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Joseph John Gurney (search for this): chapter 3
the whole might well have been condensed. There were many felicitous popular hits. The humorous touches were skilful, and the illustrations on a broad scale good, though in single images he failed. Altogether, there was a pervading air of ease and mastery, which showed him fit to be a leader of the flock. Though not a man of the Webster class, he is among the first of the second class of men who apply their powers to practical purposes,—and that is saying much. I went to hear Joseph John Gurney, one of the most distinguished and influential, it is said, of the English Quakers. He is a thick-set, beetle-browed man, with a well-to-do-in-the-world air of pious stolidity. I was grievously disappointed; for Quakerism has at times looked lovely to me, and I had expected at least a spiritual exposition of its doctrines from the brother of Mrs. Fry. But his manner was as wooden as his matter, and had no merit but that of distinct elocution. His sermon was a tissue of texts, illy
Tristam Burgess (search for this): chapter 3
farewell. Persons. Margaret's Providence journals are made extremely piquant and entertaining, by her life-like portraiture of people and events; and every page attests the scrupulous justice with which she sought to penetrate through surfaces to reality, and, forgetting personal prejudices, to apply universally the test of truth. A few sketches of public characters may suffice to show with what sagacious, all-observing eyes, she looked about her. At the whig caucus, I heard Tristam Burgess,—The old bald Eagle! His baldness increases the fine effect of his appearance, for it seems as if the locks had retreated, that the contour of his very strongly marked head might be revealed to every eye. His personnel, as well as I could see, was fitted to command respect rather than admiration. He is a venerable, not a beautiful old man. He is a rhetorician,—if I could judge from this sample; style inwoven and somewhat ornate, matter frequently wrought up to a climax, manner rath
Americans (search for this): chapter 3
what you say about the American Monthly, my answer is, I would gladly sell some part of my mind for lucre, to get the command of time; but 1 will not sell my soul: that is, I am perfectly willing to take the trouble of writing for money to pay the seamstress; but I am not willing to have what I write mutilated, or what I ought to say dictated to suit the public taste. You speak of my writing about Tieck. It is my earnest wish to interpret the German authors of whom I am most fond to such Americans as are ready to receive. Perhaps some might sneer at the notion of my becoming a teacher; but where I love so much, surely I might inspire others to love a little; and I think this kind of culture would be precisely the counterpoise required by the utilitarian tendencies of our day and place. My very imperfections may be of value. While enthusiasm is yet fresh, while I am still a novice, it may be more easy to communicate with those quite uninitiated, than when I shall have attained to
Jean Paul (search for this): chapter 3
Guten, and Schonen. Occupations. May, 1833.—As to German, I have done less that I hoped, so much had the time been necessarily broken up. I have with me the works of Goethe which I have not yet read, and am now engaged upon Kunst and Alterthum, and Campagne in Frankreich. I still prefer Goethe to any one, and, as I proceed, find more and more to learn, and am made to feel that my general notion of his mind is most imperfect, and needs testing and sifting. I brought your beloved Jean Paul with me, too. I cannot yet judge well, but think we shall not be ultimate. His infinitely variegated, and certainly most exquisitely colored, web fatigues attention. I prefer, too, wit to humor, and daring imagination to the richest fancy. Besides, his philosophy and religion seem to be of the sighing sort, and, having some tendency that way myself, I want opposing force in a favorite author. Perhaps I have spoken unadvisedly; if so, I shall recant on further knowledge. And thus rec
vid eloquence, brilliancy, endless resource, and ready tact, give him great advantage. There was a sort of exaggeration and coxcombry in his talk; but his lion-heart, and keen sense of the ludicrous, alike in himself as in others, redeem them. I should not like to have my motives scrutinized as he would scrutinize them, for I prefer rather to disclose them myself than to be found out; but I was dissatisfied in parting from this remarkable man before having seen him more thoroughly. Mr. Whipple addressed the meeting at length. His presence is not imposing, though his face is intellectual. It is difficult to look at him, for you cannot be taken prisoner by his eye, while, en revanche, he can look at you as long as he pleases; and, as usual, with one who can get the better of his auditors, he does not call out the best in them. His gestures are remarkably fine, free, graceful, and expressive. He has no natural advantages of voice,—for it is without compass, depth, sweetness,—a
y topics treated of in this book of which I am not a judge; but I do pretend, even where I cannot criticize in detail, to have an opinion as to the general tone of thought. When Herschel writes his Introduction to Natural Philosophy, I cannot test all he says, but I cannot err about his fairness, his manliness, and wide range of knowledge. When Jouffroy writes his lectures, I am not conversant with all his topics of thought, but I can appreciate his lucid style and admirable method. When Webster speaks on the currency, I do not understand the subject, but I do understand his mode of treating it, and can see what a blaze of light streams from his torch. When Harriet Martineau writes about America, I often cannot test that rashness and inaccuracy of which I hear so much, but I can feel that they exist. A want of soundness, of habits of patient investigation, of completeness, of arrangement, are felt throughout the book; and, for all its fine descriptions of scenery, breadth of reas
When not with——, in whose room I sit, sewing, and waiting upon him, or reading aloud a great part of the day, I solace my soul with Goethe, and follow his guidance into realms of the Wahren Guten, and Schonen. Occupations. May, 1833.—As to German, I have done less that I hoped, so much had the time been necessarily broken up. I have with me the works of Goethe which I have not yet read, and am now engaged upon Kunst and Alterthum, and Campagne in Frankreich. I still prefer Goethe to any not only be free from exaggeration, but which shall seem so, to those unacquainted with their works. I have so much reading to go through with this month, that I have but few hours for correspondents. I have already discussed five volumes in German, two in French, three in English, and not without thought and examination. * * Tell —— that I read Titan by myself, in the afternoons and evenings of about three weeks. She need not be afraid to undertake it. Difficulties of detail may, per
Vitruvius (search for this): chapter 3
chiller has already given me great pleasure. I have been reading the Revolt in the Netherlands with intense interest, and have reflected much upon it. The volumes are numbered in my little book-case, and as the eye runs over them, I thank the friendly heart that put all this genius and passion within my power. I am glad, too, that you thought of lending me Bigelow's Elements. I have studied the Architecture attentively, till I feel quite mistress of it all But I want more engravings, Vitruvius, Magna Graecia, the Ionian Antiquities, &c. Meanwhile, I have got out all our tours in Italy. Forsyth, a book I always loved much, I have re-read with increased pleasure, by this new light. Goethe, too, studied architecture while in Italy; so his books are full of interesting information; and Madame De Stael, though not deep, is tasteful. American History! Seriously, my mind is regenerating as to my country, for I am beginning to appreciate the United States and its great men. The vi
from the eyes of his spirit, so that he might no more degrade religion. Mr. Hague is of the Baptist persuasion, and is very popular with his own sect. He is small, and carries his head erect; he has a high and intellectual, though not majestic, forehead; his brows are lowering and, when knit in indignant denunciation, give a thunderous look to the countenance, and beneath them flash, sparkle, and flame,—for all that may be said of light in rapid motion is true of them,—his dark eyes. Hazel and blue eyes with their purity, steadfastness, subtle penetration and radiant hope, may persuade and win, but black is the color to command. His mouth has an equivocal expression, but as an orator perhaps he gains power by the air of mystery this gives. He has a very active intellect, sagacity and elevated sentiment; and, feeling strongly that God is love, can never preach without earnestness. His power comes first from his glowing vitality of temperament. While speaking, his every mu
ve been to hear Neukomm's Oratorio of David. It is to music what Barry Cornwall's verses and Talfourd's Ion are to poetry. It is completely modern, and befits an age of consciousness. Nothing can be better arranged as a drama; the parts are in excellent gradation, the choruses are grand and effective, the composition, as a whole, brilliantly imposing. Yet it was dictated by taste and science only. Where are the enrapturing visions from the celestial world which shone down upon Haydn and Mozart; where the revelations from the depths of man's nature, which impart such passion to the symphonies of Beethoven; where, even, the fascinating fairy land, gay with delight, of Rossini? O, Genius! none but thee shall make our hearts and heads throb, our cheeks crimson, our eyes overflow, or fill our whole being with the serene joy of faith. * * I went to see Vandenhoff twice, in Brutus and Virginius. Another fine specimen of the conscious school; no inspiration, yet much taste. Spite
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