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Their little minds were filled with troubled thought,
When Jesus with his twelve disciples kept
Of Israel from the land, where long had wept
And, with the wine, to his disciples gave,
And body given, mankind from sin to save,
That sect austere, who outward forms oppose,
And hence their present doubts and fears arose.
But gratefully retire in peace to sleep,
At earliest morn, the holy rite to keep,
That morning witnessed !-Softly chanted prayer,
Nor organ with its solemn tones, were there;
Two little children knelt, in faith and love;
As with sweet tones a blessing from above
Bright-wingëd angels compassed them around;
Each tranquil brow did seem with glory crown'd;
ART. III.-ESSAYS, by R. W. EMERSON, of Concord, Mas
sachusetts. With Preface, by Thomas CARLYLE. London: James Fraser, 1841.
" The name of Ralph Waldo Emerson is not entirely new in England,” says Mr. Carlyle, in his Preface: “ distinguished Travellers bring us tidings of such a man; fractions of his writings have found their way into the hands of the curious here; fitful hints that there is, in New England, some spiritual Notability, called Emerson, glide through Reviews and Magazines. Whether these hints were true or not true, readers are now to judge for themselves a little better.” As we cannot follow Mr. Carlyle's admirable plan of giving the Essays themselves, we must content ourselves with offering such remarks as we hope will induce our readers to peruse a work, in which“ sharp gleams of insight arrest us by their pure intellectuality; here and there, in heroic rusticism, a tone of modest manfulness, of mild invincibility, low-voiced but lion-strong, makes us too thrill with a noble pride." (Editor's preface.) A glance at the table of contents shows us that most of the subjects are not new but very old, that they are the very themes which first aroused the reflective faculties of man,- History; Self-Reliance; Compensation; Spiritual Laws; Love; Friendship; Prudence; Heroism ; The Over-Soul; Circles; Intellect; Art. But to the manner in which these subjects are treated, most especially applies what Coleridge has said of the character and privilege of Genius ; “So to present familiar objects, as to awaken the minds of others to a like freshness of sensation concerning them (that constant accompaniment of mental no less than bodily convalescence), this is the prime merit of genius, and its most unequivocal mode of manifestation;" and never perhaps was more rich and varied imagery thrown round the familiar, or more striking and powerful illustration brought to enforce known, but often neglected truths, than we meet with in the volume before us.
We desire in the first place, to call our readers' attention to the forcible manner in which the duties, which result from the possession of a mind, are pointed out:
“ Exactly parallel is the whole rule of intellectual duty, to the rule of moral duty. A self-denial no less austere than the saints, is demanded of the scholar. He must worship truth, and forego all things for that, and choose defeat and pain, so that his treasure in thought is thereby augmented.”—p. 343. VOL. IV. No. 18. -New Series.
Intellectual power is the ultimate measure even of moral greatness, “ for we know that the ancestor of every action is a thought,” and “ to make habitually a new estimate,—that is an elevation,” which is no less necessary for the philanthropist than the philosopher. We forget, however, too often, that if the intellect is to rule, it must be allowed the full and free manifestation of its individual characteristics-and, therefore, though none will deny the great diversity of intellectual gifts, many will be scarcely prepared for the following expression of this truth :
• Or why should a woman liken herself to any historical woman, and think, because Sappho, or Sévigné, or De Staël, or the cloistered souls who have liad genius and cultivation, do not satisfy the imagination, and the serene Themis, none can, certainly not she? Why not? She has a new and unattempted problem to solve, perchance that of the happiest nature that ever bloomed. Let the maiden with erect soul walk serenely on her way, accept the hint of each new experience, try, in turn, all the gifts God offers her, that she may learn the power and charm, that like a new dawn radiating out of the deep of space, her new-born being is. The fair girl, who repels interference by a decided and proud choice of influences, so careless of pleasing, so wilful and lofty, inspires every beholder with somewhat of her own nobleness. The silent heart encourages her; O Friend, never strike sail to a fear. Come into port greatly, or sail with God the seas.
Not in vain you live, for every passing eye is cheered and refined by the vision.”
The manner in which the native powers of each man seek their peculiarly fitting nourishment from all that surrounds them is admirably pointed out in the Essay entitled Spiritual Laws :
“ A man's genius, the quality that differences him from every other, the susceptibility to one class of influences, the selection of that which is fit for him, the rejection of what is unfit, determine for him the character of the universe. As a man thinketh, so is he; and as a man chooseth, so is he, and so is nature. A man is a method, a progressive arrangement; a selecting principle, gathering his like, to him, wherever he goes. He takes only his own, out of the multiplicity that sweeps and circles round him. He is like one of those booms, which are set out from the shore on rivers, to catch drift-wood, or like the loadstone amongst splinters of steel.
Those facts, words, persons, which dwell in his memory, without his being able to say why, remain, because they have a relation to him not less real for being as yet unapprehended. They are symbols of value to him, as they can interpret parts of his consciousness which he would vainly seek words for in the conventional images of books and other minds. What attracts my attention shall have it; as I will go to the man who knocks at my door, whilst a thousand persons, as worthy, go by it, to whom I give no regard. It is enough that these particulars speak to me. A few anecdotes, a few traits of character, manners, face, a few incidents, have an emphasis in your memory out of all proportion to their apparent significance, if you measure them by the ordinary standards. They relate to your gift. Let them have their weight, and do not reject them, and cast about for illustration and facts more usual in Literature. Respect them, for they have their origin in deepest nature."-p. 145,
The following just and powerful statement may well put to shame the questionings of casuistry, whether virtue may not sometimes be sacrificed to expediency, if there be no third party to be injured by this violation of right.
Always as much virtue as there is, so much appears; as much goodness as there is, so much reverence it commands. All the devils respect virtue. The high, the generous, the self-devoted sect, will always instruct and command mankind. Never a sincere word was utterly lost, never a magnanimity fell to the ground. Always the heart of man greets and accepts it unexpectedly. A man passes for that he is worth. What he is, engraves itself on his face, on his form, on his fortunes, in letters of light, which all men may read but himself. Concealment avails him nothing ; boasting, nothing. There is confession in the glances of our eyes, in our smiles, in salutations and the grasp of hands. His sin bedaubs him, mars all his good impression. Men know not why they do not trust him; but they do not trust him. His vice glasses his eye, demeans his cheek, pinches the nose, sets the mark of the beast on the back of his head, and writes, O fool! fool! on the forehead of a king.”-p. 159.
Many of the sentiments of this book breathe a Christianized Stoicism, if the expression may be allowed, which will render them doubly welcome to those whose minds have something of that heroic spirit which gave birth to the bold Aphorisms of Zeno:
To speak the truth, even with some austerity, to live with some rigour of temperance, or some extremes of generosity, seems to be an asceticism which common good nature would appoint to those who are at ease and in plenty, in sign that they feel a brotherhood with the great multitude of suffering men. And not only need we breathe and exercise the soul by assuming the penalties of abstinence, of debt, of solitude, of unpopularity, but it behoves the wise man to look with a bold eye into those same dangers which sometimes invade men, and to familiarize himself with disgusting forms of disease, with sounds of execration, and the vision of violent death.”—p. 263.
The Essay on Friendship contains too much of stoical indifference, and too little of the warm glow of fraternal feeling, to satisfy the longings of most hearts: as for instance,
“ I do then with my friends, as I do with my books; I would have them where I could find them, but I seldom use them. We must have society on our own terms, and admit and exclude it on the slightest
I cannot afford to speak much with my friend. If he is great, he makes me so great, that I cannot descend to converse. In the great days, presentiments hover before me, far before me, in the firmament. I ought then to dedicate myself to them. I go in that I may seize them, I go out that I may seize them. I fear only that I may lose them receding into the sky, in which now they are only a patch of brighter light. Then though I prize my friends, I cannot afford to talk with them and study their visions, lest I lose my own. It would indeed give me a certain household joy to quit this lofty seeking, this spiritual astronomy, or search of stars, and come down to warm sympathies with you ; but then I know well I shall mourn always the vanishing of my mighty gods."-p. 217.
But the heart refuses its assent to a union like this; our author does not maintain his lofty but isolating theory; and speaking now from the heart instead of the head, draws a noble picture of this divine sentiment.
“ The end of friendship is a commerce the most strict and homely that can be joined ; more strict than any of which we have experience. It is for aid and comfort through all the relations and passages of life and death. It is fit for serene days, and graceful gifts, and country rambles, but also for rough roads and hard fare, shipwreck, poverty, and persecution. It keeps company with the sallies of the wit and the trances of religion. We are to dignify to each other the daily needs and offices of man's life, and to embellish it by courage, wisdom, and unity. It should never fall into something usual and settled, but should be alert and inventive, and add rhyme and reason to what was drudgery."-p. 208.
“ the plain you
The criticism on Art” has not satisfied us; but we suspect that when the Author tells us, that in the Picture and Sculpture Galleries in Rome he saw only
me he knew so well,” that he has not quite correctly interpreted his consciousness, but that he received from them healthful nourishment for those ideal tendencies, which he has so exquisitely pourtrayed in the following:
“ There is no statue like this living man, with his infinite advantage over all ideal sculpture, of perpetual variety. What a gallery of art have I here! No mannerist made these varied groups and diverse original