brought her to settle,—questions requiring all her wisdom, and sometimes more than all. None recurs with more frequency, at one period, in her journals, than the debate with herself, whether she shall make literature a profession. Shall it be woman, or shall it be artist?
Woman, or artist?Margaret resolved, again and again, to devote herself no more to these disappointing forms of men and women, but to the children of the muse.
The dramatis personoe,she said,
of my poems shall henceforth be chosen from the children of immortal Muse. I fix my affections no more on these frail forms.But it was vain; she rushed back again to persons, with a woman's devotion. Her pen was a non-conductor. She always took it up with some disdain, thinking it a kind of impiety to attempt to report a life so warm and cordial, and wrote on the fly-leaf of her journal,—
‘Scrivo sol per sfogar’ l'interno.
Since you went away,she said,
I have thought of many things I might have told you, but I could not bear to be eloquent and poetical. It is a mockery thus to play the artist with life, and dip the brush in one's own heart's blood. One would fain be no more artist, or philosopher, or lover, or critic, but a soul ever rushing forth in tides of genial life.
26 Dec., 1842.—I have been reading the lives of Lord Herbert of Cherbury, and of Sir Kenelm Digby. These splendid, chivalrous, and thoughtful Englishmen are