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Life,-BeingActivity,-Fancy, Reproduction,-Creation-are each and all but different phases-divisions and subdivisions—in man's existence. As marks upon the dial-plate of Time, they indicate his progress from infancy to childhood, to boyhood, to youth, to manhood, to Maturity. As tokens of the subtler shades of Intellect, they herald him forth, and point out Nature's nobility. And as both chronicles and gages, they tell of a purer, a nobler Intellectual Spirit-Life whose mazes none may thread save the greatest and the mightiest—the heirs of Thought. The genial warmth of a summer sun may entice the worm from its hiding-place-may recall to life and to joy the minutest insect-may make the green grass to smile and be glad, and may diffuse happiness throughout all the domain of nature. But its charm cannot lull to quietude the soul of man: life and happiness will not content him, and the feverish energy of his being can only find its proper outlet when he has conjured up new worlds around him. He must become the author of new life-his mind must be prolific, selfproductive, original, or he sinks from his high estate. He must know, and feel, and exercise the creative power, or the deep-seated passion for mental offspring-glowing, intense, burning as his own soul—will make sleep but a waking dream, life but an unreal shadow. More than half the world halt in their career at Activity-contenting them
selves with mere physical deeds, and pleasures, and glories. Others again plod on so far as Fancy-cull only exotic flowers of Imagination. Critics and Scholars Reproduce from the past-brush up old coin : while a few-a very few-reach the landmarks of Genius, and become themselves Creators. Turn we then to that sphere where man has dared rival his God, and where the magic charm of his “ sealed mystery"
"gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.” Phases of Literature ! What are they but counterparts of the phases in our physical nature ? What mean they but shifting scenes in the realm of Beauty and of Reason? What do they denote but different species in the Life Intellectual—distinct races of fairy—spiritual—disembodied Thoughts, that " Ariel”-like do man's bidding, and weave his destiny? They certify only the existence of ideas-abstract ideas—those active, incessant, ever-moving beings, that serve, like the Elves—the Oberons—the Titanias of old, to connect Heaven and Earth. They are, in fine, but the shadows of a shade, whose dimness only shows that light was and is, without betraying its intensity. Separate then the Intellectual—the Creative from the Physical Life, and we have far higher ground from which to view Literature. We stand apart and may scrutinize closely the “ inner life” of the world, and of man, aside from the matter that encases it.
Those who have most busied themselves in digesting what other men have thought out, would restrict man's creative powers, as referred to its largest development, to the range of the Fine Arts. They would have the painting, the statue, the distich, embody the highest forms of created thought. They would deny to the author of new systems—to the founder of new dynasties—to the prophets of a new religion, that conceptive power by which life-intellectual—life clothed in the garb of thought—is generated. Carlyle, however, in his usual quaint manner, has shown that the same soul of “Heroism” animates the demigod—the prophet—the poet—the priest—the kingthat the same “inner life” characterized an Odin—a Mahomet—a Shakspeare-a Luther—a Napoleon, and that it is impossible to conceive of a great mind laboring in any one calling, and diffusing light and life upon all around—which would not have been equally conspicuous, had it chanced to have been directed elsewhere. This is the light in which we would view it. We will then first cursorily glance at this Creative Power, in connection with the Fine Artsnoting more closely its bearing with respect to Letters. Afterwards it will not be amiss to examine whether this limitation may, or may not, be strictly true ; as also, whether Philosophy does not afford a proper sphere in which to exercise the creative art.
The intimate and fervent sympathy between Mind and Matter-between the soul which shadows forth, and the plastic material which receives the impression—is the origin of all the pleasure that we derive from the creations of Art, or of Nature. We recognize the ex