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- THE SPHINX. “NOT FALSE, BUT FICKLE.”
Was many a joy whose subtle charm we shall
not find again. Such a little while ago, such a little while ! At our own inconstancy should we sigh or smile?
The spell was woven deftly, it was potent to be
guile; Blind and deaf the tyrant, Love, who rules our Such a little while ago, such a little while !
inner life; He neither heeds nor hears the toss and tumult
Tinsley's Magazine. of the strife.
S. K. P.
Raising one to sure calm height, to dash án
other down; Gathering flowers from new-made graves to
wreathe the bridal crown.
Blessing here with perfect faith, tender, strong, DREAD warder of an ancient land, and true;
Thy wondrous form of changeless stone, Blighting there some radiant bloom, fresh blos- Reigning o'er leagues of shifting sand, soms to renew.
Unnumbered ages for thy throne;
Pygmies, we gaze and pass away Wrenching purest ties in twain, wounding, sear- I now, Cambyses yesterday.
ing, healing All the weakness of our hearts day by day re- Dim mem'ries of forgotten things vealing.
Haunt those large eyes: the Shepherd chiefs,
The victor's crown- the pride of kings, Helpless human life goes on, as the wheel re- E'en meaner mortals' lesser griefs : volves,
Canst thou recall old Menes' face? Passing our poor struggles o’er, crushing our re- Hast bowed before Rhodope's grace? solves.
Those grand lack-lustre eyes perchance
That ruined Ilion for her love:
Didst hear stern Proteus quick dismiss Gather roses while they blow, catch the sun- The wretch who marred a guest-friend's bliss,
beams passing ; Every moment, shine or shade, the great stream Vain-worse than vain--no word comes through is glassing.
Thy lips' cold portals. Thou hast seen
The conqʼring Mede, the crafty Jew, Such a little while ago, such a little while!
Greek sages, Antony's dark queen ; And I dreamt that life was lit but by your joy- Is’t to their ghosts in yon soft haze ous smile.
Thou turn'st that everlasting gaze? Such a little while ago, and you thought or Great Horus, answer—art thou mute?
Hast no responsive chords for eve, Given a loving look of mine, and hope would ask Like Morn's old votry? – I salute
Thine awful silence.
Let me weave
My puny fancies, knowing well Now, can you quite remember your glory in your Man may not learn th’ Inscrutable.
choice? Can I recall the old sweet thrill that answered What though thy.buried secret sleeps to your voice?
In far Ogygian wons? Still
The daily sunshine o'er thee creeps, In sooth we scarcely can, dear; all passed like And so for unknown ages will: April's smile;
And men shall view thy massive brow, Such a little while ago, such a little while ! And marvel at its calm, as now.
We'll owe it kindly memories, that happy dream Eve's rich glow lingers round thy head, we dreamt;
And lights thy melancholy face, It had no inner claim to be from Love's strange As loving all its gold to shed laws exempt.
On the last monarch of thy race:
Slow fade the purple tints-farewell! Yet recollect it tenderly, for in its brief bright Deep are thy thoughts — too deep to tell. reign
From Blackwood's Magazine. magic we could plunge them into that peCLEVER WOMEN.
riod; how, in the first place, they would THERE is nothing so elastic as our esti- sbiver in a new sense of neglect and disremate of time. In the mere act of review- gard, nobody putting them first or making ing them, fifty years may swell into a huge all things bow to their pleasure and conveperiod, or contract into a moment — the nience; or indeed thinking it any great mere twinkling of an eye. In
many ret- matter if a touch of life's real hardships rospect a lifetime is nothing - memory embittered their prime. From this cold making past existence all one present. It shade wbat would a world seem to them may be spanned in one grasp of thought as still hampered by difficult locomotion, bad making no difference in a man's identity, roads, and post-chaises, horrible winter leaving him absolutely the same to his own night-journeys outside stage-coaches consciousness. In another mood, and look- nights dim with the feeble illuminations of ing out of and beyond self, he sees fifty train-oil and snuffy tallow-candles; a world years for what they are — a good slice not of intellectual trammels, where opinion was only of a long life but of the life of the not ventilated in hall and lecture-rooms world. This sum of years repeated com- where people thought in battalions, and the paratively few times and we are at the first mind had its uniform to be assumed every year of our Lord; and from thence, by a field-day where a man must be either series of balf-centuries — leaps easy to the Whig or Tory, Calvinist or Arminian, and imagination, and which a child may remem- compromise was contemptible — where peober
we are at the beginning of history, ple sat at home, and only country gentleat its very opening chapter. We must then men amused themselves and wasted their conclude by all analogy that if progress is time out of doors; a world with quite ana word meaning anything, fifty years must other class of absurdities, anomalies, and work material and recognisable changes, barbarisms from this present one where and a very little reflection convinces us that every “respectable” powdered his head they have made them. A man who has ob- white, and every woman who would not be served to any purpose for fifty years knows thought wildly eccentric hid away the first that he has seen some things and felt some grey hair as a crime against society; a emotions which no future age will see or world of feeble accomplishments, where feel again under similar conditions. Some music was thought effeịninate for men — a portion of the energy and intellect of the mere siren, betraying him to his destruction world has done its task, contributed to some - and art and science generally, misleaders result; and thought and action will never from the main business of life: but, for all be linked to the same work and end again. this, a good old world to those who can reThere is a day for everything. However call it, or through some gifted senior havé momentous a point has seemed, the fluctua- felt its influence; a world with some sense tions of thought have passed it by for good of stability still lingering about its instituand all in the particular phase which stirred tions, and yet a world of fancy and romance, bis sympathies. He leaves the world differ- of Wordsworth's poetry and Scott's novels, ent from what he found it. The wonder and where the art of good talking at least grows that the working period of one life was a living accomplishment - an excellent should witness changes so vital; and reflec- world, in fact, in spite of what the young tion forces fifty years into very impressive people might think of it, for prosperous dimensions. There are times when the dif- well-to-do men and women. For this class ference between then and now, both in the we cannot see that progress has done much. face of things and in the pervading tone of They have lost a sense of monopoly in a thought, strikes him as something prodi- good many things where monopoly, by congious,
stituting the distinction, constituted a good We
may realise this by considering what share of the happiness. We cannot wona perplexing, uncongenial, unfamiliar world der that long memories here are slow to our children would find the first twenty recognise any change for the better, any years of this century, if by any device of progress that is not a mockery of the term, in the condition of society. The bustle and intellect at the expense of something disfever of competition, the struggle of the tinctly feminine. The ideal woman does classes beneath them, the turmoil of opinion, not reason; her processes of thought are are to them nothing but causes of inconve- intuitive so far, that she can give no account nience, or matter for honest protest. When how she arrives at them: if she attempts to they are the-spokesmen they naturally make do so, her professed reasons are palpable out a case for the old state of things, and after-thoughts, proving that logic is at least a very plausible one, from their poiņt of no obtrusive faculty. She is wiser not to view. But, unfortunately, the majority of pretend to it. We bow to conclusions mankind belong not to the prosperous but formed on no conscious data, and with noto the struggling class.
thing like argument to back them, because However, these large questions only re-in her own province, though she cannot reamotely concern our present subject. What son, she is very apt to be right. Clever the nineteenth century has done and has women, on the contrary, throw intuition still to do for the masses, under the new over and aim at logic. They possess the political conditions to which they are about analytical faculty, and encourage it in themto be subject, we leave to more ambitious selves. They search into the why and the pens. What bas impressed us lately, and wherefore, they pursue a subject in all its what'we would impress upon our readers, bearings, they trace it' to its cause, they is the benign work of progress in a given study themselves, and, above all, they study period for one particular oppressed class character in others not for a present pura class of persons for whom not even the pose, not by the intuitive method, but as a Reform Bill of the future promises largely habitual intellectual occupation. As reason
— who owe what they have, or hope to gain, ing beings they dispense with instinct, or to the more subtle insensible action of that subdue it to a subordinate capacity, which mysterious onward movement which plays revenges itself in return by ceasing to so great a part in human affairs — we mean serve their personal needs, leaving them to the class of clever women. An unpopular work out the details of conduct by the class — a class, at least, whom no other light of their boasted reason : a revenge inclass particularly likes or cares to take to deed. We all perceive, who have any exits bosom — who have always a hard battle perience of self-consciousness, what a poor to fight, but who certainly fight it now un-exchange must be a constant appeal to the der less disadvantages than they did fifty will or the judgment in the minor action of years ago. We do not here speak, we re- life, for the promptings of habit and intuipeat, of prosperous clever women, who tion in natures finely tuned, where the mind have never had any battles to fight any more does not speculate but act, comprehending than dull or commonplace ones wealth just as much of the persons and things enand station support alike exceptional clever-countered as is necessary for success, and ness or exceptional stupidity — but the class no more. Knowing too much and thinking of able women who are thrown upon their too much are alike fatal to charm. own resources.
When we would define a clever woman, But, before entering into our subject, we mean something almost as distinct some definition of what we mean by clever from a sensible, a well-informed, or even women seems to be needed. In the first place, an intelligent woman, as from the convenall women who are not clever women are not tional charming woman. What a clever to be distinguished from them by any dis- woman sees, hears, acquires in any way, paraging epithet, or any expression of draw- assimilates itself, undergoes a certain transback whatever. On the contrary, especially mutation, and can never be reproduced as attractive women are rarely clever in the a mere act of memory. Something of hercommon sense of the word; the conven- self hangs about it. She puts it in a new tional charming woman, never. With most point of sight. A process of classification people cleverness is applied to women as a is for ever going on. Whatever the mind term of veiled reproach, and not without receives is at once placed, and goes to the show of reason, because it is a testimony to elucidation of a view, or is recognised as a new experience, and its relation to all re- go for nothing — they are consciously at ceived knowledge is traced out. It is this fault; and therefore all that concerns art, that dignifies the veriest gossip of the literature, politics, religion, and all great clever woman. Her philosophy may be public questions, are accepted by the “ very fallacious, but news, chatter, scandal woman,” from lover, husband, or whatever whatever it is — goes through a process, man is selected as guide, with real implicit, under her handling, giving it an affinity ness and docility, however these submissive with a history or study of human nature; qualities may be veiled with a feint of choice so distinguishing it from the common gossip and self-will. This graceful homage it is well defined by Monseigneur Dupanloup in not in the power of the clever woman to his • Studious Women,' where he says: “I offer. Whatever her judgment and her cannot approve of all the impressions pro- opinion is worth (and it is not necessarily duced by material objects and the incidents worth much), the fatal gift of thinking is of life being immediately expressed, and hers. Even if she were to feed on the air requiring an equally immediate answer. of blind trust it would not become her Minds thus are always laid bare to each her unlucky talents cut her off from the tenother — they are never concentrated them- derest form of sympathy. selves, and they never allow others to be And yet these awkward, so-called unfemconcentrated. One thinks aloud because inine strivings after the intellectual, seen in one thinks little."
every age since the revival of learning, These habits of thought give to the clev- should merit some sympathy if it were oner woman an irrepressible independence, a ly for the obstacles they have successfully fancy to play her own game. However overcome. How have they been received ? much she desires the approval of men, Now it is not reasonable in women to exwhich she may do very eagerly, her mode pect men to be so far attracted by excepof obtaining it is not deferential. It is by tional ability in them as to consent to merge showing what is in herself, not by an en- their own individuality in it. Superior ingaging conformity. The masculine mind is tellect can scarcely be what is called atnot felt a necessary complement to her own. tractive. A man is wise to desire to remain She is no mistress of the flattery of uncon- intellectual head of his own home, nor do scious submission. A woman's eyes are things go quite as they should do where the never so beautiful as when they look up; disproportion of intellect is conspicuously the eyes of her mind are not prone to as- on the wife's side. In the view of two sume this appealing grace. With unfem- making a complete whole, the woman is not inine awkwardness, she probably does not a better complement to the man for being see what she is about; even though she very much above, or for having an inteldoes, the distinctive qualities of her mind lectual side apart from him, clamouring for must have their way. But we may say that expression. But where there is no danger the intellectual exercises for which we give of being swamped by feminine cleverness, her credit are incompatible with tact in any how have intellectual men — men who know exquisite degree - not inconsistent with ap- what it is to “ make thinking part of their preciating tact, about which she may be diversion,"— who despise their fellow-men able to say a great many clever things, but who live on the alms-basket of borrowed with this subtle power as an instrument for opinion,- how have they treated the same use. She aims at too much; ber mind is diversion in women ? If clever or learned too excursive. She does not accept a lim- women have ever hoped for the praise of ited province as especially her own. The men in reward for their trouble, the very ideal woman confines herself to her circle, simplicity of their vanity should have made her family, her home, and herself as the men lenient; and instead, wbat brutality of centre of all. Within this restricted range contempt has assailed them, and from all the mind's touch is endued with an exquis- points. Swist, who loathed the vacuity of its sensibility, because it is restricted. In the women of fashion of his time, thought larger, remoter questions, tact and instinct nothing but bad of them, and talks of
“Seeds long unknown to womankind them to account now, naturally, quietly, For manly bosoms worthy, fit
and as a matter of course, without exciting The seeds of knowledge, judgment, wit;” injurious notice, without instilling such a
sense of oddity and singularity as to affect who complains that not one gentleman's the manner, and often more than the mandaughter in a thousand could read or under- ner, detrimentally; either through conceit, stand her own natural tongue, or be judge or shyness, or effrontery, or simple awkof the easiest book that could be written in wardness, and contempt for the graces of it, or read it without mangling the sense, the sex — a contempt which comes to no or acquire the art of spelling all her life woman by nature, but which has often been long; and who resents the utter want of in- assumed, in hopeless defiance. terest in the poor soul for any rational con- Not that critics have given up the subject versation, turning, as she would do, from of the nature and limits of women's intelthe instructive talk of men - his talk, per- lect. On the contrary, it sometimes would haps — to consult with the woman that sits appear that Pope's aphorism is reversed, next her on the last cargo of fans; — Swift, and that the proper study of mankind is whose only receipt against the nonsense and woman. We counted no fewer than three frippery of women is to advise every woman articles in a late number of a popular jourhe cared for to renounce the companionship nal devoted to this one theme, and penned of her sex — with what a sledge-hammer with a caustic earnestness of purpose that does he descend on the women who, tired suggests a division of the sexes beyond the of this frippery, take a line of their own, pale of ritualism. Nor have women themand, instead of being mere listeners, at- selves ceased to damage their own cause. tempt to be wise on their own account! All the folly, in fact, of both sexes has ex“I know very well,” says he, to his fair ercised itself on the position of women. correspondent, “ that those who are com- Lecturers, male and female, discuss woman, monly called learned women have lost all her nature and her mission, as though she manner of credit by their impertinent talk- were some abstract animal, instead of being ativeness and conceit of themselves; but half the human race; while not a few tranthere is an easy remedy for this, if you scendentalists despise a partnership of rights come to consider that, after all the pains to assert an aptitude for universal dominion, you may be at, you can never arrive in and would reduce man to the servitude of point of learning to the perfection of a which Cuddie Headrigg was so sensible, schoolboy.” But this is not so bad as the who had all his life been trodden down by warning of sleeker moralists, who coun
“ There was first my mither, then selled women very seriously against any there was Leddy. Margaret, didna let me exercise of mind because men did not like ca' my soul my ain; and now I hae gotten it, and it stood in the way of their getting a wife, and she's like to tak’ the guiding o' married. Any stain for woman's pretty me a'thegither.” Jenny only anticipates fingers but the stain of ink! was the cry of much feminine pretension of our age in her fifty years ago, and had been for a century reply, “. And amna I the best guide ever ye at least. Clever women have had a sad bad in a' your life ? " time of it since literature was literature, It is wonderful, indeed, that the clamourand perhaps, for the reasons we have sug- ers for women's rights, whether in America gested, not without fault of their own. or at home, have not told more injuriously Singularity suits no one, and especially it than they have upon the steady advance in does not suit women. Now we think pro- power and position of rational feminine ingress has done this for them — cultivated tellect; of clever women who accept their cleverness no longer provokes to conceit powers for what they are, and turn them to or eccentricity. The whole sex has made domestic, social, and marketable account, intellectual advance. There must always be as they would rank, fortune, or any other fools, but we know no class of simpletons providential gift, and with no more spirit to be addressed as " beauteous innocents," of bravado or fear of outraging convention and openly cajoled into piety by Fordyce's than men experience. argument, that never does a fine woman It is within fifty years that a woman of strike more deeply than when composed in- unusual parts has been able to give her into pious recollection. At all times, by tellect its fullest development in its most throwing off the reserve and retirement be appropriate field, and yet live in society coming their sex, women could both assert without having her occupations treated as a and prove their powers; but progress has bar of separation. This is a step indeed; relieved them from an enormous disadvan- and a greater approach to the equality of tage. They can use them, and even turn the sexes, so much talked of by transcen