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your correspondent Surrey appears male account of genius since the to be right (for the most part) in his world began with six Sapphos, one arguments but wrong in his position, for every thousand years,-into which - at least if he maintains any ap- half-dozen items we may suppose all proximate ratio to exist between the female genius extant on paper to the imagination of women and that be compressed: what is this comof men. He seems, either from a pared to the quantity of genius which philosophic conviction, or a princi- our sex has to produce? For, cry ple of literary knight-errantry which out upon it as we will,—by quantity glints from under his chivalrous ap- and quality conjointly, and by neither pellative, to attempt dividing the of them separately, must the quescrown of imagination pretty equally tion be determined. Those who rebetween the two sexes. Triumphant probate such a criterion, by this only as he came out of the lists where give honest testimony that they do X. Y. Z. fought, like Troglodyte of not understand the question about old, with a bulrush, Success here which they are so fervently disputa completely turns her back upon him. ing. The question is, not whether I have perhaps a higher opinion of any one or two women has or have women's intellects than most of my exhibited as much as we can set off sex; but I hold their merits of mind against it, but whether the female to consist rather in delicacy of sex possesses imaginative power comthought and warmth of feeling, than parable to that of our own (i. e. comin power of imagination or depth of parably great in quantity, and comjudgment. Will Surrey permit me parably high in quality). Indeed, to ask him what he means by quoting Surrey and his companions in arms Sappho's Eις εταιραν to prove her are in this dilemma: if they make power of imagination? It proves the question particular and quote not this at all, but her intensity of Sappho, we annihilate them at once feeling. There is not an idea which by, producing Shakspeare (which in can properly be designated as the this case would be legitimate argu“ TRUE SUBLIME" in the whole ex- ment); if they make the question tract given by Longinus; but no one general, then it must be decided ever denied intense feeling to that (allowing for difference of education, sex, especially in love-matters.
I opportunity, &c.) by the number and may be asked,- Is not intense feel- quality of imaginative works proing the source of the sublime? Not ceeding respectively from the two always: there are many outlets by sexes, -and here I think there can which intense feeling gushes from be no second opinion. It is possible the heart, one of which is undoubted- however that Surrey's chivalry or ly the sublime; but feeling never philosophy may not have carried him takes this direction unless when altogether so far as I have stated; prompted by a totally different agent strictly speaking he does not assert -towering genius. Milton's Lamen- that women have more than, or as tation for the loss of his sight is sub- much imagination as men; but if I lime, because it is not only full of have given him credit for too much feeling, but full of lofty inspiration gallantry or too little philosophy, he accompanying that feeling ; the La- has only himself to blame who did ment of Arviragus over Imogen in not speak out and categorically. Cymbeline, is not sublime, because, What are we to think of his placing though full of feeling, the genius Mrs. Centlivre in opposition to Conwhich pervades it is less aspiring greve? Is it premature to dub him than pathetic. Besides, though we Right Worshipful, and set him down granted that Sappho was imaginative as a Defender of " distressed damoto the highest, to a Shaksperian de- sels," where he speaks of blue Novelists gree, what would that prove? This, in the same paragraph with Virgil ? videlicet, and no more: that one when, in order to make Fielding, Sappho of Lesbos was a supreme Smollet, and Richardson quake on poet. But how does this concern the their pedestals, and to frighten a general question, the comparative wrong-headed world, which bows powers of imagination in the two down to these idols, into another sexes? Let us even credit the fe- worship, he proclaims the book of new light with a solemnity proporti- cacy and gentleness of mind, regard onate to the occasion, thus" I lay such themes with something beyond my hand upon the SIMPLE STORY.' mere horror; they dislike, deprecate,
I said the question of comparative and avoid all approach to them. But sexile genius“ must” be decided by these are the very themes upon which the above method, if decided at all Imagination most audaciously disby actual productions. But it would, plays itself, and to which it will I think, be very difficult to make the always resort for room to breathe requisite allowance for want of edu- itself out. I believe it will scarcely cation, opportunity, &c. in the female be contended that any person, who sex; and it would be unfair to decide enjoys the faculty of Imagination, without it. The question I think always prefers exerting it in a less must be determined on very different degree when it might be exerted in a principles; the following I submit greater; the pleasure derived from as much safer; and were I not con- the exertion of this faculty is always scious of a latent peccability in my- in proportion to the intensity of that self, had I not a lurking suspicion exertion. Hence it follows that if of my own fallibility, would boldly women possessed the gift of supreme affirm them to be the only ones to imagination, they would admire and which Truth herself, were she to cultivate those subjects of thought plead her sex's cause, could appeal. and discourse which afford scope for
1st. From woman's form, I think the exertion of the imagination in its we may argue to her destination, and supreme degree. But they do not from her destination to her faculties. admire or cultivate those subjects, Now her form is delicate and weak, ergo they do not possess this gift of her destination is therefore domestic supreme imagination. and peaceful; domesticity and peace I'o the minor power of imagination, require not vigour, spirit, energy, usually denominated - Fancy, women audacity, in one word, power of mind, I acknowledge have a somewhat betand who will disjoin supreme imagi- ter claim. But even in this respect, nation from this or these ? Such qua- experience of the manner in which lities would incite and lead to action, their minds show themselves will which only becomes the strenuous prove them inferior to men; and the form of man. Had woman a great experience of the world pronounces imagination, she would be in the this inferiority, notwithstanding what same unphilosophical predicament as X. Y. Z. has asserted. It may also, I a dove with the heart and ambition think, be concluded, from their inof a roc. 2d. Whoever examines ferior ability to distinguish between either the writings or conversation of what is, and what is not, purely and women will find that, except in some intellectually fanciful. Thus they like few outstanding instances, they shun Ariel's wings as well as his songs; those particular subjects where Ima- the description of the Sylphs and gination kat' éžoxriv might most Gnomes in the Rape of the lock is powerfully be exerted ; viz. scenes of less attractive to them than that of terror, like that of the murder in Annot Lyle in the Legend of Montrose. De Monfort, or the Dream in Sar- A scene well painted affords them as danapalus; representations of the much pleasure as one well acted. play of the deadly passions, such as That Fancy which displays itself in anger, hatred, revenge, jealousy, or clothing objects with eye-taking ordespair, as exemplified by Zanga, naments is more highly estimated by Othello, Satan, and others; delinea- them, than that which endows it's tions of gloomy, fierce, indomitable creations with attributes less palpable characters, v.g. Moloch, Bethlem to feeling and to sight. Or if they Gabor, Burley, Hatteraick, or Corio- choose to deny this statement, it is lanus. Women, from a natural deli- at least certain, as I before said, that
• It is worthy of remark that this which is given as an answer to the question-What work of imagination, owing its birth to a woman, can be adduced ? is even by Surrey's own account of it rather the product of intense feeling than of fine imagination.
+ This argument proceeds on an assumption which I am persuaded there will be few found to disallow, namely, that God's creatures are suited to their different situations in this life. I have nothing to do with Atheists.
they receive gratification from many Individuals of the lordly sex, things which we regard with (to use such as Byron and the universal the tenderest phrase) indifference. Shakspeare, might perhaps be found But what we love we like to prac- equal, nay superior, in these respects, tise ; and hence it is that in matters to Sappho or any other poetess; but, of Fancy we find women lean quite taking the sexes generally, there is as as fondly to visual description as to great
a balance of intellectual feeling spiritual creation. It is indeed some- and delicacy in the one as of judgwhat curious, that amongst all the ment and imagination in the other. works cited by their champions as Ay, a much greater. How few men proofs of their genius, not one is what are there to be met with who enjoy might be called par excellence a work the faculties of judgment or imagiof fancy,--such' for instance as the nation; how much fewer still who Rape of the Lock, or the Queen's possess both! How few women do Wake.
we meet with who are not endued Notwithstanding all that has been with the utmost warmth of feeling, or may be said on both sides of this the most exquisite delicacy (if noquestion, the world, I am afraid, will thing else) of mind; how many in continue still to hold its ancient opi- whom both are united ! In their best nion,—that in powers of imagination works are not the same qualities perand judgment, women are inferior to ceptible? Is not every bare word full men, in power of fancy scarcely their of sensibility and feeling? is not every equal. To this venerable and well- thought, image, and expression, deconcocted opinion, I cannot help sub- licate and refined ? Here is the intelscribing myself an unworthy assen- lectual “Distinction” between the tient. Had I entered the literary list sexes; whether it has ever before as a professed defender of the sex, I been observed or insisted on, I do not should have chosen very different know: to me it is as plain as their ground from that which has been now physical difference. But when inso imprudently selected,—and I hope stead of these elegant and proporwith very different success. Con- tionate attributes, the sex, either in ceding to the adverse sex the facul- propria personâ, or by its male mouthties of judgment and imagination, I pieces (falsely called, defenders) put would have boldly challenged them in a claim to supreme judgment and on the score of feeling and delicacy of imagination, the substance is sacrificed thought. It is on this ground that for the shadow, and respect is ineI am convinced the palm of superio- vitably replaced by ridicule or conrity may be claimed, disputed, and temptuous silence.
of Murano, a half-ruined island near Venice.
When least we deem the mind would entertain
Thoughts ill-assorted with its present pain,
I saw, with brutish mien and posture rude,
An Austrian 'mid Murano's solitude :
Marking the signs of sickness, death, and dearth,
And his rank pipe were match’d. (Poor food for mirth!)
R. S. W.
GOETHE. # Good English reader,—you that of his contemporaries, we are not very are proud
anxious to say; and the rather, beto speak the tongue cause we hope that a few extracts Which Shakspeare spake the faith and from his works—under the guidance morals hold
of a few plain comments pointing out Which Milton held,
their relations, connexion, and tenTo you it is that we would here dency, will enable any reader of good speak: true it is that a spurious sense to say that for himself. Throughadmiration even of Milton is not im- out this paper we wish it to be obpossible ; a spurious admiration of served that we utter no dogmatisms Shakspeare common: that is, an ad- - no machtsprüche (as the Germans miration which creates for its own in- emphatically style them) or autocratic firm sympathies fantastic objects judgments: these are the brutum which neither have any existence in fulmen of German reviewers (we the works of either poet, nor could hope of no other reviewers), and have have in consistency with their real now lost their power to impress fear titles to our veneration. But if de- upon the most trivial of authors or praved sensibilities have sometimes respect upon the shallowest of reaflourished even in that atmosphere, yet ders. Our purpose is not so much to naturally it is favourable only to sa- pronounce judgment, as to put the reanity of understanding and to elevation der in possession of such grounds of of taste. Never were these quali- judgment as may enable him to proties more energetically demanded than nounce it for himself. And the ultiin the case which we now bring be- mate point we aim at-is not to fore our readers : a case not merely quarrel with the particular book, of infatuation, but of infatuation de- which has been the accidental occagrading to literature, beyond any- sion of bringing Goethe before us; a thing which is on record in the his- bad book more or'less is of no great tory of human levity. Not the base- importance ; our mark is Goethe ness of Egyptian superstition, not himself: and not even Goethe on his Titania under enchantment, not Cali- own account, and separate from his ban in drunkenness, ever shaped to coterie of admirers,—but Goethe prothemselves an idol more weak or posed as a model, as a fit subject for hollow than modern Germany has admiration, sympathy, and philososet up for its worship in the person phic homage; in the language of the of Goethe. The gods of Germany present translator, as “ the first of are too generally false gods; but a- European minds”—“the richest, most mong false gods some are more false gifted of living minds.” For the last than others: here and there is one seven years, or so, a feeble but perwho tends upwards, and shows some severing effort has been made by the aspirations at least towards the divine proneurs of Goethe in this country to ideal: but others gravitate to earth raise what the newspapers call a and the pollutions of earth with the ~ sensation" in his behalf: as yet instincts and necessities of appetite however without effect. On the one that betray the brutal nature. These hand the reader was staggered by also are
« divine” and “ celestial” the enormity of the machtsprüche (the to their admirers. Be it so: let A despotic or almighty puffs, as we be the “ divine" incubus, and B might in this case translate the word) the “ celestial” succubus, so long as which were brought over from Gerit is not forgotten that A is an in- many; and, though some might be cubus, and B a succubus. In what disgusted, more perhaps were awed chamber of the German pantheon, by these attempts to bully them into however, we are to look for the shrine admiration. On the other hand, the of Goethe, and how long any shrine mere dulness of the works which at all will survive the fleeting fashions were translated and analyzed as of his age, and the personal intrigues Goethe's triumphantly repelled the
* Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship. A Novel. From the German of Goethe. In Three Volumes. Edinburgh : 18:24.
contagion before it could spread: the vity. But, once begun, the laughter superstition had withered before it will be catching and irresistible could strike root. Simply to be vi- amongst those who know any thing cious was not enough for any body of the works. And at this particular of readers. The ethics of buccaneers moment we think that the struggle were good: but not alone; let us between terror on the one hand (terror have the enthusiasm of buccaneers. of being thought to want taste and Buccaneering principles, buccaneer- sensibility) and the acute sense of the ing casuistry, if you please: but then ludicrous on the other will receive an also buccaneering passions. Cattle in impulse in the latter direction from abundance there were ready for the the appearance in English of Wilhelm Circean wand, or the cup of Comus: Meister. We do not, in saying this, but the wand was not there, and the rely upon any defects in the translacup was empty : Slaves for the spell tion: we look to the native powers by thousands; but where was the of the original work. No other of spell ?. And hence it has happened Goethe's works is likely to be more that, though repeated attempts have revolting to English good sense: the been made to raise a huzza! for Mr.' whole prestige of his name must now Goethe, all have expired in such faint, totter. A blow or two from a few timid, and straggling cries, as some- vigorous understandings, well planttimes the palled London ear catches ed and adequately published to the from a company of little boys and world, combined with the overpowerwhich draw tears of passionate ing abominations of the work itself, laughter from the cynic: there will set in movement this yet torpid being no sadder sound in na- body of public feeling-determine ture, nor more ludicrous, than the the current of popular opinion (so far sound of distraction counterfeiting as any popular opinion can be possithe gaiety and cordiality of popular ble) on the question of Mr. Goethesympathy; nor any more mortifying and for ever dissolve the puny fabric exposure of impotent human vanity of baby-houses which we are now authan inability to club as much perish- dacionsly summoned to plant “ fast able breath as will defray the ex- by the oracles of God”-as fit neighpense of a shout, as much enthusiasm bours to the divine temples of Milton as will yield a substratum for a and of Shakspeare. In theselast words, huzza !
the reader may possibly suspect that Such has hitherto been the condi
we are going beyond the letter of our tion of Goethe's influence upon the warrant for the sake of rhetorically mind of this country: a languishing exaggerating the flagrancy of the inplant it was from the first; and, sult. We are not: we are far below with every help from the occasional it. “ The Trinity of men of genius” galvanism of tyrannic puffs, upon the is a well-known phrase in the mouth whole it has been drooping. At this of German critics for the last 20 particular moment, we are disposed years. Of whom is this trinity comto think that it is—if not agonizant posed ? No matter : it is enough to -yet in what is medically termed the mention that Goethe is included, and crisis ; that state, we mean, from which that Milton is not. Nay, the translaif it does not immediately revive it tor of Wilhelm Meister cites this senmust at once demise. The major timent (and we are sorry to say, withpart of the readers of Goethe are, and out disapprobation) in a still more long have been, dying to be set at shocking form : Goethe," says he, ease from the secret torments of sti- « is by many of his countrymen fled laughter: the solemnity of the ranked at the side of Homer and machtsprüche-the fulminations from Shakspeare, as one of the only three critical boards--the ban and ana- men of genius that have ever lived." thema proclaimed if any wretch Not the greatest, observe, but the should presume to laugh—have as only three men of genius! We doubt* yet quelled all faces into terrific gra- the existence of any such sentiment
* We doubt it, because the term “ genius” being now used both in England and in Germany by all reflecting writers with a reference to its etymon, it is not possible that any man should fail to see that genius is of necessity a continuous thing admitting of infinite degrees. Genius is but another expression for the genial nature which exists in