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this faith, we will not loiter at the porch of the villa, but enter it. The door-lock has an elasticity, polish, and power, that were not in rough ore, and were received in the process of manufacture. We look, perhaps, through a hall window, stained with gold-color, and behold Nature sublimated to fairyland or the luminous loveliness of paradise; the glazier's mere mechanic art has secured

"The light that never was on sea and land,

The consecration and the poet's dream."

We tread upon a carpet, the fibres and hues whereof were once interesting as the clothing of sheep, the scarlet of cochineal insects, and the various colors of chemical production; nevertheless, the combining of these in a fabric of fair pattern and mossy surface, to be pressed by the sovereign step of civ ilization, creates for the humble substances a beauty as royal as that of a flowery field, and a dignity as great as that of a courtier's mantle spread in the pathway of a queen. All the kingdoms of nature, the animal, vegetable, and mineral, lend their contributions to a floor-carpet, be it neither Wilton nor Axminster, only a cheap double-ply; all the fairies brought their gifts in the natal hour of its invention, though the hag of ruinous extravagance, instead of the witch of good fortune, may have flung her shoe after it. The wall and wall-paper were originally sand, lime, cotton, and earths; now, mingled, smoothed to a surface delicate as the lily's, or starred with constellated patterns, and lit with reflected sunshine or the soft light of lamps, our rooms inclose us around in a narrower sky, fair as a white-veiled heaven suffused with moonlight. The tables, chairs, and the like,―rugged Satyrs of the forest, changed to slender Graces, exhibit beautiful whirlpools, rapids, and currents, in the richly tinted graining, and present a polished face that mirrors the rosy hand resting upon it, or "winks back the cheerful fire-light." The glass lamp-shades, prism-pendents, and window-panes, were sand and potash, or soda, apparently the most worthless of all substances; here, they are fused into an impermeable, transparent medium, which is a shield against wind and rain, a straightened rainbow for mantel ornament, a globe of unchangeable vapor around the lamp, or, coated with mercury, rendering to Nature

an image of herself, and doubling all spaces to the libertyloving eye. In glass, art has given us what creation has not, -solid air, of any required form and dimensions, and insoluble. Neither ice nor crystal could supply its place.

A grate or stove, rather than a subterranean furnace, may be supposed to warm this imagined house. It was not enough that the bright creature, fire, once the happiest of the social circle, as it danced freely on a broad, open hearth, - received the stone of coal, when it asked for the bread of wood. It was imprisoned a long time in stoves, and now is condemned to the Plutonic region of the cellar, with nothing to commemorate its departure except the small open grave or vault of a register. We ignore so summary a disposal of an old friend; and, inasmuch as the obsolete fireplace is but a dim tradition of the past, the poetry and theology of art must be sought for in the stove, notwithstanding it has been vilified as a "red-hot demon." A stove, or a grate, is at first a seemingly rotten stone; next, a rude mass of metal; then, by the ingenious art of casting, in a variety of sand which appears to have been expressly provided for the purpose, it is moulded into elaborate figures. The brown, crumbling ore grows, blooms, and ripens into vines, flowers, and fruits of iron. It is an unfolding of one intent of Nature, the susceptibility certifying the intent.

Of embroidered mats and ottomans, the same can hardly be said. Woollen doves and merino roses may be an improvement on the tangled and soiled garment of the sheep; but the occupation is so utterly mechanical and so slightly useful, that woman's needle thus employed is as worthless as the famous Cleopatra's Needle. Damask curtains, or any tissues of silk, are not open to a like objection. The silk-worm, with no improvable intellect, spins the silver fibre, subtile as a ray of light, as if with conscious reference to the use man will make of it; and man spins it as a remunerative trade. In designing the cocoon, the Creator has emphatically recognized human industry as coöperative with him; his purpose is silently uttered, yet as plainly as when he said to Moses, "Thou shalt make the tabernacle with curtains of fine-twined linen, and blue and purple and scarlet."

Musical instruments, pictures, and books, which, of some sort, dignify almost every American home, are far in advance of everything that has been mentioned, in illustrating the divinity of art. Music is the language of unfathomable joy, grief, and aspiration, and is thus akin to the infinite and divine. Further, in the musical instrument man employs the mathematics and harmonies by which the universe was made; he imprisons the spirit of melody, or of harmony, in the vibrating string and tube; and for this he has an instinct, as truly as the spider has to ensnare a humming fly in a harp of cobweb. Nowhere in nature is there a concord of sweet sounds equal to that produced by artificial means; wood, metal, and dried sinew must conspire with mind and hand, before Nature can do justice to her own genius; and, certainly, Art alone can bring out the splendid nature of the human voice. And the painting, next, that hangs on the wall, is also a higher nature; the scattered perfections of the world are brought together in that ideal which every picture is, if it be not a servile copy of the outward; it has the essence of a landscape, "with all the tons of bulk and leagues of distance left out"; and, unlike its original, it is no growth of years and ages, but a quick

And the statue

"Creation, minted in the golden moods
Of sovereign artists."

if such an immortal presence inhabits the abode we have entered in fancy is chiselled from a substance, a frangible flesh, which is wonderfully prepared, by the God of all beauty, for this purpose; under the touch of genius, it becomes form exalted and transfigured by the inbreathed soul of noble thought; it is character, passion, or feeling, petrified, spirit crystallized. Last of all, the book on the table is the most valuable end by the simplest means ever obtained. Once it was cotton and straw; and the ink, which presents to us the thought of man and the Word of God, was but the oil of flax-seed and the soot of burnt resin. Converted into a volume, these cheap substances "embalm the precious life-blood of master-spirits." Nay, the dead live in them, and the living are ubiquitous.

In this partial survey of an ordinary residence and drawingroom, omitting, as it does, all notice of landscape-gardening,

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which is but painting with actual grass, rocks, and trees, or a sculpturing of ground and trees, instead of marble, the point aimed at is, not so much that Art is always more excellent than Nature, as that it entered largely into the plan of creation, and is a development of it. And yet, what, in native shapes, unless it be a few select objects, such as the human body, the horse, some kinds of fruit, or the waves of the sea, offers a more exquisite union of utility and beauty than these many productions of man? For the most part, the Almighty Artist has given us beautifully constructed materials, instead of beautiful and finished structures. Agents and materials,on these he has lavished his creative skill; seldom does he himself directly accomplish a complete result. His most wonderful works are the products of a secondary agency, instinct, which operates under a law of necessity. The bee itself, with all its machinery of nerves and muscles, is not so admirable as the honey-comb it is empowered to build. The former is only an instrument of its Maker, the latter is the perfected result. And had he made an ornate cottage, as well

as man and wood and stone, our wonder at Nature would have risen to an eternal, devout surprise. But, as will yet be argued, this surprise should none the less be occasioned by that art which is a more impressive evidence of far-seeing Wisdom, Power, and Goodness, than a created eye, hand, or flower.

The things that commonly remind us of divine perfection are indeed marvellous beyond the capacity of language to utter. To those who are verily awakened to the great worlds of truth and beauty, the universe daily becomes a sublimer miracle. Not a summer cloud sleeps in the blue air, or unfolds its pure fulness, or melts in the distance, but they are dissolved in a luxury of contemplation, and think of Him who spreads above us the glory of cloud-land, wherever we are, and when all around us is tamely wearisome. Not a landscape lies dreaming in the sunshine, and slowly expands itself to the passing gaze, but they are intoxicated with a more fiery sense of beauty, until their vision often swims with tears of gratitude for existence, and the heart is ready to break with a weight of blessedness. Their souls overflow with the "glory of the sum of things." Every flower that looks up, and every

star that looks down, smiles to them the smile of God; and every stream that dimples away, or thistle-seed that floats in the noontide, bears them onward to limitless seas of thought and joy. And yet everlasting Truth, Goodness, and Beauty, as discovered in human art, are amazement added to amazement, evidence multiplied into intenser evidence. That a thing has many complex values and perfections concealed in more simple ones, hidden, perhaps, since the foundation of the world, and just revealed by man's ingenuity, is something the more godlike, as it implies more of infinite resource and



But one class of objects a house and furniture been selected. These are so familiar that they cease to be wonderful; yet so familiar, that, if once beheld in a divine light, they will, as readily as the stars, daily remind us of Him "who stoops to paint the insect's wing,

And wheels His throne upon the rolling worlds."

Such an habitual view of art surrounds us, at home, with tokens of omnipresent Wisdom. It lends dignity to the commonest objects the eye may rest upon; it introduces the God of nature, of the storm and sunshine, of the mountain, the forest, and the sea, to the hearths of men; it gives freshness and significance to in-door scenery, and renders everything an exponent of the universe. The wall, the table, the lamp, to which an infant reaches forth its tiny hand in delighted curiosity, may likewise become ever new and wonderful to the grown-up man. The healthy condition of the soul is one of eternal youth, enthusiasm, and responsiveness to a multiform creation. It should be a divine universe, whether modified by art or not, "unveiling itself in gloom and splendor, in auroral fire-light and many-tinted shadow, full of hope and full of awe, to a young, melodious, pious heart,”. a heart that never grows old.

The field of illustration is, of course, an endless one. Ships, vehicles, and bridges might be referred to, and all trades drawn upon. Improvements in agriculture and horticulture might be considered. Nature never works so well in vegetation as when she unites with the industry of man; and not only are her flowers and fruits perfected by his skill,

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