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alike to every man who will look within his own soul; the accumulated experience of ages is accessible by labor to all—and who shall set the boundary to intellectual growth? Who shall say to any mind, thus far shalt thou acquire and no farther, where we have evidence that the Creator has set no limit? Yet this sameness in the sources of knowledge, no more involves a sameness of production, than identity of food involves identity of physical constitution. The poet Cowper pursued the same studies at the same school with Warren Hastings. Like different plants upon the same soil, they found the same nourishment, but extracted from it different elements, and sustained by it different natures.
Originality is not, therefore, a quality calculated to supersede education and study, nor inconsistent with the most extensive learning. Due respect to it demands only that while collecting, to any extent, from the outward world, we do not neglect the one which is within.
Whatever may be said of isolated thoughts, great works are not finished by inspiration or accident, not by mere stumbling into excellence, or finding it by instinct -but by the most careful study and preparation of mind for the subject. Why did Horace not write an epic poem? He repeatedly tells us, because he knew himself. Why did Silius Italicus attempt it? Clearly because he had studied Virgil more than himself. We learn that the self-examination of Milton was long and searching; of Goëthe it was a study in which he never relaxed; and Wordsworth has expressly said, that when he turned his thoughts to literature, his first study was himself. Even the ploughman Burns, according to his own account, had pursued a similar course; by careful study with all the helps within his reach, he had ascertained and cultivated, while yet a youth, that singular intuition into man and nature --that sympathy with all the beautiful in both, which, fresh as the light of a morning in June, rests upon all his works. But farther, none can understand his duty before God who has not performed this duty to himself. His own nature, and the circumstances of his life, are the only data from which the duties of the individual can be ascertained. To rush into any work, or profession, without consulting this internal monitor, is a contempt of the will of God, as separately reveled to each man's heart.
It may not be amiss to suggest one caution on this head, before leaving it: that is, not to mistake for this duty of self-study, the very common vice of selfadmiration that egotism, which, instead of sifting and trying, and condemning, as well as applauding, is continually reposing in the sunshine of self-approbation-instead of laboring after truthful expression, is anxious only for self-display. The egotist admires without understanding the object of his admiration, and may be a mannerist, an oddity, but can not be purely original. For he is incapable of distinguishing his own single self from any ingredient of the incoherent aggregate which he calls by that name.
Originality, then, has this merit—it is the stamp which marks the coinage of the individual mind. Any thing in a different style must be a counterfeit, a forgery upon some other intellect. It is, therefore, not only an excellence where found, but the attainment of it is a duty, imperative upon every one who feels that he has a message from his Creator to his fellow men.
FROM what has now been said of Originality, it will readily be inferred that Imitation is not to be recommended without some important restrictions. In its common acceptation it is a great evil, standing in the
way of the imitator's improvement, while it effects nothing toward the farther development of the model. Being the offspring of a blind admiration, which fails to distinguish the false from the true, and is directed to its object only by the finger of popular applause, it can not coëxist with a profound self-knowledge ; but effectually obstructs the way to such attainment, and demands of its victims the perpetual dependence of childhood. Yet obvious though its weakness, it is the commonest of things. Any time we choose to cast a glance upon the ranks of art, we may behold thousands laboring in this profitless field; carried away by admiration of some already high in popular favor, and without inquiring as to the nature of their endowments, intellectual or physical, or the circumstances of their existence, perverting all their powers in order to render themselves as nearly as possible facsimiles of him whom they admire. In which course, should they succeed to the utmost of their wishes, they only serve to make their idol trite; fortunate if they do not render him ridiculous. For, strange as it may appear, admiring imitators cling to the faults of their models, more distinctly than to their virtues.
Of all mere imitators, scarcely one can be mentioned as having, in any age, risen to either usefulness or honorable renown; while, doubtless, many, who otherwise might have contributed to the benefit of society, have thus been rendered entirely unfruitful. Why is it that, for at least one hundred and fifty years after Homer, the annals of Greece present not one name of distinction in poetry? That period was not devoid of intellect, nor of literary attempts; but the glory of Homer had so dazzled all who immediately succeeded him, that they could behold nothing in life or nature, save images of his productions. Nor, until the bold hand of Archilochus dared to break the fetters of imitation, did Greece perceive the dawn of another day of literature. And where is now the fame or the works of the Cyclic poets? Two thousand years ago they were already among the most recondite of antiquarian lore. Nearer our own time the charm of the fictions of Sir Walter Scott called forth a multitude of would-be-romancers, who fo at least twenty years assailed the public on all sides with lifeless portraits of his creations. But of all who followed in his train, did one succeed in touching the