Puslapio vaizdai

Seeing the enormous numbers of worthless books learned man may be compared to a palette covered published, and the vast amount of time squan- with bright colors, perhaps even arranged with some dered upon their perusal, we can not honestly system, but wanting in harmony, coherence, and deny the following assertions :

meaning It is the case with literature as with life: wherever

Feelingly and beautifully he writes elsewhere we turn, we come upon the incorrigible mob of human- about books : kind, whose name is Legion, swarming everywhere,

We find in the greater number of works, leaving damaging everything, as flies in summer. Hence the

out the very bad, that their authors have thought, multiplicity of bad books, those exuberant weeds of

not seen — written from reflection, not intuition. literature which choke the true corn. Such books And this is why books are so uniformly mediocre rob the public of time, money, and attention, which ought properly to belong to good literature and noble the reader can think for himself; but, when his

and wearisome. For, what an author has thought, aims, and they are written with the view merely to thought is based on intuition, it is as if he takes us make money or occupation. They are therefore not

into a land we have not ourselves visited. All is merely useless, but injurious. Nine tenths of our

fresh and new. ... We discover the quality of current literature has no other end but to inveigle a

writer's thinking powers after reading a few pages. thaler or two out of the public pocket, for which pur- Before learning what he thinks, we see how he pose author, publisher, and printer are leagued to

thinks-namely, the texture of his thoughts; and gether. A more pernicious, subtler, and bolder piece this remains the same, no matter the subject in hand. of trickery is that by which penny-a-liners (Brod. The style is the stamp of individual intellect, as schreiber) and scribblers succeed in destroying good language is the stamp of race.

We throw away a taste and real culture. . . . Hence the paramount book when we find ourselves in a darker mental importance of acquiring the art not to read ; in other region than the one we have just quitted. Only words, of not reading such books as occupy the pub- those writers profit us whose understanding is quicklic mind, or even those which make a noise in the world, and reach several editions in their first and indeed think for a time, who quicken our thoughts,

er, more lucid than our own, by whose brain we last years of existence. We should recollect that he and lead us whither alone we could not find our way. who writes for fools finds an enormous audience, and we should devote the ever-scant leisure of our cir- In the same strain is the following extract cumscribed existence to the master spirits of all ages from his great work, “ Die Welt als Wille und and nations, those who tower over humanity, and

Vorstellung ": whom the voice of Fame proclaims: only such writers cultivate and instruct us. Of bad books we can never

It is dangerous to read of a subject before first read too little; of the good, never too much. The thinking about it. Thereby arises the want of oribad are intellectual poison, and undermine the under- ginality in so many reading people; for they only standing. Because people insist on reading not the dwell on a topic so long as the book treating of it best books written for all time, but the newest con

remains in their hands-in other words, they think temporary literature, writers of the day remain in the by means of other people's brains instead of their narrow circle of the same perpetually revolving ideas,

The book laid aside, they take up any other and the age continues to wallow in its own mire. matters with just the same lively interest, such as

personal affairs, cards, gossip, the play, etc. To This is severe, but who, in these days of those who read for the attainment of knowledge, book-making and inordinate reading of the emp- books and study are mere steps of a ladder leading tiest kind, will affirm that the philosopher's stric- to the summit of knowledge-as soon as they have tures are unmerited ? Schopenhauer knew what listed their feet from one step, they quit it, mountliterature is, and had nurtured his intellect on ing higher. The masses, on the contrary, who read the choicest, not only of his own country but of or study in order to occupy their time and thoughts, others; and he could not brook the craving for do not use the ladder to get up by, but burden thembad books and the indifference to works of genius selves with it, rejoicing over the weight of the load. that he saw around him. It was not, however,

They carry what should carry them. the smatterer, but the book-worm and the pedant Upon books in the abstract, Schopenhauer he had in his mind when penning the sentence: has much that is suggestive to tell us, and here

also we must perforce content ourselves with a Mere acquired knowledge belongs to us only like a wooden leg and a wax nose. Knowledge attained few golden grains from the garnered stores beby means of thinking resembles our natural limbs, and is the only kind that really belongs to us. Hence

He was a stupendous reader; and he read the difference between the thinker and the pedant. not only the masterpieces of his own age and The intellectual possession of the independent thinker country, but of most others. Oriental literature, is like a beautiful picture, which stands before us, a the classics of Greece and Rome, the great Engliving thing, with fitting light and shadow, sustained lish, Spanish, Italian, and French authors, were tones, perfect harmony of color. That of the merely equally familiar to him. We can not recall a


fore us.


literary masterpiece he had not studied; and, the form delightful reading-the maliciousness addmore he read, the more eclectic he became. As ing piquancy here and there. a critic, he is as original as he is suggestive, But it is on the subject of nature and art genwhether one can always agree or not. Take the erally, above all, his darling theme of music, that following:

we find him at his best and happiest.

The sneer has now vanished from his lips, To my thinking, there is not a single noble char- and instead of gall and wormwood we have acter to be found throughout Homer, though many honeyed utterances only. While none could worthy and estimable. In Shakespeare is to be found one pair of noble characters—yet not so in a

more pungently satirize the things he hated, none supreme degree-Cordelia and Coriolanus, hardly

could more poetically extol the things he lovedany more ; the rest are made of the same stuff as

witness his chapters on music, art, and nature. Homer's folk. Put all Goethe's works together, and of course, only scientific musicians, and perhaps you can not find a single instance of the magna- also musicians wedded to the music of the funimity portrayed in Schiller's Marquis Posa." ture, can fully appreciate his theories; but all

who care for music at all, and understand what And these remarks on history :

it means in the faintest degree, will read with He who has read Herodotus will have read delight such passages as these : quite enough history for all practical purposes. Everything is here of which the world's after-history

How significant and full of meaning is the lanis composed—the striving, doing, suffering, and fate guage of music! Take the Da Capo, for instance, of humanity, as brought about by the attributes and which would be intolerable in literary and other physical conditions Herodotus describes.

compositions, yet here is judicious and welcome,

since in order to grasp the melody we must hear it But he would not discourage the student of twice. history :

The unspeakable fervor or inwardness (innige) What understanding is to the individual, history

of all music, by virtue of which it brings before us so

near and yet so remote a paradise, arises from the is to the human race. Every gap in history is like a gap in the memory of a human being. In this quickening of our innermost nature that it produces,

always without its reality or tumult. sense, it is to be regarded as the understanding and conscious reason of mankind, and represents the Music, indeed, is bound up with Schopendirect self-consciousness of the whole human race. Only thus can humanity be taken as a whole, and miss one of the most exquisite passages on this

hauer's metaphysical theories; and, rather than herein consists the true work of this study and its subject in his opus magnum, we for once graze general overpowering interest. It is a personal mat

lightly on metaphysical ground. The following ter of all mankind.

requires to be carefully thought over : His running commentaries on some of the

The nature of man is so constituted that his will literary chefs-d'æuvre of various epochs are acute and ardently sympathetic pieces of criticism. He is perpetually striving and perpetually being satisfied was, as is well known, a great, if somewhat the striving anew, and so on, ad infinitum, his only oretical, admirer of England and anything Eng- fulfillment and from fulfillment to wish; all else is

happiness consisting in the transition from wish to lish, and had a positive passion for some of our

mere ennui. writers-Byron, for one. The reader may find Corresponding to this is the nature of melody, abundant criticism, with frequent citations from which is a constant swerving and wandering from the many authors, in “ Die Welt als Wille und Vor- key-note, not only by means of perfect harmonies,

D stellung,” and these may be enjoyed without such as the third and dominant, but in a thousand plunging ourselves into the gulf of metaphysics. ways and by every possible combination, always per.

We must add that he writes always in a lucid force returning to the key-note at last. Hereir, manner. Schopenhauer was indeed a German melody expresses the multiform striving of the will, who knew what style meant, and this might have its fulfillment by various harmonies, and, finally, its formed his epitaph had he permitted any: “I perfect satisfaction in the key-note. The invention will have nothing written on my tomb,” he said, of melody—in other words, the unveiling thereby of

the deepest secrets of human will and emotionexcept the name of Arthur Schopenhauer. The world will soon find out who he was”-a pre- all reflective and conscious design. I will carry my

is the achievement of genius farthest removed from diction which indeed came true. Doubtless the analogy farther. As the rapid transition of wish to limpid, clear-flowing style of his prose has no

fulfillment and from fulfillment to wish is happiness little contributed to the popularization of his and contentment, so quick melodies without great works. However weighed down with metaphys- deviations from the key-note are joyous, while slow ics, his writings are generally so transparent melodies, only reaching the key-note after painful in expression, and so clear in conception, as to dissonances and frequent changes of time, are sad.


'The rapid, lightly grasped phrases of dance-music by natural grace and harmonious grouping of leaves, seem to speak of easily reached, every-day happiness: flowers, and garlands that Nature, and not the great the allegro maestoso, on the contrary, with its slow egotist man, has here had her way. Neglected spots periods, long movements and wide deviations, be- straightway become beautiful. speaks a noble, magnanimous striving after a far-off goal, the fulfillment of which is eternal. The adagio

And then he goes on to compare the English proclaims the suffering of lofty endeavors, holding and French garden, with a compliment to the petty or common joys in contempt. How wonderful former, which unfortunately it has ceased to deis the effect of minor and major ! how astounding serve. The straggling, old-fashioned English that the alteration of a semitone and the exchange garden Schopenhauer admired so much is now a from a major to a minor third should immediately rarity—the formal parterres, geometrical flowerand invariably awaken a pensive, wistful mood from beds, and close-cropped alleys he equally detestwhich the major at once releases us! The adagio in ed, having superseded the easy, natural graces a minor key expresses the deepest sadness, losing it- of former days. He adored animals no less than self in a pathetic lament.

nature, and amid the intricate problems of his Such brief citations suffice to show us in what great work and the weighty questions therein light Schopenhauer regarded music, but all who evolved concerning the nature and destiny of huwish to master his theories on the subject must

man will and intellect, he makes occasion to put turn to his works themselves, wherein they will in a plea for the dumb things so dear to him. find, as our French neighbors say, à quoi boire His pet dog, Atma, meaning in Sanskrit the Soul et à quoi manger: in other words, intellectual of the Universe, was the constant companion of sustenance, equally light, palatable, and nourish- his walks, and when he died his master was ining, to be returned to again and again with un- consolable. The cynic, the misanthrope, the woflagging appetite. The world of art, like the man-hater, was all tenderness here. world of thought and philosophy, was more real

Was Schopenhauer happy or not? Who can and vital to him than that of daily life and com

answer that question for another? He was alone mon circumstances; and how he regarded a

in the world, having never made for himself a

home or domestic ties; he hated society-except, musical composition, a picture, a book, or any true work of art, the following happy similes will as we have seen, that infinitesimal portion of it testify:

suited to his intellectual aspirations, his favorite

recreations being long country walks and the The creations of poets, sculptors, and artists gen. drama. It also amused him to dine at a table erally contain treasures of deepest recognizable wis- d'hôte, which he did constantly in the latter part dom, since in these is proclaimed the innermost na- of his lifetime. But that he understood what ture of things, whose interpreters and illustrators inner happiness was we have seen, and the secret they are. Every one who reads a poem or looks at of it he had discovered also. If joy of the ina work of art must seek for such wisdom, and each tenser kind is born of thought and spiritual or innaturally grasps it in proportion to his intelligence tellectual beauty, no less true it is that every-day and culture, as a skipper drops his plummet-line just enjoyment depends on cheerfulness, and with the as far as the length of his rope allows. We should following golden maxims, suited alike for the stand before a picture as before a sovereign, waiting

“Normal Mensch"and the “Genialer," commonto see if it has something to tell us and what it may be, and no more speak to the one than to the other, place humanity and the choicer intellects among else we only express ourselves.

whom Schopenhauer found his kindred, may aptly

close this little paper : This last sentence shows Schopenhauer's intensity of artistic feeling, nor must it be for a mo- makes us happy, is cheerfulness of mind, for this ex

What most directly and above everything else ment supposed that he was insensible to nature, cellent gift is its own reward. He who is naturally In his last lonely years at Frankfort, and indeed joyous has every reason to be so, for the simple reathroughout his life, long country rambles were son that he is as he is. Nothing can compensate his daily recreations, the wholesome rule of “two like cheerfulness for the lack of other possessions, hours' brisk movement in the open air," which he while in itself it makes up for all others. A man laid down for his countrypeople, not being neg- may be young, well-favored, rich, honored, happy, lected by himself. Many of us know Frankfort but, if we would ascertain whether or no he be happy, pretty well, and can picture to ourselves exactly we must first put the question, Is he cheerful? If the kind of suburban spot which might have sug- he is cheerful, then it matters not whether he be gested this thought to the great pessimist : young or old, straight or crooked, rich or poor; he

is happy. Let us throw open wide the doors to How æsthetic is Nature! Every corner of the Cheerfulness whenever she makes her appearance, for world, no matter how insignificant, adorns itself in it can never be unpropitious; instead of which, we the tastefullest manner when left alone, proclaiming too often bar her way, asking ourselves, Have we


fore us.

indeed, or have we not, good reasons for being con- ders of life as a whole, with its final suffering and tent? Cheerfulness is the current coin of happiness, death, ever make up a tragedy. and not like other possession, merely its letter of Mere clever men always appear exactly at the credit.

right time: they are called forth by the spirit of their

age, to fulfill its needs, being capable of nothing else. We will close this paper with a few quotations They influence the progressive culture of their fel. culled here and there from the four volumes be- lows and demands of special enlightenment; thereby

It is alternately the sage, the artist, the their praise and its reward. Genius flashes like a satirist who is speaking to us:

comet amid the orbits of the age, its erratic course

being a mystery to the steadfastly moving planets Poverty is the scourge of the people, ennui of the around. better ranks. The boredom of Sabbatarianism is to Genius produces no works of practical value. the middle classes what week-day penury is to the Music is composed, poetry conceived, pictures paintneedy.

ed; but a work of genius is never a thing to use. Thinkers, and especially men of true genius, with. Uselessness indeed is its title of honor. All other out any exception, find noise insupportable. This is human achievements contribute toward the support no question of habit. The truly stoical indifference or alleviation of our existence ; works of genius alone of ordinary minds to noise is extraordinary; it cre- exist for their own sake, or may be considered as the ates no disturbance in their thoughts, either when very flower and bloom of destiny. This is why the occupied in reading or writing, whereas, on the con- enjoyment of art so uplifts our hearts. In the natutrary, the intellectually endowed are thereby ren- ral world also we rarely see beauty allied to usefuldered incapable of doing anything. I have ever ness. Lofty trees of magnificent aspect bear no fruit, been of opinion that the amount of noise a man can productive trees for the most part being ugly little support with equanimity is in inverse proportion to cripples. So, also, the most beautiful buildings are his mental powers, and may be taken therefore as a not useful. A temple is never a dwelling-place. A measure of intellect generally. If I hear a dog bark- man of rare mental endowments, compelled by ciring for hours on the threshold of a house, I know cumstances to follow a humdrum career fitted for the well enough what kind of brains I may expect from most commonplace, is like a costly vase, covered its inhabitants. He who habitually slams the door with exquisite designs, used as a cooking utensil. To instead of closing it is not only an ill-bred, but a compare useful people with geniuses is to compare coarse-grained, feebly-endowed creature.

building stones with diamonds. It is truly incredible how negative and insignifi- Could we prevent all villains from becoming fa. cant, seen from without, and how dull and meaning, thers of families, shut up the dunderheads in monasless, regarded from within, is the life of by far the teries, permit a harem to the nobly gifted, and progreater bulk of human beings !

vide every girl of spirit and intellect with a husband The life of every individual, when regarded in worthy of her, we might look for an age surpassing detail, wears a comic, when regarded as a whole, a that of Pericles. tragic aspect. For the misadventures of the hour, Virtue, no more than genius, is to be taught. the toiling and moiling of the day, the fretting of the We might just as well expect our systems of morals week, are turned by freak of destiny into comedy. and ethics generally to produce virtuous, nobleBut the never-fulfilled desires, the vain strivings, the minded, and saintly individuals, as æsthetics to crehopes so pitilessly shattered, the unspeakable blun- ate poets, sculptors, and musicians.

Fraser's Magasine.



OOSE-HUNTING, if it has no other ad- exhilarating feeling it is to be entirely indepen

vantages, at least leads a man to solitude dent of weather, comparatively indifferent to hunand the woods, and life in the woods tends to ger, thirst, cold, and heat, and to feel himself develop many excellent qualities which are not capable not only of supporting but of enjoying invariably produced by what we are pleased to life thoroughly, and that by the mere exercise of call our civilization. It makes a man patient and his own faculties. Happiness consists in having able to bear constant disappointments; it ena- few wants and being able to satisfy them, and bles him to endure hardship with indifference, there is more real comfort to be found in a birchand it produces a feeling of self-reliance which is bark camp than in the most luxuriously furnished both pleasant and serviceable. True luxury, to and carefully appointed dwelling. my mind, is only to be found in such a life. No Such a home I have often helped to make. man who has not experienced it knows what an It does not belong to any recognized order of


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architecture, although it may fairly claim an of powder, flour, or some of the other necessaries ancient origin. To erect it requires no great ex- of life, a "cache.” The French word“ prairie,” ercise of skill, and calls for no training in art as everybody knows, has become part and parschools. I will briefly describe it.

cel of the English language. Indians and halfA birch-bark camp is made in many ways. breeds, who never heard French spoken in their The best plan is to build it in the form of a lives, greet each other at meeting and parting square, varying in size according to the number with the salutation “ bo jour” and “adieu.” And pf inhabitants that you propose to accommodate. so the word “portage ” has come to be generally Having selected a suitable level spot and cleared used to denote the piece of dry land separating away the shrubs and rubbish, you proceed to two rivers or lakes over which it is necessary to make four low walls composed of two or three carry canoes and baggage when traveling through small suitable-sized pine logs laid one on the the country in summer. Sometimes it is literally other, and on these little low walls so constructed translated and called a “carry.” Another French you raise the framework of the camp. This con- word,“ traverse," is frequently used in canoeing, sits of light thin poles, the lower ends being to signify a large, unsheltered piece of water stuck into the upper surface of the pine-trees which it is necessary to cross. A deeply-laden which form the walls, and the upper ends leaning birch-bark canoe will not stand a great deal of against and supporting each other. The next sea, and quite a heavy sea gets up very rapidly operation is to strip large sheets of bark off the on large, fresh-water lakes, so that a long “ travbirch-trees, and thatch these poles with them to erse" is a somewhat formidable matter. You may within a foot or two of the top, leaving a sufficient want to cross a lake say five or six miles in width, aperture for the smoke to escape. Other poles but of such a size that it would take you a couple are then laid upon the sheets of birch-bark to of days to coast all round. That open stretch of keep them in their places. A small doorway is five or six miles would be called a “traverse.” left in one side, and a door is constructed out of The number and length of the po

es on slabs of wood or out of the skin of some animal. any canoe route, and the kind of trail that leads The uppermost log is hewed through with an axe, over them, are important matters to consider in so that the wall shall not be inconveniently high canoe-traveling. A man in giving information to step over, and the hut is finished. Such a about any journey will enter into most minute camp is perfectly impervious to wind or weather, particulars about them. He will say, “ You go or rather can be made so by filling up the joints up such and such a river,” and he will tell you all and cracks between the sheets of birch-bark and about it—where there are strong rapids; where the interstices between the pine logs with moss it is very shallow; where there are deep, still and dry leaves. You next level off the ground reaches in which the paddle can be used, and inside, and on three sides of the square strew it where you must pole, and so forth. Then he will thickly with the small tops of the sapin or Can- tell you how you come to some violent rapid or ada balsam-fir for a breadth of about four feet; fall that necessitates a portage,” and explain then take some long, pliant ash saplings or withy exactly how to strike into the eddy, and shove rods, and peg them down along the edge of the your canoe into the bank at a certain place, and pine tops to keep your bed or carpet in its place, take her out there, and how long the “portage” leaving a bare space in the center of the hut, is; whether there is a good trail, or a bad trail, where you make your fire. Two or three rough or no trail at all; and so on with every “ portslabs of pine to act as shelves must then be fixed age” on the route. Carrying canoes and baggage into the wall, a couple of portage-straps or tump- across the “ portage " is arduous work. A birchlines stretched across, on which to hang your bark canoe must be treated delicately, for

is a clothes, and the habitation is complete.

very fragile creature. You allow it to ground I ought perhaps to explain what a “portage- very carefully; step out into the water, take out strap" and a “portage are. Many French and all the bales, boxes, pots, pans, bedding, rifles, Spanish words have become incorporated with etc.; lift up the canoe bodily, and turn her upthe English language in America. The Western side down for a few minutes to drain the water cattle-man or farmer speaks of his farm or house out. The Indian then turns her over, grasps the as his “ranche,” calls the inclosure into which he middle thwart with both hands, and with a suddrives his stock a “corral,” fastens his horse with den twist of the wrists heaves her up in the air, a “lariat,” digs an “acequia” to irrigate his land, and deposits her upside down on his shoulders, gets lost in the “chaparral " instead of the bush, and walks off with his burden. An ordinaryand uses commonly many other Spanish words sized Mic-Mac or Melicite canoe, such as one and expressions. No hunter or trapper talks of man can easily carry, weighs about seventy or hiding anything; he “caches” it, and he calls eighty pounds, and will take two men and about the place where he has stowed away a little store six or seven hundred pounds.

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