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that Demosthenes uttered the same words to the workmen in his sword-factory that he did in the courts, the council, or the assembly; would they seem the same words to these workmen themselves as they heard in the public orations? Suppose an obscure man could think like Burke, feci like Fox, or speak like Chatham; would he ever so think, feel, or speak in obscurity? or, if he did, who would recognize it, or who would mind it? It may be said that such men would force themselves into station. This has nothing to do with the supposition—it does not weaken, but strengthen the argument; for it shows that power seeks position. It goes still further: it implies that position is a necessary element in the action of power. An ordinary man in public station has a value given even to commonplace words that eloquence itself can not obtain or genins win in more retired situations. Every Sunday there is nobler and finer speech in scores of pulpits throughout Christendom than some of the most brilliant men pronounce in senates, yet not one preacher in a thousand rises to the fame of an orator. Is it, then, that eloquence is one thing in the pulpit and another in the senate? No. What, then, is the difference? The difference of position. The preacher speaks to a congregation, the senator speaks to nations; and for one orator in the senate there are thousands in the pulpit. And it is the same with moral influence. The peasant of worth and wisdom is not less elevated than the celebrated sage or worker; but the peasant's elevation is only dimly seen even by his family and his neighborhood—that of the celebrated sage or worker lasts during time, and is seen and known of all the world. It is therefore to no purpose that we argue; we do not reach our friend's case. He may be feeble as well as ambitious; but if wo say to him, "Ain't you too sensitive?" we may but prick the sorest spot of his infirmity, and irritate when we mean to soothe.
Men also become morbid as to what they consider the measure of their own merit. No doubt there are often judgments that are extremely false and painfully unjust; and if the ill-treated are indignant and complain, it is often from a righteous truthfulness, and not from egotism or envy, vanity and moroseness. The mature veteran sees a youth sent to command him; the gray-haired curate finds in his old age the parish which he has faithfully served for half a century sold to a sporting parson, or given to the bishop's son-in-law; the hold and honest politician, true to his constituents and loyal to his country, sees that for his independence he is excluded from office, and for his integrity fails of re-election, while the worthless rise to power, and uuprincipled praters win the popular suffrage; the diligent, skillful, and faithful managor of a mercantile firm, who has been the architect of its wealth and greatness, who has thrown his life into its capital, sees that year after year he remains a servant, with no chance of rising to the dignity of a partner, while the place that ho hits severely earned is bestowed on some idler
with full purse and empty pate; superannuated and worn-out, he is dismissed upon a paltry pension. If these, and such like in every department of life, complain, we must not blame them, nor meet them with the cold inquiry, "Ain't you too sensitive f" for their sensitiveness is a part of their virtue. Yet it will be equally in vain to say it to the foolish, who imagine that others judge them falsely, because they do not rightly judge themselves. They have one standard of their own merit, those outside have another. It will be useless to try to reconcile these standards —not only different but opposite. They are contradictories which not even Hegel could harmonize. The subjective idea of their deserving in their own minds and the objective idea of it in the minds of others are, necessarily, repulsive, each of each; if any one can harmonize them, he has brought into union the subjective and the objective in a most difficult example, and solved what has been hitherto regarded by sober thinkers as the most impossible problem of metaphysics.
If, therefore, a man comes to you and tells you that his article has not been accepted by this Magazine, or that his book has been most unmereifully cut up by that Review, do not say to him, "Ain't you too sensitive?" but say to him, cordially and kindly, " My dear fellow, take care of your nervous system, and strengthen your digestion." If a friend of yours makes a bad speech and has the grace to repent it, do not prostrate him, but deepen his repentance. If the stuff is in him, he will get up again and startle those who mocked him. "Try again"— "Try again," is the maxim of all manly energy; and if one fails at last, and his efforts have been wise, his loss, in the long-run, becomes gain to others. So, if a military commander, on technical reasons, tells yon why his profound strategy should have been annihilation to the enemy, but you see that the enemy is alive and kicking, forbear, wait, think—abide the issue, but do not dogmatize or prophesy. If a man descants to you on his wonderful financial sagacity, who has yet always been in a state of chronic failure, listen to him patiently, but do not lend him your money.
Still, there are always in the world men who merit success and do not gain it. They are either in advance of their time, or in some way they do not understand it, and so the time docs not feel them, or soon forgets them. Say not, then, to the thinker—the writer—the singer—the worker—the enthusiast, whose genius is divinely ardent for liberty and goodness, righteousness and liberty—say not to him when he is sad, downcast, and disappointed, "Ain't you too sensitive?"
We have a few reflections to make, and then we close. One is, the absurd way in which tho doctrine of compensation is generally presented. As a person hears it commonly stated, it would almost seem to be a misfortune to be handsome, stout, and healthy; to be well-born, rich, and educated. Now this is all nonsense. It is true, indeed, that in comparison with a living soul all the material universe is as nothing; that in comparison with an immortal soul all human history is but a dream; but relatively to this world, and to the present life, the good numbers in the lottery of nature are not without a marked and desirable value. To be handsome is not to be foolish: on the contrary, good-nature and a handsome face are almost a guarantee for kindly views of the world and generous conduct in its affairs, or for domestic grace and sweetness. To be stout and healthy is, in ordinary circumstances, to be also frank and brave; and if the stalwart are otherwise they meet with infamy and disgrace. The pity which is given to the petulance and irritation of the feeble is a natural penalty and a moral humiliation. To be wellborn, physically or socially, is an advantage which only the most shallow or the most vulgar mind will underrate. To be rich is not to be vicious or licentious, but to have a safe-guard from most of the basest temptations, and to have in one's power an instrument of the most beneficent virtues. We, the writer, have to do the best we can with poverty; but we do most conscientiously believe we should have done wonderfully better with riches. We should have been more good-natured, good-humored, in every way more agreeable. With one half of what old Astor said a man might be well-off on, we should not be the cynic that we are; the milk in us of human kindness would not have soured; we would not have scolded our wife, or snubbed our children, or cut our friends—we would have been brightly placid as the summer lake, mildly shining as the moonlit hill; wo would have been affectionate to dunces, and smiled at all creation. Despite of all the praises which the struggling, the disappointed, or the satiated lavish on the blessings of mediocrity or indigence, we sincerely believe that more truth, goodness, and all the graces and charities that make life beautiful are to be found among the wealthy than among the destitute. Ordinary virtue among the destitute is Heroism; among the wealthy it is a matter of course.
Still more absurd are the usual forms of giving consolation or offering assistance. Sometimes the manner of doing this wounds more bitterly than the actual affliction. A feeble man was passing along a city street from a railroad station, carrying a traveling-bag which seemed to fatigue him. A stalwart fellow came beside him. "Let me carry that," said Hercules. "No, thank you," said Doddikins. "You'd better," iusisted Hereules; "for you're nothing but a cripple." Now you observe that unhappy phrase, " You're nothing but a cripple," crushed a world of gratitude bubbling up in the breast of Doddikius, and for the moment blunted him to the generous good-nature in the heart of Hercules. To be gracious, and to hit the almost invisible point between grief and apathy, is the rare art which few possess of giving consolation. When affliction is present, according to Sterne, consolation is too soon; when affliction is past, it is too late: there is a space which you must
I hit between them both as fine as a razor's edge. | But those who seem to need consolation are often | as unreasonably obstinate as their comforters are awkwardly absurd. The brother of a clergyman had been prostrated by a severe domestic bereavement. The clergyman exhausted all the common topics of consolation. The afflicted man listened with dumb attention, and then at last gasped out: "Brother, I have thought on some of these things." A rough man of the world was trying to comfort a widow on the death of her husband. He exhausted all his commouplaces, and found that he had made no impression. At length, vexed and disappointed, he exclaimed: "Well, dash it, Madam! what's to be done about it?"
There are griefs that will not speak—there are griefs that can not speak—and why not leave them to the sanctity of their silence? Why obtrude on them the outward forms of even religious consolation? They are awfully holy in themselves, and the soul must endure them in its solemn solitude with God. To iusult such | sorrows with words, however sacred, seems to us a sort of pious profanity. Those of the olden faith, who saw in all their life the immediate action of divine power, did not mouth or mumble phrases; but while their hearts were torn, simply said—"It is the Lord: let him do what seemeth him good." They then put sackeloth on their bodies, and ashes on their heads, and bent themselves in silence to the ground: those who came to condole with them lay as they did, prostrate in the dust, and did not add to their calamity by mockery of words. Were any peculiar misfortune to befall ourselves, so much do we know of the pain it would cost to friends not to be able to feel it in the measure or degree that we should, that we would at once write to them to be at ease—to be natural. They could not have the secret of our woe. We would not wish them to have it. It is worse than cruel to put them on the rack of trying to feel what, outside of the individual, it is not in the power of humanity to comprehend or to communicate. We would at once relieve them from this great torture. We would tell them to live, as they had lived, their daily life; to do as they had done, their daily work; and enjoy as they had enjoyed, what God and nature gave them. Then might we honestly stay alone with our own heart and heaven.
Let no reader mistake our doctrine. We preach no selfish isolation. We simply maintain that there are all through life certain conditions of experience, which only similar conditions of experience can interpret; and that this interpretation is essential to any real and inward sympathy. But the want of this mind-sympathy or heart-sympathy is no barrier to any of the great charities or duties of life. We have always enough in common to secure these, and no peculiarities of individual trial change or multiply them. But as to such trial as is strictly individual, silence is most honorable wisdom , self-reliance and self-endurance, the most generous heroism. Let each, in meek and magnanimous spirit, bear the pain, which others can not share or help, within himself: and no man that respects his own personal or moral individuality will babble of his inward sufferings, whether retributive or blameless, and grieve or humiliate his friends by exacting the task-work from them
of talking sympathy—which at the most can only be conventional and verbal. Generous reticence on one side—kind reserve on the other. This is what, on both sides, is sincere, just, and true; true to nature, true to honesty, true to the best goodness, and to the purest sanctities of human life.
EDWIN OF DEIRA.
BY ALEXANDER SMITH. BOOK I.
WITH hasty rein from off the bloody field
Another day would bring him to the Court Of the grey King who for his father's sake Would shelter him in this his sore distress.
Next morning, from the sandy hills he saw The bare blue desert of the sea flow out In glittering wrinkles 'neath a cloudy dawn; And when the sun burned through the mists, and grew A mass of blinding splendor that out-rayed, He dipped into the valleys. On through woods, And roadless meads he passed, till at the hour When fiercest is the light, he weary came To a ravine that broke down from the hill With many a tumbled crag: a streamlet leapt From stony shelf to shelf: the rocks were touched By purple foxgloves, plumed by many a fern; Vol. XXIII.—No. 137.—U u
And all the soft green bottom of the gorge
Though in the stirrup were his hasty foot—
When Edwin thus, the target of all eyes:
"One who has brothered with the ghostly bats,
As from a crag That rises sheer from out the fresh-blown surge, Upsprings a smoke of sea-fowl, puff on puff, Until the air is dark with countless wings And deaf with plumy clangor, from the feast Broke laughter. When it ceased, the smiling King With the intruder played. '' Whence comest thou? What king art thou? where doth thy kingdom lie? In earth or air? and if indeed a king, Though ne'er stood king in such unkingly plight, Why hast thou been so strangely companied By midnight and the owls?"
Then Edwin cried— "0 list fell hunger and the mountain wind To the loud bruit of fed prosperity, That never can be neighbored with distress! No height so high, but you can fall from it. Earth counts ten graves for every living man; A single scroll contains our victories, But 'tis a dreary volume, that the names Of our defeats o'erflow. I was a king, Have been destroyed in battle, lost my homo, I Have fed on berries like the moorland birds; j Have drunk the stream that tameless creatures drink— Slept where I could. Thou ask'st me who I am? From whence I come? From Deira do I come. I am that Egbert's son who loved thee well. Oft thou and he were tenants of one crib— Two growing apples reddening check to cheek Upon the self-same bough—two pebbles glazed By the same wavelet's hand. In Egbert's name— Egbert these twenty years in earth—his son Claims shelter from thee."
When he ceased, and when A murmur grew among the guests, wherein Doubt with assurance clashed, the King arose, A sudden flash of color on his face, Of which, if half was pleasure, half was shame, And in the seeing of the spacious hall Stepped down, took Edwin in his arms, while speech Came like a hurrying brook that overlays Eddy with eddy, watery swirl with swirl. "Something of this I heard, as one immersed In boundless woods, the falling of a tree: Who hears a sound, but can not tell from whence, Nor whether nibbling centuries of time Or woodman's axe hath sapped it. Twas thy fall! Twas thy name rumor babbled indistinct I And thou art come unto thy father's friend For shelter! Thou shalt have it. Would that thou Hadst asked for something costlier. So disguised!So covered up!—but never murky cloud Let slip so fair a sun! Tis Fortune's trick To muffle up her gifts in dusky hulls, That, when they throw their mantles off, i May richness over-doublo. Egbert's child' Nay. his own self returned again to run A large career of noble deeds, and reap An aftermath of fame. It is a sight j To make me young again! While I peruse The lips, the nose, the color of the curls, The build of brow, the contour of the cheek, The wild-hawk eye, and when, as now, thou smil'st. The face's sunbeam—all this melts away, And through the cloudiness of forty years I see thy father and myself, when we, Like twin lambs, raced across the meads of youth, Happy as lambs, and innocent as they—
Whilo our young lives were bright as silks un-
Although it were the son of my own loins
Then Edwin stepped
Unmouldered, yet are seen in twilight caves,
But long ere that
Was Edwin's, who threw down his weary length,