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travelling, and for other methods of studying mankind. They introduce us to men of different stations and employments. They present us with the results of voyages and travels in distant parts of the earth, and among nations and tribes wholly unlike our own. They even take us back to past ages, and enable us to look on the manners, the arts, the modes of government, and the vicissitudes in power and influence, of the most remarkable nations of antiquity.
Thus, while sitting quietly in our chamber, we are able, if supplied with a few good volumes, to take a more enlarged and thorough survey of our race, than could be gained by a life spent in travelling merely; and though, doubtless, the information thus gained by reading must be coupled with observation and reflection in order to make it just or practically useful, it is, on that account, none the less necessary or valuable. .
Biography makes us acquainted with individuals, especially with those who have been eminent for talent or usefulness. Voyages and travels introduce us to communities which we cannot survey personally. History instructs us in regard to the progress of science and the arts; the condition of men in former times and under various systems of government; the great events which have occupied the thoughts and called forth the energies of other generations; the course of moral and social revolutions; and that varying, but, on the whole, progressive movement, which is gradually carrying forward our race towards a higher civilization.
And, besides such works, which propose to exhibit man through his acts, and as he has really been seen at different periods and in different countries, we have other books, in which the wisest and most sagacious minds have set forth their conclusions respecting our nature, drawn from a long and intimate survey of it.
Especially, in a great degree, particularly. - Revolutions, a turning over, or roiling back: re, 48; ion, 96; overturning existing forms and substi. tuting others in their stead. — Moral, relating to intellectual and religious character: al, 68. — Social, relating to political condition and personal freedom. -- Progressive, going forward : pro, 46; ive, 103
We have, for instance, essays, like those of Addison, which dissect, with a most delicate but skilful hand, tile workings of the heart, analyzing feeling, exposing folly, rebuking affectation, and correcting vice. We have philosophical works, which discuss matters of higher import, and attempt to unfold the laws that govern the development and operation of all our faculties.
We have poetry of every grade, from the lofty drama or epic to the sonnet and stanza, all proposing to "hold the mirror up to nature, to show Vice her own features, Scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time, its form and pressure." Each one of these is a source, from which he, who would sound all the depths and shoals of our nature, can derive hints and lessons of inestimable value.
Answer me, burning stars of night!
Where is the spirit gone,
As a swift breeze has flown?
In lighi and power on high;
Ask that which cannot die.”
0, many-toned and chainless wind!
'Thou art a wanderer free ;
Far over mount and sea ?
“The blue deep I have crossed,
But not what thou hast lost.”
Ye clouds that gorgeously repose
Around the setting sun,
Whose earthly race is run ?
We vanish from the sky;
For that which cannot die."
Speak, then, thou voice of God within,
Thou of the deep, low tone;
Where is the spirit flown ?
Enough to know is given;
Thine is to trust in Heaven."
Mrs. Felicia Hemans, born 1793, in Liverpool, moved to Wales, and there imbibed the love of nature displayed in her works. She commenced publishing in her fifteenth year. After the death of her husband, she continued to study and write while educating her children.
This admirable woman and sweet poetess died in May, 1835, aged fortyone. Though highly popular and in many respects excellent, we do not think much of the poetry of Mrs. Hemans will descend to posterity. Scott has hinted that there are “ too many flowers for the fruit; that there is more for the ear and fancy than for the heart and the intellect.” Some of her shorter pieces and her lyrical productions are touching and beautiful both in sentiment and expression. Her versification is always melodious; but there is an oppressive sameness in her longer poems, which fatigues the reader; and when the volume is closed, the effect is only that of a mass of glittering images and polished words, a graceful melancholy, and feminine tenderness, but no strong or permanent impression. The passions are seldom stirred, however the fancy may be soothed or gratified. In description Mrs. Hemans had considerable power; she was both copious and exact; and often, as Jeffrey has observed, “ a lovely picture serves as a foreground to some deep or lofty emotion.” The purity of her mind is seen in all her works; and her love of nature, like Wordsworth's, was a delicate blending of our deep inward emotions with their splendid symbols and emblems without.
A complete collection of the works of Mrs. Hemans, with a memoir by her sister, has been published in six volumes.
Chambers's Encyclopedia of English Literature.
6. Gospel Benevolence and Human Feeling.
The benevolence of the gospel lies in actions; the benevolence of our writers of fiction, in a kind of high-wrought delicacy of feeling and sentiment. The one dissipates all its fervor in sighs, and tears, and idle aspirations; the other reserves its strength for efforts and execution. The one regards it as a luxurious enjoyment for the heart; the other, as a work and business for the hand. The one sits in indolence, and broods, in visionary rapture, over its scheme: of ideal philanthropy; the other steps abroad, and enlightens by its presence the dark and pestilential hovels of disease. The one wastes away in empty ejaculation; the other gives time and effort to the work of beneficence; gives education to the orphan; and provides clothes for the naked, and lays food on the table of the hungry. The one is indolent and capricious, and often does mischief by the occasional overflowings of a whimsical and ill-directed charity; the other is vigilant and discerning, and takes care lest his distributions be injudicious, and the effort of benevolence be unsupplied. The one is soothed with the luxury, of feeling, and reclines in easy and indolent satisfaction ; the other shakes off the deceitful languor of contemplation and solitude, and delights in a scene of activity.
Remember that virtue, in general, is not to feel, but to do; not merely to conceive a purpose, but to carry that purpose into execution ; not merely to be overpowered by the impression of a sentiment, but to practise what it loves, and to imitate what it admires.
Aspiration, a breathing after: ad, 10; ion, 96; the act of ardently desiring what is noble or spiritual. — Indolence, inaction, or want of exertion of body or mind, proceeding from love of ease or aversion to toil: ence, 82. — Visionary, relating to visions: ary, 75; existing in imagination only, not real. - Philanthropy, the love of mankind, benevolence towards the whole human family. - Ejaculation, the act of throwing or darting out: e, 26 ; ion, 96; the uttering of a short prayer. – Whimsical, full of whims, having odd fancies : ical, 68.
7. On Genius and Fame.
Genius is the heir of fame; but the hard condition on which the bright reversion must be earned, is the loss of life Fame is the recompense, not of the living, but of the dead The temple of fame stands upon the grave; the flame that burns upon its altars is kindled from the ashes of great men. Fame itself is immortal, but its existence does not begin till the breath of genius is extinguished. For fame is not popularity, the shout of the multitude, the idle buzz of fashion, the venal puff, the soothing flattery of favor or of friendship; but it is the spirit of a man surviving himself, in the minds and thoughts of other men, undying and imperishable. It is the power which the intellect exercises over the intellect, and the lasting homage which is paid to it, as such, independently of time and circumstances, purified from partiality and evil speaking.
Fame is the sound which the stream of high thoughts, carried down to future ages, makes as it flows — deep, distant, murmuring evermore, like the waters of the mighty ocean. He who has ears truly touched to this music, is in a manner deaf to the voice of popularity. The love of fame differs from mere vanity in this, that the one is immediate and personal, the other ideal and abstracted. It is not the direct and gross homage paid to himself, that the lover of true fame seeks, or is proud of, but the indirect and pure homage paid to the eternal forms of truth and beauty, as they are reflected in his mind, that gives him confidence and hope.
The love of nature is the first thing in the mind of the true poet; the admiration of himself, the last. A man of genius cannot well be a coxcomb, for his mind is too full of other things to be much occupied with his own person. He who is conscious of great powers in himself, has also a high standard of excellence with which to compare his efforts. He appeals also to a test and judge of merit, which is the highest, but which is too remote, grave, and impartial to