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XLVI. — SINCERITY THE SOUL OF ELOQUENCE.
The following lines are from the German of Goethe's celebrated poem of Faust, and may be found in the translation by John Anster.
See in Index, GENUINE, MOULD or MOLD, GOETHE.
How shall we learn to sway the minds of men
And when you speak in earnest, do you need
If feeling does not prompt, in vain you strive.
XLVII. — RECOLLECTIONS OF SCOTT.
See in Index, BONHOMMIE, CAIRN, CAUSTICITY, HUMBLE, HUMOR, TRAVELER or TRAVELLER, IRVING, Scott.
Delivery. This charming account of Sir Walter Scott from the pen of a kindred genius should be read in the middle pitch, with gentle force, medium time, short pauses, varying inflections, and a tone suggestive of that strong personal admiration and affection for the subject of his eulogy, of which Irving's language carries internal evidence.
1. The conversation of Scott was frank, hearty, picturesque, and dramatic. During the time of my visit he inclined to the comic rather than the grave, in his anecdotes and stories, and such, I was told, was his general inclination. He relished a joke or a trait of humor in social intercourse, and laughed with right good will. He talked not for effect, nor display, but from the flow of his spirits, the stores of his memory, and the vigor of his imagination.
2. He had a natural turn for narration, and his narratives and descriptions were without effort, yet wonderfully graphic. He placed the scene before you like a picture; he gave the dialogue with the appropriate dialect or peculiarities, and described the appearance and characters of his personages with that spirit and felicity evinced in his writings. Indeed, his conversation reminded me continually of his novels; and it seemed to me that, during the whole time I was with him, he talked enough to fill volumes, and that they could not have been filled more delightfully.
3. He was as good a listener as talker, appreciating everything that others said, however humble might be their rank or pretensions, and was quick to testify his perception of any point in their discourse. He arrogated nothing to himself, but was perfectly unassuming and unpretending, entering with heart and soul into the
business, or pleasure, or, I had almost said, folly, of the hour and the company.
4. No one's concerns, no one's thoughts, no one's opinions, no one's tastes and pleasures, seemed beneath him. He made himself so thoroughly the companion of those with whom he happened to be, that they forgot for a time his vast superiority, and only recollected and wondered, when all was over, that it was Scott with whom they had been on such familiar terms, and in whose society they had felt so perfectly at their ease. The play of his genius was so easy that he was unconscious of its mighty power, and made light of those sports of intellect that shamed the efforts and labors of other minds.
5. It was delightful to observe the generous spirit in which he spoke of all his literary contemporaries, quoting the beauties of their works, and this, too, with respect to persons with whom he might have been supposed to be at variance in literature or politics. Jeffrey, it was thought, in one of his reviews had ruffled his plumes, yet Scott spoke of him in terms of high and warm eulogy, both as an author and a man.
6. Scott's humor in conversation, as in his works, was genial, and free from all causticity. He had a quick perception of faults and foibles, but he looked upon poor human nature with an indulgent eye, relishing what was good and pleasant, tolerating what was frail, and pitying what was evil. It is this beneficent spirit which gives such an air of bonhomie to Scott's humor throughout all his works.
7. He played with the foibles and errors of his fellow-beings, and presented them in a thousand whimsical and characteristic lights, but the kindness and generosity of his nature would not allow him to be a satirist. I do not recollect a sneer throughout his conversation any more than there is throughout his writings. Such is a rough sketch of Scott, as I saw him in
private life, not merely at the time of the visit here narrated, but in the casual intercourse of subsequent years.
8. Of his public character and merits all the world can judge. His works have incorporated themselves with the thoughts and concerns of the whole civilized world, for a quarter of a century, and have had a controlling influence over the age in which he lived. But when did a human being ever exercise an influence more salutary and benignant? Who is there that, on looking back over a great portion of his life, does not find the genius of Scott administering to his pleasures, beguiling his cares, and soothing his lonely sorrows ?
9. Who does not still regard his works as a treasury of pure enjoyment, an armory to which to resort in time of need, to find weapons with which to fight off the evils and the griefs of life? For my own part, in periods of dejection, I have hailed the announcement of a new work from his pen as an earnest of certain pleasure in store for me, and have looked forward to it as a traveler in a waste looks to a green spot at a distance, where he feels assured of solace and refreshment.
10. When I consider how much he has thus contributed to the better hours of my past existence, and how independent his works still make me, at times, of all the world for my enjoyment, I bless my stars that cast my lot in his days, to be thus cheered and gladdened by the outpourings of his genius. I consider it one of the greatest advantages that I have derived from my literary career, that it has elevated me into genial communion with such a spirit; and as a tribute of gratitude for his friendship, and veneration for his memory, I cast this humble stone upon his cairn, which will soon, I trust, be piled aloft with the contributions of abler hands.
XLVIII. - FOUND DEAD.
The true and simple pathos of these lines requires a subdued miadle pitch, gentle force, medium tirne, and short pauses.
See in Index, PORTAL, LAIGHTON.
There was nobody near, nobody near,
No mother, no brother, no sister dear,
While wretched and worn he begged for bread,
Peacefully down with the silent dead;
On a pillow of stone in the roofless street;
Or knew when his sad heart ceased to beat;
There was somebody near, somebody near,
And find a home for the homeless here;