Graham's Magazine, Vol. XXXIV, No. 5, May 1849 online

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Rich as he was, and highly as he valued himself, he felt that the man of
intellect was ranked higher than the man of money. In the small compass
of that steam-vessel were clustered together men of wealth, eminence,
and political distinction. There were few on board whom even Mr. Loring
would think beneath him; and yet he was treated by them with no
particular deference. When he spoke, he was listened to with the
politeness that always accompanies good-breeding; but that was all. None
gathered around him; none sought his company; none treated him as a man
distinguished from the rest. Wealth! that was a common possession; but
strong intellect was the god-like gift of the few; and men bowed before
it and yielded freely their homage.

The proud man was deeply humbled during the brief period occupied in
sweeping across the broad Atlantic, and he felt relieved and breathed
more freely the moment he set his foot on shore at Liverpool. Shame had
kept him from renewing his acquaintance with Benedict, who continued to
be an object of interest to almost every one during the voyage.

In the great world of London, Mr. Loring quickly recovered his balance
of mind. He took letters of introduction to eminent merchants and
bankers there, by whom he was received and treated with the greatest
attention. He was again conscious of the fact, that wealth was power,
and that the possessor of wealth ranked highest of any.

In Paris he did not feel quite so much at ease. He brought letters to
the American Minister, the Hon. Mr. ——, who had represented our
country at the palace of St. Cloud for some five years with honor to
himself and the nation; and was received with the courtesy and attention
which always marked that gentleman’s conduct toward his countrymen. Mr.
Loring had only been in Paris a couple of days when the American
Minister said to him,

“A distinguished countryman of ours is now in Paris. He is to dine with
me day after tomorrow, in company with about fifty of the most
celebrated scientific and literary men in the city. Your arrival is
quite opportune, Mr. Loring, I shall, of course, have the pleasure of
your company.”

Mr. Loring bowed in acquiescence, and then inquired who the
distinguished American was.

“Professor Benedict,” replied the minister. “He is an honor to our
country, and I feel proud of the opportunity I shall have of presenting
him to men of a like spirit with himself, to whom his name has long been

Mr. Loring was confounded.

“He has been for some years a member of the Philosophical Society here,”
continued the minister, “and his communications, published in their
annual report of proceedings, are among the finest papers that emanate
from that body. They cause honorable notice of our countryman to be made
in all the scientific journals of Europe. I need not ask you in what
estimation he is held at home, as I see by Silliman’s Journal, the North
American Review, and the transactions of the various learned societies
there, that his worth is fully known and appreciated. Have you ever had
the pleasure of meeting him?”

“Oh, yes,” was the reply. “He is an old college-mate of mine.”


“Yes. We were quite intimate as young men; but our pursuits in life were
so different that, in the very nature of things, this intimate
acquaintance could not continue. But I had the pleasure of meeting him
again in crossing the Atlantic. We came over in the same steamer.”

“Did you? That must have been a very pleasant voyage. Fair weather the
whole time, and the company of so many men eminent for their talents.
Mr. Benedict says that the two weeks he spent upon the ocean he shall
number as the most agreeable of his whole life.”

Mr. Loring now felt himself to be in a very awkward position indeed. How
to act he did not know. He had accepted the American Minister’s
invitation to dine with him, and at his table he would meet the man whom
he had for years considered beneath him, and whose very acquaintance he
had dropped as discreditable to one in his position. And this man was to
be the honored guest! Mr. Loring retired to his hotel with his mind
bewildered and his feelings at a lower range in the thermometer of his
self-esteem than they had been for a very long time. If it had not
happened that Benedict came over in the same steamer with him, and that
he had cut his acquaintance before he knew that he had become an
individual of some note, the way would have been plain enough before
him. He could have gone to the dinner and renewed his old friendship,
and felt honored in being his countryman. But this he felt to be out of
the question now. Benedict might refuse to know him, or might treat him
in such a manner as to wound and mortify him severely, and expose him to
the just contempt of men whose good opinion he was the very man to

The exceeding smallness of the foundation upon which he had built a
towering structure of self-importance, was brought, by the circumstances
in which he was placed, with painful clearness to his mind. He saw and
felt, almost for the first time in his life, that money was not every
thing, and that it would not make a man worshiped every where, and by
all classes of men.

For a long time the mind of Mr. Loring was in debate as to the best
course to be pursued. At one time he resolved to send a note to the
American Minister, on the day the dinner was to take place, regretting
his inability to make one of his guests, on account of indisposition.
But this intention was after a while abandoned, and he determined to
leave Paris for Italy on the next day. Like the first resolution, this
was also given up, and his mind was all in confusion again. At length he
decided, though with much reluctance, that he would call upon Mr.
Benedict, and formally renew his acquaintance. There was something, he
felt, humiliating in this; but it was a step greatly to be preferred to
any that he had yet thought of taking. He did not wish to lie direct to
the American Minister, by saying that he was indisposed; nor did he wish
to leave Paris for at least a month.

By little and by little, since the day the steamer left New York, the
man of money had felt increasing respect for the man of mind. He saw
that he was honored by those who were themselves honorable; that he was
known and highly esteemed by distinguished men in Paris and throughout
Europe, while his name had scarcely been heard of beyond his own city.
There was no mistake about this. It was all plain as daylight. The
humble book-keeper was a greater man than the purse-proud merchant.

The severest conflict between pride and necessity that ever took place
in Mr. Loring’s mind, was that which ended in a determination to call
upon Mr. Benedict. What his reception would be he knew not, nor could he
fix upon any mode of address, on meeting him, that was satisfactory.

At length, after hours of hesitation and debate, and a re-consideration
of the whole matter, the merchant left his hotel and proceeded to that
of the old friend whom he had cast off years before as beneath him in
social rank and real worth. Gradually his respect for him had been
rising, until now he rather looked up than down upon him, as the
possessor of something far more intrinsically excellent than any thing
of which he could boast. Known throughout all Europe! The honored guest
of the American Minister! Courted by men of learning and distinction in
Paris! His very name a passport into the first circles, and an
introduction to the most eminent men of the day! What had he been
thinking about? Where were his eyes, that he had not before seen this
rising star, now suddenly revealed to him, shining in beauty and
splendor? Respect was easily changed into a feeling of deference. As
distinctly as he could, Mr. Loring endeavored to recall to his mind the
appearance and manner of Mr. Benedict, during the voyage across the
Atlantic. This he could not do very distinctly, as he had kept out of
his way as much as possible. Still he could recollect that there was
ease, self-possession, dignity of manner, and the consciousness of
power. These were the visible marks of a great man about him—not so
much perceived at the time at recognized, now that they were remembered.

This was the state of mind, and such were the thoughts that oppressed
Mr. Loring, as he started on his humiliating errand. He, of course,
expected to be received with coldness and dignity, if received at all.
It might be that Mr. Benedict would decline renewing the acquaintance
that he had almost rudely dropped, which, under the circumstances, would
be mortifying in the extreme, and compel him to decline the invitation
to dine with the American Minister.

His card sent up, the merchant awaited the return of the porter with
serious misgivings at heart. When that functionary returned, and
signified that Mr. Benedict would be happy to receive him, he proceeded
toward his apartments in a state of mind such as he had never before
experienced, and certainly never wished to experience again. A door was
thrown open by the porter, and a man, in the prime of life, stood near
the centre of the room. His quiet, thoughtful face, and calm, steady
eye, so well remembered, and so little changed by time, was lit up
instantly by a warm, frank smile, so natural and familiar, that it
seemed the smile of years before, when they met as intimate friends. He
stepped forward quickly, and grasped Mr. Loring’s extended hand.

The merchant was subdued and humbled. He could hardly utter the words
that rose to his tongue. He stood in the presence of one who was
superior to himself, and who yet assumed no consequence. The beauty and
true nobility of this he clearly saw, because it affected himself. He
felt that Benedict possessed a generous, manly spirit and a true heart,
of the real worth of which he had never before had any conception.

In the interview that followed this meeting, no allusion was made to the
voyage across the Atlantic by either party. The conversation mostly
referred to former years and events.

When they separated, Mr. Loring was in some doubt as to the real
greatness of his old friend. He saw nothing in him that he had not seen
before. Not a brilliant sentence was uttered; nothing out of the common
order was apparent in his conversation. He even permitted the query to
arise in his mind whether or no he had not been overrated? Whether
distance had not lent enchantment to the view? This was his state of
mind when he met him again at the American Minister’s, surrounded by
some of the most celebrated men of learning in Paris; but it changed
after Benedict had been toasted, and he replied in an address of great
beauty, force, and originality, that enchained the attention of every
one. Loring was lost in astonishment and admiration; nor was he less
surprised at the apparent unconsciousness of being more than an ordinary
man manifested by his every act and word during the five hours that he
observed him in the midst of these eminent men, with the best of whom he
could not but acknowledge him, from what he then saw, to be equal.

The man of money did not again come in contact with the man of mind
during his tour in Europe; nor has he met him since his return home. But
now, and he cannot but wonder why it was not so before, he hears the
name of Professor Benedict frequently mentioned, and often meets with it
in the public journals. Whenever he does so, the feeling of purse-proud
superiority that has grown with his growth, and strengthened with his
strength, has a leaf withered, a flower blighted, or a branch riven from
the stem. But the roots of that feeling are vigorous, and strike deeply
into a rich soil. Although its very luxuriant growth is at times
checked, yet we cannot hope to see the plant destroyed. It is too well
matured, and its aliment too abundant.

* * * * *



Hurrah! for sweet May, it is here with its brightness,
The songs of the birds, and the breath of the flowers,
The sighs of the zephyrs, that woo with their lightness,
And hasten the steps of the Summer’s glad hours;
The earth is all gladness—the sky is all beaming
With rose-tinted shadows of beauty and light,
As rich as those insects whose golden wings gleaming
Are twined in the hair of the maidens at night.

The soft balmy air through the casement is singing
In tones of delight to the bud and the bee—
Like the laughter of girlhood in ecstasy ringing,
When the first star of evening has bidden them free—
In the depths of the forest the wild vine is creeping
Around the huge oak with its blossoms of gold—
And, curtained with leafiness, flowerets are sleeping,
Surrounded with perfume and beauty untold.

Come out with the sunrise!—all Nature is glowing—
Each hill-top is bathed in the morn’s early beams;
In the valley the fragrance of spring-time is blowing,
To scatter the mists from the flower-margined streams;
On the greensward the footsteps of children are straying,
As free as the gambols of Summer’s pure air,
As, ladened with health, from the mountain ’tis playing,
And tossing each ringlet of gold-colored hair.

With an echo of music the river is laving
Its white pebbled shore, as it dances along;
Now sunshine, now shade o’er its clear bosom waving,
Like the world’s beaten pathway, half sorrow, half song,
Far, far in the distance, the ocean is lying,
As calm and as tideless as infancy’s breast;
While the last lingering rays of the purple light dying
Is shed on its face ere it sinks into rest.

And then comes the _eve_ with its moonlight and dreaming,
When melody floats on each whisper and sigh.
When eyes are as bright as the stars that are gleaming,
And hearts are as free as the breeze passing by.
In the wildwood the song of the night-bird is blending
With the light tread of dancers, and shoutings of mirth,
Whilst all round are the _rosy boy’s_ arrows descending,
And _love_, like our joys, has a star-lighted birth.

The Summer’s young Ganymede’s cup is o’erflowing
With dew-drops, distilled from the Spring’s early morn,
As pure as the breath of the west wind that’s blowing,
Or wishes deep down in a maiden’s heart born;
Then a health for sweet May! what heart is not swelling
As the mild air of Summer comes soft o’er the brow,
And a thousand bright tokens all round us are telling
That the May-day of _Youth_ and _Affection_ is now.

* * * * *




It is observable that, while among all nations the omni-color, white,
has been received as an emblem of the Pure, the no-color, black, has by
no means been generally admitted as _sufficiently_ typical of Impurity.
There are blue devils as well as black; and when we think _very_ ill of
a woman, and wish to _blacken_ her character, we merely call her “a
_blue_-stocking” and advise her to read, in Rabelais’ “_Gargantua_,” the
chapter “_de ce qui est signifié par les couleurs blanc et bleu_.” There
is far more difference between these “_couleurs_,” in fact, than that
which exists between simple _black_ and white. Your “blue,” when we come
to talk of stockings, is black in _issimo_—“_nigrum nigrius
nigro_”—like the matter from which Raymond Lully first manufactured his


Mr. ——, I perceive, has been appointed Librarian to the new ——
Athenæum. To him, the appointment is advantageous in many respects.
Especially:—“_Mon cousin, voici une belle occasion pour apprendre à


As far as I can understand the “loving our enemies,” it implies the
hating our friends.


In commencing our dinners with gravy soup, no doubt we have taken a hint
from Horace.

—— Da, he says, si _grave_ non est,
Quæ prima iratum ventrem placaverit isca.


Of much of our cottage architecture we may safely say, I think,
(admitting the good intention,) that it _would_ have been Gothic if it
had not felt it its duty to be Dutch.


James’s multitudinous novels seem to be written upon the plan of “the
songs of the Bard of Schiraz,” in which, we are assured by Fadladeen,
“the same beautiful thought occurs again and again in every possible
variety of phrase.”


Some of our foreign lions resemble the human brain in one very striking
particular. They are without any sense themselves and yet are the
centres of sensation.


Mirabeau, I fancy, acquired his wonderful tact at foreseeing and meeting
_contingencies_, during his residence in the stronghold of _If_.


Cottle’s “Reminiscences of Coleridge” is just such a book as damns its
perpetrator forever in the opinion of every gentleman who reads it. More
and more every day do we moderns _pavoneggiarsi_ about our Christianity;
yet, so far as the _spirit_ of Christianity is concerned, we are
immeasurably behind the ancients. Mottoes and proverbs are the indices
of national character; and the Anglo-Saxons are disgraced in having no
proverbial equivalent to the “_De mortuis nil nisi bonum._”
Moreover—where, in all statutory Christendom, shall we find a _law_ so
Christian as the “_Defuncti injuriâ ne afficiantur_” of the Twelve

The simple _negative_ injunction of the Latin law and proverb—the
injunction _not to do ill_ to the dead—seems at a first glance,
scarcely susceptible of improvement in the delicate respect of its
terms. I cannot help thinking, however, that the sentiment, if not the
idea intended, is more forcibly conveyed in an apophthegm by one of the
old English moralists, James Puckle. By an ingenious figure of speech he
contrives to imbue the negation of the Roman command with a spirit of
active and positive beneficence. “When speaking of the dead,” he says,
in his “Grey Cap for a Green Head,” “_so fold up your discourse that
their virtues may be outwardly shown, while their vices are wrapped up
in silence_.”


I have no doubt that the Fourierites honestly fancy “a nasty poet fit
for nothing” to be the true translation of “_poeta nascitur non fit_.”


There surely can_not_ be “more things in Heaven and Earth than are
dreamt of” (oh, Andrew Jackson Davis!) “in _your_ philosophy.”


“It is only as the Bird of Paradise quits us in taking wing,” observes,
or should observe, some poet, “that we obtain a full view of the beauty
of its plumage;” and it is only as the politician is about being “turned
out” that—like the snake of the Irish Chronicle when touched by St.
Patrick—he “awakens to a sense of his _situation_.”


Newspaper editors seem to have constitutions closely similar to those of
the Deities in “Walhalla,” who cut each other to pieces every day, and
yet got up perfectly sound and fresh every morning.


As far as I can comprehend the modern cant in favor of “unadulterated
Saxon,” it is fast leading us to the language of that region where, as
Addison has it, “they sell the best fish and speak the plainest


The frightfully long money-pouches—“like the Cucumber called the
Gigantic”—which have come in vogue among our belles—are _not_ of
Parisian origin, as many suppose, but are strictly indigenous here. The
fact is, such a fashion would be quite out of place in Paris, where it
is money _only_ that women keep in a purse. The purse of an American
lady, however, must be large enough to carry both her money and the soul
of its owner.


I can see no objection to gentlemen “standing for Congress”—provided
they stand on one side—nor to their “running for Congress”—if they are
in a very great hurry to get there—but it would be a blessing if some
of them could be persuaded into sitting still, for Congress, after they


If _Envy_, as Cyprian has it, be “the moth of the soul,” whether shall
we regard _Content_ as its Scotch snuff or its camphor?


M——, having been “used up” in the —— Review, goes about town lauding
his critic—as an epicure lauds the best London mustard—with the tears
in his eyes.


“_Con tal que las costumbres de un autor sean puras y castas_,” says the
Catholic Don Tomas de las Torres, in the Preface to his “Amatory Poems,”
“_importo muy poco qui no sean igualmente severas sus obras_:” meaning,
in plain English, that, provided the personal morals of an author are
pure, it matters little what those of his books are.

For so unprincipled an idea, Don Tomas, no doubt, is still having a hard
time of it in Purgatory; and, by way of most pointedly manifesting their
disgust at his philosophy on the topic in question, many modern
theologians and divines are now busily squaring their conduct by his
proposition exactly _conversed_.


Children are never too tender to be whipped:—like tough beefsteaks, the
more you beat them the more tender they become.


Lucian, in describing the statue “with its surface of Parian marble and
its interior filled with rags,” must have been looking with a prophetic
eye at some of our great “moneyed institutions.”


That poets (using the word comprehensively, as including artists in
general) are a _genus irritabile_, is well understood; but the _why_,
seems not to be commonly seen. An artist is an artist only by dint of
his exquisite sense of Beauty—a sense affording him rapturous
enjoyment, but at the same time implying, or involving, an equally
exquisite sense of Deformity of disproportion. Thus a wrong—an
injustice—done a poet who is really a poet, excites him to a degree
which, to ordinary apprehension, appears disproportionate with the
wrong. Poets _see_ injustice—_never_ where it does not exist—but very
often where the unpoetical see no injustice whatever. Thus the poetical
irritability has no reference to “temper” in the vulgar sense, but
merely to a more than usual clear-sightedness in respect to Wrong:—this
clear-sightedness being nothing more than a corollary from the vivid
perception of Right—of justice—of proportion—in a word, of το καλου.
But one thing is clear—that the man who is _not_ “irritable,” (to the
ordinary apprehension,) is _no poet_.


Let a man succeed ever so evidently—ever so demonstrably—in many
different displays of _genius_, the envy of criticism will agree with
the popular voice in denying him more than _talent_ in any. Thus a poet
who has achieved a great (by which I mean an effective) poem, should be
cautious not to distinguish himself in any other walk of Letters. In
especial—let him make no effort in Science—unless anonymously, or with
the view of waiting patiently the judgment of posterity. Because
universal or even versatile geniuses have rarely or never been known,
_therefore_, thinks the world, none such can ever be. A “therefore” of
this kind is, with the world, conclusive. But what is the _fact_, as
taught us by analysis of mental power? Simply, that the _highest_
genius—that the genius which all men instantaneously acknowledge as
such—which acts upon individuals, as well as upon the mass, by a

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Online LibraryVariousGraham's Magazine, Vol. XXXIV, No. 5, May 1849 → online text (page 10 of 15)