Menken, Adah Isaacs
"Where'er there's a life to be kindled by love,
Wherever a soul to inspire,
Strike this key-note of God that trembles above
Night's silver-tongued voices of fire."
Genius is power.
The power that grasps in the universe, that dives
out beyond space, and grapples with the starry worlds of
If genius achieves nothing, shows us no results, it is so
much the less genius.
The man who is constantly fearing a lion in his path is
The man or woman whom excessive caution holds back
from striking the anvil with earnest endeavour, is poor and
cowardly of purpose.
The required step must be taken to reach the goal,
though a precipice be the result.
Work must be done, and the result left to God.
The soul that is in earnest, will not stop to count the
Circumstances cannot control genius: it will nestle with
them: its power will bend and break them to its path
This very audacity is divine.
Jesus of nazareth did not ask the consent of the high
priests in the temple when he drove out the "moneychangers;"
changers;" but, impelled by inspiration, he knotted the
cords and drove them hence.
Genius will find room for itself, or it is none.
Men and women, in all grades of life, do their utmost.
If they do little, it is because they have no capacity to
I hear people speak of "unfortunate genius," of "poets
who never penned their inspirations;" that
"Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest;"
of "unappreciated talent," and "malignant stars," and
other contradictory things.
It is all nonsense.
Where power exists, it cannot be suppressed any more
than the earthquake can be smothered.
As well attempt to seal up the crater of Vesuvius as to
hide God's given power of the soul.
"You may as well for bid the mountain pines
To wag their high tops, and to make no noise
When they are fretten with the gusts of heaven,"
as to hush the voice of genius
There is no such thing as unfortunate genius.
If a man or woman is fit for work, God appoints there
He does more; He points to the earth with her mountains,
oceans and cataracts, and says to man, Be great!65He points to the eternal dome of the heaven and its blazing
worlds, and says: "Bound out thy life with beauty."
He points to the myriads of down-trodden, suffering
men and women, and says: "Work with me for the redemption
of these, my children."
He lures, and incites, and thrusts greatness upon men,
They will not take the gift.
Genius, on the contrary, loves toil, impediment, and
poverty; for from these it gains its strength, throws off the
shadows, and lifts its proud head to immortality.
Neglect is but the fiat to an undying future.
To be popular is to be endorsed in the To-day and forgotten
in the To-morrow.
It is the mess of pottage that alienates the birthright
Genius that succumbs to misfortune, that allows itself to
be blotted by the slime of slander--and other serpents
that, infest society--is so much the less genius.
The weak man or woman who stoops to whine over
neglect, and poverty, and the snarls of the world, gives
the sign of his or her own littleness.
Genius is power.
The eternal power that can silence worlds with its
voice, and battle to the death ten thousand armed Hercules.
Then make way for this God-crowned Spirit of Night,
That was born in that Continuing City, but lives in lowly
and down-trodden souls!
Fling out the banner!
Its broad folds of sunshine will wave over the turret and
dome, and over the thunder of oceans on to eternity.66"Fling it out, fling it out o'er the din of the world!
Make way for this banner of flame,
That stream from the mast-head of ages unfurled,
And inscribed by the deathless in name.
And thus through the years of eternity's flight,
This insignia of soul shall prevail,
The centre of glory, the focus of light;
O Genius! proud Genius, all hail!"