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phrases and unnecessary sentences, in the mere luxury of freedom, as the school-boy cavorts and plunges as he first rushes out into the open air. But this is but the incident of a beginning, and with a little discipline and criticism any man can learn to write with the pen of an amanuensis in the same style as with his own. Some of Scott's best novels were written by the hand of others, - some by his own. We would challenge the most exquisite criticism to discern between the two classes from the mere internal evidence afforded by their composition.
We can perfectly well hear the whine or the snort of indignation with which conscious genius has put by our suggestions in this paper, long before reading to this point, where we close. Conscious genius is very apt to say that it must work without rules. It has a good deal to tell about the tides of inspiration; and it is prone to suppose that those tides are very irregular. It will ridicule the possibility of any science of mental effort; it will say that man must wait till he is inspired; and that until he is inspired, all effort is vain. It says a great deal more on this subject, but in this dictum is the pith of the whole. Now, we are willing to own that we know nothing of the methods of genius except as we read of them in the lives of men of genius. But from those authorities we have to remark, that, if Goethe and Schiller, Walter Scott, even Byron and Bulwer, are men of genius, not to go outside our own generation, genius is as glad to work under absolute, fixed, and methodical conditions as is any hod-carrier. Even Byron, we say; for when Byron was engaged upon a poem, he knew perfectly well that it would not finish itself, but that his persistent will must finish it. The extraordinary amount of work he did finish in his short career is a monument to the persistency and steadiness of his working power. And we doubt if there be any touchstone more certain to distinguish between real genius and Brummagem, than is the test which determines whether the mind in question is fresh, vivid, and in true condition for effort, on every blessed morning given it by God; or whether it can only boast certain fungous growths of gaudy color, but of most perishable substance, which spring up on some mornings, and
are nowhere to be found on others, lawless and irregular, and therefore, if not quite worthless, quite untrustworthy.
The truth is, that all mental effort, like all bodily effort, must fulfil the conditions of effort which God has imposed. This is as true of the highest efforts of divine poetry, as it is of the daily-bread work of the mere artisan of letters, who makes no pretence to genius or inspiration. We have been speaking, thus far, only of the two tools which are employed, the body and the mind, in such endeavor. But for the soul, which employs them, if they are to be kept at their full power, there must be constant accessions of the Life from which the soul is born. It is Life which bends the fingers to the pen. It is Life which drives the pen along the page. It is Life which makes the page live, and teach its lesson. This Life of the soul must be renewed and increased with every day of the soul's effort, or the page at length ceases to glow, just as the fingers fail to grasp the pen. The soul must be, indeed, newborn to its daily work as each day comes round. The soul must each day reassert its mastery over body and mind, without which they are only two rebel slaves setting in uproar the whole of the soul's kingdom. We have said enough, perhaps, to show that, for full mental power, this empire of the soul must be a stern one. The soul must deny the body in its appetites of meat, of drink, even of sleep and of play. It must cut off the stimulants which the body would like. It must insist on the repose without which the body dies. We have seen also the restraints and the commands which it imposes on the mind. The mind would gladly run in a thousand directions in the morning's effort; and the soul grimly holds it to one duty, or, at the most, to two. We see, again, that the soul does not let off either servant to a holiday because they choose to beg for it. When the hour of work comes, they work; when it is at end, they stop. Whether they like to work, or like to stop, the soul makes the decision. For such absolute empire, the soul needs new tides of Life daily. And God has been pleased to grant such tides, recurring with the regularity of his own sunlight if the soul accedes to the conditions. If the soul uses to his glory the Life of to-day, under the conditions which he has fixed for its various exertions, he
gives new Life for the duties of to-morrow. The faithful, patient soul working with Him for His infinite designs finds itself new-born as each morning struggles up the sky, and, with the freshness of new birth, enters on the new day's duties," as a little child" indeed. But unless the soul accept the condi tions, and unless it work in the Father's work, it has no such renewal, and it has no continued victory; any Hercules with whom it wrestles can lift it from the ground, and, with all its struggling, it can get no new strength for conflict. Vital power for the objects of life; vital power sufficient to hold in constant check the vagaries of the mind, and the appetites of the body; vital power, again, sufficient to reanimate, every morning, a mind which has new duties to undertake, and a body which is to fulfil meekly an imperial will, — is gained only at the fountain of Life. He has most of that power who drinks deepest at the fountain. He who never drinks — the Machiavel or the Napoleon finds, before he is done, that body and mind cannot be driven up to the behests of the will. He who works with God has God's breath to renew him every day. He who works without God finds his body give way just when he needs it, or his mind disobedient when a crisis comes. For his vital power is diminished by his every victory; while the faithful child of God receives the promise, and with every day has "Life more abundantly."
ART. IV.-MRS. BROWNING.
Poems. By ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING. From the last London Edition, corrected by the Author. New York: James Miller. 3 vols. 16mo. 1862.
CARLYLE says of the death of Goethe: "In the obituary of these days stands an article of quite peculiar import, the time, the place, the particulars of which will have to be often repeated, and rewritten, and continued in remembrance many centuries, this, namely, that Johann Wolfgang von Goethe died at Weimar on the 22d of March, 1832." The year 1861
furnishes to many a record as memorable and imperishable. Elizabeth Barrett Browning died at Florence, Italy, on the morning of the 19th of June, half an hour after daybreak. The sad significance of this fact can be fully comprehended only by her contemporaries. Posterity will merely rejoice that such a poet lived and sung. It is for her own age to mourn her departure with a peculiar and personal grief, quite different from the regret usually felt at the death of a favorite author. She has so directly spoken to the hearts of her readers, and won so entirely their sympathy and affection, that to admire and appreciate the poet is with them to love and venerate the Her own heart and life are in her poems, shaping them into wonderful harmony and completeness. Hence in part their fascination; hence, too, the fact that the woman is dearer than the poet, though personally unknown to thousands reverently cherishing her memory. It is not our purpose, however, to dwell upon the loss the world has sustained in her death. We would rather consider what the world has gained by her life, what it owes to her, not only as a poet, but also as a teacher and exemplar. The fitting time has come to do this, and as far as practicable by her own standard. She writes:
"Measure not the work
Until the day's out and the labor done.
Then bring your gauges. If the day's work 's scant,
Why, call it scant, affect no compromise;
And in that we have nobly striven, at least
Deal with us nobly, women though we be,
The calm dignity of this appeal is statuesque. It is impersonal in its quiet might and majesty, and instinct with a consciousness of power, marred by no light vanity or glorification of self. It does more than command admiration. It rebukes alike the blind partisan and the narrow hypercritical spirit. The one would be as unworthy and unjust as the other.
In order to get a true conception of "the labor done," it is essential, not only to examine the merits of Mrs. Browning's poems, but likewise to note the revelation in them of her own life and character. The agreeable task which we propose to ourselves, therefore, is. not so much to review critically her
various productions, as to delineate the noble qualities they
embody and express.
Mrs. Browning united loftiness of thought to intensity of emotion. As prodigal of ideas as an Eastern poet of images, the ideas are warmed into throbbing life by the inspiration of attendant feeling. Hence she excites in the reader an intellectual and moral vitality responsive to her own,- a twofold effect, that indicates the harmonious sources of her strength, and gives to her writings the vivid power that wins an active sympathy. An author thus endowed could hardly be wanting in vigor of description; and consequently this is among her prominent excellences. She sketches scenes with outlines so strongly drawn, and colors them with tints so richly glowing, that they stand out from the framework like the painting of a great master from the canvas. "The Rhyme of the Duchess May" is an instance of this executive force. A series of pictures pass before the mind's eye in rapid succession, each making a distinct and vivid impression. As illustrations of both the beauty and completeness of the images thus presented, we recall and emphasize a few of the finest passages:"Calm she stood; unbodkined through, fell her dark hair to her shoe, Toll slowly,
And the smile upon her face, ere she left the tiring-glass,
"Low she dropt her head, and lower, till her hair coiled on the floor,
And tear after tear you heard fall, distinct as any word
"Oh, and steeply, steeply wound up the narrow stair around
Oh, and closely, closely speeding, step by step beside her treading
there, where never a hoof did fall,
Out they swept a vision steady, noble steed and lovely lady,
Calm as if in bower or stall."
The scene on the castle wall rivals in intensity and tragic force Coleridge's description of the doomed ship's crew in "The Ancient Mariner," though the subjects and the emotions