« ZurückWeiter »
Thou mightier than Manoah's son, whence is thy great strength,
Ajax may rout a phalanx, but beauty shall enslave him single-handed:
Learning sitteth at her feet, and Idleness laboreth to please her;
Justice putteth up his sword at the tear of supplicating beauty
There is a beauty of the reason: grandly independent of externals,
It looketh from the windows of the house, shining in the man triumphant.
I have seen the broad blank face of some misshapen dwarf
Lit on a sudden as with glory, the brilliant light of mind:
Who then imagined him deformed 1 intelligence is blazing on his forehead,
There is empire in his eye, and sweetness on his lip, and his brown cheek
glittereth with beauty: And I have known some Nireus of the camp, a varnished paragon of
Fine, elegant, and shapely, moulded as the masterpiece of Phidias,— Such an one, with intellects abased, have I noted crouching to the dwarf, Whilst his lovers scorn the fool whose beauty hath departed!
THE SOURCE OF MAN'S RULING PASSION.
Verily the fancy may be false, yet hath it met me in my musings,
That even those yearnings after beauty, in wayward wanton youth,
God, the undiluted good, is root and stock of beauty,
And every child of reason drew his essence from that stem.
Therefore, it is of intuition, an innate hankering for home,
A sweet returning to the well, from which our spirit flowed,
Only, being burdened with the body, spiritual appetite is warped,
And sensual man, with taste corrupted, drinketh of pollutions:
Impulse is left, but indiscriminate; his hunger feasteth upon carrion;
His natural love of beauty doteth over beauty in decay.
He still thirsteth for the beautiful; but his delicate ideal hath grown gross,
And the very sense of thirst hath been fevered from affection into passion.
[From Indirect Influences.)
The weakness of accident is strong, where the strength of design is weak,
Contend not in wisdom with a fool, for thy sense inaketh much of his conceit,
And some errors never would have thriven,, had it not been for learned refutation;
Yea, much evil hath been caused by an honest wrestler for truth.
And much of unconscious good, by the man that hated wisdom:
For the intellect judgeth closely, and if thou overstep thy argument,
Or seem not consistent with thyself, or fail in thy direct purpose,
The mind that went along with thee, shall stop and return without thee,
And thou shalt have raised a foe, where thou mightest have won a friend.
[From Indirect influences.]
THE POWER OF SUGGESTION.
Hints, shrewdly strown, mightily disturb the spirit,
Have been cankered in a night by a worm, even as the prophet's gourd.
Thinkest thou the thousand eyes that shine with rapture on a ruin,
And so, the rapid sketch winneth more praise to the painter,
Than the consummate work elaborated on his easel:
And so, the Helvetic lion caverned in the living rock
Hath more of majesty and force, than if upon a marble pedestal.
. . . . What hath charmed thine ear in music?
Is it the labored theme, the curious fugue or cento,—
Nor rather the sparkles of intelligence flashing from some strange note
Or the soft melody of sounds far sweeter for simplicity?
. . . . What hath filled thy mind in reading?
Is it the volume of detail, where all is orderly set down,
And they that read may run, nor need to stop and think;
The book carefully accurate, that counteth thee no better than a fool,
Gorging the passive mind with annotated notes: —
Nor rather the half-suggested thoughts, the riddles thou mayest solve;
The light analogy, or deep allusion, trusted to thy learning,
The confidence implied in thy skill to unravel meaning mysteries?
For ideas are ofttimes shy of the close furniture of words,
And thought, wherein only is power, may be best conveyed by a suggestion.
The flash that lighteth up a valley, amid the dark midnight of a storm,
Coineth the mind with that scene sharper than fifty summers.
Who would call the tench a whale, or style a torch, Orion?
Still, in thy title of distinguishment, fall not into arrogant assumption.
One grew to fame, an Aaron's rod. and swallowed up his brethren.
Art thou named of a family, the same in successive generations?
[From Indirect Influences.]
A Sentence hath formed a character, and a character subdued a kingdom;
Planets govern not the soul, nor guide the destinies of man.
But trifles, lighter than straws, are levers in the building up of character.
Yet once more, griever at Neglect, hear me to thy comfort, or rebuke; For, after all thy just complaint, the world is full of love.
For human benevolence is large, though many matters dwarf it,
And if to the body, so to the mind, the mass of men are generous:
Therefore examine thy state, O self-accounted martyr of Neglect,
HINTS OF PRE-EXISTENCE.
Were I at Petra, could I not declare. My soul hath been here before me?
Be ye my judges, imaginative minds, full-fledged to soar into the sun.
And then it is quenched, as in darkness, and leaveth the cold spirit trembling.
Good men are the health of the world, valued only when it perisheth;
Who hath regarded the just pulses of his heart, till spasm or paralysis
have stopped them? Even thus, an unobserved routine of daily grace and wisdom, When no more here, had worship of a world, whose penitence atoned for
For mystery is man's life; we wake to the whisperings of novelty:
Sweeten or embitter daily life with the honey-gall of mystery.
For we walk blindfold, —and a minute may be much, — a step may reach
What earthly loss, what heavenly gain, may not this day produce?
Levelled of Alps and Andes, without its valleys and ravines,
How dull the face of earth, unfeatured of both beauty and sublimity:
And so, shorn of mystery, beggared in its hopes and fears,
How flat the prospect of existence, mapped by intuitive foreknowledge?
A Man's life is a tower, with a staircase of many steps,
Often, the painful present is comforted by flattering the future.