[For men] to feel their souls withering within them, unthanked, to find their whole being sunk into an unrecognized abyss, to be counted off into a heap of mechanism numbered with its wheels, and weighed with its hammer strokes - this, nature bade not, - this, God blesses not, - this, humanity for no long time is able to endure.
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If it is the love of that which your work represents--if, being a landscape painter, it is love of hills and trees that moves you--if, being a figure painter, it is love of human beauty, and human soul that moves you--if, being a flower or animal painter, it is love, and wonder, and delight in petal and in limb that move you, then the Spirit is upon you, and the earth is yours, and the fullness thereof.
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When men are rightly occupied, their amusement grows out of their work, as the colour-petals out of a fruitful flower; when they are faithfully helpful and compassionate, all their emotions become steady, deep, perpetual, and vivifying to the soul as the natural pulse to the body. But now, having no true business, we pour our whole masculine energy into the false business of money-making; and having no true emotion, we must have false emotions dressed up for us to play with, not innocently, as children with dolls, but guiltily and darkly.
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All are to be men of genius in their degree,--rivulets or rivers, it does not matter, so that the souls be clear and pure; not dead walls encompassing dead heaps of things, known and numbered, but running waters in the sweet wilderness of things unnumbered and unknown, conscious only of the living banks, on which they partly refresh and partly reflect the flowers, and so pass on.
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There is a certain period of the soul-culture when it begins to interfere with some of characters of typical beauty belonging to the bodily frame, the stirring of the intellect wearing down the flesh, and the moral enthusiasm burning its way out to heaven, through the emaciation of the earthen vessel; and there is, in this indication of subduing the mortal by the immortal part, an ideal glory of perhaps a purer and higher range than that of the more perfect material form. We conceive, I think, more nobly of the weak presence of Paul than of, the fair and ruddy countenance of David.
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It is only the basest writer who cannot speak of the sea without talking of "raging waves," "remorseless floods," "ravenous billows," etc.; and it is one of the signs of the highest power in a writer to check all such habits of thought, and to keep his eyes fixed firmly on the pure fact , out of which if any feeling comes to him or his reader, he knows it must be a true one.
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