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READ the other day some verses written by an eminent painter which were original and not conventional * Always the soul hears an admonition in such

lines, let the subject be what it may. The sentiment they instill is of more value than any thought they may contain. To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart, is true for all men,—that is genius. Speak your latent conviction and it shall be the universal sense; for always the inmost becomes

; the outmost,—and our first thought is rendered back to us by the trumpets of the Last Judgment. Familiar as the voice of the mind is to each, the highest merit we ascribe to Moses, Plato, and Milton, is that they set at naught books and traditions, and spoke not what men, but what they, thought. A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. Ę In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty. Great works of art have no more affecting lesson for us than this. They teach us to abide by our spontaneous impression with good humored inflexibility then most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side. Else, to-morrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another. There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried. Q Not for nothing one face, one character, one fact makes much impression on him, and


another none. It is not without pre-established harmony, this sculpture in the memory. The eye was placed where one ray should fall, that it might testify of that particular ray. Bravely let him speak the utmost syllable of his confession. We but half express ourselves, and are ashamed of that divine idea which each of us represents. It may be safely trusted as proportionate and of good issues, so it be faithfully imparted, but God will not have his work made manifest by cowards. It needs a divine man to exhibit any thing divine. A man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his best; but what he has said or done otherwise, shall give him no peace. It is a deliverance which does not deliver. In the attempt his genius deserts him; no muse befriends; no invention, no hope. Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. Accept the place the divine Providence has found for you; the society of your contemporaries, the connexion of events. Great men have always done so and confided themselves childlike to the genius of their age, betraying their perception that the Eternal was stirring at their heart, working through their hands,

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S E L F - R EL I A N C E


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predominating in all their being. And we are
now men, and must accept in the highest
mind the same transcendent destiny; and not
pinched in a corner, not cowards fleeing before
a revolution, but redeemers and benefactors,
pious aspirants to be noble clay plastic under
the Almighty effort, let us advance and ad-
vance on Chaos and the Dark.
What pretty oracles nature yields us on this
text in the face and behavior of children, babes
and even brutes. That divided and rebel mind,
that distrust of a sentiment because our arith-
metic has computed the strength and means
opposed to our purpose, these have not. Their
mind being whole, their eye is as yet uncon-
quered, and when we look in their faces, we
are disconcerted.
Infancy conforms to nobody: all conform to
it, so that one babe commonly makes four or
five out of the adults who prattle and play
to it. So God has armed youth and puberty
and manhood no less with its own piquancy
and charm, and made it enviable and gracious
and its claims not to be put by, if it will stand
by itself.
Do not think the youth has no force because

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