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y, or literary fame,—she had an extraordinary degree; I think more than any person I have known. An interview with her was a joyful event. Worthy men and women, who had conversed with her, could not forget her, but worked bravely on in the remembrance that this heroic approver had recognized their aims. She 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, a
chaste for mine own people. There is perhaps here, as in a passage of the same journal quoted already, an allusion to a verse in the ballad of the Lass of Lochroyan:— O yours was gude, and gude enough, But aye the best was mine; For yours was oa the gude red gold, But mine oa the diamond fine. There is no hour of absolute beauty in all my past, though some have been made musical by heavenly hope, many dignified by intelligence. Long urged by the Furies, I rest again in the temple of Apollo. Celestial verities dawn constellated as thoughts in the heaven of my mind. But, driven from home to home, as a renouncer, I get the picture and the poetry of each. Keys of gold, silver, iron, and lead, are in my casket. No one loves me; but I love many a good deal, and see, more or less, into their eventual beauty. Meanwhile, I have no fetter on me, no engagement, and, as I look on others,—almost every other,—can I fail to feel this a great privilege? I have nowise tied my hands or <
ead is quite free from the got-up, caricatured air of disdain, which disfigures most likenesses of him, as it did himself in real life; yet sultry, stern, all-craving, all-commanding. Even the heavy style of the hair, too closely curled for grace, is favorable to the expression of concentrated life. While looking at this head, you learn to account for the grand failure in the scheme of his existence. The line of the cheek and chin are here, as usual, of unrivalled beauty. The bust of Napoleon is here also, and will naturally be named, in connection with that of Byron, since the one in letters, the other in arms, represented more fully than any other the tendency of their time; more than any other gave it a chance for reaction. There was another point of resemblance in the external being of the two, perfectly corresponding with that of the internal, a sense of which peculiarity drew on Byron some ridicule. I mean that it was the intention of nature, that neither should ever gro
Nathaniel Hawthorne (search for this): chapter 4
iefly, Mythology and Demonology; then, also, French Socialism, especially as it concerned woman; the whole prolific family of reforms, and, of course, the genius and career of each remarkable person. She had other friends, in this town, beside those in my house. A lady, already alluded to, lived in the village, who had known her longer than I, and whose prejudices Margaret had resolutely fought down, until she converted her into the firmest and most efficient of friends. In 1842, Nathaniel Hawthorne, already then known to the world by his Twice-Told Tales, came to live in Concord, in the Old Manse, with his wife, who was herself an artist. With these welcomed persons Margaret formed a strict and happy acquaintance. She liked their old house, and the taste which had filled it with new articles of beautiful form, yet harmonized with the antique furniture left by the former proprietors. She liked, too, the pleasing walks, and rides, and boatings, which that neighborhood commanded
Biddeford (search for this): chapter 4
t——, of telling me all she knew of herself; but I saw she dreaded, while she wished, that I should give a local habitation and a name to what lay undefined, floating before her, the phantom of her destiny; or rather lead her to give it, for she always approaches a tragical clearness when talking with me. ——has been to see us. But it serves not to know such a person, who perpetually defaces the high by such strange mingling with the low. It certainly is not pleasant to hear of God and Miss Biddeford in a breath. To me, this hasty attempt at skimming from the deeps of theosophy is as unpleasant as the rude vanity of reformers. Dear Beauty! where, where, amid these morasses and pine barrens, shall we make thee a temple? where find a Greek to guard it,—cleareyed, deep-thoughted, and delicate enough to appreciate the relations and gradations which nature always observes? An acute and illuminated woman, who, in this age of indifferentism, holds on with both hands to the creed
is one of those works which I should consider only excusable as the amusement of leisure hours; and, though few could write it, chiefly valuable to the writer. Here he has arranged, as in a bouquet, what he knew, —and a great deal it is,—of the time of Louis XIII. as he has of the Regency in La Marechale d'ancre, —a much finer work, indeed one of the best-arranged and finished modern dramas. The Leonora Galigai is better than anything I have seen in Victor Hugo, and as good as Schiller. Stello is a bolder attempt. It is the history of three poets,—Gilbert, Andre Chenier, Chatterton. He has also written a drama called Chatterton, inferior to the story here. The marvellous boy seems to have captivated his imagination marvellously. In thought, these productions are worthless; for taste, beauty of sentiment, and power of description, remarkable. His advocacy of the poets' cause is about as effective and well-planned as Don Quixote's tourney with the wind-mill. How would you pro
as already rich in friends, rich in experiences, rich in culture. She was well read in French, Italian, and German literature. She had learned Latin and a little Greek. But her English reading wasle, with a mind as high, and more mathematically exact, drawn by taste to Greek, as Margaret to Italian genius, tempted to do homage to Margaret's flowing expressive energy, but still more inclined 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 Jerusaleossesses it. We can only say, I have it, he has it. You have seen it often in the eyes of those Italian faces you like. It is most obvious in the eye. As we look on such eyes, we think on the tiger,on, and challenges a criticism to which I am not sure that I am, as the Germans say, gewachsen. Italian, as well as German, I learned by myself, unassisted, except as to the pronunciation. I have ne
December 17th, 1829 AD (search for this): chapter 4
e beginnings, but, by the world of men, clothed with a social and cosmical character. It will be seen, however, that this propensity Margaret held with certain tenets of fate, which always swayed her, and which Goethe, who had found room and fine names for all this in his system, had encouraged; and, I may add, which her own experiences, early and late, seemed strangely to justify. Some extracts, from her letters to different persons, will show how this matter lay in her mind. December 17, 1829.—The following instance of beautiful credulity, in Rousseau, has taken my mind greatly. This remote seeking for the decrees of fate, this 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 they caught any idea of th
June 1st, 1843 AD (search for this): chapter 4
ble 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 fine Beranger on Waterloo!— Its name shall never sadden verse of mine. To R. W. E. Niagara, 1st June, 1843. I send you a token, made by the hands of some Seneca Indian lady. If you use it for a watch-pocket, hang it, when you travel, at the head of your bed, and you may dream of Niagara. If you use it for a purse, you can put in it alms for poets and artists, and the subscription-money you receive for Mr. Carlyle's book. His book, as it happened, you gave me as a birthday gift, and you may take this as one to you; for, on yours, was W.'s birthday, J.'s wedding-day, and the day of——'s d
July, 1841 AD (search for this): chapter 4
task in 1837. She spent much time on it, and has left heaps of manuscripts, which are notes, transcripts, and studies in that direction. But she wanted leisure and health to finish it, amid the multitude of projected works with which her brain teemed. She used great discretion on this point, and made no promises. In 1839, she published her translation of Eckermann, a book which makes the basis of the translation of Eckermann since published in London, by Mr. Oxenford. In the Dial, in July, 1841, she wrote an article on Goethe, which is, on many accounts, her best paper. Criticism. Margaret was in the habit of sending to her correspondents, in lieu of letters, sheets of criticism on her recent readings. From such quite private folios, never intended for the press, and, indeed, containing here and there names and allusions, which it is now necessary to veil or suppress, I select the following notices, chiefly of French books. Most of these were addressed to me, but the thr
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