut down the tree 
without going round it or changing hands ; and from the 
flexure of the splinters we may know which way it fell. 
This one chip contains inscribed on it the whole history 
of the wood-chopper and of the world. On this scrap of 
paper, which held his sugar or salt, perchance, or was the 
wadding of his gun, sitting on a log in the forest, with 
what interest we read the tattle of cities, of those larger 
huts, empty and to let, like this, in High-streets, and 
Broad-ways. The eaves are dripping on the south side 
of this simple roof, while the titmouse lisps in the pine, 
and the genial warmth of the sun around the door is 
somewhat kind and human. 

After two seasons, this rude dwelling does not deform 
the scene. Already the birds resort to it, to build their 
nests, and you may track to its door the feet of many 
quadrupeds. Thus, for a long time, nature overlooks the 
encroachment and profanity of man. The wood still 
cheerfully and unsuspiciously echoes the strokes of the 
axe that fells it, and while they are few and seldom, 
they enhance its wildness, and all the elements strive to 
naturalize the sound. 

Now our path begins to ascend gradually to the top of 
this high hill, from whose precipitous south side, we can 
look over the broad country, of forest, and field, and 
river, to the distant snowy mountains. See yonder thin 
column of smoke curling up through the woods from 

1843.] A Winter Walk. 219 

some invisible farm-house ; the standard raised over some 
rural homestead. There must be a warmer and more 
genial spot there below, as where we detect the vapor 
from a spring forming a cloud above the trees. What 
fine relations are established between the traveller who 
discovers this airy coUunn from some eminence in the 
forest, and him who sits below. Up goes the smoke as 
silently and naturally as the vapor exhales from the leaves, 
and as busy disposing itself in wreathes as the house- 
wife on the hearth below. It is a hieroglyphic of man's 
life, and suggests more intimate and important things 
than the boiling of a pot. Where its fine cokimn rises 
above the forest, like an ensign, some human life has 
planted itself, — and such is the beginning of Rome, the 
establishment of the arts, and the foundation of empires, 
whether on the prairies of America, or the steppes of 

And now we descend again to the brink of this woodland 
lake, which lies in a hollow of the hills, as if it were their 
expressed juice, and that of the leaves, which are annu- 
ally steeped in it. Without outlet or inlet to the eye, it 
has still its history, in the lapse of its waves, in the 
rounded pebbles on its shore, and on the pines which 
grow down to its brink. It has not been idle, though 
sedentary, but, like Abu Musa, teaches that '' sitting still 
at home is the heavenly way ; the going out is the 
way of the world." Yet in its evaporation it travels as 
far as any. In summer it is the earth's liquid eye ; a 
mirror in the breast of nature. The sins of the wood are 
washed out in it. See how the woods form an amphi- 
theatre about it, and it is an arena for all the genialness 
of nature. All trees direct the traveller to its brink, all 
paths seek it out, birds fly to it, quadrupeds flee to it, 
and the very ground inclines toward it. It is nature's 
saloon, where she has sat down to her toilet. Con- 
sider her silent economy and tidiness ; how the sun 
comes with his evaporation to sweep the dust from its 
surface each morning, and a fresh surface is constantly 
welling up ; and annually, after whatever impurities 
have accumulated herein, its liquid transparency appears 
again in the spring. In summer a hushed music seems 
to sweep across its surface. But now a plain sheet of 

220 ^ A Winter Walk. [Oct. 

snow conceals it from our eyes, except when the wind 
has swept the ice bare, and the sere leaves are gliding 
from side to side, tacking and veering on their tiny 
voyages. Here is one just keeled up against a pebble on 
shore, a dry beach leaf, rocking still, as if it would soon 
start again. A skilful engineer, methinks, might project 
its course since it fell from the parent stem. Here are 
all the elements for such a calculation. Its present posi- 
tion, the direction of the wind, the level of the pond, and 
how much more is given. In its scarred edges and veins 
is its log rolled up. 

We fancy ourselves in the interior of a larger house. 
The surface of the pond is our deal table or sanded floor, 
and the woods rise abruptly from its edge, like the walls of 
a cottage. The lines set to catch pickerel through the 
ice look like a larger culinary preparation, and the men 
stand about on the white ground like pieces of forest fur- 
niture. The actions of these men, at the distance of 
half a mile over the ice and snow, impress us as when 
we read the exploits of Alexander in history. They seem 
not unworthy of the scenery, and as momentous as the 
conquest of kingdoms. 

Again we have wandered through the arches of the 
wood, until from its skirts we hear the distant booming 
of ice from yonder bay of the river, as if it were moved 
by some other and subtler tide than oceans know. To 
me it has a strange sound of home, thrilling as the voice of 
one's distant and noble kindred. A mild summer sun 
shines over forest and lake, and though there is but one 
green leaf for many rods, yet nature enjoys a serene 
health. Every sound is fraught with the same mysteri- 
ous assurance of health, as well now the creaking of the 
boughs in January, as the soft sough of the wind in 

, When Winter fringes every bough 

With his fantastic wreath, 
And puts the seal of silence now 
Upon the leaves beneath ; 

When every stream in its pent-house 
Goes gurgling on its way, 

1843.] A Winter Walk. 221 

And in his gallery the mouse 
Nibbleth the meadow hay ; 

Methinks the summer still is nigh, 

And lurketh underneath, 
As that same meadow mouse doth lie 

Snug in the last year's heath. 

And if perchance the chicadee 

Lisp a faint note anon, 
The snow is summer's canopy, 

Which she herself put on. 

Fair blossoms deck the cheerful trees, 

And dazzling fruits depend, 
The north wind sighs a summer breeze, 

The nipping frosts to fend, 

Bringing glad tidings unto me. 

The while I stand all ear, 
Of a serene eternity. 

Which need not winter fear. 

Out on the silent pond straightway 

The restless ice doth crack. 
And pond sprites merry gambols play 

Amid the deafening rack. 

Eager I hasten to the vale, 

As if I heard brave news. 
How nature held high festival, 

Which it were hard to lose. 

I gambol with my neighbor ice. 

And sympathizing quake, 
As each new crack darts in a trice 

Across the gladsome lake. 

One with the cricket in the ground. 

And faggot on the hearth. 
Resounds the rare domestic sound 

Along the forest path. 

Before night we will take a journey on skates along 
the course of this meandering river, as full of novelty to 

222 A Winter Walk. [Oct. 

one who sits by the cottage fire all the winter's day, as 
if it were over the polar ice, with captain Parry or 
Fraiildiu ; following the winding of the stream, now 
flowing amid hills, now spreading out into fair meadows, 
and forming a myriad coves and bays where the pine 
and hemlock overarch. The river flows in the rear of 
the towns, and we see all things from a new and wilder 
side. The fields and gardens come down to it with a 
frankness, and freedom from pretension, which they do 
not wear on the highway. It is the outside and edge 
of the earth. Our eyes are not offended by violent con- 
trasts. The last rail of the farmer's fence is some sway- 
ing willow bough, which still preserves its freshness, and 
here at length all fences stop, and we no longer cross any 
road. We may go far up within the country now by the 
most retired and level road, never climbing a hill, but by 
broad levels ascending to the upland meadows. It is a 
beautiful illustration of the law of obedience, the flow of 
a river ; the path for a sick man, a highway down which 
an acorn cup may float secure with its freight. Its slight 
occasional falls, whose precipices would not diversify the 
landscape, are celebrated by mist and spray, and attract 
the traveller from far and near. From the remote in- 
terior, its current conducts him by broad and easy steps, 
or by one gentle inclined plain, to the sea. Thus by an 
early and constant yielding to the inequalities of the 
ground, it secures itself the easiest passage. 

No dominion of nature is quite closed to man at all 
times, and now we draw near to the empire of the fishes. 
Our feet glide swiftly over unfathomed depths, where in 
summer our line tempted the pout and perch, and where 
the stately pickerel lurked in the long corridors, formed 
by the bulrushes. The deep, impenetrable marsh, where 
the heron waded, and bittern squatted, is made pervious 
to our swift shoes, as if a thousand raih'oads had been 
made into it. With one impulse we are carried to the 
cabin of the muskrat, that earliest settler, and see him 
dart away under the transparent ice, like a furred fish, to 
his hole in the bank; and we glide rapidly over meadows 
where lately "the mower whet his scythe," through 
beds of frozen cranberries mixed with meadow grass. 
We skate near to where the blackbird, the pewee, and 

1843.] A Winter Walk. 223 

the kingbird hung their nests over the water, and the 
hornets builded from the maple on the swamp. How 
many gay warblers now following the sun, have radiated 
from this nest of silver birch and thistle down. On the 
swamp's outer edge was hung the supermarine village, 
Avhere no foot penetrated. In this hollow tree the wood- 
duck reared her brood, and slid away each day to forage 
in yonder fen. 

In winter, nature is a cabinet of curiosities, full of dried 
specimens, in their natural order and position. The 
meadows and forests are a hortus siccus. The leaves 
and grasses stand perfectly pressed by the air without 
screw or gum, and the bird's nests are not hung on an 
artificial twig, but where they builded them. We go 
about dry-shod to inspect the summer's work in the rank 
swamp, and see what a growth have got the alders, the 
willows, and the maples ; testifying to how many warm 
suns, and fertilizing dews and showers. See what strides 
their boughs took in the luxuriant summer, — -and anon 
these dormant buds will carry them onward and up- 
ward another span into the heavens. 

Occasionally we Avade through fields of snow, under 
whose depths the river is lost for many rods, to appear 
again to the right or left, where we least expected ; still 
holding on its way underneath, with a faint, stertorous, 
rumbling sound, as if, like the bear and marmot, it too 
had hibernated, and we had followed its faint summer trail 
to where it earthed itself in snow and ice. At first we 
should have thought that rivers would be empty and dry 
in mid winter, or else frozen solid till the spring thawed 
them ; but their volume is not diminished even, for only a 
superficial cold bridges their surface. The thousand springs 
which feed the lakes and streams are flowing still. The 
issues of a few surface springs only are closed, and they 
go to swell the deep reservoirs. Nature's wells are below 
the frost. The summer brooks are not filled with snow- 
water, nor does the mower quench his thirst with that 
alone. The streams are SAvollen when the snow melts in 
the spring, because nature's work has been delayed, the 
water being turned into ice and snow, whose particles 
are less smooth and round, and do not find their level so 

224 A Winter Walk. [Oct. 

Far over the ice, between the hemlock woods and 
snow-clad hills, stands the pickerel fisher, his lines set in 
some retired cove, like a Finlander, with his arms thrust 
into the pouches of his dreadnought ; with dull, snowy, 
fishy thoughts, himself a finless fish, separated a few 
inches from his race ; dumb, erect, and made to be en- 
veloped in clouds and snows, like the pines on shore. 
In these wild scenes, men stand about in the scenery, or 
move deliberately and heavily, having sacrificed the 
sprightliness and vivacity of towns to the dumb sobriety 
of nature. He does not make the scenery less wild, more 
than the jays and muskrats, but stands there as a part of 
it, as the natives are represented in the voyages of early 
navigators, at Nootka sound, and on the North-west 
coast, with their furs about them, before they were 
tempted to loquacity by a scrap of iron. He belongs to 
the natural family of man, and is planted deeper in na- 
ture and has more root than the inhabitants of towns. 
Go to him, ask what luck, and you will learn that he too 
is a worshipper of the unseen. Hear with what sincere 
deference and waving gesture in his tone, he speaks of 
the lake pickerel, which he has never seen, his primitive 
and ideal race of pickerel. He is connected with the 
shore still, as by a fish-line, and yet remembers the sea- 
son when he took fish through the ice on the pond, while 
the peas were up in his garden at home. 

But now, while Ave have loitered, the clouds have 
gathered again, and a few straggling snow-flakes are 
beginning to descend. Faster and faster they fall, shutting 
out the distant objects from sight. The snow falls on 
every wood and field, and no crevice is forgotten ; by the 
river and the pond, on the hill and in the valley, (iuad- 
rupeds are confined to their coverts, and the birds sit upon 
their perches this peaceful hour. There is not so much 
sound as in fair weather, but silently and gradually every 
slope, and the grey walls and fences, and the polished 
ice, and the sere leaves, which were not buried before, 
are concealed, and the tracks of men and beasts are lost. 
With so little effort does nature reassert her rule, and 
blot out the traces of men. Hear how Homer has de- 
scribed the same. " The snow flakes fall thick and fast 
on a winter's day. The winds arc lulled, and the snow falls 

1843.] A Winter Walk. 225 

incessant, covering the top of the mountains, and the 
hills, and the plains where the lotus tree grows, and the 
cultivated fields, and they are falling by the inlets and 
shores of the foaming sea, but are silently dissolved by 
the waves." The snow levels all things, and infolds 
them deeper on the bosom of nature, as, in the slow 
summer, vegetation creeps np to the entablature of the 
temple, and the turrets of the castle, and helps her to 
prevail over art. 

The surly night-wind rustles through the wood, and 
warns us to retrace our steps, while the sun goes down 
behind the thickening storm, and birds seek their roosts, 
and cattle their stalls. 

" Drooping the lab'rer ox 
Stands- covered o'er with snow, and now demands 
The fruit of all his toil." 

Though winter is represented in the almanac as an old 
man, facing the wind and sleet, and drawing his cloak about 
him, we rather think of him as a merry wood-chopper, 
and warm-blooded youth, as blithe as summer. The 
unexplored grandeur of the storm keeps up the spirits of 
the traveller. It does not trifle with us, but has a sweet 
earnestness. In winter we lead a more inward life. Our 
hearts are warm and merry, like cottages under drifts, 
whose windows and doors are half concealed, but from 
whose chimneys the smoke cheerfully ascends. The 
imprisoning drifts increase the sense of comfort which 
the house affords, and in the coldest days we are content 
to sit over the hearth and see the sky through the chim- 
ney top, enjoying the quiet and serene life that may be 
had in a warm corner by the chimney side, or feeling our 
pulse by listening to the low of cattle in the street, or the 
sound of the flail in distant barns all the long afternoon. 
No doubt a skilful physician could determine our health 
by observing how these simple and natural sounds affected 
us. We enjoy now, not an oriental, but a boreal leisure, 
around warm stoves and fire-places, and watch the 
shadow of motes in the sunbeams. 

Sometimes our fate grows too homely and familiarly 
serious ever to be cured. Consider how for three months 
the human destiny is wrapped in furs. The good Hebrew 

VOL. IV. NO. II. 29 

226 The Three Dimensions. [Oct. 

revelation takes no cognizance of all this cheerful snow. 
Is there no religion for the temperate and frigid zones? 
We know of no scripture which records the pure benig- 
nity of the gods on a New England winter night. 
Their praises have never been sung, only their wrath 
deprecated. The best scripture, after all, records but a 
meagre faith. Its saints live reserved and austere. Let 
a brave devout man spend the year in the woods of 
Maine or Labrador, and see if the Hebrew scriptures 
speak adequately of his condition and experience, from 
the setting in of winter to the breaking up of the ice. 

Now commences, the long winter evening around the 
farmer's hearth, when the thoughts of the indwellers 
travel far abroad, and men are by nature and necessity 
charitable and liberal to all creatures. Now is the happy 
resistance to cold, when the farmer reaps his reward, and 
thinks of his preparedness for winter, and through the 
glittering panes, sees with equanimity " the mansion of the 
northern bear," for now the storm is over, 

" The full ethereal round, 
Infinite worlds disclosing to the view, 
Shines out intensely keen ; and all one cope 
Of starry glitter glows from pole to pole." 

H. D. T. 


" Room for the spheres !" — then first they shined, 

And dived into the ample sky ; 

" Room ! room !" cried the new mankind, 

And took the oath of liberty. 

Room ! room ! willed the opening mind, 

And found it in Variety. 

1843.1 Voyage to Jamaica. 2i27 


[Continued from Dial for July.] 

The sect which exercises by far the greatest influence 
over the colored population, and especially the " peasantry, " 
as the plantation negroes have been called since their 
emancipation, is the Baptist. The people of this sect are 
much the most numerous denomination of Christians on 
the island, and their preachers espouse the cause of the 
laboring blacks, with great zeal. The largest congregation 
in Kingston is under the charge of Mr. Killish, a baptist 
preacher, whose place of worship is a little way out of 
town, on the " Windward Road." According to the 
" Jamaica Almanack," his church numbers more than 1700 
communicants. 1 set out with the purpose of attending 
there one afternoon, but a heavy shower of rain delayed 
me on the way, and I did not arrive until just as the meet- 
ing was breaking up. As the multitude began to spread 
out on the green before the house, and more slowly by 
groups in different directions, I thought as I looked around 
on them, (myself the only white man,) that I had never 
before seen happiness so strongly expressed. I do not 
know how much the delightful air, just cooled by the 
shower, or their religious exercises may have influenced 
their feelings, but joy was beaming on every countenance, 
both young and old. Their smiles and adieus and kind 
friendly words to each other seemed to me of the most 
unquestionable sincerity ; and I could not but say to myself, 
— these are a people strongly disposed to be happy. It 
may sound like extravagance, but when I think back on 
the many groups of joyous negroes which I saw in Jamaica, 
I am always reminded of Wordsworth's beautiful descrip- 
tion of the uniform happiness ofi nstinctive life, — of mere 
innocent animal existence, as compared with the sad results 
to which the various abuses of our powers reduce too 
many of our own species. 

" The black-birds in the summer trees 
The lark upon the hill 
Let loose their carols when they please, 
Are quiet when they will. 

2-28 Voyage to Jamaica. [Oct. 

With nature do they never wage 

A useless strife ; they see 
A happy youth, and their old age 

Is beautiful and free. 

But we are pressed by heavy laws, 

And oft, when glad no more, 
We wear a face of joy because 

We have been glad of yore." 

That there is sorrow and suffering enough among them, 
however, and some individual cases too, which may be 
traced directly to emancipation, there is no doubt. The 
old self-constituted porter of the ice-yard was an instance 
of this. The building occupied as the ice-house had been 
formerly, and until within two or three years, the dwelling 
of a Mr. Pacifico, a merchant to whom the porter had be- 
longed. On the day of emancipation, tliis old man had 
been set free among the rest. But from having no relatives, 
or from local attachment, or some other cause, (I was un- 
able to learn its nature,) he appeared to look for no other 
home than the ice-yard. He was very old and decrepit. 
His speech was utterly gone. One eye was sightless, and 
the other shrunk and faded ; his limbs so paralyzed that 
he always walked by the fence ; and I never saw him two 
rods from the gate, which he, however, always seemed to 
make a point of opening in the morning, and closing at 
night. He slept on the narrow stair-case leading to the 
agent's rooms, with nothing under him but the mat, his 
feet hanging down the steps ; and the only evidence, I 
observed in him, of direct and active, or any other than a 
sort of mechanical intelhgence, was, that he always gave a 
'' hem," as a warning for me not to tread on him, as I 
passed up and down the stairs at night. Mr. Pacifico's 
family used generally to send him his food ; but sometimes 
they neglected it ; and then he would get outside the gate, 
and beg of the fruit and cake women, or else wait till the 
agent returned to dinner, when he would crawl up into the 
room and stand leaning against the wall, until something 
was given him to eat. I tried once or twice to talk with 
him, but it was utterly useless. Besides the loss of sight, 
and speech, and the use of his limbs, he had other marks 
of great age. His muscles, (for his very scanty clothing 
was all in rags,) were entirely shrunken away, and his 

1843. J Voyage to Jamaica. 229 

nails had grown, almost literally, like bird's claws. To 
use a quaint quotation, "he looked as if Death had forgot- 
ten to strike him," and ought, in mercy, to be reminded 
of omission. 

The baptist clergy, or missionaries, as they are gener- 
ally called, have done much permanent good in Jamaica, 
and much too, tiiat, no doubt, might be proved to be present 
evil. Their influence on the moral and intellectual con- 
dition of the colored people, through Sunday and other 
schools,* and preaching, has, beyond all question, been 
most salutary. Concubinage, that sometime " pleasant vice " 
of the Jamaica planter, which has long since become " the 
whip to scourge him," is now greatly on the vv^ane, chiefly 
through their exertions. They have, it is true, like Pope 
Gregory VII., when he enforced the celibacy of the 
English clergy, found it much easier to prevent and dis- 
solve new, than to break up old connexions. These con- 
nexions are no longer so numerous, nor so openly and 
shamelessly formed, as they were a very few years ago ; 
but they are by no means abolished. While the brig was 
discharging cargo, I saw a neatly dressed and agreeable, 
but rather pensive-looking, young brown woman enter the 
ice-yard, with an infant in her arms, and address some in- 
quiry to the agent, in a suppressed but anxious tone, 
which he answered by a shake of the head ; when she 
turned and went away with a disappointed air. The 
agent said, this was a young woman who had " lived with " 
a friend of his, which friend (an American) had been in 
business, a year or two, in Kingston ; but some five or six 
months before our arrival, he had returned to the United 
States. The young woman was ignorant of the fact, that 
it was not his intention, when he left, ever to return to 
Jamaica, and so, whenever there was an arrival from any 
of our Northern cities, she was sure to call on the agent, 
with whom the person in question had had some business 
connexion, hoping to receive tidings of him. Poor soul ! 
our brig had brought the tidings of his death. But 
this news, the agent said, he could not find in his heart 
to tell her. I saw her once afterwards. She had the 

* The first Sunday School in Jamaica was established at Spanish- 
town, in 1832, by the Rev. Mr. Philipps, a baptist missionary. 

230 Voyage to Jamaica. [Oct. 

same little child in her arms, and the same sad, but 
patient look. Wrong and misery, such as this, the 
baptist missionaries have done much to suppress and 
prevent. It is said too, that they have done much to 
promote genuine marriage among the plantation negroes. 
But they are accused, on the other hand, and no 
doubt justly, of stirring up and fomenting the unhappy 
dissensions, which at present exist between the planters 
and peasantry. They are hated and execrated by the 
property-holders generally ; and I scarcely took up a news- 
paper while I was in Kingston, which did not contain 
something concerning " the hellish machinations of the 
agitating baptists." The truth is, I suspect, these mis- 
sionaries are not what are called enlightened men. Like 
most very zealous people, they are unable to see but one 
side of a question. They have adopted a certain cause, in 
which all their powers bad as well as good are enlisted, 
and in aiming directly at their main purpose, which they 
know to be good, they do some collateral evil. Sir 
Charles T. Metcalfe, the present governor of Jamaica, felt 
obliged to notice them particularly, in his despatch, last 
October, to the Marquis of Normanby, the then Secretary 
of colonial affairs. He allowed them all due credit for 
their exertions on behalf of the colored population, pre- 
vious to the abolition, and for their endeavors to promote 
the moral and intellectual welfare of this race, since that 
event. But he regretted exceedingly that they had felt 
themselves called on to assume the position which they had 
done, no doubt with the best intentions, relative to the 
planters and laborers. He conchided, however, by saying, 
that he still believed, that the good they had done the 
colony far overbalanced the evil. Ever since the publi- 
cation of this despatch, the baptist missionaries have been 
the Governor's most bitter enemies. They denounce him 
as an oppressor, a persecutor, u traitor to the cause of lib- 
erty, and what not. It was even proposed by some of the 
brethren, while I was in Kingston, that a donation of fifty 
pounds, which the Rev. Mr. Kingdom had received from 
the Governor, to assist in the erection of a chapel, should 
be returned.* The governor, from all I could learn with 

* At one of tlioir mcf'tiiiffs, a rosDliitiori wiip passed petitioning the 
rjueen for his rccal. 

1843.] Voyage to Jamaica. 231 

regard to him, is a man of superior talents, and an en- 
lightened and impartial statesman. He has served in 
India ; and I judge from a passage in an article of a late 
number of the Edinburgh Review,* which I suppose to 
have been written by Macaulay, who is good authority on 
all Indian aftairs, that he has served with much honor to 
himself and his country. " If (says the above writer) we 
now see men like Munroe, Elphinston, and Metcalfe, after 
leading victorious armies, after making and deposing kings, 
return proud of their honorable poverty," &c. &c. — and 
in the reading room at Kingston, I picked up an East Indian 
newspaper, on the corner of which near the " imprint" 
was this standing testimony to his merit, " Sir Chas. The- 
ophilus Metcalfe achieved the freedom of the Indian press, 
1835." I intended to have made some extracts from the 
abovementioned despatcfi. and also from the governor's 
speech, on proroguing the colonial assembly, which would 
have afforded you a brief and clear view of the present 
difficulties in Jamaica, but I lost the papers containing 
them at Havana. With regard to these difficulties, I will 
first run over a few preliminary facts, in order to recal 
them to your memory, and then proceed to give you a brief 
and necessarily imperfect account of them, but which in all 
its main features, I believe, is correct, 

Jamaica contains, according to the latest estimates, about 
415,000 inhabitants. fOf these only 37,000 are pure 
whites. Before the abolition of slavery, the free colored 
people were estimated at 55,000. If these estimates are cor- 
rect, the entire colored population is to the white as eleven 
to one nearly. The civil disabilities of the free colored peo- 
ple were removed in 1831 ; since which time all offices 
have been open to them. Slavery was abolished, and ap- 
prenticeship system established in 1834. This was to 
continue, with regard to the plantation slaves, or pr^dials 
as they are called, until the first of August, 1840. The 
non-prsedials, or house servants, mechanics, &c, were to be 
emancipated two years sooner, being considered better pre- 

* April, 1840, Art. Malcolm's Life of Lord Clive. 

t The number of slaves emancipated in 1834 amounted to 311,700. No 
census has ever been taken of the other classes, and I found no one who 
Was able to giv-e me any idea of what proportion of the whole were in- 

232 Voyage to Jamaica, [Oct. 

pared for freedom than the agriculturalists. But as the 
time drew near for the emancipation of the former class, 
the agitation became so great among the abolitionists both 
in England and Jamaica, that parliament passed an act, by 
a small majority, dispensing with the additional two years 
of apprenticeship, contemplated for the field slaves. Min- 
isters, however, being determined that the odium or respon- 
sibility of the measure should not rest on the administra- 
tion, mustered all their force, on the next day, and obtained 
its reconsideration, — but immediately sent a despatch to 
Sir Lionel Smith, then governor of Jamaica, intimating that 
unless the colonial assembly should adopt the above meas- 
ure, government would not be answerable for the conse- 
quences. The Island government, therefore, with great 
reluctance, and impelled only by the strong force of public 
opinion, passed an act, establishing full freedom and politi- 
cal equality throughout the island, to go into effect on the 
first of August, 1838. Since this time, numerous difficul- 
ties have arisen between the planters and laborers, chiefly 
in relation to rent, wages * on time and amount of labor. 
In the summer of 1839, Sir Lionel Smith, having become 
very unpopular with the landed proprietors, on account of 
partiality, real or supposed, to the interests of the blacks 
and their advisers, the baptist missionaries, was '^ permitted 
to resign." He was succeeded by the present governor, 
who shortly after his arrival, made a tour of observation 
through the island, in order to make himself thoroughly in- 
formed, as to the nature of these difficulties. The governor, 
in the despatch mentioned above, consequent to this tour, 
sums up all their difficulties in " a wa7it of lahoi\ which 
arises from the want of a sufficient laboring population, and 
from the facilities on the part of the peasant, of obtaining a 
comfortable subsistence, without laboring for the planter." 
He pronounces the laborers of Jamaica " the best conditioned 
peasantry in the world." By two or three days' labor (he 
says ) they can provide for the wants of a week. The laborers, 
when slaves, cultivated certain spots on the plantation which 
they called their own, as provision grounds. The planters 

* It is impossible, from the confusion of rates and motliods of pay 
ment, to state what are the average daily wages of a plantation laborer — 
perhaps for small and large, from ]2i a 37*^ cts. per day. 

1843.] Voyage to Jamaica. 233 

now cliarge tliem rent for these. This the laborers do not 
understand, as they have not been used to it, and they are 
unwilUng to pay the rent. Again there are certain kinds 
of labor which they are unwilling to attend to, as being 
less agreeable or profitable than others. Now the interests 
of the planter require not only that every department of 
his business should be alike well attended to, but they re- 
quire also continuous labor; as the neglect only of a very 
few days may be the ruin of a whole crop, either of sugar 
or coffee. In order to secure these objects, the planter 
offers to remit the rent, provided the laborer will give him 
continuous labor, and in such departments, as he, the plant- 
er, shall appoint. This arrangement does not in general 
succeed. The laborer, in many instances, after working a 
short time, thinks he can do better elsewhere, — or he 
wishes to do something for himself, — or he meets, as he 
thinks, with wrong treatment, — or he has supplied his 
immediate necessities ; and he therefore absents himself, 
and disappoints the planter. Then comes the demand for 
rent, and sometimes, too, in order to get rid of the occupant 
to make room for a better, the planter demands exorbitant 
rent. The special magistrate generally protects the 
laborer against exorbitancy, and of course makes such a 
decision as dissatisfies the planter, who being unable to 
carry either of these points, has in some instances resorted 
to violence. He has cut down the cocoa trees, on the 
laborer's provision grounds, unroofed his hut, and destroyed 
his fences. To be sure, the property so destroyed is the 
planter's. But the laborer, very naturally, considers it not 
the less a personal injury to himself, and retaliates by firing 
out-houses, stealing sheep, or in some other way. 

It is easy to see in all this tlie characteristic defects of 
each race brought strongly into play. The inefficiency 
and improvidence of the negroes, no doubt, might be much 
corrected by proper management, and kindness, and for- 
bearance, but these the planter has never learned to show. 
I do not mean to say that I understood this state of things 
to be universal. Many of the estates where judicious 
management is exercised, are well cultivated ; and many of 
the negroes are industrious, and work in order to lay up 
money. But trouble enough of this kind exists, to affect 
seriously the general property of the island. " It is evident,'^ 

VOL. IV. NO. II. 30 

234 Voyage to Jamaica. [Oct. 

says the governor, " that rent is now regulated on the planta- 
tions solely with a view to the exaction of labor ; " — 
and he recommends that leases should be granted, or small 
parcels of land sold to the negro, in order to relieve him 
from the necessity of holding land, from which he may 
be removed. This the planters are unwilling to do, as 
they contend that it would place themselves still more in 
the power of the laborer ; and many of them are desirous 
of abandoning the rent and ground system altogether, and 
to remunerate wholly in wages. But the negro objects again 
that this arrangement would give the planter too much 
power, as in this case, the former would be obliged to 
purchase the necessaries of life entirely of the latter. — 
Besides, the negroes have strong local attachments. 

All these difficulties are said to be increased by the 
spiritual advisers of the laborers, — the baptist mission- 
aries. They call " agitation meetings " through the country, 
and talk to the negroes of liberty and equality, and the 
tyranny of their white oppressors. They persuade negroes 
to leave such planters as have become obnoxious to them, 
and join other planters who have not incurred their 
displeasure. Some, I know not how many, are said to 
have retired into the more uncultivated parts of the island. 
In short, no arrangement appears to have t)een thus far 
effected, by which the planters generally have been able 
to secure their crops, as formerly. Many of the cane fields 
have run up to weeds, and the rats and ants destroy the 
produce ; and the coffee decays on the grounds for want 
of gathering. The natural consequence of this waste is a 
great falling off in the exports' of the island, as com- 
pared with previous years. I was shown a return of 
exports copied from the Journals of the assembly, from 
1772 to 1836 inclusive. The highest sugar exportation, 
always by far the most important, was I think (for I quote 
from memory) in 1805. It amounted in round numbers 
to 137,000 hogsheads. The smallest amount ex])orted 
during these years was in 1836 ; its amount in round 
numbers, 61,000 hogsheads. In 1838, the last year of the 
apprenticeship, the export of this article had declined to 
45,000 hogsheads; and at the close of the year 1839, the 
amount produced and in the course of exportation, while 
I was in the island, was allowed universally to be less than 

1843] Voyage to Jamaica. 235 

28,000 hogsheads. I copy from a newspaper now before 
me the following statement, in a message to the assembly, 
of the " deficiency of crops in 1839, as compared with those 
of 1838." 

Of Sugar 18,335 hhds. 3,070 tees. 1,510 bbls. 

"Rum 9,828 pun. 165 " 386 casks. 

'' Coffee 4,654,647 lbs. 

'' Ginger 1,512 casks— 1,062 bags. 
I was informed, that during the last three years, the 
seasons have been favorable, and that there had been 
neither drought nor hurricane in the time. This deficiency 
in the staples, therefore, can be referred to no adequate 
cause, but the want of labor. In the mean time things are 
fast growing worse. One entire year of neglect, it is said, 
will destroy a coffee plantation. And when the coffee 
plant is once out of the soil, it cannot easily be re-estab- 
lished in the same soil, even though that soil has not been 
exhausted by long continual culture. It is also said to 
require from three to six years of labor in a new soil, before 
the coffee shrub begins to make returns. The same 
remarks apply in some degree, though not to the same extent, 
to other branches of culture. When any grounds are neg- 
lected, they will run up to weeds and bushes, and thus one 
bad year prepares the way for another still worse. Many 
estates are said to be partially, and others wholly thrown 
out of cultivation, and many more, unless immediate remedy 
be found, will go the same way. 

Since my return, I have heard but little about Jamaica. 
The little, however, which I have heard, has come through 
the occasionally reported speeches of abolitionists. And 
in these there appears to be an evident feeling, that it is 
incumbent on all friends of abolition to account for the 
declining prosperity of the island in some other way, than 
by referring it to a want of labor. They suggest that 
the seasons have really been less favorable than the plant- 
ers and merchants assert. They talk of the disturbed 
state of the island currency, (the island paper was at six 
per cent discount,) and of the commercial embarrassments, 
arising from the political difficulties, and consequent sus- 
pension of trade, on the South American continent. Of 
these difl^iculties on the currency, I know but little. But they 
point triumphantly to the rise of landed property, as dis- 

236 Voyage to Jamaica. i^^3 [Oct. 

proving completely all the complaining assertions of the 
planter and merchant, and as most decisive evidence of 
agricultural prosperity. With regard to this latter, I in- 
quired particularly of a merchant of much experience in 
the affairs of the island. He said it was partially true ; 
that landed property had risen in some parts of Jamaica, 
because it had fallen in others ; that while the home mar- 
ket was kept closed to foreign sugars, the smaller the 
quantity produced in Jamaica, the higher its value. And 
that its diminished production on some estates, and the 
ruin and abandonment of others, increased the value of 
those which were more prosperous or in full operation. 
This seems reasonable, and I believe it is true. But the 
abolitionists appear to think it absolutely essential to the 
success of their cause, to show that emancipation is sure to 
promote the pecuniary interest of the planter. They feel 
bound to paint every thing rose color. They wish to 
demonstrate that the atmosphere can be purified by per- 
fectly harmless lightning ; and that a great revolution can take 
place in a community, and a great evil be eradicated from 
it, and yet nobody, not even he who has been feeding fat 
on the old system of iniquity, be disturbed in his pleasures 
or money-making. They even diminish the force of their 
own theory, which asserts the enfeebling and demoralizing 
tendencies of a state of slavery, by attempting to make 
out a case of general industry, and steadiness of purpose, 
for the recently enslaved blacks. Now this resort to expe- 
diences is the system of tactics peculiar to the mere poli- 
tician, always the natural enemy of the defender of simple 
rights. And the old rule of fighting the enemy with his 
own weapons, however good in vulgar political and physical 
warfare, seems to me utterly unworthy of men who are 
fighting the battles of truth. They forget that the truth is 
mighty, and apparently fear, that it will not have consist- 
ency enough for practical purposes, unless it be mixed with 
earth. Tiiey ought to take higher ground. If they would 
expect the truth which they offer, to promote health when 
taken into the moral circulation, they must present it pure, 
and not drugged with expediency. Let them agitate 
fairly. Let them — having full faith in its quickening in- 
fluence, — evolve, and throw out fearlessly into the atmos- 
phere, the whole unmitigated truth of this matter, so that 

1843.] Voyage to Jamaica. 237 

all who breathe may receive it, and by this simple process, 
as sure as the young grow up, to take the places of the old 
who die, just so sure shall they find a new and vigorous 
public opinion spring up, which shall be their only efficient 
helper. And when the young behemoth is once grown, 
he will pierce through all these snares of political expedi- 
ency, and move on straight to his object. These deep 
politicians, these wise men, — each "thinking politics a 
science in which himself is perfect," — with their plans for 
saving the country, and their tactics, and curious political 
machinery, for carrying or obstructing any great measure, 
according as it may subserve or oppose the interests of a 
party, what are they when ttnofficial public opinion once 
begins to legislate and passes one of her short simple 
decrees? We have just seen how this great moral force 
wrenched out of the hands of the Jamaica planters two 
good years of slavery secured to them by act of parliament. 
For myself, I cannot resist the conviction, that the present 
landed proprietors of Jamaica will never again know pros- 
perity. I think it has received its death blow, and that a 
far more genuine prosperity, than the island has ever yet 
known, will arise from its ruins. In the mean time the 
planters are looking about for something with which to sus- 
tain their declining interests. And for this purpose the 
assembly* passed on the 11th of April, the "Immigration 
Act." This act provides for the raising of £ 50,000 ster- 
ling per annum, for three years, to be expended in im- 
porting foreign laborers. A Commissioner of Emigration! 
has been sent to England, by the way of the United States, 
to promote the success of the scheme. He appointed 
agents of emigration at New-York, Philadelphia, and Bal- 
timore, whose duty it should be to induce suitable indi- 
viduals, " one third at least, to be females," to go out to 
Jamaica as laborers. The government is to pay the ex- 
penses of emigration, and guarantee the support of the 
laborer, for one year after arrival, provided he will work on 
the plantations. Emigrants are to sign an obligation at 

* Mr. Barclay of the Assembly. A few years ago he wrote a stout 
volume in defence of slavery. 

t The seat of government is Spanish-town, the old St. Jago de la 
Vela of the Spaniards. It is about thirteen miles from Kingston. 

238 Voyage to Jamaica. [Oct. 

the time of embarking, for the repayment of expenses 
and passage money, if on their aiTival, they shall refuse 
to complete or enter into the proposals, shown them, at 
the same time. Agencies were also to be established in 
all the home territories, in Malta, and Africa. The mem- 
bers of the assembly, who are mostly planters, appear to 
have great confidence in the feasibility of the plan. The 
act was passed by a large majority. They also look with 
much confidence for the assent of the home government. 
" England," said Mr. Barclay, a prominent member, " for 
more than a century sanctioned the importation of Africans 
into the island as slaves ; why should she not encourage it 
now, when all the blessings of freedom are secured to 
them ? The baptist missionaries and English abolitionists 
oppose the act, on the ground that the planters have already 
laborers enough, if they will but use, and pay them well. 
And they assert, that the planters wish to import this for- 
eign laboring population, merely with a view to control the 
price of labor, and thus bring down the blacks once more 
to the condition of slaves. The merchants appear to have 
but little faith in the project. They acknowledge, however, 
that it is a forlorn hope, and if this does not succeed, that 
nothing else will. Europeans, say they, are not able to come 
into this climate, and go at once to severe field labor. The 
negroes of the United States, I think, will prove but a 
feeble resource. Their strong local attachments will be an 
impediment. It may not be very difficult to induce a por- 
tion of the idle colored population of our cities, to emigrate ; 
but I suspect they would prove very inefficient field 
laborers. Africa seemed to be considered the main re- 
source. But I was unable to ascertain what was to be 
their mode of operation on the coast. What may be the 
facilities for obtaining emigrants through Sierra Leone and 
their other colonies, I do not know. But except through 
these, their only resource in Africa must be negotiation 
with native chiefs. And this method, it appears to me, 
cannot but possess some of the features of the slave trade. 
But on this subject, I am not well informed. My impres- 
sion is that the plan cannot succeed. It is based on a false 
principle. The genuine motives for emigration are a love 
of power, gain, or liberty, or the strong hope of, in some 
way, very materially improving one's condition. And in 

1843.] Voyage to Jamaica. 239 

these motives the project is deficient. It is an emigration 
vvliich proposes for its main result, not the good of the 
emigrant, but that of the planter. And I am of opinion, 
that none but a body of inveterate slave-holders, like the 
Jamaica assembly, could ever have come deliberately to 
the conclusion, that men of sufficient energy to do them 
good service, could be induced to leave their native country, 
with the prospect, and indeed, under the express agreement, 
of remaining for a term of years in the condition of day- 
laborers, at the maximum wages of fifty cents per day. The 
governor acquiesces in the measure ; but according to his 
despatch, before referred to, he considers time the only 
remedy for the planter. But for this the proprietary sys- 
tem of Jamaica cannot wait. Should the proposed 
equalization of duties on sugar take place in England, for 
which the English people are clamorous, its effect, taken in 
connection with the regularly increasing supply of slave- 
grown sugar, and the favorable prospects for East India 
sugar, must be very disastrous to the interests of the 
planter. The prices of sugar in Kingston I found to be 
25 per cent higher than those in Boston, for the same 
qualities, when I left the latter place. These high prices 
are owing to the prohibitory duties in England on all for- 
eign sugars. The British government thus protects the 
interests of her West India Colonists, or rather those of 
the absentee landed proprietors, who make common cause 
with the corn law monopolists, against competition. And 
she does this at the expense of the great body of the 
people, and greatly to their discontent. By an equalization 
of the sugar duties, the British market would be thrown 
open to Cuba, Porto Rico, and Brazil, which, from the 
nature of their soil, cheaper mode of building, and the 
abundance of slave labor, which they have at command, 
are able to furnish sugar at a much lower price than Jamaica 
can furnish it. The trade of Jamaica, in this article, there- 
fore, is now merely 'kept alive by artificial stimulants. 
Sugar is the main product of the island, and should this 
prop of the prohibitory duties be removed, it is believed 
that the trade of the colony will go down with a crash. 

I suppose the Governor is right, and that there is no rem- 
edy but time. But this will be no remedy for the present race 
of planters. They must suffer, — just as in all revolutions, 

240 Voyage to Jamaica. [Oct. 

those must always suffer — who have been deriving the 
greatest advantage from the previously existing state of 
things. Among disinterested persons, who have given the 
subject their attention, I suspect there is little doubt, but 
that the intermediate is destined to be the dominant race 
of this island ; or rather that, in no very long time, it will 
be the only race. In amount of native qualities, these 
people are the best of the island. The men are fine 
looking, and more muscular than the whites ; and the 
women, — especially the brown, and yellow varieties, are 
much more beautiful and vivacious than those of purely 
English origin. These physical capabilities, which they 
inherit from their black ancestors, combining with the 
European intellect which they have received from their 
white progenitors, contribute to give them a force of char- 
acter, equal at least, to that of the English Creole. In 
short, amalgamation appears to be to the negro a sort of 
purifying process, by which the more soft and feeble qual- 
ities of his nature are carried off to give place to those of 
more refinement and force. 

It is still not unusual in the northern states, to hear color 
spoken of as intended by nature as a barrier to intercourse 
between the white and black race, and to hear amalgama- 
tion represented as an outrage. That it is an outrage 
against northern prejudice, there is no doubt. I confess 
myself one of those who do not like to touch the skin of 
a negro. But when any of the laws of nature are 
outraged, in this respect, I believe she generally marks 
down her resentment, by some feebleness or organic imper- 
fection in the result. Now the result of amalgamation 
between the whiles and blacks is the manifest improvement 
of the negro race. This improvement is shown in many 
ways, and particularly in the superior business qualifications 
of the intermediate race over the blacks. The agency of 
this race, in Jamaica, has been by no means contemptible 
in the cause of abolition. These people were the enemy 
within the camp of slavery, during the long course of 
years, that the abolitionists were assaulting it from without. 
So far as I can learn, it was not the pure blacks, but the 
mulattoes and brown men, — such men as Jorden and 
Osborn, the present editors of the "Morning Journal," — 
who organized those combinations, and kept up that system 

1843.] Voyage to Jamaica. 241 

of agitations, which resulted in the abrogation of all the 
civil disabilities of the free colored population of Jamaica, 
in 1831. Jorden was one of the chief of those. In 1829, 
he was turned out of a large commercial house in Kingston, 
in which he was a clerk, on the ground that he was a 
leading agitator. He then commenced the publication of 
a newspaper, and for an agitation article published in 
this, he was charged with high treason, and tried for 
his life, but acquitted. His newspaper, however, was 
suppressed. He now issued a circular, adverting to the 
extent of the combinations formed among the colored 
people, and threatening that unless all civil restrictions were 
at once removed from the free colored population, they 
would proclaim immediate freedom to their own slaves, and 
shout havoc until the streets of Kingston should run with 
blood. The Jamaica assembly shortly after this removed 
the restrictions. Mr. Jorden has now grown rather respec- 
table and conservative. The name of his paper has been 
recently changed from the " Watchman " to the '' Morning 
Journal." He is at present a member of the assembly, and 
advocates, in his seat and in his paper, the leading measures 
for the relief of the planter, — particularly the Immigration 
Act. Men who can make themselves felt as Mr. Jorden 
has done, it is impossible to despise. Such men have 
done much towards breaking down the pride of caste in 
Jamaica. I say pride of caste, for that personal antipathy 
to color, so strong in New England, is unknown to the 
people of the West Indies. A few days after my arrival 
from Havana, 1 met a young man from Demarara, whom 
I understood to be the son of a planter. He had been in 
New England about a year. After remarking to me, that 
the colored population of that colony had been fast rising 
in wealth and respectability, since the abolition, — that 
prejudice against color was dechning, and that many white 
merchants and clerks — excluded from the first class of the 
colony the planters and officials, — were intermarrying 
with the more wealthy colored people, the young man con- 
fessed with some appearance of shame and regret, that his 
own prejudice against color had become altogether too 
weak, sometime before his departure from Demarara ; — 
" And I thank God," he gravely proceeded, " for my timely 
visit to New England : it has enabled me to imbibe the 
VOL. IV. — NO. n. 31 

242 Voyage to Jamaica. [Oct. 

northern prejudice against color, which I think will be of 
great service to me on my return." FalstatF, I recollect, 
calls hostess Quickly "a thing to thank God on," and there 
are no doubt other instances on record of persons who 
have been thankful for small favors. But whether our 
New England prejudice against color ought to be regarded 
as a blessing or not, the West Indians generally will 
hardly be able to obtain it, like this young man, by a pro- 
tracted residence amongst us ; and unless the professors at 
Cambridge, by a union of talent, shall discover some 
chemico-metaphysical process, by which it can be con- 
densed into moral ice, in order that it may be turned, as in 
this case it no doubt would be, into an article of trade, I 
see not how they are to be supplied. 

In the mean time, pride of caste is rapidly melting 
away, in Jamaica. Whites and colored people dine at the 
same table, and sit in the same pew. Their children 
mingle together at school. The professional men plead at 
the same bar,* and meet at tlie same bedside. They legis- 
late together, and last, but not least, marriage between 
whites and colored people, heretofore confined to the Jews 
of the island, who are much despised by the other Creoles, 
is now beginning to invade the ranks of the '' better class." 
The week before our arrival, a worthy young white man, 
the son of a highly respectable wholesale merchant of 
Kingston, married a colored girl, and the circumstance 
excited but little remark in the place. This rapid destruc- 
tion of caste could not have taken place, unless the balance 
of moral power had begun to turn in favor of the colored 
race. Were they comparatively ,few and feeble, no force, 
while there is pride in man, could effect such a change. 
But the colored people of Jamaica are said to possess an 
advantage in point of numbers, of ten to one,f over the 
whites. Their best people are, in native powers, equal to 
the best of the whites. They are rapidly acquiring a 
great accession to their moral force through the public 
schools. They are gaining wealth in business. They are 
beginning to occupy places of trust and profit. The more 

*A young man, whom I understood to be somctliing lighter than a 
mulatto, was admitted to the Kingston bar a few montha ago, 
t According to Mr. Barclay, they aro 14 to 1. 

1843.] Voyage to Jamaica. 243 

ambitious, even of the peasantry, are beginning to buy piece- 
meal parcels of land, thrown out of cultivation, thus 
breaking up estates into small freeholds. And as the 
peasant can live without the planter, as the produce is 
likely still to diminish, and the market to decline from com- 
petition — and the planter consequently to become still 
poorer than he is — tliis state of things is likely to continue. 
Not only this, they have a large interior tract of unculti- 
vated land * to fall back on, — the same which for more than 
a century sheltered the Maroons, — but which they, as free- 
dom gives them strength, will make a far more perma- 
nent retreat by cultivation. They have scattered through- 
out the land such men as Hill, Jorden, and Prescod, — 
men of sufficient practical ability and a burning jealousy 
of their rights. They have obtained political equality ; and 
they will not rest, until all the ancient barriers and land- 
marks are swept away from the island. 

Nothing short of despotism, in a great disparity of 
moral force, can preserve the arrangement in society of 
caste over caste, like distinct layers of inanimate matter. 
In a country as free as Jamaica now is, the elements of popu- 
lation must run into a mass, and combine not arbitrarily, 
but according to their natural affinity, and the rulers and 
the ruled must be of the same material. While this 
change is going on, it is almost a matter of course, that there 
should be a decline of commercial prosperity. The evil 
disease, which has just been extirpated, must necessarily be 
followed by a temporary prostration of strength, before full 
health returns. But when the confusion consequent to 
great change shall cease, and when all the white blood 
of the island shall be absorbed, — then, for the first time 
since her discovery, shall Jamaica possess a population 
worthy of herself. It will not be a population of hetero- 
geneous races and imperfect organs, — one race furnishing 
the head, and the other the hand ; — one with the capacity 
to acquire, and the other to enjoy the good things of life ; 
one scorning, and the other fearing; — mutually cankering 
and corroding each other's best qualities by a forced and 
unwholesome contact ; but the two races by blending shall 
not only throw off or absorb the injurious effects of this 

* About one third part of the island has never been under cultivation. 
Much of this land, formerly planted, has become forfeited. 

244 The Mother's Grief. [Oct. 

contact, but also supply each other's characteristic defic- 
iences, and present in combination qualities, both moral 
and physical, far better adapted to the climate, than either 
possessed separately. 

We know not how far the adverse influence of climate 
may be counteracted by a thorough union of races such as 
this ; it seems however but fair to conclude, that they will 
then form a community somewhat inferior perhaps in 
enterprise and force of character, to the people of the 
northern temperate latitudes, — but certainly not in moral 
and social qualities : and when their character shall be 
perfectly established, and all their energies developed by 
freedom, it may not be unreasonable to hope, that in a 
union of practical, moral, and intellectual powers, these 
Anglo-Africans will surpass every other people of the 


1 STAND within my garden fair 

Where flowers in joyous beauty spring, 
Their fragrance mingles in the air, 

The birds most sweetly' sing. 

And in that spot a lonely mound, 
Spread o'er with grasses heavily, 

My infant sleeps within the ground, 
Nor may the garden see. 

The wind sighs sadly, and the sun 
Shines down to dazzle weary eyes ; 

That buried form the truest one, 
The rest its mockeries. 

1843.] Sweep Ho. 245 


Sweep ho ! Sweep ho ! 

He trudges on through sleet and snow. 

Tired and hungry both is he, 
And he whistles vacantly; 

Sooty black his rags and skin, 
But the child is fair within. 

Sweep ho ! Sweep ho ! 

He trudges on through sleet and snow. 

Ice and cold are better far 
Than his master's curses are. 

Mother of this ill used one, — 
Couldst thou see thy little son ! 

Sweep ho ! Sweep ho ! 

He trudges on through sleet and snow. 

At the great man's door he knocks, 
Which the servant-maid unlocks ; 

Now let in with laugh and jeer, 
In his eye there stands a tear. 

He is young, but soon will know 
How to bear both word and blow. 

Sweep ho ! sweep ho ! 

In the chimney, sleet and snow. 

Gladly should his task be done, 
Were't the last beneath the sun : 

Faithfully it now shall be ; 

But soon spent, down droppeth he ; 

Gazes round as in a dream ; 

Very strange, but true, things seem ; 

Led by a fantastic power 
Which sets by the present hour, 

Creeps he to a little bed, 
Pillows there his aching head, 

Falls into a sudden sleep. 

Like his childhood's sweet and deep ; 

But, poor thing ! he does not know 
Here he lay long years ago. 

216 The Sail. [Oct. 


A CLOUDLESS sky, a sun that brightly shone 

On rippling waves, a wind that swiftly bore, 

As on some seabird's pinions we had flown, 

Our little vessel from the sandy shore, 

So quietly, that as we sailed before 

The wind, all motionless we seemed to be, 

As if with outstretched wing we hovered o'er 

The water, like high sailing hawk we see 

So poised, we know not if the clouds do move, or he. 

So glided from our view the rapid scene 
Of sandy beach, of scattered town and hill. 
With many a barren spot or pleasant green, 
Where one might lie and dream, and rocks so still 
And lonely, that their presence seemed to fill 
The air with knowledge, that they there did lie. 
Sleeping in such repose, it seemed, that till 
That moment they had never felt the eye 
So full upon them look of the allseeing sky. 

Now whether from the rocks and hills and sea, 

Their spirit were concentered in our own, 

Or ours diffused o'er all things seemed to be 

Their spirit breathing with a deeper tone, 

Reflecting back the light that on them shone; 

Or if in closest sympathy there dwelt 

One soul pervading all, may not,be known; 

But as these scenes into our souls did melt. 

We seemed like silent rocks, and they like things that felt. 

Our winged vessel parted the still sea, 

And we fled onwards still in central space, 

And there was certain heaven wherever we 

Were running Time-like our unmoving race ; 

And those dim sails which unstrained eyes could trace 

Around the horizon's edge, seemed not so blest 

As ours, which, by the universal grace, 

Had privilege at the heart of heaven to rest; 

For so those circling ships and clouds and sun confessed. 

1843.] 77ie Comic. 247 


It is a nail of pain and pleasure, said Plato, which fas- 
tens the body to the mind. The way of life is a line be- 
tween tiie regions of tragedy and comedy. I find few 
books so entertaining as the wistful human history written 
out in the faces of any collection of men at church or 
court-house. The silent assembly thus talks very loud. 
The sailor carries on his face the tan of tropic suns, and 
the record of rough weather ; the old farmer testifies of 
stone walls, rough woodlots, the meadows and the new 
barn. The doctor's head is a fragrant gallipot of virtues. 
The carpenter still measures feet and inches with his eye, 
and the licensed landlord mixes liquors in motionless pan- 
tomime. What good bargains glimmer on the merchant's 
aspect. And if beauty, softness, and faith, in female forms, 
have their own influence, vices even, in slight degree, are 
thought to improve the expression. Malice and scorn add 
to beauty. You shall see eyes set too near, and limited 
faces, faces of one marked and invariable character. How 
the busy fancy inquires into their biography and relations ! 
They pique, but must tire. Compared with universal 
faces, countenances of a general human type, which pique 
less, they look less safe. In such groups the observer does 
not think of heroes and sages. In the silentest meeting, 
the eye reads the plain prose of life, timidity, caution, ap- 
petite, ignorance, old houses, musty savors, stationary, 
retrograde faculties puttering round (to use the country 
phrase) in paltry routines from January to December. 

These are the precincts of comedy and farce. And a 
taste for fun is all but universal in our species, which is the 
only joker in nature. The rocks, the plants, the beasts, 
the birds, neither do anything ridiculous, nor betray a per- 
ception of anything absurd done in their presence. And 
^ as the lower nature does not jest, neither does the highest. 
The Reason pronounces its omniscient yea and nay, but 
meddles never with degrees or fractions, and it is in compar- 
ing fractions with essential integers or wholes, that laughter 

Aristotle's definition of the ridiculous is, " what is out 

248 The Comic. , [Oct. 

of time and place, without danger." If there be pain and 
danger, it becomes tragic; if not, comic. I confess, this 
definition, though by an admirable definer, does not satisfy 
me, does not say all we know. The essence of all jokes, 
of all comedy, seems to be halfness ; a non-performance of 
what is pretended to be performed, at the same time that 
one is giving loud pledges of performance. The baulking 
of the intellect, the frustrated expectation, the break of 
continuity in the intellect, is what we call comedy ; and it 
announces itself physically in the pleasant spasms we call 

With the trifling exception of the stratagems of a few 
beasts and birds, there is no seeming, no halfness in nature, 
until the appearance of man. Unconscious creatures do 
the whole will of wisdom. An oak or a chestnut under- 
takes no function it cannot execute, or, if there be phe- 
nomena in botany which we call abortions, the abortion is 
also a function of nature, and assumes to the intellect the 
like completeness with the farther function, to which in 
different circumstances it had attained. The same thing 
holds true of the animals. Their activity is marked by 
unerring good sense. But man, through his access to Reason, 
is capable of the perception of a whole and a part. Reason 
is the Whole, and whatsoever is not that, is a part. The 
whole of nature is agreeable to the whole of thought, or to 
the Reason ; but separate any part of nature, and attempt 
to look at it as a whole by itself, and the feeling of the 
ridiculous begins. The perpetual game of Humor is to 
look with considerate good nature at every object in exist- 
ence aloof ^ as a man might look at a mouse, comparing it 
with the eternal Whole ; enjoying 'the figure which each 
self-satisfied particular creature cuts in the unrespecting 
All, and dismissing it with a benison. Separate any object, 
as a particular bodily man, a horse, a flour-barrel, an um- 
brella, from tiic connection of things, and contemplate it 
alone, standing there in absolute nature, it becomes at once 
comic ; no useful, no respectable qualities can rescue it 
from the ludicrous. 

In virtue of man's access to Reason or the Whole, the 
human form is a pledge of wholeness, suggests to our im- 
agination the perfection of truth or goodness, and exposes 
by contrast any halfness or imperfection. We have a pri- 

1843.1 The Comic. 249 

mary association between perfectness and this form. But 
the facts that transpire when actual men enter, do not 
make good this anticipation ; a discrepancy which is at 
once detected by the intellect, and the outward sign is the 
muscular irritation of laughter. 

Reason does not joke, and men of reason do not ; a 
prophet, in whom the moral sentiment predominates, or a 
philosopher, in whom the love of truth predominates, these 
do not joke, but they bring the standard, the ideal whole, 
exposing all actual defect ; and hence, the best of all jokes 
is the sympathetic contemplation of things by the under- 
standing from the philosopher's point of view. There is 
no joke so true and deep in actual life, as when some pure 
idealist goes up and down among the institutions of society, 
attended by a man who knows the world, and who sympa- 
thizing with the philosopher's scrutiny, sympathizes also 
with the confusion and indignation of the detected skulk- 
ing institutions. His perception of disparity, his eye wan- 
dering perpetually from the rule, to the crooked lying 
thieving fact, makes the eyes run over with laughter. 

This is the radical joke of life and then of literature. 
The presence of the ideal of right and of truth in all 
action, makes the yawning delinquences of practice re- 
morseful to the conscience, tragic to the interest, but droll 
to the intellect. The activity of our sympathies may for 
a time hinder our perceiving the fact intellectually, and so 
deriving mirth from it, but all falsehoods, all vices seen at 
sufficient distance, seen from the point where our moral 
sympathies do not interfere, become ludicrous. The 
comedy is in the intellect's perception of discrepancy. 
And whilst the presence of the ideal discovers the differ- 
ence, the comedy is enhanced whenever that ideal is em- 
bodied visibly in a man. Thus Falstaff, in Shakspeare, is 
a character of the broadest comedy, giving himself unre- 
servedly to his senses, coolly ignoring the reason, whilst he 
invokes its name, pretending to patriotism and to parental 
virtues, not with any intent to deceive, but only to make 
the fun perfect by enjoying the confusion betwixt reason 
and the negation of reason, in other words, the rank ras- 
caldom he is calling by its name. Prince Hal stands by, 
as the acute understanding, who sees the Right and sym- 
pathizes with it, and in the heyday of youth feels also the 

VOL. IV. NO. II. 32 

250 The Comic. [Oct. 

full attractions of pleasure, and is thus eminently qualified 
to enjoy the joke. At the same time, he is to that degree 
under the Reason, that it does not amuse him as much as 
it amuses another spectator. 

If the essence of the comic be the contrast in the in- 
tellect between the idea and the false performance, there is 
good reason why we should be affected by the exposure. 
We have no deeper interest than our integrity, and that we 
should be made aware by joke and by stroke, of any lie 
that we entertain. Besides, a perception of the comic 
seems to be a balance-wheel in our metaphysical structure. 
It appears to be an essential element in a fine character. 
Wherever the intellect is constructive, it will be found. 
We feel the absence of it as a defect in the noblest and 
most oracular soul. It insulates the man, cuts down all 
bridges between him and other men. The perception of 
the comic is a tie of sympathy with other men, is a pledge 
of sanity, and is a protection from those perverse tenden- 
cies and gloomy insanities into which fine intellects some- 
times lose themselves. A man alive to the ludicrous is 
still convertible. If that sense is lost, his fellow men can 
do little for him. 

It is true the sensibility to the ludicrous may run into 
excess. Men celebrate their perception of halfness and a 
latent lie by the peculiar explosions of laughter. So pain- 
fully susceptible are some men to these impressions, that if 
a man of wit come into the room where they are, it seems 
to take them out of themselves with violent convulsions 
of the face and sides, and obstreperous roarings of the 
throat. How often and with what unfeigned compassion 
we have seen such a person receiving like a willing martyr 
the whispers into his ear of a man of wit. The victim who 
has just received the discharge, if in a solemn company, 
has the air very much of a stout vessel which has just 
shipped a heavy sea ; and though it does not split it, the 
poor bark is for the moment critically staggered. The 
peace of society and the decorum of tables seem to require 
that next to a notable wit should always be posted a phleg- 
matic bolt-upright man, able to stand without movement of 
muscle whole broadsides of this Greek fire. It is a true 
shaft of Apollo, and traverses the universe, unless it en- 
counter a mystic or a dumpish soul, and goes everywhere 

1843.] The Comic. 251 

heralded and harbingered by smiles and greetings. Wit 
makes its own welcome, and levels all distinctions. No 
dignity, no learning, no force of character can make any 
stand against good wit. It is like ice on which 
no beauty of form, no majesty of carriage can plead 
any immunity, — they must walk gingerly, according 
to the laws of ice, or down they must go, dig- 
nity and all. " Dost thou think because thou art virtuous, 
there shall be no more cakes and ale ? " Plutarch very 
happily expresses the value of the jest as a legitimate 
weapon of the philosopher. '' Men cannot exercise their 
rhetoric unless they speak, but their philosophy even 
whilst they are silent or jest merrily ; for as it is the highest 
degree of injustice not to be just and yet seem so, so 
it is the top of wisdom to philosophize yet not appear to do 
it, and in mirth to do the same with those that are serious 
and seem in earnest ; for as in Euripides, the Bacchse, 
though unprovided of iron weapons and unarmed, wounded 
their invaders with the boughs of trees, which they carried, 
thus the very jests and merry talk of true philosophers 
move those that are not altogether insensible, and unusu- 
ally reform." 

In all the parts of life, the occasion of laughter is some 
seeming, some keeping of the word to the ear and eye, 
whilst it is broken to the soul. Thus, as the religious sen- 
timent is the most vital and sublime of all our sentiments, 
and capable of the most prodigious effects, so is it abhorrent 
to our whole nature, when in the absence of the sentiment, 
the act or word or officer volunteers to stand in its stead. 
To the sympathies this is shocking, and occasions grief. 
But to the intellect, the lack of the sentiment gives 
pain ; it compares incessantly the sublime idea with the 
bloated nothing which pretends to be it, and the sense of 
the disproportion is comedy. And as the religious senti- 
ment is the most real and earnest thing in nature, being a 
mere rapture, and excluding, when it appears, all other con- 
siderations, the vitiating this is the greatest lie. Therefore, 
the oldest jibe of literature is the ridicule of false religion. 
This is the joke of jokes. In religion, the sentiment is 
all ; the rite indifferent. But the inertia of men inclines 
them when the sentiment sleeps, to imitate that thing it 
did ; it goes through the ceremony omitting only the will, 

25a The Comic. [Oct. 

makes the mistake of the wig for the head, the clothes for 
the man. The older the mistake and the more overgrown 
the particular form is, the more ridiculous to the intellect. 
There is excellent humor in the part taken by Captain 
John Smith, the discoverer of New England, when the 
society in London, who had contributed their means to con- 
vert the savages, hoping doubtless to see the Keokuks, 
Black Hawks, Roaring Thunders, and Tustanuggees of that 
day, converted into church wardens and deacons at the 
least, pestered the gallant rover with frequent solicitations 
out of England, respecting the conversion of the Indians 
and enlargement of the church. Smith, in his perplexity 
how to satisfy the London churches, sent out a party, 
caught an Indian, and despatched him home in the first 
ship to London, telling the society, they might convert one 

The satire reaches its climax when the actual church is 
set in direct contradiction to the dictates of the religious 
sentiment, as in the famous account of our Puritan politics 
in Hudibras. 

Our brethren of New England use 
Choice malefactors to excuse, 
And hang the guiltless in their stead, 
Of whom the churches have less need ; 
As lately it happened in a town 
Where lived a cobler, and but one. 
That out of doctrine could cut use, 
And mend men's lives as well as shoes. 
This precious brother having slain 
In times of peace an Indian, 
Not out of malice, but mere zeal, 
Because he was an infidel ; 
The mighty Tottipotimoy 
Sent to our elders an envoy, 
Complaining loudly of the breach 
Of league held forth by brother Patch, 
Against the articles in force 
Between both churches, his and ours ; 
For which he craved the saints to render 
Into his hands, or hang the offender. 
But they maturely having weighed 
They had no more but him of the trade, 
A man that served them in the double 
Capacity to teach and cobble, 

1843.] The Comic. 253 

Resolved to spare him ; yet to do 
The Indian Hogan Mogan too 
Impartial justice, in his stead did 
Hang an old weaver that was bed-rid. 

In science, the jest at pedantry is analogous to that in 
religion which lies against superstition. A classification or 
nomenclature used by the scholar only as a memorandum 
of his last lesson in the laws of nature, and confessedly a 
makeshift, a bivouac for a night, and implying a march and 
a conquest to-morrow, becomes through indolence a bar- 
rack and a prison, in which the man sits down immovably, 
and wishes to detain others. The physiologist, Camper, 
humorously confesses the effect of his studies in dislocating 
his ordinary associations. " I have been employed," he 
says, " six months on the Cetacea ; I understand the oste- 
ology of the head of all these monsters, and have made 
the combination with the human head so well, that every 
body now appears to me narwhale, porpoise, or marsouins. 
Women, the prettiest in society, and those whom I find less 
comely, — they are all either narwhales or porpoises to my 
eyes." I chanced the other day to fall in with an odd 
illustration of the remark I had heard, that the laws of 
disease are as beautiful as the laws of health ; I was hast- 
ening to visit an old and honored friend, who, I was in- 
formed, was in a dying condition, when 1 met his phy- 
sician, who accosted me in great spirits, with joy sparkling 
in his eyes. " And how is my friend, the Doctor ? " I 
inquired. ^' Oh, I saw him this morning ; it is the most 
correct apoplexy I have ever seen ; face and hands livid, 
breathing stertorous, all the symptoms perfect ; " and he 
rubbed his hands with delight ; for in the country we can- 
not find every day a case that agrees with the diagnosis 
of the books. I think there is malice in a very trifling 
story which goes about, and which I should not take any 
notice of, did I not suspect it to contain some satire upon 
my brothers of the Natural History Society. It is of a 
boy who was learning his alphabet, " That letter is A," 
said the teacher; A, drawled the boy. '^ That is B," said 
the teacher, B, drawled the boy, and so on. " That is W," 
said the teacher, " The devil 1 " exclaimed the boy, '' is 
that W ? " 

The pedantry of literature belongs to the same category. 
In both cases there is a lie, when the mind seizing a classi- 

S54 The Comic. [Oct. 

fication to help it to a sincerer knowledge of the fact, stops 
in the classification ; or learning languages, and reading 
books, to the end of a better acquaintance with man, stops 
in the languages and books ; in both the learner seems to 
be wise and is not. 

The same falsehood, the same confusion of the sympa- 
thies because a pretension is not made good, points the 
perpetual satire against poverty, since according to Latin 
poetry and English doggrel, 

Poverty does nothing worse 

Than to make man ridiculous. 

In this instance the halfness lies in the pretension of the 
parties to some consideration on account of their condition. 
If the man is not ashamed of his poverty, there is no joke. 
The poorest man, who stands on his manhood, destroys the 
jest. The poverty of the saint, of the rapt philosopher, 
of the naked Indian, is not comic. The lie is in the sur- 
render of the man to his appearance ; as if a man should 
neglect himself and treat his shadow on the wall with 
marks of infinite respect. It affects us oddly, as to see 
things turned upside down, or to see a man in a high wind 
run after his hat, which is always droll. The relation of 
the parties is inverted, — hat being for the moment master. 
The multiplication of artificial wants and expenses in civ- 
ilized life, and the exaggeration of all trifling forms, present 
innumerable occasions for this discrepancy to expose itself. 
Such is the story told of the painter, Astley, who going out 
of Rome one day with a party for a ramble in the Cam- 
pagna, and the weather proving hot, refused to take off his 
coat when his companions threw off theirs, but sweltered 
on ; which, exciting remark, his comrades playfully forced 
off his coat, and behold on the back of his vest a gay cas- 
cade was thundering down the rocks with foam and rain- 
bow, very refreshing in so sultry a day ; — a picture of his 
own, with which the poor painter had been fain to repair 
the shortcomings of his wardrobe. The same astonishment 
of the intellect at the disappearance of the man out of 
nature, through some superstition of his house or equipage, 
as if truth and virtue should be bowed out of creation by 
the clothes they wore, is the secret of all the fun that cir- 
culates concerning eminent fops and fashionists, and in like 
manner of the gay liameau of Diderot, wlio believes in 
nothing but hunger, and that the single end of art, virtue 

1843.] The Comic. 255 

and poetry, is to put something for mastication between the 
upper and lower mandibles. 

Alike in all these cases, and in the instance of cowardice 
or fear of any sort, from the loss of life to the loss of 
spoons, the majesty of man is violated. He, whom all 
things should serve, serves some one of his own tools. In 
fine pictures, the head sheds on the limbs the expression 
of the face. In Raphael's Angel driving Heliodorus from 
the Temple, the crest of the helmet is so remarkable, that 
but for the extraordinary energy of the face, it would draw 
the eye too much ; but the countenance of the celestial 
messenger subordinates it, and we see it not. In poor 
pictures, the limbs and trunk degrade the face. So among 
the women in the street, you shall see one whose bonnet 
and dress are one thing, and the lady herself quite another, 
wearing withal an expression of meek submission to her 
bonnet and dress ; and another whose dress obeys and 
heightens the expression of her form. 

More food for the comic is afforded whenever the per- 
sonal appearance, the face, form, and manners, are subjects 
of thought with the man himself. No fashion is the best 
fashion for those matters which will take care of themselves. 
This is the butt of those jokes of the Paris drawing-rooms, 
which Napoleon reckoned so formidable, and which are 
copiously recounted in the French Memoires. A lady of 
high rank, but of lean figure, had given the Countess Du- 
lauloy the nickname of " Le Grenadier tricolore," in allu- 
sion to her tall figure, as well as to her republican opinions ; 
the countess retaliated by calling Madame " the Venus of 
the Pere la Chaise," a compliment to her skeleton which 
did not fail to circulate. " Lord C." said the Duchess 
of Gordon, " Oh, he is a perfect comb, all teeth and 
back." The Persians have a pleasant story of Tamerlane, 
which relates to the same particulars. *' Timur was an 
ugly man ; he had a blind eye and a lame foot. One day 
when Chodscha was with him, Timur scratched his head, 
since the hour of the barber was come, and commanded 
that the barber should be called. Whilst he was shaven, 
the barber gave him as usual a looking-glass in his hand. 
Timur saw himself in the mirror and found his face quite 
too ugly. Therefore he began to weep ; Chodscha also 
set himself to weep, and so they w^ept for two hours. On 
this, some courtiers began to comfort Timur, and entertained 

256 The Comic. [Oct. 

him with strange stories in order to make him forget all 
about it. Timur ceased weeping, but Chodscha ceased 
not, but began now first to weep amain, and in good 
earnest. At last, said Timur to Chodscha, ' Hearken 1 
I have looked in the mirror, and seen myself ugly. Thereat 
1 grieved, because although I am Caliph, and have also 
much wealth, and many wives, yet still I am so ugly ; 
therefore have I wept. But thou, why weepest thou with- 
out ceasing?' Chodscha answered, 'If thou hast only seen 
thy face once, and at once seeing hast not been able to con- 
tain thyself, but hast wept, what should we do, we who see 
thy face every day and night ? If we weep not, who 
should weep ? Therefore have I wept.' Timur almost 
split his sides with laughing." 

Politics also furnishes the same mark for satire. What is 
nobler than the expansive sentiment of patriotism, which 
would find brothers in a whole nation ? But when this 
enthusiasm is perceived to end in the very intelligible max- 
ims of trade, so much for so much, the intellect feels again 
the half man. Or what is fitter than that we should espouse 
and carry a principle against all opposition ? but when the 
men appear who ask our votes as representatives of this 
ideal, we are sadly out of countenance. 

But there is no end to this analysis. We do nothing 
that is not laughable, whenever we quit our spontaneous 
sentiment. All our plans, managements, houses, poems, if 
compared with the wisdom and love which man represents, 
are equally imperfect and ridiculous. But we cannot aflford 
to part with any advantages. We must learn by laughter, 
as well as by tears and terrors ; explore the whole of na- 
ture, — the farce and buffoonery in tlie yard below, as well as 
the lessons of poets and philosophers upstairs, in the hall, — 
and get the rest and refresliment of the shaking of the sides. 
But the comic also has its own speedy limits. Mirth quickly 
becomes intemperate, and the man would soon die of in- 
anition, as some persons have been tickled to death. The 
same scourge whips the joker and the enjoyer of the joke. 
When Carlini was convulsing Naples with laughter, a 
patient waited on a physician in that city, to obtain some 
remedy for excessive melancholy, which was rapidly con- 
suming his life. The physician endeavored to cheer his 
spirits, and advised him to go to the theatre and see Car- 
lini. He replied, " I am Carlini." 

1843.] Ode to Beauty. 257 


Who gave thee, O Beauty ! 
The keys of this breast ; 
To thee who betrayed me 
To be ruined or blest ? 
Say when in lapsed ages 
Thee knew I of old ; 
Or what was the service, 
For which I was sold ? 
When first my eyes saw thee, 
I found me thy thrall, 
By magical drawings, 
Sweet tyrant of all 1 

Love drinks at thy banquet 
^ Remediless thirst ; 

Thou intimate stranger ! 

Thou latest and first ! 

Lavish, lavish promiser ! 
Nigh persuading gods to err ; 
Guest of million painted forms 
Which in turn thy glory warms, 
The frailest leaf, the mossy bark, 
The acorn's cup, the rain drop's arc, 
The shining pebble of the pond, 
Thou inscribest with a bond, 
In thy momentary play, 
Would bankrupt nature to repay. 

Ah ! what avails it 
To hide or to shun 
Whom the Infinite One 
Hath granted his throne 1 
The heaven high over 
Is the deep's lover. 

VOL. IV. — NO. II. 33 

258 Ode to Beauty. [Oct. 

The sun and sea, 

Informed by thee, 

Before me run 

And draw me on, 

Yet fly me still, 

As Fate refuses 

To me the heart Fate for me chooses. 
' Is it that my opulent soul 

Was mingled from the generous whole, — 

Sea-valleys and the deep of skies 

Furnished several supplies, 

And the sands whereof I 'm made 

Draw me to them self-betrayed. 
I turn the proud portfolios, 
Which hold the grand designs 
Of Salvator, of Guercino, 
And Piranesi's lines ; 
I hear the lofty pseans 
Of the masters of the shell, 
Who heard the starry music 
And recount the numbers well ; 
Olympian bards who sung 
Divine Ideas below. 
Which always find us young. 
And always keep us so. 
Oft in streets or humblest places 
I detect far-wandered graces, 
Which from Eden wide astray 
In lowly homes have lost their way. 

Thee gliding through the sea of form, 
As the lightning through the storm. 
Somewhat not to be possessed. 
Somewhat not to be caressed, 
No feet so fleet could ever find. 
No perfect form could ever bind. 
Thou, eternal fugitive. 
Hovering over all that live, 
Quick and skilful to inspire 

1843.] Allston's Funeral. 259 

Sweet extravagant desire, 
Starry space and lily bell 
Filling with thy roseate smell, 
Wilt not give the lips to taste 
Of the nectar which thou hast. 

All that 's good and great, with thee 

Stands in deep conspiracy, 

Thou hast bribed the dark and lonely 

To report thy features only. 

And the cold and purple morning 

Itself with thoughts of thee adorning; 

The leafy dell, the city mart, 

Equal trophies of thine art; 

E'en the flowing azure air 

Thou hast touched for my despair ; 

And if I languish into dreams, 

Again I meet the ardent beams. 

Queen of things ! I dare not die 

In Being's deeps past ear and eye, 

Lest there I find the same deceiver 

And be the game of Fate forever. 

Dread Power, but dear ! if God thou be. 

Unmake me quite, or give thyself to me ! 


The summer moonlight lingered there. 
Thy gently moulded brow to see, 
For art in thee had softened care, 
As night's mild beams the dying tree. 

That storied smile was on thy face, 
The fair forgetfulness of fame, 
The deep concealment of that grace, 
Thy tender being's only aim. 

260 To the Muse. [Oct. 


Whither ? hast thou then faded ] 
No more by dell, or spring, or tree ? 
Whither 1 have I thy love upbraided ? 
Come back and speak to me; 
Shine, thou star of destiny ! 

O simple plains and quiet woods. 
Your silence asks no poet's strains. 
For ye are verse-like solitudes, 
Your leaf-like paths the sweet refrains 
The muse awakens but in pains. 

Yet shines above undauntedly 
The star-wreathed crownlet, heaven's great fame, 
And azure builds the dome-like sky, 
Nor should I make my nature tame, 
Lest distant days shall hide my name. 

" Thou bearest in these shades the light, 
That piled the rugged height of leaves, 
Thou rob'st with artificial night 
These dells so deep ; — he who believes, 
The muse enchants not, or deceives. 

And let the deep sea toss the shore, 
Thy infinite heart no motion hath ; 
Let lightning dance and thunder roar, 
And dark remembrance crowd thy path, 
Thy spirit needs some wider wrath. 

That verse, — the living fate within. 
Shall truly find its tone to save, 
Its adamantine goal to win 
Demands no voice, descends no grave. 
They sing enough who life-blood have." 

1843.] William TelVs Song. 261 

O placid springs which murmur through 
The silken grass so glistening ; 
Are fed your veins with silent dew 
So softly that ye onward sing, 
For in the middle earth ye cling. 

O gentlest woods, — your birds* kind song, 
How had you that so virtuous lay ? 
Among you let me linger long, 
And seek the arborous dim-lit way. 
And listen to your light wind's play. 

And thou, the essence of the flowers, 
My bride, my joy, my own dear wife, 
Who melted in thine eyes those hours. 
Those hours with sunlight richly rife ? 
Art thou a song of earnest life ? 


Where the mountain cataracts leap. 
And the stern wild pine builds fast, 
And the piercing crystals keep 
Their chains for the glaciers vast, 
I have built up my heart with a stony wall, 
I have frozen my will for a tyrant's fall. 

As the crag from the high cliff leaps. 

And is ground to fine dust below, 
As the dreaded avalanche creeps, 
And buries the valleys in woe. 
So tyranny sinks 'neath my mountain heart, 
So slavery falls by my quivering dart. 

262 A Letter. [Oct. 


As we are very liable in common with the letter-writing 
world, to fall behindhand in our correspondence, and a little 
more liable because, in consequence of our editorial function, 
we receive more epistles than our individual share, we have 
thought that we might clear our account by writing a quarterly 
catholic letter to all and several who have honored us in verse, 
or prose, with their confidence, and expressed a curiosity to 
know our opinion. We shall be compelled to dispose very 
rapidly of quite miscellaneous topics. 

And first, in regard to the writer who has given us his 
speculations on Rail-roads and Air-roads, our correspondent 
shall have his own way. To the rail-way, we must say, like 
the courageous lord mayor at his first hunting, when told the 
hare was coming, '' Let it come, in Heaven's name, I am not 
afraid on 't." Very unlooked for political and social effects 
of the iron road are fast appearing. It will require an expan- 
sion of the police of the old world. When a rail-road train 
shoots through Europe every day from Brussels to Vienna, from 
Vienna to Constantinople, it cannot stop every twenty or thirty 
miles, at a German customhouse, for examination of property 
and passports. But when our correspondent proceeds to Fly- 
ing-machines, we have no longer the smallest taper Jight^of 
credible information and experience left, and must speak on 
a priori grounds. Shortly then, we think the population is 
not yet quite fit for them, and therefore there will be none. 
Our friend suggests so many inconveniences from piracy out 
of the high air to orchards and lone houses, and also to other 
high fliers, and the total inadequacy of the present system of 
defence, that we have not the heart to break the sleep of the 
good public by the repetition of thes6 details. When children 
come into the library, we put the inkstand and the watch on 
the high shelf, until they be a little older ; and nature has set 
the sun and moon in plain sight and use, but laid them on the 
high shelf, where her roystering boys may not in some mad 
Saturday afternoon pull them down or burn their fingers. The 
sea and the iron road are safer toys for such ungrown people ; 
we are not yet ripe to be birds. 

In the next place, to fifteen letters on Communities, and the 
Prospects of Culture, and the destinies of the cultivated class, — 
what answer ? Excellent reasons have been shown us why the 
writers, obviously persons of sincerity and of elegance, should 
be dissatisfied with the life they lead, and with their company. 
They have exhausted all its benefit, and will not bear it much 

1843.] A Letter. 263 

longer. Excellent reasons they have shown why something 
better should be tried. They want a friend to whom they can 
speak and from whom they may hear now and then a reasona- 
ble word. They are willing to work, so it be with friends. 
They do not entertain anything absurd or even difficult. They 
do not wish to force society into hated reforms, nor to break 
with society. They do not wish a township, or any large 
expenditure, or incorporated association, but simply a concen- 
tration of chosen people. By the slightest possible concert per- 
severed in through four or five years, they think that a neighbor- 
hood might be formed of friends who would provoke each other 
to the best activity. 

They believe that this society would fill up the terrific 
chasm of ennui, and would give their genius that inspi- 
ration which it seems to wait in vain. But ' the selfishness ! ' 
One of the writers relentingly says, What shall my uncles 
and aunts do without me ? and desires to be distinctly un- 
derstood not to propose the Indian mode of giving decrepit 
relatives as much of the mud of holy Ganges as they can 
swallow, and more, but to begin the enterprise of concen- 
tration, by concentrating all uncles and aunts in one delightful 
village by themselves ! — so heedless is our correspondent of 
putting all the dough into one pan, and all the leaven into 
another. Another objection seems to have occurred to a sub- 
tle but ardent advocate. Is it, he writes, a too great wilfulness 
and intermeddling with life, — with life, which is better ac- 
cepted than calculated 1 Perhaps so ; but let us not be too 
curiously good ; the Buddhist is a practical Necessitarian ; the 
Yankee is not. We do a good many selfish things every day ; 
among them all, let us do one thing of enlightened selfishness. 
It were fit to forbid concert and calculation in thU^articuTar, 
if that were our system, if we were up to the mark of self- 
denial and faith in our general activity. But to be prudent in 
all the particulars of life, and in this one thing alone religiously 
forbearing; prudent to secure to ourselves an injurious society, 
temptations to folly and despair, degrading examples and ene- 
mies ; and only abstinent when it is proposed to provide our- 
selves with guides, examples, lovers ! 

We shall hardly trust ourselves to reply to arguments by 
which we would too gladly be persuaded. The more discon- 
tent, the better we like it. It is not for nothing, we assure 
ourselves, that our people are busied with these projects of a 
better social state, and that sincere persons of all parties are 
demanding somewhat vital and poetic of our stagnant society. 
How fantastic and unpresentable soever the theory has hitherto 
seemed, how swiftly shrinking from the examination of prac- 
tical men, let us not lose the warning of that most significant 

264 A Letter. [Oct. 

dream. How joyfully we have felt the admonition of larger 
natures which despised our aims and pursuits, conscious that a 
voice out of heaven spoke to us in that scorn. But it would be 
unjust not to remind our younger friends that, whilst this aspi- 
ration has always made its mark in the lives of men of thought, 
in vigorous individuals it does not remain a detached object, 
but is satisfied along with the satisfaction of other aims. To 
live solitary and unexpressed, is painful, — painful in proportion 
to one's consciousness of ripeness and equality to the offices of 
friendship. But herein we are never quite forsaken by the 
Divine Providence. The loneliest man after twenty years dis- 
covers that he stood in a circle of friends, who will then show 
like a close fraternity held by some masonic tie. But we are im- 
patient of the tedious introductions of Destiny, and a little faith- 
less, and would venture something to accelerate them. One thing 
is plain, that discontent and the luxury of tears will bring 
nothing to pass. Regrets and Bohemian castles and aesthetic 
villages are not a very self-helping class of productions, but are 
the voices of debility. Especially to one importunate corres- 
pondent we must say, that there is no chance for the aesthetic 
village. Every one of the villagers has committed his several 
blunder ; his genius was good, his stars consenting, but he 
was a marplot. And though the recuperative force in every 
man may be relied on infinitely, it must be relied on, before it 
will exert itself. As long as he sleeps in the shade of the 
present error, the after-nature does not betray its resources. 
Whilst he dwells in the old sin, he will pay the old fine. 

More letters we have on the subject of the position of young 
men, which accord well enough with what we see and hear. 
There is an American disease, a paralysis of the active faculties, 
which falls on young men in this country, as soon as they have 
finished their college education, which strips them of all manly 
aims and bereaves them of animal spirits, so that the noblest 
youths are in a few years converted, into pale Caryatides to 
uphold the temple of conventions. They are in the state of 
the young Persians, when "that mighty Yezdam prophet" 
addressed them and said, " Behold the signs of evil days are 
come ; there is now no longer any right course of action, nor 
any self-devotion left among the Iranis." As soon as they have 
arrived at this term, there are no employments to satisfy them, 
they are educated above the work of their times and country, 
and disdain it. Many of the more acute minds pass into a 
lofty criticism of these things, which only embitters their sensi- 
i>ility to the evil, and widens the feeling of hostility between 
them and the citizens at large. From this cause, companies of 
the best educated young men in the Atlantic states every week 
take their departure for Europe ; for no business that they have 

1843.J A Letter. 265 

in that country, but simply because they shall so be hid from 
the reproachful eyes of their countrymen, and agreeably enter- 
tained for one or two years, with some lurking hope, no doubt, 
that something may turn up to give them a decided direction. 
It is easy to see that this is only a postponement of their proper 
work, with the additional disadvantage of a two years' vacation. 
Add that this class is rapidly increasing by the infatuation of 
the active class, who, whilst they regard these young Athenians 
with suspicion and dislike, educate their own children in the 
same courses, and use all possible endeavors to secure to them 
the same result. 

Certainly we are not insensible to this calamity, as described by 
the observers or witnessed by ourselves. It is not quite new and 
peculiar, though we should not know where to find in literature 
any record of so much unbalanced intellectuality ; such unde- 
niable apprehension without talent, so much power without 
equal applicability, as our young men pretend to. Yet in 
Theodore Mundt's* account of Frederic Holderlin's "Hype- 
rion," we were not a little struck with the following Jeremiad of 
the despair of Germany, whose tone is still so familiar, that we 
were somewhat mortified to find that it was written in 1799. 

" Then came I to the Germans. I cannot conceive of a people more 
disjoined than the Germans. Mechanics you shall see, but no man ; 
priests, but no man ; thinkers, but no man. Is it not like some battle- 
field, where hands and arms and all members lie scattered about, whilst 
the life-blood runs away into the sand ? Let every man mind his own, 
you say, and I say the same. Only let him mind it with all his heart, 
and not with this cold study, literally, hypocritically to appear that 
which he passes for, but in good earnest, and in all love, let him be that 
which he is ; then there is a soul in his deed. And is he driven into a 
circumstance where the spirit must not live, let him thrust it from him 
with scorn, and learn to dig and plough. There is nothing holy which is 
not desecrated, which is not degraded to a mean end among this people. 
It is heartrending to see your poet, your artist, and all who still revere 
genius, who love and foster the Beautiful. The Good ! They live in 
the world as strangers in their own house ; they are like the patient 
Ulysses whilst he sat in the guise of a beggar at his own door, whilst 
shameless rioters shouted in the hall and ask, who brought the rag- 
gamuffin here ? Full of love, talent and hope, spring up the darlings 
of the muse among the Germans ; come seven years later, and they flit 
about like ghosts, cold and silent ; they are like a soil which an enemy 
has sown with poison, that it will not bear a blade of grass. On earth 
all is imperfect ! is the old proverb of the German. Aye, but if one 
should say to these Godforsaken, that with them all is imperfect, only 
because they leave nothing pure which they do not pollute, nothing 
holy which they do not defile with their fumbling hands ; that with 
them nothing prospers ; because the godlike nature which is the root of 

* Geschichte der Literatur der Gegenwart. 1842. p. 86. 
VOL. IV. NO. II. 34 

266 A Letter [Oct. 

all prosperity, they do not revere ; that with them, truly, life is shallow 
and anxious and full of discord, because they despise genius, which 
brings power and nobleness into manly action, cheerfulness into endu- 
rance, and love and brotherhood into towns and houses. Where a 
people honors genius in its artists, there breathes like an atmosphere 
a universal soul, to which the shy sensibility opens, which melts self- 
conceit, — all hearts become pious and great, and it adds fire to heroes. 
The home of all men is with such a people, and there will the stranger 
gladly abide. But where the divine nature and the artist is crushed, 
the sweetness of life is gone, and every other planet is better than the 
earth. Men deteriorate, folly increases, and a gross mind with it ; 
drunkenness comes with disaster; with the wantonness of the tongue 
and with the anxiety for a livelihood, the blessing of every year 
becomes a curse, and all the gods depart." 

The steep antagonism between the money-getting and the 
academic class must be freely admitted, and perhaps is the more 
violent, that whilst our work is imposed by the soil and the sea, 
our culture is the tradition of Europe. But we cannot share the 
desperation of our contemporaries, least of all should we think 
a preternatural enlargement of the intellect a calamity. A 
new perception, the smallest new activity given to the percep- 
tive power, is a victory won to the living universe from chaos 
and old night, and cheaply bought by any amounts of hard- 
fare and false social position. The balance of mind and body 
will redress itself fast enough. Superficialness is the real dis- 
temper. In all the cases we have ever seen where people were 
supposed to suffer from too much wit, or as men said, from a 
blade too sharp for the scabbard, it turned out that they had not 
wit enough. It may easily happen that we are grown very idle 
and must go to work, and that the times must be worse before 
they are better. It is very certain, that speculation is no suc- 
cedaneum for life. What we would know, we must do. As if 
any taste or imagination could take the place of fidelity ! The old 
Duty is the old God. And we may -come to this by the rudest 
teaching. A friend of ours went five years ago to Illinois to 
buy a farm for his son. Though there were crowds of emi- 
grants in the roads, the country was open on both sides, and 
long intervals between hamlets and houses. Now after five 
years he has just been to visit the young farmer and see how 
he prospered, and reports that a miracle has been wrought. 
From Massachusetts to Illinois, the land is fenced in and 
builded over, almost like New England itself, and the proofs 
of thrifty cultivation everywhere abound; — a result not so 
much owing to the natural increase of population, as to the 
hard times, which, driving men out of cities and trade, forc- 
ed them to take off their coats and go to work on the land, 
wiiich has rewarded them not only with wheat but with 
habits of labor. Perhaps the adversities of our commerce have 

1843.] A Letter. ^67 

not yet been pushed to the wholesomest degree of severity. 
Apathies and total want of work and reflection on the imagina- 
tive character of American life, &c. &c., are like seasickness, 
which never will obtain any sympathy, if there is a woodpile 
in the yard, or an unweeded patch in the garden ; not to men- 
tion the graver absurdity of a youth of noble aims, who can 
find no field for his energies, whilst the colossal wrongs of the 
Indian, of the Negro, of the emigrant, remain unmitigated, 
and the religious, civil, and judicial forms of the country are 
confessedly effete and offensive. We must refer our clients back 
to themselves, believing that every man knows in his heart the 
cure for the disease he so ostentatiously bewails. 

As far as our correspondents have entangled their private 
griefs with the cause of American Literature, we counsel them 
to disengage themselves as fast as possible. In Cambridge 
orations, and elsewhere, there is much inquiry for that great 
absentee American Literature. What can have become of it? 
The least said is best. A literature is no man's private concern, 
but a secular and generic result, and is the affair of a power 
which works by a prodigality of life and force very dismaying 
to behold, — the race never dying, the individual never spared, 
and every trait of beauty purchased by hecatombs of private 
tragedy. The pruning in the wild gardens of nature is never 
forborne. Many of the best must die of consumption, many of 
despair, and many be stupid and insane, before the one great 
and fortunate life, which they each predicted, can shoot up into 
a thrifty and beneficent existence. 

But passing to a letter which is a generous and a just tribute 
to Bettina von Arnim, we have it in our power to furnish our 
correspondent and all sympathizing readers with a sketch,* 
though plainly from no very friendly hand, of the new work of 
that eminent lady, who in the silence of Tieck and Schelling, 
seems to hold a monopoly of genius in Germany. 

" At last has the long expected work of the Frau von Arnim 
here appeared. It is true her name is not prefixed ; more prop- 
erly is the dedication, This Booh belongs to the King, also the 
title ; but partly because her genius shines so unmistakeably 
out of every line, partly because this work refers so directly to 
her earlier writings, and appears only as an enlargement of them, 
none can doubt who the author is. We know not how we 
should characterize to the reader this most original work. 
Bettina, or we should say, the Frau von Arnim, exhibits her 
eccentric wisdom under the person of Goethe's Mother, the 

* We translate the following extract from the Berlin Correspondence 
of the Deutsche Schnellpost of September. 

268 A Letter, [Oct. 

Frau Rath, whilst she herself is still a child, who, (1807) sits 
upon 'the shawl' at the foot of the Frau Rath, and listens 
devoutly to the gifted mother of the great poet. Moreover, 
Bettina does not conceal that she solely, or at any rate princi- 
pally, propounds her views from the Frau Rath. And in fact, 
it could not be otherwise, since we come to hear the newest philo- 
sophical wisdom which makes a strange enough figure in the 
mouth of Goethe's mother. If we mistake not, the intimate 
intercourse with Bruno Bauer is also an essential impulse for 
Frau von Arnim, and we must not therefore wonder if the Frau 
Rath loses her way in pure philosophical hypotheses, wherein 
she avails herself of the known phrases of the school. It is 
true, she quickly recovers herself again, clothes her perceptions 
in poetical garb, mounts bravely to the boldest visions, or, (and 
this oftenest happens,) becomes a humorist, spices her dis- 
courses in Frankfort dialect by idiomatic expressions, and hits 
off in her merriest humors capital sketches. For the most part, 
the whole humoristic dress seems only assumed in order to 
make the matter, which is in the last degree radical, less inju- 
rious. As to the object of these ' sayings and narratives re- 
ported from memory ' of the Frau Rath, (since she leads the 
conversation throughout,) our sketch must be short. * It is 
Freedom which constitutes the truest being of man. Man 
should be free from all traditions, from all prejudices, since 
every holding on somewhat traditional, is unbelief, spiritual 
selfmurder. The God's impulse to truth is the only right belief 
Man himself should handle and prove, 'since whoever reflects on a 
matter, has always a better right to truth, than who lets himself 
be slapped on the cheek by an article-of-Faith.' By Sin she 
understands that which derogates from the soul, since every 
hindrance and constraint interrupts the Becoming of the soul. 
In general, art and science have only the destination to make 
free what is bound. But the human spirit can rule all, and, 
in that sense, ' man is God, only we are not arrived so far as to 
describe the true pure Man in us.' If, in the department of 
religion, this principle leads to the overthrow of the whole his- 
torical Christendom, so, in the political world, it leads to the 
ruin of all our actual governments. Therefore she wishes for a 
strong reformer, as Napoleon promised for a time to be, who, 
however, already in 1807, when these conversations are ascribed 
to the Frau Rath, had shown that instead of a world's liberator, 
he would be a world's oppressor. Bettina makes variations on 
the verse, ' and wake an avenger, a hero awake ! ' and in this 
sense is also her dedication to read. It were noble if a stronger 
one should come, who in more beautiful moderation, in per- 
fecter clearness of soul and freedom of thought, should plant 
the tree of equity. Where remains the Regent, if it is not the 

1843.] A Letter. 269 

genius of humanity ? that is the Executive principle, in her 
system. The state has the same will, the same conscience- 
voice for good and evil as the Christ ; yet it crumbles itself 
away into dogmaticalness of civil officers against one another. 
The transgressor is the state's own transgression ! the proof that 
it, as man, has trespassed against humanity. The old state's 
doctors, who excite it to a will, are also its disease. But they 
who do not agree in this will, and cannot struggle through soul- 
narrowing relations, are the demagogues, against whom the 
unsound state trespasses, so long as it knows not how to bring 
their sound strength into harmony. And precisely to those 
must it dedicate itself, since they are its integration and restora- 
tion, whilst the others who conform to it, make it more sunken and 
stagnant. If it be objected, that this her truth is only a poetic 
dream which in the actual world has no place, she answers ; 
' even were the truth a dream, it is not therefore to be denied ; 
let us dedicate our genius to this dream, let us form an Ideal 
Paradise, which the spiritual system of Nature requires at our 
hands.' ' Is the whole fabric of state, she asks, only a worse 
arranged hospital, where the selfish or the ambitious would fasten 
on the poor human race the foolish fantastic malversations of 
their roguery for beneficent cooperation ? and with it the 
political economy, so destitute of all genius to bind the useful 
with the beautiful, on which these state's doctors plume them- 
selves so much, and so with their triviality exhibit, as a pattern 
to us, a wretched picture of ignorance, of selfishness, and of 
iniquity ; when I come on that, I feel my veins swell with wrath. 
If I come on the belied nature, or how should I call this spectre of 
actuality ! Yea justly ! No ! with these men armed in mail against 
every poetic truth, we must not parley ; the great fools' conspi- 
racy of that actuality-spectre defends with mock reasoning its 
Turkish states'-conduct, before which certainly the revelation 
of the Ideal withdraws into a poetic dream-region.' But 
whilst the existing state in itself is merely null, whilst the trans- 
gressor against this state is not incorporated with its author- 
izations with its directions and tendencies, so is the transgressor 
ever the accuser of the state itself In general, must the state 
draw up to itself at least the lowest class, and not let it sink in 
mire ; and Bettina lets the Frau Rath make the proposal, instead 
of shutting up the felon in penitentiaries, to instruct him in the 
sciences, as from his native energies, from his unbroken powers, 
great performances might be looked for. But in order also to 
show practically the truth of her assertions, that the present 
state does not fulfil its duties especially to the poorest class, at 
the close of the book are inserted, ' Experiences of a young 
Swiss in Voigtland.' This person visited the so-called Family- 
houses, which compose a colony of extremest poverty. There 

270 ISIew Books, [Oct. 

he went into many chambers, listened to the history of the life, 
still oftener to the history of the day, of the inhabitants ; in- 
formed himself of their merit and their wants, and comes to the 
gloomiest results. The hard reproaches, which were made 
against the Overseers of the Poor, appear unhappily only too 
well founded. We have hastily sketched, with a few literal quo- 
tations, the contents of this remarkable book of this remark- 
able woman, and there remains no space further to elaborate 
judgment. The highflying idealism, which the Frau von Arnini 
cherishes, founders and must founder against the actuality which, 
as opposed to her imagination, she holds for absolute nothing. 
So reality, with her, always converts itself to spectres, whilst 
these dreams are to her the only reality. Tn our opinion an 
energetic thorough experiment for the realization of her ideas 
would plunge us in a deeper misery than we at present have to 


The Huguenots in France and America. 

The Huguenots is a very entertaining book, drawn from ex- 
cellent sources, rich in its topics, describing many admirable 
persons and events, and supplies an old defect in our popular 
literature. The editor's part is performed with great assiduity 
and conscience. Yet amidst this enumeration of all the geniuses, 
and beauties, and sanctities of France, what has the greatest 
man in France, at that period, Michael de Montaigne, done, or 
left undone, that his name should be quite omitted ? 

The Spanish Student. A Play in Three Acts. By H. W. 

A pleasing tale, but Cervantes shall speak for us out of La 

" You must know, Preciosa, that as to this name of Poet, 
few are they who deserve it, — and I am no Poet, but only a 
lover of Poesy, so that I have no need to beg or borrow the 
verses of others. The verses, I gave you the other day, are 
mine, and those of to-day as well ; — but, for all that, I am no 
poet, neither is it my prayer to be so." 

'' Is it then so bad a thing to be a poet? " asked Preciosa. 

"Not bad," replied the Page, " but to be a poet and nought 
else, I do not hold to be very good. For poetry should be like 
a precious jewel, whose owner docs not put it on every day, 

1843.] New Books. 271 

nor show it to the world at every step ; but only when it is fit- 
ting, and when there is a reason for showing it. Poetry is a 
most lovely damsel ; chaste, modest, and discreet ; spirited, but 
yet retiring, and ever holding itself within the strictest rule of 
honor. She is the friend of Solitude. She finds in the foun- 
tains her delight, in the fields her counsellor, in the trees and 
flowers enjoyment and repose ; and lastly, she charms and in- 
structs all that approach her." 

The Dream of a Day, and other Poems. By James G. Perci- 
val. New Haven. 1843. 

Mr. Percival printed his last book of poems sixteen years 
ago, and every school-boy learned to declaim his *' Bunker 
Hill," since which time, he informs us, his studies have been 
for the most part very adverse to poetic inspirations. Yet here 
we have specimens of no less than one hundred and fifty differ- 
ent forms of stanza. Such thorough workmanship in the poet- 
ical art is without example or approach in this country, and de- 
serves all honor. We have imitations of four of the leading 
classes of ancient measures, — the Dactylic, Iambic, Anapes- 
tic, and Trochaic, to say nothing of rarer measures, now never 
known out of colleges. Then come songs for national airs, 
formed on the rhythm of the music, including Norwegian, Ger- 
man, Russian, Bohemian, Gaelic, and Welsh, — Teutonian 
and Slavonian. But unhappily this diligence is not without its 
dangers. It has prejudiced the creative power, 

" And made that art, which was a rage." 

Neatness, terseness, objectivity, or at any rate the absence of 
subjectivity, characterize these poems. Our bard has not 
quite so much fire as we had looked for, grows warm but does 
not ignite ; those sixteen years of " adverse" studies have had 
their effect on Pegasus, who now trots soundly and resolutely 
on, but forbears rash motions, and never runs away with us. 
The old critics of England were hardly steadier to their triad 
of " Gower, Lydgate, and Chaucer," than our American maga- 
zines to the trinity of " Bryant, Dana, and Percival." A gentle 
constellation truly, all of the established religion, having the 
good of their country and their species at heart. Percival has 
not written anything quite as good on the whole as his two 
fast associates, but surpasses them both in labor, in his mimetic 
skill, and in his objectiveness. He is the most objective of the 
American Poets. Bryant has a superb propriety of feeling, 
has plainly always been in good society, but his sweet oaten 
pipe discourses only pastoral music. Dana has the most estab- 

272 New Books. [Oct. 

lished religion, more sentiment, more reverence, more of Eng- 
land ; whilst Mr. Percival is an upright, soldierly, free-spoken 
man, very much of a patriot, hates cant, and does his best. 

We notice in London a new edition of Chairman's Transla- 
tion, of the Iliads of Homer ^ illustrated with wood-engravings 
after Flaxman. Charles Lamb says, ** Chapman would have 
made a great epic poet, if indeed he has not shown himself 
to be one ; for his Homer is not so properly a translation, as 
the stories of Achilles and Ulysses rewritten." We trust this 
new edition will find its way here, the older one being very 

Orion, an Epic Poem, in Three Books, 137 pp. By R. H. 
Home, Author of "Cosmo de Medici," &c. Price one farthing. — 
From certain extracts from this Epic, it is better than some of 
the late Epics, but incomparable in its price. 

It is grateful to notice a second edition of Tennyson's 

A new Vv?ork of Manzoni is announced, — Storia della 
Colonna Infame di Alessandro Manzoni. 

The translations of Mary Howitt from the Swedish having 
succeeded, a work from the Danish, — King Eric and the Out- 
laws : or, the Throne, the Church, and the People in the 
Thirteenth Century; translated by Jane Chapman, — has been 

In France the monstrous undertaking of the reprint of the 
" Moniteur " from 1789 to 1799, is nearly complete, since of 
thirty-two volumes, of which it will consist, already twenty-nine 
have appeared. Twenty-five volumes contain the history of 
three great revolutionary Assemblies, the Notables, the States 
General, and the Convention. Four volumes are devoted to the 


VoL.IV. JANUARY, 1844. No. III. 


[Continued from p. ]74 of last Number.] 



I HAVE been reading Wordsworth with some attention, 
on these cold evenings, in my chimney corner, having no 
better book. I cannot understand how he engaged so 
large a share of praise, or how he can be set among illus- 
trious poets. Yet t!ie age places him among the first. I 
suspect, he and Southey owe part of their renown to the 
quantity of verse they have written. These heavy volumes, 
bearing such immense freights of decent poetry, deter their 
readers from insisting on finding pure gold, and the few 
really good lines, scattered in many places, gleam like 
jewels, and illumine the rest with deceptive light. 

Did not Wordsworth make a radical mistake to write 
verses on a plan ? I have no conception of any thing 
which has a right to be called poetry, unless it come living 
out of the poet's nature, like the stream gushing from the 
rock, free and clear. It demands life from the depths of 
character, and must be written necessarily. 

I have tried many people, in the hope of finding among 
them some one with whom I can fully sympathize. I have 
the part of the hermit left to play, and begin seriously to 
think I will attempt it. I do sympathize with you, but it 
is as men feel for each other, rather in pursuit than senti- 
ment. I wish some woman to come, such as I picture in 
my dreams. I feel I was born for intimate sympathy, yet 
find little exxept with trees and fields. I peep into the 

VOL. IV, NO. III. 35 

274 Youth of the Poet and the Painter. [Jan. 

windows of the cottages, where famihes sit around bright 
wood-fires, all bound together by a circle of firehght, so 
that no frosts can form in the centre of their being, but I 
cannot enter, — for how bare are the walls, and how square 
the rooms ! I crave the hearth on these chill evenings, but 
my roof must be open to the sky, and the keen rays of the 
stars shine for my candle. I can feel soft arms willing to 
clasp me ; the steel fetters of strength do not glitter round 
their wrists; I must have something more than affection. 

It is tiresome to wander in society, knock at every door, 
gain admittance, and find the old arrangement of settees, 
coal-grates, centre-tables, and Turkish carpets. O for a 
lofty hall, with the sun shining crimson and purple through 
its dome, while on the walls hang pictures, and statues 
stand in the niches, with some music from a lute sounding, 
and no need of artificial warmth, but the sun always ! I 
would have the windows unglazed, and let the winds rush 
through on dizzy storms, and rain and snow enter as they 
please, and the stars glow dazzling. 1 have found decency 
everywhere, and what they call a respectable appearance, 
without a spark of wildfire. 

You seem better than the rest, but as one of my own 
sex, I cannot come to you, as I would to the other, — you 
are only half the sphere, as well as I. I am fortunate to 
foresee my path among these sands of time. I now feel 
desolate, like the bird who has neither mate nor nest, and am 
wild and proud, as if 1 would not resign myself to solitude 
without war. Yet this day of tempest will pass, and I 
shall walk calm and resigned, and build myself a hut, if I 
have nothing in it, except a broken branch of some last 
year's tree. There, if I secure quiet, with some smiling 
fields from the window, I can whistle as if content. 

I delight to catch glimpses of sunlight in others' fortunes, 
and it makes me smile to see others glad. These bending, 
cheerful natures, which sing as gaily as the little birds on 
the bough after a shower, in the bright, golden sunshine, 
come and alight on the bare walls of my existence, and the 
rays of their light blue plumage are reflected for a second 
in the surface of my solitary lake, whose grey waves melt 
on some side into the azure radiance. Yet these passing 
gleams of brightness fade soon, and seem to leave a darker 
tint behind, as after the autumn sunsets, charged as they 

1844.] Youth of the Poet and the Painter. 275 

are with splendid gorgeousness, the woods scowl in hard 
outlines ; 1 don't know that I am better for these ; J. only 
see what these soft, sunny characters enjoy. 

I met a little child, who roved among the ferns, moving 
her large wild eyes, dark as the raven's plumage, yet bright 
in their depths, gracefully from tree to rock ; a silent, mo- 
tionless mirth, and a smile about her small, crimson mouth, 
though I never heard her laugh. I saw her passing before 
me, like a sunbeam with its shadow, and one day she came 
to my skiff, and we sailed far up the river. I love children, 
yet they never satisfy me, for I must have some toil, and 
some defeat, to cling to, yet this child seems more than 
any being I have met. She is not affectionate, yet remains 
to my memory, a gipsy figure, moving among the woods, 
and I have been pleased to find these solitary places 
haunted by a creature so genial. Childhood is a painting 
set in health and artlessness, and a time cut out of existence, 
that we can parallel with nothing beside, for we cannot 
bring it back, and see it afar, as we do heaven. It is like 
a bower, or a desert, made of the greenest trees, and 
planted inside with flowers, while about its leafy walls, are 
rude cliffs not even moss-covered, bare sands where no 
blade of grass grows, and heat that mocks life ; in the 
midst a clear spring of delicious water rises, where swim 
gold and silver fish, and the light from them tints the 
air to the door of the delightful place ; the sound of the 
fountain dances gaily, and sends a gush of music into the 
flowery roof. No wonder the old people talk so much 
about the time when they were young. This little child 
brought me a bunch of ferns, and hung them over the 
kitchen fire, and sat herself down in the corner, gazing 
with her large, dark, motionless eyes. I did not speak, 
and when the firelight played with its changing red over 
her low forehead and brown cheeks, I seemed to have some 
creature out of the world of gipsies. She was sent away 
somewhere the next day, and I shall not see her again, but 
then one meets such children often. If they came once, 
and then would stay a day, I believe they would form such 
sunny memories, we should have gold beams for our recol- 

E. A. 

276 Youth of the Poet and the Painter. [Jan. 



My Dear Hope, 

I send some of my journal, as I promised. I know you 
will procure little from it, yet it will furnish some picture 
of the life I lead. It is not a record of what I do, but 
what I feel. 

How cold came the wind from the misty sea, with its 
sad, grey clouds, yet I love thee, Autumn. Even if thy 
looks are sorrowful, a joy dwells within thy grief. I feel 
that nature has her sorrows, and I am not alone in mine, 
even if my Autumn continues through the year. My 
spring is forming in the depths of my chill heart ; the 
flowers, if concealed, are sown, and one sunny day will 
warm them into life. I long for that, — to throw myself 
into the sunniest joy a human soul ever knew. 1 sat in the 
pine woods, upon the red carpet of spires, dropping and 
accumulating for a century (and above waved the century- 
old trees), while the ravens sailed over, mingling hoarse 
cries with the gentle whispers of the forest, as the painful 
sounds of life flow among the sweet songs of heaven. 
Night dwells in these evergreen bowers, while the ocean's 
music murmurs and carries me to the pebbly beaches of the 
blue floor of the moving sea. I remember the waves, as 
the memories of a better world stand with folded arms, in 
the sunny bowers of childhood. I should love to build my 
cottage in the pine woods, yet it would be too solitary. 

I am reflected from the forms of nature, yet their grace- 
ful aspects do not adorn my figure, and 1 see myself, as I 
am, a poor wanderer, seeking shelter in the tempest of the 
world from the winds and cold rains. I blame myself, and 
not the world, for the jarring image. I have come to my- 
self late. Perhaps if I had been shaped, when a little 
child, by the beautiful thoughts of the poet, and baptized 
in the sea of lovely forms, I should never have entered this 
sandy desert, whose end flies as I advance, and whose 
entrance I find equally inaccessible. Yet I cannot deplore 

1844.] Youth of the Poet and the Painter. 217 

my history more than my companions, for they are all un- 
satisfied as I am. No one of them is perfect ; they have 
some flaw, some speck, and their great endeavor is to hide 
this from themselves. I differ in exposing mine ; I am 
desirous to see my solitude in its true proportion, to know 
how much I can trust others, and how far depend on my- 
self. If my efforts fail, when I seek to express my life, let 
me at least have the satisfaction of knowing the origin 
of my ill success ; give me light, even if it be a torch, 
to brighten my errors. I would try every thing, — every 
art, every man ; no failure can prevent a new trial, though 
1 have taken the wrong so many times that I can hardly 
tread the right, during these ill-fashioned days of time. 
Let me be great enough to stand resigned till death's 
golden key opens the gate of the next eternity. 


I heard the song of a forest bird, 

Sweet was the note in my grateful ear, 

It came like the tone of a friendly word, 
It was finished, and gentle, and clear, 
Yet the singer I saw not, though near. 

I hear the bird's song wherever I go, 

For it echoes my inward desire, 
But the minstrel I deem does not venture below 

The far clouds, — his world is a higher. 

His altar is lit by a purer fire. 

Sing on thou sweet anthem, — to me, 
Though viewless, thou seemest a tone, 

That one day shall come in full melody, 
And the singer be near, and my own, 
Even if now I wander alone. 

I grow more attached to this beautiful place each day. 
It is fitted for a home to some wanderer hke me, and 
though I feel I must, before many days, set my sails to the 
wind and dash through the green billows, far from the 
sheltered coves, I shall remember these green spots, which 
should make the earth a heaven. Sweet river, fair groves, 
and peaceful fields, receive thanks from a spirit folded for 
a few flying moments, in your tender arms ; receive the 

278 Youth of the Poet and the Painter. [Jan. 

assurance, that if it were mine, I should delight to cele- 
brate your gifts in fitter strains. How impoverished I feel, 
when I return to the house, after one of my long walks, 
with the beauty yet standing in my eyes, because I can 
give none of it away, and know that presently it will fade 
even from my consciousness. 

I am a wanderer from a distant land, 
There the clouds glow in crimson, and the flames 
Of a perpetual summer fill the air. 
Noon never falls into dull twilight ; trees 
Swell in their ruby foliage, and no hand 
Cold and regardless plucks the endless bloom. 
Shadows fall deep red, and yellow, softening mists 
Robe the white temple's pillars with rich gold. 
No tears are shed among those sunny years, 
For the high day walks garlanded with love. 



My Dear Ned, 

I wrote some days since an unfortunate letter, I suppose, 
under a severe twinge of rheumatism, as I learn you put 
an interdict upon correspondence between us. What if an 
interdict will not go far enough to cover the whole ground, 
for in the first place, you must interdict me from writing; 
then the postmaster-general from sending my letters after 
they are written, and then, further, your own heart, 
which I know is as soft as lamb's wool, from opening and 
reading them, after they are written, sent, and have reached 
you. An old head like mine, through whose hair the 
storms have blown in three circumnavigations of the globe, 
can afford to have a few of these inland gales winter in its 
locks ; and yet, Ned, why you severely interdict me from 
sending an occasional epistle, I cannot understand. Tiiis, 
however, shall be the final blast of your uncle's trumpet, 
and would ii might prove a Jericho horn, and batter down 
the grey walls of morbidness, which yesterday and to- 
morrow have built round your existence. Finally, I have 

1844.] Youth of the Poet and the Painter. 279 

worked upon your mother's reason, and she has agreed 
with herself and Heaven, to leave you in unending still- 
ness, by which I mean, she has constituted me, with your 
consent, trustee of your pecuniary finances, unless you 
prefer taking them into your hands. 

In the mean time I transmit an account of your property, 
so far as I have obtained it, by several drillings, musters, 
and overhaulings of the lawyer, and Mr. Penny, who has 
long been captain of your mother's purse. In the first 
place, I find ten shares in the Rotten Twine Company, 
originally valued at one hundred dollars per share, purchased 
by Mr. Penny for seventy dollars per share, worth, as I see 
by the Doughnut Chronicle (which serves me for blotting 
paper), fifty dollars per share. My notion is, that, as the 
Rotten Twine Company has broke three times, it will 
break again ; so, with your leave, and without Mr. 
Penny's, I shall sell the ten shares. Next, a farm in Mid- 
dlebury, originally bought for fifteen hundred dollars by 
skilful Mr. Penny, at your mother's request, they both 
considering the earth solid and good to buy. I have made 
inquiries into its present price, and find it will sell for near 
one thousand dollars, and have had an ofter by a neighbor, 
who sees the wood waving from his window, and the red 
grass and mullens in the fields, and who, as he needs fire- 
wood and sheep pasture, like many another country booby, 
thinks he will lay out his savings, now in the bank, earning 
him his six per cent., upon land, which every year will run him 
more than six per cent, in debt. Then, twenty shares in the 
Heydiddle Railroad, which will yield, the directors say, in ten 
years, after all expenses paid, including their own, newspa- 
per puffs, directorial dinners, cow-killing and cart-breaking, 
eight per cent, yearly interest. Ned, the Heydiddle Railroad 
affords amusement for these directors, with its sherry wine, 
roast-beef, and turkey dinners, but what could have led Mr. 
Penny to pay two thousand dollars and get so little for his 
pains, neither of us can see, unless it was, because Mr. Penny 
was a director. With your consent, I shall sell the Hey- 
diddle Railroad, with the Rope and Twine Company. The 
next investment of Mr. Penny is three thousand dollars in 
Eastern lands, and I have pumped much mud and bilge- 
water, to say nothing of good, clean drinking water, out of Mr. 
Penny and the lawyer, but I can say, that neither of these 
speculators will make a chart of the land, or give me any 

280 Youth of the Poet and the Painter. [Jan. 

point to steer by. I shall, with your permission, enter into 
correspondence with all persons in Maine, and find where 
these lands lie, what they are worth, and who will buy 
them, and proceed to sell them for cash. Mr. Penny's 
next purchase was three shares in the Solar Microscope Exhi- 
bition, which cost one hundred dollars per share, and is now 
offered for five dollars ; this has yearly produced two visits to 
the Ashford family, under the escort of Mr. Penny, who had 
each time to exhibit his certificate of stock, and his own right 
to enter, which he held under a greasy ticket signifying that he 
was an original hfe-subscriber. I advise you, with Mr. Pen- 
ny's consent, to hold fast to these shares, for you may, one 
day, like to see eels in vinegar yourself. You have a share in 
the Sticker hbrary, worth originally two hundred dollars, 
and have the right of taking out three books once a month, 
by paying six per cent, yearly on the cost of your share, and a 
farther trifle of three dollars, which goes straight into the 
bowels of poor Peter the librarian. As you never took out 
books, nor went to the library, and as your mother subscribes 
to Mrs. Rundle's Circulating Library, whose whole volumes 
you might purchase with your one share in the Sticker, 
and further, as the Sticker share would not bring fifty dol- 
lars, perhaps it would be well to transfer it to Mrs. Rundle, 
and enable her to let the waste water of the Sticker marsh 
into her own basin. 

There are in the Doughnut Bank two thousand dollars be- 
longing to you, which will yield six per cent., like a good cow 
that gives a certain quality and quantity of milk. My notion 
is, that we sell all and sundry your other stocks and invest- 
ments, and lump them in this Bank ; if you only make 
six per cent, a year, you will never lose ten. The directors 
I have watched the last three years with open eyes, and 
conclude they are crusty, miserly fellows, who love money 
too well to part with one farthing, and consider whatever 
is in the Bank theirs, so far as it enables them to make 
their six per cent. You may expect six hundred dollars, clear, 
a year, if you will put your money in this Bank, which I ex- 
pect will support you, or keep your head above water, which 
is considered necessary now-a-days. I live on two hundred 
a year, and have for the last ten years, so, with me, living on a 
smull means is no experiment. 1 purchase my clothes on 
the same day with some other boarder at my house, and 

1844.] Youth of the Poet and the Painter. 281 

find, after four seasons, he has renewed his eight times, 
while mine are yet wearing as well as ever. Thus, \ never 
spend any money for clothes now, because mine are all 
bought ; I consider I have purchased the articles I require 
in this line. In winter I spend every day but Sunday out 
of my room ; in this way I save all my fuel, except a 
seventh part, and this I borrow. I sit from nine in the 
morning till one, at which time I dine, by the bar-room 
fire, and read the paper, and talk with the landlord. In 
the afternoon, I have a round of ten stores I visit, spend 
part of an hour in each, and wile away my evenings in the 
parlor ; so I spend nothing for lights. 1 board on an origi- 
nal plan, as I consider it. Thus, I do not agree to eat any 
one meal at any one particular place, and by not stipula- 
ting, am always prepared to accept every invitation. If 
none of my acquaintance remember me, at the hour for 
meals, I purchase one cent's worth of crackers, and dine 
off that, or drink tea, or take breakfast off of it. Wines, 
beers, or druggist's small waters, I never purchase, as my 
stomach turns sour on every such introduction of drink. 
I resolve never to expend more than six cents, any one 
day, for food. You may ask where my money goes, to 
which I reply, that nominally I live on two hundred dol- 
lars a year, but actually on one hundred dollars. I expend 
something on books, music, and tobacco, three departments 
I value beyond clothes, food, and physic. But then, my 
tobacco only costs me three dollars a year, and as I buy 
cigars by the bushel, and pipe-tobacco by the barrel, I get 
as much as I want for a series of years for a five dollar bill. 
I pay no poll-tax, no minister's-tax, no school-tax, and no 
fiddler's-tax, because I migrate from Doughnut to Pulten- 
ham, according to the visits of the tax-gatherer, and am 
thus a citizen of no place, and belong generally. 

Your uncle, Dick. 




I have thought more of your letter respecting Edward, 
and not only that, but have had an interview with Mrs, 

VOL. IV. NO, III. 36 

282 Youth of the Poet and the Painter. [Jan. 

Ashford. She found I was interested in her son, who, of 
course, is the interesting subject which she has for conver- 
sation. I think I have enhghtened her in the premises, 
and I trust our melancholy poet will be left to the enjoyment 
of his reflections undisturbed. She was with difficulty 
persuaded, that a young man, left to his own inclinations, 
could become any thing but an idler, and a spendthrift in 
addition. It was inconceivable to her, that any young 
man could have the least pretence to sally into a new 
country, out of the formal path which his ancestors followed 
five hundred years, and was for bringing him at once to the 
city, and placing him in a counting-room. I told her, her 
son would never put himself in such a situation, however 
much she desired it, and when she became satisfied of this, 
she abandoned the idea. Mrs. Ashford is not a miserly 
woman, but has that unaccountable folly of many generous 
people, and thinks that all money not spent according to 
custom is thrown away. The fact of Edward's pecuniary 
independence made httle impression on her, and any dis- 
posal of his means, unless devoted to some formal business 
in a city, she considered a misfortune. 

You express some fear, that Edward, instead of being a 
poet, will be a dreamer, and after he has written some 
musical verses, enter manhood, to become an elegant, 
literary man, or a prosaic rhymer. It is true, he has one 
great disadvantage to contend with, he has not the grand 
teacher, — poverty. His means are sufficient, and his days 
will not be spent in toil to conquer enough from the 
world to feed his body with on the morrow. I do not 
regret this, I have long wished to see a poet nursed by 
nature, not obliged to struggle with indigence, and whose 
only cares and toils should be a sacrifice to the muse. 
His present melancholy has in it the elements of salvation. 
This struggle between sorrow and a desire to be cheerful, 
this question which must be asked every day, whether his 
faith is not strong enough to find in life sovereign bliss, — 
this mining into the depths of existence to grasp the glit- 
tering charm which lies hidden under the cold granite of 
his present fortune, will stand him instead of poverty, con- 
test with men, cultivation, and experience. A great sor- 
row shows the deepest vein of life, and no man has been a 
dreamer, who has wrestled bravely in youth with a giant 

1844.] Youth of the Poet and the Painter. 283 

despair. If Edward sat weakly down, as he would if this 
sorrow had any sentimentalism, and yielded his career to 
the hand of chance, nerveless, bashful, and envious, we 
might resign him to the poor lead of every trifling circum- 
stance ; but when you mark what vigorous faith lurks under 
every expression of sadness, how healthy his life is when it 
breaks the chains of his prison-house, and finds a vent in 
song, you must conclude that he is fighting the great battle 
of knowledge against ignorance, which every man, who has 
proved any thing, has first been obliged to conquer in. 
His contest will be more than the experience of a thousand 
worldly people. It is an unfortunate mistake, which I think 
your constitution leads you into, with many of your tem- 
perament, to suppose our best and most useful experiences 
flow from the external. Let us first know ourselves, which 
result can come only from contest with inward difficulties, 
and never from what we catch from the passing shades 
which hover around, and whose exteriors we see, and then 
no man can be concealed, because our destiny is one and 
the same. Let us omit this struggle, — let us go into life, 
or into nature, and be acted upon from without, and though 
the beginning may be fair, the ending will be disappoint- 
ment. For my part, I rejoice at Edward's present situa- 
tion, and hope he will be left to himself, in nature, there to 
battle with the fiend of ignorance. Were he not so deU- 
cately constituted, had he the power of warding off circum- 
stances, was it not necessary for him to surrender himself 
to many more impressions than the mass of men, I should 
not insist so positively upon his placing himself among the 
woods and fields. Thus finely formed, when every dis- 
cordant tone jars on the chords of his most delicate heart, 
I am glad nature surrounds him, and when I further con- 
sider that he is a poet, both by this education and an evi- 
dent predilection from his earliest years, I rejoice yet 
more. We need some poets truly bred in nature, who 
have gone out, not to look at trees and sunsets, and put 
them into their note-books,, but drawn by an inevitable 
necessity, to unburden their hearts, and confess their im- 
perfections, before the stern beauty of the perfect. Our 
poetry is too full of conventional existence, and we neg- 
lect verses often if newly written, as if there could be 
nothing true in them, because the expression of nature is 

284 Youth of the Poet and the Painter. [Jan. 

not caught, while the note of social life sounds continually. 
I am out of patience with the tameness of late poetry ; it 
is a feeble imitation of what in its time was good, and 
suited the age, and I feel that we demand an actual feel- 
ing of nature, which poets have lost. Our social life does 
not admit us into the sanctuary of human nature, but tosses 
us some chips, some crumbs of feeling or thought, as if the 
strong, healthy, abundant nature of man had dwindled 
into a pretty scholar, apt at feeding the birds from the 
window, while his tasks of courage were forgotten. 

It is a good part in Edward's history, that he has courage 
to make disappointments, — to sing his song to the end, 
though assured his verses will prove unsatisfactory. Those 
poets who have halted, and could not say at the end of 
life, as Michael did, " anchora imparo," to use an old 
illustration, never went into the depths of the art, never 
used their powers except as amateurs. I am glad you 
tell me, Edward cannot be satisfied with any poem he 
makes, for I am convinced, with his constitution, he will 
never tire, until he makes verse which shall be much to 
him, and yet that he will never cease to write. I think it 
will be long before he finds his true position, and till then 
he cannot estimate the place of any other person. How it 
is I cannot say, but there is, in people of his description, 
a power of misrepresenting the exact capacities of those 
by whom they are surrounded. It looks impossible for 
them to address themselves friendhly to those with whom 
they sympathize imperfectly, and they, demand from all, 
character and entertainment, which only a very few can 
ever yield. 

Truly yours, 

M. G. 

1844.] Translation of Dante. 285 


Many of us must remember our introduction to the 
Prince of Tuscan Poets. We had formed perhaps the 
dim vision of a Miltonic hell, enveloped in smoke and 
flame, dusky, lurid, indistinct, out of Vv'hich peered gaunt 
shapes of horror. The Italians told us hov^ hard he w^as 
to read, — how^ impossible for any but an Italian to under- 
stand, — how obscure — enigmatical — allegorical. We heard 
that no one has ever yet fully and fairly explained him. 
All conspire to make us approach with awe this dim and 
tremendous shadow. With how different feeling do we 
now look back. W^e tell our good Italian friends that the 
beautiful explains itself, and ijfiay be found by Italians or 
English alike. The allegory he hides so deeply was tem- 
porary, and whether it means this or that, is of little im- 
portance to us, — but the poetry, in which it is enveloped, 
belongs to all time, and can be understood by all men. To 
his language, at first unusual, we discover in a few cantos 
the key. His rhyme, which impeded at first, soon seems 
to us the only medium that could adapt itself to his varied 
theme. The Terza Rima does not flow, but walks, — does 
not declaim, but converses, philosophizes, reasons, — above 
all, describes, — and, however difficult to us, in Dante, it 
seems to be the natural frame of sentences among his in- 
terlocutors. Instead of obscurity or vagueness, we find an 
unexampled clearness, rendered transparent by images 
that with a single word give the most forcible pictures. 
The whole scene passes before our eyes. Rightly is the 
poem called Commedia, for it is like a history seen, and 
not read. The Inferno is full of physical horrors, — and we 
often hear a disgust expressed at them, — but our experience 
has been that the moral always overcomes the physical, and 
the dire torments pass away from our minds, while Frances- 
ca, Farinata, Ugolino, La Pia, remain fixed forever. Who 
forgets not the fiery sepulchre when Farinata himself for- 

* The first ten Cantos of the Inferno of Dante newly translated into English 
verse. By T. W. Passgns. Ticknor. 1843. 

286 Translation of Dante. [Jan. 

gets it in his pride and grief for Florence and his friends ; — 
or when the father of Guido forgets it to ask after his son ? 
It is only the mean men in Dante's hell, that are overcome 
by the torments; the majestic Ulysses speaks with un- 
changed voice after ages of pain. When we are well 
acquainted with Dante, the terrible is to us but a back- 
ground for pictures of such beauty and tenderness as are 
perhaps without parallel. 

So many reviews, books, and magazine articles have of 
late years been busy with the subject, that now-a-days it is to 
be hoped students are better prepared what to expect than 
chanced in our day. Every body has read a few cantos, that 
has read Italian at all. Many have read the Inferno ; but 
to almost all the Purgatorio and the Paradiso remain un- 
sought mines. Still, from an Italian author, Dante is be- 
coming a world-author ; the knowledge of him is no longer 
confined to Italian scholars, — and it is a fair sign of the 
times that here we have in Boston a new and good trans- 

We took up this book, not a little prejudiced ; for who 
with the deep music of the original ringing in his ears, but 
must view the best translation with some aversion ? And 
verily were all the world acquainted with originals, trans- 
lators would stand but a poor chance, if indeed they could 
under such circumstances exist. A translation is neither 
more nor less than a paraphrase, only in a different lan- 
guage ; and this is the only answer to give to those who 
insist that if there be any meaning in a poet, it can be 
translated, that the thought cannot escape if the words are 
rendered by equivalents. But let any one paraphrase Shak- 
speare, and see what work he will make of it. Hence is a 
translator's in one respect the most ungrateful of all literary 
tasks. Yet is it one of the most honorable and most useful, 
for few can go to the fountain heads, and none can go to 
them all ; and without the labors of conscientious transla- 
tors, not the Bible only, but our Plato and jEschylus would 
be sealed books to most of us. Goethe translated Phedre, 
and Benvenuto Cellini, and several other works ; and 
thus much is certain, that to produce good translations, 
especially of poetical works, requires rare talents. 

Gary is faithful, and literal, and has been a very useful 
translator, so far as we can speak from imperfect knowl- 

1844.] Translation of Dante. 287 

edge, but seems to possess quite a faculty of giving a 
prosaic translation of a poetical passage. Mr. Parsons is 
spirited, often poetical ; not always literal enough. A 
translator is bound to clip nothing, above all, in an author 
who, like Dante, has never an unnecessary word or line. 
We take the first lines of the Second Book as an illustration 
both of the poet and his translators. 

Lo g'iorno se n ' andava, e 1' aere bruno 
Toolieva g-li animai che sono in terra 
Dalle fatiche loro : ed io sol uno 
M'apparechiava a sostener la guerra 
Si del cammino, e si della pietate 
Che ritrarra la raente che non erra- 

Gary translates— 

Now was the day departing", and the air, 
Imbrowned with shadows, ifrom their toils released 
All animals on earth ; and I alone 
Prepared myself the conflict to sustain, 
Both of sad pity, and that perilous road 
Which my unerring memory shall retrace. 

Mr. Parsons — 

Day was departing, and the dusky light 
Freed earthly creatures from their labor's load ; 

I only rose and girt myself to fight 
The struggle with compassion, and my road, 

Paint it, my memory, now in truth's own hue ! 

Literally — 

" Day was departing, and the dark air 
Took away the animals that are upon the earth 
From their labors. And I alone 
Prepared myself to sustain the war. 
Both of the journey and of pity, 
Which my mind that does not err shall retrace. 

In the original the picture of departing day is marked, 
and so beautiful as to arrest attention and fix itself in the 
memory. Mr. Gary is faithful, and does not injure the 
picture by adding or taking away a word, and is not un- 
poetical. In Mr. Parsons " freed earthly creatures from 
their labor's load" does not sufficiently render " togheva 
gli animai che sono in terra dalle fatiche loro," this descrip- 
tion cannot be compressed without taking away its individ- 
uality and making it commonplace ; and although the 
meaning is sufficiently clear, the rendering is not artistic ; it 

288 Translation of Dante. [Jan. 

has missed the points of the original, and does not arrest 
the attention, nor produce the effect of the original. 

In the celebrated lines with which the third canto be- 
gins, " Per me si va," &c., Gary is again literal and true, 
but with a lamentable want of the majesty of Dante's verses, 
which are unequalled in their solemn impressiveness. 

Per me si va nella citta dolente : 

Per me si va neli' eterno dolore : 

Per me si va tra la perduta g-ente : 
Giustizia mosse il mio alto fattore : 

Fecemi la divina potestate, 

La somma sapienza, e'l prime amore. 
Dinanzi a me non fur cose create, 

Se non eterne ; ed io eterno duro. 

Lasciate ogni speranza voi ch' entrate. 

Gary — 

"Through me you pass into the city of woe: 

Through me you pass into eternal pain: 

Through me among the people lost for aye. 

Justice the founder of my fabric mov'd ; 

To rear me was the task of power divine, 

Supremest wisdom, and primeval love. 

Before me things create were none, save things 

Eternal, and eternal I endure. 

All hope abandon, ye who enter here." 

Parsons — 

Through me ye reach the city of despair: 
Through me eternal wretchedness ye find : 

Through me among Perdition's race ye fare : 
Justice inspired my lofty Founder's mind ; 

Power, love and wisdom, — heavenly, first, and most high, 
Framed me ere aught created else had been. 

Save things eternal, and eterne am I. 
Leave here all hope, O ye who enter in. 

Mr. Parsons here has evidently the advantage. He 
keeps sufficiently close to his original, and is at the same 
time spirited, and his lines give somewhat the feeling of 
the original which Gary's, though literal, do not. 

The episode of Francesca and Paolo has been so many 
times translated, that it must be looked upon as a test 
passage. Our translator shows both the merits and defects 
we have noticed above. His translation is spirited, and 
forms a whole, and reads well together; but there are sins 
both of omission and commission — for instance — 

1844.] Translation of Dante. 289 

*' Da ch' io intesi quell' anime offense 
" Chinai '1 vise, e tanto 1' tenni basso 
"Fin che 'i Poeta mi disse, die pense? 
" Quando risposi coininciai : Oh lasso, &c. 

Literally — 

When I heard those troubled souls, 

I bent down my head and held it down 

Until the poet said to me ; what are you thinking ? 

When I answered, I began, &c. 

All this Mr. Parsons has compressed into two lines : 

" During their speech, low down T hung my head, 
" What thinkest thou ? inquired my guide, &c. 

Now this is really cutting the matter too short. Dante 
thought it worth wliile to write four whole hues, full of 
meaning, in order to express the effect that the hearing of 
the story had upon him, and these lines in the original 
give wonderful life and reality to the whole scene. We 
see Dante's deliberate, grand motion as he inclines his 
head, heeding nothing till his companion asks to rouse 
him, what are you thinking? Nor does he even then at 
once recover, but as he says, " When I answered, I be- 
gan," &c. 

And again the language in the original is as simple as 
possible. " Francesca ! thy sufferings make me weep, sad 
and pitying,'' — any man might say, but " My pitying soul 
thy martyr throes unman," is hardly simple enough. 

We wish not to be over-critical, but rather to represent 
the difficulty of the undertaking, for in the whole range of 
literature it would be hard to select a harder book. Dante 
is so condensed, that not a line, or a thought, or even a word 
can be spared. A verbose writer may be compressed, but 
Danle's words are thoughts ; you cannot compress, you can 
only leave out. Because " the fear that had remained all 
night in the lake of my heart " is hard to render into Eng- 
lish verse, the translator has no right to leave it out. On 
the other hand, a man of fine taste would lie awake half 
the night with anxiety, if he found himself obliged by the 
rhyme to say the beasts " were freed from their labor's 
load,'' when Dante only said they were freed from their 

VOL. IV. NO. III. 37 

290 Homer, [Jan. 

We believe the time is past, when a distinction can be 
made between a free and a literal translation of a great 
work. A translation must be literal, or it is no translation. 
And if the translator cannot be free and literal at once, if 
he cannot learn to move freely and gracefully in his irons, 
he is wanting in a prime requisite. It is in vain to speak 
of translating in the spirit of an original, without confining 
one's self too closely to the text. You may thus produce 
as good a work as Pope's Homer, but no translation. 

On the whole, we feel most grateful to Mr. Parsons for 
undertaking this work. We think he has done well, but 
he can do much better. We counsel him never to leave a 
passage, till he is sure that he has united a full and faithful 
rendering of the luhole he finds in his author, with that 
simple and vigorous expression of the original. To avoid, 
above all, general expressions, where Dante uses individuals ; 
the temptation is often great, but weakness is the sure 
result. As it is, we have no little pride, that our city should 
produce a mark of so much devotion to the highest walks 
of pure literature. 




The wisest definition of poetry the poet will instantly 
prove false by setting aside its requisitions. We can 
therefore publish only our advertisement of it. 

There is no doubt that the loftiest written wisdom is 
rhymed or measured, is in form as well as substance 
poetry ; and a volume, wiiich should contain the con- 
densed wisdom of mankind, need not have one rhythm- 
less line. Yet poetry, though the last and finest result, 
is a natural fruit. As naturally as the oak bears an acorn, 
and the vine a gourd, man bears a poem, either spoken 

1844.] Horner. 291 

or done. It is the chief and most memorable success, 
for history is but a prose narrative of poetic deeds. What 
else have the Hindoos, the Persians, the Babylonians, the 
Egyptians, done, that can be told ? It is the simplest 
relation of phenomena, and describes the commonest sen- 
sations with more truth than science does, and the latter 
at a distance slowly mimics its style and methods. The 
poet sings how the blood flows in his veins. He per- 
forms his functions, and is so well that he needs such 
stimulus to sing only as plants to put forth leaves and 
blossoms. He would strive in vain to modulate the re- 
mote and transient music which he sometimes hears, 
since his song is a vital function like breathing, and an 
integral result like weight. It is not the overflowing of 
life but its subsidence rather, and is drawn from under the 
feet of the poet. It is enough if Homer but say the sun sets. 
He is as serene as nature, and we can hardly detect the en- 
thusiasm of the bard. It is as if nature spoke. He pre- 
sents to us the simplest pictures of human life, so that 
childhood itself can understand them, and the man must 
not think twice to appreciate his naturalness. Each 
reader discovers for himself, that succeeding poets have 
done little else than copy his similes. His more memo- 
rable passages are as naturally bright, as gleams of sun- 
light in misty weather. Nature furnishes him not only 
with words, but with stereotyped lines and sentences from 
her mint. 

" As from the clouds appears the full moon, 

All shining-, and then again it goes behind the shadowy clouds, 

So Hector, at one time appeared among the foremost, 

And at another in the rear, commanding; and all with brass 

He shone, lii^e to the lightning of cSgis-bearing Zeus." 

He conveys the least information, even the hour of the 
day, with such magnificence, and vast expense of natural 
imagery, as -if it were a message from the gods. 

"While it was dawn, and sacred day was advancing. 

For that space the weapons of both flew fast, and the people fell ; 

But when now the woodcutter was preparing his morning meal 

In the recesses of the mountain, and had wearied his hands 

With cutting lofty trees, and satiety came to his mind. 

And the desire of sweet food took possession of his thoughts; 

Then the Danaans by their valor broke the phalanxes, 

Shouting to their companions from rajjk !o rank." 

292 Homer. [Jan. 

When the army of the Trojans passed the night under 
arms, keeping watch lest tlie enemy should re-embark 
under cover of the dark, 

"They, thinking' great things, upon the neutral ground of war, 

Sat all the night ; and many fires burned for them. 

As when in the heavens the stars round the bright moon 

Appear beautiful, and the air is without wind ; 

And all the heights, and the extreme summits, [heart; 

And the shady valleys appear; and the shepherd rejoices in his 

So between the ships and the streams of Xanthus 

Appeared the fires of the Trojans before Ilium." 

The "white-armed goddess Juno," sent b}^ the Father 
of gods and men for Iris and Apollo, 

" Went down the Tdsean mountains to far Olympus, 

As Avhen the mind of a man, who has come over much earth, 

Sallies forth, and he reflects with rapid thoughts, 

There was 1, and there, and remembers many things; 

So swiftly the august Juno hastening flew through the air, 

And came to high Olympus." 

There are (ew books which are fit to be remembered 
in our wisest hours, but the Ihad is brightest in the 
serenest days, and imbodies still all the sunlight that fell 
on Asia Mmor. No uK^dern joy or ecstasy of ours can 
lower its height or dim its lustre : but there it lies in the 
last of literature, as it were the earliest, latest production 
of the mind. The rums of Egypt o|)press and stitie us 
with their dust, foulness preserved in cassia and pitch, 
and swathed in linen ; the death of that which never 
lived. But the rays of Greek fjoetry struggle down to us, 
and mingle with the sunbeams of the recent day. The 
statue of Mennion is cast down, but the shaft of the Iliad 
still meets the sun in his rising. 

So 100, no doubt, Homer had his Homer, and Orpheus 
his Orpheus, in the dim antiquity which preceded them. 
The mythological system of the ancients, and it is still 
the only mythology of the moderns, the poem of man- 
kind, interwoven so wonderfully with their astronomy, 
and matching in grandeur and harmony with the archi- 
tecture of the Heavens themselves, seems to point to a 
time when a njighii(!r gj^iius inhabited the earth. But 
man is iIkj gnmt |joet, and not Homer nor Shakspeare ; 
and our language itself, and the common arts of life are 

1844.] Ossian. 293 

his work. Poetiy is so universally true and independent 
of experience, that it does not need any particular biogra- 
phy to illustrate it, but we refer it sooner or later to some 
Orpheus or Linus, and after ages to the genius of hu- 
manity, and the gods themselves. 


The genuine remains of Ossian, though of less fame and 
extent, are in many respects of the same stamp with the 
IMad itself. He asserts the dignity of the bard no less than 
Homer, and in his era we hear of no other priest than he. 
It will not avail to call him a heathen because he personi- 
fies the sun and addresses it ; and what if his heroes did 
" worship the ghosts of their fathers," their thin, airy, and 
unsubstantial forms? we but worship tiie ghosts of our 
fathers in more substantial forms. We cannot but respect 
the vigorous faith of those heathen, who sternly behoved 
somewhat, and are inclined to say to the critics, who are 
otTended by tlieir superstitious rites, don't interrupt these 
men's prayers. As if we knew more about human life and 
a God, than the heathen and ancients. Does English 
theology contain the recent discoveries ? 

Ossian reminds us of the most refined and rudest eras, 
of Homer, Pindar, Isaiah, and the American Indian. In 
his poetry, as in Homer's, only the simplest and most en- 
during features of humanity are seen, such essential parts 
of a man as Stonehenge exhibits of a temple; we see the 
circles of stone, and the upright si^aft alone. The phe- 
nomena of life acquire almost an unreal and gigantic size 
seen through his mists. Like all older and grander poetry, 
it is distinguished by the iiiw elements in the lives of its 
heroes. They stand on the heath, between the stars and 
the earth, shrunk to the bones and sinews. The earth is 
a boundless plain for their deeds. They lead such a sim- 
ple, dry, and everlasting life, as hardly needs depart with 

* " The Genuine Remains of Ossian, Literally Translated, v«th a Preliminary- 
Dissertation, hy Patrick Macgregor. Published under the Patronage of the 
Highland Society of London. 1 vol. 12mo. London, 1-41." We take pleasure 
in recommending this, the first literal English translation of the Gaelic originals 
of Ossian, which were left by Macpherson, and published agreeably to his inten- 
tion, in 1807. 

294 Ossian. [Jan. 

the flesh, but is transmitted entire from age to age. There 
are but ^q\v objects to distract their sight, and their hfe is 
as unincumbered as the course of the stars they gaze at. 

".The wrathful kings, on cairns apart, 
Look forward from behind their shields. 
And mark the wandering- stars, 
That brilliant westward move." 

It does not cost much for these heroes to live. They 
want not much furniture. Tliey are such forms of men 
only as can be seen afar through the mist, and have no 
costume nor dialect, but for language there is the tongue 
itself, and for costume there are always the skins of beasts 
and the bark of trees to be had. They hve out their years 
by the vigor of their constitutions. They survive storms 
and the spears of their foes, and perform a iesN heroic 
deeds, and then, 

"Mounds will answer questions of them, 
For many future years." 

Blind and infirm, they spend the remnant of their days 
listening to the lays of the bards, and feeling the weapons 
which laid tlieir enemies low, and when at length they die, 
by a convulsion of nature, the bard allows us a short misty 
glance into futurity, yet as clear, perchance, as their lives 
had been. When Mac-Roine was slain, 

" His soul departed to his warlike sires, 
To follow misty forms of boars, 
In tempestuous islands bleak." 

The hero's cairn is erected, and the bard sings a brief sig- 
nificant strain, which will suffice for epitaph and biography. 

"The weak will find his bow in the dwelling", 
The feeble will attempt to bend it." 

Compared with this simple, fibrous life, our civilized his- 
tory appears the chronicle of debility, of fashion, and the 
arts of luxury. But the civilized man misses no real refine- 
ment in the poetry of the rudest era. It reminds him that 
civilization does but dress men. It makes shoes, but it 
does not toughen the soles of the feet. It makes cloth of 
finer texture, but it does not touch the skin. Inside the 
civilized man stands the savage still in the place of lionor. 
We are those b!u<;-eyed, yellow-haired Saxons, those slen- 
der, dark-haired Normans. 

1844.] Ossian. 295 

The profession of the bard attracted more respect in 
those days from the importance attaclied to fame. It was 
his province to record the deeds of heroes. When Ossian 
hears the traditions of inferior bards, he exclaims, 

"I straightway seize the unfutile tales, 
And send them down in faithful verse." 

His philosophy of life is expressed in the opening of the 
third Duan of Ca-Lodin. 

" Whence have sprung; the things that are ? 
And whither roll the passing- years ? 
Where does time conceal its two heads, 
In dense impenetrable gloom, 
Its surface marked with heroes' deeds alone? 
I view the generations gone ; 
The past appears but dim; 
As objects by the moon's faint beams, 
Reflected from a distant lake. 
I see, indeed, the thunder-bolts of war, 
But there the unmighty joyless dwell, 
All those who send not down their deeds 
To far, succeeding times." 

The ignoble warriors die and are forgotten ; 

" Strangers come to build a tower. 
And throw their ashes overhand; 
Some rusted swords appear in dust ; 
One, bending forward, says, 
' The arms belonged to heroes gone; 
We never heard their praise in song.' " 

The grandeur of the similes is another feature which 
characterizes great poetry. Ossian seems to speak a gi- 
gantic and universal language. The images and pictures 
occupy even much space in the landscape, as if they could 
be seen only from the sides of mountains, and plains with a 
wide horizon, or across arms of the sea. The machinery is 
so massive that it cannot be less than natural. Oivana says 
to the spirit of her father, " Grey-haired Torkil of Tome," 
seen in the skies, 

" Thou glidest away like receding ships." 
So when the hosts of Fingal and Starne approach to battle, 

" With murmurs loud, like rivers far, 
The race of Torne hither moved." 

And when compelled to retire, 

" dragging his spear behind, 
Cudulin sank in the distant wood, 
Like a fire upblazing ere it dies." 

296 Ossian. [Jan. 

Nor did Fingal want a proper audience when he spoke ; 

" A thousand orators inclined 
To hear the lay of Fingal." 

The threats too would have deterred a man. Vengeance 
and terror were real. Trenmore threatens the young war- 
rior, whom he meets on a foreign strand, 

" Thy mother shall find thee pale on the shore, 
While lessening on the waves she spies 
The sails of him who slew her son." 

If Ossian's heroes weep, it is from excess of strength, and 
not from weakness, a sacrifice or libation of fertile natures, 
like the perspiration of stone in summer's heat. We 
hardly know that tears have been shed, and it seems as if 
weeping were proper only for babes and heroes. Their 
joy and their sorrow are made of one stuff, like rain and 
snow, the rainbow and the mist. When Fillan was worsted 
in fight, and ashamed in the presence of Fingal, 

" He strode away forthwith. 

And bent in grief above a stream, 
His cheeks bedewed with tears. 
From time to time the thistles gray 
He lopped with his inverted lance." 

Crodar, blind and old, receives Ossian, son of Fingal, who 
comes to aid him in war, 

" ' My eyes have failed,' says he, ' Crodar is blind, 
Is thy strength like that of thy fathers? 
Stretch, Ossian, thine arm to the hoary-haired.' 

I gave my arm to tiie king. - 
The aged hero seized my hand; 
He heaved a heavy sigh ; 
Tears flowed incessant down his cheek. 
' Strong art thou, son of the mighty. 
Though not so dreadful as Morven's prince. ^ # # 
Let my feast be spread in the hall, 
Let every sweet-voiced uiinstrel sing; 
Great is he Avho is within n)y wall. 
Sons of wave-echoing Croma.' " 

Even Ossian himself, the hero-bard, pays tribute to the su- 
perior strength of his father Fingal. 

"How beauteous, mighty man, was thy mind, 
Why succeeded Ossian without its strength ? " 

1844.] Chaucer. 297 


What a contrast between the stern and desolate poetry 
of Ossian, and that of Chaucer, and even of Shakspeare 
and Milton, much more of Dryden, and Pope, and Gray. 
Our summer of English poetry, like the Greek and Latin 
before it, seems well advanced toward its fall, and laden 
with the fruit and foliage of the season, with bright autumnal 
tints, but soon the winter will scatter its myriad clustering 
and shading leaves, and leave only a few desolate and 
fibrous boughs to sustain the snow and rime, and creak in 
the blasts of ages. We cannot escape the impression, that 
the Muse has stooped a little in her flight, when we come 
to the literature of civilized eras. Now first we hear of 
various ages and styles of poetry, but the poetry of runic 
monuments is for every age. The bard has lost the dignity 
and sacredness of his office. He has no more the 
bardic rage, and only conceives the deed, which he form- 
erly stood ready to perform. Hosts of warriors, earnest for 
battle, could not mistake nor dispense with the ancient 
bard. His lays were heard in the pauses of the fight. 
There was no danger of his being overlooked by his con- 
temporaries. But now the hero and the bard are of differ- 
ent professions. When we come to the pleasant English 
verse, it seems as if the storms had all cleared away, and 
it would never thunder and lighten more. The poet has 
come within doors, and exchanged the forest and crag for 
the fireside, the hut of the Gael, and Stonehenge with its 
circles of stones, for the house of the Englishman. No 
hero stands at the door prepared to break forth into song 
or heroic action, but we have instead a homely Englishman, 
who cultivates the art of poetry. We see the pleasant fire- 
side, and hear the crackling faggots in all the verse. 
The towering and misty imagination of the bard has de- 
scended into the plain, and become a lowlander, and keeps 
flocks and herds. Poetry is one man's trade, and not all 
men's religion, and is split into many styles. It is pastoral, 
and lyric, and narrative, and didactic. 

Notwithstanding the broad humanity of Chaucer, and the 
many social and domestic comforts which we meet with in 
his verse, we have to narrow our vision somewhat to con- 

VOL. IV, NO, III, 38 

298 Chaucer. [J 


sider him, as if he occupied less space in the landscape, and 
did not stretch over hill and valley as Ossian does. Yet, 
seen from the side of posterity, as the father of English 
poetry, preceded by a long silence or confusion in history, 
unenlivened by any strain of pure melody, we easily come 
to reverence him. Passing over the earlier continental 
poets, since we are bound to the pleasant archipelago of 
English poetry, Chaucer's is the first name after that misty 
weather in which Ossian lived, which can detain us long. 
Indeed, though lie represents so different a culture and 
society, he may be regarded as in many respects the Homer 
of the English poets. Perhaps he is the youthfullest of 
them all. We return to him as to the purest well, the 
fountain furthest removed from the highway of desultory 
life. He is so natural and cheerful, compared with later 
poets, that we might almost regard him as a personification 
of spring. To the faithful reader his muse has even given 
an aspect to his times, and when he is fresh from perusing 
him, they seem related to the golden age. It is still the 
poetry of youth and life, rather than of thought ; and though 
the moral vein is obvious and constant, it has not yet ban- 
ished the sun and daylight from his verse. The loftiest 
strains of the muse are, for the most part, sublimely plain- 
tive, and not a carol as free as nature's. The content 
which the sun shines to celebrate from morning to evening 
is unsung. The muse solaces herself, and is not ravished 
but consoled. There is a catastrophe implied, and a tragic 
element in all our verse, and less of the lark and morning 
dews, than of the nightingale and evening shades. But in 
Homer and Chaucer there is more of the innocence and 
serenity of youth, than in the more modern and moral 
poets. The Iliad is not sabbath but morning reading, and 
men cling to this old song, because they have still moments 
of unbaptized and uncommitted life, which give them an 
appetite for more. He represents no creed nor opinion, 
and we read him with a rare sense of freedom and irre- 
sponsibility, as if we trod on native ground, and were au- 
tochthones of the soil. 

Chaucer had eminently the habits of a literary man and 
a scholar. We do not enough allow for the prevalence of 
this class. There were never any times so stirring, that 
there were not to be found some sedentary still. Through 

1844.] Chaucer. 299 

all those outwardly active ages, there were still monks in 
cloisters writing or copying folios. He was surrounded by 
the din of arms. The battles of Hallidon Hill and Neville's 
Cross, and the still more memorable battles of Crecy and 
Poictiers, were fought in his youth, but these did not con- 
cern our poet much, Wicliffe much more. He seems to 
have regarded himself always as one privileged to sit 
and converse with books. He helped to establish the lite- 
rary class. His character, as one .of the fathers of the 
English language, would alone make his works important, 
even those which have little poetical merit. A great philo- 
sophical and moral poet gives permanence to the language 
he uses, by making the best sound convey the best sense. 
He was as simple as VV^ordsworth in preferring his homely 
but vigorous Saxon tongue, when it was neglected by the 
court, and had not yet attained to the dignity of a litera- 
ture, and rendered a similar service to his country to that 
which Dante rendered to Italy. If Greek sufficeth for 
Greek, and Arabic for Arabian, and Hebrew for Jew, and 
Latin for Latin, then English shall suffice for him, for any 
of these will serve to teach truth " right as divers pathes 
leaden divers folke the right waye to Rome." In the Tes- 
tament of Love he writes, '' Let then clerkes enditen in 
Latin, for they have the propertie of science, and the 
knowinge in that facultie, and lette Frenchmen in their 
Frenche also enditen their queinte termes, for it is kyndely 
to their mouthes, and let us shewe our fantasies in soche 
wordes as we lerneden of our dames tonge." 

He will know how to appreciate Chaucer best, who has 
come down to him the natural way, through the meagre 
pastures of Saxon and ante-Chaucerian poetry ; and yet 
so human and wise he seems after such diet, that he is 
liable to misjudge him still. In the Saxon poetry extant, 
in the earliest English, and the contemporary Scottish 
poetry, there is less to remind the reader of the rudeness 
and vigor of youth, than of the feebleness of a declining 
age. It is for the most part translation or imitation merely, 
with only an occasional and slight tinge of poetry, and 
oftentimes the falsehood and exaggeration of fable, without 
its imagination to redeem it. It is astonishing to how few 
thoughts so many sincere efforts give utterance. But as 
they never sprang out of nature, so they will never root 

300 Chaucei\ [Jan. 

themselves in nature. There are few traces of original 
genius, and we look in vain to find antiquity restored, 
humanized, and made blithe again, by the discovery of 
some natural sympathy between it and the present. But 
when we come to Chaucer we are relieved of many a load. 
He is fresh and modern still, and no dust settles on his true 
passages. It lightens along the line, and we are reminded 
that flowers have bloomed, and birds sung, and hearts 
beaten, in England. Before the earnest gaze of the reader 
the rust and moss of time gradually drop off, and the 
original green life is revealed. He was a homely and 
domestic man, and did breathe quite as modern men do. 
Only one trait, one little incident of human biography 
needs to be truly recorded, that all the world may think 
the author (it to wear the laurel crown. In the dearth we 
have described, and at this distance of time, the bare pro- 
cesses of living read like poetry, for all of human good or ill, 
heroic or vulgar, lies very near to them. All that is truly 
great and interesting to men, runs thus as level a course, 
and is as unaspiring, as the plough in the furrow. 

There is no wisdom which can take place of humanity, 
and we find that in Chaucer. We can expand in his 
breadth and think we could be that man's acquaint- 
ance. He was worthy to be a citizen of England, 
while Petrarch and Boccacio lived in Italy, and Tell 
and Tamerlane in Switzerland and in Asia, and Bruce 
in Scotland, and WicklifFe, and Gower, and Edward the 
Third, and John of Gaunt, and the Black Prince, were his 
own countrymen ; all stout and stirring names. The fame of 
Roger Bacon came down from the preceding century, and 
the name of Dante still exerted the influence of a living 
presence. On the whole, Chaucer impresses us, as greater 
than his reputation, and not a little like Homer and Shak- 
speare. for he would have held up his head in their com- 
pany. Among early English poets he is the landlord and 
host, and has the authority of such. The affectionate 
mention, which succeeding early poets make of him, coup- 
ling him with Homer and Virgil, is to be taken into the 
account in estimating his character and influence. King 
James and Dunbar of Scotland speak with more love and 
reverence of him, than any modern author of his predeces- 
sors of the last century. The same childlike relation is 

1844.] Chaucer. 301 

without parallel now. We read him without criticism for 
the most part, for he pleads not his own cause, but speaks 
for his readers, and has that greatness of trust and reliance 
which compels popularity. He confides in the reader, and 
speaks privily with him, keeping nothing back. And in 
return his reader has great confidence in him, that he tells 
no lies, and reads his story with indulgence, as if it were 
the circumlocution of a child, but discovers afterwards that 
he has spoken with more directness and economy of words 
than a sage. He is never heartless, 

" For first the thing- is thought within the hart, 
Er any word out from the mouth astart." 

And so new was all his theme in those days, that he had 
not to invent, but only to tell. 

We admire Chaucer for his sturdy English wit. The 
easy height he speaks from in his Prologue to the Canter- 
bury Tales, as if he were equal to any of the company 
there assembled, is as good as any particular excellence in 
it. But though it is full of good sense and humanity, it is 
not transcendent poetry. For picturesque description of 
persons it is, perhaps, without a parallel in English poetry ; 
yet it is essentially humorous, as the loftiest genius never 
is. Humor, however broad and genial, takes a narrower 
view than enthusiasm. The whole story of Chanticlere 
and Dame Partlett, in the Nonne's Preeste's tale, is genuine 
humanity. I know of nothing better in its kind, no more 
successful fabling of birds and beasts. If it is said of 
Shakspeare, that he is now Hamlet, and then Falstafi*, it 
may be said of Chaucer that he sympathizes with brutes as 
well as men, and assumes their nature that he may speak 
from it. In this tale he puts on the very feathers and 
stature of the cock. To his own finer vein he added all 
the common wit and wisdom of his time, and every where 
in his works his remarkable knowledge of the world, and 
nice perception of character, his rare common sense and 
proverbial wisdom, are apparent. His genius does not soar 
like Milton's, but is genial and familiar. It shows great 
tenderness and delicacy, but not the heroic sentiment. It 
is only a greater portion of humanity with all its weakness. 
It is not heroic, as Raleigh's, nor pious, as Herbert's, nor 
philosophical, as Shakspeare's, but it is the child of the 

302 Chaucer. [Jan. 

English muse, that child which is the father of the man. 
It is for the most part only an exceeding naturalness, per- 
fect sincerity, with the behavior of a child rather than of a 

Gentleness and delicacy of character is every where ap- 
parent in his verse. The simplest and humblest words 
come readily to his lips. No one can read the Prioress' 
tale, understanding the spirit in which it was written, and 
in which the child sings, O alma redemptoris mater, or the 
account of the departure of Constance with her child upon 
the sea, in the Man of Lawe's tale, without feeling the na- 
tive innocence and refinement of the author. Nor can we 
be mistaken respecting the essential purity of his character, 
disregarding the apology of the manners of the age. His 
sincere sorrow in his later days for the grossness of his 
earlier works, and that he •' cannot recall and annull " 
much that he had written, " but, alas, they are now con- 
tinued from man to man, and I cannot do what I desire," 
is not to be forgotten. A simple pathos and feminine gen- 
tleness, which Wordsworth occasionally approaches, but 
does not equal, are peculiar to him. We are tempted to say, 
that his genius was feminine, not masculine. It was such 
a feminineness, however, as is rarest to find in woman, 
though not the appreciation of it. Perhaps it is not to 
be found at all in woman, but is only the feminine in man. 

Such pure, childlike love of nature is not easily to be 
matched. Nor is it strange, that the poetry of so rude an 
age should contain such sweet and polished praise of na- 
ture, for her charms are not enhanced by civilization, as 
society's are, but by her own original and permanent re- 
finement she at last subdues and educates man. 

Chaucer's remarkably trustful and affectionate character 
appears in his familiar, yet innocent and reverent, manner 
of speaking of his God. He comes into his thought with- 
out any fulse reverence, and with no more parade than the 
zephyr to his ear. If nature is our mother, then God is 
our father. Tliere is less love and simple practical trust in 
Sliakspeare and Milton. How rarely in our English tongue 
do we find expressed any aflfection for God. There is no 
sentiment so rare as the love of God. Herbert almost 
alone expresses it, '' Ah, my dear God ! " Our poet uses 
similar words, and whenever he sees a beautiful person, or 

1844.] Chaucer. 303 

other object, prides himself on the '^ maistry " of his God. 
He reverently recommends Dido to be his bride, 

" if that God that heaven and yearth made, 
Would have a love for beauty and goodnesse, 
And womanhede, trouth, and semeliness." 

He supphes the place to his imagination of the saints of 
the Catholic calendar, and has none of the attributes of a 
Scandinavian deity. 

But, in justification of our praise, we must refer the 
hearer to his v^^orks themselves; to the Prologue to the 
Canterbury Tales, the account of Gentilesse, the Flow^er 
and the Leaf, the stories of Griselda, Virginia, Ariadne, 
and Blanche the Dutchesse, and much more of less distin- 
guished merit. There are many poets of more taste and 
better manners, who knew how to leave out their dulness, 
but such negative genius cannot detain us long ; we shall 
return to Chaucer still with love. Even the clown has 
taste, whose dictates, though he disregards them, are higher 
and purer than those which the artist obeys ; and some 
natures, which are rude and ill developed, have yet a higher 
standard of perfection, than others which are refined and 
well balanced. Though the peasant's cot is dark, it has 
the evening star for taper, while the nobleman's saloon is 
meanly lighted. If we have to wander through many dull 
and prosaic passages in Chaucer, we have at least the satis- 
faction of knowinar that it is not an artificial dulness, but 
too easily matched by many passages in life, and it is, 
perhaps, more pleasing, after all, to meet with a fine 
thought in its natural setting. We confess we feel a dis- 
position commonly to concentrate sweets, and accumulate 
pleasures, but the poet may be presumed always to speak 
as a traveller, who leads us through a varied scenery, from 
one eminence to another, and, from time to time, a single 
casual thought rises naturally and inevitably, with such 
majesty and escort only as the first stars at evening. And 
surely fate has enshrined it in these circumstances for some 
end. Nature strews her nuts and flowers broadcast, and 
never collects them into heaps. This was the soil it grew 
in, and this the hour it bloomed in ; if sun, wind, and rain, 
came here to cherish and expand the flower, shall not we 
come here to plack it ? 

304 Poetry. [Jan. 

A true poem is distinguished, not so much by a feUcitous 
expression, or any thought it suggests, as by the atmosphere 
which surrounds it. Most have beauty of outUne merely, 
and are striking as the form and bearing of a stranger, but 
true verses come toward us indistinctly, as the very kernel 
of all friendliness, and envelope us in their spirit and fra- 
grance. Much of our poetry has the very best manners, 
but no character. It is only an unusual precision and 
elasticity of speech, as if its author had taken, not an in- 
toxicating draught, but an electuary. It has the distinct 
outline of sculpture, and chronicles an early hour. Under 
the influence of passion all men speak thus distinctly, but 
wrath is not always divine. 

There are two classes of men called poets. The one 
cultivates life, the other art ; one seeks food for nutriment, 
the other for flavor ; one satisfies hunger, the other gratifies 
the palate. There are two kinds of writing, both great and 
rare ; one that of genius, or the inspired, the other of in- 
tellect and taste, in the intervals of inspiration. The former 
is above criticism, always correct, giving the law to criti- 
cism. It vibrates and pulsates with life forever. It is 
sacred, and to be read with reverence, as the works of 
nature are studied. There are ^qvj instances of a sustained 
style of this kind ; perhaps every man has spoken words, 
but the speaker is then careless of the record. Such a 
style removes us out of personal relations with its author, 
we do not take his words on our lips, but his sense into 
our hearts. It is the stream of inspiration, which bubbles 
out, now here, now there, now in this man, now in that. 
It matters not through what ice-crystals it is seen, now a 
fountain, now the ocean stream running under ground. 
It is in Shakspeare, Alpheus, in Burns, Arethuse; but 
ever the same. The other is self-possessed and wise. It 
is reverent of genius, and greedy of inspiration. It is con- 
scious in the highest and the least degree. It consists with 
the most perfect command of the faculties. It dwells in a 
repose as of the desert, and objects are as distinct in it as 
oases or palms in tlie horizon of sand. The train of 
thought moves with subdued and measured step, like a 
caravan. But the pen is only an instrument in its hand, 
and not instinct with life, like a longer arm. It leaves a 
thin varnish or glaze over all its work. The works of 
Goethe furnish remarkable instances of the latter. 

1844.] Poetry. 305 

There is no just and serene criticism as yet. Our taste 
is too delicate and particular. It says nay to the poet's 
work, but never yea to his hope. It invites him to adorn 
his deformities, and not to cast them off by expansion, as 
the tree its bark. We are a people who live in a bright 
light, in houses of pearl and porcelain, and drink only light 
wines, whose teeth are easily set on edge by the least 
natural sour. If we had been consulted, the back bone of 
the earth would have been made, not of granite, but of 
Bristol spar. A modern author would have died in infancy 
in a ruder age. But the poet is something more than a 
scald, " a smoother and polisher of language " ; he is a 
Cincinnatus in literature, and occupies no west end of the 
world, but, like the sun, indifferently selects his rhymes, 
and with a liberal taste weaves into his verse the planet 
and the stubble. 

In these old books the stucco has long since crumbled 
away, and we read what was sculptured in the granite. 
They are rude and massive in their proportions, rather than 
smooth and delicate in their finish. The workers in stone 
polish only their chimney ornaments, but their pyramids 
are roughly done. There is a soberness in a rough aspect, 
as of unhewn granite, which addresses a depth in us, but a 
polished surface hits only the ball of the eye. The true 
finish is the work of time and the use to which a thing is 
put. The elements are still polishing the pyramids. Art 
may varnish and gild, but it can do no more. A work of 
genius is rough-hewn from the first, because it anticipates 
the lapse of time, and has an ingrained polish, which still 
appears when fragments are broken off, an essential quality 
of its substance. Its beauty is at the same time its strength, 
and it breaks with a lustre. The great poem must have 
the stamp of greatness as well as its essence. The reader 
easily goes within the shallowest contemporary poetry, and 
informs it with all the life and promise of the day, as the 
pilgrim goes within the temple, and hears the faintest 
strains of the worshippers ; but it will have to speak to 
posterity, traversing these deserts through the ruins of its 
outmost walls, by the grandeur and beauty of its pro- 

VOL. IV. NO. III. 39 

306 Lines. [Jan. 


Thou hast learned the woes of all the world 
From thine own longings and lone tears, 

And now thy broad sails are unfurled, 
And all men hail thee with loud cheers. 

The flowing sunlight is thy home, 
The billows of the sea are thine, 

To all the nations shalt thou roam, 

Through every heart thy love shall shine. 

The subtlest thought that finds its goal 
Far, far beyond the horizon's verge, 

Oh, shoot it forth on arrows bold. 

The thoughts of men, on, on to urge. 

Toil not to free the slave from chains. 
Think not to give the laborer rest ; 

Unless rich beauty fills the plains. 
The free man wanders still unblest. 

All men can dig, and hew rude stone, 
But thou must carve the frieze above ; 

And columned high, through thee alone, 
Shall rise our frescoed homes of love. 

1844.] Tragedies. 307 


A TRAGEDY ill five acts ! — what student of poetry, — 
(for, admire, O Posterity, the strange fact, these days of 
book-craft produce not only inspired singers, and en- 
chanted listeners, but students of poetry,) — what student 
in this strange sort, I say, has not felt his eye rivetted to 
this title, as if it were written in letters of fire ? has not 
heard it whispered in his secret breast ? — In this form 
alone canst thou express thy thought in the liveliness of 
life, this success alone should satisfy thy ambition ! 

Were all these ardors caught from a genuine fire, such 
as, in favoring eras, led the master geniuses by their suc- 
cessive efforts to perfect this form, till it afforded the 
greatest advantages in the smallest space, we should be 
glad to warm and cheer us at a very small blaze. But it 
is not so. The drama, at least the English drama of our 
day, shows a reflected light, not a spreading fire. It is 
not because the touch of genius has roused genius to pro- 
duction, but because the admiration of genius has made 
talent ambitious, that the harvest is still so abundant. 

This is not an observation to which there are no ex- 
ceptions, some we shall proceed to specify, but those who 
have, with any care, watched this ambition in their own 
minds, or analyzed its results in the works of others, can- 
not but feel, that the drama is not a growth native to this 
age, and that the numerous grafts produce little fruit, 
worthy the toil they cost. 

'Tis, indeed, hard to believe that the drama, once in- 
vented, should cease to be a habitual and healthy expres- 
sion of the mind. It satisfies so fully the wants both of 
sense and soul, supplying both deep and light excite- 
ments, simple, comprehensive, and various, adapted either 

* The Patrician's Daughter, a tragedy, in five acts, by J. Westland Marston ; 
London; C. Mitchel, Red Lion Court, Fleet Street, 1841, 

Athelwold, a tragedy in five acts, by W. Smith, Esq. ; William Blackwood 
and Sons. London and Edinburgh, 1842. 

Strafford, a tragedy, by John Sterling. London; Edward Moxon, Dover 
Street, 1843. 

308 The Modern Drama. [Jan. 

to great national and religious subjects, or to the private 
woes of any human breast. The space and time occu- 
pied, the vehicle of expression fit it equally for the enter- 
tainment of an evening, or the closet theme of meditative 
years. J^^dipus, Macbeth, Wallenstein, chain us for the 
hour, lead us through the age. 

Who would not covet this mirror, which, like that oi 
the old wizards, not only reflects, but reproduces the 
whole range of forms, this key, which unlocks the realms 
of speculation at the hour when the lights are boldest 
and the shadows most suggestive, this goblet, whose sin- 
gle sparkling draught is locked from common air by walls 
of glittering ice ? An artful wild, where nature finds no 
bound to her fertility, while art steadily draws to a whole 
its linked chain. 

Were it in man's power by choosing the best, to attain 
the best in any particular kind, we would not blame the 
young poet, if he always chose the drama. 

Bat by the same law of faery which ordains that wishes 
shall be granted unavailingly to the wisher, no form of 
art will succeed with him with whom it is the object 
of deliberate choice. It must grow from his nature in a 
certain position, as it first did from the general mind in a 
certain position, and be no garment taken from the shin- 
ing store to be worn at a banquet, but a real body grad- 
ually woven and assimalated from the earth and sky 
which environed the poet in his youthful years. He may 
leani from the old Greek or Hindoo, but he must speak 
in his mother-tongue. 

It was a melancholy praise bestowed on the German 
Iphigenia, that it was an echo of the Greek mind. O give 
us something rather than Greece more Grecian, so new, 
so universal, so individual ! 

An '' After Muse," an appendix period must come to 
every kind of greatness. It is the criticism of the grand- 
child upon the inheritance bequeathed by his ancestors. 
It writes madrigals and sonnets, it makes Brutus wigs, 
and covers old chairs with damask patch-work, yet happy 
those who have no afl'ection towards such virtu and en- 
tertain their friends with a pipe cut from their own grove, 
rather than display au ivory lute handed down from the 

1844.] Shakspeare. 3(ld 

old time, whose sweetness we want the skill to draw 

The drama cannot die out : it is too naturally born of cer- 
tain periods of national development. It is a stream that 
will sink in one place, only to rise to light in another. 
As it has appeared successively in Hindostan, Greece, 
(Rome we cannot count,) England, Spain, France, Italy, 
Germany, so has it yet to appear in New Holland, New 
Zealand, and among ourselves, when we too shall be 
made new by a sunrise of our own, when our population 
shall have settled into a homogeneous, national life, and 
we have attained vigor to walk in our own way, make 
our own world, and leave off copying Europe. 

At present our attempts are, for the most part, feebler 
than those of the British ''After Muse," for our play- 
wrights are not from youth so fancy-fed by the crumbs 
that fell from the tables of the lords of literature, and 
having no relish for the berries of our own woods, the 
roots of our own fields, they are meagre, and their works 
bodiless ; yet, as they are pupils of the British school, their 
works need not be classed apart, and I shall mention one 
or two of the most note-worthy by-and-by. 

England boasts one Shakspeare — ah! that alone was 
more than the share of any one kingdom, — such a king ! 
There Apollo himself tended sheep, and there is not a 
blade of the field but glows with a peculiar light. At 
times we are tempted to think him the only genius earth 
has ever known, so beyond compare is he, when looked 
at as the myriad-minded ; then he seems to sit at the 
head of the stream of thought, a lone god beside his urn ; 
the minds of others, lower down, feed the currei]t to a 
greater width, but they come not near him. Happily, in 
the constrnctive power, in sweep of soul, others may be 
named beside him : he is not always all alone. 

Historically, such isolation was not possible. Such a 
being implies a long ancestry, a longer posterity. We 
discern immortal vigor in the stem that rose to this 

Bat his children should not hope to walk in his steps. 
Prospero gave Miranda a sceptre, not his wand. His 
genius is too great for his followers, they dwindle in its 
shadow. They objects so early with his eyes, they 

310 Music. [Jan. 

can hardly learn to use their own. '' They seek to pro- 
duce from themselves, but they only reproduce him." 

He is the cause why so much of England's intellect 
tends towards the drama, a cause why it so often fails. 
His works bring despair to genius, they are the bait and 
the snare of talent. 

The impetus he has given, the lustre with which he 
dazzles, are a chief cause of the dramatic efforts, one 
cause of failure, but not the only one, for it seems proba- 
ble that European life tends to new languages, and for a 
while neglecting this form of representation, would ex- 
plore the realms of sound and sight, to make to itself 
other organs, which must for a time supersede the 

There is, perhaps, a correspondence between the suc- 
cessions of literary vegetation with those of the earth's 
surface, where, if you burn or cut down an ancient wood, 
the next offering of the soil will not be in the same kind, 
but raspberries and purple flowers will succeed the oak, 
poplars the pine. Thus, beneath the roots of the drama, 
lay seeds of the historic novel, the romantic epic, which 
were to take its place to the reader, and for the scene, the 
oratorios, the opera, and ballet. 

Music is the great art of the time. Its dominion is 
constantly widening, its powers are more profoundly re- 
cognized. In the forms it has already evolved, it is equal 
to representing any subject, can address the entire range 
of thoughts and emotions. These forms have not yet 
attained their completeness, and already we discern many 
others hovering in the vast distances of the Tone-world. 

The opera is m this inferior to the drama, that it pro- 
duces its effects by the double method of dialogue and 
song. So easy seems it to excite a feeling, and by the 
orchestral accompaniments to sustain it to the end, that 
we have not the intellectual exhilaration which accom- 
panies a severer enjoyment. For the same reasons, noth- 
ing can surpass the mere luxury of a fine opera. 

The oratorio, so great, so perfect in itself, is limited in 
its subjects ; and these, though they must be of the 
graver class, do not properly admit of tragedy. Minds 
cannot dwell on special griefs and seeming partial fates, 
when circling the universe on the wings of the great 

1844.] The Ballet. 311 

chorus, sharing the will of the Divine, catching the sense 
of humanity. 

Thus, much as has been given, we demand from mu- 
sic yet another method, simpler and more comprehensive 
than these. In instrumental music, this is given by the 
symphony, but we want another that shall admit the 
voice, too, and permit the association of the spectacle. 

The ballet seems capable of an infinite perfection. 
There is no boundary here to the powers of design and 
expressioUj if only fit artists can be formed mentally and 
practically. What could not a vigorous imagination do, 
if it had delicate Ariels to enact its plans, with that facil- 
ity and completeness which pantomime permits. There 
is reason to think we shall see the language of the eye, 
of gesture and attitude carried to a perfection, body made 
pliant to the inspirations of spirit, as it can hardly be 
where spoken words are admitted to eke out deficiencies. 
From our America we hope some form entirely new, not 
yet to be predicted, while, though the desire for dramatic 
representation exists, as it always must where there is any 
vigorous life, the habit of borrowing is so pervasive, that 
in the lately peopled prairies of the West, where civiliza- 
tion is bnt five years old, we find the young people acting 
plays, indeed, and '^on successive nights to overflowing 
audiences," — but what? Some drama, ready made to 
hand by the fortunes of Boon, or the defeats of Black 
Hawk ? Not at all, but — Tamerlane and the like ■ — 
Bombastes Furioso, and King Cambyses vein to the 
" storekeepers " and laborers of republican America. 

In this connection let me mention the drama of Meta- 
mora, a favorite on the boards in our cities, which, if it 
have no other merit, yields something that belongs to 
this region, Forrest having studied for this part the 
Indian gait and expression w4th some success. He is 
naturally adapted to the part by the strength and dignity 
of his person and outline. 

To return to Britain. 

The stage was full of life, after the drama began to 
decline, and the actors, whom Shakspeare should have 
had to represent his parts, were born after his departure 
from the dignity given to the profession by the existence 
of such occasion for it. And again, out of the existence 

312 Actors [Jan. 

of such actors rose hosts of playwrights, who wrote not 
to embody the spirit of life, in forms, shifting and inter- 
woven in the space of a spectacle, but to give room for 
display of the powers of such and such actors. A little 
higher stood those, who excelled in invention of plots, 
pregnant crises, or brilliant point of dialogue, but both 
degraded the drama, Sheridan scarcely less than Gibber ; 
and Garrick and the Kembles, while they lighted up the 
edifice, left slow fire for its destruction. 

A partial stigma rests, as it has always rested, on the 
profession of the actor. At first flash, we marvel why. 
Why do not men bow in reverence before those, who hold 
the mirror up to nature, and not to common nature, but 
to her most exalted, profound, and impassioned hours ? 

Some have imputed this to an association with the 
trickeries and coarse illusions of the scene, with paste- 
board swords and crowns, mock-thunder and tinfoil 
moonshine. But in what profession are not mummeries 
practised, and ludicrous accessories interposed ? Are the 
big wig of the barrister, the pen behind the ear of the 
merchant so reverend in our eyes ? 

Some say that it is because we pay the actor for amus- 
ing us ; but we pay other men for all kinds of service, with- 
out feeling them degraded thereby. And is he, who has 
administered an exhilarating draught to my mind, in less 
pleasing association there, than he who has administered 
a febrifuge to the body ? 

Again, that the strong excitements of the scene and its 
motley life dispose to low and sensual habits. 

But the instances, where all such temptations have been 
resisted, are so many, compared with the number engaged, 
that every one must feel that here, as elsewhere, the 
temptation is determined by the man. 

Why is it then that to the profession, which numbers 
in its ranks Shakspeare and Moliere, which is dignified 
by such figures as Siddons, Talma, and Macready, re- 
spect is less willingly conceded than applause ? Why is 
not discrimination used here as elsewhere ? Is it the 
same thing to act the ''Lady in Comus," and the Lady in 
" She stoops to Conquer," Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, 
and Sir Lucius O'Trigger ? Is not the actor, according 
to his sphere, a great artist or a poor bulFoon, just as a 

1844.] Roman Actor. 313 

lawyer may become a chancellor of the three kingdoms, 
or a base pettifogger ! 

Prejudice on this score, must be the remnant of a bar- 
barism which saw minstrels the pensioned guests at 
barons' tables, and murdered Correggio beneath a sack of 
copper. As man better understands that his positive 
existence is only efhgy of the ideal, and that nothing is 
useful or honorable which does not advance the reign of 
Beauty, Art and Artists rank constantly higher, as one 
with Religion. Let Artists also know their calUng, let 
the Actor live and die a Roman Actor,* more than Raph- 

* We may be permitted to copy, in this connection, the fine plea of 
Massinger's " Roman Actor." 

Paris. If desire of honor was the base 
On which the building of the Roman empire 
Was raised up to this height ; if, to inflame 
The noble youth, with an ambitious heat, 
To endure the posts of danger, nay, of death, 
To be thought worthy the triumphal wreath, 
By glorious undertakings, may deserve 
Reward, or favor from the commonwealth ; 
Actors may put in for as large a share, 
As all the sects of the philosophers : 
They with cold precepts (perhaps seldom read) 
Deliver what an honorable thing 
The active virtue is : but does that fire 
The blood, or swell the veins with emulation, 
To be both good and great, equal to that 
Which is presented on our theatres ? 
Let a good actor, in a lofty scene, 
Show great Alcides, honored in the sweat 
Of his twelve labors ; or a bold Camillus, 
Forbiding Rome to be redeemed with gold 
From the insulting Gauls, or Scipio, 
After his victories, imposing tribute 
On conquered Carthage; if done to the life, 
As if they saw their dangers, and their glories, 
And did partake with them in their rewards. 
All that have any spark of Roman in them, 
The slothful arts laid by, contend to be 
Like those they see presented. 
Second Senator. He has put 
The consuls to their whisper. 
Paris. But 'tis urged 

That we corrupt youth, and traduce superiors. 
When do we bring a vice upon the stage, 
That does go off unpunished ? Do we teach, 
By the success of wicked undertakings, 
Others to tread in their forbidden steps ? 
VOL. IV. NO. III. 40 

314 Roman Actor. [Jan. 

ael shall be elected Cardinals, and of a purer church ; and 
it shall be ere long remembered as dream and fable, that 
the representative of " m^/ Czc/" could not rest in conse- 
crated ground. 

In Germany these questions have already been fairly 
weighed, and those who read the sketches of her great 
actors, as given by Tieck, know that there, at least, they 
took with the best minds of their age and country their 
proper place. 

And who, that reads Joanna Baillie's address to Mrs. 
Siddons, but feels that the fate, which placed his birth in 
another age from her, has robbed him of full sense of a 

We show no arts of Lydian panderism, 

Corinthian poisons, Persian flatteries, 

But mulcted so in the conclusion, that 

Even those spectators, that were so inclined, 

Go home changed men. And for traducing such 

That are above us, publishing to the world 

Their secret crimes, we are as innocent 

As such as are born dumb. When we present 

An heir, that does conspire against the life 

Of his dear parent, numbering every hour 

He lives, as tedious to him ; if there be 

Among the auditors one, whose conscience tells him 

He is of the same mould, — We cannot help it. 

Or, bringing on the stage a loose adulteress, 

That does maintain the riotous expense 

Of her licentious paramour, yet sufl"ers 

The lawful pledges of a former bed 

To starve the while for hunger; if a matron, 

However great in fortune, birth, or titles. 

Cry out, 'Tis writ for me ! — We cannot help it. 

Or, when a covetous man's expressed, whose wealth 

Arithmetic cannot number, and whose lordships 

A falcon in one day cannot fly over ; 

Yet he so sordid in his mind, so griping 

As not to aflibrd himself the necessaries 

To maintain life, if a patrician, 

(Though honored with a consulship) find himself 

Touched to the quick in this, — We cannot help it. 

Or, when we show a judge that is corrupt. 

And will give up his sentence, as he favors 

The person, not the cause ; saving the guilty 

If (jf his faction, and as oft condemning 

The innocent, out of particular spleen ; 

If any in this reverend assembly. 

Nay, even yourself, my lord, that are the image 

Of absent Caesar, feel something in your bosom 

'I'hat puts you in reiueiiibrance of things past, 

Or things intcnd(:d, — 'T is not in us to help it. 

I have said, my lord, and now, as you find cause, 

Or censure us, or I'tce us with applause. 

1844.] Mrs. Siddons. 315 

kind of greatness whose absence none other can entirely 


« * ^« •* * 

The impassioned changes of thy beauteous face, 
Thy arms impetuous tost, thy robe's wide flow, 
And the dark tempest orathered on thy brow. 
What time thy flashing- eye and lip of scorn 
Down to the dust thy mimic foes have borne; 
Remorseful musings sunk to deep dejection, 
The fixed and yearning looks of strong affection ; 
The actioned turmoil of a bosom rending, 
Where pity, love, and honor, are contending ; 

^ ^ vF tP =^ 

Thy varied accents, rapid, fitful, slow. 

Loud rage, and fear's snatch'd whisper, quick and low, 

The burst of stifled love, the wail of grief, 

And tones of high command, full, solemn, Wief ; 

The change of voice and emphasis that threw 

Light on obscurity, and brought to view 

Distinctions nice, when grave or comic mood, 

Or mingled humors, terse and new, elude 

Common perception, as earth's smallest things 

To size and form the vesting hoar frost brings. 
* * # * * 

* * * Thy light # # # * 
*^ from the mental world can never fade. 
Till all, who've seen thee, in the grave are laid. 
Thy graceful form still moves in nightly dreams, 
And what thou wert to the rapt sleeper seems. 
While feverish fancy oft doth fondly trace 
Within her curtained couch thy wondrous face ; 
Yea, and to many a wight, bereft and lone, 
In musing hours, though all to thee unknown, 
(Soothing his earthly course of good and ill. 
With all thy potent charm thou actest still. 

Perhaps the effect produced by Mrs. Siddons is still more 
vividly shown in the character of Jane de Montfort, which 
seems modelled from her. We have no such lotus cup to 
drink. Mademoiselle Rachel indeed seems to possess as 
much electric force as Mrs. Siddons, but not the same im- 
posing individuality. The Kembles and Talma were cast 
in the royal mint to commemorate the victories of genius. 
That Mrs. Siddons even added somewhat of congenial glory 
to Shakspeare's own conceptions, those who compare the 
engravings of her in Lady Macbeth and Catharine of Ara- 
gon, with the picture drawn in their own minds from ac- 
quaintance with these beings in the original, cannot doubt ; 
the sun is reflected with new glory in the majestic river. 

Yet, under all these disadvantages there have risen up 
often, in England, and even in our own country, actors 

316 Modern Dramatists, [Jan. 

who gave a reason for the continued existence of the thea- 
tre, who sustained the ill-educated, flimsy troop, which com- 
monly fill it, and provoked both the poet and the playwright 
to turn their powers in that direction. 

The plays written for them, though no genuine dramas, 
are not without value as spectacle, and the opportunity, 
however lame, gives freer play to the actor's powers, than 
would the simple recitation, by which some have thought 
any attempt at acting whole plays should be superseded. 
And under the starring system it is certainly less painful, on 
the whole, to see a play of Knowles's than one of Shak- 
speare's ; for the former, with its frigid diction, unnatural 
dialogue, and academic figures, affords scope for the actor 
to produce striking effects, and to show a knowledge of the 
passions, while all the various beauties of Shakspeare are 
traduced by the puppets who should repeat them, and being 
closer to nature, brings no one figure into such bold relief 
as is desirable when there is only one actor. Virginius, 
the Hunchback, Metamora, are plays quite good enough 
for the stage at present ; and they are such as those who 
attend the representations of plays will be very likely to 

Another class of dramas are those written by the scholars 
and thinkers, whose tastes have been formed, and whose 
ambition kindled, by acquaintance with the genuine English 
dramatists. These again may be divided into two sorts. 
One, those who have some idea to bring out, which craves a 
form more lively than the essay, more compact than the 
narrative, and who therefore adopt (if Hibernicism may be 
permitted) the dialogued monologue to very good purpose. 
Such are Festus, Paracelsus, Coleridge's Remorse, Shelley's 
Cenci ; Miss Baillie's plays, though meant for action, and 
with studied attempts to vary them by the lighter shades 
of common nature, which, from her want of lively power, 
have no effect, except to break up the interest, and By- 
ron's are of the same class ; they have no present life, no 
action, no slight natural touches, no delicate lines, as of one 
who paints his portrait from the fact ; their interest is 
poetic, nature ap[)rehcnded in her spirit ; philosophic, ac- 
tions Iruced back to their causes ; but not dramatic, nature 
reproduced in actual presence. This, as a form for the 
closet, is a very good one, and well fitted to the genius of 

1844.] The Spanish Student. 317 

our time. Whenever the writers of such fail, it is because 
they have the stage in view, instead of considering the 
dramatis personae merely as names for classes of thoughts. 
Somewhere betwixt these and the mere acting plays stand 
such as Maturin's Bertram, Talfourd's Ion, and (now before 
me) Longfellow's Spanish Student. Bertram is a good 
acting play, that is, it gives a good opportunity to one actor, 
and its painting, though coarse, is effective. Ion, also, can 
be acted, though its principal merit is in the nobleness of 
design, and in details it is too elaborate for the scene. Still 
it does move and melt, and it is honorable to us that a 
piece constructed on so high a motiv, whose tragedy is so 
much nobler than the customary forms of passion, can act 
on audiences long unfamiliar with such religion. The 
Spanish Student might also be acted, though with no great 
effect, for there is httle movement in the piece, or develop- 
ment of character ; its chief merit is in the graceful expres- 
sion of single thoughts or fancies ; as here, 

All the means of action 
The shapeless masses, the materials, 
Lie every where about us. What we need 
Is the celestial fire to change the flint 
Into transparent crystal, bright and clear. 
That fire is genius ! The rude peasant sits 
At evening in his smoky cot, and draws 
With charcoal uncouth figures on the wall. 
The son of genius comes, foot-sore with travel, 
And begs a shelter from the inclement night. 
He takes the charcoal from the peasant's hand, 
And, by the magic of his touch at once 
Transfigured, all its hidden virtues shine, 
And in the eyes of the astonished clown, 
It gleams a diamond. Even thus transformed. 
Rude popular traditions and old tales 
Shine as immortal poems, at the touch 
Of some poor houseless, homeless, wandering bard, 
Who had but a night's lodging for his pains. 
But there are brighter dreams than those of fame, 
Which are the dreams of love ! Out of the heart 
Rises the bright ideal of these dreams, 
As from some woodland fount a spirit rises 
And sinks again into its silent deeps, 
Ere the enamored knight can touch her robe ! 
'T is this ideal, that the soul of man. 
Like the enamored knight beside the fountain, 
Waits for upon the margin of life's stream ; 
Waits to behold her rise from the dark waters 
Clad in a mortal shape ! Alas I how many 

318 Historic Plays. [Jan. 

Must wait in vain ! The stream flows evermore, 
But from its silent deeps no spirit rises. 

Or here, 

I will forget her I All dear recollections 
Pressed in my heart, like flowers within a book, 
Shall be torn out, and scattered to the winds; 
I will forget her ! But perhaps hereafter, 
When she shall learn how heartless is the world, 
A voice within her will repeat my name, 
And she will say, ' He was indeed my friend.' 

Passages like these would give great pleasure in the 
chaste and carefully-shaded recitation of Macready or Miss 
Tree. The style of the play is, throughout, elegant and 
simple. Neither the plot nor characters can boast any 
originality, but the one is woven with skill and taste, the 
others very well drawn, for so slight handling. 

We had purposed in this place to notice some of the 
modern French plays, which hold about the same relation 
to the true drama, but this task must wait a more conve- 
nient season. 

One of the plays at the head of this notice also comes in 
here. The Patrician's Daughter, which, though a failure as 
a tragedy, from an improbability in the plot, and a want of 
power to touch the secret springs of passion, yet has the 
merits of genteel comedy in the unstrained and flowing 
dialogue, and dignity in the conception of character. A 
piece like this pleases, if only by the atmosphere of intellect 
and refinement it breathes. 

But a third class, of higher interest, is the historical, such 
as may well have been suggested to one whose youth was 
familiar with Shakspeare's Julius Caesar, and Kings of Eng- 
land. Who that wears in his breast an English heart, and 
has feeling to appreciate the capabilities of the historic 
drama, but must burn with desire to use the occasions 
offered in profusion by tlie chronicles of England and kin- 
dred nations, to adorn the inherited halls with one tapestry 
more. It is difficult to say why such an attempt should 
fail, yet it does fail, and each effort in this kind shows 
plainly tiiat the historic novel, not the historic drama, is the 
form appropriate to the genius of our day. Yet these 
failures come so near success, the spent arrows show so 
bold and strong a hand in the marksman, that we would 
not, for much, be without them. 

1844.] Taylor. 319 

First and highest in this list comes Philip Van Artevelde, 
of which we can say that it bears new fruit on the twentieth 
reading. At first it fell rather coldly on the mind, coming 
as it did, not as the flower of full flushed being, but with 
the air of an experiment made to verify a theory. It came 
with wrinkled critic's brow, consciously antagonistic to a 
tendency of the age, and we looked on it with cold critic's 
eye, unapt to weep or glow at its bidding. But, on closer 
acquaintance, we see that this way of looking, though in- 
duced by the author, is quite unjust. It is really a noble 
work that teaches us, a genuine growth that makes us 
grow, a reflex of nature from the calm depths of a large 
soul. The grave and comprehensive character of the 
ripened man, of him whom fire, and light, and earth have 
tempered to an intelligent delegate of humanity, has never 
been more justly felt, rarely more life-like painted, than by 
this author. The Flemish blood and the fiery soul are both 
understood. Philip stands among his compatriots the man 
mature, not premature or alien. He is what they should 
be, his life the reconciling word of his*age and nation, the 
thinking head of an unintelligent and easily distempered 
body, a true king. The accessories are all in keeping, 
saplings of the same wood. The eating, drinking, quarrel- 
ling citizens, the petulant sister, the pure and lovely bride, 
the sorrowful and stained, but deep-souled mistress, the 
monk, much a priest, but more a man, all belong to him 
and all require him. We cannot think of any part of this 
piece without its centre, and this fact proclaims it a great 
work of art. It is great, the conception of the swelling 
tide of fortune, on which this figure is upborne serenely 
eminent, of the sinking of that tide with the same face 
rising from the depths, veiled with the same cloud as the 
heavens, in its sadness calmer yet. Too wise and rich a 
nature he, too intelligent of the teachings of earth and 
heaven to be a stoic, but too comprehensive, too poetic, to 
be swayed, though he might be moved, by chance or passion. 
Some one called him Philip the Imperturbable, but his 
greatness is, that he is not imperturbable, only, as the 
author announces, " not passion's slave." The gods would 
not be gods, if they were ignorant, or impassive ; they must 
be able to see all that men see, only from a higher point of 

320 Taylor. [Jan. 

Such pictures make us willing to live in the widest sense, 
to bear all that may be borne, for we see that virgin gold 
may be fit to Rdorn a scabbard, but the good blade is made 
of tempered steel. 

Justice has not been done by the critics to the admirable 
conduct of the Second Part, because our imaginations were 
at first so struck by the full length picture of the hero in 
the conquering days of the First Part, and it was painful to 
see its majesty veiled with crape, its towering strength sink 
to ruins in the second. Then there are more grand and 
full passages in the First which can be detached and recol- 
lected ; as, 

We have not time to mourn ; the worse for us, 
He that lacks time to mourn lacks time to mend; 
Eternity mourns that. 'T is an ill cure 
For life's worst ills, to have no time to feel them. 
Where sorrow's held intrusive and turned out, 
There wisdom will not enter, nor true power, 
Nor aught that dignifies humanity. 

That beginning. 

To bring a cloud upon the summer day, 

or this famous one, 

Nor do I now despond, &c. 

or the fine scene between Clara, Van Artevelde, and Fa- 
ther John, where she describes the death scene at Sesen- 
heim's ; beginning. 

Much hast thou merited, my sister dear. 
The second part must be taken as a whole, the dark 
cloud widening and blackening as it advances, while ghastly 
flashes of presage come more and more frequent as the 
daylight diminishes. But there is far more fervor of genius 
than in the First, showing a mind less possessing, more 
possessed by, the subject, and finer touches of nature. Van 
Artevelde's dignity overpowers us more, as he himself feels 
it less ; as in the acceptance of Father John's reproof. 


Father John ! 
Though peradventure fallen in your esteem, 
I humbly ask your blessing, as a man, 
That liuving passed for more in your repute 
Than lie could justify, should be content, 
Not with his state, but with the judgment true 

1844.] Taylor. 3211 

That to the lowly level of his state 
Brings down his reputation. 


Oh my son ! 
Plig-h as you stand, I Avill not strain my eyes 
To see how higher still you stood before. 
God's blessing be upon you. Fare you well. 



The old man weeps. 
But he reverts at once to the topic of his thought, 

Should England play me false, &.c. 

as he always does, for a mind so great, so high, that it 
cannot fail to look over and around any one object, any 
especial emotion, returns to its habitual mood with an ease 
of which shallow and excitable natures cannot conceive. 
Thus his reflection, after he has wooed Elena, is not that 
of heartlessness, but of a deep heart. 

How little flattering is a woman's love ! 

And is in keeping with 

I know my course, 
And be it armies, cities, people, priests, 
That quarrel with my love, wise men or fools, 
Friends, foes, or factions, they may swear their oaths, 
And make their murmur; rave, and fret, and fear, 
Suspect, admonish ; they but waste their rage, 
Their wits, their words, their counsel ; here I stand 
Upon the deep foundations of my faith. 
To this fair outcast plighted ; and the storm 
That princes from their palaces shakes out, 
Though it should turn and head me, should not strain 
The seeming silken texture of this tie. 

And not less with 

Pain and grief 
Are transitory things no less than joy ; 
And though they leave us not the men we were, 
Yet they do leave us. 

With the admirable passages that follow. 

The delicate touches, with which Elena is made to 
depict her own character, move us more than Artevelde's 
most beautiful description of Adriana. 

I have been much unfortunate, my lord, 
I would not love again. 
VOL. IV. NO. III. 41 

322 Taylor. [Jan. 

Shakspeare could not mend the collocation of those words. 

When he is absent I am full of thought, 

And fruitful in expression inwardly, 

And fresh, and free, and cordial, is the flow 

Of my ideal and unheard discourse, 

Calling him in my heart endearing names, 

Familiarly fearless. But alas! 

No sooner is he present than my thoughts 

Are breathless and bewitched, and stunted so 

In force and freedom, that I ask myself 

Whether I think at all, or feel, or live, 

So senseless am I. 

Would that I were merry ! 
Mirth have I valued not before; but now 
What would I give to be the laughing front 
Of gay imaginations ever bright, 
And sparkling fantasies! Oh, all I have, 
Which is not nothing, though I prize it not; 
My understanding soul, my brooding sense, 
My passionate fancy, and the gift of gifts 
Dearest to woman, which deflowering Time, 
Slow ravisher, from clenchedest fingers wrings, 
My corporal beauty would I barter now 
For such an antic and exulting spirit 
As lives in lively women. 


Your grave, and wise, 
And melancholy men, if they have souls. 
As commonly they have, susceptible 
Of all impressions, lavish most their love 
Upon the blithe and sportive, and on such 
As yield their Avant, and chase their sad excess, 
With jocund salutations, nimble talk, 
And buoyant bearing. 

All herself is in the line, 

Which is not nothing, though I prize it not. 

And in her song, 

Down lay in a nook my lady's brach. 

This song I have heard quoted, and applied in such a 
way as to show that the profound meaning, so simply ex- 
pressed, has sometimes been understood. 

See with what a strain of reflection Van Artevelde greets 
the news that makes sure his overthrow. 

It is strange, yet true, 
That doubtful knowledge travels with a speed 
Miraculous, which certain cannot match; 
I know not why, when this or that has chanced, 
The smoke should come before the flash ; yet 't is so. 

1844.] Taylor. 323 

The creative power of a soul of genius, is shown by 
bringing out the poetic sweetness of Van Artevelde, more 
and more, as the scene assumes a gloomier hue. The mel- 
ancholy music of his speech penetrates the heart more and 
more up to the close. 

The gibbous moon was in a wan decline, 
And all was silent as a sick man's chamber, 
Mixing- its small beirinnings with the dregs 
Of the pale moonshine, and a ^qw faint stars, 
The cold uncomfortable daylight dawned ; 
And the white tents, topping a low ground-fog, 
Showed like a fleet becalmed. 

At the close of the vision : 

And midmost in the eddy and the whirl. 

My own face saw I, which was pale and calm 

As death could make it, — then the vision passed, 

And I perceived the river and the bridge, 

The mottled sky, and horizontal moon. 

The distant camp and all things as they were. 

Elena, think not that T stand in need 

Of false encouragement ; I have my strength. 

Which, though it lie not in the sanguine mood, 

Will answer my occasions. To yourself, 

Though to none other, I at times present 

The gloomiest thoughts that gloomy truths inspire^ 

Because 1 love you. But I need no prop ! 

Nor could I find it in a tinsel show 

Of prosperous surmise. Before the world 

I wear a cheerful aspect, not so false 

As for your lover's solace you put on ; 

Nor in my closet does the oil run low, 

Or the light flicker. 


Lo, now ! you are angry 
Because I try to cheer you. 


No, my love. 
Not angry ; that I never was with you ; 
But as I deal not falsely with my own, 
So would I wish the heart of her I love, 
To be both true and brave ; nor self-beguiled, 
Nor putting on disguises for my sake, 
As though I faltered. I have anxious hours ; 
As who in like extremities has not? 
But I have something stable here within, 
Which bears their weight. 

In the last scenes : 

324 Taylor. [Jan. 


She will be better soon, my lord. 


Say worse ; 
'T is better for her to be thus bereft. 
One other kiss on that bewitching- brow, 
Pale hemisphere of charms. Unhappy girl! 
The curse of beauty was upon thy birth, 
Nor love bestowed a blessing. Fare thee well ! 

How clear his voice sounds at the very last. 

The rumor ran that I was hurt to death, 

And then they staggered. Lo! we 're flying all ! 

Mount, mount, old man ; at least let one be saved! 

Roosdyk I Vauclaire ! the gallant and the kind I 

Who shall inscribe your merits on your tombs! 

May mine tell nothing to the world but this : 

That never did that prince or leader live. 

Who had more loyal or more loving friends ! 

Let it be written that fidelity 

Could go no farther. Mount, old friend, and fly ! 


With you, my lord, not else. A fear-struck throng, 
Comes rushing from Mount Dorre. Sir, cross the bridge. 


The bridge ! my soul abhors — but cross it thou; 
And take this token to my Love, Van Ryk ; 
Fly, for my sake in hers, and take her hence ! 
It is my last command. See her conveyed 
To Ghent by Olsen, or Avhat safer road 
Thy prudence shall descry. This do. Van Ryk. 
Lo! now they pour upon us like a flood ! — 
Thou that didst never disobey me yet — 
This last good office render me. Begone ! 
Fly whilst the way is free. 

What comrrianding sweetness in the utterance of the 
name, Van Ryk, and what a weight of tragedy in the 
broken sentence which speaks of the fatal bridge. These 
are the things that actors rarely give us, the very passages 
to which it would be their vocation to do justice; saying 
out those tones we divine from the order of the words. 

Yet Talma's Pas encores set itself to music in the mind 
of the hearer; and Zara, you iveep, was so spoken as to 
melt the whole French nation into that one moment. 

Elena's sob of anguish; 

1844.] Taylor, 325 

Arouse yourself, sweet lady ; fly with me, 
I pray you hear ; it was his last command 
That I should take you hence to Ghent by Olson. 

I cannot jro on foot. 


No, lady, no, 
You shall not need ; horses are close at hand, 
Let me but take you hence. I pray you come. 


Take him then too. 


The enemy is near, 
In hot pursuit ; we cannot take the body. 


The body! Oh! 

In this place Miss Kemble alone would have had force 
of passion to represent her, who 

Flung that long funereal note 
Into the upper sky ? 

Though her acting was not refined enough by intellect 
and culture for the more delicate lineaments of the char- 
acter. She also would have given its expression to the 
unintelligent, broken-hearted, 

I cannot go on foot. 

The body — yes, that temple could be so deserted by its 
god, that men could call it so ! That form so instinct with 
rich gifts, that baseness and sloth seemed mere names in its 
atmosphere, could lie on the earth as unable to vindicate 
its rights, as any other clod. The exclamation of Elena, 
better bespoke the tragedy of this fact, than any eulogium 
of a common observer, though that of Burgundy is fitly 

Dire rebel though he was, 
Yet with a noble nature and great gifts 
Was he endowed: courage, discretion, wit, . 
An equal temper and an ample soul, 
Rock-bound and fortified against assaults 
OF transitory passion, but below 
Built on a surging subterraneous fire, 
That stirred and lifted him to high attempts, 

326 Taylor. [Jan. 

So prompt and capable, and yet so calm ; 

He nothing lacked in sovereignt}' but the right, 

Nothing in soldiership except good fortune. 

That was the grandeur of the character, that its calmness 
had nothing to do with slowness of blood, but was " built 
on a surging subterranean fire." 

Its magnanimity is shown with a fine simplicity. To 
blame one's self is easy, to condemn one's own changes 
and declensions of character and life painful, but inevitable 
to a deep mind. But to bear well the blame of a lesser 
nature, unequal to seeing what the fault grows from, is not 
easy ; to take blame as Van Artevelde does, so quietly, in- 
different from whence truth comes, so it be truth, is a trait 
seen in the greatest only. 


Too anxious, Artevelde, 
And too impatient are you grown of late ; 
You used to be so calm and even-minded, 
That nothing ruffled you. 


I stand reproved ; 
'T is time and circumstance, that tries us all ; 
And they that temperately take their start, 
And keep their souls indifferently sedate, 
Through much of good and evil, at the last. 
May find the weakness of their hearts thus tried. 
My cause appears more precious than it did 
In its triumphant days. 

I have ventured to be the more, lavish of extracts that, 
although the publication of Philip Van Artevelde at once 
placed Mr. Taylor in the second rank of English poets, a 
high meed of glory, when we remember who compose the 
first, we seldom now hear the poem mentioned, or a line 
quoted from it, though it is a work which might, from all 
considerations, well make a part of habitual reading, and 
habitual thought. Mr. Taylor has since published another 
dramatic poem, " Edwin the Fair," whose excellencies, 
though considerable, are not of the same commanding char- 
acter with those of its predecessor. He was less fortunate 
in his subject. There is no great and noble figure in the 
foreground on which to concentrate the interest, from 
which to distribute the lights. Neither is the spirit of an 
era seized with the same power. The ligures are modern 

1844.] Athelwold. 327 

English under Saxon names, and affect us like a Boston 
face, tricked out in the appurtenances of Goethe's Faust. 
Such a cliaracter as Dustan's should be subordinated in a 
drama; its interest is that of intellectual analysis, mere feel- 
ings it revolts. The main character of the piece should 
attract the feelings, and we should be led to analysis, to 
understand, not to excuse its life. 

There are, however, fine passages, as profound, refined, 
and expressed with the same unstrained force and purity, 
as those in Philip Van Artevelde. 

Athelwold, another of the tragedies at the head of this 
notice, takes up some of the same characters a few years 
later. Without poetic depth, or boldness of conception, it 
yet boasts many beauties from the free talent, and noble 
feehngs of the author. Athelwold is the best sketch in it, 
and the chief interest consists in his obstinate rejection of 
Elfrida, whose tardy penitence could no way cancel the 
wrong, her baseness of nature did his faith. This is worked 
up with the more art, that there is justice in her plea, but 
love, shocked from its infinity, could not stop short of 
despair. Here deep feeling rises to poetry. 

Dunstan and Edgar are well drawn sketches, but show 
not the subtle touches of a life-like treatment. 

This, we should think, as well as the Patrician's daugh- 
ter, might be a good acting play. 

We come now to the work which affords the most inter- 
esting theme for this notice, from its novelty, its merits, and 
its subject, which is taken from that portion of English his- 
tory with which we are most closely bound, the time pre- 
ceding the Commonwealth. 

Its author, Mr. Sterling, has many admirers among us, 
drawn to him by his productions, both in prose and verse, 
which for a time enriched the pages of Blackwood. Some 
of these have been collected into a small volume, which has 
been republished in this country. 

These smaller pieces are of very unequal merit; but the 
best among them are distinguished by vigor of conception 
and touch, by manliness and modesty of feeling, by a depth 
of experience, rare in these days of babbling criticism and 
speculation. His verse does not flow or soar with the 
highest lyrical inspiration, neither does he enrich us by a 
large stock of original images, but for grasp and picturesque 

328 Sterling. [Jan. 

presentation of his subject, for frequent bold and forceful 
passages, and the constantly fresh breatli of character, we 
know few that could be named with him. The Sexton's 
Daughter is the longest and best known, but not the best 
of the minor poems. It has, however, in a high degree, 
the merits we have mentioned. The yew tree makes a fine 
centre to the whole picture. The tale is told in too many 
words, the homely verse becomes garrulous, but the strong, 
pure feeling of natural relations endears them all. 

His Aphrodite is fitly painted, and we should have 
dreamed it so from all his verse. 

The high immortal queen from heaven, 

The calm Olympian face; 
Eyes pure from human tear or smile, 

Yet ruling all on earth, 
And limbs whose garb of golden air 

Was Dawn's primeval birth. 

With tones like music of a lyre, 

Continuous, piercing, low, 
The sovran lips began to speak, 

Spoke on in liquid flow, 
It seemed the distant ocean's voice, 

Brought near and shaped to speech, 
But breathing with a sense beyond 

What words of man may reach. 

Weak child ! Not I the puny power 

Thy wish would have me be, 
A roseleaf floating with the wind 

Upon a summer sea. 
If such thou need'st, go range the fields, 

And hunt the gilded fly, 
And when it mounts above thy head, 

Then lay thee down and die. 

The spells which rule in earth and stars, 

Each mightiest thought that lives, 
Are stronger than the kiss a child 

In sudden fancy gives. 
They cannot change, or fail, or fade, 

Nor dfjign o'er aught to sway, 
Too weak to suffer and to strive, 

And tired while still 'tis day. 

And thou with better Avisdom learn 

The ancient lore to scan, 
Which tells that first in Ocean's breast 

Thy rule o'er all began ; 

] 844.] Sterling. 329 

And know that not in breathless noon 

Upon the glassy main, 
The power was born that taught the world 

To hail her endless reign. 

The winds were loud, the waves were high, 

In drear eclipse the sun 
Was crouched within the caves of heaven, 

And light had scarce begun ; 
The Earth's green front lay drowned below, 

And Death and Chaos fought 
O'er all the tumult vast of things 

Not yet to severance brought. 

'T was then that spoke the fateful voice, 

And 'mid the huge uproar, 
Above the dark I sprang to life, 

A good unhoped before. 
My tresses waved along the sky, 

And stars leapt out around. 
And earth beneath my feet arose. 

And hid the pale profound. 

A lamp amid the night, a feast 

That ends the strife of war, 
To Avearied mariners a port, 

To fainting limbs a car. 
To exiled men the friendly roof, 

To mourning hearts the lay. 
To him who long has roamed by night 

The sudden dawn of day. 

All these are mine, and mine the bliss 

That visits breasts in woe, 
And fills with wine the cup that once 

With tears was made to flow. 
Nor question thou the help that comes 

From Aphrodite's hand ; 
For madness dogs the bard who doubts 

Whate'er the gods command. 

Alfred the Harper has the same strong picture and noble 
beat of wing. One line we have heard so repeated by a 
voice, that could give it its full meaning, that we should be 
very grateful to the poet for that alone. 

Still lives the song though Regnar dies. 

Daedalus we must quote. 

VOL. IV. NO. III. 42 

330 Bcedalus. [Jan. 

* D^^DALUS. 


Wail for Daedalus all that is fairest! 

All that is tunefal in air or wave ! 
Shapes, whose beauty is truest and rarest, 

Haunt with your lamps and spells his grave ! 


Statues, bend your heads in sorrow, 

Ye that glance 'mid ruins old, 
That know not a past, nor expect a morrow, 

On many a moonlight Grecian wold ! 

By sculptured cave and speaking river, 
Thee, Dsedalus, oft the Nymphs recall ; 

The leaves with a sound of winter quiver, 
Murmur thy name, and withering fall. 


Yet are thy visions in soul the grandest 
Of all that crowd on the tear-dimmed eye. 

Though, Dssdalus, thou no more commandest 
New stars to that ever- widening sky. 


Ever thy phantoms arise before us, 
Our loftier brothers, but one in blood; 

By bed and table they lord it o'er us, 

With looks of beauty and words of Good. 


Calmly they show us mankind victorious 
O'er all that's aimless, blind, and base ; 

Their presence has made our nature glorious, 
Unveiling our night's illumined face. 


Thy toil has won them a god-like quiet, 
Tiiou hast wrouglit their path to a lovely sphere: 

Their eyes to peace rebuke our riot, 
And siiape us a home of refuge here. 


For Da?dalus breathed in them his spirit ; 

In tiiom their sire his beauty sees ; 
We too, a younger brood, inlierit 

The gifts and ble:5bing bestowed oil tiiese. 

1844.] Alfred the Harper. 331 


But ah ! their wise and graceful seeming 
Recalls the more that the sage is gone ; 

Weeping we wake from deceitful dreaming, 
And find our voiceless chamber lone. 


Dsedalus, thou from the twilight fleest, 

Which thou with visions hast made so brigiit ; 

And when no more those shapes thou seest, 
Wanting thine eye they lose their light. 


E'en in the noblest of Man's creations, 
Those fresh worlds round this old of ours, 

When the seer is gone, the orphaned nations 
See but the tombs of perished powers. 


Wail for Dsedalus, Earth and Ocean ! 

Stars and Sun, lament for him ! 
Ages, quake in strange commotion ! 

All ye realms of life, be dim ! 


Wail for Daedalus, awful voices, 

From earth's deep centre Mankind appall ! 

Seldom ye sound, and then Death rejoices, 
For he knows that then the mightiest fall. 

Also the following, whose measure seems borrowed from 
Goethe, and is worthy of its source. We insert a part of it. 


Woodland Mountains, in your leafy walks, 
Shadows of the Past and Future blend ; 

'Mid 5'^our verdant windings flits or stalks 
Many a loved and disembodied friend. 

With your oaks and pine-trees, ancient brood, 

Spirits rise above the wizard soil, 
And with these I rove amid the wood ; 

Man may dream on earth no less than toil. 

Shapes that seem my kindred meet the ken ; 

Gods and heroes glimmer through the shade ; 
Ages long gone by from haunts of men 

Meet me here in rocky dell and glade. 

332 The Wooded Mountains. [Jan. 

There the Muses, touched with gleams of light, 

Warble yet from yonder hill of trees, 
And upon the huge and mist-clad height 

Fancy sage a clear Olympus sees. 

'Mid yon utmost peaks the elder powers 

Still unshaken hold their fixed abode, 
Fates primeval throned in airy towers. 

That with morning sunshine never glowed. 

Deep below, amid a hell of rocks. 

Lies the Cyclops, and the Dragon coils, 

Heaving with the torrent's weary shocks, 
That round the untrodden region boils. 

But more near to where our thought may climb, 

In a mossy, leaf-clad, Druid ring. 
Three gray shapes, prophetic Lords of Time, 

Homer, Dante, Shakspeare, sit and sing. 

Each in his turn his descant frames aloud. 
Mingling new and old in ceaseless birth, 

While the Destinies hear amid their cloud, 
And accordant mould the flux of earth. 

Oh ! ye trees that wave and glisten round. 
Oh ! ye waters gurgling down the dell, 

Pulses throb in every sight and sound, 
Living Nature's more than magic spell. 

Soon amid the vista still and dim, 

Knights, whom youth's high heart forgetteth not, 

Each with scars and shadowy helmet grim, 
Amadis, Orlando, Launcelot. 

Stern they pass along the twilight green. 
While within the tangled wood's recess 

Some lorn damsel sits, lamenting keen, 
With a voice of tuneful amorousness. 

Clad in purple weed, with pearly crown, 
And with golden hairs that waving play, 

Fairest earthly sight for King and Clown, 
Oriana or Angelica. 

But in sadder nooks of deeper shade, 
Forms more subtle lurk from human eye. 

Each cold Nymph, the rock or fountain's maid, 
Crowned with leaves that sunbeams never dry. 

And while on and on I wander, still 

Passed the plasliing streamlet's glance and foam, 

Hearing oft tiie wild-bird pipe at will, 
Still new openings lure me still to roam. 

1844.] The Wooded Mountains. 333 

In this hollow smooth by May-tree walled, 

White and breathing now with fragrant flower, 

Lo ! the fairy tribes to revel called, 

Start in view as fades the evening hour. 

Decked in rainbow roof of gossamer, 
And with many a sparkling jewel bright, 

Rose-leaf faces, dew-drop eyes are tliere. 
Each with gesture fine of gentle sprite. 

Gay they woo, and dance, and feast, and sing, 

Elfin chants and laughter fill the dell, 
As if every leaf around should ring 

With its own aerial emerald bell. 

But for man 't is ever sad to see 

Joys like his that he must not partake, 
'Mid a separate world, a people's glee, 

In whose hearts his heart no joy could wake. 

Fare ye well, ye tiny race of elves ; 

May the moon-beam ne'er behold your tomb ; 
Ye are happiest childhood's other selves. 

Bright to you be always evening's gloom. 

And thou, mountain-realm of ancient wood, 

Where my feet and thoughts have strayed so long, 

Now thy old gigantic brotherhood 
With a ghostlier vastness round me throng. 

Mound, and cliff", and crag, that none may scale 
With your serried trunks and wrestling boughs. 

Like one living presence ye prevail. 
And o'erhang me with Titanian brows. 

In your Being's mighty depth of Power, 

Mine is lost, and melted all away. 
In your forms involved I seem to tower, 

And with you am spread in twilight grey. 

In this knotted stem "whereon I lean, 
And the dome above of countless leaves. 

Twists and swells, and frowns a life unseen, 
That my life with it resistless weaves. 

Yet, O nature, less is all of thine 

Than thy borrowings from our human breast ; 

Thou, O God, hast made thy child divine, 
And for him this world thou hallowest. 

The Rose and the Gauntlet we much admire as a ballad, 
and the tale is told in fewest words, and by a single pic- 
ture ; but we have not room for it here. In Lady Jane 

334 Sterling. [Jan. 

Grey, though this again is too garrulous, the picture of the 
princess at the beginning is fine, as she sits in the antique 
casement of the rich old room. 

The hghts through the painted glass 

Fall with fondest brightness o'er the form 
Of her who sits, the chamber's lovely dame, 

And her pale forehead in the light looks warm, 
And all these colors round her whiteness flame. 

Young is she, scarcely passed from childhood's years, 

With grave, soft face, where thoughts and smiles may play, 

And unatarmed by guilty aims or fears, 

Serene as meadow flowers may meet the day. 

No guilty pang she knows, though many a dread 
Hangs threatening o'er her in the conscious air. 

And 'mid the beams from that bright casement shut, 
A twinkling crown foreshows a near despair. 

The quaint conciseness of this last line pleases me. 

He always speaks in marble words of Greece. But I 
must make no more quotations. 

Some part of his poem on Shakspeare is no unfit prelude 
to a few remarks on his own late work. With such a 
a sense of greatness none could wholly fail. 

With meaning won from him for ever glows 

Each air that England feels, and star it knows ; 

And gleams from spheres he first conjoined to earth 

Are blent with rays of each new morning's birth. 

Amid the sights and tales of common things, 

Leaf, flower, and bird, and wars, and deaths of kings. 

Of shore, and sea, and nature's daily round 

Of life that tills, and tombs that load the ground, 

His visions mingle, swell, command, pass by. 

And haunt w^ith living presence heart and eye, 

And tones from him, by other bosoms caught, 

Awaken flush and stir of mounting thought. 

And the long sigh, and deep, impassioned thrill, 

Rouse custom's trance, and spur the faltering Avill. 

Above the goodly land, more his than ours. 

He sits supreme enthroned in skyey towers, 

And sees the heroic brood of his creation 

Teach larger life to his ennobled nation. 

O ! shaping brain ! O ! flashing fancy's hues ! 

O ! boundless heart kept frcsii by pity's dews ! 

O ! wit humane and blythe ! O ! sense sublime 

For each dim oracle of mantled Time ! 

Transcendant form of man! in whom we read 

Mankind's whole talc of Impulse, TJiouglit, and Deed. 

1844.] Sterling. 335 

Such is his ideal of the great dramatic poet. It would 
not be fair to measure him, or any man, by his own ideal ; 
that aifords a standard of spiritual and intellectual pro- 
gress, with which the executive powers may not corre- 
spond. A clear eye may be associated with a feeble hand 
or the reverse. The mode of measurement proposed by 
the great thinker of our time is not inapplicable. First, 
show me what aim a man proposes to himself; next, with 
what degree of earnestness he strives to attain it. In both 
regards we can look at Mr. Sterhng's work with pleasure 
and admiration. He exhibits to us a great crisis, with 
noble figures to represent its moving springs. His work is 
not merely the plea for a principle, or the exposition of a 
thought, but an exhibition of both at work in life. He 
opens the instrument and lets us see the machinery with- 
out stopping the music. The progress of interest in the 
piece is imperative, the principal character well brought out, 
the style clear and energetic, the tone throughout is of a man- 
ly dignity, worthy great times. Yet its merit is of a dramatic 
sketch, rather than a drama. The forms want the round- 
ness, the fulness of life, the thousand charms of spontaneous 
expression. In this last particular Sterling is as far inferior 
to Taylor, as Taylor to Shakspeare. His characters, like 
Miss Baillie's or Talfourd's, narrate rather than express 
their life. Not elaborately, not pedantically, but yet the 
effect is that, while they speak we look on them as past, 
and Sterling's view of them interests us more than them- 
selves. In his view of relations again we must note his 
inferiority to Taylor, who in this respect is the only con- 
temporary dramatist on whom we can look with compla- 
cency. Taylor's characters really meet, really bear upon 
one another. In contempt and hatred, or esteem, rever- 
ence, and melting tenderness, they challenge, bend, and 
transfuse one another. 

Strafford never alters, never is kindled by or kindles the 
life of any other being, never breathes the breath of the 
moment. Before us, throughout the play, is the view of his 
greatness taken by the mind of the author ; we are not 
really made to feel it by those around him ; it is echoed 
from their lips, not from their lives. Lady Carlisle is the 
only personage, except Strafford, that is brought out 
into much relief. Everard is only an accessory, and the 

336 Sterling. [Jan. 

king, queen, and parliamentary leaders, drawn with a few 
strokes to give them their historical position. Scarcely 
more can be said of Hollis ; some individual action is as- 
signed him, but not so as to individualize his character. 
The idea of the relation at this ominous period between 
Strafford and Lady Carlisle is noble. In these stern times 
he has put behind him the flowers of tenderness, and the 
toys of passion. 

Lady, believe me, that I loved you truly, 
Still think of you with wonder and delight, 
Own you the liveliest, noblest heart of woman 
This age, or any, knows ; but for love ditties 
And amorous toys, and kisses ocean-deep, 
Strafford and this old Earth are all too sad. 

But when the lady had a soul to understand the declara- 
tion, and show herself worthy his friendship, there is a 
hardness in his action towards her, a want of softness and 
grace, how different from Van Artevelde's : 

My Adriana, victim that thou art. 

The nice point indeed, of giving the hero manly firm- 
ness, and an even stern self-sufficiency, without robbing 
him of the beauty of gentle love, was touched with rare 
success in Van Artevelde. Common men may not be able 
to show firmness and persistency, without a certain hardness 
and glassiness of expression ; but we expect of the hero, 
that he should combine the softness with the constancy of 

This failure is the greater here, tha't we need a private tie 
to Strafford to give his fall the deepest tragic interest. 

Lady Carlisle is painted with some si^ill and spirit. The 
name given her by St. John of "• the handsome vixen," 
and tiie willingness shown by her little page to die, rather 
than see her after faihng to deliver her letter, joined with 
her own appearance, mark her very well. The following 
is a prose sketch of her as seen in common life. 

Sir Toby Matthew's Portrait or Lucy Percy, Countess of 

" She is of too hiiih a mind and dignity, not only to seek, but almost 
to wish the friendship of any creature: they, whom she is pleased to 
choose, are such as are of the most eminent condition, both for power 
and employment ; not with any design towards her own particular, 

1844.] Sterling. 337 

either of advantage or curiosity, but her nature values fortunate persons 
as virtuous. She prefers the conversation of men to that of women ; 
not but she can talk on the fashions with her female friends, but she is 
too soon sensible that she can set them as she Avills; that pre-eminence 
shortens all equality. She converses with those who are most distin- 
guished for their conversational powers. 

Of Jove freely will she discourse, listen to all its faults, and mark all 
its power. She cannot herself love in earnest, but she will play with 
love, and will take a deep interest for persons of condition and celeb- 
rity." — ^ee Life of Pijm ; in Lardner's Cabinet Cydopcedia, Vol. xci., p. 

The noblest trait, given her in the play, is the justice 
she is able to do Charles, after his treachery has consigned 
Strafford to the Tower. 


And he betrayed you. 


He ! it cannot be, 
There's not a minion in his court so vile, 
Holland nor Jermyn, would deceive a trust 
Like that I placed in him, nor would belie 
So seeming heart felt words as those he spake. 


He's not entirely vile, and yet he did it. 

This, seen in unison with her out-pouring of contempt 
upon the king when present, makes out a character. As 
a whole, that given her by the poet is not only nobler than 
the one assigned her in history, but opposed to it in a vital 

The play closes after Strafford has set forth for the scaf- 
fold with the ejaculation from her left in the Tower, where 
she has waited on his last moments, 

" Alone, henceforth forever ! " 

While history makes her transfer her attachment to Pym, 
who must have been, in her eyes, Strafford's murderer, on 
the score of her love of intellectual power, in which all 
other considerations were merged. This is a character so 
odious, and in a woman, so unnatural, that we are tempted 
rather to suppose it was hatred of the king for his base and 
treacherous conduct towards Strafford, that induced her to 
betray to Pym the counsels of the court, as the best means 
of revenge. Such a version of her motives would not be 

VOL. IV. ■ — NO. III. 43 

338 Sterling. [Jan. 

inconsistent with the character assigned her in the play. 
It would be making her the agent to execute her own curse, 
so eloquently spoken after she finds the king willing to save 
himself by the sacrifice of Straflford's life. 


The woman's mad ; her passion braves the skies! 


I brave them not ; I but invoke their justice 
To rain hot curses on a tyrant's head ; 
Henceforth I set myself apart for mischief, 
To find and prompt men capable of hate, 
Until some dagger, steeled in Strafford's blood, 
Knocks at the heart of Strafford's murderer. 


His murderer ! O God ! — no, no, — not that ! 

(Sinks back into a seat.) 


And here I call on all the powers above us 

To aid the deep damnation of my curse. 

And make this treason to the noblest man, 

That moves alive within our English seas. 

Fatal to him and all his race, w-hose baseness 

Destroys a worth it ne'er could understand. 

Stars in your glory, vital air and sun, 

And thou, dark earth, our cradle, nurse, and grave, 

And more than all, free truth and penal justice, 

Conspire with all your dreadful influence 

Against his blood, whose crime ye now behold! 

Make him a byeword, and a name of woe, 

A conquered warrior, and a throneless outcast, 

To teach all kings the law of evil, power. 

Till by an end more friendless and abhorred 

Than his great victim's, and with heavier pain. 

Let him slink off to a detested grave I 

And now I give your majesty leave to go. 

And may you carry from my house away. 

That fixed incurable ulcer of tiie heart. 

Which I have helped your thoughts to fasten there. 

If these burning words had as much power to kindle her 
own heart, as they must that of the hearer, we only realize 
our anticipations, when we find her sending to the five 
members the news of tlie intention of Charles to arrest 
them, thus placing him in a position equally ridiculous and 
miserable, iiaving incurred all the odium of tiiis violent 
transaction to no purpose. That might well be a proud 
moment of gratified vengeance to her, when he stood amid 

1S44.] Sterling. 339 

the sullen and outraged parliament, baffled like a school- 
boy, loathed as a thief, exclaiming, " The birds are flown " 
and all owing to " the advices of the honorable Lady Car- 

The play opens with Strafford's return to London. He 
is made to return in rather a different temper from what 
he really did, not only trusting the king, but in his own 
greatness fearless of the popular hatred. The opening 
scenes are very good, compact, well wrought, and showing 
at the very beginning the probable fortunes of the scene, 
by making the characters the agents of their own destinies. 
A weight of tragedy is laid upon the heart, and at the same 
time we are inspired with deep interest as to how it shall 
be acted out. 

Strafford appears before us as he does in history, a grand 
and melancholy figure, whose dignity lay in his energy of 
will, and large scope of action, not in his perception of 
principles, or virtue in carrying them out. For his faith in 
the need of absolute sway to control the herd, does not 
merit the name of a principle. 

In rny thought, the promise of success 
Grows to the self-same stature as the need, 
Which is gig-antic. There's a king to guide, 
Three realms to save, a nation to control, 
And by subduing to make blest beyond 
Their sottish dreams of lawless liberty. 
This to fulfil Strafford has pledged his soul 
In the unfaltering hands of destiny. 

Nor can we fail to believe, that the man of the world 
might sincerely take this view of his opponents. 

No wonder they whose life is all deception, 
A piety that, like a sheep-skin drum, 
Is loud because 'tis hollow, — thus can move 
Belief in others by their swollen pretences. 
Why, man, it is their trade ; they do not stick 
To cozen themselves, and will they stop at you ? 

The court and council scenes are good. The materials 
are taken from history, with Shakspearean adherence to the 
record, but they are uttered in masculine cadences, sinewy 
English, worthy this great era in the life of England. 

The king and queen and sycophants of the court are too 
carelessly drawn. Such unmitigated baseness and folly, 
are unbearable in poetry. The master invests his worst 

340 Sterling. [Jan. 

characters with redeeming traits, or at least, touches them 
with a human interest, that prevents their being objects of 
disgust rather than contempt or aversion. This is the 
poetic giftj to penetrate to the truth below the fact. We 
need to hear the excuses men make to themselves for their 

The council of the parliamentary leaders is far better. 
Here the author speaks his natural language from the lips 
of grave enthusiastic men. Pym's advice to his daughter 
is finely worded, and contains truths, which, although they 
have been so often expressed, are not like to find so large 
reception, as to dispense with new and manifold utterance. 

The Lord has power 
To guard his own : pray, Mary, pray to Him, 
Nor fear what man can do. A rule there is 
Above all circumstance, a current deep 
Beneath all fluctuations. This who knows, 
Though seeming weakest, firmly as the sun 
Walks in blind paths where earthly strongest fall, 
Reason is God's own voice to man, ordains 
All holy duties, and all truth inspires : 
And he who fails, errs not by trusting it, 
But deafening to the sound his ear, from dread 
Of the stern roar it speaks with. O my child, 
Pray still for guidance, and be sure 'twill come. 
Lift up your heart upon the knees of God ; 
Losing yourself, your smallness, and your darkness, 
In his great light, who fills and moves the world, 
Who hath alone the quiet of perfect motion — 
Sole quiet, not mere death. 

The speech of Vane is nobly rendered. 

The conversations of the populace are tolerably well 
done. Only the greatest succeed in these ; nobody except 
Goethe in modern times. Here they give, not the charac- 
ter of the people, but the spirit of the time, playing in re- 
lation to the main action the part of chorus. 


There's Master Sl John has a tongue 
That threshes like a flail. 


And Master Fiennes 
That's a true lanjb ! He'd roast alive the Bishop. 


I was close by the coach, and with my nose 

1844.] Sterling. 341 

Upon the door, I called out, Down with Strafford ! 
And then just so he fixed his eyes on mine, 
And something- seemed to choke me in the throat; 
In truth, I think it must have been the devil ! 


I saw him as he stept out of the House, 
And then his face was dark, but very quiet; 
It seemed like looking down the dusky mouth 
Of a great cannon. 

Everard says with expressive bitterness as they shout 
" Down with Strafford," 

I 've heard this noise so often, that it seems 
As natural as the howling of the wind. 

And again — 

For forty years I 've studied books and men, 

But ne'er till these last days have known a jot 

Of the true secret madness in mankind. 

This morn the whispers leapt from each to each, 

Like a petard alight, which every man 

Feared might explode in his own hands, and therefore 

Would haste to pass it onward to his friend. 

Even in our piping times of peace, nulHfication and the 
Rhode Island difficulties have given us specimens of the 
process of fermentation, the more than Virgihan growth of 

The description of the fanatic preacher by Everard is 
very good. The poor secretary, not placed in the promi- 
nent rank to suffer, yet feehng all that passes, through his 
master, finds vent to his grief, not in mourning, but a strong 
causticity ; 

The sad fanatic preacher. 
In whom one saw, by glancing through the eyes, 
The last grey curdling dregs of human joy, 
Dropped sudden sparks that kindled where they fell. 

Strafford draws the line between his own religion and 
that of the puritans, as it seemed to him, with noble phrase 
in his last advices to his son. 

Say it has ever been his father's mind, 

That perfect reason, justice, government, 

Are the chief attributes of Him who made, 

And who sustains the world, in whose full being, 

Wisdom and power are one ; and I, his creature. 

Would fain have gained authority and rule, 

To make the imagined order in my soul 

342 Sterling, [Jan. 

Supreme o'er al], the proper good of man. 

But Him to love who shaped us, and whose breast 

Is the one home of all things, with a passion 

Electing Him amid all other beings, 

As if he were beside them, not their all. 

This is the snug and dozing deliration 

Of men, who filch from woman what is worst. 

And cannot see the good. Of such beware. 

This is the nobler tone of Strafford's spirit.* That more 
habitual to hina is heard in his presumptuous joy before 
entering the parhament, into which he went as a conqueror, 
and came out a prisoner. His confidence is not noble to 
us, it is not that of Brutus or Van Artevelde, who, know- 
ing what is prescribed by the law of right within the breast, 
can take no other course but that, whatever the conse- 
quences ; neither like the faith of Julius Caesar or Wallen- 
stein in their star, which, though less pure, is not without 
religion ; but it is the presumption of a strong character 
which, though its head towers above those of its compan- 
ions when they are on the same level, yet has not taken a 
sufficiently high platform, to see what passes around or 
above it. Strafford's strength cannot redeem his infatua- 
tion, while he struggles ; vanquished, not overwhelmed, he 
is a majestic figure, whose features f are w^ell marked in 
various passages. 

Compared with him, whom I for eighteen years 
Have seen familiar as my friend, all men 
Seem but as chance-born flies, and only he 
Great Nature's chosen and all-gifted son. 

* His late biographer says well in regard to the magnanimity of his 
later days, of so much nobler a tone than his general character would 
lead us to expect. " It is a mean as well as a hasty judgment, which 
would attribute this to any unworthy compromise with his real nature. 
It is probably a juster and more profound view of it, to say that, into a 
few of the later weeks of his life, new knowledge had penetrated from 
the midst of the breaking of his fortunes. It was well and beautifully 
said by a then living poet, 

' The soul's dark cottage, battered and decayed, 
Lets in new light through chinks that time has made.' " 

Forster's Life of Strafford, Lardner's Cabinet Cyclopadia. 

t " A poet, who was present, exclaimed, 
On thy brow 
Sate terror mixed with wisdom, and at once 
Saturn and Hermes in thy countenance." 

Life of Strafford, p. 388. 
Certainly there could not be a more pointed and pregnant account 
given of the man than is suggested by this last line. 

1844.] Sterling. 343 

* Van Artevelde also bears testimony to the belief of the 
author, that familiarity breeds no contempt, but the reverse 
in the service of genuine nobility. A famiharity of eighteen 
years will not make any but a stage hero, other than a hero 
to his valet de chambre. 

King Charles says, 

To pass the bill, — 
Under his eye, with that fixed quiet look 
Of imperturbable and thoughtful greatness, 
I cannot do it. 

Strafford himself says, on the final certainty of the king's 

Dear Everard, peace ! for there is nothing here 
I have not weighed before, and made my own. 

x\nd this, no doubt, vt^as true, in a sense. Historians, 
finding that Strafford expressed surprise, and even indigna- 
tion, that the king had complied with Strafford's own letter 
releasing him from all obligation to save his life, have in- 
timated that the letter was written out of policy. But this 
is a superficial view ; it produces very different results from 
giving up all to another to see him take it; and, though 
Strafford must have known Charles's weakness too well to 
expect any thing good from him, yet the consummation 
must have produced fresh emotion, for a strong character 
cannot be prepared for the conduct of a weak one ; there 
is always in dishonor somewhat unexpected and incredible 
to one incapable of it. 

The speeches in parliament are well translated from the 
page of history. The poet, we think, has improved upon 
it in Strafford's mention of his children ; it has not the 
theatrical tone of the common narrative, and is, probably, 
nearer truth, as it is more consistent with the rest of his 

He has made good use of the fine anecdote of the effect 
produced on Pym by meeting Strafford's eye at the close 
of one of his most soaring passages. 

That with familiarity respect 

Doth slacken, is a word of common use ; 

1 never found it so. 

Philip Van Artevelde^ 2d Part, p. 29. 

344 Sterling. [Jan. 


The King is King, but as he props the State, 

The State a legal and compacted bond. 

Tying us all in sweet fraternity, 

And that loosed off by fraudful creeping hand, 

Or cut and torn by lawless violence. 

There is no King because the State is gone ; 

And in the cannibal chaos that remains 

Each man is sovereign of himself alone. 

Shall then a drunken regicidal blow 

Be paid by forfeit of the driveller's head. 

And he go free, who, slaying Law itself, 

Murders all royalty and all subjection? 

He who, with all the radiant attributes 

That most, save goodness, can adorn a man, 

Would turn his kind to planless brutishness. 

His knavery soars, indeed, and strikes the stars, 

Yet is worse knavery than the meanest felon's. 

{Strafford fixes his eyes on Pym, who hesitates.) 
Oh ! no, my Lords, Oh ! no, 
(Aside to Hampden.) His eye confounds me ; he* was once 

my friend. 
(Aloud.) Oh ! no, my Lords, the very selfsame rule, &c. 

The eloquence of this period could not be improved 
upon ; but it is much to select from and use its ebullitions 
with the fine effect we admire in this play. Whatever 
view be taken of Strafford, whether as condemnatory as 
the majority of writers popular among us, the descendants 
of the puritans, would promote, or that more lenient and 
discriminating, brought out in this play, for which abundant 
grounds may be discovered by those who will seek, we 
cannot view him at this period bu.t with the interest of 
tragedy as of one suffering unjustly. For however noble 
the eloquence of the parhamentary leaders in appealing to 
a law above the law, to an eternal justice in the breast, 
which afforded sufficient sanction to the desired measure, 
it cannot but be seen, at this distance of time, that this 

* Through the whole of the spooch Strafford is described to have been 
closely and earnestly watching Pym, when the latter suddenly turning, 
met the fixed and faded eyes and haggard features of his early associate, 
and a rush of fficlings from otiier days, so fearfully contrasting the youth 
and friendship of the past with the love-poisoned hate of the present, and 
the mortal agony impending in the future, for a moment deprived the 
patriot of s(;lf-p(JSsesslon " llis papers he looked on,*' says Baillie, " but 
they could not help him, so In; behoved to jjass them." For a moment 
only; suddenly recovering his dignity and self-command, he told the 
court, &c. — Life of Pym, Cabinet Cyclopcedia. 

1844.1 Sterlincr, 345 


reigned not purely in their own breasts, that his doom, 
though sought by them from patriotic, not interested mo- 
tives, was, in itself, a measure of expediency. He was the 
victim, because the most dreaded foe, because they could 
not go on with confidence, while the only man lived, who 
could and would sustain Charles in his absurd and wicked 
policy. Thus, though he might deserve that the people 
on whom he trampled should rise up to crush him, that the 
laws he had broken down should rear new and higher walls 
to imprison him, though the shade of EHot called for ven- 
geance on the counsellor who alone had so long saved the 
tyrant from a speedier fall, and the victims of his own 
oppressions echoed with sullen murmur to the '' silver 
trumpet" call,* yet, the greater the peculiar offences of 
this man, the more need that his punishment should have 
been awarded in an absolutely pure spirit. And this it 
was not; it may be respected as an act of just retribution, 
but not of pure justice. 

Men who had such a cause to maintain, as his accusers 
had, should deserve the praise awarded by Wordsworth to 
him, who, 

In a state where men are tempted still 

To evil for a guard against worse ill, 

And what in quality or act is best 

Doth seldom on a right foundation rest, 

Yet fixes good on good alone, and owes 

To virtue every triumph that he knows. 

The heart swells against Strafford as we read the details 
of his policy. Even allowing that his native temper, preju- 
dices of birth, and disbelief in mankind, really inclined him 
to a despotic government, as the bad best practicable, that 
his early espousal of the popular side was only a stratagem 
to terrify the court, and that he was thus, though a de- 
ceiver, no apostate, yet, he had been led, from whatever 
motives, to look on that side ; his great intellect was clear 
of sight, the front presented by better principles in that 
time commanding. We feel that he was wilful in the 
course he took, and self-aggrandizement his principal, if 
not his only motive. We share the hatred of his time, as 
we see him so triumphant in his forceful, wrongful measures. 
But we would not have had him hunted down with such a 

* " I will not repeat, Sirs, what you have heard from that silver trum- 
pet." One of the parliament speaking of Rudyard. 
VOL. IV. NO. III. 44 

346 Sterling. [Jan. 

hue and cry, that the tones of defence had really no chance 
to be heard. We would not have had papers stolen, and 
by a son from a father who had entrusted him with a key, 
to condemn him. And what a man was this thief, one 
whose high enthusiastic hope never paused at good, but 
ever rushed onward to the best. 

Who would outbid the market of the world, 
And seek a holier than a common prize, 
And by the unworthy lever of to-day 

Ope the strange portals of a better morn. 

# # * * # 

Begin to-day, nor end till evil sink 

In its due grave; and if at once we may not 

Declare the greatness of the work we plan, 

Be sure, at least, that ever in our eyes 

It stand complete before us, as a dome 

Of light beyond this gloom; a house of stars, 

Encompassing these dusky tents; a thing 

Absolute, close to all, though seldom seen, 

Near as our hearts, and perfect as the heavens. 

Be this our aim and model, and our hands 

Shall not wax faint until the work is done. 

He is not the first, who, by looking too much at the stars 
has lost the eye for severe fidelity to a private trust. He 
thought himself '' obliged in conscience to impart the paper 
to Master Pym." Who that looks at the case by the code 
of common rectitude can think it was ever his to impart ? 

What monstrous measures appear the arbitrary construc- 
tion put on the one word in the minutes which decided the 
fate of Strafford, the freeing the lords of council from the 
oath of secrecy under whose prot-ection he had spoken 
there, the conduct of the House towards Lord Digby, when 
he declared himself not satisfied that the prisoner could 
with justice be declared guilty of treason ; the burning his 
speech by the common hangman when he dared print it, 
to make known the reasons of his course to the world, 
when placarded as Straffordian, held up as a mark for 
popular rage for speaking it.* Lord Digby was not a man 
of Jionor, but they did not know that, or if they did, it had 
nothing to do with his right of private judgment. What 
could Strafford, what could Charles do more high-handed ? 
If they had violated the privileges of parliament, the more 
reason parliament should respect their privileges, above all 

* See Parliamenlary History, Vol. IX. 

1844. J Sterling. 347 

the privilege of the prisoner, to be supposed innocent 
until proved guilty. The accusers, obliged to set aside 
rule, and appeal to the very foundations of equity, could 
only have sanctioned such a course by the religion and 
pure justice of their proceedings. Here the interest 
of the accusers made them not only demand, but insist 
upon, the condemnation ; the cause was prejudged by the 
sentiment of the people, and the resentments of the jury, 
and the proceedings conducted, beside, with the most 
scandalous disregard to the sickness and other disadvan- 
tageous circumstances of Strafford. He was called on 
to answer " if he will come," just at the time of a most 
dangerous attack from his cruel distemper, if he will not 
come, the cause is still to be pushed forward. He was 
denied the time and means he needed to collect his evi- 
dence. The aid to be given him by counsel, after being 
deprived of his chief witness " by a master stroke of policy," 
was restricted within narrow limits. While he prepared 
his answers, in full court, for he was never allowed to 
retire, to the points of accusation, vital in their import, 
requiring the closest examination, those present talked, 
laughed, ate, lounged about. None of this disturbed his 
magnanimous patience ; his conduct indeed is so noble, 
through the whole period, that he and his opponents change 
places in our minds ; at the time, he seems the princely 
deer, and they the savage hounds.=^ Well, it is all the 
better for the tragedy, but as we read the sublime appeals 
of Pym to a higher state of being, we cannot but wish that 
all had been done in accordance with them. The art and 
zeal, with which the condemnation of Strafford was ob- 
tained, have had high praise as statesmanlike ; we would 
have wished for them one so high as to preclude this. 

* Who can avoid a profound feeling, not only of compassion, but sym- 
pathy, when he reads of Strafford obliged to kneel in Westminster Hall. 
True, he would, if possible, have brought others as low; but there is a 
deep pathos in the contrast of his then, and his former state, best shown 
by the symbol of such an act. Just so we read of Bonaparte's green coat 
being turned at St. Helena, after it had faded on the right side. He who 
had overturned the world, to end with having his old coat turned ! There 
is something affecting, Belisarius-like, in the picture. When Warren 
Hastings knelt in Westminster Hall, the chattering but pleasant Miss 
Burney tells us, Wyndham, for a moment struck, half shrunk from the 
business of prosecuting him. At such a sight, whispers in every breast 
the monition, Had I been similarly tempted, had I not fallen as low, or 
lower ? 

348 Sterling. [Jan, 

No doubt great temporary good was effected for England 
by the death of Strafford, but the permanence of good is 
ever in proportion with the purity of the means used to 
obtain it. This act would have been great for Strafford, 
for it was altogether in accordance with his views. He 
met the parliament ready to do battle to the death, and 
might would have been right, had he made rules for the 
lists ; but they proposed a different rule for their govern- 
ment, and by that we must judge them. Admit the story 
of Vane's pilfering the papers not to be true, that the 
minutes were obtained some other way. This measure, on 
the supposition of its existence, is defended by those who 
defend the rest. 

Strafford would certainly have come off with imprison- 
ment and degradation from office, had the parliament 
deemed it safe to l"eave him alive. When we consider this, 
when we remember the threat of Pym, at the tim-e of his 
deserting the popular party, " You have left us, but I will 
never leave you while your head is on your shoulders," we 
see not, setting aside the great results of the act, and look- 
ing at it by its merits alone, that it differs from the admin- 
istration of Lynch law in some regions of our own country. 
Lynch law, with us, has often punished the gamester and 
the robber, whom it was impossible to convict by the usual 
legal process ; the evil in it is, that it cannot be depended 
upon, but, while, with one hand it punishes a villain, ad- 
ministers with the other as s ummary judgment on the 
philanthropist, according as the moral sentiment or preju- 
dice may be roused in the popular breast. 

We have spoken disparagingly of the capacities of the 
drama for representing what is peculiar in our own day, 
but, for such a work as this, presenting a great crisis with 
so much clearness, force, and varied beauty, we can only 
be grateful, and ask for more acquaintance with the same 
mind, whether through the drama or in any other mode. 

Copious extracts have been given, in the belief that thus, 
better than by any interpretation or praise of ours, attention 
would be attracted, and a wider perusal ensured to Mr. 
Sterling's works. 

In his mind there is a combination of reverence lor the 
Ideal, with a patient appreciation of its slow workings in 
the actual world, that is rare in our time. He looks re- 

1844.] Sterling. 349 

ligiously, he speaks philosophically, nor these alone, but 
with that other faculty which he himself so well describes. 

You bear a brain 
Discursive, open, generally Avise, 
But missing ever that excepted point 
That gives each thing and hour a special oneness. 
The little key-hole of the infrangible door, 
The instant on which hangs eternity, 
And not in the dim past and empty future, 
Waste fields for abstract notions. ._ .__— --^ 

Such is the demonology of the man of the world. It 
may rule in accordance with the law of right, but where it 
does not, the strongest man may lose the battle, and so it 
was with Strafford. 

To R. B. 

Beloved friend ! they say that thou art dead, 

Nor shall our asking eyes behold thee more, 

Save in the company of the fair and dread, 

Along that radiant and immortal shore, 

Whither thy face was turned for evermore. 

Thou wert a pilgrim toward the True and Real, 

Never forgetful of that infinite goal ; 

Salient, electrical thy weariless soul, 

To every faintest vision always leal. 

Even 'mid these phantoms made its world ideal. 

And so thou hast a most perennial fame, 

Though from the earth thy name should perish quite 

When the dear sun sinks golden whence he came. 

The gloom, else cheerless, hath not lost his light ; 

So in our lives impulses born of thine, 

Like fireside stars across the night shall shine. 

35p Autumn Woods. [Jan. 


I HAVE had tearful days, 
I have been taught by melancholy hours, 
My tears have dropped, like these chill autumn showers, 

Upon the rustling ways. 

Yes ! youth, thou sorrowest, 
For these dead leaves, unlike your rising morn, 
Are the sad progeny of months forlorn, 

Weary and seeking rest. 

Thou wert a homeless child. 
And vainly clasped the solitary air, 
And the gray ash renewed thy cold despair, — 

Grief was thy mother mild. 

Thy days have sunlight now. 
Those autumn leaves thy tears do not deplore, 
There flames a beacon on the forest's shore. 

And thy unwrinkled brow. 

O holy are the woods. 
Where nature yearly glorifies her might. 
And weaves a rich and frolicsome delight 

In the deep solitudes. 

Far through the fadinor trees 
The pine's green plume is waving bright and free. 
And in the withered age of man to me 

A warm and sweet spring breeze. 

1844.] Brook Farm, 351 


Wherever we recognize the principle of progress, our 
sympathies and affections are engaged. However small 
may be the innovation, however limited the effort towards 
the attainment of pure good, that effort is worthy of our 
best encouragement and succor. The Institution at Brook 
Farm, West Roxbury, though sufficiently extensive in re- 
spect to number of persons, perhaps is not to be considered 
an experiment of large intent. Its aims are moderate ; too 
humble indeed to satisfy the extreme demands of the^age ; 
yet, for that reason probably, the effort is more valuable, as 
likely to exhibit a larger share of actual success. 

Though familiarly designated a " Community," it is only 
so in the process of eating in commons ; a practice at 
least, as antiquated, as the collegiate halls of old England, 
where it still continues without producing, as far as we can 
learn, any of the Spartan virtues. A residence at Brook 
Farm does not involve either a community of money, of 
opinions, or of sympathy. The motives, which bring indi- 
viduals there, may be as various as their numbers. In fact, 
the present residents are divisible into three distinct classes; 
and if the majority in numbers were considered, it is possi- 
ble that a vote in favor of self-sacrifice for the common 
good would not be very strongly carried. The leading por- 
tion of the adult inmates, they whose presence imparts the 
greatest peculiarity and the fraternal tone to the household, 
believe that an improved state of existence would be devel- 
oped in association, and are therefore anxious to promote 
it. Another class consists of those who join with the view 
of bettering their condition, by being exempted from some 
portion of worldly strife. The third portion, comprises 
those who have their own development or education, for 
their principal object. Practically, too, the institution man- 
ifests a threefold improvement over the world at large, 
corresponding to these three motives. In consequence of 
the first, the companionship, the personal intercourse, the 
social bearing are of a marked, and very superior character. 

352 Brook Farm. [Jan. 

There may possibly, to some minds, long accustomed to 
other modes, appear a want of homeness, and of the 
private fireside ; but all observers must acknowledge a 
brotherly and softening condition, highly conducive to the 
permanent, and pleasant growth of all the better human 
qualities. If the life is not of a deeply religious cast, it is 
at least not inferior to that which is exemplified elsewhere ; 
and there is the advantage of an entire absence of as- 
sumption and pretence. The moral atmosphere so far is 
pure ; and there is found a strong desire to walk ever on 
the mountain tops of life; though taste, rather than piety, 
is the aspect presented to the eye. 

In the second class of motives, we have enumerated, there 
is a strong tendency to an important improvement in meet- 
ing the terrestrial necessities of humanity. The banishment 
of servitude, the renouncement of hireling labor, and the 
elevation of all unavoidable work to its true station, are 
problems whose solution seems to be ciiarged upon associ- 
ation ; for the dissociate systems have in vain sought reme- 
dies for this unfavorable portion of human condition. It is 
impossible to introduce into separate families even one half 
of the economies, which the present state of science fur- 
nishes to man. In that particular, it is probable that even 
the feudal system is superior to the civic: for its combina- 
tions permit many domestic arrangements of an economic 
character, which are impracticable in small households. In 
order to economize labor, and dignify the laborer, it is ab- 
solutely necessary that men should cease to work in the 
present isolate competitive mode, and adopt that of co- 
operative union or association. It is as false and as ruinous 
to call any man ' master ' in secular business, as it is in theo- 
logical opinions. Those persons, therefore, who congregate 
for the purpose, as it is called, of bettering their outward 
relations, on principles so high and universal as we have 
endeavored to describe, are not engaged in a petty design, 
bounded by their own selfish or temporary improvement. 
Every one who is here found giving up the usual chances 
of individual aggrandizement, may not be thus influenced ; 
but whether it be so or not, the outward demonstration will 
probably be equally certain. 

In education, ikook Farm appears to present greater 
mental freedom than most other institutions. The tuition 

^844.] Brook Farm. 353 

being more heart-rendered, is in its effects more heart-stir- 
ring. The younger pupils as well as the more advanced 
students are held, mostly, if not wholly, by the power of 
love. In this particular, Brook Farm is a much improved 
model for the oft-praised schools of New England. It is 
time that the imitative and book-learned systems of the 
latter should be superseded or liberalized by some plan, 
better calculated to excite originahty of thought, and the 
native energies of the mind. The deeper, kindly sympa- 
thies of the heart, too, should not be forgotten ; but the 
germination of these must be despaired of under a rigid 
hireling system. Hence, Brook Farm, with its spontaneous 
teachers, presents the unusual and cheering condition of a 
really " free school." 

By watchful and diligent economy, there can be no doubt 
that a Community would attain greater pecuniary success, 
than is within the hope of honest individuals working sep- 
arately. But Brook Farm is not a Community, and in the 
variety of motives with which persons associate there, a 
double diligence, and a watchfulness perhaps too costly, 
will be needful to preserve financial prosperity. While, 
however, this security is an essential element in success, 
riches would, on the other hand, be as fatal as poverty, to 
the true progress of such an institution. Even in the case 
of those foundations which have assumed a religious char- 
acter, all history proves the fatality of wealth. The just 
and happy mean between riches and poverty is, indeed, 
more likely to be attained when, as in this instance, all 
thought of acquiring great wealth in a brief time, is neces- 
sarily abandoned, as a condition of membership. On the 
other hand, the presence of many persons, who congregate 
merely for the attainment of some individual end, must 
weigh heavily and unfairly upon those whose hearts are 
really expanded to universal results. As a whole, even the 
initiative powers of Brook Farm have, as is found almost 
every where, the design of a life much too objective, too 
much derived from objects in the exterior world. The 
subjective life, that in which the soul finds the living source 
and the true communion within itself, is not sufficiently 
prevalent to impart to the establishment the permanent and 
sedate character it should enjoy. Undeniably, many de- 
voted individuals are there ; several who have as generously 

VOL. IV. NO. III. 45 

354 Brook Farm. [Jan. 

as wisely relinquished what are considered great social and 
pecuniary advantages ; and by throwing their skill and 
energies into a course of the most ordinary labors, at once 
prove their disinterestedness, and lay the foundation of 
industrial nobility. 

An assemblage of persons, not brought together by the 
principles of community, will necessarily be subject to 
many of the inconveniencies of ordinary life, as well as to 
burdens peculiar to such a condition. Now Brook Farm 
is at present such an institution. It is not a community : 
it is not truly an association : it is merely an aggregation 
of persons, and lacks that oneness of spirit, which is proba- 
bly needful to make it of deep and lasting value to man- 
kind. It seems, even after three years' continuance, uncer- 
tain, whether it is to be resolved more into an educational, 
or an industrial institution, or into one combined of both. 
Placed so near a large city, and in a populous neighborhood, 
the original liability for land, &c., was so large, as still to 
leave a considerable burden of debt. This state of things 
seems fairly to entitle the establishment to re-draw from 
the old world in fees for education, or in the sale of 
produce, sufficient to pay the annual interest of such liabil- 
ities. Hence the necessity for a more intimate intercourse 
with the trading world, and a deeper involvement in money 
affairs than would have attended a more retired effort of 
the like kind. To enter into the corrupting modes of the 
world, with the view of diminishing or destroying them, 
is a delusive hope. It will, notwithstanding, be a labor 
of no little worth, to induce improvements in the two 
grand departments of industry and education. We say 
improvement, as distinct from progress ; for with any 
association short of community, we do not see how it is 
possible for an institution to stand so high above the pres- 
ent world, as to conduct its affairs on principles entirely 
different from those which now influence men in general. 

There are other considerations also suggested by a 
glance at Brook Farm, which are worthy the attention of 
the many minds now attracted by the deeply interesting 
subject of human association. We are gratified by observ- 
ing several external improvements during the past year ; 
such as a larger and a more convenient dining room, a 
labor-saving cooking apparatus, a purer diet, a more orderly 

1844.] Brook Farm. 355 

and quiet attendance at the refections, superior arrange- 
ments for industry, and generally an increased seriousness 
in respect to the value of the example, which those who are 
there assembled may constitute to their fellow beings. 

Of about seventy persons now assembled there, about 
thirty are children sent thither for education ; some adult 
persons also place themselves there chiefly for mental assis- 
tance ; and in the society there are only four married 
couples. With such materials it is almost certain that the 
sensitive and vital points of communication cannot well be 
tested. A joint-stock company, working with some of its 
own members and with others as agents, cannot bring to 
issue the great question, whether the existence of the ma- 
rital family is compatible with that of the universal family, 
which the term " Community " signifies. This is now the 
grand problem. By mothers it has ever been felt to be so. 
The maternal instinct, as hitherto educated, has declared 
itself so strongly in favor of the separate fire-side, that as- 
sociation, which appears so beautiful to the young and 
unattached soul, has yet accomplished little progress in the 
affections of that important section of the human race — 
the mothers. With fathers, the feeling in favor of the 
separate family is certainly less strong ; but there is an 
undefinable tie, a sort of magnetic rapport, an invisible, 
inseverable, umbilical chord between the mother and child, 
which in most cases circumscribes her desires and ambition 
to her own immediate family. All the accepted adages 
and wise saws of society, all the precepts of morality, 
all the sanctions of theology, have for ages been employed 
to confirm this feeling. Thli4«4he chief corner stone of 
present society ; and to this maternal instinct have, till very 
lately, our most heartfelt appeals been made for the progress 
of the human race, by means of a deeper and more vital ed- 
ucation. Pestalozzi and his most enlightened disciples are 
distinguished by this sentiment. And are we all at once 
to abandon, to deny, to destroy this supposed stronghold of 
virtue ? Is it questioned whether the family arrangement of 
mankind is to be preserved ? Is it discovered that the 
sanctuary, till now deemed the holiest on earth, is to be 
invaded by intermeddling skepticism, and its altars sacrile- 
giously destroyed by the rude hands of innovating pro- 
gress ? Here '^social science" must be brought to issue. 

356 Brook Farm. [Jan, 

The question of association and of marriage are one. If, as 
we have been popularly led to believe, the individual or 
separate family is in the true order of Providence, then the 
associative life is a false effort. If the associative life is 
true, then is the separate family a false arrangement. By 
the maternal feeling, it appears to be decided that the co- 
existence of both is incompatible, is impossible. So also 
say some religious sects. Social science ventures to assert 
their harmony. This is the grand problem now remaining 
to be solved, for at least, the enlightening, if not for the 
vital elevation of humanity. That the affections can be 
divided or bent with equal ardor on two objects, so opposed 
as universal and individual love, may at least be rationally 
doubted. History has not yet exhibited such phenomena 
in an associate body, and scarcely perhaps in any indi- 
vidual. The monasteries and convents, which have existed 
in all ages, have been maintained solely by the annihilation 
of that peculiar affection on which the separate family 
is based. The Shaker families, in which the two sexes are 
not entirely dissociated, can yet only maintain their union 
by forbidding and preventing the growth of personal affec- 
tion other than that of a spiritual character. And this in 
fact is not personal in the sense of individual, but ever a 
manifestation of universal affection. Spite of the specula- 
tions of hopeful bachelors and aesthetic spinsters, there is 
somewhat in the marriage bond which is found to counter- 
act the universal nature of the affections, to a degree tend- 
ing at least to make the considerate pause, before they 
assert that, by any social arrangements whatever, the two 
can be blended into one harHiony. The general condition 
of married persons at this time is some evidence of the 
existence of such a doubt in their minds. Were they as 
convinced as the unmarried of the beauty and truth of 
associate life, the demonstration would be now presented. 
But might it not be enforced that the two family ideas 
really neutralize each other ? Is it not quite certain that 
the human heart cannot be set in two places; that man 
cannot worship at two altars? It is only the determination 
to do what parents consider the best for themselves and 
their families, which renders the o'er populous world such 
a wilderness of selfhood as it is. Destroy this feeling, they 
say, and you prohibit every motive to exertion. Much 

1844.] Tantalus. 357 

truth is there in this affirmation. For to them, no other 
motive remains, nor indeed to any one else, save that of the 
universal good, which does not permit the building up of 
supposed self-good, and therefore, forecloses all possibility 
of an individual family. 

These observations, of course, equally apply to all the 
associative attempts, now attracting so much public atten- 
tion ; and perhaps most especially to such as have more of 
Fourier's designs than are observable at Brook Farm. The 
slight allusion in all the writers of the " Phalansterian " 
class, to the subject of marriage, is rather remarkable. 
They are acute and eloquent in deploring Woman's op- 
pressed and degraded position in past and present times, 
but are almost silent as to the future. In the mean while, 
it is gratifying to observe the successes which in some 
departments attend every effort, and that Brook Farm is 
likely to become comparatively eminent in the highly im- 
portant and praiseworthy attempts, to render labor of the 
hands more dignified and noble, and mental education 
more free and loveful. 

C. L. 


The astronomers said, Give us matter and a little mo- 
tion, and we will construct the universe. It is not enough 
that we should have matter, we must also have a single 
impulse, one shove to launch the mass, and generate the 
harmony of ihe centrifugal and centripetal forces. Once 
heave the ball from the nand, and we can show how all 
this mighty order grew. — Avery unreasonable postulate, 
thought some of their students, and a plain begging of the 
question. Could you not prevail to know the genesis of 
projection as well as the continuation of it ? — Nature, mean- 
time, had not waited for the discussion, but, right or wrong, 
bestowed the impulse, and the balls rolled. It was no 
great affair, a mere push, but the astronomers were right in 

358 Tantalus. [Jan. 

making much of it, for there is no end to the consequences 
of the act. That famous aboriginal push propagates itself 
through all the balls of the system, and through every 
atom of every ball ; through all the races of creatures, and 
through the history and performances of every individual. 
Exaggeration is in the course of things. Nature sends no 
creature, no man, into the world, without adding a small ex- 
cess of his proper quality. Given the planet, it is still neces- 
sary to add the impulse ; so to every creature nature added 
a little violence of direction in its proper path, a shove to put 
it on its way ; in every instance a slight generosity, a drop too 
much. Without electricity the air would rot, and without this 
violence of direction which men and women have, without 
a spice of bigot and fanatic, no excitement, no efficiency. 
We aim above the mark to hit the mark. Every act hath 
some falsehood of exaggeration in it. And when now and 
then comes along some sad, sharp-eyed man, who sees how 
paltry a game is played and refuses to play, but blabs the 
secret ; how then ? is the bird flown ? O no, the wary 
Nature sends a new troop of fairer forms, of lordlier youths, 
with a little more excess of direction to hold them fast to 
their several aim ; makes them a little wrong-headed in 
that direction in which they are rightest. and on goes the 
game again with new whirl for a generation or two more. 
See the child, the fool of his senses, with his thousand 
pretty pranks, commanded by every sight and sound, with- 
out any power to compare and rank his sensations, aban- 
doned to every bauble, to a whistle, a painted chip, a lead 
dragoon, a gilt gingerbread horse ; individualizing every 
thing, generalizing nothing, who thus delighted with every 
thing new, lies down at night overpowered by the fatigue, 
which this day of continual pretty madness has incurred. 
But Nature has answered her purpose with the curly, dim- 
pled lunatic. She has tasked every faculty and has se- 
cured the symmetrical growth of the bodily frame by all 
these attitudes and exertions ; an end of the first import- 
ance, which could not be trusted to any care less perfect 
than her own. This glitter, this opaline lustre plays round 
the top of every toy to his eye, to ensure his fidelity, and 
he is deceived to his good. 

We are made alive and kept alive by the same arts. 
Let the stoics say what they please, we do not eat for the 

1844.] Tantalus. 359 

good of living, but because the meat is savory, and the 
appetite is keen. Nature does not content herself with 
casting from the flower or the tree a single seed, but she 
fills the air and earth with a prodigality of seeds, that, if 
thousands perish, thousands may plant themselves, that 
hundreds may come up, that tens may live to maturity, that 
at least one may replace the parent. All things betray the 
same calculated profusion. The excess of fear with 
which the animal frame is hedged round, shrinking from 
cold, starting at sight of a snake, at every sudden noise 
or falling stone, protects us through a multitude of ground- 
less alarms from some one real danger at last. The lover 
seeks in marriage his private felicity and perfection, with 
no prospective end ; and nature hides in his happiness 
her own end, namely, progeny, or the perpetuity of the 

But the craft with which the world is made runs also into 
the mind and character of men. No man is quite sane, 
but each has a vein of folly in his composition, a slight 
determination of blood to the head, to make sure of hold- 
ing him hard to some one point which nature had taken to 

Great causes are never tried on their merits ; but the 
great cause is reduced to particulars, to suit the size of the 
partisans, and the contention is ever hottest on minor 
matters. Not less remarkable is that over-faith of each 
man in the importance of what he has to do or say. The 
poet, the prophet has a higher value for what he utters, 
than any hearer, and therefore it gets spoken. The strong, 
self-complacent Luther declares, with an emphasis not to 
be mistaken, that " God himself cannot do without wise 
men." Jacob Behmen and George Fox betray their ego- 
tism in the pertinacity of their controversial tracts, and 
James Naylor once suffered himself to be worshipped as 
the Christ. Each prophet comes presendy to identify him- 
self with his thought, and to esteem his hat and shoes 
sacred. However this may discredit such persons with the 
judicious, it helps them with the people, and gives pun- 
gency, heat, and publicity to their words. A similar ex- 
perience is not infrequent in private life. Each young and 
ardent person writes a diary, into which, when the hours 
of prayer and penitence arrive, he inscribes his soul. The 

360 Tantalus. [Jan. 

pages thus written are to him burning and fragrant ; he 
reads them on his knees by midnight and by the morning 
star ; he wets them with his tears. They are sacred ; too 
good for the world, and hardly yet to be shown to the 
dearest friend. This is the man-child that is born to the 
soul, and her hfe still circulates in the babe. The living 
cord has not yet been cut. By and by, when some 
time has elapsed, he begins to wish to admit his friend or 
friends to this hallowed experience, and with hesitation, yet 
with firmness, exposes the pages to his eye. Will they not 
burn his eyes ? The friend coldly turns them over, and 
returns from the writing to conversation with easy transi- 
tion, which strikes the other party with astonishment and 
vexation. He cannot suspect the writing itself. Days and 
nights of fervid life, of communion with angels of darkness 
and of light, bear witness in his memory to that tear-stained 
book. He suspects the intelligence or the heart of his 
friend. Is there then no friend ? He cannot yet credit 
that one may have impressive experience, and yet may not 
know how to put his private fact into literature, or into 
harmony with the great community of minds ; and perhaps 
the discovery, that wisdom has other tongues and ministers 
than we, that the truth, which burns like living coals in our 
heart, burns in a thousand breasts, and though we should 
hold our peace, that would not the less be spoken, might 
check too suddenly the flames of our zeal. A man can 
only speak so long as he does not feel his speech to be 
partial and inadequate. It is partial, -but he does not see 
it to be so whilst he makes it. As soon as he is released 
from the instinctive, the particular, and sees its partiality, 
he shuts his mouth in disgust. For no man can write any 
thing, who does not think that what he writes is for the 
time the history of the world ; or do any thing well, who 
does not esteem his work to be of greatest importance. My 
work may be of none, but t must not think it of none, or 
I shall not do it with impunity. 

In like manner, there is throughout nature something 
mocking, something that leads us on and on, but arrives no- 
where, keeps no faith with us ; all promise outruns the 
performance. We live in a system of approximations, not 
of fulfilment. Every end is prospective of some other end, 
which is also temporary ; a round and final success nowhere. 

1844.] Tantalus. 361 

We are encamped in nature, not domesticated. Hunger 
and thirst lead us on to eat and to drink, but bread and 
wine, mix and cook them how you will, leave us hungry 
and thirsty after the stomach is full. It is the same with 
all our arts and performances. Our music, our poetry, our 
language itself, are not satisfactions but suggestions. 

The pursuit of wealth, of which the results are so magi- 
cal in the contest with nature, and in reducing the face of 
the planet to a garden, is like the headlong game of the 
children in its reaction on the pursuers. What is the end 
sought ? Plainly to secure the ends of good sense' and 
beauty from the intrusion of deformity or vulgarity of any 
kind. But men use a very operose method. What an 
apparatus of means to secure a little conversation ! This 
great palace of brick and stone, these servants, this kitch- 
en, these stables, horses, and equipage; this bankstock 
and file of morgages ; trade to all the world ; countryhouse 
and cottage by the waterside ; all for a little conversation, 
high, clear, and spiritual ! Could it not be had as well by 
beggars on the highway ? No, all these things came from 
the successive efforts of these beggars to remove one and 
another interference. Wealth was applied first to remove 
friction from the wheels of life ; to give clearer opportunity. 
Conversation, character, were the avowed ends; wealth 
was good as it silenced the creaking door, cured the smoky 
chimney, brought friends together in a warm and quiet 
room, and kept the children and the dinner-table in a 
different apartment. Thought; virtue, beauty, were the 
ends, but it was known that men of thought and virtue 
sometimes had the headache, or wet feet, or could lose 
good time whilst the room was getting warm in winter 
days. Unluckily in the exertions necessary to remove these 
inconveniences, the main attention had been diverted to 
this object ; the old aims had been lost sight of, and to 
remove friction had come to be the end. That is the 
ridicule of rich men, and Boston, London, Vienna, and 
now the governments generally of the world are cities 
and governments of the rich, and the masses are not 
men, but poor men, that is, men who would be rich ; 
this is the ridicule of the class, that they arrive with pains 
and sweat, and fury, nowhere ; when all is done, it is for 
nothing. They are men who have interrupted the whole 

VOL. IV. NO. III. 46 

362 Tantalus, [Jan. 

conversation of a company to make their speech, and now 
have forgotten what they went to say. The appearance 
strikes the eye, everywhere, of an aimless society, an aim- 
less nation, an aimless world. Were the ends of nature so 
great and cogent as to exact this immense sacrifice of 
men ? 

Quite analogous to these deceits in life, there is, as 
might be expected, a similar effect on the eye from the 
face of external nature. There is in woods and waters a 
certain enticement and flattery, together with a failure to 
yield a present satisfaction. This disappointment is felt in 
every landscape. I have seen the softness and beauty of 
the summer clouds floating feathery overhead, enjoying, as 
it seemed, their height and privilege of motion, whilst yet 
they appeared not so much the drapery of this place and 
hour, as fore-looking to some pavilions and gardens of 
festivity beyond. Who is not sensible of this jealousy ? 
Often you shall find yourself not near enough to your 
object. The pine tree, the river, the bank of flowers, be- 
fore you, does not seem to be nature. Nature is still else- 
where. This or this is but outsklrt and far-off" reflection 
and echo of the triumph that has passed by, and is now at 
its glancing splendor and heyday, perchance in the neigh- 
bouring fields, or, if you stood in the field, then in the 
adjacent woods. The present object shall give you this 
sense of stillness that follows a pageant which has just gone 
by. It is the same among the men and women, as among 
the silent trees ; always a referred existence, an absence, 
never a presence and satisfaction. Is it that beauty can 
never be grasped ? in persons and in landscape is equally 
inaccessible ? The accepted and betrothed lover has lost 
the wildest charm of his maiden in her acceptance of him. 
She was heaven whilst he pursued her as a star. She 
cannot be heaven if she stoops to such an one as he. So is 
it with these wondrous skies, and hills, and forests. What 
splendid distance, what recesses of inetFable pomp and 
loveliness in the sunset ! But who can go where they are, 
or lay his land, or plant his foot thereon ? Off* they fall 
from the round world for ever and ever ; glory is not for 
hands to handle. 

What shall we say of this omnipresent appearance of 
that first projectile impulse, this flattery and baulking of so 

1844.] Tantalus. 363 

many good well-meaning creatures? Must we not suppose 
somewhere in the universe a slight treachery, a slight de- 
rision ? Are we not engaged to a serious resentment of 
this use that is made of us? Are we tickled trout, and 
fools of nature ? Unhappily, there is not the smallest pros- 
pect of advantage from such considerations. Practically, 
there is no great danger of their being pressed. One look 
at the face of heaven and earth puts all petulance at rest, 
and soothes us to wiser convictions. We see that Nature 
converts itself into a vast promise, and will not be rashly 
explained. Her secret is untold. Many and many an 
OEdipus arrives ; he has the whole mystery teeming in his 
brain. Alas ! the same sorcery has spoiled his skill ; no 
syllable can he shape on his lips. Her mighty orbit vaults 
like the fresh rainbow into the deep, but no archangel's 
wing was yet strong enough to follow it and report of the 
return of the curve. But it also appears, and the expe- 
rience might dispose us to serenity, that our actions are 
seconded and disposed to greater conclusions than we 
designed. We are escorted on every hand through life by 
great spiritual potentates, and a beneficent purpose lies in 
wait for us. It is not easy to deal with Nature by card 
and calculation. We cannot bandy words with her ; we 
cannot deal with her as man with man. If we measure 
our individual forces against hers, we may easily feel as if 
we were the sport of an overwhelming destiny. But if, 
instead of identifying ourselves with the work, we feel (hat 
the soul of the Workman streams through us, that a para- 
dise of love and power lies close beside us, where the 
Eternal Architect broods on his thought and projects the 
world from his bosom, we may find the peace of the morn- 
ing dwelling first in our hearts, and the fathomless powers 
of gravity and chemistry, and over them of life, pre-existing 
within us in their highest form. 

364 The Fatal Passion^ [Jan. 



Henry Gray. Chester. William Gray, the father, Mur- 
ray, /"nV/it? ^o Oraz/. Vincent. Mary. Adeline. 

ACT I. — Scene I. 

A Wood. — Henry. (Alone. ) 

How like a part too deeply fixed in me, 

A shadow where the substance lies behind, 

Is this sweet wood. I cannot grasp my thought, 

But see it swell around me in these trees. 

These layers of glistening leaves, and swimming full 

In the blue, modulated heaven o'er all. 

I would embrace you kindred tenements. 

Where dwells the soul by which I deeply live. 

But ye are silent ; they call you emblems, 

The symbols of creation, whose memory 

Has failed in its behest, and so ye stand 

Merely dumb shadows of what might have been, 

Or hints of what may be beyond these days. 

[Enter Chester and observes Henry.) 
Ches. (to himself.) I love these moods of youth, I love the 
Of untamed nature battling with despair. 
How firmly grasps the iron-handed earth 
The youthful heart, and lugs it forth to war 
With calm, unmoving woods, or silent lakes, 
Making it dastard in the sun's light dance. 
Brave on, ye unbarked saplings, soon your boughs 
Shall wing the arrows of red manhood's life. 
And then, as your low depths of ignorance 
Unfold, how shall you wonder at your youth. 
How flaunt the banners in the light of morn, 
How torn and trailing when the day-god sets. 
'T is a brave sight with all sails up, to see 
The shining bark of youth dash through the foam. 
And sickening to the most, to look upon 


A Dramatic Sketch, 365 

Her planks all started, and her rigging split, 

When she hugs closely to the beach in age. 

But I console myself for my gray hairs, 

By spinning such warm fancies in my brain, 

That I become a little thing again, 

And totter o'er the ground, as when I whipped ray top. 

(Approaches Henri/.) 
Your servant, sir, the day goes bravely down. 

Hen. Through the red leaves, I see the morning's glow. 

Ches. 'T is but the picture of some morning scene; 
A fair conceit the sun has in his head, 
And when he sets makes fatal flourishes. 

Hen. I hear you jest with nature, that you mock, 
And fling queer faces at her holy calm, 
Write witty volumes that demoralize ; 
Pray Mr. Chester do you fear the devil ? 

Ches. As I do nightfall. I have some night-fears, 
Some horrid speculations in my brain; 
And when the mice play hangmen in the wall. 
Or out the house the pretty frost-toes creep, 
I think, pest o*nt, what dark and doleful sounds, 
If it were safe I'd raise the curtain's hem. 
And when I pufl" away the cheerful light, 
The moonbeam makes a thief s dark-lantern flit; 
My head is filled with horribund designs, 
And on myself I pack damned Macbeth's part. 
I love to nourish such complexed conceits ; 
I have a vein of dreadful longing in me, 
Was born to murder, and excel in arson, 
And so I love the devil, though broad day 
Has all the devilish aspects that I know. 
See, comes the gentle Mary, know you her? 

Hen. Not I, my solitude hath its own figures. 

[Enter Mary.) 

Ches. [to Mary.) God speed thee, lady, it was opportune 
Your footsteps led you up this sheltered walk, 
For here is Henry Gray, my friend at least, 
And now is yours. 

Mary. I willingly would know what Chester does. 
And Mr. Gray, I trust, will but forgive me. 
I rarely venture in these forest walks. 
Where leads that prithee 1 ( To Henry.) 

Hen. 'T is by the lake, which gleaming like a sword, 
One edge of this green path, a peacock lance, 
Crosses in sport, and then descends away, 
And vanishes among the outspread moors. 

366 The Fatal Passion, [X 


Ches. And Mr. Gray, sweet Mary, knows the path, 
All paths that frolic in these devious woods, 
For he's sworn friends with squirrels, steals their nuts, 
Divides with other beasts their favorite meat, 
Can show you hungry caves, whose blackening jaws 
Breathe out a little night into the air, 
Will stand you on the dizzy precipice. 
Where all whirls round you like a whizzing wheel, 
In truth his skill is perfect, so farewell. 

{Exit Chester.) 

Henry and Mary. — {By the Lake.) 

Mary. Those hills you say are lofty. 

Hen. Most lofty. 

I have clomb them, and there stood gazing 
On villages outspread, and larger towns 
Gleaming like sand-birds on the distant beach. 
I love the mountains, for a weight of care 
Falls off his. soul, who can o'erlook this earth. 

Mary. And there you passed the night? 

Hen. I have passed weeks 

Upon their very tops, and thought no more 
To fall upon the low, dark days of earth. 
Above, the clouds seemed welcome faces to me, 
And near the raging storms, came giant-like. 
And played about my feet. Yet even there, 
I feared for my own heart, lest I should grow 
Too careless of myself. Yonder the town, — 
You must excuse my absence, for the clock 
Rounds the small air-balls into leaden weights. 

{Exit Henry.) 

Mary, (n/one.) I breathe, and yet how hardly, — a moment, 
What a thing am I, — a passing moment. 
Lifting from the earth my weary heart so sick, 
O'er-burdened with the grating jar of life, — 
This youth, — how sleeps the lake, how blue it gleams. 

{Chester again enters.) 

Ches. Ah ! Mary alone, — indeed, has Henry Gray 
Shot like a rocket in the rayful air 1 
A brilliant youth, at least his eyes are bright. 

1844.] A Dramatic Sketch. 367 

Chester and Mary. — {Outskirts of Town.) 

Mary. He is a student at the college. 

Ches. Mark you, he is a student, and knows the trick. 

He has a brother too, Vincent, a gay 

Free, dashing animal, or so I hear, 

But I hate characters at second-hand. 

You know they are towns-people ; 'tis an old, 

And comfortable family, I hear. 

Pest on't, my brains won't hold much matter now, 

I am too old for gossip. 
Mary. Has he a sister 1 
Ches. Who wants that good device? it is a part 

Of every comfortable family. 
Mary. My father's mansion, will you enter? 
Ches. No, Mary, not to-night. [Mary goes in.) 

(Chester alone.) What comes of this, 

When two youths come together, but woman 

Rarely loves, — a play upon the word. So, So ! 

As I grow old, I lose all reasoning. 

I hunt most nimble shadows, and have grown 

A perfect knave for picking out old seams. 

[Erder William Gray.) 
Gray. Good evening Mr. Chester. I call it evening, 

For I see you walk, and they say here your gait 

Is nightly. 
Ches. I have seen Henry now, and Mary came, 

He had not known her, — strange ! 
Gray. Mary, the banker's daughter; a girl of promise. 
Ches. They are old friends of mine, banker and all. 

I've held him on my arm, and made him quake 

At jingling coppers. He's richer now-a-days. 
Gray. 'T would please me to make more of them. 
Ches. I will contrive it. There are times in life, 

When one must hold the cherry to his lips, 

Who faints to pluck a fair maid by the ear. 

368 The Fatal Passion, [Jan. 

ACT IL — Scene I. 

Adeline and Vincent. — (Mr. Gray's House.) 

ViN. She is a lovely girl. 

Ade. And rich as lovely. 

ViN. I wish I knew her better. 

Ade. One day is not enough, friend Vin., to know 

The mind of woman ; many days must go, 

And many thoughts. 
Vin You will assist me, Adeline. 
Ade. So far as in me lies, — I know not Mary. 
Vin. But the sex is in your favor. 
Ade I know not that. 

(Enter Henry.) 
Vin. You made a good report on botany. 
Hen. I'm glad you think so. 'T is a fair study, 

To spy into the pretty hearts of flowers, 

To read their delicacies, so near to. 

But Vincent, science at the best 

Demands but little justice at my hands, 

It has its masters, has its oracles, 

I am content to gather by the wall, 

Some little flowers that sport a casual life. 

To hover on the wing ; who comes ? — 'Tis Chester. 

(Exit Chester.) 
Ches. Three frends in charming concert act their part. 

But Henry, I have news for you. 

SCENE 11. 
Chester and Henry. — (Seated in Chester's House.) 

Hen. What is the news, I pray ? 

Ches. Last night, as I went walking in the wood, 
I practise often in these woodland walks. 
And on some nights I almost pluck the stars 
Like crystal plums from off" the tops of trees, — 
But, as I said, I walked far down the wood. 
In that rheumatic kind of greasy gait 
I have accumulated, and I went 


1844.] A Dramatic Sketch. 369 

Dreaming and dreaming on, almost asleep, 

If not quite half awake, until I reached 

The lake's dim corner, where one ragged tree 

Let in a gush of fuming light. The moon 

Now he'mcr high, and at its full, I saw 

Upon that little point of land a shape, 

A fair round shape, like early womanhood. 

Kneeling upon the ground wept by the dews; 

And then I heard such dreadful roar of sobs, 

Such pouring fountains of imagined tears 

I saw, following those piteous prayers, 

All under the great placid eye of night. 

'T was for an old man's eye, for a young heart 

Had spun it into sighs, and answered back. 

And now the figure came and passed by me, 

I had withdrawn among the ghostly shrubs, 

'T was Mary, — poor Mary ! I have seen her smile 

So many years, and heard her merry lips 

Say so much malice, that I am amazed 

She should kneel weeping by the silent lake, 

After old midnight night-caps all but me. 

But you are young, what can you make of it? 

Hen. What can one make of figures ? I can see 
The fair girl weeping by the moonlit lake. 

Ches. Canst thou not see the woman's agony. 

Canst thou not feel the thick sobs in thy throat. 
That swell and gasp, till out your eyes roll tears 
In miserable circles down your cheeks? 

Hen. I see a woman weeping by the lake ; 

I see the fair, round moon look gently down. 
And in the shady woods friend Chester's form, 
Leaning upon his old, bent maple stick. 

Ches. What jest ye ? Dare you, Henry Gray, to mock 
A woman's anguish, and her scalding tears. 
Does Henry Gray say this to his friend Chester, 
Dares he speak thus, and think that Chester's scorn 
Will not scoiF out such paltry mockeries ? 

Hen. Why how you rage ; why Chester, what a flame 
A few calm words have lighted in thy breast, 
I mock thee not, I mock no woman's tears, 
Within my breast there is no mockery. 

Cues, True, true, it is an old man's whim, a note 
Of music played upon a broken harp. 
I fancied you could read this woman's tears. 
Pest on't, I am insane ; I will go lock me up. 

[Exit Chester, 

Hen. (alone.) Ye fates, that do possess this upper sphere, 

VOL. IV. NO. III. 47 

370 The Fatal Passion, [Jan. 

Where Henry's life hangs balanced in its might, 

Breathe gently o'er this old, fond, doting man, 

Who seems to cherish me among his thoughts, 

As if I was the son of his old age. 

The son of that fine thought so prodigal. 

O God, put in his heart his thought, and make 

Him heir to that repose thou metest me. 

Ye sovereign powers that do control the world. 

And inner life of man's most intricate heart. 

Be with the noble Chester ; may his age 

Yield brighter blossoms than his early years. 

For he was torn by passion, was so worn, 

So wearied in the strife of fickle hearts. 

He shed his precious pearls before the swine. 

And, God of love, to me render thyself. 

So that I may more fairly, fully give, 

To all who move within this ring of sky, 

Whatever life I draw from thy great power. 

Still let me see among the woods and streams. 

The gentle measures of unfaltering trust, 

And through the autumn rains, the peeping eyes 

Of the spring's loveliest flowers, and may no guile 

Embosom one faint thought in its cold arms. 

So would I live, so die, content in all. 


Mary's Room. Midnight. 

Mary, (alone.) I cannot sleep, my brain is all on fire, 
I cannot weep, my tears have formed in ice, 
They lie within these hollow orbs congealed, 
And flame and ice are quiet, side by side. 

[Goes to the window. 
Yes ! there the stars stand gently shining down, 
The trees wave softly in the midnight air ; 
How still it is, how sweetly smells the air. 

stars, would I could blot you out, and fix 
Where ye are fixed, my aching eyes ; 

Ye burn for ever, and are calm as night. 

1 would I were a tree, a stone, a worm ; 

I would I were some thing that might be crushed ; 
A pebble by the sea under the waves, 
A mote of dust within the streaming sun, 

1844.] A Dramatic Sketch. 371 

Or that some dull remorse would fasten firm 

Within this rim of bone, this mind's warder. 

Come, come to me ye hags of secret woe, 

That hide in the hearts of the adulterous false, 

Has hell not one pang left for me to feel 1 

I rave ; 't is useless, 't is pretended rage ; 

I am as calm as this vast hollow sphere. 

In which I sit, as in a woman's form. 

I am no woman, they are merry things, 

That smile, and laugh, and dream away despair. 

What am I ? 'T is a month, a month has gone, 

Since I stood by the lake with Henry Gray, 

A month ! a little month, thrice ten short days, 

And I have lived and looked. Who goes ? 't is Chester, 

I must, — he shall come in. 

[She speaks from the window. Chester enters. 

Ches. You keep late hours, my gentle Mary. 

Mary. Do not speak so. There is no Mary here. 

Hush! [Holds up her finger.) I cannot bear your voice; 

't is agony 
To me to hear a voice, my own is dumb. 
Say, — thou art an old man, thou hast lived long, 
I mark it in thy tottering gait, thy hair, 
Thy red, bleared eyes, thy miserable form. 
Say, in thy youthful days, — thou art a man, 
I know it, but still men are God's creatures, — 
Say, tell me, old man Chester, did thine eyes 
Ever forget to weep, all closed and dry ? 
Say, quick, here, here, where the heart beats, didst feel 
A weight, as if thy cords of life would snap. 
As if the volume of the blood had met, 
As if all life in fell conspiracy 
Had met to press thy fainting spirit out ? — 
Say, say, speak quickly ; hush ! hush ! no, not yet, 
Thou canst not, thou art Chester's ghost, he 's dead, 
I saw him, 't was a month ago, in his grave. 
Farewell, sweet ghost, farewell, let's bid adieu. 

[Chester goes out, weeping. 
'T is well that I am visited by spirits. 
If 't were not so, I should believe me mad, 
But all the mad are poor deluded things. 
While I am sound in mind. 'T is one o'clock, 
I must undress, for I keep early hours. 

372 The Fatal Passion, [Jan. 

The Wood. — Henry and Murray. 

Hen. I cannot think you mean it ; 't is some dream 

Of your excited fancy. You are easily 

Excited. You saw a nodding aspen, 

For what should Mary's figure here 1 
MuR. It was her figure, I am persuaded. 

They tell strange tales, they say she has gone mad. 

That something's crazed her brain. 
Hen. Is that the story ] I have been mad myself. 

Sometimes I feel that madness were a good, 

To be elated in a wondrous trance, 

And pass existence in a buoyant dream ; 

It were a serious learning. I do see 

The figure that you speak of, 't is Mary. 
MuR. I '11 leave you then together. (Enter Mary.) 
Hen. {To Mary.) You have the way alone; I was your guide 

Some weeks ago, to the blue, glimmering lake. 

I trust these scenes greet happily your eyes. 
Mary. They are most sweet to me ; let us go back 

And trace that path again. I think 't was here 

We turned, where this green sylvan church 

Of pine hems in a meadow and some hills. 
Hen. Among these pines they find the crow's rough nest, 

A lofty cradle for the dusky brood. 
Mary. This is the point I think we stood upon. 

I would I knew what mountains rise beyond, 

Hast ever gone there ? 
Hen. Ah ! ye still, pointing spires of native rock, 

That, in the amphitheatre of God, 

Most proudly mark your duty to the sky, 

Lift, as of old, ye did my heart above. 

Excuse me, maiden, for my hurried thought. 

'T is an old learning of the hills ; the bell ! 

Ah ! might the porter sometimes sleep the hour. 

{Exit Henry, 
The Sun is setting. 
Mary. 'T is all revealed, I am no more deceived, 

That voice, that form, the memory of that scene ! 

I love thee, love thee, Henry; I am mad, 

My brain is all on fire, my heart a flame, 

You mountains rest upon my weary mind ; 

The lake lies beating in my broken heart. 

1844.] A Dramatic Sketch. 373 

That bell that summoned him to the dark cell, 
Where now in innocence he tells his beads, 
Shall summon me beyond this weary world. 
I long to be released ; I will not stay, 
There is no hope, no vow, no prayer, no God, 
AW, all have fled me, for I love, love one, 
Who cannot love me, and my heart has broke. 
Ye mountains, where my Henry breathed at peace, 
Thou lake, on whose calm depths he calmly looked, 
And setting sun, and winds, and skies, and woods, 
Protect my weary body from the tomb ; 
As I have lived to look on you with him, 
O let my thoughts still haunt you as of old, 
Nor let me taste of heaven, while on the earth, 
My Henry's form holds its accustomed place. 

[Stabs herself. 


Professor Upham, who for about seventeen years has 
sedulously occupied the chair of moral philosophy at Bovv- 
doin College, in this volume, presents an additional proof 
of the spontaneous love which entitles him to that office, 
as well as of his sincere regard for the well being of all 
mankind. The basis of his work is the position that the 
human soul, every human being, may be holy. Strange 
proof of occasional default that men should ever think 
otherwise ! 

As might naturally be expected, however, from the 
author's occupation, his work manifests more precision in 
style, than most productions on similar subjects in former 

* Principles of the Interior or Hidden Life, designed particularly for 
the consideration of those who are seeking assurance of faith and perfect 
love. By Thomas C Upham ; Boston : D. S. King; 1843. 12mo. pp. 

374 Interior or Hidden Life. [Jan. 

times, which the professor has evidently read with a feeling 
even deeper than that of an admiring taste. There is, 
nevertheless, a gravity and a serene humble tone spread 
over tiie whole book, which justifies us in placing it on the 
same shelf with the works of Madame Guion, Fenelon, and 
others whom the author ardently loves. Those sentiments, 
principles, and experiences, which a gay and fretful world 
is glad to swamp in the deluge of frivolous occupations, the 
learned professor has endeavored to revive and embody 
forth in language so simple and plain, that none can fence 
their selfish idleness behind the usual epithet of " mystic." 
Scarcely a chapter in the two and forty, into which the 
work is divided, but might be qtioted as proof of the 
simplest method in which such sentiments can be uttered. 
We cannot say he has the familiar, household eloquence of 
William Law, nor has he perhaps drunk from the like 
depths of the drainless well of spiritual being, but he is 
.undoubtedly always sincere to the revelation within him, 
and perhaps better calculated than such earlier authors to 
address his cotemporaries. As a specimen of the style, 
and as a key to the whole work, which we have not space 
now to analyse fully, we submit the following extract from 
the first chapter, entitled ''Some Marks or Traits of the 
Hidden Life.^'' 

" There is a modification or form of religious experience 
which may conveniently, and probably with a considerable 
degree of propriety, be denominated the Interior or Hidden 
Life. When a person first becomes 'distinctly conscious of 
his sinfulness, and in connection with this experience, 
exercises faith in Christ as a Saviour from sin, there is no 
doubt, however feeble these early exercises may be, that 
he has truly entered upon a new life. But this new life, 
although it is in its element different from that of the world, 
is only in its beginning. It embraces undoubtedly the true 
principle of a restored and renovated existence, which in 
due time will expand into heights and depths of knowledge 
and of feeling ; but it is now only in a state of incipi- 
ency, maintaining and oftentimes but feebly maintaining a 
war with the anterior or natural life, and being nothing 
more at present than the early rays and dawnings of the 
brighter day that is coming. 

" It is not so with what may conveniently be dcnonrjinated 

1844.] Interior or Hidden Life. 375 

the Hidden Life ; a form of expression which we employ 
to indicate a degree of Christian experience, greatly in 
advance of that, wliich so often lingers darkly and doul)t- 
fully at the threshold of the Christian's career. As the 
Hidden Life, as we now employ the expression, indicates 
a greatly advanced state of the religious feeling, resulting 
in a sacred and intimate union with the the Infinite Mind, 
we may perhaps regard the Psalmist, who had a large share 
of this interior experience, as making an indistinct allusion 
to it, when he says, ' Thou art my hiding place, and my 
shield.' And again 'He that dwelleth in the secret 
PLACE of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of 
the Amighty.' Perhaps the Apostle Paul makes some 
allusion to this more advanced and matured condition of 
the religious life, when in tiie Epistle to the Galatians, he 
says, ' 1 am crucified with Clirist ; nevertheless I live ; yet 
NOT I, BUT Christ liveth in me.' And again, addressing 
the Colossians, ' Set your affections on things above, not on 
things on earth ; for ye are dead, and your life is hid* 
with Christ in God.' And does not the Saviour himself 
sometimes recognise the existence of an Interior or Hidden 
Life, unknown to the world, and unknown, to a considera- 
ble extent, even to many that are denominated Christians, 
but who are yet in the beginning of their Christian career ? 
* He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith 
unto the Churches. To him that overcometh will I give 
to eat of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white 
stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no 
man knoweth save he that receiveth it.' " — p. 15. 

In this cautious and unassuming way does the author 
endeavor to introduce the reader to an understanding of 
that, which cannot indeed be truly understood without 
experience, but which he devotedly applies his scholastic 
faculties and facilities to awaken some conception of in the 
public mind. To the well experienced soul it must appear 
strange indeed that the question need be put, " Does not 
the Saviour himself sometimes recognise the Interior or 
Hidden Life ?" We would ask, '' Does he not always 
recognise it, appeal to it, endeavor to quicKen it ?" Was 
it not the peculiar and high revelation he opened to man, 
that the kingdom of Heaven is within him ? Scattered 
over the heathen world might, more or less obscurely, be 

376 Interior of Hidden Life. [Jan. 

found affirmations of most Christian doctrines; but this fact 
had never before been declared with such emphasis, clear- 
ness, and certitude as by Jesus and his intimate disciples. 
It is the especial fact which makes Christianity the trans- 
cendant religion of this world. From this ground alone 
could Christ justly denounce priestcraft in the vehement 
terms familiar to us all, and establish a religion utterly un- 
sectarian or formal, but dwelling only in heart and life. 

On the subject of the two degrees of religious experi- 
ence, which Professor Upham in the above extract endeav- 
ors to elucidate, Christ appears to us to have been so 
strikingly explicit, that it is surprising the mere biblical 
student should overlook it. He says " You must be born 
again ; of the water, and of the Spirit." In this case 
one term is not to be interpreted into the other. The 
water-birth and the Spirit-birth are clearly two processes in 
the human soul, which Swedenborg illustrates by the terms 
'' Spiritual" and "Celestial," and other writers of deep 
religious experience have under some terms or other en- 
deavored to make them sensible to their fellow pilgrims ; 
a labor however on which little success has yet attended. 
Books sell and circulate in the world in the ratio of the 
natures and taste of the people at the time. It is not just 
at present so easy to find readers on the subject of the 
Inner Life as of the Outer Life. Frivolous novels are rather 
more in demand than relations from the ever new. Much 
that is beautiful, much that is valuable, nay, that very re- 
ality which is most needful to human happiness, is for the 
greater part lost to mankind by the overlooking of this 
second inward birth ; by the supposition that the first, or 
the birth into intelligence, is all that need succeed to the 
natural birth in order to human redemption. Truly does 
our author observe " the life, which we are considering 
may properly be called a Hidden Life, because its moving 
principles, its interior and powerful springs of action, are 
not known to the world." 

" The natural man can appreciate the natural man. The 
man of the world can appreciate the man of the world. 
And it must be admitted, that he can appreciate, to a con- 
siderable extent, numbers of persons, who profess to be 
Christians, and wjio are probably to be regarded as such in 
the ordinary sense of the term, because the natural life 

1844.] Interior or Hidden Life. 377 

still remains in them in part. There is such a mixture of 
worldly and religious motives in the ordinary forms of the 
religious slate, such an impregnation of what is gracious 
with what is natural, that the men of the world can un- 
doubtedly form an approximated, if not a positive estimate 
of the principles, which regulate the conduct of its pos- 
sessors. But of the springs of movement in the purified or 
Hidden Life, except by dark and uncertain conjecture, they 
know comparatively nothing." — p. 16. 

•'Again, the Hidden Life has a claim to the descriptive 
epithet, which we have proposed to apply to it, because, in 
its results upon individual minds, it is directly the reverse 
of the life of the world. The natural life seeks notoriety. 
Desirous of human applause, it aims to clothe itself in pur- 
ple and fine linen. It covets a position in the market-place 
and at the corners of the streets. It loves to be called Rab- 
bi. But the life of God in the soul, occupied with a divine 
companionship, avoids all unnecessary familiarities with 
men. It pursues a lowly and retired course." " It is 
willing to be little, to be unhonored, and to be cast out 
from among men. It has no eye for worldly pomp ; no 
ear for worldly applause. It is formed on the model of the 
Saviour, who was a man unknown." " It has no essence, 
but its own spiritual nature, and no true locality but the 
soul, which it sanctifies."— p. 18. 

We must be permitted to use warmer language than the 
usual phrase, that " this book is a valuable addition to the 
literature of our country." Professor Upham has a nobler 
and a sincerer design than that of adding merely another 
volume to our abundant stores, or of gaining proselytes to 
some miserable sectarianism, or of building up a personal 
fame. He pursues his subject, without needless literary 
display, through its theological and personal windings and 
accessories, until he discourses on ' the state of union with 
God,' in language as plain and as suitable to the present 
state of the public mind, as could characterize the humblest 
disciples of goodness. 

" The state of union with God, when it is the subject of 
distinct consciousness, constitutes, without being necessarily 
characterized by revelations or raptures, the soul's spiritual 
festival, a season of special interior blessedness, a foretaste 
of Heaven. The mind unaflfected by wo Jdly vicissitudes, 

VOL. IV. NO, III. 48 

378 Interior or Hidden Life. [Jan. 

and the strifes and oppositions of men, reposes deeply in a 
state of happy submission and quietude, in accordance with 
the expression of the epistle to the Hebrews, that those 
who believe " enter into rest." So true it is, in the 
language of Kempis, that " he who comprehendelh all 
things in His will, and beholdeth all things in His light, 
hath his heart fixed, and abideth in the peace of God.'* 
'^ How can there be otherwise than the peace of God, pure, 
beautiful, sublime, when consecration is without reserve, 
and faith is without limit ; and especially when self-will, 
the great evil of our fallen nature, is eradicated. What 
higher idea can we have of the most advanced Christian 
experience, than that of entire union with the divine will, 
by a subjection of the human will ? When the will of 
man, ceasing from its divergencies and its disorderly vibra- 
tions, becomes fixed to one point, henceforward immovable, 
always harmonizing, moment by moment, with God's cen- 
tral and absorbing purposes, then we may certainly say, 
that the soul, in the language which is sometimes applied 
to it, and in a modified sense of the terms, has become not 
only perfected in faith and love, but " united and one with 
God," and " transformed into the divine nature." — " He, 
that is joined to the Lord, is one spirit.''^ "And from that 
moment, in its higher nature, and so far as it is not linked 
to earth by sympathies, which its God has implanted, and 
which were smitten and bled even in the case of our Sav- 
iour, the soul knows sorrow no more ; the pain of its inward 
anguish is changed into rejoicing ; it has passed into the 
mount of stillness, the Tabor of inward transfiguration, the 
Temple of unchanging tranquillity." — p. 429. 

Such an unusual, we might almost say, as far as the 
American public is concerned, such an unprecedented ap- 
peal, we trust will not be made in vain. Pious narratives, 
providential adventures, and personal experiences have 
from time to time found a ready auditory, in this republic ; 
and a reception not less cordial ought to be awarded to the 
expression of like principles and sentiments uttered in 
universal terms. 

1844.1 Pindar. 379 


Pindar is an empty name to all but Greek scholars. We have no 
reputation in literature comparable to his, which is so ill supported in 
English translation. The most diligent and believing student will not 
find one glance of the Theban eagle in West and his colleagues, who 
have attempted to clothe the bird with English plumage. Perhaps he is 
the most untranslateable of poets, and though he was capable of a grand 
national music, yet did not write sentences, which alone are conveyed 
without loss into another tongue. Some of our correspondents, who 
found aid and comfort in Mr. Thoreau's literal prose translations of 
Anacreon and of ^schylus, have requested him to give versions of the 
Olympic and Nemaean Odes ; and we extract from his manuscripts a series 
of such passages as contain somewhat detachable and presentable in an 
English dress. 



Equally by night always, 

And by day, having the sun, the good 

Lead a life without labor, not disturbing the earth 

With violent hands, nor the sea water. 

For a scanty living ; but honored 

By the gods, who take pleasure in fidelity to oaths, 

They spend a tearless existence; 

While the others suffer unsightly pain. 

But as many as endured threefold 

Probation, keeping the mind from all 

Injustice, go the way of Zeus to Kronos' tower, 

Where the ocean breezes blow around 

The island of the Blessed ; and flowers of gold shine, 

Some on the land from dazzling trees, 

And the water nourishes others ; 

With garlands of these they crown their hands and hair; 

According to the just decrees of Rhadamanthus ; 

Whom Father Kronos, the husband of Rhea 

Having the highest throne of all, has ready by himself as 

his assistant judge. 
Peleus and Kadmus are regarded among these ; 
And his mother brought Achilles, when she had 
Persuaded the heart of Zeus with prayers ; 
Who overthrew Hector, Troy's 
Unconquered, unshaken column, and gave Cycnus 
To death, and Morning's iEthiop son. 

380 Pindar. [Jan. 


Always around virtues labor and expense strive toward a 

Covered with danger ; but those succeeding seem to be 

wise even to the citizens. 

OLYMPIC VI. — 14. 

Dangerless virtues, 
Neither among men, nor in hollow ships, 
Are honorable ; but many remember if a fair deed is done. 

OLYMPIC VII. — 100. 
Origin of Rhodes. 

Ancient sayings of men relate, 

That when Zeus and the Immortals divided earth, 

Rhodes was not yet apparent in the deep sea ; 

But in salt depths the island was hid. 

And Helius * being absent no one claimed for him his lot ; 

So they left him without any region for his share, 

The pure god. And Zeus was about to make a second 

drawing of lots 
For him warned. But he did not permit him ; 
For he said that within the white sea he had seen a certain 

land springing up from the bottom, 
Capable of feeding many men, and suitable for flocks. 
And straightway He commanded goJden-filletted Lachesis 
To stretch forth her hands, and not contradict 
The great oath of the gods, but with the son of Kronos 
Assent, that to the bright air being sent by his nod. 
It should hereafter be his prize. And his words were fully 

Meeting with truth. The island sprang from the watery 
Sea ; and the genial Father of penetrating beams, 
Ruler of fire-breathinsf horses, has it. 


A man doing fit things 
Forcrets Hades. 

The Sun. 

1844.] Pindar, 381 


Hercules names the Hill of Kronos. 

He named the Hill of Kronos, for before nameless, 
While CEnomaus ruled, it was moistened with much snow, 
And at this first rite the Fates stood by, 
And Time, who alone proves 
Unchanging truth. 

OLYMPIC X. — 85. 

Olymyia at Evening. 

With the javelin Phrastor struck the mark ; 
And Eniceus cast the stone afar. 

Whirling his hand, above them all, 

And with applause it rushed 

Through a great tumult ; 

And the lovely evening light 

Of the fair-faced moon shone on the scene. 

OLYMPIC X. — 1G9. 


When, having done fair things, O Agesidamus, 

Without the reward of song, a man may come 

To Hades' rest, vainly aspiring 

He obtains with toil some short delight. 

But the sweet-voiced lyre, 

And the sweet flute, bestow some favor ; 

For Zeus' Pierian daughters 

Have wide fame. 


To Asopichus, of Orchomenos, on his Victory in the Stadic 

O ye, who inhabit for your lot the seat of the Cephisian 

Streams, yielding fair steeds, renowned Graces, 

Ruling bright Orchomenos, 

Protectors of the ancient race of Minyae, 

Hear, when I pray. 

382 Pindar. [Jan. 

For with you are all pleasant 

And sweet things to mortals ; 

If wise, if fair, if noble, 

Any man. For neither do the gods, 

Without the august Graces, 

Rule the dance, 

Nor feasts ; but stewards 

Of all works in heaven. 

Having placed their seats 

By golden-bowed Pythian Apollo, 

They reverence the eternal power 

Of the Olympian Father ; 

August Aglaia, and song-loving 

Euphrosyne, children of the mightiest god, 

Hear now, and Thalia loving-soncr, 

Beholding this band, in favorable fortune 

Lightly dancing ; for in Lydian 

Manner meditating, 

I come celebrating Asopichus, 

Since Minya by thy means is victor at the Olympic games. 

Now to Persephone's * 

Black-walled house go Echo, 

Bearing to his father the famous news ; 

That seeing Cleodamus thou mayest say, 

That in renowned Pisa's vale 

His son crowned his young hair 

With plumes of illustrious contests. 


To the Li/re. . 

Thou extinguishest even the spear-like bolt 

Of everlasting fire. And the eagle sleeps on the sceptre of 

Drooping his swift wings on either side, 
The king of birds. 

— 25. 
Whatever things Zeus has not loved 
Are terrified, hearing 
The voice of the Pierians, 
On earth and the immeasurable sea. 

PYTH. ir. — 159. 
A plain-spoken man brings advantage to every government, 

• Cleodamus, the father of the hero, was dead. 

1844.] Pindar. 383 

To a monarchy, and when the 

Impetuous crowd, and when the wise rule a city. 

As a whole, the third Pythian Ode, to Hiero, on his 
victory in the single-horse race, is one of the most memor- 
able. We extract first the account of 


As many therefore as came suffering 

From spontaneous ulcers, or wounded 

In their limbs with glittering steel, 

Or with the far-cast stone, 

Or by the summer's heat o'ercome in body, 

Or by winter, relieving he saved from 

Various ills ; some cherishing 

With soothing strains. 

Others having drunk refreshing draughts, or applying 

Remedies to the limbs, others by cutting off he made erect. 

But even wisdom is bound by gain. 

And gold appearing in the hand persuaded even him with 

its bright reward. 
To bring a man from death 
Already overtaken. But the Kronian, smiting 
With both hands, quickly took away 
The breath from his breasts ; 
And the rushing thunderbolt hurled him to death. 
It is necessary for mortal minds 
To seek what is reasonable from the divinities, 
Knowing what is before the feet, of what destiny we are. 
Do not, my soul, aspire to the life 
Of the Immortals, but exhaust the practicable means. 

In the conclusion of the ode the poet reminds the victor, 
Hiero, that adversity alternates with prosperity in the life 
of man, as in the instance of 

Peleus and Cadmus. 

The Immortals distribute to men 

With one good two 

Evils. The foolish therefore 

Are not able to bear these with grace, 

But the wise, turning the fair outside. 

But thee the lot of good fortune follows, 
For surely great Destiny 

384 Pindar. [Jan. 

Looks down upon a king ruling the people, 
If on any man. But a secure life 
Was not to Peleus, son of JEacus, 
Nor to godlike Kadmus, 
Who yet are said to have had 
The greatest happiness 
Of mortals, and who heard 
The song of the golden-iilletted Muses, 
On the mountain, and in seven-gated Thebes, 
When the one married fair-eyed Harmonia, 
And the other Thetis, the illustrious daughter of wise- 
counselling Nereus. 
And the gods feasted with both ; 
And they saw the royal children of Kronos 
On golden seats, and received 
Marriage gifts; and having exchanged 
Former toils for the favor of Zeus, 
They made erect the heart. 
But in course of time 
His three daughters robbed the one 
Of some of his serenity by acute 
Sufferings; when Father Zeus, forsooth, came 
To the lovely couch of white-armed Thyone. 
And the other's child, whom only the immortal 
Thetis bore in Phthia, losing 
His life in war by arrows. 
Being consumed by fire excited 
The lamentation of the Danaans. 
But if any mortal has in his 
Mind the way of truth. 
It is necessary to make the best 
Of what befalls from the blessed. 
For various are the blasts 
Of high-flying winds. 

The happiness of men stays not a long time, 
Though fast it follows rushing on. 

Humble in humble estate, lofty in lofty, 

I will be; and the attending daemon 

I will always reverence in my mind, 

Serving according to my means. 

But if Heaven extend to me kind wealth, 

I have hope to find lofty fame hereafter. 

Nestor and Lycian Sarpedon — 

They are the fame of men — 

From resounding words which skilful artists 

Sung, we know. 

1844.] Pindar. 385 

For virtue through renowned 

Song is lasting. ji|y 

But for few is it easy to obtain. 

PYTH. IV. — 59. 

Origin of Thera^ 

Whence, in after times, Libyan Cyrene was settled by 
Battus. Triton, in the form of Eurypylus, presents a clod 
to Euphemus, one of the Argonauts, as they are about to 
return home. 

He knew of our haste, 
And immediately snatching a clod 
With his right hand, strove to give it 
As a chance stranger's gift. 

Nor did the hero disregard him, but leaping upon the shore. 
Stretching hand to hand, 
Received the mystic clod. 
But I hear it sinking from the deck, 
Go with the sea brine 
At evening, accompanying the watery sea. 
Often indeed I urged the careless 
Menials to guard it, but their minds forgot. 
And now in this island the imperishable seed of spacious 

Is Lpdled before its hour. 

PYTH. V. — 87. 


He bestowed the lyre. 
And he gives the muse to whom he wishes, 
Bringmg peaceful serenity to the breast. 

PYTH. VIII. 136, 

(Sxias ovaQ uvSQomo:,) The phautcm of a shadow are men. 

VOL. IV. NO. III. 49 

386 Pindar. [Jan, 

PYTH. IX. — 31. 
Hypseus* Daughter Cyrene. 

He reared the white-armed child Cyrene, 

Who loved neither the ahernating motion of the loom, 

Nor the superintendence of feasts, 

With the pleasures of companions ; 

But with javelins of steel, 

And the sword, contending, 

To slay wild beasts; 

Affording surely much 

And tranquil peace to her father's herds; 

Spending little sleep 

Upon her eye-lids, 

As her sweet bed-fellow, creeping on at dawn. 

PYTH. X. — 33. 

The Height of Glory. 

Fortunate and celebrated 
By the wise is that man, 
Who conquering by his hands, or virtue 
Of his feet, takes the highest prizes 
Through daring and strength, 
And living still sees his youthful son 
Deservedly obtaining Pythian crowns. 
The brazen heaven is not yet accessible to him. 
But whatever glory we 
Of mortal race may reach, 
He goes beyond, even to the boundaries 
Of navigation. But neither in ships, nor going on foot, 
Couldst thou find the wonderful way to the contests of the 


To Aristoclides, Victor at the Nemean Games. 

If, being beautiful, 
And do'ng things like to his form, 
The child of Aristophanes 
Went to the height of manliness ; no further 
Is it easy to go over the untravelled sea, 
Beyond the pillars of Hercules. 

1844.] Pindar. 387 

NEM.III. — 69. 

The Youth of Achilles. 

One with native virtues 

Greatly prevails ; but he who 

Possesses acquired talents, an obscure man, 

Aspiring to various things, never with fearless 

Foot advances, but tries 

A myriad virtues with inefficient mind. 

Yellow-haired Achilles, meanwhile, remaining in the house 

of Philyra, 
Being a boy played 
Great deeds ; often brandishing 
Iron-pointed javelins in his hands, 
Swift as the winds, in fight he wrought death to savage 

lions ; 
And he slew boars, and brought their bodies 
Palpitating to Kronian Centaurus, 
As soon as six years old. And all the while 
Artemis and bold Athene admired him, 
Slaying stags without dogs or treacherous nets; 
For he conquered them on foot. 

NEM. IV. — 66. 

Whatever virtues sovereign destiny has given me, 
I well know that time creeping on 
Will fulfil what was fated. 

NEM. v. — 1. 

The kindred of Pytheas, a victor in the Nemean games, 
had wished to procure an ode from Pindar for less than 
three drachmae, asserting that they could purchase a statue 
for that sum. In the following lines he nobly reproves 
their meanness, and asserts the value of his labors, which, 
unlike those of the statuary, will bear the fame of the hero 
to the ends of the earth. 

No image-maker am I, who being still make statues 

Standing on the same base. But on every 

Merchant-ship, and in every boat, sweet song, 

Go from ^Egina to announce that Lampo's son, 

Mighty Pytheas, 

Has conquered the pancratian crown at the Nemean games. 

388 Pindar. [Jan. 

NEM. VI. 1. 

The Divine in Man, 

One the race of men and of gods ; 

And from one mother 

We all breathe. 

But quite different power 

Divides us, so that the one is nothing, 

But the brazen heaven remains always 

A secure abode. Yet in some respect we are related. 

Either in mighty mind or form, to the Immortals ; 

Although not knowing 

To what resting place 

By day or night, Fate has written that we shall run. 

NEM. VIII. 44. 

The Treatment of Ajax. 

In secret votes the Danaans aided Ulysses ; 

And Ajax, deprived of golden arms, struggled with death. 

Surely, wounds of another kind they wrought 

In the warm flesh of their foes, waging war 

With the man-defending spear. 

NEM. VIII. — 68. 
The Value of Friends. 

Virtue increases, being sustained by wise men and just. 
As when a tree shoots up with gentle dews into the liquid 

There are various uses of friendly men ; 
But chiefest in labors ; and even pleasure 
Requires to place some pledge before the eyes. 

NEM. IX. — 41. 

Death of Amphiaraus, 

Once they led to seven-gated Thebes an army of men, not 

To the lucky flight of birds. Nor did the Kronian, 

1844.] Pindar. 389 

Brandishing his lightning, impel to march 

From home insane, but to abstain from the way. 

But to apparent destruction 

The host made haste to go, with brazen arms 

And horse equipments, and on the banks 

Of Ismenus, defending sweet return, 

Their white-flowered bodies fattened fire. 

For seven pyres devoured young-limbed 

Men. But to Amphiaraus 

Zeus rent the deep-bosomed earth 

With his miglity thunder-bolt, 

And buried him with his horses, 

Ere being struck in the back 

By the spear of Periclymenus, his warlike 

Spirit was disgraced. 

For in dfemonic fears 

Flee even the sons of gods. 

MEM. X. 153. 

Castor and Pollux. 

Pollux, son of Zeus, shared his iramottality with his 
broilier Castor, son of Tyndarus, and while one was in 
heaven, the other remained in the infernal regions, and 
they alternately lived and died every day, or, as some say, 
every six months. While Castor lies mortally wounded by 
Idas, Pollux prays to Zeus, either to restore his brother to 
life, or permit him to die with him, to which the god 

Nevertheless, I give thee 
Thy choice of these ; if indeed fleeing 
Death and odious age, 
You wish to dwell on Olympus, 
With Athene and black-speared Mars ; 
Thou hast this lot. 
But if thou thinkest to fight 
For thy brother, and share 
All things with him, 

Half the time thou mayest breathe, being beneath the earth, 
And half in the golden halls of heaven. 
The god thus having spoken, he did not 
Entertain a double wish in his mind. 

390 Pindar, [Jan. 

And he released first the eye, and then the voice, 
Of brazen-mitred Castor. 



One reward of labors is sweet to one man, one to another, 

To the shepherd, and the plougher, and the bird-catcher, 

And whom the sea nourishes. 

But every one is tasked to ward off 

Grievous famine from the stomach. 

ISTH. II. — 9. 

The Venality of the Muse. 

Then the Muse was not 

Fond of gain, nor a laboring woman ; 

Nor were the sweet-sounding 

Soothing strains 

Of Terpsichore, sold. 

With silvered front. 

But now she directs to observe the saying 

Of the Argive, coming very near the truth, 

Who cried, " Money, money, man," 

Being bereft of property and friends. 

ISTH. VI. 62. 

Hercules^ Prayer concerning Ajax, son of Telamon. 

If ever, O father Zeus, thou hast heard 

My supplication with willing mind. 

Now I beseech thee with prophetic 

Prayer, grant a bold son from Eriboea 

To this man my fated guest ; 

Rugged in body 

As the hide of this wild beast 

Which now surrounds me, which, first of all 

My contests, I slew once in Nemea, and let his mind agree. 

To him thus having spoken, Heaven sent 

A great eagle, kinor of birds, 

And sweet joy thrilled him inwardly. 

1844.] Preaching of Buddha. 391 


The following fragments are extracts from one of the religious books of 
the Buddhists of iNepal, entitled the 


The original work, which is written in Sanscrit, makes part of the 
numerous collection of Buddiiist books, discovered by IVJ . Hodgson, the 
English resident at the Court of Katmandou, and sent by him to the 
Asiatic Society of Paris M. Burnouf examined, some years since, this 
collection, which includes a great part of the canonical books of the 
Buddhists, and of which translations are found in all the nations which 
are Buddhists, (the people of Thibet, China, and the Moguls.) The 
book, from which the following extracts are taken, is one of the most 
venerated, by all the nations which worship Buddha, and shows very 
clearly the method followed by the Sage who bears this name. The 
work is in prose and verse. The versified part is only the reproduction 
in a metrical rather than a poetical form of the part written m prose. 
"We prefix an extract from the article of M. Eugene Burnouf, on the ori- 
gin of Buddhism. 

" The privileged caste of the Brahmins reserved to itself the exclusive 
monopoly of science and of religion ; their morals were relaxed; igno- 
rance, cupidity, and the crimes which it induces, had already deeply 
changed the ancient society described in the Laws of Menu, in the 
midst of these disorders, (about six centuries before Christ.) in the north 
of Bengal, a young Prince born into the military caste, renounced the 
throne, became a religious, and took the name of Buddha. His doctrine, 
which was more moral than metaphysical, at least in its principle, reposed 
on an opinion admitted as a fact, and upon a hope presented as a cer- 
tainty. This opinion is, that the visible world is in a perpetual change; 
that death proceeds to life, and life to death ; that man, like all the living 
beings who surround him, revolves in the eternally moving circle of 
transmigration ; that he passes successively through all the forms of life, 
from the mcjst elementary up to the most perfect ; that the place, which 
he occupies in the vast scale of living beings, depends on the merit of the 
actions which he performs in this world, and that thus the virtuous man 
ought, after this life, to be born again with a divine body, and the guilty 
with a body accursed ; that the rewards of heaven and the pains of hell, 
like all which this world contains, have only a limited duration ; that 
time exhausts the merit of virtuous actions, and effaces the evil of bad 
ones ; and that the fatal law of change brings back to the earth both the 
god and the devil, to put both again on trial, and cause them to run a new 
course of transmigration. The hope, which the Buddha came to bring to 
men, was the possibility of escaping from the law of transmigration by 
entering that which he calls enfranchisement; that is to say. according 
to one of the oldest schools, the annihilation of the thinking principle as 
well as of the material principle. That annihilation was not entire until 
death ; but he who was destined to attain to it, possessed during his life 
an unlimited science, which gave him the pure view of the world as it is, 
that is, the knowledge of the physical and intellectual laws, and the 
practice of the six transcendant perfectit)ns, of alms, of morality, of 
science, of energy, of patience, and of charity. The authority, on which 
the votary rested his teaching, was wholly personal ; it was formed of two 

392 Preaching of Buddha. [Jan, 

elements, one real, the other ideal. The one was regularity and sanctity 
of conduct, of which chastity and patience formed the principal traits. 
The second was the pretension that he had to be Buddha, that is, illumi- 
nated, and as such, to possess a supernatural power and science. With 
his power he resisted the attacks of vice ; with his science he represented 
to himself, under a clear and complete form, the past and the future. 
Hence he could recount all which he had done in his former existences, 
and he affirmed thus, that an incalculable number of beings had already 
attained, like himself, by the practice of the same virtues, to the dignity 
of Buddha. He offered himself, in short, to men as their Saviour, and he 
promised them that his death should not destroy his doctrine, but that 
this doctrine should endure after him for many ages, and that when its 
salutary action should have ceased, there would appear to the world a 
new Buddha, whom he would announce by his own name; and the 
legends say that before descending on earth, he had been consecrated in 
Heaven in the quality of the future Buddha. 

The philosophic opinion, by which he justified his mission, was shared 
by all classes, Brahmins, warriors, farmers, merchants, all believed 
equally in the fatality of transmigration, in the retribution of rewards and 
pains, in the necessity of escaping in a decisive manner the perpetually 
changing condition of a merely relative existence. lie believed in the 
truths admitted by the Brahmins. His disciples lived like them, and like 
them imposed stern penances, bending under thai ancient sentence of re- 
probation fulminated against the body by oriental asceticism. It does 
not appear that Buddha laid any claim himself to miraculous power. In 
fac-t, in one of his discourses, occur these reniarkable words. A king 
urged him to confound his adversaries by the exhibition of that superhu- 
man force, which is made to reduce incredulity to silence : '• O king! " 
replied the Buddha, " I do not teach the law to my disciples by saying 
to them. Go work miracles before the Brahmins and the masters of 
houses whom y(»u meet, but I teach them in this wise, Live,0 holy one, 
by concealing your good works, and b)' exposing your sins." 'I'his pro- 
found humility, this entire renunciation is the characteristic trait of 
prmiitive Buddliism, and was one of the most powerful instruments of its 
success with the people." 

The Tathagata* is equal and not unequal towards all be- 
inf?s, when it is the question to convert them : " He is, O 
Kaqyapa,! as the rays of the sun and moon, which shine 
ahke upon the virtuous and the wicked, the high and the 
low ; on those who have a good odor, and those who have a 
bad ; on all these the rays fall equally and not unequally at 
otie and the same time. So, O Ka(^yap;i, the rays of intelli- 
gence, endowed with the knowledge of omnipotence, make 
the Talhagatas venerable. Complete instruction in the good 
law is equally necessary for all beings, for those who have 

*Tathagata means, he who has come like Anterior Buddha, and is sy- 
nonymous with Buddha. 

f Kaqyapa was of the Brahminical caste, one of the first disciples of 

1844.] Preaching of Buddha. 393 

entered into the five roads of existence, for those, who ac- 
cording to their inclination have taken the great Vehicle, or 
the vehicle of Pratyeka-Buddha,* or that of the auditors. 
And there is neither diminution or augmentation of abso- 
lute wisdom in such or such a Tathagata. On the con- 
trary, all equally exist, and are equally born to unite 
science and virtue. There are not, O Kac^yapa tinee 
vehicles ; there are only beings who act differently from 
each other ; it is on account of that we discriminate three 

This said, the respectable Kagyapa spoke thus to Bha- 
gavat.-f "If there are not, O Bhagavat ! three different 
vehicles, why emf)l<)y in the present world the distinct 
denominations of Auditors, Pratyekabuddhas and Bodhi- 
sattvas ? " J This said, Bhagavat spoke thus to the respect- 
able Ka^yapa : " It is, O Kacyapa, as when a potter makes 
different pots of the same clay. Some become vases to 
contain molasses, others are for clarified butter, others for 
milk, others for curds, others inferior and impure vases. 
The variety does not belong to the clay, it is only the dif- 
ference of the substance that we put in them, whence 
comes the diversity of the vases. So there is really only 
one vehicle, which is the vehicle of Buddlia ; there is no 
second, no third vehicle." This said, the respectable Ka- 
cyapa spoke thus to Bhagavat : " If beings, arising from 
this union of three worlds, have different inclinations, is 
there for them a single annihilation, or two, or three ? " 
Bhagavat said, "Annihilation, O Kaoyapa, results from the 
comprehension of the equality of all laws; there is only 
one, and not two or three. Therefore, O Kaoyapa, I will 
propose to thee a parable ; for penetrating men know 
through parables the sense of what is said." 

* Pratyeka-Buddhas is a kind of selfish Buddha, who possesses science 
without endeavoring to spread it, for the sake of saving others. The 
great vehicle, is a figurative expression, designating the state of Buddha, 
which is the first of the three means that the Buddhist doctrine furnishes 
to man, whereby to escape the conditions of actual existence. 

t Bhagavat means he who is perfect in virtue and happiness, and is the 
most honorary title applied to Buddha. 

tThe Bodhisattva is a potential Buddha, a Buddha not yet completely 
developed, but sure of being so, when he shall have finished liis last mor- 
tal existence. 

VOL. IV. NO. Ill, 50 

394 Preaching of Buddha, [Jan. 

'^ It is as if, O Kafyapa, a man born blind should say, 
* there are no forms, of which some have beautiful and 
some ugly colors ; no spectators of these different forms ; 
there is no sun, nor moon, nor constellations, nor stars; 
and no spectators who see stars.' And when other men 
reply to the man born blind, there are diversities of color 
and spectators of these diverse colors ; there is a sun and 
a moon, and constellations and stars, and spectators who 
see the stars, the man born blind believes thern not, and 
wishes to have no relations with them. Tiien there comes 
a physician who knows all maladies; he looks on this man 
born blind, and this reflection comes into his mind : it is for 
the guilty conduct of this man in an anterior life, that he is 
born blind. All the maladies which appear in this world, 
whatever they are, are in four classes ; those produced by 
wind, those produced by bile, those produced by phlegm, 
and those winch come by the morbid state of the three 
principles united. This physician reflected much upon the 
means of curing this malady, and this reflection came into 
his mind : the substances which are in use here, are not 
capable of destroying this evil ; but there e.xist in Hima- 
vat, king of mountains, four medicinal plants, and what 
are they ? The first is named that which possesses all 
savors and all colors ; the second, that lohich delivers from 
all maladies ; the tliird, that ivhich neutralizes all poisons ; 
the fourth, that which procures well-being in whatsoever 
situation it may he. These are the four medicinal plants. 
Then the physician, feeling touclied with compassion for 
the man born blind, thought on the means of going to 
Himavat, king of mountains, and having gone thither, he 
mounted to the summit, he descended into the valley, 
he traversed tlie mountain in his search, and having sought 
he discovered these four medicinal plants, and having dis- 
covered them, he gave them to the blind man to take, one 
after having masticated it with the teeth, another after hav- 
ing pounded it, this after having cooked it with other sub- 
stances, that after mingling it with other raw substances, 
another by introducing it into a given part of the body with 
a needle, another after having consumed it in the fire, the 
last, after having employed it, mingled with other substan- 
ces as food or as drink. 

Then the man born blind, in consequence of having em- 

1844.] Preaching of Buddha. 395 

ployed these means, recovered his sight, and having recov- 
ered it, he looked above, below, far and near ; he saw the 
rays of the sun, and moon, the constellations, the stars, and 
all forms; and thus he spoke: *' Certainly I was a fool in 
that I never would believe those who saw and reported to 
me these things. Now I see every thing, I am delivered 
from my blindness ; 1 have recovered sight, and there is no 
one in the world who is in any thing above me." 

But at this moment the Sages endowed with the five 
kinds of supernatural knowledge present themselves ; these 
Sages who have divine sight, divine hearing, knowledge of 
the thoughts of others, the memory of their anterior exis- 
tences, and of a supernatural power, speak thus to this 
man : " Thou hast only recovered sight, O man, and still 
thou knowest nothing. Whence comes then this pride ? 
Thou hast not wisdom and thou are not instructed." Then 
they speak to him thus: " When thou art seated in the in- 
teriors of thy house, O man, thou seest not, thou knowest 
not other forms wliich are without ; thou distinguishest not 
in beings wljether their thoughts are benevolent or hostile 
to thee ; thou perceivest not, thou understandest not at the 
distance of five yodjanus the sound of the conch, of the 
taml)our, and of the liuman voice ; thou canst not transport 
tliyself even to the distance of a kroca, without making 
use of thy feet ; thou hast been engendered* and developed 
in the body of thy mother, and thou doest not even remem- 
ber tliat. How then art thou learned, and how knowest 
tliou everything, and how canst thou say, 1 see every- 
thing? Know, O man, that that which is clearness is 
obscurity ; know also that tliat which is obscurity is clear- 

Then this man speaks thus to the Sages: What means 
must 1 employ, or what good work must I do to acquire 
an equal wisdom ? 1 can by your favor obtain these qual- 
ities. Then these Sages say thus to the man: If thou 
desirest wisdom, contemplate the law, seated in the desert, 
or in the forest, or in the caverns of the mountains, and 
free thyself from the corruption of evil. Then, endowed 
with purified qualities, thou shalt obtain supernatural knowl- 
edge. Then this man, following this counsel, entering into 
the religious life, living in the desert, his thought fixed 
upon a single object, was freed from that of the world, and 

396 Preaching of Buddha, [Jan. 

acquired these five kinds of supernatural knowledge ; and 
having acquired them, lie reflected thus ; The conduct 
which I pursued before, put me in possession of no law, 
and of no quality. Now, on the contrary, I go wherever 
my thouglit goes ; before I had only little wisdom, little 
judgment, 1 was blind. 

Behold, O Kacyapa ! the parable that I would propose 
to thee to make thee comprehend the sense of my dis- 
course. See now what is in it. The man blind from his 
birth, O Kacyapa ! designates those beings who are shut 
up in the revolution of the world, into wjiich is entrance 
by five roads; they are those who know not the excellent 
law, and who accumulate upon themselves the obscurity 
and the thick darkness of the corruption of evil. They are 
blinded by ignorance, and in this state of blindness they 
collect the conceptions, under the name and the form 
which are the efibct of the conceptions, until at last there 
takes place the production of what is a great mass of 
miseries.* Thus are blind beings shut up by ignorance in 
the revolution of the world. 

But the Tathagata, who is placed beyond the union of 
the three worlds, feeling compassion for them, moved with 
piiy, as is a father for his only beloved son, having de- 
scended into the union of tlie three worlds, contemplates 
beings revolving in the circle of transmigration, and beings 
who know not the true means of escaping from the world. 
Then Bhagavat looked on them with the eyes of wisdom, 
and having seen them, he knew them. " These beings," 
said he, "after having accomplished, in the first place, the 
principle of virtue, have feeble hatreds and vivid attach- 
ments, or feeble attachments and vivid hatreds and errors. 
Some have little intelligence; others are wise; these have 
come to maturity and are pure; those follow false doctrines. 
Bhagavat, by employing the means he has at his disposal, 
teaches these beings three vehicles. Then the Bodhisatt- 
vas, like the sages endowed with the five kinds of super- 
natural knowledge, and who have perfectly clear sight, the 
Bodhisattvas, 1 say, having conceived the thought of the 

*The French translator from the Sanscrit, says,— in an explanation of 
this obsure passage,— See " L'Histoire du Buddhiime iudieu," par M. 

1844.] Preaching of Buddha, 397 

state of Buddha, having acquired a miraculous patience in 
the law, are raised to the supreme state of Buddha, per- 
fectly developed. In this coniparison, the Talhagala[must 
be regarded as a great physician ; and all beings must be 
regarded as blinded by error, like the man born blnid. 
Affection, hatred, error, and the sixty-two false doctrines 
are wind, bile, phlegm. The four medicinal plants are 
these four truths ; namely, the state of void, the absence of 
a cause, the absence of an object, and the entrance into 
annihilation. And as, according to the different substances 
that we employ, we cure different maladies, so, according 
as beings represent the stale of void, the al)sence of a 
cause, the absence of an object, and the entrance into ex- 
emption, they arrest the action of ignorance; from the 
annihilation of ignorance comes that of the conceptions, 
until at last comes the annihilation of tiiat which is only a 
great mass of evils. Then the thought of man is neither 
in virtue nor in sin. 

The man who makes use of the vehicle of the auditors 
or the Pratyekabuddhas must be regarded as the blind man 
who recovers sight. He breaks the chain of the niisevies 
of transmigration ; disembarrassed from the chains of tl.ese 
miseries, he is delivered from the union of the three 
worlds which are entered by five ways. Tfiis is why he 
who makes use of the vehicle of the auditors knows what 
follows, and pronounces these words, — -there are no more 
laws henceforth to be known by a Buddha perfectly de- 
veloped ; I have attained annihilation ! But Bhagavat 
shows to him the law. How, said he, shall not he who 
has obtained all the laws attain annihilation ? Then Bha- 
gavat introduces him into the state of Buddha. Having 
conceived the thought of this state, the auditor is no longer 
in the revolution of the world, and he has not yet attained 
annihilation. Forming to himself an exact idea of the 
reunion of the three worlds, he sees the world void in the 
ten points of space, like a magical apparition, an illusion, 
like a dream, a mirage, an echo. He sees all laws, those 
of the cessation of birth, as well as those which are con- 
trary to annihilation ; those of deliverance, as well as those 
contrary to exemption ; those which do not belong to 
darkness and obscurity, as well as those wITich are contrary 
to clearness. He who thus sees into profound laws, he 

398 Preaching of Buddha. [Jan. 

sees, like the blind man, the diflfering thoughts and dis- 
positions of all the beings who make up the reunion of the 
three worlds. 

1 who am the king of law, I wlio am born in the world, 
and who govern existence, I explain the law to creatures, 
after having recognized their inclinations. Great heroes, 
whose intelhgence is firm, preserve for a long time my 
word ; they guard also my secret, and do not reveal it to 
creatures. Indeed, from the moment that the ignorant 
hear tins science so difficidt to coinprehend. immediately 
conceiving doubts in their madness, they will fall from it, 
and fall into error. I proportion my language to the sub- 
ject and the strength of each ; and I correct a doctrine by a 
contrary explication. It is, O Ka^yapa, as if a cloud, 
raising itself above the uiiiverse, covered it entirely, hiding 
all the earth. Full of water, surrounded with a garland 
of lightning, this great cloud, which resounds with the 
noise of thunder, spreads joy over all creatures. Arresting 
the rays of the sun, refreshing the sphere of the world, 
descending so near the earth as to be touched with the 
hand, it j^ours out water on ev(My side. Spreading in an 
uniform manner an iuimense mass of water, and resplen- 
dent with the lightnings which escape frr)!n its sides, it 
makes tlie etnth rejoice. And tlie medicinal plants which 
liave burst from the stnface of this earth, the herbs, the 
bushes, the kings of the forest, Tntle and great trees; the 
different seeds, and every thing which makes ver<lure ; all 
the vegetables which are found in the mountains, in the 
caverns, and in the groves; the herbs, the bushes, the 
trees, this cloud fills them with joy, it spreads joy upon 
the dty e;irih, and it moistens the medicinal plants ; and 
this hf)mogeneous water of the cloud, the herl)s and the 
bushes pump up, every one according to its force and its 
object. And the different kinds of trees, the great as well 
as the small, and the middle-sized trees, all drink this 
water, each one according to its age and its strength; they 
drink it and grow, each one according to its need Ab- 
sorbing the water of the cloud by their truriks, their twigs, 
their bark, iheir branches, their boughs, their leaves, the 
great medicinal plants put forth flowers and fruits. Each 
one accordnig to its streiij^th, according to its deslinatir)n, 
and conformably to the naiuie of the germ whence it 

1844.] Preaching of Buddha, 399 

springs, produces a distinct fruit, and nevertheless there is 
one homogeneous water hke that which fell from tlie cloud. 
So, O Kacyapa, tlie Buddlia cotnes into the worhJ, hke a 
cloud which covers the universe, and hardly is the chief of 
the world born, than he speaks and teaches the true doc- 
trine to creatures. 

And thus, says the great sage, honored in the world, in 
union with gods. I am Tatlingatn, the conqueror, the best 
of men ; 1 have appeart^d in the world like a cloud. 1 will 
overflow with joy all beings whose limbs are dry, and who 
are attached to tlie triple condition of existence. I will 
establish in happiness those who are consu(ned with pain, 
and fiive to them pleasures and anniiiilation. — Listen to 
me, oh ye troops of gods and men! Approach and look 
upon me. I am Tathagata the blessed, the being without 
a superior, who is l)oin here in the world to save it. And 
I preach to thousands of millions of living beings the pure 
and very beautiful law ; its nature is one and liomogene- 
ous ; it is deliverance and aniiihilalion. — With one and 
the same voice I explain the law, taking incessantly for my 
subject the state of Buddha, for this law is uniform ; in- 
equality has no place in it, no more than affection or hatred. 

You may l)e converted ; there is never in me any prefer- 
ence or aversion for any, whosoever he may be. It is the 
same law that 1 explain to all beings, the same for one as 
for another. 

Exclusively occupied with this work. I explain the law ; 
whetfier I rest, or remain standing, whether I lie upon tny 
bed or am seated upon my seat, I never experience fatigue. 
I fill the whole universe with joy, like a cloud which f)Ours 
everywhere a homogeneous water, always equally well dis- 
posed towards respectable men, as towards the lowest, 
towards virtuous men as towards the wicked ; towards 
abandoned men as towards those who have conducted 
most regularly ; towards those who follow heterodox doc- 
trines and false opinions, as towards those whose doctrines 
are sound and perfect. 

Finally, I exj)lain to little as well as to great minds, and 
to those whose organs have a supernatural power; inacces- 
sible to fatigue, I spread everywhere, in a suitable manner, 
the rain of the law. 

After having heard my voice, according to the measure 

,400 Preaching of Buddha. [Jan. 

of their strength, beings are established in different situa- 
tions, among the go<ls, among men, in beautiful bodies, 
among the Cakras, the Brahmas, and the Tchakravartins. 

Listen. 1 am going to explain to you what the humble 
and small plants are, which are found in the world ; what 
the plants of middle size are ; and what the trees of a great 
height. Those men who live with a knowledge of the 
law exempt from iiriperfections, who have obtained annihila- 
tion, who have the six kinds of supernatural knowledge, and 
the three sciences, these men are named the smalt plants. 
The men who live in the caverns f)f the mountains, and 
wi)o aspire to the state of Pratyekabuddha, men whose 
minds are half purified, are the plants of middle size. 
Those who solicit the rank of heroes, saying, I will be a 
Buddha, I will be the chief of gods and men, and who 
cultivate energy and contemplation, these are the most 
elevated plants. And the sous of Buddlia, who quietly, 
and full of reserve, cultivate charity, and conceive no doubt 
concerning the rank of heroes among men, these are named 
trees. Those who turn the wheel and look not backward, 
the strong men who possess the power of supernatural 
faculties, and who deliver millions of living beings, these 
are named great trees. 

It is, however, one and the same law which is preached 
by the conqueror, even as it is one homogeneous water 
which is poured out by the cloud, those men who possess, 
as I have just said, the different faculties, are as the differ- 
ent plants which burst from the surface of the earth. 

Thou mayst know by tins example and this explanation 
the moans of wliich Tathagata makes use; thou knowest 
how he preaches a single law, whose different develop- 
ments resemble drops of rain. As to me, I will pour oiit 
the rain of the law, and the whole world shall be filled with 
satisfaction, and men shall meditate, each one according to 
his strength upon this homogeneous law which \ explain. 
So that while the rain falls, the herbs and the bushes, as 
well as the plants of middle size, the trees of all sizes, shall 
shine in the ten points of space. 

This instruction, which exists always for the happiness 
of the world, gives joy by different laws to the vvhr)le uni- 
verse ; the whole world is overflowed with joy as plants are 
covered with flowers. Tlie plants of middle size, which 

1844.] Eros. 401 

grow upon the earth, and the venerable sages, who are firm 
in the destruction of faults, and running over immense 
forests, show the well-taught law to the Bodhisattvas. The 
numerous Bodhisattvas, endowed with memory and forti- 
tude, who having an exact idea of the three worlds, seek- 
ing the supreme state of Buddha, eminently grow like the 
trees. Those who possess supernatural faculties, and the 
four contemplations, who having heard of void, experience 
joy therein, and who emit from their bodies millions of 
rays, are called great trees. 

This teaching of the law, O Kacyapa, is like the water 
which the cloud pours out over all, and by whose action 
the great plants produce in abundance mortal flowers. I 
explain the law which is the cause of itself; I tried, in its 
time, the state of Buddha, which belongs to the great sage ; 
behold my skilfulness in the use of means; it is that of all 
the guides of the world. 

What I have said is the supreme truth ; may my audi- 
tors arrive at complete annihilation ; may they follow the 
excellent way which conducts to the state of Buddha ; may 
all the auditors, who hear me, become Buddhas. 


The sense of the world is short, 
Long and various the report, — 
To love and be beloved ; — 
Men and gods have not outlearned it, 
And how oft so e'er they 've turned it, 
Tis not to be improved. 

VOL. IV. NO. Ill, 51 

402 Ethnical Scriptures. [Jan. 



[We subjoin a few extracts from the old English translation (by Doctor 
Everard, London, 1650,) of the Divine Pyruander of Hermes Trismegistus. 
The books ascribed to Hermes are thought to have been v^^ritten, or at least 
interpolated, by the new Platonists in the third or fouith century of our era. 
Dr. Cudworth (Intellectual System, Vol.11, p. 142, Lond. 1820,) thinks them 
to be tor the most part genuine remains of the ancient Egyptian theology, 
and to have been translated by Apuleius. The book deserves, on account of 
the purity and depth of its religious philosophy, an honorable place among 
ethical writings.] 

Good is voluntary or of its own accord ; Evil is invol- 
untary or against its will. 

The Gods choose good things as good things. 

Nothing in heaven is servanted ; nothing upon earth is 
free. Nothing is unknown in heaven, nothing is known 
upon earth. The things upon earth communicate not 
with those in heaven. Things on earth do not advantage 
those in heaven ; but all things in heaven do profit and 
advantage the things upon earth. 

Providence is Divine Order. 

What is God and the Father and the Good, but the 
Being of all things that yet are not, and the existence 
itself of those things that are? 

The sight of good is not like the beams of the sun, 
which being of a fiery shining brightness maketh the 
eye, blind by his excessive light ; rather the contrary, for 
it enlighteneth and so much increaseth the power of the 
eye, as any man is able to receive the influence of this 
inteUigible clearness. For it is more swift and sharp to 
pierce, and harmless withal, and full of immortality, and 
they that are capable, and can draw any store of this specta- 
cle and sight, do many times fall asleep from the body 
into this most fair and beauteous vision ; which things 
Celius and Saturn our Progenitors attained unto. 

For the knowledge of it is a divine silence, and the 
rest of all the senses. For neither can he that under- 
stands that, understand anything else ; nor he that sees 
that, see anything else, nor hear any other thing, nor 
move the body. For, shining steadfastly on and round 
about the whole mind, it enlighteneth all the soul, and 
loosing it from the bodily senses and motions, it drawetU 
it from the body, and changeth it wholly into the essence 

1844.] Ethnical Scriptures. 403 

of God. For it is possible for the soul, O Son, to be 
deified while yet it lodgeth in the body of man, if it con- 
templates the beauty of the Good. 

He who can be truly called man is a divine living thing, 
and is not to be compared to any brute man that lives upon 
earth, but to them that are above in heaven, that are called 
Gods. Rather, if we shall be bold to speak the truth, he that 
is a man indeed, is above them, or at least they are equal 
in power, one to the other. For none of the things in 
heaven will come down upon earth, and leave the limits 
of heaven, but a man ascends up into heaven, and mea- 
sures it. And he knoweth what things are on high, and 
what below, and learneth all other things exactly. And 
that which is the greatest of all, he leaveth not the 
earth, and yet is above : so great is the greatness of 
his nature. Wherefore we must be bold to say, that an 
earthly man is a mortal God, and that the heavenly God 
is an immortal man. 


Who can bless thee, or give thanks for thee or to thee ? 

When shall I praise thee, O Father; for it is neither 
possible to comprehend thy hour, nor thy time ? 

Wherefore shall I praise thee, — as being something of 
myself, or having anything of mine own^ or rather as 
being another's ? 

For thou art what I am, thou art what I do, thou art 
what I say. 

Thou art all things, and there is nothing which thou 
art not. 

Thou art thou, all that is made, and all that is not 

The mind that understandeth j 

The Father that maketh ; 

The Good that worketh ; 

The Good that doth all things. Of matter the most 
subtile and slender part is air ; of the air, the soul ; of the 
soul, the mind ; of the mind, God. 

By me the truth sings praise to the truth, the good 
praiseth the good. 

O All ! receive a reasonable sacrifice from all things. 

Thou art God, thy man cryeth these things unto thee, 

404 Ethnical Scriptures. [Jan. 

by the fire, by the air, by the earth, by the water, by 
the sphit, by thy Creatures. 


Take heed that the orphan weep not ; for the Throne 
of the Ahiiighty is shaken to and fro, when the orphan 
sets a-crying. 

The Dervish in his prayer is saying, O God ! have com- 
passion on the wicked, for thou hast given all things to 
the good in making them good. 

Any foe whom you treat courteously will become a 
friend, excepting lust ; which, the more civilly you use 
it, will grow the more perverse. 

Ardishir Babagan asked an Arabian physician, what 
quantity of food ought to be eaten daily. He replied, 
Thirteen ounces. The king said, What strength can a 
man derive from so small a quantity ? The physician 
replied, so much can support you, but in whatever you 
exceed that, you must support it. 

If conserve of roses be frequently eaten, it will cause a 
surfeit, whereas a crust of bread eaten after a long inter- 
val will relish like conserve of roses. 

Saadi was troubled when his feet were bare, and he 
had not wherewithal to buy shoes ; but " soon after meet- 
ing a man without feet, 1 was thankful for the bounty of 
Providence to me, and submitted cheerfully to the want 
of shoes." 

Saadi found in a mosque at Damascus an old Persian 
of an hundred and fifty years, who was dying, and was 
saying to himself, " I said, I will enjoy myself for a few 
moments ; alas ! that my soul took the path of departure ; 
alas ! at the variegated table of life I partook a few 
mouthfuls, and the fates cried, Enough ! " 

I heard of a Dervish who was consuming in the flame 
of want, tacking patch after patch upon his ragged gar- 
ment, and solacing his mind with verses of poetry. Some- 
body observed to him. Why do you sit quiet, while a 
certain gentleman of this city has girt up his loins in the 
service of the religious independents, and seated himself 
by the door of their hearts? He would esteem himself 
obliged by an opportunity of relieving your distress. He 
said. Be silent, for I swear by Allah, it were equal to the 
torments of hell to enter into Paradise through the in- 
terest of a neighbor. 

1844.] The Times. 405 



Give me truths, 
For I am weary of the surfaces, 
And die of inanition. If I knew 
Only the herbs and simples of the wood, 
Rue, cinquefoil, gill, vervain, and agrimony, 
Blue-vetch, and trillium, hawkweed, sassafras. 
Milkweeds, and murky brakes, quaint pipes, and sundew, 
And rare and virtuous roots, which in these woods 
Draw untold juices from the common earth. 
Untold, unknown, and I could surely spell 
Their fragrance, and their chemistry apply 
By sweet affinities to human flesh. 
Driving the foe and stablishing the friend, — 
O that were much, and I could be a part 
Of the round day, related to the sun 
And planted world, and full executor 
Of their imperfect functions. 
But these young scholars who invade our hills. 
Bold as the engineer who fells the wood, 
And travelling often in the cut he makes. 
Love not the flower they pluck, and know it not, 
And all their botany is Latin names. 
The old men studied magic in the flowers. 
And human fortunes in astronomy, 
And an omnipotence in chemistry. 
Preferring things to names, for these were men, 
Were unitarians of the united world. 
And wheresoever their clear eye-beams fell, 
They caught the footsteps of the Same. Our eyes 
Are armed, but we are strangers to the stars, 
And strangers to the mystic beast and bird. 
And strangers to the plant and to the mine; 
The injured elements say. Not in us ; 

40(1 The Times. [Jan, 

And night and day, ocean and continent, 

Fire, plant, and mineral, say. Not in us. 

And haughtily return us stare for stare. 

For we invade them impiously for gain, 

We devastate them unreligiously. 

And coldly ask their pottage, not their love. 

Therefore they shove us from them, yield to us 

Only what to our griping toil is due ; 

But the sweet affluence of love and song. 

The rich results of the divine consents 

Of man and earth, of world beloved and lover. 

The nectar and ambrosia are withheld ; 

And in the midst of spoils and slaves, we thieves 

And pirates of the universe, shut out 

Daily to a more thin and outward rind, 

Turn pale and starve. Therefore, to our sick eyes, 

The stunted trees look sick, the summer short. 

Clouds shade the sun, which will not tan our hay. 

And nothing thrives to reach its natural term, 

And life, shorn of its venerable length, 

Even at its greatest space, is a defeat. 

And dies in anger that it was a dupe; 

And in its highest noon and wantonness. 

Is early frugal, like a beggar's child ; 

With most unhandsome calculation taught. 

Even in the hot pursuit of the best 'aims 

And prizes of ambition, checks its hand. 

Like Alpine cataracts, frozen as they leaped. 

Chilled with a miserly comparison 

Of the toy's purchase with the length of life. 

1844.] Critical Notices. 407 


Letters from New York. By L. M. Child. 

We should have expressed our thanks for this volume in the 
last number of the Dial, had the few days, which intervened be- 
tween its reception and the first of October, permitted leisure 
even to read it. Now the press and the public have both been 
beforehand with us in awarding the due meed of praise and 
favor. We will not, however, refrain, though late, from ex- 
pressing a pleasure in its merits. It is, really, a contribution to 
American literature, recording in a generous spirit, and with 
lively truth, the pulsations in one great centre of the national 
existence. It is equally valuable to us and to those on the 
other side of the world. There is a fine humanity in the 
sketches of character, among which we would mention with 
especial pleasure, those of Julia, and Macdonald Clarke. The 
writer never loses sight of the hopes and needs of all men, 
while she faithfully winnows grain for herself from the chaff of 
every day, and grows in love and trust, in proportion with her 
growth in knowledge. 

The Present, Nos. 1—6. Edited by W. H. Channing. 

Mr. Channing's Present is a valiant and vivacious journal, 
and has no superior in the purity and elevation of its tone, and 
in the courage of its criticism. It has not yet expressed itself 
with much distinctness as to the methods by which socialism is 
to heal the old wounds of the public and private heart ; but it 
breathes the air of heaven, and we wish it a million readers. 

President Hopkins's Address before the Society of Alumni of 
Williams College, August, 1848. 

We have read with great pleasure this earnest and manly dis- 
course, which has more heart in it than any literary oration we 
remember. No person will begin the address, without reading 
it through, and none will read it, without conceiving an affection- 
ate interest in Williams College. 

408 Critical J^otices, [Jan. 

Deutsche ScTinellpost. 

This paper, published in the German language twice a 
week in New York, we have read for several months with 
great advantage, and can warmly recommend it to our readers. 
It contains, besides its \ive\y feuillctons, a good correspondence 
from Paris, and, mainly, very well selected paragraphs from all 
the German newspaper's, communicating important news not 
found in any other American paper, from the interior of the 
continent of Europe. It is edited Avith great judgment by 
Eichthal and Bernhard ; and E. P. Peabody, 13 West street, is 
their agent in Boston. 


Vol. IV. APP.,IL, 1844. No. IV. 


It is a common remark, that the most characteristic fea- 
ture of modern thought is its subjectiveness. In the natural 
reaction which followed the dogmatism and formahsm, — the 
ultra objectiveness of the preceding period, the confidence 
of the mind in all authorities and all affirmatives, was se- 
verely shaken ; and a contest ensued between Skepticism, 
on the one hand, and the abiding instinct of Existence in 
the human mind, on the other, which turned the attention 
of all philosophers to the foundation and principles of our 

Modern speculation, therefore, has returned to the fun- 
damental problem of human science ; and asks, first of all, 
''Can we know anything? " To this question, the com- 
mon man readily answers in the affirmative ; and if asked 
how he knows it is so, refers to the actual knowledge which 
we have of the outward world. He has a head on his 
shoulders ; the sun is shining ; or the like, — to which 
he expects your ready assent. 

In this affirmation, as in those systems of metaphysics 
which, like the Common Sense philosophy, &c., consist of 
careful statements of the convictions of the vulgar* con- 
sciousness, — we see the original prejudice of the human 
mind, that something exists : the unshapen and unsyl- 
labled Fact (including all other facts) of the Conscious- 
ness, — sometimes lost sight of for a moment, but never 
permanently shaken off. The universality of this preju- 
dice assures us that it encloses a vital truth, and demands 

* I use the word vulgar in its strict sense, as signifying the naturM as 
opposed to the philosophical consciousness. 

VOL. IV. NO. IV. 53 

410 Immanuel Kant, [April, 

explanation at the hands of the philosopher. Reduced 
to its strict terms, the assertion of the vulgar consciousness 
amounts to nothing more than this. " 1 am aware of 
phenomena." In this sense we see the correctness (from 
this point of view) of Locke's principle, that we derive all 
our ideas from sensation and reflection. For he is evidently 
speaking only of our perceptions of phenomena, of which 
we can be aware only in consequence of two actions, — in 
one of which we are passive, and recipient of impres- 
sions — Sensation : — in the other, active and creative, — 
Reflection, the grasping of the object by the mind. 
Neither the blind man nor the insane behold the blue sky ; 
the former because he cannot see — the latter because he 
cannot comprehend it. 

But we cannot rest long contented with the popular solu- 
tion of the problem ; — but admitting all it asserts, we ask 
farther : — Whether this, after all, touches the point in 
question ? Whether our being aware of phenomena, proves 
that we have any actual objective Knowledge. Plainly it 
does not necessarily ; for a phenomenon is not any fact itself, 
but the appearance of a fact under certain relations ; and 
these relations being accidental and varying, the same fact 
may very well appear in different and even antagonist phe- 
nomena, — as the same degree of caloric may appear warm 
to one man, and cold to another. Here we may easily see 
the origin of Berkleyism ; for, starting with the tacit as- 
sumption that we can know nothing but phenomena, and 
soon finding out the superficial and accidental nature of phe- 
nomena in themselves, we naturally ^transfer this character 
to our knowledge. The same idea is typified in the Hindoo 
doctrine of Maya, the delusive Goddess of Phenomena. 
And even if we were willing to receive phenomena as 
facts, still this would not bring us much farther; for they 
would still be mere detached existences, unrelated except 
by accidental position, and consequently we could not rea- 
son from one to the other, nor even classify them, without 
at the same time acknowledging tiie accidental nature of 
our classification. This is the skepticism of Hume, — the 
natural consequence of Locke's philosophy. 

The general dismay and resistance with which Hume's 
doctrine was received by his contemporaries, is attributable 
to its peculiar excellence as an expression of the thought 

1844.] Immanuel Kant. 411 

of his age. So keen was the unconscious feeling of the 
correctness of the results at which he had arrived from the 
general data, and so»violent the resistance against these re- 
sults of the inmost nature of man, that a convulsion was 
produced which opened new depths in the human con- 
sciousness. In Hume the national mind of Great Britain 
may be said to have uttered itself for once, though it si- 
lenced its own rational voice forthwith by tumults of inane 
babble. But the question which Hume had put, in a man- 
ner so direct and manly, had to be answered somewhere ; 
and it was answered in the ^' Critical Philosophy." 

*' It was the hint given by David Hume," says Kant,* 
" which many years ago waked me from my dogmatic 
slumbers, and gave quite another .direction to my researches 
in the field of speculative philosophy." Hume had clearly 
shown, that in the instance of the idea of Cause and Effect, 
the phenomenon which we call the Cause does not of itself 
involve the conception of the subsequent phenomenon 
"which we call the Effect, and he concluded from this that 
their connection is empirical and imaginary ; which, from 
Locke's point of view, is evidently the case. Herein is 
contained the rudiment of the idea developed by Kant, 
which we are about to examine, namely, — that of anything 
essentially foreign to our mind, an absolute object, we could 
have no objective knowledge. A feeling of the imperious 
necessity with which the two conceptions of Cause and 
Effect are seen in every case to be united, led Kant to 
perceive that their union must depend upon some law of our 
mind. For their necessary connection could not be de- 
duced from experience, which gives only probability, — never 
the universal and invariable feeling of necessity, which is the 
evidence of certain knowledge ; and beyond experience 
we have no source of knowledge except the mind itself. 
This led him to make a critical review of the conscious- 
ness, a priori, — or, as he calls it, a Critique of the Pure 

In this review he postulates nothing more than the uni- 
versally admitted proposition above mentioned, — the com- 
mon perception of phenomena, which he calls Experience ; 
and seeks, according to the principle above hinted at, to 

* Prolegomena zu jed. kunft. Metaphys. Vorr. p. 13. 

412 Immanuel Kant. [April, 

discover, amid the ever varying shadow-dance of phenom- 
ena, something constant and necessary : — for this evi- 
dently must be the character of all the elements of true 

But phenomena, as we have already seen, do not claim 
to be things, themselves — but only appearances ; that is, 
impressions on our minds. Hence we cannot pretend to 
say whether phenomena have any existence at all, out of 
our perception, or not, without leaving the ground to which 
we are restricted by our postulate. Leaving untouched, 
therefore, the question as to the objective existence of out- 
ward things, Kant finds that every phenomenon is presented 
to the mind as occupying a portion of time or space. All 
our perceptions of material objects have extension, either 
as duration or as size.* 

The universality and necessity of these attributes show 
that they depend upon certain laws ; laws, however, not of 
the object, since in phenomena we have no object, but only 
subjective impressions: — laws therefore of the subject of 
the mind in its relation to phenomena ; — or, as Kant styles 
it, the Understanding. 

Having thus discovered the two original and necessary forms 
under which the mind perceives material objects, Kant en- 
deavored to complete a Natural History of the Understand- 
ing, by drawing up a table of its other laws or forms, which 
he calls the Categories, and reduces to several classes. 
But herein he does not confine himself to the legitimate 
province of the philosopher, the elucidation of obscure 
facts of consciousness, but casts about among empirical 
perceptions, and endeavors to classify them, a posteriori ; 
thus introducing an empirical element into his Critique. 
His table of categories is consequently both incomplete 
and redundant. 

* It must be kept in mind, that the necessity of the laws of Time and 
Space docs not depend upon invariable experience (which can never 
give certainty, but only strong probability), but upon our distinct con- 
sciousness that, independent of these laws, phenomena (with whicii alone 
is our present concern) could not exist. Thus, supposing that all bodies 
appeared to us of a red color, all our experience might bear witness that 
this was the constant attribute of extended surfaces ; but though this 
might induce us to surmise some necessity in the case, still there would 
be no essential difficulty in separating the notion of red from our con- 
ception of body. But a body which docs not occupy a portion of space, 
is to us a nonentity. 

1844.] Immanuel Kant. 413 

From this survey of the Understanding, it is evident that 
our experience of material objects is subject in Form to 
certain laws. The subject-matter of phenomena is of 
course empirical, being out of the reach of the Understand- 
ing, and must be supplied by Experience. Of material 
objects, therefore, we can know a priori only the laws of 
possible experience. 

Thus far our attention has been occupied exclusively 
with the examination of the mind in its relations to phe- 
nomena. Of course our only concern has been with the 
subjective forms of phenomena (as being all that we can 
know with certainty about them), neglecting the question 
as to whether we can know anything in its objectivity, or 
essential existence. Our inquiry has been into the How, 
not into the What, of our knowledge of material objects. 

The latter question, however, is vastly the more interest- 
ing, since it is this in fact to which the original, instinctive 
belief in Existence, points. This, therefore, is the all- 
important inquiry. 

In seeking to go behind Phenomena, we quit the sphere 
of the Understanding, and come into the region of the 
Pure Reason, which has to do only with Fact and Essence, 
neglecting entirely Phenomena and Accident. The affir- 
mations of the Pure Reason, Kant calls the Transcendental 
Ideas, since they transcend the Understanding and its per- 
ceptions; and he divides them into three classes, according 
as they affirm the existence : 1. Of the I, or Soul, — Psy- 
chological ; 2. Of the Not-I, or Nature, — Cosmological ; 
3. Of the Supreme Being, — Theological. This division 
however is empirical, and all the Transcendental Ideas may 
be reduced to one, — the affirmation that something is. 
Kant proceeds to examine the results arrived at by the Pure 
Reason, and finds that in every instance in which we at- 
tempt to derive objective knowledge from them, a contra- 
diction is produced between them and the laws of the 
Understanding. This he calls the Antinomianism of the 
Pure Reason. Now all objects, according to him, can be 
perceived only according to the laws of the Understanding; 
therefore the results of the Pure Reason, as far as they 
claim objective or theoretical application, must be errone- 
ous. Their only value, accordingly, is subjective (practical). 

Here it seems, at first sight, as if Kant had fallen into 

414 Immanuel Kant. [April, 

the error of confounding the perceptions of the Pure Rea- 
son with those of the Understanding ; or of confining our 
knowledge to mere sensuous knowledge. And it appears 
as if he might have pursued, in spiritual phenomena, a 
course parallel to that adopted in the examination of sen- 
suous perceptions. Indeed, Kant's instinctive Realism over- 
powers his system in many particulars. As, for instance, 
in his allowing to the Pure Reason a regulative use, even 
in matters of theory ; and in fact in his whole Practical 
Philosophy, which leaves the practical authority of the 
Pure Reason entirely unexplained. 

But the errors of a man like Kant do not lie so near the 
surface. An examination of the nature of the Reason, will 
show us what he was (unconsciously) aiming at in his sepa- 
ration of Theoretical and Practical Philosophy. 

If we consider the Reason (as Kant considered it, and 
as the most still consider it,) as a faculty of perception of 
outward facts — an organon for acquiring knowledge of the 
Not-I, — it is evident that we can know (as in the case of 
the Understanding) only its subjective Forms, and we cannot 
depend on its results, since it can give us no certainty. 
For having, in this case, no control over its object, the sub- 
ject-matter of its perceptions will of course be entirely 
accidental, as far as the Reason is concerned, and we 
shall again find ourselves cheated of the reality of our 
Knowledge, and presented with the empty shells instead. 
In this event it is of little consequence whether these 
merely subjective Forms be those of the Understanding or 
not, — they must at all events be analogous to all intents 
and purposes. 

Kant perceived, however, that the Transcendental Ideas, 
contrary to the perceptions of the Understanding, claim to 
include both Form and subject-matter ; which subject-mat- 
ter he could not place out of the Reason, since this would be 
virtually destroying it, — but placing it in the Reason, he 
thought the destruction of its objectivity the necessary 
consequence. The contest between this result of his iron 
logic and the dictates of his realistic instinct, produced a 
puzzle which he thought (not unnaturally) insurmountable. 

His adherence to his system of course deprives his Prac- 
tical Philosophy of its fundamental principle, and rendered 
it necessary for him in all cases to postulate precisely that 

1844.] Life in the Woods. 415 

which it is the duty of Philosophy to explain, — thus in his 
Ethics, Law, &c. 

His main principle, however, which he so courageously 
and philosophically upholds throughout — that we can know 
nothing out of ourselves, — contains the leading idea of 
Modern Philosophy ; and to him belongs the praise of hav- 
ing been the first to bring it into distinct consciousness. 


*' Here shall he see 
No enemy 
But winter and rough weather." 


That must be a very pleasant life indeed, wherein no 
enemy shall appear who cannot be easily subdued by a 
strong arm and an axe. Yet it seems to have been an 
enemy no more potent which drove men from free life 
in the woods, to the shackles of a closer congregation. 
It is the fashion to speak of the woodland life, as savage, 
barbarous, and brutal; and of the housed life, either in 
feudal castle or trading city, as refined, polished, and ele- 
vated. It might not be altogether wasted time to inquire 
whether this conclusion stands upon a true foundation or 
not. So many errors pass current as truths, that one may 
be not illiberally induced to investigate such a question, 
though it be one that the stricter student wqll deem of 
minor morality. Of such small questions, much that 
is of mighty import is not unfequently constructed. 

That cosmogony which affirms for man the highest 
origin, represents him in his pristine creation as contra- 
vening his Creator's will, and in the very first generation, 
the very first vital act, as quarrelling with, and murdering 
his brother. If this be literally true of the external man, 
as it is now undoubtedly a true signature of operations in 
the soul, the first wigwam was probably erected 
more as a defence from the assaults of man against his 

416 Life in the Woods. [April, 

brother, than from the assaults of uncongenial weather. 
When peace reigns in every human^ bosom, the free man 
may wander for food and for repose to whatever latitude 
the season shall render propitious to his feelings and his 
wants. The thought of erecting a house grew not out 
of human necessity so much as out of human rapacity. 
The love of power in some assailant, rather than the love 
of art in some pacific being, forced on man the utility of 
a house for his protection, while in a state of repose. It 
at least defended him from too sudden a surprise, if it did 
not wholly protect him. The inclemency of a stronger 
brother, more than the inclemency of the weather, gener- 
ated the thought of a stockade. 

Passing over this consideration, let us contemplate the 
sylvan man in his native state, let us compare him with the 
civilian, and see to which the superiority must be awarded, 
both as respects nature and conditions. Behold, what it is 
difficult for us to imagine, an individual wholly free from 
the diseases consequent upon luxury and debauchery, and 
subject only to the little incidental ills of the exhilarating 
chase. Conceive of one to whom hereditary or chronic 
disease is unknown, to whom catarrh, and cough, and 
palsying apprehension of a cold never are disturbances. 
He walks erect, with elastic, almost bounding, step, expan- 
ded ^nd uncovered chest, and limbs untrammelled by the 
ligatures of fashion. Health, strength, and agility, com- 
bined with an unchecked reliance on their continuance, 
are a living fund of joy, wonderfully contrasting with the 
disease, weakness, and imbecility of, modern refinement. 

Every sense in the primitive forester's frame is integrally 
preserved. He holds an immediate intercourse with 
nature herself, or at least by his unerring senses and the 
undeviating objects in nature, he is enabled intuitively to 
read off" the living volume as it lies open and unpolluted 
before him. By mere sight and smell, he is at once in- 
ducted into a knowledge of the essential properties of 
plants, and can without experience, foretel their operations 
on the human system, as unerringly as the native sheep 
can select its suitable food, or the untamed wood-dove, 
can without schooling, essay a winged journey. 

If after long labor and close study, the civic student 
knows sometliing concerning nature from his books and 

1844.] Life in the Woods. 417 

pictures, the sylvan student knows much of her and her 
laws before the record of book or graver was constructed. 
He is as a mother who knows of maternity, and a mother's 
feehngs in a hving and soul-participating manner, antece- 
dent to all external observation, while the college student 
is comparable to the obstetric physician, who compiles a 
book from external observation only, and writes of feelings 
he never felt, and of experiences he never did or can ex- 

The sylvan is present at the very fountain head, living 
in and with the works, productions, and operations which 
will, by and by, be recorded ; the civilian is acquainted 
only with the record. The one is witness to the vital 
spring and birth of nature's offspring ; the other's studies 
are comparable only to a poring over the parish register. 

It is the boast of modern experimental philosophy, that 
it has abandoned or overturned the Aristotelian method of 
study by words, adopting that of studying things. But it 
pursues its objects by means of crucibles, retorts, and bal- 
ances, as deceptive, vague, and unsatisfactory as the stu- 
dies they have superseded ; for these, after all, stood as 
near the moral source as modern science. Whereas the 
pure, unsophisticated human body, is a retort, a test, far 
surpassing all the instruments which the highest science 
can boast. By the sylvan man all nature is affectionately 
felt ; by the civilized it is only intellectually scanned. 
The warmth of life is characteristic of one ; the coldness 
of death the distinguishing mark of the other. Chymical 
science, the great boast and wonder worker af our enlight- 
ened age, cannot even discern those delicate differences 
and lineaments in nature, which optics can reveal, and it 
can do nothing in any department of nature, until the 
object is reduced to its mineral state. In the grand and 
noble field of life it is powerless. Vegetables and animals, 
as such, in their living beauty are fruitlessly presented to 
the chymist's skill. He has weights and measures, but 
cannot compute living motion anymore than he can fathom 
moral emotion. He has testing apparatus, but no taste. 
But our natural chymist only sees and knows such objects 
in life and motion. With his unassisted eye, he perceives 
varieties which the chymist never learns, and by an unviti- 
ated palate, he detects in the living volume of nature the 

VOL. IV. NO. IV. 53 

418 Life in the Woods, [April, 

occult essential qualities of plants, which the last analy- 
sis in the laboratory rarely or never can reveal. The 
forms, odors, statures of plants, as they simply stand before 
him, are types in the boundless volume of v\^hich the sci- 
entific student seems ever destined to peruse merely the 
title page. The eye, the nose, the palate, the touch, and 
every sense is an inlet direct from the book of nature, 
a first impression, which to the civilized student rarely 
comes otherwise than at second hand. He must refer to 
his printed authority, and his human classification, his en- 
cyclopedia, his constructed circle of circumferential science ; 
while our nature-student has in himself the authority, 
knows truly the real author, and feels himself to be at 
the centre of science, of which the circumference lies 
about him. " The unity of the Sciences," the last pleas- 
ing thought of labored skill, the key-stone with which 
studious industry has at length crowned its self-wondrous 
arch, is no novelty to the free soul. He never felt know- 
ledge otherwise than as a unity ; nature or natural objects 
never were thus dissectively presented to him. He sees 
objects analytically without doubt, as well as synthetically ; 
but always perhaps under both aspects at once, always in 
their individual existence as well as united to an antece- 
dent unity, the parent of them all. 

For all the purposes of life, for all the utilities of his 
life, the science of the forest man is complete. All the 
wants which in such a life are generated, in the immediate 
world about him, find tlieir supplies. The pressure of 
hunger, the needful clothing, even the ornaments which 
he desires, with their tasteful forms, and superadded tints, 
he obtains without difficulty or danger to himself or fellow 
man. Not so is it with the wants and wishes generated in 
civic life. These know no bounds, but expand with every 
gratification ; their victims at once boasting over their 
expansion, and groaning over their denial. No sea or land 
is unexplored to create new wants, or to supply excited 
and extraneous appetites, and carrying with him to the 
innocent and pure, disease and vice of the cruellest kind, 
civilized man boasts the extension of his domain, the mul- 
tiphcation of his likeness. 

A darker age presumes upon its false illumination, to 
call antecedent ages dark. A busy, wandering, restless 

1844.] Life in the Woods. 419 

civilization ventures from the point of its ovi^n worthless 
activity, to pronounce the contented child of nature savage 
and barbarous. Literally, perhaps, these epithets are 
justly applied. If savage means a dweller in the wood, 
and barbarian one who does not denude his chin of hair ; 
if the terms be taken to mean no more than these, there 
would be clearly no greater injustice or condemnation in 
them, than in calling one a civilian who dwells in a city. 
But the design in using these words is to affirm that the 
heights of mind, elevation of thought, purity in sentiment 
are denied to man in one condition of life, and granted in 
the other. 

That those who are most ready to use these allusions 
aspersively ever think about the matter, or are capable of 
thinking very profoundly, may, until they feel more be- 
nignly, very charitably be doubted. But there is sufficient 
evidence on record to prove that the sublimest conceptions 
have not been withheld from the mind of the North American 
native, any more than from the highly taught sons of civil- 
ization. A narrative not unworthy of Swedenborg, or 
even of Plato, is reported in David Brainerd's Diary, kept 
while he was a missionary among the natives of New 
Jersey, about one hundred years ago. Of its correctness 
there is very little room to doubt ; since the recorder 
mourns over it in every aspect, and that the seer could 
have acquired it from any other person, there is no ground 
whatever to suspect. It is given in these words : — 

'' What increases the aversion of the Indians to Christianity, 
is the influence their powwoivs have upon them. These are 
supposed to have a power of foretelling future events, of recov- 
ering the sick, and of charming persons to death. And^their 
Spirit, in its various operations, seems to be a Satanical imita- 
tion of the spirit of prophecy, that the church in early ages was 
favored with. 

*' I have labored to gain some acquaintance with this affair, 
and have for that end consulted the man mentioned in my 
journal, of the 9th of May, who since his conversion to Chris- 
tianity has endeavored to give me the best intelligence he could 
of this matter. But it seems to be such a mystery of iniquity, 
that I cannot well understand it, and so far as I can learn, he 
himself has not any clear notions of the thing, now his spirit 
of divination is gone from him. However, the manner in 
which he says he obtained this spirit, was, he was admitted into 

420 Life in the Woods. [April, 

the presence of a great man who informed him that he loved, 
pitied, and desired to do him good. It was not in this world 
that he saw the great man, but in a world above at a vast dis- 
tance from this. The great man, he says^ was clothed with 
the day ; yea, with the brightest day he ever saw, a day of 
many years, yea of everlasting continuance! This whole 
world, he says, was drawn upon him, so that in him the earth 
and all things in it might be seen. I asked him if rocks, moun- 
tains, and seas were drawn upon, or appeared in him. He 
replied, that every thing that was beautiful and lovely in the 
earth was upon him, and might be seen by looking on him, 
as well as if one was on the earth to take a view of them 
there. By the side of the great man, he said, stood his shadow 
or spirit. This shadow, he says, was as lovely as the man him- 
self, and filled all places, and was most agreeable as well as 
wonderful to him. 

" Here, he says, he tarried some time, and was unspeakably 
entertained and delighted with a view of the great man, of his 
shadow or spirit, and of all things in him. And what is most 
of all astonishing, he imagined all this to have passed before 
he was born. He never had been, he says, in this world at 
that time. And what confirms him in the belief of this, is, 
that the great man told him he must come down to earth, be born 
of such a woman, meet with such and such things, and in 
particular, that he should once in his life be guilty of murder. 
At this he was displeased, and told the great man he would 
never murder. But the great man replied, ' I have said it, and 
it shall be so.' Which has accordingly happened. At this 
time, he says, the great man asked him what he would choose 
in life. He replied, first to be a hunter, and afterwards to be a 
powwow or diviner. Whereupon the great man told him he 
should have what he desired, and that his shadow should go 
along with him down to earth, and be with him forever. There 
were, he says, all this time no words spoken between them. 
The conference was not carried on by any human language, 
but they had a kind of mental intelligence of each other's 
thoughts. After this, he says, he saw the great man no more; 
but supposes he came down to earth to be born, but the spirit 
or shadow of the great man still attended him, and ever after 
continued to appear to him in dreams, and other ways, until he 
felt the power of God's word upon his heart, since which it has 
entirely left him. 

" There were sometimes when this spirit came upon him in a 
special manner, and he was full of what he saw in the great 
man; and then, he says, he was all light, and not only light 
himself, but it was light all around him, so that he could see 

1844.] Life in the Woods. 421 

through men, and know the thoughts of their hearts. These 
depths of Satan I leave to others to fathom, and do not know 
what ideas to affix to such terms, nor can guess what concep- 
tions of things these creatures have at the times when they call 
themselves all light." — p. 304. 

So similar are some of these sentiments, and so like are 
some of these words to those of Svi^edenborg and Words- 
worth, that in the obscurity of time they might be attributed 
to these sources. But as our record is dated three fourths 
of a century before one, and many years before the other 
authority, such hypothesis is manifestly untenable ; but the 
converse is rather to be maintained. 

In a previous passage the zealous Brainerd remarks. 

" I find that in antient times, before the coming of the white 
people, some supposed there were four invisible powers, who 
presided over the four corners of the earth. Others imagined 
the Sun to be the only deity, and that all things were made by 
him. Others at the same time having a confused notion of a 
certain body or fountain of deity, somewhat like the anima 
mundi ; so frequently mentioned by the more learned antient 
heathens, diffusing itself to various animals, and even to inani- 
mate things, making them the immediate authors of good to 
certain persons." 

When w^e find so unw^illing a witness bearing satisfactory 
testimony to the spontaneous generation of the most 
profound and subtile thoughts, which have ever entered 
the human soul, filling, in so vivid a manner, that of the 
unschooled savage, how can we deny the presence of that 
mental life and quickness, which as polished and civilized 
beings we delight to boast. To these red men, and to all 
the white who came into connexion with them, the names 
and works and thoughts of Behmen the profound, or of 
Plato the elegant, were alike unknown. To these wilds 
their renown had not then travelled, and even now they 
are unpopular and obscure authors. Had it indeed been 
otherwise, and could it be proved that such sentiments 
were the results of outward lessons, it would prove no less 
satisfactorily to what subtlety of thought the native mind 
could ascend ; even beyond that of the missionary teacher 
having St. John's mystic gospel in his hand. For I must 
not suppose that those whom I now address, like Brainerd, 
" cannot even guess what conceptions these creatures have 

42*2 Life in the Woods. [April, 

at the time tliey call themselves all light," seeing that we 
know there '•' is a true light, which lighteth every man who 
comelh into the world." 

No wonder need be then excited in our minds, when we 
occasionally hear of the young spirit, to whom the cost- 
liest education has been afforded, and before whom the 
whole world invitingly lies as a beautiful unexplored gar- 
den, every path free to his foot, turning, after a little ex- 
perience, his course from the city towards the woods. The 
experiment of a true wilderness life by a white person must, 
however, be very rare. He is not born for it ; he is not 
natured for it. He lacks the essential qualities as well as 
the physical substance for such a life, and the notion of 
entering on it must be considered merely an interesting 
dream. Some amalgamation may, however, be possible ; 
and to unite the advantages of the two modes has doubt- 
less been the aim of many. Even now we hear of some 
individuals, on whom the world might hopefully rely to be- 
come eminent even amongst the worthy, betaking them- 
selves from the busy haunts of men to a more select and 
secluded life. 

But will they succeed in wrestling against their increased 
natural needs, and their remaining civic wants, diminished 
as these may be ? On trial, as on due consideration, it 
will be found that this is not a very promising course. By 
the time the hut is built, the rudest furniture constructed, 
the wood chopped, the fire burning, the bread grown and 
prepared, the whole time will be exhausted, and no inter- 
val remain for comfortably clothing the body, for expansion 
in art, or for recreation by the boDk or pen. This but 
faintly promises to be the mode, by which the simple and 
pure in heart shall escape the pressures and burdens, which 
prevent the full and happy development of the soul. 

Of those vi^ho have sought a recluse life on a religious 
basis, it has been remarked that solitude is a state suitable 
only to the best or the worst. The average cast of hu- 
manity cannot be much benefitted by it. It is not a con- 
dition in which human beings can be brought into the 
world, and it is rarely a condition in which they should 
attempt to remain in it. The austerities pertaining to 
silence and solitude may improve the very bad ; they may 
leave uninjured the very good ; but such as are in the 

1844.] Life in the Woods. 423 

process of improvement, an association of some kind seems 
more suitable, as it is evidently more natural. It is natural, 
not only in the sense of harmony with the humane affec- 
tions, which out of social intimacy must painfully wither, 
but also it is natural to the interior or spirit life. The 
highest virtue can be promoted by friendship and fellow- 
ship. If even God himself may have a favorite disciple 
upon whose bosom he can rechne; the spiritually minded 
surely cannot commit a very great error in adopting the 
aid of co-support, when they are so fortunate as to find it, 
or still more fortunate to be able to bestow it. 

No mistake could be more evident than that of assuming 
that the child of nature lives an isolate life. On the con- 
trary, he moves in a circle much more social than modern 
cities can boast. The tribe is a better type of the univer- 
sal family than the city, wdiere the inhabitants of the same 
street are frequently unknown to each other after dwelling 
many years side by side. Again, so little of the love-destroy- 
ing notion of property enters into this free man's scheme, 
that the universal idea is not erased. He is not an isolated 
but a dispersive being. He lives not alone ; he merely 
occupies a large space. He does not estimate his strength, 
his value, or his happiness by the density of the population, 
but rather by its rarity. In the spare civic statistics of 
forty persons to the square mile, he is oppressed by the 
crowd. He requires abundant supplies of vital air, and 
the atmosphere is corrupted for him long before the white 
man's neighborhood arrives at a comfortable point. The 
pure oxygen which the Creator provides is suitable to the 
red man, while the white is only happy in steam, or some 
other self-generated atmosphere. By union of numbers, 
by condensation into a phalanx, the white man conquers 
the red, whom singly he could never subdue. By a new 
and superior phalanx, constructed altogether on a different 
basis, it is probably destined that the present civilized in- 
stitutions shall be superseded, and the new and superior 
nature in man receive a new and superior development. 

This is in fact the point to which all our endeavors 
must converge. Poetic wanderings will not more rectify 
us than trading conversations. And on calm considera- 
tion, unswayed by those paradoxes which ingenious men 
have from time to time constructed concerning the beauti- 

424 Life in the Woods, [April, 

ful liberty of the sylvan life, and to which imaginations we 
have on this occasion perhaps too strongly tended, have we 
not to confess that one is as distant from true life as the 
other? They both lie on the same circumference. They 
are but segments of one circle, struck by the compasses of 
human selfishness at too great a distance from the true 
centre. There does not appear to have been any true 
inwjird progress by the change from the woods to the 
town ; if indeed men ever were so changed, and it be not 
the fact that these two lives belong to two distinct races, 
each severally fitted by organization for its respective mode 
of life ; which seems the truer hypothesis. 

Conceding civilization to be some improvement in social 
arrangements, while we assert that it secures no vital pro- 
gress to the soul, we have to conclude that it is our busi- 
ness and our duty to look in some other, some new 
direction. It is evidently not by a new circumferential 
disposition of humanity, that it will be brought into new 
vital relations. The outward conditions may be more or 
less favorable to the placing of each individual soul in 
a position to receive the higher influences, and to live the 
higher life ; but such conditions are scarcely within the 
scope of any scientific predictions. They seem to be in 
all cases as immediately within the hands of the highest 
source of good, as the good itself of which the human soul 
is by such conditions brought to be the recipient. Or, if 
there be any conditioning required, it is not to be sought 
in persons, events, or things without and about man, so 
much as in himself. The critical event in the career of 
any human soul, which shall open it to the highest con- 
sciousness, and subject it to the highest, and tenderest, 
and loveliest graces can never be foretold. The uninitiate 
spectator can scarcely believe the importance of the occa- 
sion when it is affirmed. Actions of the most ordinary 
kind, but performed by some particular person ; events of 
apparently the lightest character, yet administered by provi- 
dence through some delicate human relationship, often 
suffice to produce that sacred effect, which results from the 
feeling that every door of human sympathy is closed against 
us. It is in this sad hour ; it is in such sacred mood of 
mind ; that the holy flame descends upon the altar of the 
human bosom ; after which the outward conditions of life 

1844.] The Emigrants. 425 

in very deed become a matter of light importance. 
Thenceforward riches or poverty, cities or woods, associa- 
tion or isolation or dispersion, nay even healtii and sick- 
ness dwindle into films and shadows, scarcely noticeable 
by the regenerate soul. 

To view all things as male and female is a favorite habit 
of many acute minds; and to such it may appear, that the 
forest and civilized lives are the male and female, from 
whose marriage an offspring shall result more conducive to 
human bliss. But it is difficult to conceive how corrupt 
parents shall have pure progeny, until their own corruption 
be annulled. They are rather to be estimated both as 
males. And, as in the olden history, the tiller of the 
ground is again destined to destroy the keeper of sheep, 
the hunter of deer. C. L. 



I CANNOT take my eyes away 

From you^ ye busy, bustling band 1 

Your little all to see you lay 

Each in the waiting seaman's hand. 

Ye men that from your necks let down 

Your heavy baskets to the earth, 
Of bread from German corn baked brown 

By German wives on German hearth. 

And you, with braided tresses neat, 
Black-Forest maidens, lithe and brown, 

How careful, on the stoop's green seat. 
You set your pails and pitchers down. 

Ah, oft have home's cool shaded tanks 
These pails and pitchers filled for you ; 

On far Missouri's silent banks 

Shall these the scenes of home renew : 

VOL. IV. NO. IV. 54 

42,6 The Emigrants, [April, 

The stone-rimmed fount in village-street, 
Where oft ye stooped to chat and draw, 

The hearth and each familiar seat, 

The pictured tiles your childhood saw. 

Soon, in the distant, wooded West, 

Shall loghouse-walls therewith be graced ; 

Soon many a tired, tawny guest 

Shall sweet refreshment from them taste. 

From them shall drink the Cherokee, 
Worn from the hot and dusty chase ; 

Nor more from German vintage ye 

Shall bear them home in leaf-crowned grace. 

Oh, say, why seek ye other lands 1 

The Neckar's vale hath wine and corn ; 

Full of dark firs the Schwarzwald stands ; 
In Spessart rings the Alpherd's horn. 

Ah ! in strange forests ye shall yearn 
For the green mountains of your home ! 

To Deutschland's yellow wheatfields turn. 
In spirit o'er her vinehills roam ! 

How will the forms of days grown pale 

In golden dreams float softly by, 
Like some wild legendary tale 

Before fond memory's moistened eye. 

The boatman calls; — Go hence in peace ! 

God bless you, man and wife and sire ! 
Bless all your fields with rich increase, 

And crown each faithful heart's desire ! 

1844.] Youth of the Poet and the Painter, 427 


[Continued from p. 284 of last Number.] 

My Dear Son, 

Now you have left college, let us think no more about 
it. I doubt not that you did right, if the place was so 
very disagreeable to you. I never, as you know, have 
meant to force you ; and if you had not left so suddenly, 
without consulting me on the subject, it is very likely I 
should not have felt so much about it. It was the uncer- 
tainty connected with your movements that troubled me, 
and led me to write you, I dare say, letters that my sober 
moments might not sanction. However, let us say nothing 
more about college. I hope you will pursue your studies, 
especially the modern languages, — these are indispensable, 
as your father used to say, to a merchant or professional 
man. If you now return, and Fanny says every time a 
stage drives by, " There comes Neddy," you can easily 
carry out your studies by the aid of good masters here, 
even if you entered a store at once, as I trust you will. 
Though I had once supposed you might be a lawyer, I 
should still not object to your becoming a merchant, and 
in some conversation I had with Mr. Penny the other day, 
he said, he thought he could find you a place immediately. 
I should not expect, that if you entered the counting-room 
on your return, you would find it beneficial to devote your 
whole time to mercantile occupations, but only a part of 
each day ; the remainder you could devote to exercise, on 
foot, or in the saddle. I have just purchased a saddle- 
horse, who has a very easy gait, and, as you remember, 
there are many fine drives about Doughnut. Your old 
room has been refitted, the coal-grate taken out, and a 
large, convenient wood fire-place made of it. I have put 
in a red carpet, and made a red sofa-spread ; and put in 
some curtains of the same color ; I think it will have a 
pleasant effect in winter. We have had a new book-case 

428 Youth of the Poet and the Painter, [April, 

made, and put in the place of the old one, with drawers 
for papers and curiosities, underneath the shelves. Your 
books preserve their old order. I feel confident we shall 
pass a pleasant winter. It is getting late now and cold, 
and it will be necessary for you to provide yourself with 
some thicker stockings perhaps ; I send with this, a bun- 
dle also containing the rest of your flannel waiscoats. You 
must pay particular attention to guarding your throat when 
you are abroad, as you may bring on another attack of 
the bronchitis, which troubled you so much two winters 
ago. The season, so far, has been healthy with us, and 
your sister is in good condition. I shall be glad to know 
when you are coming, and always delighted to get a line 
from you, when you feel like writing. Fanny sends her 
best love. 

Your affectionate mother, 

Rebecca Ashford. 



My Dear Sir, 

In a conversation I had the pleasure to have with Mrs. 
Ashford, some days since, she mentioned accidentally, I 
think, the fact that you had left college, and were about to 
pursue some branch of occupation unconnected with the 
liberal professions. I therefore took the liberty of men- 
tionnig to Mrs. Ashford, that if your inclination tended to 
entering upon the duties of a merchant, I should be much 
gratified to exert myself personally in your behalf. I have 
made several inquiries, and discovered a situation in the 
Messrs. Swippins' Wholesale Grocery Concern. This, it 
occurs to me, would generally be considered an eligible 

It is within my power to speak the more confidently 
upon this subject, because I formerly carried on a business 
of this description myself. At first, a person who had not 
been used to business confinement, would perhaps find his 
time a little too much taken up with the affairs of the 

1844.] Youth of the Poet and the Painter. 429 

Concern, but I think, from a little statement which I will 
make, of what would be required the first two years, you 
will not deem it too severe a privation, when it is consid- 
ered how great gain will result from these two years. It is 
my opinion, that the benefits would more than outweigh 
the sacrifice, even if it was Iieavier. 

You would, during the first year, be required to sweep 
the store before breakfast, make the fires, and at noon, secure 
an early meal, by which means you would be present while 
the clerks and partners were at their dinners, and in the 
evening remain till a little after dark, and close the store. 
During the morning, you would either be engaged in the 
clerk's room copying letters, or employed in the store-room, 
or at some vessel checking the cargo ; yet this latter duty 
would subject you to no confinement, as, on the contrary, 
it is universally performed in the open air. Copying letters 
might frequently occupy you for six hours during the day, 
but as it would be the means of education, this brief time 
would pass agreeably. 

Emanuel Swippins, Esq., the head of the firm, is the 
father of the Misses Swippins, friends I think of your 
family, and to my knowledge very affable, cheerful young 
people. By forming an acquaintance with Mr. Swippins, 
you would secure an introduction to the best mercantile 
houses in Doughnut. Mr. Swippins's principal partner is 
George Potlid, Esq., and the two other partners, Messrs 
Muffins and Tweezy ; they are all of them cultivated, 
agreeable, fine-spirited persons, in whose society you would 
find great knowledge of business, and those true refine- 
ments which adorn and polish human existence. I have 
written without Mrs. Ashford's knowledge, for which 
pardon me. 

Your most obliged servant, 

FnANcis Penny. 



I have been glad to receive some verses from you, in 
your late letters. Continue sending them, for I discover a 

430 Youth of the Poet and the Painter, [April, 

new melody, and a completer finish in each new poem, 
and the last I receive seems always the best. I notice 
what you have said of Mathews Gray, in one of your 
letters, but I think you would like him more than you 
suspect, on a personal acquaintance. He has the power 
of attaching others, through the medium of his intellect, no 
less than his heart, and I believe he has never made a 
friendship by which his friend has not been benefited. I 
notice you have the general impression of his character ; 
like others, you have set him down for a critic. But he 
only criticizes, to assist himself and others in getting a 
better knowledge of the person, — never, for the mere pur- 
pose of delivering an opinion. Gray takes more interest 
in all those he hears of, or meets with, than any one I know, 
and has a real pleasure in living in another, which his 
faculty enables him fully to sustain. No one can pass a 
few days in his society, without becoming impressed with 
the extent and variety of his learning, and the depth of his 
inquiries; he is with this, exempt from pedantry either in 
book-studies, or affection ; he never presses himself into 
the service of another, but with childlike enthusiasm opens 
his heart and mind, when the sympathy is demanded. 

I have at length concluded that 1 will go abroad, and 
pass a year or two, not that I have exhausted the wells of 
thought in my own country, but because I am in a condi- 
tion to go, and must take the time as I find it. My health 
has not been as good as usual this autumn, and I am ad- 
vised to spend the next winter on the continent of Europe. 
I shall regret leaving you, yet must trust to the imperfect 
medium of letters, to keep our knowledge of one another 
fresh, and will do my part in sending you whatever I find 
of any importance, as far as I can speak of it with any 
satisfaction to myself. In the mean time, if it would be 
agreeable to you, I will desire Gray to send a word occa- 
sionally from his retreat. 

Foreign travel has become so much a matter of course 
with our American youth, that it seems now no more than 
spending a month at the Falls, or a winter at the South. 
I regard it however of more importance to the artist, than 
the general man pf letters, if we learn whatever our own 
collections can teach, before we cross the ocean. There 
is a certain period, to which wo each of us reach, when we 

1844.] Youth of the Foct and the Painter. 431 

have satisfied our desires on one side, and ask for a new 
life, to give our thouglits a new direction, and I seem to 
have arrived there. 1 am now in need of better pictures, 
than I can see about nae here, and after so much of this 
new country, I long to fly and compare it with the antique. 
I aim to raise my present standard of beauty by higher 
models, and to scrutinize myself in the mirrors of better 
artists. I feel that if my taste merits some regard for its 
delicacy, it aspires to scale the lofty summits of purer art ; 
I am fearful of degenerating into a half-formed amateur, if 
I do not seek after the absolutely best productions which 
remain. My opportunities may have been as good as I 
could secure in America, but I know that Florence or Rome 
contains ten times more than I can find here, if I spent a 
lifetime in the search. How can I learn anything of 
Michael, Raphael, Titian, Claude, or any of the masters, in 
this country ! 

And yet I fear to go. Perhaps when I look upon the 
really sublime works, I shall turn away in despair, and 
resolve never again to aspire to be an artist. I have seen 
with wonder our second-rate artists flocking to Italy, and 
after copying a few pictures, return, still carrying out their 
petty imitations ; I had thought they would have been 
shamed into silence, by communing with what was so far 
above them. 1 know their excuse, that they had a certain 
department in which they could labor, and could content 
themselves, if they did a little well, if they only limited 
themselves, and bound their endeavors within the circle of 
least diameter. 

I feel it will be a crisis in my life, when I sit before those 
magnificent works, which have held the worship of the 
world captive for centuries ; I shall enter the gallery with 
trembling limbs. Yet I long for the trial. It is what I 
have looked forward to so many years, that, of late, I think 
it has worn so much on my spirits as to impair my health. 
It might have been a happiness, if I could have rushed for- 
ward as the mass of painters, and, upon finishing some tiny 
bijou, considered myself the best of artists ; yet, if a happi- 
ness, it is a low pleasure, and I feel it would be more noble to 
sacrifice every lesser work, and not to call myself anything 
before fully proving my powers. What a canker in the 
breast it is to aspire so continually, yet accomplish nothing ; 

432 Youth of the Poet and the Painter. [April, 

and how many must have died of the unfulfilled desire to 
create. Yet, we are ready to accept the pangs of disap- 
pointment, sooner than the vacancy of those who never 
wish to become masters. I can conceive of no position so 
admirable, as that of the truly successful painter. His 
glory comes in his lifetime, and follows upon the produc- 
tion of his works. The first painter of an age stands 
among his fellows a monument so lofty, that the crown 
never darkens, but an eternal sun brightens the figure. 

I shall not hurry from city to city, but pass half a year 
at Rome, and as much time at Florence. With me, travel- 
ling abroad never shines under the light of a pleasure 
excursion. There are minor reasons, why I am desirous to 
go ; the change, the society, the civilization, will have their 
relative importance. It is in the main a stern trial of my 
right to be an artist, a period of study and starvation. I 
feel I must go alone, and work out the problem by myself; 
I must face the beauty alone, and seek no aid to enable me 
to gain a footing. It is my intention to copy, for some 
time, from the best pictures, and after I am thoroughly im- 
bued with the best thoughts of others, try my own hand. 
I know this subjects me to the danger of becoming an im- 
itator. I may adopt too much of the style which pleases 
me best, and when I paint my own picture, not recognise 
the copyist. It is necessary I should be strong enough to 
scrutinize my productions with the critic's eye, and how- 
ever much others may differ from me, I can only satisfy 
myself, as a critic of my own works. I have vibrated so 
many years between being an artist, and no artist, that I 
must cast the die myself. Perhaps I have not taken the 
wisest path ; it is that only which can satisfy me. 

Ever yours, 





I have written of late on the character and pursuits of 
Edward. Your announcement that you are resolved to do 

1844.] Youth of the Poet and the Painter. 433 

what you have long meditated, and to spend a year in 
Europe, leads me to you. I hear the decision, on some ac- 
counts, with regret, and especially as it is your purpose to 
tread alone the fertile fields of transatlantic civilization. 
You resemble Edward more than you think ; and your 
solitary pilgrimage will not differ, essentially, from his retreat 
to Lovedale. It is what I might expect, from the differ- 
ence in your characters, that you should seek the broad 
land of art, while he lies beneath the oaks of the forest. 
While I think Edward has chosen the right spot to make 
the foundation of his education for a poet, it is my duty to 
say that I would not have you leave America just yet. 
You feel as keenly sensitive to disappointment, as a painter, 
as he does as a poet ; but he retreats to nature alone, leav- 
ing the verses of his brother rhymesters, while you will 
enter the hotbed of art, and not only warm, but, perchance, 
scorch yourself in the sun. As a painter, you are liable to 
more difficulties, in succeeding, than he contends with ; 
and there is this difference in your positions, that Ed- 
ward contends with himself, more than with others, while 
you owe your defeats to an unappeasable ambition, not to 
excel others, it is true, but to stand as high. Your charac- 
ter, as a man, is more formed than his, while your devel- 
opment as an artist remains much less certain. The total 
beauty of a picture strikes us with far greater force than 
the aggregate of a poem, and it occurs to me you are more 
alive to your deficiencies in your art than he is in his. 
Added to this, you will excuse me if I say I believe you 
have too exacting a view of what you are bound to effect 
as an artist, at present, and are unwilling to take the ben- 
efits you should of right claim as student. You demand 
an absolute perfection now, not indeed in whole works, 
but in tendencies whereby you may elect for yourself to be 
an artist. Neither will you allow us to give our opinion of 
your merit, but accept only your own ; and yet, in the case 
of another, you are ready to admit that he cannot really 
judge how good are his works. 

I no more doubt that you were born a painter, than that 
Edward was a poet ; it grieves me to find how you ad- 
here to your old notions, of going abroad and making a 
trial, to decide for life, in the choice of your pursuit. 
The pursuit was chosen for you by nature, before your 

VOL. IV. NO. IV. 55 

434 Youth of the Poet and the Painter. [April, 

birth, like every other man's. I would have you believe 
my statement, for I am in the true position to see that 
your power, as an artist, cannot be justly questioned. 
Therefore resolve, having nearly completed the preliminary 
studies for the world in general, and which no one regrets 
mastering, to devote yourself exclusively to your own 
affairs. Take your palette and canvass, and station your- 
self among the fields and groves, and draw the spirit di- 
rect from the springs of life. This is what Claude did, 
what Salvator did, what every artist will do, if circumstan- 
ces allow. Yours do allow it. You are mortgaged to no 
other pursuit, your worldly means are ample, your health, 
I doubt not, improvable, the moment you settle this ques- 
tion with yourself. Fancy yourself a merchant, sitting at 
your desk dealing in bills of exchange, and ciphering up 
learned accounts from an elegant red lined check-book ; 
fancy yourself circhng in the old round of gain and opin- 
ion, with dry and dusty money-venders ; you, who have 
given ten years' of life, each moment a diamond, to pre- 
pare for the artist's studio ; think how tedious, after the 
first novelty had wore off; think of those long years of 
repetition, in the same round; feel, what the retrospect of 
ten years spent in such an arena would produce, what 
anguish, what horror, what spasms of remorse ; a Hfe 
without creation, an existence without action. Then, I 
say, take your palette and pencil, and retreat to the woods, 
and there paint ten years for yourself, forgetting there 
ever lived another painter. With what joy you would 
trace a flexile landscape on your glowing canvass ; how 
would your eyes live in the rich greens of the foliage, the 
golden dyes of the clouds, and the soft, hazy tints of the 
aerial distance ; some shepherd driving home his flock in 
this peaceful sunset, would be the poetical figure of your 
repose. Neither would the heavy, beating storm coming 
wild and ominous across the blue floor of the sea, smile 
upon you the less ; between the points of the two islands 
yonder, the waves would leap along the horizon's line, a 
herd of wild animals, while these stately rocks in your 
foreground, with one pine keenly verdant hanging over 
them, stand like simple wisdom ; between your distance 
and your feet, the shadows would shift and play, as every 
wind sent a cloud over, and the surface of the sea spring 

1844.] Youth of the Poet and the Painter. 435 

into life under the magnetic burden, and a shower of dia- 
monds flit and gHsten like fire-flies on the mirror. What 
a new day every morning handed you, to enbalm it in 
magic colors, and the cottage hearth would scatter its ruby 
finish on the undried sketches, and make you taste the 
sweets of your glazing to-morrow. After ten such years, 
you would enter Italy, and not doff* your hat to Claude or 

M. G. 




It will grieve me not to see you before you leave for 
Europe ; and yet I fear, I could be of little service to you, 
if you remained in America. I feel my barrenness of 
thought and feeling more sensibly every day. I am con- 
vinced more than ever, these are my trial years, when I 
must go forth alone into the wilderness, and see if I have 
any strength. Yet I am sure of some things, and have 
nearly swept some corners of my heart, and trimmed the 
lamps in my cave. At last, they have consented to leave 
me in peace ; I am to be no more troubled by my Uncle 
Richard, and even my mother has said, she will never 
more mention college. I will send you some further 
leaves of my journal, as a parting gift. 


Come to me, cold wind of the late autumn, and rest 
thy vexed spirit in my breast; I am cold as thou, yet love 
the sun, and the deep warmth of rosy summer. I am not 
like thee, for I cannot wander over mountain, and moor, 
nor rattle the cottage-blinds, nor sing merrily in the locks 
of the dry grass ; I am still and motionless. O give me 
thy hurrying pinions, and we will sweep like the grey gulls 
over the blue sea, and rock the little vessels, as they ride 
at anchor near the coves of the shore, as we fly from 
country to country. Then perhaps we shall come to some 
litde island, where the roses bloom, and the sward is soft, 

436 Youth of the Poet and the Painter. [April, 

and the clouds golden, and there we will sink into a sleep 
so quiet, that life can never more awake us. 


Merrily on, merrily on, 

Singing a song to the golden light, 
We wander the arms of the air upon, 

And mock the dull earth in our hurrying flight ; 
Over the hill where rises the moon, 
Over the brook as it lispeth a tune, 
Over the cottage with ivy around, 
Where the flowers spring soft from the warm deep ground ; 

Under the shower of the sunny day, 

Under the twilight's banners grey, 

Through star and through cloud. 
Through rain and through snow, 

Through desert and crowd, 
Through gladness and woe, 
We pass with the dance of the lightning's beam, 
We vanish like figures in memory's dream ; 

To-day perhaps was the last warm day of autumn, and 
the sky was clear as a note of music. J lay upon a spot 
of emerald grass, under the polished screen of oak-leaves, 
which the frost has left to glisten over the dark mirror of 
the stream. A sunny golden-rod moved stately in the 
whisper of a little wind, and the violet aster, starry and 
complete, softly swung in the southern breath. In this 
little cottage, built by the trees and flowers, I summoned a 
creature with dark hair and gentle smiles, willing to abide 
through all the long years of time. All through the spring 
and summer we should need no fire, except the sun, and 
in autumn and winter, we could shelter ourselves in a wig- 
wam. Those long winter evenings, I felt I should write 
many poems, and sing them to the maiden. The snows 
around could not chill the hospitable flame that burnt 
within, for it would be lit on the altar of aflfection. No 
fear, no fatigue should enter this little dwelling, which 
these sweet thoughts built, on the edge of the river. The 
maiden with her pencil, would write the music of my verse 
into graceful figures. Life would pass so sweet and tran- 
quil, never intruded upon by a passion or a care, and all 

1844.] Youth of the Poet and the Painter. 437 

we coveted should be time, and even then be satisfied to 
leave this pleasant fireside, when the soft voice of death 
called us away together. 

I have seen many such pictures, yet how impossible to 
believe I shall realize one of them. They are truly pic- 
tures. If I were only a painter, and could give them color 
and form, how happy a child I should be. Those maiden's 
deep eyes ; if I could only paint them, her clear forehead 
and sweet trembling mouth. I see her sitting in my skiff, 
gazing vacantly into the sky, wrapped in a shawl filled 
with bright colors, her long hair streaming like moss about 
her temples and cheeks, how much repose in her calm 
face, and as I look at her, she catches my eye fixed on her 
trance, and smiles hke the taste of sweet wine. That wan- 
dering, dreamy, moonlit smile, that chases the shadow 
from her countenance, like the afternoon sunlight of a 
partly clouded day, how much better, than full broad 
laughter. She sits now on a little point yonder, where the 
wind blows, and still the fringes of the bright drapery circle 
about her brows, though she looks to me chill and shiver- 
ing. The flowers and the grass wave above, as she bends 
and rests her head upon the rock, while far across the river 
crosses the sunlight. Yet in the cool breeze she again looks 
up, and her crescent mouth curls in a strange sunny mirth, 
which makes the place warm. For this maiden of my 
dreams renders the landscape warm, whether the day is 
cold or not ; she has such deep joy in her heart. Some- 
times we wander over the sandbank, and sit on a fair hill, 
where birches and oaks wave their branches, and a litde 
brook runs tinkling in silver murmurs at our feet, and 
echoes the softly sighing wind. There we read the 
poems of the masters of song, or hear the bees sing their 
late busy songs. The light is bright and free and cheer- 
ing, and all the sight swims in an elastic sea of pleasure. 
We wend our way back to our cottage at nightfall ; it is 
to sit by the hearth, and hear the legends written by for- 
getfulness on the brain of an old witch who lives near, and 
has come down to warm her skinny hands at the fire, — a 
harmless witch in a white cap and a faded gown. I see 
the long lashes of the maiden's eyes, and there is a little 

438 Youth of the Poet and the Painter. [April, 

child, who has come to sit by the fire for a few moments, 
the grandchild of the old wilch. The fragrant fern curls 
in the flame, and sends its thick smoke high into the air. 
Doubtless the people will think there are gipsies in the 

To-day there comes one of those dull rains, which makes 
me press my hands upon my heart, and say I am a-weary. 
I dart swiftly through the forest, but my limbs are cold ; 
the air is chill, laden with mist, through which I can see 
nothing distinct, and I fall over the old decayed branches 
lying around, and the prickly chesnut burrs stain my hands 
with blood. Everything seems dreamlike, but it is the 
dream of despair, not of hope. I feel when I go back, 
I shall wish to write some verses, try them, and fail. Why 
shall I try, why shall I fail ? Is it not like my life 
always, — always a trial and a failure. And to be disap- 
pointed in such radiant forms, when they have ever worn 
the same character with myself outwardly, and to find 
them indeed only flesh and blood. It is reason I should 
wander alone for many years. I look into the windows of 
the little cottages, where people stand around bright fires, 
even more earnestly to-day, than I did on that other shiv- 
ering day ; for when the rain patters fast and glitters in 
long drops on my hair, when my hands and feet ache with 
cold, and I seem to have lived centuries in a sudden hour, 
ah ! I long to sit by you, cheerful fire, and smile with you 
who smile there. I cannot come yet, perhaps I shall some- 
time. I have too many of these grey waves rolling over 
the bed of my existence, and dashing their blinding spray 
over the tall bare rocks which hem it in. I wish the wind 
would cease blowing for an hour, and leave me to the 
silence of utter repose, even if I have no fire on the hearth ; 
I wish the waters of this deep lake could be drawn up by 
the sun, and then fall back in tears, or dry forever, and let 
me see the shells and weeds at the bottom, for more than 
mother of pearl may be there. Life is like a room, sur- 
rounded with mirrors, in each of which I am reflected 
back, alas ! always in my own figure ; many persons ob- 
scure their images by throwing dust around, but I think it 
is better we should be reflected in fair proportions. I 

1844.] Youth of the Poet and the Painter. 439 

walked far to-day in the forest, solitary in heart, and heard 
the yellow leaves sing death-songs, and sink heavy with 
the weeping day on the moist ground. How many years 
swept through me in that walk ; and I found a poor dove 
bleeding, with broken wing, where I should have thought 
no sportsman would have ventured, until I remembered 
that no glen is sacred from the tread of the murderer. 
I took the wounded sailor of the air home, and warmed it, 
and its wound was healed. The broken wing, as I thought, 
was not so badly hurt ; it could fly. It looked up at me 
inquiringly, after I fed it, and then flew through the win- 
dow that I had opened. I saw to-day the sun hid far 
behind the mist. Why should he struggle so pale, when he 
shines so like a king on other days ; yet it is frolic to him, 
for he has no care to take, but has his course set. Nature 
says sometimes to me, I will set your course, if you will let 
me. O ! I am too proud and careless of my course, I reply, 
and of everything's course ; I must first respect and feel for 
others, then 1 can safely tread my own way. Yet I gener- 
ally feel as if others had little to expect from me, they are 
all so much happier than I am. I seem as happy to them, 
perhaps, as they to me ; 1 am a hollow trunk, with some 
ivy trailing over it, but full of worms, yet I look green and 
fresh. They tell me they are happy. They smile as I do, 
but I look in my sister's eyes, and see such a still, deep 
grief lying there, so sweet and mild, yet the crystal which 
the years of concealed sorrow has formed. Because 
it is so sweet and mild, they call her a happy woman ; the 
world seems always to mistake this dress they wear, for 
themselves. I suppose the ruder people take a coarse 
kind of enjoyment in existence, which would be so far less 
preferable to me, than the wild pangs of Hell ! The con- 
tented seem like cows and oxen, chewing grass, though 
they beheve it is fine abrosia ; they drain the muddy water 
of the morass, and call it nectar. 

The frost last night pinched the vines, and the maples 
have thrown their scarlet cloaks about them. They sparkle 
in such joyful colors, because they are to sleep long weeks, 
and wake in a new dress. The dust had formed its webs 
on them, and the insects pierced their thin folds. Now, 
they can be tossed off*, as the snake sheds its skin. I wish 

440 Youth of the Poet and the Painter. [April, 

I could have my autumn come now, with them ; I should 
be content to sleep as many thousand centuries as they do 
seconds, and wake in a fresh robe. I must stand still to 
see them change, but remain as I am. Our season is so 
long, so many years. We live it all in a moment, and the 
rest is dreary expectation. I hardly know whether to 
quit my sweet Lovedale, and pass my winter in the city, to 
be teased by the dull people, or not. I am nearly resolved 
to go, for I feel anxious to be with mother, if I can do 
anything besides weary her. There are some books to read, 
and some pictures to see. I can do some work, like the 
earth, under the snows of winter, when she prepares for 
the spring ; at least I think I can, although I may fall into 
one of those terrible anguishes, as I did last year, when 
my head burnt as if it was on fire, and my eyes refused to 
read, and every sound in the street hammered upon my 
ear as it would burst it in. I sometimes fear, in the fury 
of that bitter wind, I may lose all knowledge of myself 
suddenly, and never again recall the earth, or be led to end 
the struggle by some glittering point. 


1 address you, dear friend, on the eve of my departure, 
to thank you for the many beautiful additions you have 
made to my life, within the last few months, and to regret 
my absorption in other thoughts, which has scarcely allowed 
me to turn to you. But my heart, like the star of the 
north, never changes its place, and I trust may guide your 
every sorrow there. I have never offered you consolation ; 
that stuff was made for other moulded men. 1 have 
offered you only myself, with what I have of life or expe- 
rience. I feel our unlikeness, and had we not been forced 
apart, but have dwelt together, I think we should have 
been more aid to each other. But do not regard this early 
separation as any place where two roads part ; our path 
runs in the same direction, even if we travel by different 
conveyances. I am glad to be gone, for myself, but lament 
for you ; I know not how I shall bear the long absence, but 

1844.] Youth of the Poet and the Painter. 441 

I trust you will write me often all you know and do. I 
rejoice to hear you will spend tlie winter at home. In 
meeting Gray, which I contemplate as certain, you will, 
I trust, find satisfaction. So noble, so deep, so hearty a 
man cannot fail to be set in your life as a rare jewel, 
which, if you do not wear, you can gaze upon with abun- 
dant delight. 

I leave my books and pictures at your disposal. 1 can- 
not say much for my present collection of pictures. In my 
large portfolio you will find the sketches I made in our 
journey, that you mention in one of your letters, and my 
later drawings. 

Ever your friend, 




The City, 

I have now been a month in the city. Your absence is 
a loss which I find difficult to bear. I walk alone through 
the crowded streets, while life flits around me, colder than 
the winter's snows. The men that pass, they are the shad- 
ows only of my memory. It seems as if last autumn I had 
strayed for a time in heaven, for that sweet river was an 
Elysium, compared with this noisy monotony. What clay- 
cold figures, tragic always, but never sunny, formed in 
leaden moulds, the counterpart of each other. I dream no 
dreams here, but sit in patience, longing for spring's green 
robe to wrap around me. Will it come, will the gay 
foliage burst on the bare branches of my existence, with 
flowers at my feet, starring the emerald floor. I seek 
something picturesque, when the winds drive the eddying 
snow about the roofs of the houses, but all is too hard, and 
my imagination sinks under the definite oudines. So do 
the persons I meet in society impress me, — statues, with- 
out one soft and graceful line to dehght. Yet I think I 
shall find presently, among these polished persons, some 
vision of my inward heart, to render its lonely throbs into 

VOL. IV. NO. IV. 56 

442 Youth of the Poet and the Painter, [April, 

reality. I pray to them to come and let me judge them ; 
they approach, — the one is not here. 

My letters I fear, from the city, will be less to you than 
those I sent from Lovedale ; yet they contained the least 
part of what I would have said. Is it not so always with 
letters, and do they not mock you, as they do me ? My 
journal I keep, but almost fear to send any part, it is so 
trifling and shallow. Yet I know how deeply you value 
the city, and the life here, and will like to know what I do 
under these heaps of snow. I look forward eagerly for the 
letters you will send, laden with sweets from every region 
of art, and sometimes wish, for my own sake, though not 
for yours, I were wandering with you. I am too dull and 
cold to wander over the world with any companion. 

Edward Ashford, 



The common places of travel I shall leave to the guide- 
books, and write of what is nearest my own heart, my 
progress as a painter. I saw good pictures in London, and 
more at the Louvre in Paris, but still hastened on, for my 
goal lay afar in the field of sunny Italy. I have been in 
Florence a week, yet seen the labors of centuries, and 
Italy is to me the bright land of art I fancied. But I 
have not taken the brush in my hand ; I enter the galleries, 
silent, afraid to express my admiration, how much more to 
copy. I am too weak to imitate such master pieces ; they 
confound me by their excellence, as if they who produced 
them were the inhabitants of another world, spirits from 
above, descended to elevate us who toil on these low 
plains. I wish Gray would send a strong, manly epistle, 
and wake me out of this trance, into which I expected to 
fall ; I would, you felt like writing, but I know, dear 
friend, how sorely life weighs upon you at home. 1 think, 
each time the post comes, to open a letter from the other 
side of the water, which may push me into action ; the 

1844.] Youth of the Poet and the Painter. 443 

packet arrives, it contains some excellent letters from my 
mother about body and clothes, a few plain words of 
common sense from my father as to expenses on the road, 
and a page of nonsense from that arch coquette, my sister, 
who every season breaks a new score of hearts. How 
much letters become, when we really are separated from 
those who write them ; they each contain a fate. 

Your only letter I received at Paris ; it was so short and 
hurried, that I still think I must have missed part, or the 
packet with which it came, may have been opened, and 
the sheet containing extracts from your journal, perhaps a 
poem, abstracted. It merely informed me you were in the 
city, but gave no notion of what you do, what people you 
see, or how you pass your time in the cold breezes. I 
pray that I may not lose sight of your motions, and that 
my next packet will contain an abundance of good news. 
Write fully if you have discovered anything in literature or 
art this winter, for 1 am in great need of discoveries ; I 
want the spectacle of another's courage to set me forward 
on my journey. 

My present experiences shed a brighter light on the past 
than I had expected, and what seemed to me of little value, 
when it was acted, by my new knowledge has become 
inestimable. I find that all the masters had their practical 
days of failure, when performance seemed impossibility, and 
life was hung with dark clouds. I gaze on the first, stiff 
sketches of painters, whose fame has since stretched the 
length of continents ; art, too, saluted them in the same 
unconcerned manner that it does me to-day. I cling to 
their failures, and feel cheered ; I admire their steady pro- 
gress, and hope for myself; I almost laugh at what I 
deemed defeat, yet have not thus far dared to take the 
next step. Very true is it, that they failed in the begin- 
ning, but, when they were fairly on the road, they strode 
forward with the magnificent steps of conquerors, in the 
proud assurance of victory. They were willing to pine 
and cower for a day, while the long years were reserved 
for noble achievements ; they sat patient through their 
school-days, and then rushed like Arabian coursers over the 
wide, bleak sands of existence, strewing grace over the 
flowerless road, as unconscious as the ever radiant Aurora. 
The banner no more trailed in the low dust of rivalry and 

444 Youth of the Poet and the Fainter. [April, 

disappointment, but each true master shook his glittering 
spear aloft, or planted it in its lofty might, over the bodies 
of a host of slain. 

The lives of the great masters used to interest us great- 
ly many years ago, and I cannot add anything of interest 
to your present acquaintance W\i\\ them ; the facts can be 
had everywhere. I observe in all their histories the same 
struggle with themselves, and with their circumstances. 
Genius has never exempted any of his sons from the com- 
mon trials of humanity, and has generally added some 
heavier sorrow to counterbalance the possession of the 
creative power. We read their struggles, as if they came 
of right to them ; we are not willing to condole with them, 
for have they not that which renders life illustrious ? They 
carve the monuments which outlast the fame of them for 
whom they were erected. 

If these great works illustrate my past life, how much 
more do they serve as prophets of my future. They almost 
say, leave off, presumptuous stranger, for how can you pre- 
tend to a seat among princes. At the same time, they lead 
me on, when they declare they were the productions of 
men like myself, fallible and prone to ill success. These 
things have been accomplished by the energies of my race, 
and shall I, a son of the same Jove, not dare to mount as 
high, and scale the clouds with them. I shall dare, shall I 
not? I shall succeed, must I not? 

O Italy, thou land of light and love, glowing in the 
sun's warm rays, will thy blue skies hang over me, like a 
funeral pall, or shall thy sweet winds joyfully sing my 
triumph ! Descend upon me, beautiful spirit that hauntest 
these green pines, and windest through the golden ches- 
nuts, descend and tip my pencil with thy sacred fire. 
Burn in the veins of a wanderer from a northern land, 
abounding in frost and snow, and melt the ice which 
years of disappointed hope have centred in him. And 
ye, masters, whose glory has become the splendid inheri- 
tance of an else poverty-stricken land, be merciful to a 
pilgrim to your rosy shrines. 

Send me too your prayer, my Edward. 



1844.] Youth of the Poet and the Painter. 445 



Cray ton. 
My Dear Hope, 

I breathe more free ; I have left the city, and am in the 
mountains. The other part of my hfe I spent on the plain, 
except our walks in the summer vacations. I am among 
the mountains, and feel almost as I once thought I should. 
I needed new forms ; I looked upward, there were those 
vast clouds glowing in the red of morning, or the sapphire of 
sunset, but they fled, fled away, and I could not detain 
them. But the mountains remain. I see the sun linger, 
then fade calmly behind them ; they fold the valleys in 
shadow, they veil the placid bosom of the deep lakes ; I 
seek my room satisfied, for the morning will present them 
to my view, new, and yet old, and permanent. Is it not 
fine, this permanence, a strong reality, not in indefinable dis- 
tance, but at our side. They enfold the landscape, a band 
of guardian friends, firm, self-sufiicing, stern, yet aff*ection- 
ate. I have put a verse or two about them in my note 

Stand, thus forever stand, severest heights, 

With the green veils clothing your simple forms, 

How are ye permanent alone, while we, 

Who soar above you, like the clouds flit by, 

And have no firm horizon, no fixed stars. 

Me penetrate with your unvexed repose. 

For I would build, as ye do, not on sand. 

But from the central heat, whence all things spring. 

I come among you as a traveller. 

And am received within your sheltering arms. 

Nor do ye vanish as the morning misis, 

But stand and soar sublime in majesty. 

I drink from the clear springs that in you rise, 

Upon your tops I see the landscape grow, 

Shall I be lofty, and breathe the upper air. 

My lines will be cold on warm Italia's plains. I find 
some pleasant persons, for the people borrow the color of 
the hills. They are robust and sweet-hearted, and I think 
sometimes here could I pass my life. 

Ever thine, 


446 Youth of the Poet and the Painter, [April, 


Yes ! I am in Italy. From every roof that shines in 
the sunbeams, from every shepherd's figure that rises in 
the distance, I feel, I rejoice, I am in an old, a mellow, 
an artistic land. It is a land that has been subdued, 
peopled, illustrated, by the genius of man. Its language 
flows in copious majesty. I see free and graceful ges- 
tures, dark and passionate eyes. I am in a land where 
man has learned to live, for here he has learned to love. 
Never before did I know what it is for a country to have 
a Past. And you, my dear Ashford, why were you born, 
with your rich and flexible heart, in a cold, unformed na- 
tion, where the first rudiments of art and letters painfully 
taught, only set ofl" the stern figures in stronger relief. 
Come to me, by this bay of Naples, O come to Rome, 
and see the sunset, where the luxury of man's creative 
genius has built monuments for the warm light to illus- 

I think that all painting, all art, must be put aside, for 
antiquity is the land of wonder, and all things modern 
diminish into distance. Do not think I have become the 
prey of irresolute moods, for I pursue with firm purpose 
a certain study, and, as a beginner, dare not name the art 
in which I am taking lessons. For why should I name 
it so early ? I will rather speak of the monuments of 
genius, than of my uncertain beginning. But I cannot 
detach and criticise by the piece ; all this is done in 
every guide-book and new volume of travels. I will 
rather speak of art, of life, of myself, of what I see, of 
where I go. And you, — will imagine the rest. 

Ever yours, 




I cannot come ; I am fastened to the mountains. It is 
life for me here ; it would be death to go. The burning 

1844.] Youth of the Poet and the Painter. 447 

hope of years finds here a spirit to fan it into stronger 
flame. She is beautiful, — yes, — it is a woman. As I 
gaze, I ask, does not such beauty stand to mock all other 
facts, for how wan, how shrivelled, are the people at her 
side. A woman, why, Hope, when I think of it, I 
had nearly sold myself to the evil one, by suspecting ex- 
istence was such a meagre affair, that could afford me 
nothing to admire. An ocean of life seems hemmed in 
within the little band that girds her luxuriant waist. So 
free, spirited, so wild, and so harmonious, a creature 
who never had a care, a heavy thought, a weary hour, 
who was born to expand like a rosebud, to feel only the 
sunbeams, to clasp only the purest breeze. Where she 
stands, the place rises into luxury ; at the old gate of her 
home, she glows like a rosy statue. It is natural to her 
to be innocent, to be happy. I have forgotten that I was 
alive, as I used to be. I look as I walk through the 
woods, and she meets me ; in the clouds I see her soft 
smile ; her deep, suffused eye penetrates the evening 
grey ; and my last thought, is the joy that one so beauti- 
ful, so innocent, can live. I shall not weary you with 
writing how black and glossy is her hair, how smooth her 
cheek, how ample her queen-like stature. If I admire 
her for any thing, it is for being good, something I hated 
in others. This is because goodness is the element of 
her being, not factitious, and worn as a covering. 

O, my dear Hope, I am so happy in this provision 
which life has made to ease me of the dull burden, not 
of care, but of self-interest, that I feared was fastened on 
my shoulder. Before, it seemed so dreamlike and uncer- 
tain. It was this shadow of self, which lowered on my 



Cray ton. 

I am glad I have a friend ; I rejoice that I can pour the 
sparkling waters of delight freely forth for another to 
taste. Do not expect from me the philosophy of love, 

448 Youth of ike Poet and the Painter, [April, 

and rest content in knowing that my heart is no longer a 
void. Tills will give you satisfaction, for I know the 
happiness of your friend is more to you than your own. 
I ask, when I meet this lovely person, if I mistake not in 
claiming so much for her, so much beauty, and sweetness, 
and greatness. Are these lover's errors, does my im- 
agination sport with my understanding, and do I no 
longer perceive, and compare accurately ? Even if a 
self-deceiver, should I not rest content in such deceit. 

It is this I have longed for so many years, to have be- 
fore me a beauty that excels the brilliant colors of 
imagination, and adds a secret force to my apprehension. 
She, — Frances, is the only daughter of a worthy lawyer 
in the mountain village, and her power of adorning a 
sheltered home is moulded into perfect security. I will 
not say I made rapidly her acquaintance, but I feel that a 
mysterious sympathy has drawn us together, has united 
us, from the first. I am now familiar with the lesser 
traits of her singular beauty, her excellent feeling for the 
gayer aspects of life, her generous vivacity, her deep 
modesty, and that love of existence which feeds upon 
the every-day without becoming gross. 

In meeting with this person, I naturally perceive that 
this is a crisis in my hitherto silent organization. Be- 
cause the supply of a wish, indulged in with but little 
hope of satisfaction, shows me I must not delay, but open 
at once this blissful gate leading out of darkness. I must 
rush forward, not stand knocking long at this first en- 
trance into day. Presumptuous youth ! yes, it is for me 
to be presumptuous ; if born in the north, I am in pulse 
the native of the south. The blood circulates with elec- 
tric speed through my veins. If nature has hitherto 
stood so cold, and vast, a firm monitor, an unapproachable 
beauty, masked, yet desired, may I not resolve to ac- 
cept the first flower that blooms for me to cherish. I 
read in her eloquent eye the steadfast fa