Page images

¶ Wild liberty develops iron conscience. Want of liberty, by strengthening law and decorum, stupifies conscience.

I wish to speak with all respect of persons, but sometimes I must pinch myself to keep awake, and preserve the due decorum.

COUNT him a great man who inhabits a higher sphere of thought, into which other men rise with labor and difficulty; he has but to open his eyes to see things in a true light, and in large relations; whilst they must make painful corrections, and keep a vigilant eye on many sources of error. He is great who is what he is from nature, and who never reminds us of others.


HARACTER is higher than intellect. Thinking is the 'function. Living is the functionary. The stream retreats to its source. A great soul will be strong to live as well as strong to think. Does he lack organ or medium to impart his truths? He can still fall back on his elemental force of living them. This is a total acts Thinking is a partial act. Let the grandeur of justice shine in his affairs. Let the beauty of affection cheer his lowly roof. Those “far from fame," who dwell and act with him, will feel the force of his constitution in the doings and passages of the day, better than it can be measured by any public and designed display. And time shall teach him that the scholar loses no hour which the man lives Herein he unfolds the sacred germ of his instinct, screened from influence. Thus, what is lost in seemliness is gained in strength


ET man learn that everything in Nature, even motes and feathers, goes by law and not by luck, and that what he sows he reaps. By diligence and self-command, let him put the bread he eats at his own disposal, that he may not stand in bitter and false relations to other men; for the best good of wealth is freedom. Let him practise the minor virtues. How much of human life is lost in waiting! Let him not make his fellow-creatures wait. How many words and promises are promises of conversation! Let his be words of fate.

¶ Better be a nettle in the side of your friend than his echo.


HE motive of science was the extension of man, on all sides, into Nature, till his hands should touch the stars, his eyes see through the earth, his ears understand the language of beast and bird and the sense of the wind; and through his sympathy heaven and earth should talk with him.

No truth so sublime but it may be trivial tomorrow

in the light of new thoughts. People wish to be settled; only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them. Life is a series of surprises We do not guess today the mood, the pleasure, the power of tomorrow, when we are building up our being. Of lower states-of acts of routine and sense we can tell somewhat; but the masterpieces of God, the total growths and universal movements of the soul, He hideth; they are incalculable.

ND what is genius but finer love, a love impersonal,


a love of the flower and perfection of things, and a

desire to draw a new picture or copy of the same? It looks to the cause and life: it proceeds from within outward, while talent goes from without inward. Talent finds its models and methods and ends in society, exists for exhibition, and goes to the soul only for power to work Genius is its own end, and draws its means and the style of its architecture from within, going abroad only for audience and spectator, as we adapt our voice and phrase to the distance and character of the ear we speak to. All your learning of all literatures would never enable you to anticipate one of its thoughts or expressions, and yet each is natural and familiar as household words. Here about us coils forever the ancient enigma, so old and so unutterable. Behold! there is the sun, and the rain, and the rocks: the old sun, the old stones. How easy were it to describe all this fitly: yet no word can pass. Nature is a mute, and man, her articulate speaking brother, lo! he also is a mute. Yet when genius arrives, its speech is like a river, it has no straining to describe, more than there is straining in Nature to exist. When thought is best, there is most of it. Genius sheds wisdom like perfume, and advertises us that it flows out of a deeper source than the foregoing silence, that it knows so deeply and speaks so musically because it is itself a mutation of the thing it describes. It is sun and moon and wave and fire in music, as astronomy is thought and harmony in masses of matter.

[graphic][ocr errors]


AN! I wonder what a man really is! Starting from a single cell, this seized upon by another, and out of the Eternal comes a particle of the Divine Energy that makes these cells its home. Growth follows, cell is added to cell, and there a man whose body, two-thirds water, can be emptied by a single dagger-thrust and the spirit given back to its Maker in a moment.


develops a man


IXTY generations have come and gone since Cæsar trod the Roman Forum.

¶ The pillars against which he often leaned still stand. The thresholds over which he passed are there. The pavements ring beneath your tread as they once rang beneath his Ꮽe Ꮽe

¶Three generations and more have come and gone since Napoleon trod the streets of Toulon contemplating suicide. ¶ Babes in arms were carried by fond mothers to see Lincoln, the candidate for President.

These babes have grown into men, are grandfathers, possibly, with whitened hair, furrowed faces, looking

« PreviousContinue »