Margaret Fuller, Critic: Writings from the New-York Tribune, 1844-1846

By Judith Mattson Bean; Joel Myerson | Go to book overview

Italy

These three publications have come to hand during the last month—a cheering gleam upon the winter of our discontent, as we saw the flood of bad translations of worse books which swelled upon the country.

We love our country well. The many false deeds and low thoughts—the devotion to interest—the forgetfulness of principle—the indifference to high and noble sentiment which have, in so many ways, darkened her history for some years back, have not made us despair of her yet fulfilling the great destiny whose promise rose, like a star, only some half a century ago upon the hopes of the world.

Should that star be forsaken by its angel, and those hopes set finally in clouds of shame, the church which we had built out of the ruins of the ancient time must fall to the ground. This church seemed a model of divine art. It contained a labyrinth which, when threaded by aid of the clue of Faith, presented, re-viewed from its centre, the most admirable harmony and depth of meaning in its design, and comprised in its decorations all the symbols of permanent interest of which the mind of man has made use for the benefit of man. Such was to be the church, a church not made with hands, catholic, universal, all whose stones should be living stones, its officials the cherubim of Love and Knowledge, its worship wiser and purer action than has before been known to men. To such a church men do indeed constitute the State, and men indeed we hoped from the American church and State, men so truly human that they could not live while those made in their own likeness were bound down to the condition of brutes.

Should hopes be baffled, should such a church fall in the building, such a state find no realization except to the eye of the poet, God would still be in the world and surely guide each bird that can be patient on the wing to its home at last. But expectations so noble which find so broad a basis in the past, which link it so harmoniously with the future, cannot lightly be abandoned. The

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