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Harvard College Library
Miss Longfellow, Mrs. Dana,
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1848, by
In the Clerk's Office for the Southern District of New York.
THOMAS B. SMITH, STEREOTYPER,
THERE is a spirit of romance in the heart of man, that is ever striving after something better than the realities of life. This spirit is allied to the noblest faculties of the soul, and, as it is native to the mind, must be gratified in some way. There must be a literature, in which it is embodied, in order, by its representations, to satisfy its cravings. It is this spirit which writes novels; and it is this spirit which reads them. And novel-reading is the literary bane of this age. It renders the mind superficial, and far worse, it renders the heart superficial. The representations of novels do not touch the deeper, and more solemn sympathies of the heart. Even in its highest form, the novel is an inferior species of literature. Easy in its narrative, interesting in its incidents, requiring no effort to fix the attention upon its rehearsals, it draws the mind off from the monotony of life, and pleases for the moment. But when the fictitious visions pass from before the eyes, there is nothing of permanent truth left, in either the mind or the heart. We pass into an apathy like that after a revel.
The same spirit which thus dissipates itself in novels, finds its truest and noblest gratification in poetry. And once let the heart be touched, by the high revelations of the sublime, the beautiful, the good, and the divine, which poe