Imagens da página




AMONG eminent persons, those who are most dear to men are not of the class which the economist calls producers : they have nothing in their hands; they have not cultivated corn, nor made bread; they have not led out a colony, nor invented a loom. A higher class, in the estimation and love of this city-building market-going race of mankind, are the poets, who, from the intellectual kingdom, feed the thought and imagination with ideas and pictures which raise men out of the world of corn and money, and console them for the short-comings of the day and the meanness of labor and traffic. Then, also, the philosopher has his value, who flatters the intellect of this laborer by engaging him with subtleties which instruct him in new faculties. Others may build cities; he is to understand them and keep them in awe. But there is a class who lead us into another region, — the world of morals or of will. What is singular about this region of thought is its claim. Wherever the sentiment of right comes in, it takes precedence of every thing else. For other things, I make poetry of them ; but the moral sentiment makes poetry of me.

I have sometimes thought that he would render the greatest service to modern criticism, who should draw the line of relation that subsists between Shakspeare and Swedenborg. The human mind stands ever in perplexity, demanding intellect, demanding sanctity, impatient equally of each without the other. The reconciler has not yet appeared. If we tire of the saints, Shakspeare is our city of refuge. Yet the instincts presently teach that the problem of essence must take precedence of all others; — the questions of Whence ? What? and Whither? and the solution of these must be in a life, and not in a book. A drama or poem is a proximate or oblique reply; but Moses, Menu, Jesus, work directly on this problem. The atmosphere of moral sentiment is a region of grandeur which reduces all material magnificence to toys, yet opens to every wretch that has reason the doors of the universe. Almost with a fierce haste it lays its empire on the man. In the language of the Koran, “God said, The heaven and the earth and all that is between them, think ye that we created them in jest, and that ye shall not return to us?” It is the kingdom of the will, and

by inspiring the will, which is the seat of personal. ity, seems to convert the universe into a per. son ;

“ The realms of being to no other bow,

Not only all are thine, but all are Thou.” All men are commanded by the saint. The Koran makes a distinct class of those who are by nature good, and whose gooduess has an influence on others, and pronounces this class to be the aim of creation : the other classes are admitted to the feast of being, only as following in the train of this. And the Persian poet exclaims to a soul of this kind, —

“Go boldly forth, and feast on being's banquet;
Thou art the called, -- the rest admitted with thee.”

The privilege of this caste is an access to the secrets and structure of nature by some higher method than by experience. In common parlance, what one man is said to learn by experience, a man of extraordinary sagacity is said, without experience, to divine. The Arabians say, that Abul Khain, the mystic, and Abu Ali Seena, the philosopher, conferred together; and, on parting, the philosopher said, “ All that he sees, I know ;” and the mystic said, “ All that he knows, I see.” If one should ask the reason of this intuition, the solution would lead us into that property which

« AnteriorContinuar »