« ForrigeFortsæt »
to divert his mind from its improvement, and drive him mer has as a necessary element, the pre-eminent developto desperation and ruin. And here, in connection with ment of one or more of the intellectual powers. The the illustration of genius afforded by the painter Hor. man possessing common sense is distinguished for no berg, let us correct an error very commonly entertained peculiar traits of character, no constant and controlling upon this subject, and which may also serve as an ap. tendency in his mental operations, while the man of propriate introduction to the consideration of the mani- genius is ever directing all his efforts and thoughts into festation and effects of this quality.
the channel marked out by his predominating faculty. It is supposed by many that we have a certain indi- Moderate powers are compatible with the possession of cation of the possession of genius in a reckless, fearless, common sense, but genius must result from large menand wild cast of mind. The presence of genius does, tal developments. This we conceive to be the distincin its turn, invest the mind with a bold and manly cha- tion which exists between these two qualities. racter; but the boldest and manliest warriors are often The power and effects of genius are in their charac. the most disciplined and circumspect. The qualities of ter, such as might be expected to attend so noble and manliness and boldness are by no means inconsistent with refined a quality. It being itself the result of barmony prudence and a systematic line of conduct, but are ra- and energy in the mental system, its influence is alike ther their proper and necessary concomitants. Every harmonious and powerful. Not always immediately graduate of an academy or college will recollect how discovered or appreciated, yet armed with the irresistioften the palm of genius was awarded by his youthful ble power of truth, it penetrates sooner or later, the companions to the reckless, ill-regulated and careless, dullest and most impermeable mind and thrills it into but perhaps amiable student, while his course in after ecstasy and delight. It is in its holiest form, both true lite, when compared with that of many others, who had and beautiful, and may comprehend the influence of at once been stamped as his inferiors, plainly evinced both these qualities, so vividly and simply painted by the error of the award. These views, though often the artless Spencer in his “ Fairy Queene," before entertained, were lately accidentally suggested
"Oh kow can beautie maister the most strong, while reading in a review, an article on the History And simple truth subdue avenging wrong.” of the Cossacks, from which the following extract is taken : “ Savage grandeur of mind was a prominent fea- It is not ascribing too much to this quality of mind, to ture in their character, associated with an absolute con- say that before it, the boldest and strongest grow weak, tempt for riches, produced, no doubt, by the precarious and the heart of the villain quails. Its appropriate ness of their existence, which they were daily liable to weapon is truth and its atmosphere is freedom and light. be called upon to risk for their freedom. The follow- Will it be said that we meet on every side instances of ing is an instance of their wild humor, an accompani- prostituted genius, when this mighty gift is used for ment, it is said, of true genius. The people of Ukrain the worst and most abandoned purposes. Thus it is can still remember the time when a Cossack, wishing
with every thing which man possesses. It is his nature to enjoy a frolic at a fair, would hire singers, go round to abuse and degrade the noblest as well as the meanest
of his endowments. Yet this does not render what we with them to every shop, entertaining whomsoever he met, and scattering money amongst the crowd, in order have said less true, nor change the nature and action of to cause a scuffie. Then, to complete the jest, he would
It but loses much of its native
genius in the least. seat himself, in his rich crimson dress, upon a cask of power when it breathes the noxious air of passion and tar, to show his contempt for riches, and finally put on when in ruins, is still an object of awe and wonder.
vice. A mind originally possessed of this quality, even his old sheepskin and return gaily home.” Now, is this an accompaniment or evidence of true
How much more so must it be in all its primitive purity
and nobleness ! It throws around every thing within genius, as the reviewer seems to suppose, or rather, is it not a mistake which has arisen from two causes, ve.
its sphere, an air and tone of dignity and refinement; ry easily traced : the one, the error already considered, makes it the medium of its own grand conceptions. In
it brings into its service every object of observation and of confounding eccentricity with genius; and the other, that in early times and new countries, when this quality its own dignity to every subject it chooses to handle :
the words of an elegant author—“Genius communicates was, for reasons afterwards mentioned, more common, it can give weight to insignificance, and make even an the imperfect cultivation of manners and rude state of education, let the mind endowed with the highest gifts,
amorous ditty, the vehicle of awful truths and of userun wild and betray its weakness, in such irregularities,
ful lessons."* which after all was only a mode of manifesting the pe
Genius stamps its lines deep and firm. Evanescence culiar traits or idiosyncracies of the nation.
is no part of its nature. Its attributes are strength, But the advocates of this idea of genius may say we
enthusiastic energy and undying immortality. Its aim are hedging in genius on every side, so as at last to make is certain, its force irresistible and its traces indelible. it nothing more or less than common sense. Highly as
Though often by the uncultivated mind not at once felt we value this latter quality, and preferable as
or appreciated, it fails not sooner or later to exercise
its in many situations and under many circumstances, to
appropriate influence, which slowly imbibed, sinks genius itself, it must still yield a precedence to the lat- «leeper and makes a more lasting impression. “A ter, and is essentially different from it. Common sense
picture of Raphael, a Greek statue, a play of Shakespeare, may accompany genius, but genius is not comprehended appears insignificant to the unpractised eye: and not in common sense. The latter is the result of a nice and till after long and patient and intense examination do accurate balance of the mental faculties, while the for- * Eustace's Italy.
we begin to descry the earnest features of that beauty elements into their minds and modify them in accordwhich hath its foundation in the deepest nature of man ance with the principles on which they are founded.and will continue to be pleasing through all ages.” What kind of civil institutions, then, it becomes im
This quality seldom fails to make itself visible even portant to inquire, are best calculated for the developein the features of the individual possessing it. The ment and manifestation of genius. But this needs no soul will show itself through the outer man, and more investigation. As well might you expect the fettered especially in the bright and kindling eye, that true and limb to grow and increase in strength and roundness as certain key to many of the mental qualities, may often the enchained and enthralled mind to throw out the times be seen
brilliant sparks of rich and refined genius. the flash of genius, pure and strong! Genius that
Longinus, in his treatise on the Sublime, bears testi
power Of more than human mould, whose action
mony to this truth. “Liberty' says he, is the nurse of Lifts the soul from things terrene, and sends it
true genius: it animates the spirit and invigorates the On its winged flight to regions far above;
hope of man; encites honorable emulation and a desire Genius! the creative power of beauty,
of excelling in every art.' Without seeking further for Of glorious thoughts that breath and burn throughout The intellectual and moral worlds :
individual opinions in confirmation of this fact, let us Whose very breath dispenses all around
recur for a moment to the history of literature in which A penetrating principle of power
we are to find in a great measure the history of genius. And grandeur.
It would be going too far to say that no instances of this Genius! the embodied form
quality can be found even in countries groaning under a Of all that's gently good or bad. The breeze
despotic yoke. It would not be true; though such inSo cal n and grateful to the torrid elime, Or else the devastating spirit of
stances are rare, and are evidence only of the native The storm, who far and wide spreads in his path
powers of endurance and resistance of which mind Destructions din.
may be possessed. But take the history of literature as
a whole and at what times and where do we find its Such being the character and power of genius, it is important that wherever it exists, it should be cultivated pages cease to be adorned with the productions of this
noble quality, and the sons of genius to want admirers. to its highest possible degree and directed to the most beneficial purposes. The existence of this quality being familiar stories of the glory and downfall of the Grecian
Our minds unavoidably revert tirst to the hallowed and assumed, it will be obvious, according to our definition,
and Roman states. Genius here retired in the steps of that it forms no exception to the general law which liberty, and the glowing lines of Homer and the chaste makes exercise a condition of growth and health. Objects fitted to the nature of the predominating faculties and tender muse of Virgil gave place to the lascivious are to be sought out and presented to them: these being, of the revival of literature and the re-appearance of the
song, and the childish legends of the cloister. The era of course, of a character fitted to preserve the mental harınony necessary to the continued existence of genius. and political disenthralment. The reformation, at one
spirit of genius, are synchronous with that of religious This latter suzgestion would easily lead us into a very blow, threw off the ecclesiastical and civil bonds which interesting field of inquiry in relation to the influence had prostrated the spirits of men and gave new life to and cultivation of the affective powers which more
their thoughts and feelings. Genius is at home only in properly belongs to moral philosophy and therefore out
the land of liberty, and though she be found sometimes of place in the present limited remarks. But this, like
elsewhere, she is but a sojourner in a strange country. every other mental quality, is affected by external cir.
It would be foreign to the present object to enter into cumstances. Some countries are more congenial to it
a discussion of the nature or merits of the literature of than others ; on sone soils it flourishes more richly than different countries in order to determine the question of on others, and some institutions are inor« favorable to its their claims to the exhibition of this high quality, but production and cultivation. It has conditions of its
proper to refer to an objection which will be own, which are essential, if not to its existence, at least to its increase and favorable manifestation. The apt to oceur to many minds, to the statements just made. conditions necessary for the nutrition of genius, and the France, it may be said, has for the greater part of her
history been under somethiny not much better than a proper mode of cultivation, will therefore form the only
despotism, considered both politically and ecclesiasti. remaining subjects of consideration in these remarks, cally, and still her literature ranks among the first in the which have perhaps already extended beyond the limits
world, and lays claim to the possession of many sons of which the occasion will warrant. And in relation to the former, we immediately have occasion to appreciate genius. If this were the proper time, it might be
shown how her legitimate claims of this kind are to be the influence which civil institutious exercise over this as well as all other powers of the mind. The mould- accounted for, but it is not a fact in our estimation that
she exhibits many instances of genius in her literature, ing power of governments has been fully recognized but rather, on the contrary, she is extremely destitute of in the many revolutions and changes which they have
this quality in its true and correct signification. undergone. This irresistible influence in this respect
Liberty then and enlightened civil institutions being can alone account for the constant and unwearying sur
so essential to the existence and nature of genius, have veillance exercised over them by those subjected to their
not we, as Americans, the surest prospects and the most authority. They do not merely affect the physical con- reasonable grounds of expectation of being exceedingly dition of the people of their care, but insinuate their favored in this respect. There could be no doubt of it, * Carlyle.
were it not for two circumstances, one of which applies
In his essay
"Bring Flowers," to us in common with most other countries, and the other is peculiar to ourselves. The former will be best Flowers are the bright smiles of God upon earth.-Whitefield. stated in the words of Sir William Jones.
Bring flowers to strew the path of infancy, on the Ancients and Moderns, when speaking of the When in young joyousness it first goes out multitude of assistances which we have for all kinds of To look on this fair earth. Bring op’ning buds,
And hall-blown roses to enwreathe its hair. composition, he remarks: “It is very possible that men
They well become childhood's fair, open mienmay rather lose than gain by these; may lessen the
Its ruddy cheek, and pleasure sparkling eye. force of their own genius by forming it upon that of
Ah! what is worthy of a crown of lowers, others; may have less knowledge of their own, for con
If not the brow of infant innocence ? tenting themselves with that of those before thein. So
Bring dowers to strew the sunny path of youth; a man that only translates shall never be a poet; so
Its hopes are bright as all their gorgeous dyes, people that trust to other's charity rather than their Its fancies sweet as is the dewy ajs own industry, will be always poor. Who can tell Just fresh from toying with their tinted leaves ;
Axl life to it is like a summer day, whether learning may not even weaken invention in a
Full of soft airs and sights of pleasantness. man that has great advantages from nature? Whether
Bring blooming flowers and weave a rosy wreath the weight and number of so many other mer's thoughts
To bind the sunny tresses of sweet yootb. and notions may not suppress his own, as heaping on
Bring flowers--the sweet, the modest violets, wood sometimes suppresses a little spark that would
To weave a wreath for lovely Eva's browotherwise have grown into a fame? The strength of Their tint is like that bearing in her eye, mind as well as of body, grows more from the warmth And she is timid and reserved as they. of exercise than of clothes; nay, too much of this
She loves the flowers-herself the faiiest one foreign heat rather makes men faint, and their constitu
That ever graced earth's bowers. Oh! bring them now –
They ever wear a deeper, holier charm, tions fainter than they would be without them.”
If she has seen and loved them, unto me. The other circumstance, peculiar to ourselves is that
Bring flowers to wreathe the poet's tunefullyre; hitherto, as a necessary consequence of our institutions,
-They are to him “ an angel alphabet and infancy as a nation, we have been a working and
Wherewith are written on the hill and plain commercial people. Our minds have been exclusively Mysterious truths,'-bring a myrile wreath devoted to pecuniary and political subjects. We have
Entwined with blossoms from the wood and field, neglected to cultivate our taste, our moral powers and
To bind around the poet's lofty brow.
His task, like theirs, to cheer and bless all hearts, our literature to the degree which they desire. Let us
He asks, than this, no richer diadem. remeinber that all parts of the mind as well as of the
Bring powers to strew the pathway of the bride body stand in need of exercise and nourishment, and
Unto the altar where is offered up that if any of them are neglected in either of these
Aftection's pure rich gift- plighted the faith points, or if the nourishment be unhealthy, they will That's never to be broken. Bring flowers, grow weak and unsound. Having, until recently, no Fair flowers, and may they image forth literature of our own, we have thrown our country open
By their bright hues and breath of sweet perfume,
Her future life. Ch! leit as glad as sunlight to a flood of improper and debasing publications of the
Beaming at nonn upon the dew-wet caith. old world, and thus drawn to our doors, the refuse food of other nations. As American young men, we should
Bring flowers to glad the eye and heart of age;
Their tints call up the rosy dreams of youth, spurn these foreign productions from us: inculcating as
And bear the spirit of the aged back they do, and insensibly insinuating those principles To days gone by, when life war full of joy, which our ancestors bled to eradicate from our soil. -1 As are the flowers of beauty. Not now As free citizens of this country, we have the widest When life is waning last, its light growing dim. field for the production and developement of this
Deny them flowers. Their heads are blossoming
For other worlds than this, and far asyn highest mental quality, and may improve it to its fullest extent by merely using the advantages and natural
Bring flowers to strew the dark and sombre poll. powers of which we are the possessers. We owe it to
Toting their brightness on the bloodless cheek our country, to make her take the same rank in the in
That bears the icy hue of death, who steals
Our brightest and best loved and bears them off. tellectual, as she has in the political world, and to do Early to bloom in heaven. Though they fade, this, we have but to apply the principles of her institu- Vet fragrance rises from their withered leaves; tions to our mental cultivation. Let us seek in our
So sweetly rises to bereaved hearts own country and resources, the means of ineptal nour
The memory of the dear, belored dead. ishment, and we will thus drink from the pure fountain Bring flowers and strew the pathway to the tomb, of enlightened liberty, instead of slíking our thirst at
And deck the god that covers it, and plant
hem o'er thc humble grave; and as aneu the tainted springs of despotism and licentiousness.
When spring returns they ope to life again.
So when the resurrection morn shall come, As no man can expect a continual train of prosperity, Again will wake the dead to endless I le, he ought not to apprehend a constant adversity.
lo fadeless bloom in bowers of Paradise,
Mid the soft airs of Heaven's "sumbright clime." What a sculpture is to a block of marble, education
Violet Dell, June, 1814. is to a human soul. The philosopher, the saint, and Those who outlive their incomes by splendor in dress the hero; the wise, the good, or the great man, very and equipage, resemble a town on fire, which shines often lie hid and concealed in a plebeian,
hy that which destroys it.
There is probably no portion of the United States the condition of this country, so long as the fertile lands which presents in the same space, equal attractions, in of the west invite the husbandman to their more fruitpoint of scenery, with the northern part of New-York. fiul soil and less rigorous climate, and while too, NewWhether we look for the high mountain peak, or the York is continually offering and increasing the facilities lovely quiet lake, the waterfall, or the precipice, the for western emigrants along her canal and railroads, and mighty streams or gurgling rivulets, they are all within beyond her borders, the great lakes, like another sea, our view, and almost at the same moment. Few of us stretch their fertile shores along the thousand miles of often realize that the great area of country, bounded by yet but thinly inhabited country. So long as these conLake Cham; lain, the St. Lawrence, the Black River, ditions remain,solong must the mountain region of northand the Mohawk, is, except upon its borders, almost an ern New-York remain a wilderness, unless the mineral unbroken wilderness, still covered with its primeval fo- wealth and water power shallinducecolonization. But rests, and still traversed by the native wild animals. this is not likely to take place at present, and we may Nevertheless such is the fact, and from the nature of the yet continue to enjoy the thing as it is. country, settlements progress slowly, and the forests Enjoy it we say, for it offers at our hand almost what maintain their places. Such too, must continlie to be we often go hundreds of miles to obtain. What are our recreations, our summer vacations for, but to gain ley, not charged with salts of various kinds as Saratoga, strength and vigor for renewed and uninterrupted labor but it is the pure rain from heaven barely filtered for through the larger part of the year. Instead of lounging your use, and triturated till it has absorbed its full supa few weeks at Saratoga, or a few days at Niagara, or ply of oxygen as it falls from the mountain sides-you taking the fashionable perhaps, and very pleasant trip may drink and feel refreshed, you may breath the air down the St. Lawrence, leave all these and wend your freely, and feel that your pulse is quickened, and that way to Whitehall, there you will find steamboats equal, every faculty of life is reanimated, that to live and is not superior to those of any waters. Land at Port breath is a pleasure, that the motion of your limbs is Henry, or its neighborhood, and from there forty pleasure, and you will wonder what magic has come miles on horseback with a guide, (or if you please over you. without a guide) through the woods, will bring you Well, and perhaps you may ask, what is to prevent ento the sources of the Hudson. There, if you do not nui? Perhaps, the two beautiful lakes, the one, Lake find a hotel with French cooks and mulatto waiters, you Henderson, within a stone's throw of you, the other, will at least find a roof to cover you. You can catch Lake Sanford, within a mile, may afford you some recreyour own trout, and the exercise will give you an ap-ation; they are beautiful as it is possible for lakes to petite for eating them, if exercise were needed for an be, enclosed in mountains, and skirted with the tall appetite here. Here you can breath “ The mountain dark forests, where you scarcely discover the first trace air,” truly, for you are 2000 feet above tide water, and of man's sacriligeous hand, in destroying the tall fair you will find little difficulty in elevating yourself 2000 pines. From both these lakes the high mountains are or 3000 feet higher if you please. The water, too, it is visible in the distance, and from the latter, we have the not like that from the clay and gravel of the Hudson val- view presented below.
Certainly these things, with many others, will occupy, sterner material than many of your fellows. But if it your tiine. Then if you will travel five miles to the should ever be your fortune to pass a night in this place, north, you trace the main branch of the noble Hudson; as it lias been mine, you will then see and feel the full it becomes a mere rivulet, which you leap across again impression of this grand, this stupendous scene. and again as you pass, until tinally it is lost among the The new feeling that such a place inspires, the kind huge fragments fallen from the sides of the mountains, of elevations, with which the mind is inspired, gives a and you are aware of its presence only, by the sound of new impulse to life, quiets the turmoil, the anxiety, and the little streamlet that gathers from the mountain side. all the unpleasant seelings which render life a burden Here you find yourself in the notch, as it is called ; if among men, and carries you once more to a state, like you look on your left, you see a perpendicular wall of that of childhood, when all feelings are pleasureable, rock, and yoti still elevate them farther, and still farther and all recollections come back to us with the most sub. tiil you have a perpendicular wall of rock before you of duing influences, making us happier and better. Better 1000 feet in height. Reader, you may have been in im- 1 say, for then and there we communed, and again pressive situations often enough, but if you can stand commune only with the good creator, and with our unawed, here in this narrow pass, with this perpendic- own spirit, and if we have no heavy sins upon our conular wall of rock overhanging you, and on the other side science, we may adore God here, in a “temple not mode a mountain of 5000 feet in heighth, you are made of' with hands,” and if our transgressions lie heavy upon