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divinity under whose fostering influence the man may develop. How rare are all its concomitants; gentle Memory offering the flowers of the Past, and Hope buckling on the armor for the Future. If thought lends a vigor and usefulness to musing, if seclusion develops the originality of the character, why should we regard the kind cause as a sad angel, rather than a smiling seraph ?
And lastly, if life itself be but loneliness; if all the kind aid of friends, and their words of love and encouragement, as well as the taunts and opposition of our enemies, be but as the phantoms of the brain, as far as they affect the end of life, should we not strive, that our hours of Loneliness may be our happiest and most fruitful seasons ? Let our life be the vigil of the Templar, guarding our armor of faith till the dawn.
G. C. S. S.
Proneness to Imitation.
· Why should a man, whose blood is warm within,
We are not men, simply because we have put on the same coat which our ancestors have sported from time immemorial, or the shoes, which have never yet departed from the circle whose radii were the apron-strings of the “mother of us all.” Do you utter the same thoughts, which your fathers did before you ? The merest magpie might learn them quicker than you. If life were nothing but mere mimicry, the veriest monkey would possess more true manhood than you.
Every mind has at least some originality, something, which clearly and sharply distinguishes it from every other mind. On the whole earth, you cannot find two human faces alike. As mind is more intricate than matter, so is its variety greater, and its diversities more sharply defined. You were not created simply to swell the amount of mind in the universe. God made you to differ from others, because He had a work for you to do, that no other mortal could perform. The world must be better, not because one more has lived, but because
have lects upon
existed. God gave you an intellect new from heaven, and He made it to shine, not by light reflected from those around you, but He rendered it luminous by His own transcendent effulgence. Mind becomes truly more brilliant, only as it lessens the distance between itself and its Creator. There are just as many paths to glory, as God has placed intel
the earth. Let each one walk in his own path, and he ever "walks in the light." Let him leave that ray of God's sun-light, which sbines for him and for him alone, to lead him ever onward in the right way ; let him grope for the path of another, and he walks to all eternity in darkness.
You are worthy the name of a man, only so far as you cultivate and display that individuality, which distinguishes you from every other member of the human race. You cannot do this, by ever being on the rack of exertion to appear eccentric, for as you are known from your neighbor, not because your mouth is wider, your eye more glaring, or your nose more aspiring than bis, but rather from a certain indescribable expression of countenance, so you will be known and honored among men, not because your mind has a form, such as was never seen “in the heavens above, or the earth beneath, or in the waters under the earth,” but because it has an expression that decisively marks it as yours.
While you know, that oddity is not originality, that distortion is not expression, be assured that your life is a miserable failure, if to all the world you are lost in the mere mass of humanity.
A man just like another man, would be no man at all. Nature is economical. Perfect though a mold may be, she uses it but once. In all her realm, there are no two stations alike. Seek, then, to be worthy of the place for which nature designed you. There is no cultivation, no attainment higher than this. If you try to emulate another, 80 that your mind shall be only a duplicate of his, you violate the fair order of the universe, and disfigure a form that nature herself molded, and meant for you only to polish. I said, if you try to imitate, for it is only a forced imitation which is culpable. In everything that pertains to our common humanity, imitation is not only proper and natural, but it is also necessary. In many respects, we cannot be too much like others. Our common sense cannot be too extensive. We are all refreshed at the same fountain of learning. The inlet for knowledge is one and the same for all, but, according to the vessel, has nature fashioned every outlet. The field for imitation is within the domain of common sense; it has no part nor lot with the realm of genius. But, through the weakness of human nature, it has invaded a territory sacred from its tread. The hand of art, with daubing pen
cil, has attempted to heighten the gorgeous colors of nature. Nature cannot be learned through rules. Genius, in its own sphere, must be supreme. Born to a throne, it disdains to worship at the shrine of another. It will work only in its own way. It will never be your slave. Make it your master ; aid it, work for it, give it, for ballast, all the common sense you can muster ; above all, place before it no human model, and your career will be progressive, onward, upward. In society, we are only half ourselves. Our social nature has tended to lower the native sublimity of genius. It may have widened the field of its action, but it has taken away from the loftiness of its flights. Poetry and eloquence are the peculiar offspring of genius. Compare the Eneid with the Iliad. Virgil, dwelling amid all the refinement and polish of a Roman Court, is, in grandeur of conception, incomparably beneath the poor, blind, homeless poet, the “Father of Song." Compare the best specimens of Indian oratory with the burning eloquence of Clay, the majestic declamation of Webster, or even the resistless torrent of Demosthenes. In everything that pertains to true sublimity, you find the former almost infinitely superior. You hang, with admiration and passion, upon the almost matchless sentences of the latter, but you feel, after all, that sublimity is born, not of intellect, but of nature. The mountain is grander than the loftiest or Egyptian Pyramids; the falling leaf speaks of death more eloquently, than the pestilence that wasteth at noontide.”
But, there is in man a proneness to imitate, which is not inherent; which does not arise from his social nature. Let us consider it, as it affects the student. Look at your circle of friends; of those, whose abilities and genius you have known and admired. Count the successes, sum up the failures. If you are a bold man, look into the depths of your own mind, and tell me how many noble impulses have vanished, how often you have wished for the return of those feelings, which, in your higher moments, seemed to transport you to the very center of the universe of thought. Those were the outgushings of genius. They come not again, for you have raised a barrier so high, that all the waters of the Eterual could not overflow it. Why all this repression of natural outbursts; why all these failures? Indolence has not been the chief cause, for indolence is never the beginning of failure. Work will bring us success, only when we labor in the right way. He who says, “it is in me, and it shall come out," will not ultimately fail; but he who says, “it is in another, I will
; draw it from him,” will not succeed, though his toil be incessant. The demon of imitation has robbed the world of half its triumphs. Men
do not wish for light alone; they seek both light and warmth. The moon may shine ever so brightly, but her rays bring us no heat. Warmth comes from the source of light alone. Would you raise a man from his frozen apathy? Then pour in a flood of the sun-light of your own nature. As well might you attempt, with hailstorms, to thaw out the ice-bergs of the Polar Sea, as to try to rouse the world from its torpor by the cold rays of another's light. The most potent, and at the same time the most despicable motive that impels the student to imitate, is a false ambition. Ashamed of his pigmy frame, he endeavors to conceal bis littleness in the stately dress of a giant. Instead of rousing the sparks within him by his own breath, he brings in an intenser fire, but the sunlight always deadens the flame. He clothes the ponderous thoughts of Johnson in the gorgeous rhetoric of Macaulay, and tries to palm them off as his own. Scorning his own artillery, he steals both his lightning and his thunder from the altar of Jove. Vain attempt to be great! His own ear cannot bear the thunder ; the bolts are too heavy for his puny arm. And yet, he has within him all the elements of greatness. He has yet to learn to work with his own implements. If he had only forged his own
. lightning, the bolts might have been smaller, but the everlasting rocks could not have stood against them. This proneness to imitation, not only tends to lower genius to the level of the other faculties, but it also debases the whole man. When one's intellect is just beginning to unfold itself, he sets before it no human model. Nature tells him of a perfection to which mortal never yet attained. He begins by clearing his own path to greatness, and he finds it, indeed, a rugged way. At first he can make greater apparent progress, by choosing the path of another. He selects a human pattern. He has lowered his standard; he has also degraded his intellect. Soon, his ideal becomes hardly more perfect than himself. An acquaintance, more successful than he, becomes his model. Imitation begets admiration, admiration ends in worship. Hence arises that toadyism-for toadyism is only another name for man-worship-which destroys all manhood, and disgraces our society. All honor to intellect. If combined with 'spotless integrity, you cannot respect it too highly; but honor and respect for one, imply not the degradation and debasement of the giver. In the realm of mind, some are kings, some are princes, none were meant to be subjects. Hold your head none the less proudly, because you walk among the kings of the earth. Your talent came from the same treasury of God. Others may have a larger, but none a purer coin.
Merge your light in the brilliancy of no superior orb. Revolve
around no center but the Maker of mind. You were created to be a sun to some dark corner of the universe.
Another powerful cause of this proneness in students to imitate, is their want of self-confidence. Thoughts spontaneously come, and almost without an effort, we spread, nay, rather concentrate them on the paper before us. There is a bold dashing freedom about them, which startles us. Perhaps some of them spattered the ink, as they rolled from our pens, and the ominous word “splurge,” sent a chill through our whole frame. They were unique, and we feared to provoke criticism. Why fear it, when it will only sharpen our wit ? Why should the ardent, impetuous thought of the youthful student be chilled, in coursing through the ice-bound veins of some frigid Professor. Better splurge than sink, without a struggle, into the ocean of prosy scribblers. The cool drops may refresh you, when heated and tired, and one can ever see in the spray the bow of promise.
But this proneness to imitation will be far less in active, practical life. Soon, in the struggle of earnest life, we shall remember only our work and ourselves. Our success will begin when we have thrown off borrowed, filthy rags, and clothed ourselves in our own individu. ality, which is the only true “ Robe of Royalty.” Now and then we may fall, but we shall never fail. Elastic in noble manhood, we shall only receive a bound that will send us the higher. Be then original. Thoughts are finite; thought is infinite. Coin it in your own image, give it your own superscription. Brighten it not with paint, but with toil. Let its brilliancy be part and parcel of itself. Hide not your talent even in a silken napkin. So shall you receive your reward even here, for men will render unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's, when he gives unto God, the things that are His.
Smith's New House. I need hardly describe it. Brown stone, twenty-five feet front, basement and sub-cellar. Front doors grained in imitation of rosewood, and carved in the center of each a specimen of Mediæval Natural History. Stone mouldings around a shield over the doorway.