has sent me his new volume.1
As usual, it is full of deep and original sayings, and touches of exceeding beauty.
But, as usual, it takes away my strength .... What is the use of telling us that everything is “scene-painting and counterfeit,” that
nothing is real, that everything eludes us?
That no single thing in life keeps the promise it makes?
Or, if any keeps it, keeps it like the witches to Macbeth
Enough of this conviction is forced upon us by experience, without having it echoed in literature.
My being is so alive and earnest that it resists and abhors these ghastly, eluding spectres.
It abhors them and says: “Be ye ghosts, and dwell among ghosts.
But though all the world be dead, and resolved into vapory elements, I will live?”
would smile at this; because it shows how deeply I feel the fact I quarrel with.
But after all, if we extend our vision into the regions of faith, all this mocking and unreality vanishes; and in the highest sense all things keep the promises they make.
Love, marriage, ambition, sorrow, nay even strong religious impressions, may and will fall short of the early promise they made, if we look at this life only.
But they are all means, not ends.
In that higher life we shall find that no deep feeling, no true experience, has slid over the surface of our being, and left no impression.
What have you seen and heard of Theodore Parker
since his return?
A friend requested him to buy a few engravings in Italy
, and I think he chose admirably.
One of them was intended for me, and if my spirit had been with him (as perhaps it was) he could not have chosen to my more complete satisfaction.
It is the Cumaean Sibyl
, by Domenichino.
She holds a scroll of music in her hand, and seems listening intently to the voices of the universe.
It is the likeness of my soul in some of its moods.
Oh, how I have listened!
It is curious, but, standing as I am on the verge of declining life, my senses are all growing more acute
and clear; so acute that my sources of pain and pleasure are increased tenfold.
I am a great deal more alive than I used to be.
I live in the same quiet, secluded way. I am never seen in public, and the question is sometimes asked, “Where on earth does she pick up all she tells of New York in her letters to the ‘ Courier?’
for nobody ever sees her.”
saw my “cap,” though, on one occasion.
A bit of lace outside of my head was as much as I should expect him to see of me. I suppose you have seen his announcement to the public in what box I sat at Niblo's; a fact doubtless of great importance to the public, fashionable and literary.
If you have seen the paragraph in his paper, you will know what I mean by the “cap.”