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being emblems of its thoughts, and conveying in all their natural history a certain mute commentary on human life. Shakespeare employed them as colors to compose his picture. He rested in their beauty; and never took the step which seemed inevitable to such genius, namely, to explore the virtue which resides in these symbols, and imparts this power, what is that which they themselves say? He converted the elements, which waited on his command, into entertainments. He was master of the revels to mankind. Is it not as if one should have, through majestic powers of science, the comets given into his hand, or the planets and their moons, and should draw them from their orbits to glare with the municipal fireworks on a holiday night, and advertise in all towns,“ very superior pyrotechny this evening !” Are the agents of nature, and the power to understand them, worth no more than a street serenade, or the breath of a cigar ? One remembers again the trumpet-text in the Koran, The heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, think ye we have created them in jest ?” As long as the question is of talent and mental power, the world of men has not his equal to show. But when the question is to life, and its materials, and its auxiliaries, how does he profit me? What does it signify? It is but a Twelfth Night, or Midsummer Night's Dream, or a Winter Evening's Tale : what signifies another picture more or less ! The Egyptian verdict of the Shakespeare Societies comes to mind, that he was a jovial actor and manager.
I cannot marry this fact to his verse. Other admirable men have led lives in some sort of keeping with their thought; but this man, in wide contrast. Had he been less, had he reached only the common measure of great authors, of Bacon, Milton, Tasso, Cervantes, we might leave the fact in the twilight of human fate : but, that this man of men, he who gave to the science of mind a new and larger subject than had ever existed, and planted the standard of humanity some furlongs forward into Chaos, – that he should not be wise for himself, — it must even go into the world's history, that the best poet led an obscure and profane life, using his genius for the public amusement.
Well, other men, priest and prophet, Israelite, German, and Swede, beheld the same objects : they also saw through them that which was contained. And to what purpose ? The beauty straightway vanished ; they read commandments, allexcluding mountainous duty; an obligation, a sadness, as of piled mountains, fell on them, and life became ghastly, joyless,
a pilgrim's progress, a probation, beleaguered round with doleful histories of Adam's fall and curse, behind us; with doomsdays and purgatorial and penal fires before us; and the heart of the seer and the heart of the listener sank in them.
It must be conceded that these are half-views of half-men. The world still wants its poet-priest, a reco
econciler, who shall not trifle with Shakespeare the player, nor shall grope in graves with Swedenborg the mourner ; but who shall see, speak, and act, with equal inspiration. For knowledge will brighten the sunshine ; right is more beautiful than private affection; and love is compatible with universal wisdom.
NAPOLEON; OR, THE MAN OF THE
MONG the eminent persons of the nineteenth century,
Bonaparte is far the best known, and the most powerful; and owes his predominance to the fidelity with which he expresses the tone of thought and belief, the aims of the masses of active and cultivated men. It is Swedenborg's theory, that every organ is made up of homogeneous particles ; or, as it is sometimes expressed, every whole is made of similars; that is, the lungs are composed of infinitely small lungs; the liver, of infinitely small livers ; the kidney, of little kidneys, &c. Following this analogy, if any man is found to carry with him the power and affections of vast numbers, if Napoleon is France, if Napoleon is Europe, it is because the people whom he sways are little Napoleons.
In our society, there is a standing antagonism between the conservative and the democratic classes ; between those who have made their fortunes, and the young and the poor who have fortunes to make; between the interests of dead labor,
that is, the labor of hands long ago still in the grave, which labor is now entombed in money stocks, or in land and buildings owned by idle capitalists, — and the interests of living labor, which seeks to possess itself of land, and buildings, and money stocks. The first class is timid, selfish, illiberal, hating innovation, and continually losing numbers by death. The second class is selfish also, encroaching, bold, self-relying, always outnumbering the other, and recruiting its numbers every hour by births. It desires to keep open every avenue to the competition of all, and to multiply avenues ;
the class of business men in America, in England, in France, and throughout Europe ; the class of industry and skill. Napoleon is its representative. The instinct of active, brave,