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our Saviour, as separated from the vain constructions and inventions of men, you cannot go very far wrong, and will always preserve at heart a true spirit of veneration and humility. Similarly, I impress upon you the habit of saying a Christian prayer every night and morning. These things have stood by me all through my life . . . and so God bless you. "
(1812–1889) WAS ever a fighter, so—one fight more,
The best and the last !
And bade me creep past.
The heroes of old,
Of pain, darkness, and cold.
The black minute's at end,
Shall dwindle, shall blend,
Then a light, then thy breast,
And with God be the rest! 2
Somewhere, below, above,
Shall a day dawn-this I know1 From letter to his son, H. F. Dickens, October 15, 1868.
2 From “ Prospice.
When Power, which vainly strove
My weakness to o'erthrow,
For a veil is rent between
Fitful, half-guessed, half-seen,
Rise and not rest, but press
Things perfected, more or less,
Where, amid what strifes and storms
May wait the adventurous quest, Power is Love-transports, transforms
Who aspired from worst to best, Sought the soul's world, spurned the worms'.
I have faith such end shall be:
From the first, Power was—I knew. Life has made clear to me
That, strive but for closer view, Love were as plain to see.
When see? When there dawns a day,
If not on the homely earth, Then yonder, worlds away,
Where the strange and new have birth, And Power comes full in play."
What had I on earth to do With the slothful, with the mawkish, the unmanly ? Like the aimless, helpless, hopeless, did I drivel
-Being—who? One who never turned his back but marched breast
forward, Never doubted clouds would break, Never dreamed, though right were worsted, wrong
Sleep to wake.
Greet the unseen with a cheer! Bid him forward, breast and back as either should be, “Strive and thrive!” cry “Speed,-fight on, fare ever
There as here!” 1
JEAN LOUIS ERNEST
MEISSONIER (About 1812–1891) AT ,
rest. And, unlike my friend Chenavard, I cannot find comfort in a philosophic resignation, and indifference to worldly things. I am almost despairing, but my thoughts rise heavenwards, turning more and more to God. I have come to the end of all things, life among the number. How bitterly I regret that I was unable to say what I felt and wished while I was still young and vigorous.
1 From “ Epilogue."
I care for nothing but my art. I have lived for nothing else. It has been my ideal and my whole happiness. How grimly the sorrows, and the difficulties, and the impossibilities of life rise up within one's soul ! The time comes at last when every morning brings a heavy wakening and every day is one long weariness.
Ah! life with all its memories is like grapes in the wine-press. The piled-up clusters overflow the vat, but the wine expressed is little enough! Life !—how little it really comes to, after all, in the bottom of the
HAVE been thinking a great deal since the
departure of my beloved one [his wife] about the regions whither she has gone, and imagine from the manner the Bible describes it we have got too much monkery in our ideas. There will be work there as well as here, and possibly not such a vast difference in our being as is expected. But a short time there will give more insight than a thousand musings. We shall see Him by whose inexpressible love and mercy we get there, and all whom we loved, and all the loveable.2
I rejoice to think it is now your portion, after working nobly, to play. May you have a long spell of it! I am differently situated; I shall never be
1 From His Life and Art.
able to play. ... To me it seems to be said, “ If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that be ready to be slain ; if thou sayest, Behold we knew it not, doth not He that pondereth the heart consider, and He that keepeth thy soul doth He not know, and shall He not give to every one according to his works ?” I have been led, unwittingly, into the slaving field of the Banians and Arabs in Central Africa. I have seen the woes inflicted, and I must still work and do all I can to expose and mitigate the evils. Though hard work is still to be my lot, I look genially on others more favoured in their lot. I would not be a member of the “International," for I love to see and think of others enjoying life.1
ART is not a
JEAN FRANÇOIS MILLET
(1814–1875) RT is not a pleasure trip; it is a battle, a mill
that grinds. I am no philosopher. I do not pretend to do away with pain, or to find a formula which will make me a Stoic, and indifferent to evil. Suffering is, perhaps, the one thing that gives an artist power to express himself clearly.?
You are right: life is very sad. There are few cities of refuge; and in the end you understand those who sighed after a place of refreshment, of light and peace. And you understand, too, why Dante makes 1 From letter to an old friend, Mr. J. Young, about 1872-73.
2 Said to Alfred Sensier about 1847.