Слике страница

of genius. A true definition would be a generalization made ur from many minds, and broad enough to include all the results of genius in action and thought. Genius is not a single power, but a combination of great powers. It reasons, but it is not reasoning; it judges, but it is not judgment; it imagines, but it is not imagination; it feels deeply and fiercely, but it is not pas sion. It is neither, because it is all. It is another name for the perfeccion of human nature, for genius is not a fact, but an ideal.

It is nothing less than the possession of all the powers and impulses of humanity, in their greatest possible strength and most harmonious combination; and the genius of any particular man is great in proportion as he approaches this ideal of universal genius. Conceive of a mind in which the powers of Napoleon and Howard, Dante and Newton, Luther and Shakspeare, Kant and Fulton, were so combined as to act in perfect harmony; a mind vital in every part, conceiving everything with intensity, and yet conceiving everything under its due relations, as swift in its volitions as in its thoughts,-conceive of a mind like this, and you will have a definition of genius.

As it is, it requires the energies of all men of genius to produce the results of genius. It exists somewhat in fragments. No one human mind comprehends all its elements. The nearest approach to universality of genius in intellect is Shakspeare; in will, Napoleon; in harmony of combination, Washington. It is singular that Washington is not generally classed among men of genius. Lord Brougham declares him to be the greatest man that ever lived, but of moderate talents,—as if being the soul of a revolution and the creator of a country, did not suppose energies equal to those employed in the creation of a poem,-as if there were any other certain test of genius but its influence, any other measure of the power of a cause but the magnitude of its eflects!

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

The usual distinction between genius and talent is, that one represents creative thought, the other practical skill; one invents, the other applies. But the truth is, that high genius applies its own inventions better than talent alone can do. . But still there doubtless is a marked distinction between men of genius and men simply of talent.

Talent repeats; Genius creates. Talent is a cistern; Genius, a fountain. Talent deals with the actual, with discovered and realized truths, analyzing, arranging, combining, applying positive knowledge, and in action looking to precedents. Genius deals with the possible, creates new combinations, discovers new laws, and acts from an insight into principles. Talent jogs to conclusions to which Genius takes giant leaps. Talent accumulates knowledge, and has it packed up in the memory; Genius assimilates it with its own substance, grows with every new accession, and converts knowledge into power. Talent gives out what it has taken in; Genius, what has risen from its unsounded wells of living thought. Talent, in difficult situations, strives to untie knots, which Genius instantly cuts, with one swift decision. Talent is full of thoughts; Genius, of thought: one has definite acquisitions; the other, indefinite power.

But the most important distinction between the two qualities is this:-one, in conception, follows mechanical processes; the other, vital. Talent feebly conceives objects with the senses and understanding; Genius, fusing all its powers together in the alembic of an impassioned imagination, clutches everything in the concrete; conceives objects as living realities, gives body to spiritual abstractions and spirit to bodily appearances, and, like

“A gate of steel
Fronting the sun, receives and renders back
His figure and his heat !”




Gerius, mental power, wherever you look, you see the radiant footprints of its victorious progress. It has surrounded your homes with comfort; it has given you the command of the blind forces of matter; it has exalted and consecrated your affections; it has brought God's immeasurable universe nearer to your hearts and imaginations; it has made flowers of paradise spring up even in roor men's gardens. And, above all, it is never sta tionary; its course being ever onward to new triumphs, its repose but harmonious activity, its acquisitions but stimulants to discoveries. Answering to nothing but the soul's illimitable energies, it is always the preacher of hope, and brave endeavor, and unwearied, elastic effort.

It is hard to rouse in their might these energies of thought; but when once roused, when felt tingling along every nerve of sensation, the whole inward being thrilling with their enkindling inspiration,

* And all the God comes rushing on the soul,”

there seem to be no limits to their capacity, and obstacles shrivel into ashes in their fiery path. This deep feeling of power and joy, this ecstasy of the living soul, this untamed and untamable energy of Genius, you cannot check its victorious career as it leaps exultingly from discovery to discovery, new truths ever beckoning imploringly in the dim distance, a universe ever open. ing and expanding before it, and above all a Voice still crying, On! on!-On! though the clay fall from the soul's struggling powers 1-On! though the spirit burn through its garment of flesh, as the sun through mist !-On! on!

“Along the line of limitless desires."


A. The following is a fulier list of theological writers of this epoch, together with the names of a few of their leading works: Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology; James McCosh, The Laws of Discursive Thought, Christianity and Positivism and The Scottish Philosophy; Mark Hopkins, Evidences of Christianity; Noah Porter, The Human Intellect; Thomas C. Upham, Elements of Mental Philosophy; Laurens P. Hickok, The Logic of Reason; Francis Wayland, The Elements of Moral Science, The Elements of Intellectual Philosophy; W. G. T. Shedd, History of Christian Doctrine; W. R. Alger, History of the Doctrine of the Future Life; Horace Bushnell, Nature and the Supernatural.

In addition to the above, standard works of a denominational character have been prepared by the following divines: Perry, Punchard, Dexter, Gillet, Stevens, Conant, Barnes, McClintock, Beecher (Henry Ward), Hall, Taylor (William M.), Brooks, and others of the orthodox school; and by Bush, James, Parsons (Theophilus), Abbot (Ezra), and others of the so-called heterodox branch.

B. In order to make the list of poets already given more nearly complete, we would add the following more or less well-known names : Richard N. Stoddard, J. T. Trowbridge, Joaquin Miller, John Hay, E. C. Stedman, Henry Timrod, Paul H. Hayne, Forceythe Willson, Elbridge J. Cutler, William Winter, George P. Lathrop, Margaret J. Preston, Elizabeth Aken Allen, Rose Terry Cooke, Nora Perry, Celia Thaxter, Helen Fiske Jackson (“H. H."), Mrs. Piatt, D. G. Rossetti, Edgar Fawcett.

C. The following names of novelists also deserve a place in our list: Edward Eggleston, Robert M. Bird, William Gilmore Simms, John E. Cooke, Charles F. Briggs, Susan and Anna Warner, Maria S. Cummins, “Grace Greenwood” (Sara J. Lippincott), “Fanny Fern" (Mrs. James Parton), G. P. Lathrop.

Among the most prominent of our later writers of fiction may be numbered: W. D. Howells, author of Venetian Life, A Counterfeit Presentment, The Lady of the Aroostook, The Undiscoverea Country, Dr. Breen's Practice, and several other works; Julian Hawthorne, author of Bressant, Garth, and others; Henry James, Jr., author of Roderick Hi on, The American, Confidence, The Portrait of a Lady, and others; Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, author of The Gates Ajar, The Story of Avis, Friends : A Duet, and others; Louisa M. Alcott, author of Little Women and other works; T. B. Aldrich, author of The Queen of Sheba, The Stillwater Tragedy, and others; J. G. Holland, author of The Story of Sevenoaks, Miss Gilbert's Career, The Bay Path, and several others.

A Fool's Errand, by Hon. A. W. Tourgee, published in 1879, is a most interesting and graphic portraiture of Southern society during the late reconstructive period. That it is a book of extritordinary power and interest is attested by the fact that no work since Uncle Tom's Cabin has met with so extensive a sale. Other works by the same author are Figs and Thistles, a romance of the Western Reserve, and Bricks Without Straw, a novel.

D. In this place, to supply what was confessedly an omission in our former list, we shall present both the real and the assumed names of the leading modern humorists of American literature: Seba Smith (“Major Jack Downing”), B. P. Shillaber (“Mrs. Partington ”), George H. Derby (“John Phoenix”), Charles T. Browne (“Artemus Ward”), Henry W. Shaw (“Josh Billings”), D. R. Locke (“ Petroleum V. Nasby”), Robert H. Newell (“Orpheus C. Kerr”), Samuel L. Clemens (“Mark Twain”). To these the name of Charles Dudley Warner should be added as that of a humorist of a particularly delicate and genuine type

The writings of some of the above-named humorists warrant us in recalling the remark made on page 31 with reference to the Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table.

E. In 1872, Longfellow published a volume entitled Three Books of Song, which comprised a second day's instalment of “Tales of a Wayside Inn," the drama of “Judas Maccabæus" and "A Handful of Translatior's." This volume was followed the next

« ПретходнаНастави »