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“ The deep Heart answered, Weepest thou ?
Worthier cause for passion wild,
to thee I did not send
Would in thy hall take up his rest ?” The One, the Absolute Being, reveals Himself in forms as many as the minds, if they but knew it: to one He is Truth, to another Beauty, to another Good : He Himself, above all, is God identical and one, condescending to the shape of that drop He is mirrorred in. Like Coleridge and De Quincy, he believes, the present writer himself is a Trinitarian in theory and practice, of the Transcendental school, and from grounds. of Reason, coalescing with all History and Revelation; to him, his own particular view seems for him the truest. But while he sees little of God through the abject servilities of Puseyism, or the scholastic dogmas of the Puritan, he would revere Plato's Supreme Framer of Ideas, Lord of the heavenly year,—or that Inscrutable, Inconceivable, Unapproachable, whom the mystic Dionysius *, spoke of, and before whom the stern, scientific Fichte bowed, almost in tears. Still more would he be awed and rejoice in Presence of that all-inhabiting, ever-moving Reality, whose life to Emerson makes the very finger-ends of the landscape tingle, and makes his own soul see and worship. A little more of such Pantheism, and our general religion will be so much elevated and realised by living men. Pure reason, in short, tends to this: the practical, with its inward law,—the imaginative, the emotional, the empirical intellect, render Pantheism again into personal Theism : a thorough Pantheist, no more than a complete Atheist, ever was. This Emerson does not disguise ; had he a system, we should say it was to be unsystematic, and not to philosophise ; but a deeper root than system or philosophy lies at bottom of every one of his productions; each is organic, the sentence in some sense represents the whole, the whole would drop in pieces with the loss of a sentence; in other words, he is a Poet. He would probably say with Schiller, in self-colloquy—“Of what religion art thou ?–Of no religion.--Of none! wherefore ?–From religion !
But, in fine, setting aside the intellect of Emerson and his doctrine, it is to be said that his most important aspect is that of his personal
* Dionysius, the Areopagite, so-called author of Mystic Theology. He spoke of the Deity asby:c; ellence devoid of attributes.
character, as a man, and as revealed secondarily through these writings of his. In this respect, I take leave to think that Emerson is the most mark-worthy, the loftiest and most heroic mere man that ever appeared. And just because Humanity itself, at this epoch of its progress, needs such an individual, has he arisen. Like all representative characters, he is the anticipative product of a universal want, as Luther of Reformation. Carlyle writes, but Emerson is ; Cousin systematises, Emerson thinks ; Wordsworth, Browning, and Barrett sing, Emerson is himself as a reed through which the wind plays; Chalmers and Martineau were preaching and doing good, Emerson stands up to say, you cannot reach this need. Nothing would disgust this man more than followers, to have a school : the whole of men and women can only be Emersonian by being different from him and from each other. Till then, they can no more join hands in brotherhood and sisterhood than you can clasp the fingers of a shadow ; he would not have them do good or be done good to, till they are themselves : did they mimic his voice and attitude, he would turn from them as from a flock of apes. In this he, or Man in him, puts things on their right footing ; a throng of clouds, of hideous night-shapes, evil beasts, and bugbears, flee from before him, as in the old fables of Man clearing the waste earth; and well may tyrannies, superstitions, and authority tremble at the steps of Emerson, for he heralds an epoch of humanity, the stage of man self-conscious and free from within. Other forms after that have to arise, no doubt, and higher stations to be won, but meantime this is sure as the nature of man. The single brain of Puseyism can see the dilemma that mere formal dogmatic Protestantism is both groundless and unsafe, but it cannot, in its nerveless, unmanly panic, behold the other side of the alternative than refuge in authority. Individualism is to it unknown, and the abyss of horrors. Eclecticism, Developmentalism, are a metaphysical half-wayhouse for the academical and constitutional. Emerson but proclaims first what is on many tongues,-“ Free variety is the sole condition of Unity,
;" * and these two are mutually reciprocal. Freedom to Emerson is as life and breath; the “ method of Nature" is inhaled by his spirit from the American woods, the bare marsh, the dry heath, the height of Monadnoc; to let the soul grow, like seed, stem, leaf, and blossom, as God would. The divine idea that is in Humanity, that was meant in Adam, and reiterated at the world's centre in Christ the Lord, would be our name for what he recognises in the possibility of all men. For this, doubtless, he lives; for this he would die at the stake, and will breathe out his last aspiration. Few, in the common sense, of those storms, conflicts, passions, and difficulties, that have agitated the breasts of the great agonists of history, have probably convulsed his ; he walks to his purpose with the silent grace of a Greek marble, with the harmony of Nature. But the very calm
* Substance of pamphlet by a friend, entitled-—~ The Idea and Meurs of Christian Unity.” Edinburgh, 1847.
ness, the width of his atmosphere, betray moments of out-reaching consciousness perhaps as solemn, as secretly terrible: that wondrous self-possession was not won without steel and wounds, nor in summer leisure. We see not the process—we have only the sign : he seems somehow or other to have the right to bend on you a majestic eye. He absolutely casts out fear-his assurance is imperturbable; to him the terrors of hell, the departure of heaven, are heaven's near tokenthe disregard of love its best security : and we believe him with the same generous confidence he extends to us, for here insincerity or doubt on either part were an impious bravado. Friends shall be to him his peers-he shall not lean on them, nor they on him ; if they grovel in the dust at his feet, he will account it a higher love to let them rise in anger, and be to themselves complete; while a stranger may come to him with that which he gives thanks for. Walking in the red man's steps, he has caught something of the Indian nature where it was gained, as well as from the Porch of Zeno. Yet who can read the thoughts of Emerson well, but he sees these traits as the larger circles of a nature, lofty, noble, generous, and loving to a height from which he calls you up to it. What he considers the true calamities and crimes of men stir him to enthusiasm ; humanity enthralled, with all its capabilities, in the land of freedom and Future, drew from that seer of the woods a passionate eloquence. Methinks it was from Emerson we first heard that truth of saddest wisdom, that the weakness of a member is the loss and detriment of all. I have seen him, by the bye, called an Emmanuelist,—thereby being meant neither the disciple of Immanuel Kant nor Emanuel Swedenborg, but a preacher of God-with us." Let it be so—the thing is good, the epithet is at least happy for a paster of titles. The main function of Emerson, however, is the embodiment, the incarnation of all Philosophy, ancient, middle, modern, and transcendental. Truth begins at last to be personal, the schools are put to daily use. We revere in him the height of that which is implied in Humanity, in Man as such, ere he bands himself in constant fellowship, goes forth to work, and connects himself with objective faiths, preparing for heaven. With that inward fortitude of his--that sunbright insight of intuition—that instinct to feel and to divine that power to express-and that perfect individual freedom-he forestalls centuries of general progress. We bid him God-speed, now that he has practical activity in view, and seeks to awake the spark of “Over-soul” in the popular breast—the bravest, the most spiritual man of our time, where many we hope are such. If one might venture to point a course to him, who knows himself what he means, I should beseech him to pursue still more directly the path of Poetry
« For he that feeds men, serveth few;
He serves all, who dare be true.” Those verse-poems which he gave us were drops of sun-rain in the Spring-sweet almost as Uhland-golden almost as Tennyson's Grapes
of Song; but purer, more equal, more inward, and spiritually farthrilling than they—they glance from nature into nature through you, as light, or birds, or blue ether, through the loophole of a single wall. They are all lyrical, that is, direct and immediate; if I mistake not, there is neither historic nor dramatic faculty possible to Emerson, perhaps because of his will. They indicate the after-multiple of themselves, if he will but breathe again, and add the mastery of musical style to that of beautiful expression. While we can read them, and pass into a new world of soul, we shall not need to betake ourselves to Mesmerism.
Meseems that while England is working out the Problem of the Past, America will demonstrate the Theorem of the Future; we are not meanwhile without each other's wisdom. We tread on the heels of To-morrow; perhaps in some respects we derive here a more implicit and a tenderer philosophy than theirs ; History is old, and strong, and stamped from the King's mint ; to Emerson, History is nothinghe grasps at the untold gold of Possibility. Fare-thee-well, then, noble Friend ; may the Holy God lead thee, guide thee: our paths go wide apart, but they began together, and shall meet again! EDINBURGH, Feb. 22, 1848.
FASHIONS (AND FUGITIVES) FOR MARCH.
BY PAUL BELL.
Who dare talk of “ Fashions of the Month," any
more?—'Tis ni w "Fashions for the Moment." Who will, again, yawn over the dullness of the Period, and its lack of stirring interest ? Betwixt St. Valentine's Day—the date of my last—and St. David's—the First of March, did our world go round once, or a dozen times? It is not merely your wicked people in Novels, who are smashed to bits by a retributive Spitfire, at the station ;-but Favourites, Kings, Princes, and Ministers, have been set a-reeling, just as if some Comet had treated our globe to
6 A flap of its saucy tail," not merely “ with fear of change perplexing Monarchs," but bidding Fire burn and Cauldron bubble. Fire and cauldron have obeyed with a vengeance ! The light of the blaze, and the sound of the seething, bid fair to bewilder and excite the whole World's people, till there is a chance of every emmet among 'em, trying to set up his own independant still: whence restless ardent spirits—the fire-water of the savages--may be expected to flow.
But is there no method in the madness—no Common-sense amid all this craziness? Our wise ones are already reasoning from effect to cause, with regard to the astounding events abroad : -already tracing sequences, and establishing “a keeping among occurrences, which seem to the casual view, egregiously incoherent. Zadkiel has put on his Cap of Prophecy—and the Honourable Member for Scilly bewailed, in “the House," the approaching end of the World -as mathematically to be demonstrated from the newest French Revolution. You know, Sir, that I am neither wise ; nor a Member of Parliament ; nor prophetic. I can neither lay out the Past in Parallelograms (after Robert Owen's fashion), nor apportion the Future to suit my own humour (as the Exeter Hall interpreters of the Apocalypse do). But, being used to “buy and sell,"—to rummage among pattern-cards, and to speculate upon the probable run of new fashions,—I venture to send you a Note or two on the Foreign Markets, with an eye (in part) to home operations,—which I don't think, ought utterly to be despised : whatever be the humour or means of the Trafficker.
Truly the last has been a month of odd progresses, comical up-turnings and complete down-tumblings. Talking of “keeping," -when the year came in, all Womankind was embittered by accounts of the magnificence of the House of Dollallolla, in the artistic capital of Bavaria. No frescoes were there, from the Nibelungen Lied or Holy Writ!--no apotheosis of Dancing designed by Kaulbach or Cornelius, wherewith our vulgar English schools of Art were to be twitted !—but gorgeous velvet, and fine lace, and rich gold, and pretty silver : and very thick carpets and trebly soft cushions. What was comparable to the House of Dollallolla ? It slapped German virtue in the face ! It touched English female extravagance in its point of glory—the Purse. “ There was the creature,
Mrs. Bell said — "perched up in her pride for life! The Queen had asked her to tea : and after that, what right had any meaner person to criticise or sit in judgment? Such an example ! such an encouragement! But it was truly like those Gernians !" Then, was no moment for pointing out, that our English Princes had not always been innocent of favourites : and that when a Marchioness consents to take the reign of A Pavilion, she is, of the two, a greater discouragement to female Propriety, than when a Free-trader dashes from & strolling player's booth, into the garret of a journalist, and thence (taking a score of gambling houses in the way) lays siege to the