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does it drink in the light from behind the closed door! - keen with expectation, it yet wastes not a minute, and the light that steals through the apertures becomes beauty and truth to the soul. But if the door open not, (and how many lives are there wherein it does open?) it will go back into its prison, and its regret will perhaps be a loftier verity that shall never be seen;for we are now in the region of transformations whereof none may speak; and though nothing born this side of the door can be lost, yet does it never mingle with our life.

I said just now that the soul changed into beauty the little things we gave to it. It would even seem, the more we think of it, that the soul has no other reason for existence, and that all its activity is consumed in amassing, at the depths of us, a treasure of indescribable beauty. Might not everything naturally turn into beauty were we not unceasingly interrupting the arduous labors of our soul? Does not evil itself become precious so soon as it has gathered therefrom the deep-lying diamond of repentance ? The acts of injustice whereof you have been guilty, the tears you have caused to flow, will not these end too by becoming so much radiance and love in your soul? Have you ever cast your eyes into this kingdom of purifying flame that is within you? Perhaps a great wrong may have been done you to-day, the act itself being mean and disheartening, the mode of action of the basest, and ugliness wrapped you round as your tears fell. But let some years elapse, then give one look into your soul, and tell me whether, beneath the recollection of that act, you see not something that is already purer than thought: an indescribable, unnamable force that has naught in common with the forces of this world; a mysterious inexhaustible spring of the other life, whereat you may drink for the rest of your days. And yet will you have rendered no assistance to the untiring queen; other thoughts will have filled your mind, and it will be without your knowledge that the act will have been purified in the silence of your being, and will have flown into the precious waters that lie in the great reservoir of truth and beauty, which, unlike the shallower reservoir of true or beautiful thoughts, has an ever ruffled surface, and remains for all time out of reach of the breath of life. Emerson tells us that there is not an act or event in our life but sooner or later casts off its outer shell, and bewilders us by its sudden flight, from the very depths of us, on high into the empyrean. And this is true to a far greater extent

than Emerson had foreseen; for the further we advance in these regions, the diviner are the spheres we discover.

We can form no adequate conception of what this silent activity of the souls that surround us may really mean. Perhaps you have spoken a pure word to one of your fellows, by whom it has not been understood. You look upon it as lost, and dismiss it from your mind. But one day, peradventure, the word comes up again extraordinarily transformed, and revealing the unexpected fruit it has borne in the darkness; then silence once more falls over all. But it matters not; we have learned that nothing can be lost in the soul, and that even to the very pettiest there come moments of splendor. It is unmistakably borne home to us that even the unhappiest and the most destitute of men have at the depths of their being, and in spite of themselves, a treasure of beauty that they cannot despoil. They have but to acquire the habit of dipping into this treasure. It suffices not that beauty should keep solitary festival in life; it has to become a festival of every day. There needs no great effort to be admitted into the ranks of those "whose eyes no longer behold earth in flower, and sky in glory, in infinitesimal fragments, but indeed in sublime masses";- and I speak here of flowers and sky that are purer and more lasting than those that we behold. Thousands of channels there are through which the beauty of our soul may sail even unto our thoughts. Above all is there the wonderful central channel of love.

Is it not in love that are found the purest elements of beauty that we can offer to the soul? Some there are who do thus in beauty love each other. And to love thus means that, little by little, the sense of ugliness is lost; that one's eyes are closed to all the littlenesses of life, to all but the freshness and virginity of the very humblest of souls. Loving thus, we have no longer even the need to forgive. Loving thus, we can no longer have anything to conceal, for that the ever present soul transforms all things into beauty. It is to behold evil in so far only as it purifies indulgence, and teaches us no longer to confound the sinner with his sin. Loving thus, do we raise on high within ourselves all those about us who have attained an eminence where failure has become impossible; heights whence a paltry action has so far to fall, that touching earth it is compelled to yield up its diamond soul. It is to transform, though all unconsciously, the feeblest intention that hovers about us into illimitable movement.

It is to summon all that is beautiful in earth, heaven, or soul, to the banquet of love. Loving thus, we do indeed exist before our fellows as we exist before God. It means that the least gesture will call forth the presence of the soul with all its treasure. No longer is there need of death, disaster, or tears, for that the soul shall appear: a smile suffices. Loving thus, we perceive truth in happiness as profoundly as some of the heroes perceived it in the radiance of greatest sorrow. It means that the beauty that turns into love is undistinguishable from the love that turns into beauty. It means to be able no longer to tell where the ray of a star leaves off and the kiss of an ordinary thought begins. It means to have come so near to God that the angels possess us. Loving thus, the same soul will have been so beautified by us all that it will become little by little the "unique angel" mentioned by Swedenborg. It means that each day will reveal to us a new beauty in that mysterious angel, and that we shall walk together in a goodness that shall ever become more and more living, loftier and loftier. For there exists also a lifeless beauty made up of the past alone; but the veritable love renders the past useless, and its approach creates a boundless future of goodness, without disaster and without tears. To love thus is but to free one's soul, and to become as beautiful as the soul thus freed. "If, in the emotion that this spectacle cannot fail to awaken in thee," says the great Plotinus, when dealing with kindred matters,- and of all the intellects known to me, that of Plotinus draws the nearest to the divine,-"if, in the emotion that this spectacle cannot fail to awaken in thee, thou proclaimest not that it is beautiful; and if, plunging thine eyes into thyself, thou dost not then feel the charm of beauty,-it is in vain that, thy disposition being such, thou shouldst seek the intelligible beauty; for thou wouldst seek it only with that which is ugly and impure. Therefore it is that the discourse we hold here is not addressed to all men. But if thou hast recognized beauty within thyself, see that thou of the intelligible beauty."

rise to the recollection



In The Treasure of the Humble'

HERE is a tragic element in the life of every day that is far more real, far more penetrating, far more akin to the true self that is in us than the tragedy that lies in great ad


Is it beyond the mark to say that the true tragic element, normal, deep-rooted, and universal,- that the true tragic element of life only begins at the moment when so-called adventures, sorrows, and dangers have disappeared? Is the arm of happiness not longer than that of sorrow, and do not certain of its attributes draw nearer to the soul? Must we indeed roar like the Atridæ, before the Eternal God will reveal himself in our life? and is he never by our side at times when the air is calm, and the lamp burns on unflickering? Are there not ele

ments of deeper gravity and stability in happiness, in a single moment of repose, than in the whirlwind of passion? Is it not then that we at last behold the march of time-ay, and of many another on-stealing besides, more secret still-is it not then that the hours rush forward? Are not deeper chords set vibrating by all these things than by the dagger-stroke of conventional drama? Is it not at the very moment when a man believes himself secure from bodily death that the strange and silent tragedy of the being and the immensities does indeed raise its curtain on the stage? Is it while I flee before a naked sword that my existence touches its most interesting point? Is life always at its sublimest in a kiss? Are there not other moments, when one hears purer voices that do not fade away so soon? Does the soul only flower on nights of storm? Hitherto, doubtless, this belief has prevailed. It is only the life of violence, the life of bygone days, that is perceived by nearly all our tragic writers; and truly may one say that anachronism dominates the stage, and that dramatic art dates back as many years as the art of sculpture.

To the tragic author, as to the mediocre painter who still lingers over historical pictures, it is only the violence of the anecdote that appeals; and in his representation thereof does the entire interest of his work consist. And he imagines, forsooth, that we shall delight in witnessing the very same acts that

brought joy to the hearts of the barbarians, with whom murder, outrage, and treachery were matters of daily occurrence. Whereas it is far away from bloodshed, battle-cry, and sword-thrust that the lives of most of us flow on; and men's tears are silent to-day, and invisible, and almost spiritual.

Indeed, when I go to a theatre, I feel as though I were spending a few hours with my ancestors, who conceived life as something that was primitive, arid, and brutal; but this conception of theirs scarcely even lingers in my memory, and surely it is not one that I can share. I am shown a deceived husband killing his wife, a woman poisoning her lover, a son avenging his father, a father slaughtering his children, children putting their father to death, murdered kings, ravished virgins, impris oned citizens—in a word, all the sublimity of tradition, but alas, how superficial and material! Blood, surface-tears, and death! What can I learn from creatures who have but one fixed idea, and who have no time to live, for that there is a rival, or a mistress, whom it behoves them to put to death?

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I admire Othello, but he does not appear to me to live the august daily life of a Hamlet, who has the time to live, inasmuch as he does not act. Othello is admirably jealous. But is it not perhaps an ancient error to imagine that it is at the moments when this passion, or others of equal violence, possesses us, that we live our truest lives? I have grown to believe that an old man, seated in his arm-chair, waiting patiently, with his lamp beside him; giving unconscious ear to all the eternal laws that reign about his house; interpreting, without comprehending, the silence of doors and windows and the quivering voice of the light; submitting with bent head to the presence of his soul and his destiny,—an old man, who conceives not that all the powers of this world, like so many heedful servants, are mingling and keeping vigil in his room, who suspects not that the very sun itself is supporting in space the little table against which he leans, or that every star in heaven and every fibre of the soul are directly concerned in the movement of an eyelid that closes, or a thought that springs to birth,—I have grown to believe that he, motionless as he is, does yet live in reality a deeper, more human, and more universal life than the lover who strangles his mistress, the captain who conquers in battle, or "the husband who avenges his honor."

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