The narrow house is a small human nature compelled to a large human destiny, charged with a fate too great, a history too various, for its slight capacities. Men have commonly complained of fate; but their complaints have been of the smallness, not of the greatness, of the human lot. A disproportion—all in favour of man—between man and his destiny is one of the things to be taken for granted in literature: so frequent and so easy is the utterance of the habitual lamentation as to the trouble of a "vain capacity," so well explained has it ever been.
Thou hast not half the power to do me harm That I have to be hurt,
discontented man seems to cry to Heaven, taking the words of the brave Emilia. But inarticulate has been the voice within the narrow house. Obviously it never had its poet. Little elocution is there, little argument or definition, little explicitness. And yet for every vain capacity we may assuredly count a thousand vain destinies, for every liberal nature a thousand liberal fates. It is the trouble of the wide house we hear of, clamorous of its disappointments and desires. The narrow house has no echoes; yet its pathetic shortcoming