Page:Female Prose Writers of America.djvu/332

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SARA J. CLARKE.

anger moves her, there is ever sighing through its tones a sound of pity. For there is nothing that we can be rightly angry at in this world, but we must pity also. Every soul that feels much, feels this.

“We think, therefore, that in her pages, radiant as they seem, we can read, without any doubtful interpretation, meanings of sadness. If it were not so, we should be disappointed; for they manifest that genius of a loving humanity, which cannot help but oftentimes be sad. Grace Greenwood, say what persons will, is not what we should call a sprightly writer. Her productions are not mere sprightly flashes, but many-toned utterances of feelings, that lay deep down in the breast, and to which occasions gave nothing but expression.

“Genius, accompanied with strong sensibility, were it not for certain compensations, would be a penalty and not a boon. Such compensation Grace Greenwood has in considerable affluence. One of these is the relief that mental hilarity gives to mental intensity. Strong as her perception is of what is serious in life, it has its counterpoise by her equally strong feeling of what is joyous. The grave and troubled condition of man’s estate we can observe that she reverently appreciates; but we can as well observe that she also detects man’s absurdities and vanities, and heartily she laughs at them. Yet is there no contempt in the laughter, but an affectionate humanity. She has humour most rich and racy—that which springs from keenness of intellect, fullness of imagination, kindliness of temper, and playfulness of spirit.

“This remark has its proof and its example in the parodies contained in some of her writings. The imitation is unmistakeable; the fun resistless; and yet, we are so made to feel the beauty of the writers in the burlesque, that while we laugh we admire. And this enjoyment of beauty is another compensation for the painful sensibility of genius, and the only other we shall mention. The language, and the activity of such enjoyment in Grace Greenwood, no one can doubt, who reads her pages with any spirit like her own. Neither can we doubt the sincerity of it and its healthiness. It is no matter of artificial or factitious cultivation; it has grown with her in her native valleys and woodlands; she has listened to its music in the foamings of her native waves and torrents; she has gazed upon its majestic forms in the glory of her native mountains; and she has communed with the boundless spirit of it in that mighty azure dome of matchless purity that rests over her native land.”


A DREAM OF DEATH.

How appropriate, and sadly truthful, is the expression, “The night of the grave!” How the deep shadows of impenetrable mystery hang about the dread portals of eternity; how, in approach-