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see things as they are, to go right to the point, to disentangle a skein of thought, to detect what is sophistical, and to discard what is irrelevant. It prepares him to fill any post with credit, and to master any subject with facility. It shows him how to accommodate himself to others, how to throw himself into their state of mind, how to bring before them his own, how to influence them, how to come to an understanding with them, how to bear with them. He is at home in any society, he has common ground with every class ; he knows when to speak and when to be silent; he is able to converse, he is able to listen ; he can ask a question pertinently, and gain a lesson seasonably, when he has nothing to impart himself ; he is ever ready, yet never in the way; he is a pleasant companion, and a comrade you may depend upon ; he knows when to be serious and when to trifle, and he has a sure tact which enables him to trifle with gracefulness, and to be serious with effect. He has the repose of a mind which lives in itself, while it lives in the world, and which has resources for its happiness at home when it cannot go abroad. He has a gift which serves him in public, and supports him in retirement, without which good fortune is but vulgar, and with which failure and disappointment have a charm. The art which tends to make a man all this, is in the object which it pursues as useful as the art of wealth or the art of health, though it is less susceptible of method, and less tangible, less certain, less complete in its results.



[The Author is arguing against those who depreciate Literature 'as if it were the result of a mere trick and art of words, contending that 'fine writing, particularly as exemplified in the classics, is mainly a matter of conceits, fancies, and prettinesses, decked out in choice words.')

In the first place, I observe that Literature, from the derivation of the word, implies writing, not speaking ; this,

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however, arises from the circumstance of the copiousness, variety, and public circulation of the matters of which it consists. What is spoken cannot outrun the range of the speaker's voice, and perishes in the uttering. When words are in demand to express a long course of thought, when they have to be conveyed to the ends of the earth, or perpetuated for the benefit of posterity, they must be written down, that is, reduced to the shape of literature ; still, properly speaking, the terms by which we denote this characteristic gift of man belong to its exhibition by means of the voice, not of handwriting. It addresses itself, in its primary idea, to the ear, not to the eye. We call it the power of speech, we call it language, that is, the use of the tongue; and, even when we write, we still keep in mind what was its original instrument, for we use freely such terms in our books as 'saying,' speaking,' 'telling,' talking,' calling ;' we use the terms 'phraseology' and 'diction, as if we were still addressing ourselves to the ear.

Now I insist on this, because it shows that speech, and therefore literature, which is its permanent record, is essentially a personal work. It is not some production or result, attained by the partnership of several persons, or by machinery, or by any natural process, but in its very idea it proceeds, and must proceed, from some one given individual. Two persons cannot be the authors of the sounds which strike our ear; and as they cannot be speaking one and the same speech, neither can they be writing one and the same lecture or discourse, — which must certainly belong to some one person or other, and is the expression of that one person's ideas and feelings,-ideas and feelings personal to himself, though others may have parallel and similar ones,-proper to himself, in the same sense as his voice, his air, his countenance, his carriage, and his action are personal. In other words, literature expresses, not objective truth, as it is called, but subjective ; not things, but thoughts.

That literature is the personal use or exercise of language is further proved from the fact that one author uses it so differently from another. Language itself, in its very origination, would seem to be traceable to individuals. Their peculiarities have given it its character. We are often able, in fact, to trace particular phrases or idioms to individuals ; we know the history of their rise. The connection between the force of words in particular languages, and the habits and sentiments of the nations speaking them, has often been pointed out. And, while the many use language as they find it, the man of genius uses it indeed, but subjects it withal to his own purposes, and moulds it according to his own peculiarities. The throng and succession of ideas, thoughts, feelings, imaginations, aspirations, which pass within him, the abstractions, the juxtapositions, the comparisons, the discriminations, the conceptions, which are so original in him, his views of external things, his judgments of life, manners, and history, the exercises of his wit, of his humour, of his depth, of his sagacity,—all these innumerable and incessant creations, the very pulsation and throbbing of his intellect, does he image forth, to all does he give utterance, in a corresponding language, which is as multiform as this inward mental action itself and analogous to it, the faithful expression of his intense personality, attending on his own inward world of thought as its very shadow : so that we might as well say that one man's shadow is another's, as that the style of a really gifted mind can belong to any but himself. It follows him about as a shadow. His thought and feelings are personal, and so his language is personal.

Thought and speech are inseparable from each other. Matter and expression are parts of one : style is a thinking out into language. This is what I have been laying down, and this is literature ; not things, not the verbal symbols of things ; not on the other hand mere words; but thoughts expressed in language. Call to mind the meaning of the Greek word which expresses this special prerogative of man over the feeble intelligence of the inferior animals. It is called

Logos ; what does Logos mean? it stands both for reason and for speech, and it is difficult to say which it means more properly. It means both at once : why? because really they cannot be divided,,because they are in a true sense one. When we can separate light and illumination, life and motion, the convex and the concave of a curve, then will it be possible for thought to tread speech under foot, and to hope to do without it—then will it be conceivable that the vigorous and fertile intellect should renounce its own double, its instrument of expression, and the channel of its speculations and emotions.

Critics should consider this view of the subject before they lay down such canons of taste as the writer whose pages I have quoted. Such men as he is consider fine writing to be an addition from without to the matter treated of,

-a sort of ornament superinduced, or a luxury indulged in, by those who have time and inclination for such vanities. They speak as if one man could do the thought, and another the style. We read in Persian travels of the way in which young gentlemen go to work in the East, when they would engage in correspondence with those who inspire them with hope or fear. They cannot write one sentence themselves ; so they betake themselves to the professional letter-writer. They confide to him the object they have in view. They have a point to gain from a superior, a favour to ask, an evil to deprecate ; they have to approach a man in power, or to make court to some beautiful lady. The professional man manufactures words for them, as they are wanted, as a stationer sells them paper, or a schoolmaster might cut their pens. Thought and word are, in their conception, two things, and thus there is a division of labour. The man of thought comes to the man of words ; and the man of words, duly instructed in the thought, dips the pen of desire into the ink of devotedness, and proceeds to spread it over the page of desolation. Then the nightingale of affection is heard to warble to the rose of loveliness, while the breeze of anxiety plays around


the brow of expectation. This is what the Easterns are said to consider fine writing ; and it seems pretty much the idea of the school of critics to whom I have been referring.

And, since the thoughts and reasonings of an author have, as I have said, a personal character, no wonder that his style is not only the image of his subject, but of his mind. That pomp of language, that full and tuneful diction, that felicitousness in the choice and exquisiteness in the collocation of words, which to prosaic writers seem artificial, is nothing else but the mere habit and way of a lofty intellect. Aristotle, in his sketch of the magnanimous man, tells us that his voice is deep, his motions slow, and his stature commanding. In like manner, the elocution of a great intellect is great. His language expresses, not only his great thoughts, but his great self. Certainly he might use fewer words than he uses; but he fertilizes his simplest ideas, and germinates into a multitude of details, and prolongs the march of his sentences, and sweeps round to the full diapason of his harmony, as if rejoicing in his own vigour and richness of

I say, a narrow critic will call it verbiage, when really it is a sort of fulness of heart, parallel to that which makes the merry boy whistle as he walks, or the strong man, like the smith in the novel, flourish his club when there is no one to fight with.

Shakespeare furnishes us with frequent instances of this peculiarity, and all so beautiful, that it is difficult to select for quotation. For instance, in Macbeth :



'Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased,
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow,
Raze out the written troubles of the brain,
And, with some sweet oblivious antidote,
Cleanse the stuffed bosom of that perilous stuff
Which weighs upon the heart ?'

IIere a simple idea, by a process which belongs to the

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