Edgar Allan Poe
There is something in the unselfish and self-sacrificing love of a brute, which goes directly to the heart of him who has had frequent occasion to test the paltry friendship and gossamer fidelity of mere Man.
There are few cases in which mere popularity should be considered a proper test of merit; but the case of song-writing is, I think, one of the few.
Were I called on to define, very briefly, the term Art, I should call it "the reproduction of what the Senses perceive in Nature through the veil of the soul." The mere imitation, however accurate, of what is in Nature, entitles no man to the sacred name of "Artist."
Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears.
Boston: Their hotels are bad. Their pumpkin pies are delicious. Their poetry is not so good.
The Bostonians are really, as a race, far inferior in point of anything beyond mere intellect to any other set upon the continent of North America. They are decidedly the most servile imitators of the English it is possible to conceive.
To vilify a great man is the readiest way in which a little man can himself attain greatness.
There is not a more disgusting spectacle under the sun than our subserviency to British criticism. It is disgusting, first, because it is truckling, servile, pusillanimous--secondly, because of its gross irrationality. We know the British to bear us little but ill will--we know that, in no case do they utter unbiased opinions of American books . . . we know all this, and yet, day after day, submit our necks to the degrading yoke of the crudest opinion that emanates from the fatherland.
The best chess-player in Christendom may be little more than the best player of chess; but proficiency in whist implies capacity for success in all these more important undertakings where mind struggles with mind.
A strong argument for the religion of Christ is this--that offences against Charity are about the only ones which men on their death-beds can be made--not to understand--but to feel--as crime.
Man's real life is happy, chiefly because he is ever expecting that it soon will be so.
If any ambitious man have a fancy to revolutionize, at one effort, the universal world of human thought, human opinion, and human sentiment, the opportunity is his own--the road to immortal renown lies straight, open, and unencumbered before him. All that he has to do is to write and publish a very little book. Its title should be simple--a few plain words--"My Heart Laid Bare." But-this little book must be true to its title.
That man is not truly brave who is afraid either to seem or to be, when it suits him, a coward.
I have no faith in human perfectability. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active--not more happy--nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago.
In criticism I will be bold, and as sternly, absolutely just with friend and foe. From this purpose nothing shall turn me.
To be thoroughly conversant with a Man's heart, is to take our final lesson in the iron-clasped volume of despair.
As the strong man exults in his physical ability, delighting in such exercises as call his muscles into action, so glories the analyst in that moral activity which disentangles.
Believe me, there exists no such dilemma as that in which a gentleman is placed when he is forced to reply to a blackguard.
It will be found, in fact, that the ingenious are always fanciful, and the truly imaginative never otherwise than analytic.
We now demand the light artillery of the intellect; we need the curt, the condensed, the pointed, the readily diffused--in place of the verbose, the detailed, the voluminous, the inaccessible. On the other hand, the lightness of the artillery should not degenerate into pop-gunnery--by which term we may designate the character of the greater portion of the newspaper press--their sole legitimate object being the discussion of ephemeral matters in an ephemeral manner.
The nose of a mob is its imagination. By this, at any time, it can be quietly led.
After reading all that has been written, and after thinking all that can be thought, on the topics of God and the soul, the man who has a right to say that he thinks at all, will find himself face to face with the conclusion that, on these topics, the most profound thought is that which can be the least easily distinguished from the most superficial sentiment.
Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance.
I never can hear a crowd of people singing and gesticulating, all together, at an Italian opera, without fancying myself at Athens, listening to that particular tragedy, by Sophocles, in which he introduces a full chorus of turkeys, who set about bewailing the death of Meleager.
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