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in manhood, should bear an exact resemblance to the Great Stone Face." At first there was merely admiration for the grand, sweet face; and then, on hearing the prophecy, there was hope and longing. Under this admiration and longing for realization Ernest grew from childhood to boyhood, when there went the rumor throughout the valley that the great man foretold for ages was at last about to appear. The coming of Gathergold was a great disappointment to Ernest; and yet from an external point of view, considering his wealth and the magnificence of his palace, he proved quite a satisfactory fulfilment to the ordinary observer, who finally had to admit the disparity in the light of the omnipresent ideal. Note the description of Gathergold and his palace, and how these help to bring out the theme.
In his first disappointment and sadness Ernest turned to the Great Stone Face, which assured him, "He will come ! Fear not, Ernest; the man will come!" Ernest labored and worshipped in patient hope. The "Great Stone Face had become a teacher to him; it was enlarging his heart, and filling it "with wider and deeper sympathies than other men's hearts." Thus Ernest grew from boyhood to young manhood. By this time all admitted that Gathergold was not the man of prophecy, who was now to appear in Old Blood-and-Thunder. Everything now seemed to indicate that the man had come; Ernest hoped that it might be so, but when he saw the face of Old Blood-and-Thunder, he was compelled to turn again to the Great Stone Face for consolation. "This is not the man of prophecy,' sighed Ernest to himself, as he made his way out of the throng. 'And must the world wait longer yet?'” "But- - as it always did the aspect of his marvelous friend made Ernest as hopeful as if he had never hoped in vain. 'Fear not, Ernest,' said his heart, even as if the Great Face were whispering to him, 'fear not, Ernest; he will come.'
The writer next presents Ernest as a man of middle age. "By imperceptible degrees he had become known among
the people. Now, as heretofore, he labored for his bread, and was the same simple-hearted man that he had always been. But he had thought and felt so much, he had given so many of the best hours of his life to unworldly hopes for some great good to mankind, that it seemed as though he had been talking with the angels, and had imbibed a portion of their wisdom unawares. It was visible in the calm and well-considered beneficence of his daily life, the quiet stream of which had made a wide green margin all along its course. Not a day passed by that the world was not the better because this man, humble as he was, had lived. He never stepped aside from his own path, yet would always reach a blessing to his neighbor. . . . He uttered truths that wrought upon and moulded the lives of those who heard him. His auditors, it may be, never suspected that Ernest, their own neighbor and familiar friend, was more than an ordinary man; least of all did Ernest himself suspect it; but, inevitably as the murmur of a rivulet, came thoughts out of his mouth that no other human lips had spoken."
By this time the people had acknowledged their mistake in supposing Old Blood-and-Thunder to be the man of prophecy. Once more it was rumored that the prophecy was to be fulfilled, in the coming of Old Stony Phiz. Although many times disappointed, Ernest was hopeful, and went with others to receive the illustrious statesman. Ernest was once more doomed to disappointment; and he turned again to the Great Stone Face, which seemed to say: "I have waited longer than thou, and am not yet weary. Fear not; the man will come."
The years hurried onward, and Ernest was an aged man. And now the writer sketches the character at its summit. "More than the white hairs on his head were the sage thoughts in his mind; his wrinkles and furrows were inscriptions that Time had graved, and in which he had written legends of wisdom that had been tested by the tenor of
a life. And Ernest had ceased to be obscure. Unsought for, undesired, had come the fame which so many seek, and made him known in the great world, beyond the limits of the valley in which he had dwelt so quietly. . The report had gone abroad that this simple husbandman had ideas unlike those of other men, not gained from books, but of a higher tone, a tranquil and familiar majesty, as if he had been talking with the angels as his daily friends. . . . Pensive with the fulness of such discourse, his guests took leave and went their way; and, passing up the valley, paused to look at the Great Stone Face, imagining that they had seen its likeness in a human countenance, but could not remember where."
While the reader has, perhaps, surmised that Ernest was to become the man of prophecy, the last remark above is the first hint that such was to be the fact. Another sly hint is given after Ernest had willingly consented to give a stranger a night's lodging. "Methinks I never saw the Great Stone Face look so hospitably at a stranger." This was Ernest's own hospitable look. It remains now only for the poet, the man of insight, to announce that Ernest himself was the man of prophecy. "Behold! Behold! Ernest is himself the likeness of the Great Stone Face.' Then all the people looked and saw that what the deepsighted poet said was true." But Ernest walked homeward, "still hoping that some wiser and better man than himself would by and by appear, bearing a resemblance to the Great Stone Face."
In this way Hawthorne brings before the reader in living presence the development of an ideal character. He marks the movement in the characteristic stages of human life, childhood, youth, manhood, and old age. First there is merely the childish admiration for the kindly and sympathetic face sculptured in the mountain side, without any thought of ever beholding such a face in human reality. Then
there is awakened the hope and the longing, sustained by the assurance of his own heart, that ideals must be real. His beneficent and exalted living under the benign infiuence of the perfect life for which he hoped in another was itself the prophecy and fulfilment of the Great Stone Face. It seems clear that Hawthorne means to give us in Ernest the realization of a perfect life. Can another stroke be added? If so the embodiment is faulty; for every embodiment must be the full realization of the ideal.
While this selection has not the poetic form, the language runs along so smoothly and gracefully as to yield considerable sensuous pleasure. The language is rhythmical without being obtrusively so; which is in harmony with the sentiment of the selection. The tension of feeling is not so strong here as in the preceding selection, and it would be out of place for the language to be keyed up to the same pitch. The more relaxed mood requires a lower degree of rhythmical tension in the language form. The movement here is delightfully simple and kept in the background. The language seems to have a kind of modesty, and obscures itself in the presence of the thought.
Yet the rhythmical element is easily detected when looked for, especially in the form of euphony, harmony, and alliteration. Instances of the first we note in "tranquil and familiar majesty ; ""while Ernest had been growing up and growing old a bountiful Providence had granted a new poet to this earth;" "weary of the turmoil of a military life, and of the roll of the drum and the clangor of the trumpet; "rolled their thunder accents from one end of the valley to the other;" "a family of lofty mountains; "rumbled; "warbled; and so forth, at pleasure. In "rumbled" and "warbled etic quality.
we have, also, the onomatopo
Harmony, which is to the sentence what euphony is to
the word, is very distinctly marked. The sentences are short, and varied in structure, and set easily to the natural movement in breathing. Few selections can be found that are more restful in reading. At times the sentences become quite positively harmonious; as, in the following: —
"His words had power, because they accorded with his thoughts; and his thoughts had reality and depth, because they harmonized with the life which he had always lived." "Now it happened that the poet, though he dwelt so far away, had not only heard of Ernest, but had meditated much upon his character, until he deemed nothing so desirable as to meet this man, whose untaught wisdom walked hand in hand with the noble simplicity of his life.” "While they talked together, his face would kindle unawares, and shine upon them, as with a mild evening light." "So the people ceased to honor him during his lifetime, and quietly consigned him to forgetfulness after his decease."
The last is a good example of the balanced sentence; while the second illustrates harmony in the cadence. The variety in the length and pauses of the sentences should be pointed out, as forming a kind of harmony of the whole.
Alliteration drops in now and then with good effect; as, assisting her much with his little hands, and more with his loving heart; "bulky-bottomed ships; war-worn veteran; ""old man of the mountain;""they made reverend wrinkles across his forehead, and furrows in his cheeks." It should noted that the alliterative words are just the words to express the idea; the alliteration seems to be accidental. When a word seems to be chosen just for the sound the alliteration offends good taste. This principle holds rigidly in all the formal matters of language. The balanced sentence, which seems to be balanced merely for the sound, gives bondage to the thought for the freedom of the sound, and the loss is far greater than the gain.
All these are small matters, of course, but they are essen