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beauty of the diamond to be colorless ;” for he in. stances Ophelia and Desdemona; and though they are colorless in their pure, transparent simplicity, they are as far as possible from characterless, for in the very quality of being colorless consists the character.
Speaking of Coleridge reminds me that it was from Ludwig Tieck I first learned the death of this wonderful man; and as I, too, bad “ sat at the feet of Gamaliel and heard his words," the news struck me with a solemn sorrow. I remember that Tieck, in announcing the death of Coleridge, said, in his impressive manner, “A great spirit has passed from the world, and the world knew him not.”
March 6. As light was the eldest-born principle of the universe, so love was the eldest-born passion of humanity, though people quote Milton to prove that vanity was so-in our own sex at least ; and many are the witty sayings on this favorite text; but they are wrong, and their text misinterpreted. Eve, when she looked in passionate delight on her own lovely face reflected in the stream, knew not it was her own, and had nothing else to love; the moment she found an Adam on whom to lavish the awakened sympathies, she turned from the shadow to the reality, even though “less winning soft, less amiably fair;” she did not sit upon the bank, and pine to death for her own fair face,
“ Like that too beauteous boy That lost himself by loving of himself;:. -while the voice of love wooed her in vain. Van. ity in this instance was but the shadow of love.
But, О me! how many women since the days of Echo and Narcissus, have pined themselves into air for the love of men who were in love only with themselves!
Where the vivacity of the intellect and the strength of the passions, exceed the development of the moral faculties, the character is likely to be imbittered or corrupted by extremes, either of adversity or prosperity. This is especially the case with women; but as far as my own observation and experience go, I should say that many more women have their heads turned by prosperity than their hearts spoiled by adversity; and, in general, the female character rises with the pressure of ill fortune. Sir James Mackintosh says somewhere, “ That almost every woman is either formed in the school, or tried by the test of adversity; it may be more necessary to the greatness of the female character than that of men."
And why so ?-I understand the first part of this sentence, but not the last. Why should the test of adversity be more necessary to the greatness of the female character than that of men ? The perpetual, and painful, and struggling collision of man with man forms and tries him; woman has little compulsory collision with woman; our equals ara our most severe schoolmasters, and the tyranny of circumstances supplies this want to women.
GOETHE AND EKERMANN.
I brought from Weimar Dr. Ekermann's book, ** which, as yet, I have only glanced over in parts ; by this time it must be well known all over the world of literature. When I left Weimar, it was not yet published. There my attention was strongly directed to this book, not so much by the interest as by the kind of interest it had excited around me. I remember one of Goethe's grandsons turning over the leaves as it lay on my table, and exclaiming with animation—“Es ist der Grosspapa selbst! da lebt er !—da spricht er!” (It is grandpapa himself here he lives—he speaks!")
Another, habitually intimate with the domestic life of Goethe, said, with emotion—“ Es ist das buch von liebe und wahrheit.” (It is the book of love and truth.)
“ Whatever may be in that book," said a dear friend of mine, when she placed it in my hands,
• Gespräche mit Goethe. (Conversations with Goethe.)
• I would pledge myself beforehand for its truth The mind of Ekermann, at once unsullied and r.nruffled by all contact with the world, is so constituted, that he could not perceive or speak other than the truth, any more than a perfectly clear and BL'ooth mirror could reflect a false or a distorted image."
Now all this was delightful! The sort of praise Pne does not often hear either of a book or a writer --and so, to read I do most seriously incline.
I read the preface to-day, and part of the introluction.
In the preface, Ekermann says, very beautifully, •When I think of the fulness, the richness of those vommunications which for nine years forined my chief bappiness, and now perceive how little of all I have been able to preserve in writing; I feel like A child, who seeks to catch in his open hands the plerteous showers of spring, and finds that the rreatest part bas escaped through his fingers.”
A little farther on he says—“I am far from beiieving that I have here unveiled the whole inward being of Goethe, (der ganze innere Goethe.) One may liken this most wonderful spirit to a many-sided diamond, which in every direction reflected a differ. ent hue; and as, in his intercourse with different persons in different positions, he would himself appear different, I can only say modestly—“ This S MY Goethe ! ”
This may be said with truth of every character, rewed through the mind of another; of every
portrait of the same individual painted by a differ. ent artist.
And not only where we have to deal with marke and distinguished characters, but in the common intercourse of life, we should do well to take this distinction into account; nd, on this principle, 1 would never judge a character by hearsay, nor venture further, even in my own judgment, than to admit that such a person I like, and such another I do not like. In the last case the fault, the deficiency, the cause, whatever it may be, is as probably on my side as on theirs; and though this may sound offensive and arbitrary, it is more just than saying such a one is worthless or disagreeable; for the first I can never know, and as for the latter, the most disagreeable people I ever met with had those who loved them, and thought them, no doubt with reason, very agreeable.
Of a very great, and at the same time complex mind, we should be careful not to trust entirely to any one portrait, even though from the life, and of undoubted truth. Johnson, as he appears in “Boswell,” is, I think, the only perfectly individualized portrait I remember; and hence the various and often inconsistent effect it produces. One moment he is an object of awe, the next of ridicule; we love, we venerate him on this page-on the next we despise, we abhor him. Here he gives out oracles "and lessons of wisdom surpassing those of the sages of old; and there we see him grunting over his favorite dish, and “ trundling” the meat down his