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steps—" Oh! God forbid it!" was the quick and passionate reply. In a note to one of his Essays, he bitterly exclaims, “ I am sick of this trade of authorship." Dr. Johnson, in the midst of all his fame, felt the miseries of a literary life, and sighed for the consolations of private friendship. While his name and his productions were the topics of general conversation, he shuddered at his “gloom of solitude,” and in writing to Mrs. Thrale, he makes a touching appeal to her sympathy and tenderness : “I want every comfort : my life is very solitary and very cheerless. Let me know that I have yet a friend—let us be kind to one another." There is a querulous melancholy in the prefaces of Wordsworth that shews too clearly the state of his heart. The greatest of living poets has found that the wasps of criticism can destroy his repose, and that the neglect or ridicule even of the vulgar crowd is not always to be borne with a magnanimous indifference.

Literary pursuits and literary distinctions are often fatal to domestic pleasures and attachments. They render men less capable of entering cordially into those amusements that interest the mass of their fellow creatures, and often excite in their associates a bitter jealousy and an uneasy sense of inferiority. Some in the author see only the man, and wonder at the admiration of the world; while others in the man see only the author, and cease to regard him as a social being of the same nature with themselves. An author's station in society is always ambiguous, and liable to endless misapprehensions ; he is like a stranger in a foreign land; he is in the crowd, but not of it. When his claims are too obvious to be disputed, the humble are alarmed at that superior intellectual power for which the vain and envious hate him. He is neither at his ease himself, nor are those about him. The jealous and the curious surround him like enemies and spies, and keep him ever on his guard. He can please no one. Some who are willing to admire, so raise their expectations of his greatness, that he is sure to disappoint them; and the more he shines, the more he wounds the self-love of others. Even the most generous admiration is not of long endurance, but soon flags without repeated stimulants. If the literary man does not excel himself-if every new work is not superior to the last-his friends are disappointed, and his enemies triumphant. Even the greatest glory can hardly make a man indifferent to the ceaseless hostilities which it so inevitably excites. Envy and detraction are fierce and indefatigable adversaries, whom nothing but the downfall of the object of their wrath can entirely appease. The happiness of an ambitious author is at the mercy of his meanest foes. “Oh! that mine enemy had written a book,” is a wish that has entered many a malignant bosom.

“ Who pants for glory finds but short repose,

A breath revives him, or a breath o’erthrows."

A hostile criticism, however false or ignorant, often leaves an immedicable wound in the breast of genius. The tender and imaginative Keats was crushed by the rude hand of Gifford, and perished like a flower in a foreign land. The unhappy Kirke White never entirely overcame the shock of an unfavourable critique on his first productions. One bitter censure outweighs a thousand eulogies.

What with the jealousy of some men, the ignorance of others, and the capriciousness of public opinion, he who rests his whole happiness on literary fame must prepare himself for the life of a slave or the death of a martyr. And yet with all these fearful drawbacks, there is something so inexpressibly charming in literary pursuits and the glory that attends them, that no man who has once fairly enrolled himself in the fraternity of authors, can relinquish his pen without reluctance and retire into ordinary life. After the intense excitement of his peculiar hopes and labours, all other objects and employments appear “ weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable.” Cowper quotes with a concurrence of sentiment the remark of Caraccioli, that “there is something bewitching in authorship, and that he who has once written will write again.” “Who shall say,” exclaims Bulwer, in his eloquent and interesting Conversations with an ambitious Student in ill health,” whether Rousseau breathing forth his reveries, or Byron tracing the pilgrimage of Childe Harold, did not more powerfully feel the glory of the task, than the sorrow it was to immortalize ? Must they not have been exalted with an almost divine gladness, by the beauty of their own ideas, the melody of their own murmurs, the wonders of their own art ?Dr. Johnson, with a truth and nature suggested by his own experience, attributes a similar feeling to the unhappy Prince of Abyssinia. Rasselas uttered his repinings with a plaintive voice, “yet with a look that discovered him to feel some complacence in his own perspicacity, and to receive some solace of the miseries of life, from a consciousness of the delicacy with which he felt, and the eloquence with which he bewailed them.”

The clear and permanent impression of the mind on a printed page is admirably adapted to the gratification of human pride. The author sees the image of his soul to the best advantage, and almost wonders at his own perfections. No youthful beauty contemplates her mirrored figure with more delight.

“ 'Tis pleasant sure to see one's self in print!” He who has once passed into a book, while he exults in his own mental portrait, thus fixed as it were beyond the reach of fate, luxuriates in the anticipated admiration of the world. The printer's types are far more potent than the painter's pencil. The former represent the various movements of the mind—the latter gives the mere external frame, in one attitude and with one expression. There is additional pride in the consciousness, that in the production of the intellectual image the printer is subservient to the author's will, while we are necessarily as passive as

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his canvass in the painter's hands. Our features are entirely at his mercy. We do not share the merit of his performance, though the subject is our own*.

We need not be surprised that even monarchs have been smitten with literary ambition, for satiated with the easy and vulgar influence of adventitious advantages, they naturally desire a species of power more personal and intrinsic, as well as more permanent and extensive. A great author has a wider kingdom and a longer reign than any sovereign upon earth. Shakespeare and Milton would scarcely have exchanged places with the proudest worldly potentates. The sun-lit pinnacles of Parnassus are more glorious than a gilded chair.

No man has so exalted an opinion of his own profession as an author. “Such a superiority,” says Hume, “ do the pursuits of literature possess over every other occupation, that even he who attains but a mediocrity in them, merits the pre-eminence above those that excel the most in the common and vulgar professions.” “An author,” says Cowper,

“An author," says Cowper," is an important character. Whatever his merits may be, the mere circumstance of authorship warrants his approach to persons, whom otherwise

There is one advantage, however, in painting over printing, which is, that the productions of the artist are regarded with a deeper feeling of personal interest than those of the author ; because there is no agent, like the printer, between the artist and his admirer. The work comes more directly from the man of genius himself, and the possession of it is more exclusive. There is something inexpressibly moving and delightful in the thought that the precious treasure is your own, and not the world's, and that it was literally and solely the work of the artist's fleshly yet inspired hand. We gaze at and touch the identical canvass on which that hand (perhaps long since mingled with the dust) once strenuously laboured, while we seem to hold direct communion with a being whose earthly glory is almost as imperishable as his spiritual existence. We drink in the loveliness of the same scenery that enchanted the painter's eye. We share in his enjoyment.

This personal interest in an original painting in some respects resembles, though it far exceeds, that which is excited by a celebrated person's autograph. But though a great author's manuscript may be highly interesting, it is of course in every sense less precious than a noble painting. A handwriting, though often in some degree characteristic of the writer's mind, can never be so essentially connected with genius as the work of a painter.

perhaps he could hardly address without being deemed impertinent.” It is this proud feeling, linked to the hope of fame, that makes many an unhappy author persist so passionately in his favorite studies, amidst innumerable privations and inquietudes. “ I know,” says

“ That all the Muse's heavenly lays

By toil of spirit are so dearly bought.”

But this difficulty and labour, as he himself confesses, in no degree restrained his ardour of composition. It is said that Milton would not desist from his literary avocations, though warned by his physicians of the certain loss of his sight. He preferred his fame to his comfort.

To create those mighty works that are meant for an immortality on earth is an object of exultation, compared to which, the dignities and triumphs of kings and conquerors would seem valueless and vulgar. It is a proud and glorious thing, and may elevate our conceptions of the spiritual part of our nature, to know that the wealth of even one happy hour's inspiration may circulate, like a vein of gold, through the various strata of society, and enrich remotest ages! Even the utter extinction of his mortal being is an event of comparative indifference to the impassioned poet, who inflames his eager soul with the hope of a never-dying name, and the exalting thought, that he may stir the vast sea of human hearts, when the crowd of his contemporaries shall be utterly forgotten, and his own material frame shall have long mouldered in the grave. It is an aspiration of this glorious nature that swells the breast of Wordsworth, when he fervently exclaims ;

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Blessings be with them-and eternal praise,
Who gave us nobler loves and nobler cares-
The poets, who on earth have made us heirs,
Of truth and pure delight by heavenly lays !
Oh! might my name be numbered among theirs,
Then gladly would I end my mortal days !”

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