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Margaret Fuller, Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli (ed. W. H. Channing), chapter 2 (search)
a moral person, and not merely an overflowing genius, in whom impulse gives birth to impulse, deed to deed. This aim was distinctly apprehended and steadily pursued by her from first to last. It was a high, noble one, wholly religious, almost Christian. It gave dignity to her whole career, and made it heroic. This aim, from first to last, was self-culture. If she ever was ambitious of knowledge and talent, as a means of excelling others, and gaining fame, position, admiration,—this vanit originally self-chosen, was made much more clear to her mind by the study of Goethe, the great master of this school, in whose unequalled eloquence this doctrine acquires an almost irresistible beauty and charm. Wholly religious, and almost Christian, I said, was this aim. It was religious, because it recognized something divine, infinite, imperishable in the human soul,— something divine in outward nature and providence, by which the soul is led along its appointed way. It was almost Chris
Margaret Fuller, Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli (ed. W. H. Channing), chapter 3 (search)
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 not be compared with such a mind as ——'s, which, having no such exuberant fancy to tame, nor various faculties to develop, naturally comes to maturity sooner. Had Shelley lived twenty years longer, I have no doubt he would have become a fervent Christian, and thus have attained that mental harmony which was necessary to him. It is true, too, as you say, that we always feel a melancholy imperfection in what he writes. But I love to think of those other spheres in which so pure and rich a being shall be perfected; and I cannot allow his faults of opinion 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 valuabl
Margaret Fuller, Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli (ed. W. H. Channing), Appendix. (search)
e know not that she ever made an enemy; and, on the contrary, we believe that she has drawn towards herself the heart of every one with whom she has come in contact. In youth she was possessed of great personal beauty, and was much admired in the Washington circles when her husband was in Congress. She had a rare conversational gift, aided by a lively fancy and a well-stored mind, which made her society much valued by the educated and the gifted. Above all, she was a sincere and devoted Christian. Margaret Fuller, the first child of this union, is well known to fame. After her father's death she was her mother's chief stay; for, though of very little business experience, and with a natural aversion to financial affairs, she had a strength of mind and courageous firmness which stayed up her mother's hands when the staff on which she had leaned was stricken away. It had been the life-long desire of the daughter Margaret to go to Europe and complete her culture there, and arrang
Margaret Fuller, Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli (ed. W. H. Channing), chapter 12 (search)
d to draw out what is best in others, by the power of sympathy and self-forgetfulness. She was a woman of uncommon intellect, and of wide reading; and every thing she read was brought to the standard of a judgment remarkably clear and penetrative; indeed, her conversion to the Roman Catholic faith seems to have been mostly a matter of the head,—a choice between the Greek and the Roman ecelesiasticism. Long before her decision was made, her life shows her to have been a humble and earnest Christian; and, as such, as one whose sympathies took wing higher and wider than the opinions in which she had caged herself, her history has a rare value. One wonders at the amount of good accomplished by her, always a weak invalid. In order to understand how she lived, and what she did, the book must be read through; but some extracts might give a hint of it:— She rarely gave what is called advice,—an absolute solution of a given problem: her humility made her shrink from direct responsi<