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ing somewhat to that genuine humility which is so indispensable to true regeneration. But do not speak of this to——, for I am not yet sure of the state of my mind. 1836.—I have, for the time, laid aside De Stael and Bacon, for Martineau and Southey. I find, with delight, that the former has written on the very subjects I wished most to talk out with her, and probably I shall receive more from her in this way than by personal intercourse,—for I think more of her character when with her, and am stimulated through my affections. As to Southey, I am steeped to the lips in enjoyment. I am glad I did not know this poet earlier; for I am now just ready to receive his truly exalting influences in some degree. I think, in reading, I shall place him next to Wordsworth. I have finished Herschel, and really believe I am a little wiser. I have read, too, Heyne's letters twice, Sartor Resartus once, some of Goethe's late diaries, Coleridge's Literary Remains, and drank a great deal fro
apprehensiveness! How transcendently lovely was the face of one young angel by Raphael! It was the perfection of physical, moral, and mental life. Variegated wings, of pinkish. purple touched with green, like the breasts of doves, and in perfect harmony with the complexion, spring from the shoulders upwards, and against them leans the divine head. The eye seems fixed on the centre of being, and the lips are gently parted, as if uttering strains of celestial melody. The head of Aspasia was instinct with the voluptuousness of intellect. From the eyes, the cheek, the divine lip, one might hive honey. Both the Loves were exquisite: one, that zephyr sentiment which visits all the roses of life; the other, the Amore Greco, may be fitly described in these words of Landor: There is a gloom in deep love, as in deep water; there is a silence in it which suspends the foot, and the folded arms and the dejected head are the images it reflects. No voice shakes its surface; the Muse
er. 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 violent antipathies,—the result of an exaggerated love for, shall I call it by so big a name as the poetry of being? —and the natural distrust arising from being forced to hear the conversation of half-bred men, all whose petty feelings were roused to awkward life by the paltry game of local politics,—are yiel<
orks on Foreign Literature,—has invited me to prepare the Life of Goethe, on very advantageous terms. This I should much prefer. Yet when the thousand petty difficulties which surround us are considered, it seems unwise to relinquish immediate independence. She accepted, therefore, the offer which promised certain means of aiding her family, and reluctantly gave up the precarious, though congenial, literary project. School experiences. The new institution of which I am to be Lady Superior? was dedicated last Saturday. People talk to me of the good I am to do; but the last fortnight has been so occupied in the task of arranging many scholars of various ages and unequal training, that I cannot yet realize this new era. * * The gulf is vast, wider than I could have conceived possible, between me and my pupils; but the sight of such deplorable ignorance, such absolute burial of the best powers, as I find in some instances, makes me comprehend, better than before, how suc
on and sentiment to mar my enjoyment of the vast capabilities, and exquisite perception of beauty, displayed everywhere in his poems. March 17, 1836.—I think Herschel will be very valuable to me, from the slight glance I have taken of it, and I thank Mr. F.; but do not let him expect anything of me because I have ventured on aer; for I am now just ready to receive his truly exalting influences in some degree. I think, in reading, I shall place him next to Wordsworth. I have finished Herschel, and really believe I am a little wiser. I have read, too, Heyne's letters twice, Sartor Resartus once, some of Goethe's late diaries, Coleridge's Literary Remaof 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
Wilhelm Meister (search for this): chapter 3
earning, benevolence, and almost unparalleled fairness of mind, should be in a great measure lost to the world, for want of earnestness of purpose, might impel us to attach to the latter attribute as much importance as does the wise uncle in Wilhelm Meister. As to what you say of Shelley, it is true that the unhappy influences of early education prevented his ever attaining clear views of God, life, and the soul. At thirty, he was still a seeker,—an experimentalist. But then his should noon what Goethe and Coleridge have said. Both have successfully seized on the main points in the character of Hamlet, and Mr. D. took nearly the same range. His views of Ophelia, however, are unspeakably more just than are those of Serlo in Wilhelm Meister. I regret that the whole course is not to be on Shakspeare, for I should like to read with him all the plays. I never have met with a person of finer perceptions. He leaves out nothing; though he over-refines on some passages. He has t
ve such overstatement, such a crude, intemperate tirade as you have been guilty of about Mr. Alcott;—a true and noble man, a philanthropist, whom a true and noble woman, also a philanthropist, should have delighted to honor; whose disinterested and resolute efforts, for the redemption of poor humanity, all independent and faithful minds should sustain, since the broadcloth vulgar will be sure to assail them; a philosopher, worthy of the palmy times of ancient Greece; a man whom Carlyle and Berkely, whom you so uphold, would delight to honor; a man whom the worldlings of Boston hold in as much horror as the worldlings of ancient Athens did Socrates. They smile to hear their verdict confirmed from the other side of the Atlantic, by their censor, Harriet Martineau. I do not like that your book should be an abolition book. You might have borne your testimony as decidedly as you pleased; but why leaven the whole book with it? This subject haunts us on almost every page. It is a gre
Goetz Von Berlichingen (search for this): chapter 3
s been done. To one class I taught the German language, and thought it good success, when, at the end of three months, they could read twenty pages of German at a lesson, and very well. This class, of course, was not interesting, except in the way of observation and analysis of language. With more advanced pupils I read, in twenty-four weeks, Schiller's Don Carlos, Artists, and Song of the Bell, besides giving a sort of general lecture on Schiller; Goethe's Hermann and Dorothea, Goetz von Berlichingen, Iphigenia, first part of Faust,—three weeks of thorough study this, as valuable to me as to them,— and Clavigo,—thus comprehending samples of all his efforts in poetry, and bringing forward some of his prominent opinions; Lessing's Nathan, Minna, Emilia Galeotti; parts of Tieck's Phantasus, and nearly the whole first volume of Richter's Titan. With the Italian class, I read parts of Tasso, Petrarch,—whom they came to almost adore,—Ariosto, Alfieri, and the whole hundred cantos
d care, Must of its chosen aim despair,-- Some bitter tears may be forgiven By Man, at least,—we trust, by Heaven. Birth-day. May 23d, 1836.—I have just been reading Goethe's Lebensregel. It is easy to say Do not trouble yourself with useless regrets for the past; enjoy the present, and leave the future to God. But it is not easy for characters, which are by nature neither calm nor careless, to act upon these rules. I am rather of the opinion of Novalis, that Wer sich der hochsten Lieb ergeben Genest von ihnen Wunden nie. But I will endeavor to profit by the instructions of the great philosopher who teaches, I think, what Christ did, to use without overvaluing the world. Circumstances have decided that I must not go to Europe, and shut upon me the door, as I think, forever, to the scenes I could have loved. Let me now try to forget myself, and act for others' sakes. What I can do with my pen, I know not. At present, I feel no confidence or hope. The expectations so
ms of art. The Ton-Kunst, the Ton-Welt, give me now more stimulus than the written Word; for music seems to contain everything in nature, unfolded into perfect harmony. In it the all and each are manifested in most rapid transition; the spiral and undulatory movement of beautiful creation is felt throughout, and, as we listen, thought is most clearly, because most mystically, perceived. I have 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 symph
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