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in strengthening it; it formed temperament, but never instil.ed principle; it kept me generally good-humored and kindly, but could not teach me perseverance or self-denial: what firmness or principle I had was quite independent of it; and it came itself nearly as often in the form of a temptation as of a safeguard, leading me to ramble over hills when I should have been learning lessons, and lose days in reveries which I might have spent in doing kindnesses.
"Lastly: although there was no definite religious sentiment mingled with it, there was a continual perception of Sanctity in the whole of nature, from the slightest thing to the vastest; —an instinctive awe, mixed with delight; an indefinable thrill, such as we sometimes imagine to indicate the presence of a disembodied spirit. I could only feel this perfectly when I was alone; and then it would often make me shiver from head to foot with the joy and fear of it, when after being some time away from the hills, I first got to the shore of a mountain river, where the brown water circled among the pebbles, or when I saw the first swell of distant land against the sunset, or the first low broken wall, covered with mountain moss. I cannot in the least describe the feeling: but I do not thmk this is my fault, nor that of the English language, for, I am afraid, no feeling is describable. If we had to explain even the sense of bodily hunger to a person who had never felt it, we should be hard put to it for words; and this joy in nature seemed to me to come of a sort of heart-hunger, satisfied with the presence of a Great and Holy Spirit. These feelings remained in their full intensity till I was eighteen or twenty, and then, as the reflective and practical power increased, and the 'cares of this world' gained upon me, faded gradually away, in the manner described by "Wordsworth in his Intimations of Immcrtality."
Happily for the world, these emotions or " feelings," became enthroned in the Intellect of Ruskin.
"He who feels Beauty, but cannot intellectually recognise it, is ever dependent for this most joyous of emotions upon the vernal freshness of his senses; and as these grow dull, as youth flits past, the emotion of the beautiful gradually becomes a thing unknown. It is only through feeling that aesthetic emotion can touch such an one; and how soon, alas! does this medium between man and nature, between the soul and external things grow sluggish and torpid! But with him who has learned to know as well as to feel—whose soul is one clear sky of intelligence,—the case is far otherwise. Intellect brightens as the senses grow dull; and though the sensuous imagination pass into the yellow leaf as the autumn of life draws on, still will the Beautiful, having secured for itself a retreat in the intellect, naturally pass into immortality along with it. An old man, with closed eyes and flowing hairwould again, as in the days of ancient Greece, form the idea> of a poet; and the taste of the age of Pericles, enlightened by modern philosophy, and purified by Christianity, might again return."
A higher aim even than this will, we trust, be attempted m our own country. True; Art is here yet in its infancy Its healthful, vigorous growth and development, will depend mainly upon the general cultivation of a correct Taste. We cannot expect our Artists to pursue high and noble aims until the standard of Taste is proportionably elevated.
For the study of nature,—the inseparable ally of Art,—no finer field can be found on the wide earth, than our own wide country;—and no better guide and interpreter, than John Ruskis.
L. C. T