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'Perhaps you are young, and if you are young, stand up! and bless God that just at this very instant you are brought to a pause.
* Bring out your hopes and look at them. Look at them, but not through a ClaudeLorraine glass. Look at them and tell me do they belong to the petty future of earth, or to the Infinite of another life? Can you not answer? Alas ! what an unhappy thought that you know not yourself ; that you should be always journeying on with a stranger; yourself a stranger, and you a stranger to yourself; an awful companionship. Great God! what if you be destined to live thus forever !
'Perhaps you are no longer young. Nevertheless, you have hopes — yes, hopes still !
' Bring out your hopes and look at them. Look at them, but not through the dark vapor of disappointment or despair. Nay, shake not your head so gloomily, but arouse ; and do you, too, thank God that you are brought for a while to this stand-still, as the world rushes on and leaves you. Do not be impatient; do not say to me: 'Hands off! I must overtake my comrades yonder; see how they get the start of me.' Stay, something better is in store for you than this unnatural race which you are running; and what balm is there in that word better! Let it continue always better, and how will you approximate by-and-by to the most perfect !
Come, then, youth and man and maiden ; come and sit down with me as the evening deepens into night. There, I have put out the candles, and the moth is safe !
'Let us bring out our hopes and look at them. Let us do it in a cheerful, hopeful, heartfelt way. Thank God we are here yet, safe upon the earth ; and the earth does seem safe to man; the enduring earth, the kind mother, the patient nurse ; which yields us sustenance and supports our life. While we talk of a Beyond, we would not forget thee, prolific Parent, with thy changing seasons; glorifying and renewing thy days in the hoar-frosts of winter, in the balmy breath of spring, in the triumphant maturity of summer, and in the fading glories of the fall. Earth, we bless thee! Surely we may bless thee if the Creator pronounced thee 'good !'. Shall we not forgive thee the bearing of a few thorns and thistles' for all the fruit which we have pressed from thy bosom, or shall we complain, that in the sweat of our face we have to till the ground, since it yieldeth us her strength by tilling ?
‘But to our hopes. These hopes shall indicate our destiny. Arrest and cut off all that are anchored here ; strip the heart of the vain promptings which flutter around it : silence the busy whisperings of passion and self-love ; then tell me
youth, man, maiden — what have we remaining? Is there a void, an utter void, left in these hearts of ours ? Nothing possessed, nothing enjoyed, no residuum but the bitter ashes ? Is it ever with us as when an hungry man dreameth, and behold he eateth ; but he awaketh, and his soul is empty; or, as when a thirsty man dreameth, and behold he drinketh ; but he awaketh, and behold he is faint, and his soul hath appetite'? Then, indeed, have we made shipwreck when the voyage has scarce commenced, and we have only to look to it that such shipwreck be not irreparable. To the work ! quick ! quick ! that the voyage may not be lost !
But arrest and cut off and silence these whisperings and promptings and hopes, and do our hearts still beat with their usual time? Do we behold a broad expanse beyond the extreme limits of the actual? Is our gaze into this expanse only rendered brighter and clearer by the cutting away of the superfluous foliage? And can we with a lofty look and courageous heart and truthful spirit lay our hands upon our breast and feel the Infinite stirring within us? Youth, man, maiden, I give you joy if this be so ; for then, indeed, are we safe ! Safe, though the possibilities which surround us are
fearful to contemplate, though we may not control the hour or the circumstance ; though grief may be preparing for us a potion in the same cup from which we have drank delights and joys; though every thing about us seem dark and unpropitious ; though every thing be dark and unpropitious, yet are we safe — safe !
* Farewell, youth, man, maiden! Perhaps we shall meet in another world ; perhaps we may there call to mind how, for a few moments, upon the banks of the Avon in gentle Warwickshire, we stopped and communed together.'
Kimball, in ‘St. Leger,' is the merciless anatomizer of humanity. With an unflinching and an unerring hand he dissects his subject, laying bare all the delicate nerves, and tracing mental and moral disease through its various ramifications to its hidden cause. For he is ever on the qui vive for the hidden cause, deftly concealed from the eye of the casual observer. So we are taught at least to know ourselves; though not always by the most delicate and flattering process, yet the knowledge is a wholesome pabulum so much gold accumulated for the shrine of immortality. In many of 'St. Leger's lofty views, we are led to regard him as a being occupying another sphere quite remote from the vulgar incidents and dull transactions of real life; but the Parkinson papers bring us plumb down to reality - down, did we say ? Rather with the brush of Carl Hübner, Kimball depicts the latent romance of reality until he dignifies it to an ideal. If in 'St. Leger' he seizes the pen
of introspection — insensibly rendering his own nature transparent before us in the 'Revelations,' he slashes away with the mental scalpel, dexterously laying bare the bones and sinews of Mammon in all their startling hideousness, till the effect produced upon the mind of the reader, is that of a mental coup de foudre! The entire thinking, feeling world is thrilled by these abrupt revelations of the world we live in. Real life, with all its daring hopes and its countless failures, its noble aspirations after good, and its eternal falling short of its ideal, looms up before us grander than even the web of misty romance. may judge from conversations with various readers of the KNICKERBOCKER, more intense curiosity is excited with regard to the mental phenomena of the author of the · Wall-Street Revelations' than there ever was with respect to the author of St. Leger; ' and it is useful to pause the busy mart of life, and segregate the æsthetic elements which help to constitute a being of apparently such mental antagonism. A mere biographie à la mode does not assist us; bare statistics and data, however rich, do not suffice; we get no nearer the man, the mind of the author, the solving of that wonderful enigma, than we were before. Yet, data and statistics are not without their use, and we would not affect to ignore them. In many portions of 'St. Leger' the author is sublimely ideal — deliciously transcendental — his mind is yet tinctured with the specious halo of German philosophy. Dazzling myths, bearing the guise of truths, like motes in the brilliant sun-beam, are flitting constantly before his mental vision; but as he essays to grasp them, to realize them, they turn to nothing in his hand, and he is still unsatisfied - unsatisfied with them — though he is no ascetic, and proves himself amiably willing to accept happiness in every earthly good. But earthly good fails to satisfy his soul : where, then, is the Lethe, the Nepenthe for such a mind ?
Au contraire -- in the 'Revelations' he is intensely, preëminently practical, and we repeat, we are tempted to declare the identity of the two authors a mental impossibility.
Yet it is one and the same man; not in different moods, but in different epochs of mental, moral, and physical development; and can it be that the human soul in its journeyings on earth evolves such marked changes ? The grasping of myths in ‘St. Leger' amounts with Parkinson' to a wholesome faith. Staggered at times, as life's billows overwhelm him, but the faith is there. The soul is riper in the heart of the 'Wall-Street Merchant' – the brain is cooler - the will more intensified than in 'St. Leger.' True, the iron has entered the soul of 'Parkinson,' but he is regal in his every-day humanity, and half divine in his implicit reliance upon God. The “Wall-Street Revelations' is in that class of philosophic romances of which ‘Debit and Credit,' by Freytag, has obtained such world-wide celebrity. But the 'Revelations'embrace more complicated relations: the plot is deeper, the thread more sinuous, the material of a higher quality, and, judging from the close of the second part, the work will, when completed, be more brilliant than the story by the famous German. Kimball is fast proving himself one of the deepest thinkers among the intelligences of the New World.
Mais, pour que le secret donc of such an intense character ? The energies of the man are evidently concentrated not fitfully distributed life-work. He conscientiously weighs the dignity and the responsibility of the task before him; and what is that task ?
The solution of the difficult problem of human life, so far as it is possible for man to read the enigma which has vexed the world for ages; the rendering of life's journey easier by the wealth of our experience for those who are fast following in our footsteps. He would not that the youth of our glorious land should be wayward disciples of that philosophy which ignores all the experience of those who have gone before, but that they should commence where we leave off, and thus progress toward perfection ad infinitum.
But will they do it? Did he himself do it? Do not the higher intelligences constantly revert to first principles - scorning all knowledge save that submitted to the refining alembic of self-investigation ?
The truth forces itself upon us, that while Kimball is eloquently preaching one philosophy — continually instancing the antagonism of nature and soul, and constantly assuring us that the soul may effect a triumph over the body, its seeming enemy, even in this world, by science - (though that effected by death alone is perfect) — yet he has, all his life long, practised on the other theory! Is his restless spirit content to fold its weary pinion and repose quietly on the experience and revelations of others ? Let'St. Leger'
*Yet his is a grand philosophy — deeper and more reliable than Emerson's, though the thinking world has not yet thoroughly awakened to the fact that he has a philosophy. He may be unaware of the fact himself — but European minds have sifted him more closely than we have. But where is it? It pervades, more or less, all his writings. We know not that he has any pa
pers labeled 'Philosophy ;' we have never seen any; but this we do know, that he has a grand Theory of Life, and has for years been steadily promulgating it. He gives it to us in infinitesimal doses, mixed with such alluring condiments that we are aware of its presence only by its beneficial effects.
And he is right. If he offered it to us as philosophy, we could not take it. Seldom, very seldom, do the busy denizens of le beau monde regard the noble
Science of Life' as a subject worthy of consideration until the advent of Pallida mors, when they awake from the long, lethargic dream which they called life with the exclamation upon the lips — Lost !
There is a 'finger-reading' a superficial study of the sacred text, such as we may be all, more or less, accustomed to; but there is a silent, potent eloquence in Kimball's works which bids us, after exhausting all theories of philosophy, to search the Scriptures.
"At rest, deriving substantial enjoyment from the present, because satisfied with respect to the ultimate and perfect and absolute;' these are the words of Professor Lewis with regard to 'St. Leger.' We take the liberty of applying them to the author. We do not aver that Kimball is a fatalist in the severe acceptation of the term, yet he assuredly evinces a conscious regard for the ultimate decrees of fate : and this in a measure accounts for his extreme personality. Mere accidents of time and circumstance have comparatively little influence on such a self-poised, implacable, self-sustaining character. And yet he may err. Granted that his theory is sublime worthy of the moral philanthropist; is it not labor in vain for him to try to promulgate it? Who will listen to him ?
Who have listened to him ? Thousands; and thousands more are anxiously awaiting what more he may have to say. If years ago, when comparatively in his youth, he nerved us to a strong and glorious purpose, what may he not now effect with his ripened intellect and mellowed heart ?'
His mind may not inaptly be likened to a glittering kaleidoscope ; whichever way you view it you behold dazzling combinations; whichever way it is turned
you discern a new and original element. One of nature's aristocrats the tendency of his writings is that of fostering our manière d'être- of making us more intensely ourselves. Instead of distributing himself about among
the mass, he gathers from the mass that sustaining food which tends to adorn and enrich the shrine of life. In due time he returns the world its own coin, with regal interest; and this species of mental usury ever requires faculties of a peculiar kind. He is no mental parasite, sapping our very life-springs, and giving us no adequate remuneration ; for he gives back the world four-fold that which he borrows from it; and there is an element of strength which ren. ders him indomitable. The strength may be acquired, fostered by judicious treatment as faculties and limbs are strengthened and developed by reasonable use; and, judging from the transparency of some of the 'St. Leger Papers,' we assume this to be the case; but that does not in the least jeopardize the validity of our assertion that his is one of the iron wills of the age.
And now that we have discussed at length the inner life of the author, as revealed in his works, we beg leave to lay before our readers a portion of the data which have fallen into our hands, and which may aid in throwing further light upon a character which, from its varied munificence, must ever be an interesting study for the philosophic mind.
Mr. Kimball is, by inheritance, of the first class of New-England men, numbering in his family a signer of the Declaration of Independence, a president of the Continental Congress, and several other persons honorably distinguished.
He is a native of Lebanon, in New Hampshire. It is said that the natural scenery upon which the infant eye first opens tones the human heart for a lifetime. The keen appreciation of Scottish scenery, as evinced in the episodes of 'St. Leger's tour to Scotland, and his voyage to 'St. Kilda,' is in admirable keeping with the penchants of a native of the glorious 'Granite State,' where minds partake of the elements of the mountains which overshadow them. Though he had completed his preparatory studies when he was eleven years of age, he did not enter college until he was nearly thirteen. Four years after, in 1834, he graduated at Dartmouth College, and upon devoting one year to the study of law, he went abroad; travelled in England, Scotland, and Germany, and resided some time in Paris, where he attended the lectures of Majendie, Broussais, and Louis, in medicine, and those of the elder Dupin and Coulanges, in law. The influence of these lectures in medicine may be traced in the careful depeinture of the principle of life in the stories of 'Louis Bernhardi' and 'The Terrible Picture,' contained in the ‘Romance of Student-Life Abroad,' the second volume from his pen. It were a mental impossibility that they should be written by one not marvellously inducted into the most subtle theory of the hidden springs of vitality, and the wonderful union of soul and body.
Mr. Kimball had been eminent in his class for a love of Greek literature, and he studied the Roman also with reverent attention. It was his distinction that he had thoroughly acquainted himself with the philosophy of the ancients. At a later day he was attracted by the speculation of the Germans, and a mastery of their language enabled him to enter fully into the spirit of Spinoza, Kant, Fichte, as he did that of the finer intelligences, Goethe and Richter; and pervading all, he found the passion to know those grand triune questions that vex all great minds — Whence are we? What are we? Whither do we go ? the stumbling-block of 'St. Leger.' It would have been utterly impossible for a mind like his, so susceptible to mysticism and poesy, to have remained any time in mystic Germany without accumulating data for one volume at least.
Student Life Abroad' was published in three forms; the first reached three editions; the second was an expensive one; while the third was cheap. Messrs. Sampson, Low & Son published it in London. This was pirated by the railway folk there, and fifteen thousand copies sold in a cheap form. Tauchnitz, in Leipzig, also published it, as he already had 'St. Leger,' in his • Collection of British Authors.' It has been translated into German, and into French. So, if he has carefully culled the flowers of poesy wherever he has strayed, he has returned to each shrine a wreath of immortelles.
Returning, he entered upon the practice of law at Waterford, in this State, but soon removed to New-York, where a year's devotion to his profession