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Hast thou hated, and not learned that thy silent scorn
Doth deeper aggravate thy foe than loud-cursing malice ?
A wise wise man prevaileth in power, for he screeneth his battering engine,
But a fool tilteth headlong, and his adversary is aware.
Behold those broken arches, that oriel all unglazed,
That crippled line of columns bleaching in the sun,
The delicate shaft stricken midway, and the flying buttress
Idly stretching forth to hold up tufted ivy:
Thinkest thou the thousand eyes that shine with rapture on a ruin,
Would have looked with half their wonder on the perfect pile ?
And wherefore not—but that light hints, suggesting unseen beauties,
Fill the complacent gazer with self-grown conceits ?
And so, the rapid sketch winneth more praise to the painter,
Than the consummate work elaborated on his easel :
And so, the Helvetic lion caverned in the living rock
Hath more of majesty and force, than if upon a marble pedestal.
Tell me, daughter of taste, what hath charmed thine ear in music?
Is it the laboured theme, the curious fugue or cento,-
Nor rather the sparkles of intelligence flashing from some strange note,
Or the soft melody of sounds far sweeter for simplicity ?
Tell me, thou son of science, what hath filled thy mind in reading ?
Is it the volume of detail where all is orderly set down,
And they that read may run, nor need to stop and think ;
The book carefully accurate, that counteth thee no better than a fool,
Gorging the passive mind with annotated notes ;-
Nor rather the half-suggested thoughts, the riddles thou mayest solve,
The fair ideas, coyly peeping like young loves out of roses,
The quaint arabesque conceptions, half cherub and half flower,
The light analogy, or deep allusion, trusted to thy learning,
The confidence implied in thy skill to unravel meaning mysteries ?
For ideas are ofttimes shy of the close furniture of words,
And thought, wherein only is power, may be best conveyed by a suggestion;
The flash that lighteth up a valley, amid the dark midnight of a storm,
Coineth the mind with that scene sharper than fifty summers.
A worldly man boasteth in his pride that there is no power but of money : And he judgeth the characters of men by the differing measures of their
He stealeth all goodly names, as worth, and value, and substance,
Which be the ancient heritage of Virtue, but such an one ascribeth unto
He spurneth the needy sage, whose wisdom hath enriched nations,
And the sons of poverty and learning, without whom earth were a desert :
Music, the soother of cares, the tuner of the dank discordant heart-strings,
It is nought unto such an one but sounds, whereby some earn their living:
poem, and the picture, and the statue, to him seem idle baubles, Which wealth condescendeth to favour, to gain him the name of patron. But little wotteth he the might of the means his folly despiseth ; He considereth not that these be the wires which move the puppets of the
world. A sentence hath formed a character, () and a character subdued a
kingdom; A picture hath ruined souls, or raised them to commerce with the skies :
hath shaken nations, and stablished the world in peace; And the whole full horn of plenty been filled from the vial of science. He regardeth man as sensual, the monarch of created matter, And careth not aught for mind, that linketh him with spirits unseen: He feedeth his carcass and is glad, though his soul be faint and famished, And the dull brute power of the body bindeth him a captive to himself.
Man liveth from hour to hour, and knoweth not what may happen;
Influences circle him on all sides, and yet must he answer for his actions,
For the being that is master of himself, bendeth events to his will,
But a slave to selfish passion is the wavering creature of circumstance.
To this man temptation is a poison, to that man it addeth vigour;
And each may render to himself influences good or evil.
As thou directest the power, harm or advantage will follow;
And the torrent that swept the valley, may be led to turn a mill ;
The wild electric flash, that could have kindled comets,
May by the ductile wire give ease to an ailing child.
For outward matter or event, fashion not the character within,
But each man, yielding or resisting, fashioneth his mind for himself.
Some have said, What is in a name ?—most potent plastic influence ;
A name is a word of character, and repetition stablisheth the fact;
A word of rebuke, or of honour, tending to obscurity or fame;
And greatest is the power of a name, when its power is least suspected.
A low name is a thorn in the side, that hindereth the footman in his run
ning; But a name of ancestral renown shall often put the racer to his speed. Few men have grown unto greatness whose names are allied to ridicule, And many would never have been profligate, but for the splendour of a
A wise man scorneth nothing, be it never so small or homely,
For he knoweth not the secret laws that may bind it to great effects,
The world in its boyhood was credulous, and dreaded the vengeance of
the stars, The world in its dotage is not wiser, fearing not the influence of small
things : Planets govern not the soul, nor guide the destinies of man, But trifles, lighter than straws, are levers in the building up of character. A man hath the tiller in his hand, and may steer against the current, Or may glide down idly with the stream, till his vessel founder in the whirl
WHERE art thou, storehouse of the mind, garner of facts and fancies,
In what strange firmament are laid the beams of thine airy chambers ?
Or art thou that small cavern, (8) the centre of the rolling brain,
Where still one sandy morsel testifieth man's original ?
Or hast thou some grand globe, some common hall of intellect,
Some spacious market-place for thought, where all do bring their wares,
And gladly rescued from the littleness, the narrow closet of a self,
The privileged soul hath large access,-coming in the livery of learning ?
Live we as isolated worlds, perfect in substance and spirit,
Each a sphere, with a special mind, prisoned in its shell of matter?
Or rather, as converging radiations, parts of one majestic whole,
Beams of the Sun, streams from the River, branches of the mighty Tree,
Some bearing fruit, some bearing leaves, and some diseased and barren,-
Some for the feast, some for the floor, and some-how many—for the fire ?
Memory may be but a power of coming to the treasury of Fact,
A momentary self-desertion, an absence in spirit from the now,
An actual coursing hither and thither, by the mind, slipped from its leash,
A life, as in the mystery of dreams, spent within the limits of a moment.
A brutish man knoweth not this, neither can a fool comprehend it,
But there be secrets of the memory, deep, wondrous, and fearful.
Were I at Petra, could I not declare, My soul hath been here before me ?
Am I strange to the columned halls, the calm dead grandeur of Palmyra ?
Know I not thy mount, O Carmel! Have I not voyaged on the Danube ?
Nor seen the glare of Arctic snows,-nor the black tents of the Tartar ?
Is it then a dream, that I remember the faces of them of old,
While wandering in the grove with Plato, and listening to Zeno in the
porch? Paul have I seen, and Pythagoras, and the Stagyrite hath spoken me
friendly, And His meek eye looked also upon me, standing with Peter in the palace. Athens and Rome, Persepolis and Sparta, am I not a freeman of you all ? And chiefly can my yearning heart forget thee, () Jerusalem ? For the strong magic of conception, mingled with the fumes of memory, Giveth me a life in all past time, yea, and addeth substance to the future. Be ye my judges, imaginative minds, full-fledged to soar into the sun, Whose grosser natural thoughts the chemistry of wisdom hath sublimed, Have
not confessed to a feeling, a consciousness, strange and vague, That
gone this way before, and walk again your daily life,
Tracking an old routine, and on some foreign strand,
Where bodily ye have never stood, finding your own footsteps ?
Hath not at times some recent friend looked out an old familiar,
Some newest circumstance or place teemed as with ancient memories ?
A startling sudden flash lighteth up all for an instant,
And then it is quenched, as in darkness, and leaveth the cold spirit tremb-
Memory is not wisdom ; idiots can rote volumes :
Yet, what is wisdom without memory ? a babe that is strangled in its birth ;
The path of the swallow in the air; the path of the dolphin in the waters ;
A cask running out; a bottomless chasm: such is wisdom without
There be many wise, who cannot store their knowledge;
Yet from themselves are they satisfied, for the fountain is within :
There be many who store, but have no wisdom of their own,
Lumbering their armory with weapons their muscles cannot lift:
There be many thieves and robbers, who glean and store unlawfully,
Calling in to memory's help some cunningly devised Cabala :
But to feed the mind with fatness, to fill thy granary with corn,
Nor clog with chaff and straw the threshing-floor of reason,
Reap the ideas, and house them well; but leave the words high stubble,
Strive to store up what was thought, despising what was said.
For the mind is a spirit, and drinketh in ideas, as flame melteth into flame;
But for words, it must pack them as on floors, cumbrous and perishable
To be pained for a minute, to fear for an hour, to hope for a week-how
long and weary! But to remember fourscore years, is to look back upon a day. An avenue seemeth to lengthen in the eyes of the wayfaring man, But let him turn, those stationed elms crowd up within a yard; Pace the lamp-lit streets of some sleeping city, The multitude of cressets shall seem one, in the false picture of per
spective; Even so, in sweet treachery, dealeth the aged with himself, He gazeth on the green hill-tops, while the marshes beneath are hidden; And the partial telescope of memory pierceth the blank between, To look with lingering love at the fair star of childhood. Life is as the current spark on the miner's wheel of flints: Whiles it spinneth there is light; stop it, all is darkness : Life is as a morsel of frankincense burning in the hall of Eternity; It is gone, but its odorous cloud curleth to the lofty roof! Life is as a lump of salt, melting in the temple-laver ; It is gone,-yet its savour reacheth to the farthest atom; Even so, for evil or for good, is life the criterion of a man, For its memories of sanctity or sin pervade all the firmament of being, There is but the flitting moment wherein to hope or to enjoy, But in the calendar of memory, that moment is all time.