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what the phrenologists call the effective powers were enough considered; if the whole soul, instead of the “meddling intellect " alone, was freely developed ; if we realized the truth thus expressed by a powerful writer:-"Within the entire circle of our intellectual constitution, we value nothing but emotion; it is not the powers, but the fruit of those powers, in so much feeling of a lofty kind as they will yield.”

One of the most obvious consequences of these traits appears in social intercourse. Foreigners have ridiculed certain external habits of Americans, but these were always confined to the few, and where most prevalent have yielded readily to censure. There are incongruities of manners still more objectionable, because the direct exponents of character, and resulting from the philosophy of life. Delicacy and selfrespect are the fruits not so much of intellect as sensibility. We are considerate towards others in proportion as our own consciousness gives us insight. The sympathies are the best teachers of politeness; and these are ever blunted by an exclusive reliance on perception. Nothing is more common than to find educated New Englanders unconsciously invading the privacy of others, to indulge their idle curiosity, or giving a personal turn to conversation, in a way that outrages all moral refinement. This is observable in society professedly intellectual. It is scarcely deemed rude to allude to one's personal appearance, health, dress, circumstances, or even most sacred feelings, although neither intimacy nor confidence lend the slightest authority to the proceeding. Such violation of what is due to others is more frequently met with among the cultivated of this than any other country. It is comparatively rare here to encounter a natural gentleman. A New England philosopher, in a recent work*, betrays no little fear of “excess of fellowship.” In the region he inhabits there is ground for the apprehension. No standard of manners will correct the evil. The peasantry of southern Europe, and the most ignorant Irishwoman, often excel educated New Englanders in genuine courtesy. Their richer feelings teach them how to deal with others. Reverence and tenderness (not self-possession and intelligence) are the hallowed avenues through which alone true souls come together. The cool satisfaction with which character is analyzed and defined in New England is an evidence of the superficial test which observation alone affords. A Yankee dreams not of the world which is revealed only through sentiment. Men, and especially women, shrink from unfolding the depths of their natures to the cold and prying gaze which aims to explore them only as an intellectual diversion. It is the most presumptuous thing in the world for an unadulterated New Englander, however 'cute and studious, to pretend to know another human being, if nobly endowed; for he is the last person to elicit latent and cherished emotions. He

* Emerson's Essays, Second Series.


read mental capacities and detect moral tendencies, but no familiarity will unveil the inner temple ; only in the vestibule will his prying step be endured.

Another effect of this exaggerated estimate of intellect is, that talent and character are often regarded as identical. This is a fatal but very prevalent error. A gift of mind, let it ever be remembered, is not a grace of soul. Training, or native skill, will enable any one to excel in the machinery of expression. The phrase-artistical, whether in reference to statuary, painting, literature, or manners, implies only aptitude and dexterity. Who is not aware, for instance, of the vast difference between a merely scientific knowledge of music and that enlistment of the sympathies in the art which makes it the eloquent medium of passion, sentiment, and truth? And in literature, how often do we find the most delicate perception of beauty in the writer, combined with a total want of genuine refinement in the man? Art is essentially imitative; and its value, as illustrative of character, depends, not upon the mental endowments, but upon the moral integrity of the artist. The idea of talent is associated more or less with the idea of success; and on this account the lucrative creed of the New Englander recognises it with indiscriminate admiration; but there is a whole armoury of weapons in the human bosom of more celestial temper. It is a nobler and a happier thing to be capable of self-devotion, loyalty, and generous sympathies, to cherish a quick sense of honour, and find absolute comfort only in being lost in another, than to have an eye for colour, whereby the rainbow can be transferred to canvas, or a felicity of diction that can embalm the truest pictures in immortal numbers. Not only or chiefly in what he does resides the significance of a human being. His field of action and the availability of his powers depend upon health, education, self-reliance, position, and a thousand other agencies; what he is results from the instincts of his soul, and for these alone he is truly to be loved. It is observable among New Englanders that an individual's qualities are less frequently

It is very

referred to as a test of character than his performances. common for them to sacrifice social and private to public character, friendship to fame, sympathy to opinion, love to ambition, and sentiment to propriety. There is an obvious disposition among them to appraise men and women at their market rather than their intrinsic value. A lucky speculation, a profitable invention, a saleable book, an effective rhetorical effort, or a sagacious political ruse—some fact, which proves at best only adroitness and good fortune-is deemed the best escutcheon to lend dignity to life, or hang as a lasting memorial upon the tomb. Those more intimate revelations and ministries which deal with the inmost gifts of mind, and warmest emotions of the heart, and through which alone love and truth are realized, are but seldom dreamt of in their philosophy.

There is yet another principle which seems to me but faintly recognised in the New England philosophy of life, however it may be occasionally cultivated as a department of literature; and yet it is one which we should deem essentially dear to man, a glorious endowinent, a crowning grace of humanity. It is that principle through which we commune with all that is lovely and grand in the universe, which mellows the pictures of memory into pensive beauty, and irradiates the visions of hope with unearthly brightness; which elevates our social experience by the glow of fancy, and exhibits scenes of perfection to the soul that the senses can never realize. It is the poetical principle. If this precious gift could be wholly annihilated amid the commonplace and the actual, we should lose the interest of life. The dull routine of daily experience, the tame reality of things, would weigh like a heavy and permanent cloud upon our hearts. But the office of this divine spirit is to throw a redeeming grace around the objects and the scenes of being. It is the breeze that lifts the weeds on the highway of time and brings to view the violets beneath. It is the holy water which, sprinkled on the mosaic pavement of life, makes vivid its brilliant tints. It is the mystic harp upon whose strings the confused murmur of toil, gladness, and grief loses itself in music. But it performs a yet higher function than that of consolation. It is through the poetical principle that we form images of excellence, a notion of progress that quickens every other faculty to rich endeavour. All great men are so, chiefly through unceasing effort to realize in action, or em. body in art, sentiments of deep interest or ideas of beauty. As colours


exist in rays of light, so does the ideal in the soul, and life is the mighty prism which refracts it. Shelley maintains that it is only through the imagination that we can overleap the barriers of self and become identified with the universal and the distant, and, therefore, that this principle is the true fountain of benevolent affections and virtue. I know it is sometimes said that the era of romance has passed; that with the pastoral, classic, and chivalrous periods of the world, the poetic element died out. But this is manifestly a great

The forms of society have greatly changed, and the periods of poetical development are much modified, but the principle itself is essential to humanity. No! mechanical as is the spirit of the age, and wide as is the empire of utility, as long as the stars appear nightly in the firmament, and golden clouds gather around the departing sun; as long as we can greet the innocent smile of infancy and the gentle eye of woman; as long as this earth is visited by visions of glory and dreams of love and hopes of heaven; while life is encircled by mystery, brightened by affection, and solemnized by death, so long will the poetical spirit be abroad, with its fervent aspirations and deep spells of enchantment. Again, it is often urged that the poetical spirit belongs appropriately to a certain epoch of life, and that its influence naturally ceases with youth. But this can only be the case through self-apostasy. The poetical element was evidently intended to mingle with the whole of human experience; not only to glow in the breast of youth, but to dignify the thought of manhood, and make venerable the aspect of age. Its purpose clearly is to relieve the sternness of necessity, to lighten the burden of toil, and throw sacredness and hope even around suffering--as the old painters were wont to depict groups of cherubs above their martyrdoms. Nor can I believe that the agency of this principle is so confined and temporary as many suppose. It is true our contemplation of the beautiful is of short duration, our flights into the ideal world brief and occasional. We can but bend in passing at the altar of beauty, and pluck a flower hastily by the wayside ;- but may there not be an instinct which eagerly appropriates even these transitory associations? May they not be unconsciously absorbed into the essence of our life, and gradually refine and exalt the spirit within us? I cannot think that such rich provision for the poetic sympathies is intended for any casual or indifferent end. Rather let us believe there is a mystic language in the flowers, and a deep meaning in the stars,


that the transparency of the winter air and the long sweetness of summer twilight pass, with imperceptible power, over the soul; rather let us cherish the thought that the absorbing emotions of love, the sweet excitement of adventure and the impassioned solemnity of grief, with a kind of spiritual chemistry combine and purify the inward elements into nobler action and more perfect results. Of the poetical principle, the philosophy of life in New England makes little account. Emblems of the past do not invite the gaze down the vistas of time. Reverence is seldom awakened by any object, custom, or association. The new, the equal, the attainable, constantly deaden our faith in infinite possibilities. Life rarely seems miraculous, and the commonplace abounds. There is much to excite, and little to chasten and awe. We need to see the blessedness of a rational conservatism, as well as the inspiring call for reform. There are venerable and lovely agencies in this existence of ours which it is sacrilege to scorn. The wisdom of our renowned leaders in all departments is too restless and conscious to be desirable, and it would be better for our boasted “march of mind," if, like the quaint British essayist, a few more were dragged along in the procession." An extravagant spirit of utility invades every scene of life, however sequestered. We attempt not to brighten the grim features of care, or relieve the burdens of responsibility. The daughter of a distinguished law professor in Europe was in the habit of lecturing in her father's absence. To guard against the fascination of her charms, which it was feared would divert the attention of the students, a curtain was drawn before the fair teacher, from behind which she imparted her instructions. Thus do we carefully keep out of sight the poetical and veil the spirit of beauty, that we may worship undisturbed at the shrine of the practical. We ever seek the light of knowledge; but are content that no fertilizing warmth lend vitality to its beams.

When the returning pilgrim approaches the shores of the new world, the first sign of the vicinity of his native land is traced in hues of rare glory on the western sky. The sun-sets grow more and more gorgeous as he draws near, and while he leans over the bulwarks of a gallant vessel (whose matchless architecture illustrates the mechanical skill of her birth-place), and watches their shifting brilliancy, it associates itself with the fresh promise and young renown of his native land; and when, from the wide solitude of the Atlantic, he plunges once more amid her eager crowds, it is with the earnest and I must think patriotic wish,

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