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Wallenstein (search for this): chapter 4
his feeling of a destiny, casting its shadows from the very morning of thought, is the most beautiful species of idealism in our day. 'T is finely manifested in Wallenstein, where the two common men sum up their superficial observations on the life and doings of Wallenstein, and show that, not until this agitating crisis, have theyWallenstein, and show that, not until this agitating crisis, have they caught any idea of the deep thoughts which shaped that hero, who has, without their feeling it moulded their existence. Tasso, says Rousseau, has predicted my misfortunes. Have you remarked that Tasso has this peculiarity, that you cannot take from his work a single strophe, nor from any strophe a single line, nor from any lie eloquent, &c.; the butterfly settles always on the dark flower. Why did Socrates love Alcibiades? Why did Korner love Schneider? How natural is the love of Wallenstein for Max; that of De Stael for De Recamier; mine for——. I loved—— for a time, with as much passion as I was then strong enough to feel. Her face was always gle
R. W. Emerson (search for this): chapter 4
III. visits to Concord. R. W. Emerson. Je n'ai point rencontre, dans ma vie, de femme plus noble; ayant autant de sympathie pour ses semblables, et dont l'esprit fut plus vivifiant. Je me suis tout de suite sentie attiree par elle. Quand je fis sa connoissance, j'ignorais que ce fut une femme remarquable. Extract from a letter from Madame Arconati to R W. Emerson, I became acquainted with Margaret in 1835. Perhaps it was a year earlier that Henry Hedge, who had long been her friend, told me of her genius and studies, and loaned me her manuscript translation of Goethe's Tasso. I was afterwards still more interested in her, by the warm praises of Harriet Martineau, who had become acquainted with her at Cambridge, and who, finding Margaret's fancy for seeing me, took a generous interest in bringing us together. I remember, during a week in the winter of 1835-6, in which Miss Martineau was my guest, she returned again and again to the topic of Margaret's excelling geniu
e, for that is love. Thought will never reach it. Art. There are persons to whom a gallery is everywhere a home. In this country, the antique is known only by plaster casts, and by drawings. The Boston ATHENAeUM, —on whose sunny roof and beautiful chambers may the benediction of centuries of students rest with mine! —added to its library, in 1823, a small, but excellent museum of the antique sculpture, in plaster;—the selection being dictated, it is said, by no less an adviser than Canova. The Apollo, the Laocoon, the Venuses, Diana, the head of the Phidian Jove, Bacchus, Antinous, the Torso Hercules, the Discobolus, the Gladiator Borghese, the Apollino,—all these, and more, the sumptuous gift of Augustus Thorndike. It is much that one man should have power to confer on so many, who never saw him, a benefit so pure and enduring. To these were soon added a heroic line of antique busts, and, at last, by Horatio Greenough, the Night and Day of Michel Angelo. Here was old
Beethoven (search for this): chapter 4
m a stricter copy of their inward life than any other of the expressive arts, will, perhaps, enter into the spirit which dictated the following letter to her patron saint, on her return, one evening, from the Boston Academy of Music. to Beethoven. Saturday Evening, 25th Nov., 1843. My only friend, How shall I thank thee for once more breaking the chains of my sorrowful slumber? My heart beats. I live again, for I feel that I am worthy audience for thee, and that my being would bs but for the time. I know what the eternal justice promises. But on this one sphere, it is sad. Thou didst say, thou hadst no friend but thy art. But that one is enough. I have no art, in which to vent the swell of a soul as deep as thine, Beethoven, and of a kindred frame. Thou wilt not think me presumptuous in this saying, as another might. I have always known that thou wouldst welcome and know me, as would no other who ever lived upon the earth since its first creation. Thou woulds
philosophy. Margaret was struck with the singular fineness of his perceptions, and the pious tendency of his thoughts, and enjoyed with him his proud reception, not as from above, but almost on equal ground, of Homer and Aeschylus, of Dante and Petrarch, of Montaigne, of Calderon, of Goethe. Margaret wished, also, to defend his privacy from the dangerous solicitations to premature authorship:— His mind should be approached close by one who needs its fragrance. All with him leads rather tolars by the absence of bookishness The ease with which she entered into conversation made them forget all they had heard of her; and she was infinitely less interested in literature than in life. They saw she valued earnest persons, and Dante. Petrarch, and Goethe, because they thought as she did, and gratified her with high portraits, which she was everywhere seeking. She drew her companions to surprising confessions. She was the wedding-guest, to whom the long-pent story must be told; and
Cervantes (search for this): chapter 4
ornaments, and quite able to work without them. She could always rally on this, in every circumstance, and in every company, and find herself on a firm footing of equality with any party whatever, and make herself useful, and, if need be, formidable. The old Anaximenes, seeking, I suppose, for a source sufficiently diffusive, said, that Mind must be in the air, which, when all men breathed, they were filled with one intelligence. And when men have larger measures of reason, as Aesop, Cervantes, Franklin, Scott, they gain in universality, or are no longer confined to a few associates, but are good company for all persons,—philosophers, women, men of fashion, tradesmen, and servants. Indeed, an older philosopher than Anaximenes, namely, language itself, had taught to distinguish superior or purer sense as common sense. Margaret had, with certain limitations, or, must we say, strictures, these larger lungs, inhaling this universal element, and could speak to Jew and Greek, fre
, of painting leading minds en gigantesque. His Richelieu and his Bonaparte are treated with great calmness, and with dignified ease, almost as beautiful as majestic superiority. In this volume is contained all that is on record of the inner life of a man of forty years. How many suns, how many rains and dews, to produce a few buds and flowers, some sweet, but not rich fruit! We cannot help demanding of the man of talent that he should be like the orange tree, that busy plant. But, as Landor says, He who has any thoughts of any worth can, and probably will, afford to let the greater part lie fallow. I have not made a note upon De Vigny's notions of abnegation, which he repeats as often as Dr. Channing the same watch-word of self-sacrifice. It is that my views are not yet matured, and I can have no judgment on the point. Beranger. Sept., 1839.—I have lately been reading some of Beranger's chansons. The hour was not propitious. I was in a mood the very reverse of Roger
before you, but it always escapes from you. The test of this eloquence was its range. It told on children, and on old people; on men of the world, and on sainted maids. She could hold them all by her honeyed tongue. A lady of the best eminence, whom Margaret occasionally visited, in one of our cities of spindles, speaking one day of her neighbors, said, I stand in a certain awe of the moneyed men, the manufacturers, and so on, knowing that they will have small interest in Plato, or in Biot; but I saw them approach Margaret, with perfect security, for she could give them bread that they could eat. Some persons are thrown off their balance when in society; others are thrown on to balance; the excitement of company, and the observation of other characters, correct their biases. Margaret always appeared to unexpected advantage in conversation with a large circle. She had more sanity than any other; whilst, in private, her vision was often through colored lenses. Her talents w
Augustus Thorndike (search for this): chapter 4
whose sunny roof and beautiful chambers may the benediction of centuries of students rest with mine! —added to its library, in 1823, a small, but excellent museum of the antique sculpture, in plaster;—the selection being dictated, it is said, by no less an adviser than Canova. The Apollo, the Laocoon, the Venuses, Diana, the head of the Phidian Jove, Bacchus, Antinous, the Torso Hercules, the Discobolus, the Gladiator Borghese, the Apollino,—all these, and more, the sumptuous gift of Augustus Thorndike. It is much that one man should have power to confer on so many, who never saw him, a benefit so pure and enduring. To these were soon added a heroic line of antique busts, and, at last, by Horatio Greenough, the Night and Day of Michel Angelo. Here was old Greece and old Italy brought bodily to New England, and a verification given to all our dreams and readings. It was easy to collect, from the drawing-rooms of the city, a respectable picture-gallery for a summer exhibition. <
steps to mount to the star of the Legion of Honor,—the fairest star of heaven to us children. No meditation could keep long in chains heads made constantly giddy by the noise of cannon and bells for the Te Deum. When one of our former comrades returned to pay us a visit in uniform, and his arm in a scarf, we blushed at our books, and threw them at the heads of our teachers. Our teachers were always reading us bulletins from the grande armee, and our cries of Vive l'empereur interrupted Tacitus and Plato. Our preceptors resembled heralds of arms, our study halls barracks, and our examinations reviews. Thus was he led into the army; and, he says, It was only very late, that I perceived that my services were one long mistake, and that I had imported into a life altogether active, a nature altogether contemplative. He entered the army at the time of Napoleon's fall, and, like others, wasted life in waiting for war. For these young persons could not believe that peace and calm
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