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lady's chamber; tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favor she must come."
The saying of the poet, "A thing of beauty is a joy forever," is true only when predicated of the image in the mind and of intellectual contemplation. The beauty of things is a phantom, the enjoyment the senses have of it a slippery illusion. A beautiful phenomenon is actually seen but for a moment. A little while, and, though present to the eye, it is seen no more, as a strain of music ceases to be heard when unduly prolonged. Only the thought survives the image in the mind. As mere sensation, the enjoyment of beauty is fleeting, like all our enjoyments, — the more intense, the more evanescent. It is a bitter irony of Nature that, while grief may last for days and months, all pleasure is momentary. The best that life yields in that kind is an equilibrium of mild content, a poise between joy and pain. Disturb that equilibrium by dropping a sorrow into the scale, and long time is required to restore the balance. Disturb the equilibrium by adding a new joy, and how soon the beam is straight! We get used and indifferent to our joys; we do not get used to our pains. And yet Nature can bear a greater accession of sorrow than of pleasure. Strange to say, the heart will sooner break with joy than grief. On the plane of physical experience there are painful sensations
which, beyond a certain point of aggravation are fatal, as the strain of the rack has sometimes proved; and there are pleasurable sensations which would be fatal if greatly intensified or prolonged. But note this curious fact, that before the limit of endurance in the latter case is reached, the pleasure turns to pain, — which shows how limited is physical enjoyment. Bodily pain, on the contrary, never breaks into any falsetto of pleasure, but keeps "due on" its dolorous road, till anguish deepens into death.
Of mental emotions, joy in itself is more fatal than sorrow; the only reason why men oftener pine to death than rejoice to death, is because occasions of extreme grief are more frequent than occasions of excessive joy.
"If ever," says Faust in his bargain with Mcphistophclcs, — " if ever I shall say to the passing moment, 'Tarry, thou art so beautiful,' then you may lay fetters on me, and I will gladly go to perdition."
"Le bonhcur," says Voltaire, "n'est qu'un reve, ct la doulcur est réelle; il y a quatre-vingts ans que jc l'c'prouve."
Meanwhile Nature pursues her course, regardless alike of joy and grief. No sympathy has she with sad or gay, no care to adjust her aspects with our experience, her seasons with our need, or to match with her sky the weather in the soul. She smiles her blandest on the recent battle-field, where the hopes of a thousand homes lie withered; and she smites with her tornadoes the ungathered harvest in which the bread of a thousand homes has ripened. She refuses a glint of her sunlight to the ship befogged on a lee shore, and pours it in full splendor on the finished, irreparable wreck. Prodigal of life, she is every moment teeming with births innumerable; and still the drift of death accumulates on the planet. This earth of our abode is all compact of extinct creations, every creature on it a sarcophagus of perished lives, every existence purchased and maintained by sumless deaths. The outstretched landscape refulgent in the bright June morning, dew-gemmed, vocal with the ecstasies of welcoming birds, suggestive of eternal youth, is a funeral pageant, a part of the fatal procession which takes us with it as we gaze. The fresh enamel laid on by the laughing Hours, the festive sheen, the universal face of joy, "the bridal of the earth and sky," when analyzed turns to a thin varnish spread over mould and corruption. And amid the myriad-voiced psalm of life that makes the outgoings of the morning glad, is heard, if we listen, the sullen ground-tone of mortality with which Nature accompanies all her music.
Out of all these glooms into which we have strayed, and out of the ironies of Nature and life, there is no escape by the avenues of thought, but only by turning from thought to deed. The social and moral activities for those who live in them neutralize or else compensate these intellectual sorrows, and keep the importunities of Momus in check. It belongs to the moral sentiment, or rather it belongs to the morally regenerate will, to create for itself a world into which no irony can enter but the blessed irony of God, the reserve which is not limitation and negation and death, but yea behind yea, and life upon life. Love is the anointing of the eyes which transfigures Erebus itself into yea^ or makes it invisible. Every really good deed, every genuine act of self-sacrifice, is immortal, a birth from the heart of the Divine; the everlasting morning is in it, the gates of hell are powerless, and Mephistopheles leers in vain.
THE PHILOSOPHY OF PETICHISM.
[From the Unitarian Review, March, 1881.]
MERSON in one of his poems complains
"Things are in the saddle,
The saying is true in other senses than that of the exigence of material interests, which is what the poet intended by it.
Mankind, the world over, in divers ways are ridden by " things," possessed by them, enthralled by them. Nor is it always a preponderant materialism that imposes this thrall. Materialism is not the normal faith of human kind, but an aberration. There are philosophers who ignore the agency of spirit in phenomenal nature, and there are worldlings who rest in sensual satisfactions, or satisfactions derived from material values; but naturally man is more spiritualist than materialist, and there is an interest in things, and an action of things on . the mind, which attests the supremacy of spirit in human life. Every thing was first a thought, and only thinking makes things.
The savage, groping after Deity, makes a god of