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Fairfax, Va. (Virginia, United States) (search for this): chapter 4
absolutely useless. Tasso probably wrote it involuntarily, and without comprehending it himself. As to the impossibility of taking from Tasso without disarranging the poem, &c., I dare say 'tis not one whit more justly said of his, than of any other narrative poem. Mais, n'importe, 'tis sufficient if Rousseau believed this. I found the stanza in question; admire its meaning beauty. I hope you have Italian enough to appreciate the singular perfection in expression. If not, look to Fairfax's Jerusalem Delivered, Canto 12, Stanza 77; but Rousseau says these lines have no connection with what goes before, or after; they are preceded, stanza 76, by these three lines, which he does not think fit to mention. Misero mostro d'infelice amore; Misero mostro a cui sol pena é degna Della immensa impieta, la vita indegna. Vivro fra i miei tormenti e fra le cure, Mie giuste furie, forsennato errante. Paventero l'ombre solinghe e secure, Che l'primo error mi recheranno avante: E del s
Florence (Italy) (search for this): chapter 4
spoke so earnestly, that the depth of the sentiment prevailed, and not the accidental expression, which might chance to be common. Thus I learned, the other day, that, in a copy of Mrs. Jameson's Italian Painters, against a passage describing Correggio as a true servant of God in his art, above sordid ambition, devoted to truth, one of those superior beings of whom there are so few; Margaret wrote on the margin, And yet all might be such. The book lay long on the table of the owner, in Florence, and chanced to be read there by a young artist of much talent. These words, said he, months afterwards, struck out a new strength in me. They revived resolutions long fallen away, and made me set my face like a flint. But Margaret's courage was thoroughly sweet in its temper. She accused herself in her youth of unamiable traits, but, in all the later years of her life, it is difficult to recall a moment of malevolence. The friends whom her strength of mind drew to her, her good heart
M. Laisney (search for this): chapter 4
hat can be felt or thought of him cannot be said in the way of criticism. I will copy and keep a few of his songs. I should like to keep the whole collection by me, and take it up when my faith in human nature required the gentlest of fortifying draughts. How fine his answer to those who asked about the de before his name!— Je suis vilain, Vilain, vilain, &c. J'honore une race commune, Car, sensible, quoique malin, Je n'ai flate que l'infortune. In a note to Couplets on M. Laisney, imprimeur d Peronne, he says: It was in his printing-house that I was put to prentice; not having been able to learn orthography, he imparted to me the taste for poetry, gave me lessons in versification, and corrected my first essays. Of Bonaparte,— Un conquerant, dans sa fortune altiere, Se fit un jeu des sceptres et des lois, Et de ses pieds on peut voir la poussiere Empreinte encore sur le bandeau des rois. I admire, also, Le Violon brise, for its grace and sweetness. How
Swedenborg (search for this): chapter 4
ar. She signalized saints' days, All-Souls, and All-Saints, by poems, which had for her a mystical value. She remarked a preestablished harmony of the names of her personal friends, as well as of her historical favorites; that of Emanuel, for Swedenborg; and Rosencrantz, for the head of the Rosicrucians. If Christian Rosencrantz, she said, is not a made name, the genius of the age interfered in the baptismal rite, as in the cases of the archangels of art, Michael and Raphael, and in givart, or scholarship. was known to her; and she was familiar with the leading books and topics. There is a kind of undulation in the popularity of the great writers, even of the first rank. We have seen a recent importance given to Behmen and Swedenborg; and Shakspeare has unquestionably gained with the present generation. It is distinctive, too, of the taste of the period,—the new vogue given to the genius of Dante. An edition of Cary's translation, reprinted in Boston, many years ago, was
Henry Hedge (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 geni
Bartolini (search for this): chapter 4
be seen at a glance; yet does not tire one after survey. It has the freshness of the woods, and of morning dew. I admire those long lithe limbs, and that column of a throat. The Diana is a woman's ideal of beauty; its elegance, its spirit, its graceful, peremptory air, are what we like in our own sex: the Venus is for men. The sleeping Cleopatra cannot be looked at enough; always her sleep seems sweeter and more graceful, always more wonderful the drapery. A little Psyche, by a pupil of Bartolini, pleases us much thus far. The forlorn sweetness with which she sits there, crouched down like a bruised butterfly, and the languid tenacity of her mood, are very touching. The Mercury and Ganymede with the Eagle, by Thorwaldsen, are still as fine as on first acquaintance. Thorwaldsen seems the grandest and simplest of modern sculptors. There is a breadth in his thought, a freedom in his design, we do not see elsewhere. A spaniel, by Gott, shows great talent, and knowledge of the ani
Le Livre Mystique (search for this): chapter 4
ence of mesmerism and its goblin brood, which have been rife in recent years. She had a feeling that she ought to have been a man, and said of herself, A man's ambition with a woman's heart, is an evil lot. In some verses which she wrote To the Moon, occur these lines:— But if I steadfast gaze upon thy face, A human secret, like my own, I trace; For, through the woman's smile looks the male eye. And she found something of true portraiture in a disagreeable novel of Balzac's, Le Livre Mystique, in which an equivocal figure exerts alternately a masculine and a feminine influence on the characters of the plot. Of all this nocturnal element in her nature she was very conscious, and was disposed, of course, to give it as fine names as it would carry, and to draw advantage from it. Attica, she said to a friend, is your province, Thessaly is mine: Attica produced the marble wonders of the great geniuses; but Thessaly is the land of magic. I have a great share of Ty
Apollo Musagetes (search for this): chapter 4
ides or floats upon the soul's horizon, as soft as is consistent with perfectly distinct and filled-out forms. The graceful Lionardo might see his pictures in moss; the beautiful Raphael on the cloud, or wave, or foliage; but thou, Michel, didst look straight upwards to the heaven, and grasp and bring thine down from the very sun of invention. How Raphael revels in the image! His life is all reproduced; nothing was abstract or conscious. Pantheism, Polytheism, Greek god of Beauty, Apollo Musagetes,—what need of life beyond the divine work? I paint, said he, from an idea that comes into my mind. But thou, Michel, didst not only feel but see the divine Ideal. Thine is the conscious monotheism of Jewry. Like thy own Moses, even on the mount of celestial converse, thou didst ask thy God to show now his face, and didst write his words, not in the alphabet of flowers, but on stone tables. It is, indeed, the two geniuses of Greece and Jewry, which are reproduced in these two
est appreciation for genius in letters, arts, and life. Margaret describes his complexion as clear in its pallor, and his eye steady. His turn of mind, and his habits of life, had almost a monastic turn,—a jealousy of the common tendencies of literary men either to display or to 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 to glimpses and insights, than to broad, comprehensive views. Till he needs the public, the public does not need him. The lonely lamp, the niche, the dark cathedral grove, befit him best. Let him shroud himself in
, didst look straight upwards to the heaven, and grasp and bring thine down from the very sun of invention. How Raphael revels in the image! His life is all reproduced; nothing was abstract or conscious. Pantheism, Polytheism, Greek god of Beauty, Apollo Musagetes,—what need of life beyond the divine work? I paint, said he, from an idea that comes into my mind. But thou, Michel, didst not only feel but see the divine Ideal. Thine is the conscious monotheism of Jewry. Like thy own Moses, even on the mount of celestial converse, thou didst ask thy God to show now his face, and didst write his words, not in the alphabet of flowers, but on stone tables. It is, indeed, the two geniuses of Greece and Jewry, which are reproduced in these two men. Thaumaturgus nature saw fit to wait but a very few years before using these moulds again, in smaller space. Would you read the Bible aright? look at Michel; the Greek Mythology? look at Raphael. Would you know how the sublime coe
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