The rounded world is fair to see,

Nine times folded in mystery:

Though baffled seers cannot impart

The secret of its laboring heart,

Throb thine with Nature's throbbing breast,

And all is clear from east to west.

Spirit that lurks each form within

Beckons to spirit of its kin;

Self-kindled every atom glows,

And hints the future which it owes.

There are days which occur in this climate, at almost any

season of the year, wherein the world reaches its perfection, when

the air, the heavenly bodies, and the earth, make a harmony, as if

nature would indulge her offspring; when, in these bleak upper sides

of the planet, nothing is to desire that we have heard of the

happiest latitudes, and we bask in the shining hours of Florida and

Cuba; when everything that has life gives sign of satisfaction, and

the cattle that lie on the ground seem to have great and tranquil

thoughts. These halcyons may be looked for with a little more

assurance in that pure October weather, which we distinguish by the

name of the Indian Summer. The day, immeasurably long, sleeps over

the broad hills and warm wide fields. To have lived through all its

sunny hours, seems longevity enough. The solitary places do not seem

quite lonely. At the gates of the forest, the surprised man of the

world is forced to leave his city estimates of great and small, wise

and foolish. The knapsack of custom falls off his back with the

first step he makes into these precincts. Here is sanctity which

shames our religions, and reality which discredits our heroes. Here

we find nature to be the circumstance which dwarfs every other

circumstance, and judges like a god all men that come to her. We

have crept out of our close and crowded houses into the night and

morning, and we see what majestic beauties daily wrap us in their

bosom. How willingly we would escape the barriers which render them

comparatively impotent, escape the sophistication and second thought,

and suffer nature to intrance us. The tempered light of the woods is

like a perpetual morning, and is stimulating and heroic. The

anciently reported spells of these places creep on us. The stems of

pines, hemlocks, and oaks, almost gleam like iron on the excited eye.

The incommunicable trees begin to persuade us to live with them, and

quit our life of solemn trifles. Here no history, or church, or

state, is interpolated on the divine sky and the immortal year. How

easily we might walk onward into the opening landscape, absorbed by

new pictures, and by thoughts fast succeeding each other, until by

degrees the recollection of home was crowded out of the mind, all

memory obliterated by the tyranny of the present, and we were led in

triumph by nature.

These enchantments are medicinal, they sober and heal us.

These are plain pleasures, kindly and native to us. We come to our

own, and make friends with matter, which the ambitious chatter of the

schools would persuade us to despise. We never can part with it; the

mind loves its old home: as water to our thirst, so is the rock, the

ground, to our eyes, and hands, and feet. It is firm water: it is

cold flame: what health, what affinity! Ever an old friend, ever

like a dear friend and brother, when we chat affectedly with

strangers, comes in this honest face, and takes a grave liberty with

us, and shames us out of our nonsense. Cities give not the human

senses room enough. We go out daily and nightly to feed the eyes on

the horizon, and require so much scope, just as we need water for our

bath. There are all degrees of natural influence, from these

quarantine powers of nature, up to her dearest and gravest

ministrations to the imagination and the soul. There is the bucket

of cold water from the spring, the wood-fire to which the chilled

traveller rushes for safety, -- and there is the sublime moral of

autumn and of noon. We nestle in nature, and draw our living as

parasites from her roots and grains, and we receive glances from the

heavenly bodies, which call us to solitude, and foretell the remotest

future. The blue zenith is the point in which romance and reality

meet. I think, if we should be rapt away into all that we dream of

heaven, and should converse with Gabriel and Uriel, the upper sky

would be all that would remain of our furniture.

It seems as if the day was not wholly profane, in which we have

given heed to some natural object. The fall of snowflakes in a still

air, preserving to each crystal its perfect form; the blowing of

sleet over a wide sheet of water, and over plains, the waving

rye-field, the mimic waving of acres of houstonia, whose innumerable

florets #CCCCFFn and ripple before the eye; the reflections of trees

and flowers in glassy lakes; the musical steaming odorous south wind,

which converts all trees to windharps; the crackling and spurting of

hemlock in the flames; or of pine logs, which yield glory to the

walls and faces in the sittingroom, -- these are the music and

pictures of the most ancient religion. My house stands in low land,

with limited outlook, and on the skirt of the village. But I go with

my friend to the shore of our little river, and with one stroke of

the paddle, I leave the village politics and personalities, yes, and

the world of villages and personalities behind, and pass into a

delicate realm of sunset and moonlight, too bright almost for spotted

man to enter without noviciate and probation. We penetrate bodily

this incredible beauty; we dip our hands in this painted element: our

eyes are bathed in these lights and forms. A holiday, a

villeggiatura, a royal revel, the proudest, most heart-rejoicing

festival that valor and beauty, power and taste, ever decked and

enjoyed, establishes itself on the instant. These sunset clouds,

these delicately emerging stars, with their private and ineffable

glances, signify it and proffer it. I am taught the poorness of our

invention, the ugliness of towns and palaces. Art and luxury have

early learned that they must work as enhancement and sequel to this

original beauty. I am over-instructed for my return. Henceforth I

shall be hard to please. I cannot go back to toys. I am grown

expensive and sophisticated. I can no longer live without elegance:

but a countryman shall be my master of revels. He who knows the

most, he who knows what sweets and virtues are in the ground, the

waters, the plants, the heavens, and how to come at these

enchantments, is the rich and royal man. Only as far as the masters

of the world have called in nature to their aid, can they reach the

height of magnificence. This is the meaning of their

hanging-gardens, villas, garden-houses, islands, parks, and

preserves, to back their faulty personality with these strong

accessories. I do not wonder that the landed interest should be

invincible in the state with these dangerous auxiliaries. These

bribe and invite; not kings, not palaces, not men, not women, but

these tender and poetic stars, eloquent of secret promises. We heard

what the rich man said, we knew of his villa, his grove, his wine,

and his company, but the provocation and point of the invitation came

out of these beguiling stars. In their soft glances, I see what men

strove to realize in some Versailles, or Paphos, or Ctesiphon.

Indeed, it is the magical lights of the horizon, and the blue sky for

the background, which save all our works of art, which were otherwise

bawbles. When the rich tax the poor with servility and

obsequiousness, they should consider the effect of men reputed to be

the possessors of nature, on imaginative minds. Ah! if the rich were

rich as the poor fancy riches! A boy hears a military band play on

the field at night, and he has kings and queens, and famous chivalry

palpably before him. He hears the echoes of a horn in a hill

country, in the Notch Mountains, for example, which converts the

mountains into an Aeolian harp, and this supernatural _tiralira_

restores to him the Dorian mythology, Apollo, Diana, and all divine

hunters and huntresses. Can a musical note be so lofty, so haughtily

beautiful! To the poor young poet, thus fabulous is his picture of

society; he is loyal; he respects the rich; they are rich for the

sake of his imagination; how poor his fancy would be, if they were

not rich! That they have some high-fenced grove, which they call a

park; that they live in larger and better-garnished saloons than he

has visited, and go in coaches, keeping only the society of the

elegant, to watering-places, and to distant cities, are the

groundwork from which he has delineated estates of romance, compared

with which their actual possessions are shanties and paddocks. The

muse herself betrays her son, and enhances the gifts of wealth and

well-born beauty, by a radiation out of the air, and clouds, and

forests that skirt the road, -- a certain haughty favor, as if from

patrician genii to patricians, a kind of aristocracy in nature, a

prince of the power of the air.

The moral sensibility which makes Edens and Tempes so easily,

may not be always found, but the material landscape is never far off.

We can find these enchantments without visiting the Como Lake, or the

Madeira Islands. We exaggerate the praises of local scenery. In

every landscape, the point of astonishment is the meeting of the sky

and the earth, and that is seen from the first hillock as well as

from the top of the Alleghanies. The stars at night stoop down over

the brownest, homeliest common, with all the spiritual magnificence

which they shed on the Campagna, or on the marble deserts of Egypt.

The uprolled clouds and the colors of morning and evening, will

transfigure maples and alders. The difference between landscape and

landscape is small, but there is great difference in the beholders.

There is nothing so wonderful in any particular landscape, as the

necessity of being beautiful under which every landscape lies.

Nature cannot be surprised in undress. Beauty breaks in everywhere.

But it is very easy to outrun the sympathy of readers on this

topic, which schoolmen called _natura naturata_, or nature passive.

One can hardly speak directly of it without excess. It is as easy to

broach in mixed companies what is called "the subject of religion." A

susceptible person does not like to indulge his tastes in this kind,

without the apology of some trivial necessity: he goes to see a

wood-lot, or to look at the crops, or to fetch a plant or a mineral

from a remote locality, or he carries a fowling piece, or a

fishing-rod. I suppose this shame must have a good reason. A

dilettantism in nature is barren and unworthy. The fop of fields is

no better than his brother of Broadway. Men are naturally hunters

and inquisitive of wood-craft, and I suppose that such a gazetteer as

wood-cutters and Indians should furnish facts for, would take place

in the most sumptuous drawingrooms of all the "Wreaths" and "Flora's

chaplets" of the bookshops; yet ordinarily, whether we are too clumsy

for so subtle a topic, or from whatever cause, as soon as men begin

to write on nature, they fall into euphuism. Frivolity is a most

unfit tribute to Pan, who ought to be represented in the mythology as

the most continent of gods. I would not be frivolous before the

admirable reserve and prudence of time, yet I cannot renounce the

right of returning often to this old topic. The multitude of false

churches accredits the true religion. Literature, poetry, science,

are the homage of man to this unfathomed secret, concerning which no

sane man can affect an indifference or incuriosity. Nature is loved

by what is best in us. It is loved as the city of God, although, or

rather because there is no citizen. The sunset is unlike anything

that is underneath it: it wants men. And the beauty of nature must

always seem unreal and mocking, until the landscape has human

figures, that are as good as itself. If there were good men, there

would never be this rapture in nature. If the king is in the palace,

nobody looks at the walls. It is when he is gone, and the house is

filled with grooms and gazers, that we turn from the people, to find

relief in the majestic men that are suggested by the pictures and the

architecture. The critics who complain of the sickly separation of

the beauty of nature from the thing to be done, must consider that

our hunting of the picturesque is inseparable from our protest

against false society. Man is fallen; nature is erect, and serves as

a differential thermometer, detecting the presence or absence of the

divine sentiment in man. By fault of our dulness and selfishness, we

are looking up to nature, but when we are convalescent, nature will

look up to us. We see the foaming brook with compunction: if our own

life flowed with the right energy, we should shame the brook. The

stream of zeal sparkles with real fire, and not with reflex rays of

sun and moon. Nature may be as selfishly studied as trade.

Astronomy to the selfish becomes astrology; psychology, mesmerism

(with intent to show where our spoons are gone); and anatomy and

physiology, become phrenology and palmistry.

But taking timely warning, and leaving many things unsaid on

this topic, let us not longer omit our homage to the Efficient

Nature, _natura naturans_, the quick cause, before which all forms

flee as the driven snows, itself secret, its works driven before it

in flocks and multitudes, (as the ancient represented nature by

Proteus, a shepherd,) and in undescribable variety. It publishes

itself in creatures, reaching from particles and spicula, through

transformation on transformation to the highest symmetries, arriving

at consummate results without a shock or a leap. A little heat, that

is, a little motion, is all that differences the bald, dazzling

#CCCCFF, and deadly cold poles of the earth from the prolific tropical

climates. All changes pass without violence, by reason of the two

cardinal conditions of boundless space and boundless time. Geology

has initiated us into the secularity of nature, and taught us to

disuse our dame-school measures, and exchange our Mosaic and

Ptolemaic schemes for her large style. We knew nothing rightly, for

want of perspective. Now we learn what patient periods must round

themselves before the rock is formed, then before the rock is broken,

and the first lichen race has disintegrated the thinnest external

plate into soil, and opened the door for the remote Flora, Fauna,

Ceres, and Pomona, to come in. How far off yet is the trilobite! how

far the quadruped! how inconceivably remote is man! All duly arrive,

and then race after race of men. It is a long way from granite to

the oyster; farther yet to Plato, and the preaching of the

immortality of the soul. Yet all must come, as surely as the first

atom has two sides.

Motion or change, and identity or rest, are the first and

second secrets of nature: Motion and Rest. The whole code of her

laws may be written on the thumbnail, or the signet of a ring. The

whirling bubble on the surface of a brook, admits us to the secret of

the mechanics of the sky. Every shell on the beach is a key to it.

A little water made to rotate in a cup explains the formation of the

simpler shells; the addition of matter from year to year, arrives at

last at the most complex forms; and yet so poor is nature with all

her craft, that, from the beginning to the end of the universe, she

has but one stuff, -- but one stuff with its two ends, to serve up

all her dream-like variety. Compound it how she will, star, sand,

fire, water, tree, man, it is still one stuff, and betrays the same


Nature is always consistent, though she feigns to contravene

her own laws. She keeps her laws, and seems to transcend them. She

arms and equips an animal to find its place and living in the earth,

and, at the same time, she arms and equips another animal to destroy

it. Space exists to divide creatures; but by clothing the sides of a

bird with a few feathers, she gives him a petty omnipresence. The

direction is forever onward, but the artist still goes back for

materials, and begins again with the first elements on the most

advanced stage: otherwise, all goes to ruin. If we look at her work,

we seem to catch a glance of a system in transition. Plants are the

young of the world, vessels of health and vigor; but they grope ever

upward towards consciousness; the trees are imperfect men, and seem

to bemoan their imprisonment, rooted in the ground. The animal is

the novice and probationer of a more advanced order. The men, though

young, having tasted the first drop from the cup of thought, are

already dissipated: the maples and ferns are still uncorrupt; yet no

doubt, when they come to consciousness, they too will curse and

swear. Flowers so strictly belong to youth, that we adult men soon

come to feel, that their beautiful generations concern not us: we

have had our day; now let the children have theirs. The flowers jilt

us, and we are old bachelors with our ridiculous tenderness.

Things are so strictly related, that according to the skill of

the eye, from any one object the parts and properties of any other

may be predicted. If we had eyes to see it, a bit of stone from the

city wall would certify us of the necessity that man must exist, as

readily as the city. That identity makes us all one, and reduces to

nothing great intervals on our customary scale. We talk of

deviations from natural life, as if artificial life were not also

natural. The smoothest curled courtier in the boudoirs of a palace

has an animal nature, rude and aboriginal as a #CCCCFF bear, omnipotent

to its own ends, and is directly related, there amid essences and

billetsdoux, to Himmaleh mountain-chains, and the axis of the globe.

If we consider how much we are nature's, we need not be superstitious

about towns, as if that terrific or benefic force did not find us

there also, and fashion cities. Nature who made the mason, made the

house. We may easily hear too much of rural influences. The cool

disengaged air of natural objects, makes them enviable to us, chafed

and irritable creatures with red faces, and we think we shall be as

grand as they, if we camp out and eat roots; but let us be men

instead of woodchucks, and the oak and the elm shall gladly serve us,

though we sit in chairs of ivory on carpets of silk.

This guiding identity runs through all the surprises and

contrasts of the piece, and characterizes every law. Man carries the

world in his head, the whole astronomy and chemistry suspended in a

thought. Because the history of nature is charactered in his brain,

therefore is he the prophet and discoverer of her secrets. Every

known fact in natural science was divined by the presentiment of

somebody, before it was actually verified. A man does not tie his

shoe without recognising laws which bind the farthest regions of

nature: moon, plant, gas, crystal, are concrete geometry and numbers.

Common sense knows its own, and recognises the fact at first sight in

chemical experiment. The common sense of Franklin, Dalton, Davy, and

#CCCCFF, is the same common sense which made the arrangements which now

it discovers.

If the identity expresses organized rest, the counter action

runs also into organization. The astronomers said, `Give us matter,

and a little motion, and we will construct the universe. It is not

enough that we should have matter, we must also have a single

impulse, one shove to launch the mass, and generate the harmony of

the centrifugal and centripetal forces. Once heave the ball from the

hand, and we can show how all this mighty order grew.' -- `A very

unreasonable postulate,' said the metaphysicians, `and a plain

begging of the question. Could you not prevail to know the genesis

of projection, as well as the continuation of it?' Nature, meanwhile,

had not waited for the discussion, but, right or wrong, bestowed the

impulse, and the balls rolled. It was no great affair, a mere push,

but the astronomers were right in making much of it, for there is no

end to the consequences of the act. That famous aboriginal push

propagates itself through all the balls of the system, and through

every atom of every ball, through all the races of creatures, and

through the history and performances of every individual.

Exaggeration is in the course of things. Nature sends no creature,

no man into the world, without adding a small excess of his proper

quality. Given the planet, it is still necessary to add the impulse;

so, to every creature nature added a little violence of direction in

its proper path, a shove to put it on its way; in every instance, a

slight generosity, a drop too much. Without electricity the air

would rot, and without this violence of direction, which men and

women have, without a spice of bigot and fanatic, no excitement, no

efficiency. We aim above the mark, to hit the mark. Every act hath

some falsehood of exaggeration in it. And when now and then comes

along some sad, sharp-eyed man, who sees how paltry a game is played,

and refuses to play, but blabs the secret; -- how then? is the bird

flown? O no, the wary Nature sends a new troop of fairer forms, of

lordlier youths, with a little more excess of direction to hold them

fast to their several aim; makes them a little wrongheaded in that

direction in which they are rightest, and on goes the game again with

new whirl, for a generation or two more. The child with his sweet

pranks, the fool of his senses, commanded by every sight and sound,

without any power to compare and rank his sensations, abandoned to a

whistle or a painted chip, to a lead dragoon, or a gingerbread-dog,

individualizing everything, generalizing nothing, delighted with

every new thing, lies down at night overpowered by the fatigue, which

this day of continual pretty madness has incurred. But Nature has

answered her purpose with the curly, dimpled lunatic. She has tasked

every faculty, and has secured the symmetrical growth of the bodily

frame, by all these attitudes and exertions, -- an end of the first

importance, which could not be trusted to any care less perfect than

her own. This glitter, this opaline lustre plays round the top of

every toy to his eye, to ensure his fidelity, and he is deceived to

his good. We are made alive and kept alive by the same arts. Let

the stoics say what they please, we do not eat for the good of

living, but because the meat is savory and the appetite is keen. The

vegetable life does not content itself with casting from the flower

or the tree a single seed, but it fills the air and earth with a

prodigality of seeds, that, if thousands perish, thousands may plant

themselves, that hundreds may come up, that tens may live to

maturity, that, at least, one may replace the parent. All things

betray the same calculated profusion. The excess of fear with which

the animal frame is hedged round, shrinking from cold, starting at

sight of a snake, or at a sudden noise, protects us, through a

multitude of groundless alarms, from some one real danger at last.

The lover seeks in marriage his private felicity and perfection, with

no prospective end; and nature hides in his happiness her own end,

namely, progeny, or the perpetuity of the race.

But the craft with which the world is made, runs also into the

mind and character of men. No man is quite sane; each has a vein of

folly in his composition, a slight determination of blood to the

head, to make sure of holding him hard to some one point which nature

had taken to heart. Great causes are never tried on their merits;

but the cause is reduced to particulars to suit the size of the

partizans, and the contention is ever hottest on minor matters. Not

less remarkable is the overfaith of each man in the importance of

what he has to do or say. The poet, the prophet, has a higher value

for what he utters than any hearer, and therefore it gets spoken.

The strong, self-complacent Luther declares with an emphasis, not to

be mistaken, that "God himself cannot do without wise men." Jacob

Behmen and George Fox betray their egotism in the pertinacity of

their controversial tracts, and James Naylor once suffered himself to

be worshipped as the Christ. Each prophet comes presently to

identify himself with his thought, and to esteem his hat and shoes

sacred. However this may discredit such persons with the judicious,

it helps them with the people, as it gives heat, pungency, and

publicity to their words. A similar experience is not infrequent in

private life. Each young and ardent person writes a diary, in which,

when the hours of prayer and penitence arrive, he inscribes his soul.

The pages thus written are, to him, burning and fragrant: he reads

them on his knees by midnight and by the morning star; he wets them

with his tears: they are sacred; too good for the world, and hardly

yet to be shown to the dearest friend. This is the man-child that is

born to the soul, and her life still circulates in the babe. The

umbilical cord has not yet been cut. After some time has elapsed, he

begins to wish to admit his friend to this hallowed experience, and

with hesitation, yet with firmness, exposes the pages to his eye.

Will they not burn his eyes? The friend coldly turns them over, and

passes from the writing to conversation, with easy transition, which

strikes the other party with astonishment and vexation. He cannot

suspect the writing itself. Days and nights of fervid life, of

communion with angels of darkness and of light, have engraved their

shadowy characters on that tear-stained book. He suspects the

intelligence or the heart of his friend. Is there then no friend?

He cannot yet credit that one may have impressive experience, and yet

may not know how to put his private fact into literature; and perhaps

the discovery that wisdom has other tongues and ministers than we,

that though we should hold our peace, the truth would not the less be

spoken, might check injuriously the flames of our zeal. A man can

only speak, so long as he does not feel his speech to be partial and

inadequate. It is partial, but he does not see it to be so, whilst

he utters it. As soon as he is released from the instinctive and

particular, and sees its partiality, he shuts his mouth in disgust.

For, no man can write anything, who does not think that what he

writes is for the time the history of the world; or do anything well,

who does not esteem his work to be of importance. My work may be of

none, but I must not think it of none, or I shall not do it with


In like manner, there is throughout nature something mocking,

something that leads us on and on, but arrives nowhere, keeps no

faith with us. All promise outruns the performance. We live in a

system of approximations. Every end is prospective of some other

end, which is also temporary; a round and final success nowhere. We

are encamped in nature, not domesticated. Hunger and thirst lead us

on to eat and to drink; but bread and wine, mix and cook them how you

will, leave us hungry and thirsty, after the stomach is full. It is

the same with all our arts and performances. Our music, our poetry,

our language itself are not satisfactions, but suggestions. The

hunger for wealth, which reduces the planet to a garden, fools the

eager pursuer. What is the end sought? Plainly to secure the ends

of good sense and beauty, from the intrusion of deformity or

vulgarity of any kind. But what an operose method! What a train of

means to secure a little conversation! This palace of brick and

stone, these servants, this kitchen, these stables, horses and

equipage, this bank-stock, and file of mortgages; trade to all the

world, country-house and cottage by the waterside, all for a little

conversation, high, clear, and spiritual! Could it not be had as

well by beggars on the highway? No, all these things came from

successive efforts of these beggars to remove friction from the

wheels of life, and give opportunity. Conversation, character, were

the avowed ends; wealth was good as it appeased the animal cravings,

cured the smoky chimney, silenced the creaking door, brought friends

together in a warm and quiet room, and kept the children and the

dinner-table in a different apartment. Thought, virtue, beauty, were

the ends; but it was known that men of thought and virtue sometimes

had the headache, or wet feet, or could lose good time whilst the

room was getting warm in winter days. Unluckily, in the exertions

necessary to remove these inconveniences, the main attention has been

diverted to this object; the old aims have been lost sight of, and to

remove friction has come to be the end. That is the ridicule of rich

men, and Boston, London, Vienna, and now the governments generally of

the world, are cities and governments of the rich, and the masses are

not men, but _poor men_, that is, men who would be rich; this is the

ridicule of the class, that they arrive with pains and sweat and fury

nowhere; when all is done, it is for nothing. They are like one who

has interrupted the conversation of a company to make his speech, and

now has forgotten what he went to say. The appearance strikes the

eye everywhere of an aimless society, of aimless nations. Were the

ends of nature so great and cogent, as to exact this immense

sacrifice of men?

Quite analogous to the deceits in life, there is, as might be

expected, a similar effect on the eye from the face of external

nature. There is in woods and waters a certain enticement and

flattery, together with a failure to yield a present satisfaction.

This disappointment is felt in every landscape. I have seen the

softness and beauty of the summer-clouds floating feathery overhead,

enjoying, as it seemed, their height and privilege of motion, whilst

yet they appeared not so much the drapery of this place and hour, as

forelooking to some pavilions and gardens of festivity beyond. It is

an odd jealousy: but the poet finds himself not near enough to his

object. The pine-tree, the river, the bank of flowers before him,

does not seem to be nature. Nature is still elsewhere. This or this

is but outskirt and far-off reflection and echo of the triumph that

has passed by, and is now at its glancing splendor and heyday,

perchance in the neighboring fields, or, if you stand in the field,

then in the adjacent woods. The present object shall give you this

sense of stillness that follows a pageant which has just gone by.

What splendid distance, what recesses of ineffable pomp and

loveliness in the sunset! But who can go where they are, or lay his

hand or plant his foot thereon? Off they fall from the round world

forever and ever. It is the same among the men and women, as among

the silent trees; always a referred existence, an absence, never a

presence and satisfaction. Is it, that beauty can never be grasped?

in persons and in landscape is equally inaccessible? The accepted

and betrothed lover has lost the wildest charm of his maiden in her

acceptance of him. She was heaven whilst he pursued her as a star:

she cannot be heaven, if she stoops to such a one as he.

What shall we say of this omnipresent appearance of that first

projectile impulse, of this flattery and baulking of so many

well-meaning creatures? Must we not suppose somewhere in the

universe a slight treachery and derision? Are we not engaged to a

serious resentment of this use that is made of us? Are we tickled

trout, and fools of nature? One look at the face of heaven and earth

lays all petulance at rest, and soothes us to wiser convictions. To

the intelligent, nature converts itself into a vast promise, and will

not be rashly explained. Her secret is untold. Many and many an

Oedipus arrives: he has the whole mystery teeming in his brain.

Alas! the same sorcery has spoiled his skill; no syllable can he

shape on his lips. Her mighty orbit vaults like the fresh rainbow

into the deep, but no archangel's wing was yet strong enough to

follow it, and report of the return of the curve. But it also

appears, that our actions are seconded and disposed to greater

conclusions than we designed. We are escorted on every hand through

life by spiritual agents, and a beneficent purpose lies in wait for

us. We cannot bandy words with nature, or deal with her as we deal

with persons. If we measure our individual forces against hers, we

may easily feel as if we were the sport of an insuperable destiny.

But if, instead of identifying ourselves with the work, we feel that

the soul of the workman streams through us, we shall find the peace

of the morning dwelling first in our hearts, and the fathomless

powers of gravity and chemistry, and, over them, of life, preexisting

within us in their highest form.

The uneasiness which the thought of our helplessness in the

chain of causes occasions us, results from looking too much at one

condition of nature, namely, Motion. But the drag is never taken

from the wheel. Wherever the impulse exceeds, the Rest or Identity

insinuates its compensation. All over the wide fields of earth grows

the prunella or self-heal. After every foolish day we sleep off the

fumes and furies of its hours; and though we are always engaged with

particulars, and often enslaved to them, we bring with us to every

experiment the innate universal laws. These, while they exist in the

mind as ideas, stand around us in nature forever embodied, a present

sanity to expose and cure the insanity of men. Our servitude to

particulars betrays into a hundred foolish expectations. We

anticipate a new era from the invention of a locomotive, or a

balloon; the new engine brings with it the old checks. They say that

by electro-magnetism, your sallad shall be grown from the seed,

whilst your fowl is roasting for dinner: it is a symbol of our modern

aims and endeavors,---of our condensation and acceleration of

objects: but nothing is gained: nature cannot be cheated: man's life

is but seventy sallads long, grow they swift or grow they slow. In

these checks and impossibilities, however, we find our advantage, not

less than in the impulses. Let the victory fall where it will, we

are on that side. And the knowledge that we traverse the whole scale

of being, from the centre to the poles of nature, and have some stake

in every possibility, lends that sublime lustre to death, which

philosophy and religion have too outwardly and literally striven to

express in the popular doctrine of the immortality of the soul. The

reality is more excellent than the report. Here is no ruin, no

discontinuity, no spent ball. The divine circulations never rest nor

linger. Nature is the incarnation of a thought, and turns to a

thought again, as ice becomes water and gas. The world is mind

precipitated, and the volatile essence is forever escaping again into

the state of free thought. Hence the virtue and pungency of the

influence on the mind, of natural objects, whether inorganic or

organized. Man imprisoned, man crystallized, man vegetative, speaks

to man impersonated. That power which does not respect quantity,

which makes the whole and the particle its equal channel, delegates

its smile to the morning, and distils its essence into every drop of

rain. Every moment instructs, and every object: for wisdom is

infused into every form. It has been poured into us as blood; it

convulsed us as pain; it slid into us as pleasure; it enveloped us in

dull, melancholy days, or in days of cheerful labor; we did not guess

its essence, until after a long time.