Imágenes de páginas

The warrior's heart, when touched by me,

Can as downy, soft, and as yielding be

As his own white plume, that high amid death

Through the field has shone—yet moves with a breath.

And, oh, how the eyes of Beauty glisten,

When Music has reached her inward soul, Like the silent Stars, that wink and listen

While heaven's eternal Melodies roll.



To whom belongs this valley fair, That sleeps beneath the filmy air.

Even like a living tiiing P
Silent—as infant at the breast—
Save a still sound that speaks . i rest,

That streamlet's murmuring!

The heavens appear to love this vale;
Here clouds with unseen motion sail,

Or 'mid the silence lie!
By that blue arch this beauteous earth
'Mid evening's hour of dewy mirth

Seems bound unto the sky.

Oh! that this lovely vale were mine—
Then from glad youth to calm decline

My years would gently glide;
Hope would rejoice in endless dreams,
And Memory's oft-returning gleams

By peace be sanctified.

There would unto my soul be given,
From presence of that gracious Heaven,

A piety sublime;And thoughts would come of mystic mood.
To make, in this deep solitude,

Eternity of time!

And did I ask to whom belonged
This vale ?—l feet that I have wronged

Nature's most gracious soul!
She spreads her glories o'er the earth,
And all her children from their birth

Are joint heirs of the whole I

Yea! long as Nature's humblest child
Hath kept her temple undefiled

By sinful sacrifice, Earth's fairest scenes are all his own,
He is a monarch, and his throne

Is built amid the skies.


The first of these words I use in the sense of most general acceptance, as the faculty which adds to the existing stock of power and knowledge, by new views, new combinations, etc. In short I define Genius, as originality in intellectual construction; the moral accompaniment, and actuating principle of which consists, perhaps, in carrying on the freshness and feelings of childhood into the powers of manhood.

By Talent, on the other hand, I mean the comparative facility of acquiring, arranging, and applying, the stock furnished by others, and already existing in books or other conservatories of intellect.

By Sense, I understand that just balance of the faculties which is to the judgment what health is to the body. The mind seems to act en maise, by a synthetic, rather than an analytic process: even as the outward senses, from which the metaphor is taken, perceive immediately, each as it were by a peculiar tact or intuition, without any consciousness of the mechanism by which the perception is realized. This is often exemplified in well-bred, unaffected, and innocent women. I know a lady, on whose judgment from constant experience of its rectitude, I could rely almost as on an oracle. But when she has sometimes proceeded to a detail of the grounds and reasons for her opinions—then, led by similar experience, I have been tempted to interrupt her with, " I will take your advice;" or "I shall act on your opinion; for I am sure you are in the right. But as to the fan and becauses, leave them to me to find out." The general accompaniment of sense is a disposition to avoid extremes, whether in theory or in practice, with a desire to remain in sympathy with the general mind of the age or country, and a feeling of the necessity and utility of compromise. If Genius be the initiative, and Talent be the administrative, Sense is the conservative branch, in the intellectual republic.

By Cleverness (which I dare not with Dr Johnson call a low word, while there is a sense to be expressed which it alone expresses,) I mean a comparative readiness in the invention and use of means, for the realizing of objects and ideas—often of ideas, which the man of genius only could have originated, and which the clever man perhaps neither fully comprehends, nor adequately appreciates, even at the moment that he is prompting or executing the machinery of their accomplishment. In short, Cleverness is a sort of genius for instru

* Collected in " The Talisman"

mentality. It is the brain in the hand. In literature, Cleverness is more frequently accompanied by wit—Genius and Sense by humour.

If I take the three great countries of Europe, in respect of intellectual character—namely, Germany, England, and France, I should characterize them thus,—premising only that in the first word of the two first tables, I mean to imply that Genius, rare in all countries, is equal in both of these, the instances equally numerous—and characteristic therefore not in relation to each other, but in relation to the third country. The other qualities are more general characteristics.

Geamanv,Genius, Talent, Fancy.

The latter chiefly as exhibited in wild combinations, and in pomp of ornament. N. B. Imagination is implied in Genius. England,Genius, Sense, Humour. Faance,Cleverness, Talent, Wit.

So again, with regard to the forms and effects in which the qualities manifest themselves, i. e. intellectually.


It is Shakspeare's peculiar excellence, that throughout the whole of hissplendid picture-gallery, (the reader will excuse the confessed inadequacy of this metaphor), we find individuality every where,mere portrait no where. In all his various characters we still feel ourselves com muning with the same human nature, which is every where present as the vegetable sap in the branches, sprays, leaves, buds, blossoms, and fruits,—their shapes, tastes, and odours.

As soon as a critic betrays that he knows more of his author than the author's publications could have told him;—as soon as from this more intimate knowledge, elsewhere obtained, he avails himself of the slightest trait against the author, his censure immediately becomes personal injury—his sarcasms personal insults. He ceases to be a Caitic, and takes on him the most contemptible character to which a rational creature can be degraded—that of a gossip, backbiter, and pasquilant: but with this heavy aggravation, that he steals with the unquiet, the deforming passions of the world, into the museum; into the very place which, next to the chapel and oratory, should be our sanctuary, and secure place of refuge; offers abominations on the altar of the muses, and makes its sacred paling the very circle in which he conjures up the lying and profane spirit.


In this age of personality—this age of literary and political gossiping, the meanest insects are worshipped with a sort of Egyptian superstition, if only the brainless head be atoned for by the sting of personal malignity in the tail. The most vapid satires have become the objects of a keen public interest, purely from the number of contemporary characters named in the patchwork notes, (which possess, however, the comparative merit of being more poetical than the text) and because, to increase the stimulus, the author has sagaciously left his own name for whispers and conjectures.


Good sense is the body of poetic genius, fancy its drapery, motion its life, and imagination the soul that is every where, and in each; and forms all into one graceful and intelligent whole.


Praises of the unworthy are felt by ardent minds as robberies of the deserving.


Shakspeare, no mere child of nature—no automaton of genius—no passive vehicle of inspiration, possessed by the spirit, not possessing it,—first studied patiently, meditated deeply, understood minutely, till knowledge became habitual and intuitive, wedded itself to his habitual feelings, and at length gave birth to that stupendous power, by which he stands alone, with no equal or second in his own class— to that power which seated him on one of the two glory-smitten summits of the poetic mountain, with Milton as his compeer, not rival. While the former darts himself forth, and passes into all the forms of human character and passion,—the one Proteus of the fire and the flood; the other attracts all forms and things to himself, into the unity of his own ideal.


With no other privilege than that of sympathy and sincere good wishes, I would address an affectionate exhortation to youthful literati, grounded on my own experience. It will be but short, for the beginning, middle, and end converge to one charge: never pur

III. 2M sue literature as a trade. With the exception of one extraordinary man, 1 havr never known an : .dividual, least of all an individual of genius, healthy or happy without a profession, i. e, some regular employment which does not depend on the will of the moment; and which can be carried on so far mechanically, that an average quantum only of health, spirits, and intellectual exertion, are requisite to its faithful discharge. Three hours of leisure, unannoyed by an alien anxiety, and looked forward to with delight, as a charge and recreation, will suffice to realize in literature a larger product of what is truly genial, than weeks of compulsion. Money, and immediate reputation, form only an arbitrary and accidental end of literary labour. The hope of increasing them by any given exertion, will often prove a stimulant to industry; but the necessity of acquiring them, will, in all works of genius, convert the stimulant into a narcotic.


The trumpet's voice hath roused the land,

Light up the beacon-pyre '.
A hundred hills have seen the brand

And waved the sign of fire!
A hundred banners to the breeze

Their gorgeous folds have cast,
And, hark! was that the sound of seas?

A king to war went past I

The chiefis arming in his hall,

The peasant by his hearth;
The mourner hears the thrilling call,

And rises from the earth!
Ttic mother on her first-born son

Looks with a boding eye ;—
They come not back, though all be won,

Whose young hearts leap so high.

The bard hath ceased his song, and bound

The falchion to his side „
E'en for the marriage altar crowned,

The lover quits his bride!
And all this haste, and change, and fear,

By earthly clarion spread!
How will it be when kingdoms hear

The blast that wakes the dead?

Mrs Hsmans.

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