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nice, working upon the same paintings in this happy unanimity of thought, this precious intermarriage of mind with mind, until one died by a fall from a gondola; and the other, John Both, after becoming dissatisfied with every painter, and there were several, who endeavored to supply figures to his landscapes, broke his heart and followed him. There was no longer any one who could give incident to his genius, or tell the story of his thoughts, by collecting into speaking masses that broad diffusion of light in which his spirit bathed, and which he yearned to behold expressed again in concentrated beauty. And so he withered in his prime, like a rare plant covered with unopened buds.
In the biography of poets, Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher furnish a touching parallel of this affinity and communion of soul with soul; where the development of thought, and not the literary fame which it established, was the desire that animated both. And the long effusion of heroic and chivalric life is brightened with a thousand instances of men who made, each with another, a common stock at once of glory and of life. And even the SACRED Writ, I speak reverently, how does it delight to dwell upon those tendrils of the true vine which bound together the affections of the hero of Israel with those of his friend, so that his soul was knit with the soul of Jonathan, and their love surpassed the love of Woman! How graphically, and in how few words, is the character of this noble son of Saul sketched forth, as that of a retired and meditative being, of the highest order of courage, of singular earnestness and generosity of mind, satisfied to behold in his illustrious friend the blossoming forth of those regal honors, to which he seemed himself, in his own proper person, to have been born!
• Thou shalt not only while I live shew me the kindness of the LORD,' — but also thou shalt not cut off thy kindness from my house, forever; no, not when the LORD hath cut off the enemies of David every one from the face of the earth. And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him ; for he loved him as he loved his own soul !'
As I sat in my roundabout chair the other evening, dwelling upon these sublime affiances, and upon the manner in which in the Heavens above they will be continued and refined and perfected between the spirits of the just, the picture of the Boths belonging to the old gentleman of Perugia, which had induced this train of thought, hung again upon the wall before the eye of my Imagination; and while I sat regarding it with delight not unmingled with surprise at the vividness of the representation, the back-ground changed slowly, peak after peak, from the Appenines into the Bernese Alps. The time was still the same ; but the shadows were darker at the base, and the sunlight rested like a cincture about the snowy top of a cone-shaped mountain which rears its imperial head above most of the chain ; and as I watched the magical effect of the delicate and fading pink upon the precious whiteness of the Alpine snow, I discerned two Beings walking or rather passing hand in hand over the purest surface in the world. They were affianced or sister spirits. Their raiment was of dazzling purity, ‘such as that no fuller on earth could whiten it,' and they moved onward in righteousness, peace, and joy!
It appeared that the thoughts of both were occupied with the same subject, the providence of God displayed in the wonders of creation. They seemed not to employ words for the communication of their Ideas; but one, the taller of the two, whose face was that of Meekness beautified with Salvation, looked with her large, full, placid eyes upon the countenance of her associate, who seemed more animated and beamy in the expression of intelligence with which she caught and interchanged unspeakable thoughts that passed into her existence at the glance of her sister spirit. At every interchange of sentiment, they grew more and more intensely lovely; and I never can describe
the effulgent beauty of the pair, at the moment that they slowly passed from off the roseate snow-crust into the blue ether that bordered on it.
The eyes of both were then turned upward in angelic gratitude and praise, and they disappeared into Heaven upon a thought of Redeeming Love !
A SERIES OF MENTAL-TRANSCRIPTS BY THE AUTHOR OF MY FISHING-GROUND.'
What would have been the condition of this country, had the American Revolution failed ? This is a curious and somewhat important question. It cannot be denied that the justice of a measure is too often determined by its success. Should we have been a beerdrinking, John Bull sort of people ? — loyal and true, worshipping the virgin Queen, or would a second revolt have taken place, and the colonics finally have emancipated themselves? Had the experiment of 1776 failed, Britain, with a full knowledge of the value of her North American possessions, would have flooded the country with the younger sons of her nobles; a large standing army would have been sent over to fortify our cities, and line our coasts; the Adamses, Hancocks, and the residue of the brilliant statesmen of the day, with the leaders of our armies, would have been executed: the mass of the people would have become terrified at the success and stern jurisdiction of the crown; and above all, the naturalization laws would have been so framed, that little inducement would have been held out to our foreign brethren to leave Europe. Emigrants would not have been considered of the people, but only among them. They would not have enjoyed the right of suffrage, nor have been eligible to office; they would not, probably, have been put on an equality in the purchase of public lands; but considered as a worthless band of itinerant wanderers. The British population would have increased
to a majority of the whole people; and doubtless would have become so accustomed to British laws, that they would not have even desired to change their condition.
The revolution, and our consequent naturalization laws, bringing upon us all nations, has physically as well as mentally changed us. It has transformed most of us into‘lean, Cassius-looking men.' Instead of growing up, as we should have done, after the rotundity of John Bull, we are a compound — Scotch, Irish, English, Dutch, and French, all in a mass. The whole world has been laid under contribution to make us up. But our defeat in the revolution would have changed all this ! The participators in the 'rebellion,' as it would have been termed, would have passed away in a few years; their names stigmatized in history, and their example considered a fearful one for the imitation of after generations. When the war broke out, it was not from hostility to Britain, but to the injudicious and oppressive acts of parliament. The bosom of every colonist burnt with filial love for his native land. There was something of a reverence, even, for royalty and nobility. In view of these facts, is there not reason to suppose that we should have been under British dominion at present, had the revolution terminated adversely?
I have often thought that the soul of man is most eloquently portrayed in his works. Look at antiquity. In the ruins of Thebes and Memphis, we behold arches upon arches, enormous columns, shattered capitals. What are these, but the visible powers of the soul? Its mighty prints are there ; it has wrought its glories in the very marble itself. The pyramids of Egypt, the work of the soul, have almost conquered even Eternity. The builders, countless ages since, went down to dust and oblivion; and yet their works still stand, the wonder of the world, Rubens has portrayed the soul on canvass ; Canova has chisseled it in marble. Its magic survives, outliving the masters who produced it. The might of the soul is shown in Oliver Cromwell. Cradled in obscurity, he yet went on from strength to strength, snatching sceptres from kings, and usurping sole empire; in Napoleon, consolidating armies, and ravaging Europe, while princes turned pale at his giant tread; in WASHINGTON, whose fortitude sustained him through his darkest hour; in Fulton, who created a machine a million of times stronger than the contriver. In these examples, THE SOUL may be contemplated by the whole world. And yet this mysterious essence is capable of enlarging its powers to infinity! Had Newton lived a thousand years, with all his knowledge, his soul would not have tired! Who then can doubt its immortality ? - or that it will ever be perfect, save in the realms of another and a better world ?
It is a little singular, that the mass should attach much importance to the small opinions of every-day critics. Because a man happens to have the facilities of publishing his views and opinions to the world, though he be the veriest blockbead on earth, his verdict is often of more than ordinary weight among men. Indeed, a JOHNSON could
not influence some men by his verbal opinion, to the extent that an ignoramus can influence them through press and types.' The dignity of print' has a strange effect. Although it is but one man who speaks, and he
may argue successfully against him, yet they will all fail with the public. But let either of them publish the same opinion, and the ore, which was rich and weighty, becomes refined. Common critics, moreover, are always ready to find imperfections, for thus will the public be made acquainted with their penetration. In fact, many of them seem to think, that to criticize, is to find fault; else, (they reason,) where is the necessity of criticism ?' It is said that any fool can fire a house, So can any man criticize a book ; but very few can build the one or write the other. Many of the vinegar-critics of the day, who haunt the shores of literature, would utterly fail in penning even the preface to a respectable book. It is a recorded and well-known fact, that many of our standard works were rejected for the want of a publisher, owing to the unfavorable opinion of stolid rule-and-figure critics; but when they came before the people, who, judging from the impulses of the heart, are never wrong, how soon was their verdict reversed! The People are the only true tribunal. They separate, with the hand of a refiner, the dross from the gold. By them genius is preserved, and pretension discarded.
There is no such thing as establishing a rule for writing, or for speaking. An orator with the power, the magic within him, to arouse and electrify his hearers, will do it, let his manner be what it may. Of all the masters of eloquence, in the old world or the new, are there any two whose style is the same ? So it may be with writers. It is not so much the garb in which their thoughts are clothed, as the thoughts themselves. It is not enough that an author be grammatically correct; for we daily find scholars whose sentences are balanced with the harmony of music; who are rigid in their adherence to the rules of rhetoric; whose productions might defy criticism itself; and yet, after all, prove as barren, as devoid of interest, as was the blank paper upon which they were written. Authors of this stamp are mere mechanics in the art of writing; and they pursue it with as much coldness and indifference, and with as nice calculation, as a carpenter framing a window-sash, or a druggist compounding his medicines. They are mill-horses, which must for ever plodan unvarying round: their labors are all of a piece, and when put together, form one great dead level of symmetrical words, fatiguing to the beholder from their very proportion. Such writers create a mere carcass; there is no soul, no animating spirit, within. The temple is without a divinity.
But true talent, genuine genius, are seldom mistaken by the public, and produce a far different effect. Though the garb be rough as the rock, the sparks emitted are not the less bright. Genius kindles and scorches, wherever it makes its track. Speaking from, it goes to, the heart. Ignorance as well as talent can appreciate it. It is not necessary to subject it to the square
compass of criticism, to determine its merit; it is mighty from its own innate omnipotence ; and although it may be marked by defects, they serve only as foils to its superabounding beauties.