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our whole being is flooded with emotion which is unconscious of itself; but when we retire into the solitude
of our chamber, feeling crystallizes into thought, and we · long for a return that we may enjoy feeling and thought
Stupid people open their mouths in wonder at a novel like Jane Eyre being produced by a young woman who had lived all her life in an obscure Yorkshire village ; because, as they say, she had no opportunity of becoming acquainted with human nature. What arrant nonsense this is. Human nature is the same everywhere; and he who cannot find an inexhaustible field of study and suggestion in his native village—or, may I not say, within the walls of his own home—will not find it in the metropolis, or the continent, or the wide world. When I journeyed two thousand miles eastward and watched the people there; saw how they lived, how they thought, how they spoke ; I was much more struck by the oldness than by the novelty. I found no manifestation of human nature in the streets of Smyrna which I had not left behind me in the lanes of Brookfield.
Genius is nothing but persistent sensibility. Every man would be a genius if he could either lengthen his moments of inspiration into hours, or recall through hours the vision of truth or beauty which the moment brought. I am, of course, assuming that every man has
such moments, which may be disputed ; though it seems to me it must be true, for life without them would be too poor a gift for God to bestow.
“Poetry, like science, has its final precision; and. there are expressions of poetic knowledge which can no more be re-written than could the elements of geometry. There are pieces of poetic language which, try as men will, they will simply have to recur to, and confess that it has been done before them.” These are the words of Arthur Hugh Clough, and they are singularly truthful and suggestive. What he says of the highest order of poetry, ought to be true of prose—true of all literary art. Every thought and feeling should be so expressed that the expression shall at once be recognised as a final and adequate embodiment of that which has been impressed upon the mind of the writer. But how little there is of this; how much of our literature is a doing over again of what has been imperfectly done before; and who can estimate the waste of power which such a method necessarily involves ?
When after long, and perhaps painful, endeavour we manage to solve some difficult problem, the solution does not generally come as the conscious result of our striving, but as a sudden flash of revelation. All at once the heaven opens, a ray strikes down, and we see what lies at the end of our journey, though our feet may
only have travelled half the way. The attainment of the truth seems so utterly independent of our effort, that we are apt to think our toil has been vain, until we see that although truth does not come as the direct and palpable result of labour, there is, nevertheless, a necessity for it, as without it we can never reach the condition in which the revelation of truth is possible. Thoughtful toil neither brings us to truth, nor truth to us; but it does enable us to recognise and receive it when it presents itself to us, -and it does that unceasingly.
Here I must really stay my hand. Making quotations is like eating opium and telling lies; so easy to begin, so difficult to leave off. As the Target, like all other human institutions, did come to an end at last, I should have to end somewhere, and this point seems as favourable as any other. As a sort of appropriate ornamental finish to the chapter, I may as well give Pelican's sole poetical contribution to our Brookfield literary organ. He was rather shy of exhibiting his rhyming powers among his neighbours, and was only induced to insert his verses after the final desertion of our three poets. Many years after they were written, a strikingly similar poem appeared in Macmillan's Magazine; a fact, the mention of which cannot possibly be misunderstood by any sensible person. I may as well, however, render myself perfectly safe by expressing my profound conviction that the author of that poem had not seen the Target.
AN INVITATION. Come, when spring touches with gentle finger
The snows that linger
Among the hills;
And in the hollows
Or, if thou tarry, come with the summer
That welcome comer
Welcome as he ;
A seat in shadow
Or, if it please thee, come to the reaping,
When to safe keeping
They bring the sheaves;
And pathos tender
Or, come and warm us when winter freezes,
And northern breezes
Are keen and cold,
And fervent blessings
Nay! do not linger : for each to-morrow
Will break in sorrow
If thou delay :
With tender yearning:
OUT OF DOORS. D URING the summer months that part of Pelican's
nature which he called his vagabond soul always asserted itself. From being a hermit, contentedly chained to his cell, he became a restless Bedouin wanderer, and he and I made excursions far and near. Of all the hours I spent in his society I think these were the most delightful, and I am sure they were often the most amusing. He used sometimes to say as we started upon a pilgrimage, “Now let us throw away all our conventionalities;” and as his most conventional moods seemed to the majority of his acquaintances outrageously Bohemian, it was well that we were generally alone in our rambles. His costume was made the first point of departure from the ordinary path. Of it, as a whole, I recollect little except the general effect; but I have a distinct remembrance of the head-piece, which consisted of a bright scarlet Turkish fez with an enormous tassel hanging down behind. Sometimes I implored him to abandon this heathen covering, but he solemnly assured me that, when considered in the light of pure reason, my chimney-pot hat was much more objectionable than his fez, and that my want of appreciation only proved that I had no eye for colour. One very hot summer he