It gathers boldness and strength when it is sanctioned

Such crystallization, such conventionalisms, yield only to the dissolving power of the spiritual warmth of life-full personalities.

It gathers boldness and strength when it is sanctioned

The quickening, regenerating power of personality is everywhere exhibited in Browning's poetry. It is emphasized in `Luria', and in the Monologues of the Canon Caponsacchi and Pompilia, in the `Ring and the Book'; it shines out, or glints forth, in `Colombe's Birthday', in `Saul', in `Sordello', and in all the Love poems. I would say, en passant, that Love is always treated by Browning as a SPIRITUAL claim; while DUTY may be only a worldly one. SEE especially the poem entitled `Bifurcation'. In `Balaustion's Adventure: including a transcipt from Euripides', the regenerating power of personality may be said to be the leavening idea, which the poet has introduced into the Greek play. It is entirely absent in the original. It baptizes, so to speak, the Greek play, and converts it into a Christian poem. It is the "new truth" of the poet's `Christmas Eve'.

It gathers boldness and strength when it is sanctioned

After the mourning friends have spoken their words of consolation to the bereaved husband, the last word being, "Dead, thy wife -- living, the love she left", Admetos "turned on the comfort, with no tears, this time. HE WAS BEGINNING TO BE LIKE HIS WIFE. I told you of that pressure to the point, word slow pursuing word in monotone, Alkestis spoke with; so Admetos, now, solemnly bore the burden of the truth. And as the voice of him grew, gathered strength, and groaned on, and persisted to the end, we felt how deep had been descent in grief, and WITH WHAT CHANGE HE CAME UP NOW TO LIGHT, and left behind such littleness as tears."

It gathers boldness and strength when it is sanctioned

And when Alkestis was brought back by Herakles, "the hero twitched the veil off: and there stood, with such fixed eyes and such slow smile, Alkestis' silent self! It was the crowning grace of that great heart to keep back joy: procrastinate the truth until the wife, who had made proof and found the husband wanting, might essay once more, hear, see, and feel him RENOVATED now -- ABLE TO DO, NOW, ALL HERSELF HAD DONE, RISEN TO THE HEIGHT OF HER: so, hand in hand, the two might go together, live and die." (Compare with this the restoration of Hermione to her husband, in `The Winter's Tale', Act V.)

A good intellect has been characterized as the chorus of Divinity. Substitute for "good intellect", an exulted magnetic personality, and the thought is deepened. An exalted magnetic personality is the chorus of Divinity, which, in the great Drama of Humanity, guides and interprets the feelings and sympathies of other souls and thus adjusts their attitudes towards the Divine. It is not the highest function of such a personality to TEACH, but rather to INFORM, in the earlier and deeper sense of the word. Whatever mere doctrine he may promulgate, is of inferior importance to the spontaneous action of his concrete life, in which the True, the Beautiful, and the Good, breathe and live. What is born in the brain dies there, it may be; at best, it does not, and cannot of itself, lead up to the full concrete life. It is only through the spontaneou and unconscious fealty which an inferior does to a superior soul (a fealty resulting from the responsiveness of spirit to spirit), that the former is slowly and silently transformed into a more or less approximate image of the latter. The stronger personality leads the weaker on by paths which the weaker knows not, upward he leads him, though his steps be slow and vacillating. Humility, in the Christian sense, means this fealty to the higher. It doesn't mean self-abasement, self-depreciation, as it has been understood to mean, by both the Romish and the Protestant Church. Pride, in the Christian sense, is the closing of the doors of the soul to a great magnetic guest.

Browning beautifully expresses the transmission of personality in his `Saul'. But according to Browning's idea, personality cannot strictly be said to be transmitted. Personality rather evokes its LIKE from other souls, which are "all in degree, no way diverse in kind." (`Sordello'.)

David has reached an advanced stage in his symbolic song to Saul. He thinks now what next he shall urge "to sustain him where song had restored him? -- Song filled to the verge his cup with the wine of this life, pressing all that it yields of mere fruitage, the strength and the beauty: beyond, on what fields glean a vintage more potent and perfect to brighten the eye and bring blood to the lip, and commend them the cup they put by?" So once more the string of the harp makes response to his spirit, and he sings: -- "In our flesh grows the branch of this life, in our soul it bears fruit. Thou hast marked the slow rise of the tree, -- how its stem trembled first Till it passed the kid's lip, the stag's antler; then safely outburst The fan-branches all round; and thou mindest when these, too, in turn Broke a-bloom and the palm-tree seemed perfect; yet more was to learn, E'en the good that comes in with the palm-fruit. Our dates shall we slight, When their juice brings a cure for all sorrow? or care for the plight Of the palm's self whose slow growth produced them? Not so! stem and branch Shall decay, nor be known in their place, while the palm-wine shall staunch Every wound of man's spirit in winter. I pour thee such wine. Leave the flesh to the fate it was fit for! the spirit be thine! By the spirit, when age shall o'ercome thee, thou still shalt enjoy More indeed, than at first when, inconscious, the life of a boy. Crush that life, and behold its wine running! each deed thou hast done Dies, revives, goes to work in the world; until e'en as the sun Looking down on the earth, though clouds spoil him, though tempests efface, Can find nothing his own deed produced not, must everywhere trace The results of his past summer-prime, -- SO, EACH RAY OF THY WILL, EVERY FLASH OF THY PASSION AND PROWESS, LONG OVER, SHALL THRILL THY WHOLE PEOPLE, THE COUNTLESS, WITH ARDOUR, TILL THEY TOO GIVE FORTH A LIKE CHEER TO THEIR SONS: WHO IN TURN, FILL THE SOUTH AND THE NORTH WITH THE RADIANCE THY DEED WAS THE GERM OF."

In the concluding lines is set forth what might be characterized as the apostolic succession of a great personality -- the succession of those "who in turn fill the South and the North with the radiance his deed was the germ of."

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