It is possible that a search among the papers he has left, may bring to light a few other fugitive pieces, which will, in such event, as the Poem succeeding this Dialogue, be published in these pages.
To the end that the Author’s scheme may be, as far as is now possible, understood and appreciated, we subjoin, in his own words, some explanation of his further intent, and of the views and feelings which guided him in the composition of the dialogue:
“I have adopted the form of dialogue for several, to me, cogent reasons; 1st, because it gives the writer the power of exhibiting the question, Art, on all its sides; 2nd, because the great phases of Art could be represented idiosyncratically; and, to make this clear, I have named the several speakers accordingly; 3rd, because dialogue secures the attention; and, that secured, deeper things strike, and go deeper than otherwise they could be made to; and, 4th and last, because all my earliest and most delightful pleasures associate themselves with dialogue,—(the old dramatists, Lucian, Walter Savage Landor, &c.)
“You will find that I have not made one speaker say a thing on purpose for another to condemn it; but that I make each one utter his wisest in the very wisest manner he can, or rather, that I can for him.
“The further continuation of this 1st dialogue embraces the question Nature, and its processes, invention and imitation,—imitation chiefly. Kosmon begins by showing, in illustration of the truth of Christian’s concluding sentences, how imperfectly all the Ancients, excepting the Hebrews, loved, understood, or felt Nature, &c. This is not an unimportant portion of Art knowledge.
“I must not forget to say that the last speech of Kosmon will be answered by Christian when they discourse of imitation. It properly belongs to imitation; and, under that head, it can be most effectively and perfectly confuted. Somewhat after this idea, the “verticalism” and “involution” will be shown to be direct from Nature; the gilding, &c., disposed of on the ground of the old piety using the most precious materials as the most religious and worthy of them; and hence, by a very easy and probable transition, they concluded that that which was most soul-worthy, was also most natural.”]
Dialogue I., in the House of Kalon
Kalon. Welcome, my friends:—this day above all others; to-day is the first day of spring. May it be the herald of a bountiful year,—not alone in harvests of seeds. Great impulses are moving through man; swift as the steam-shot shuttle, weaving some mighty pattern, goes the new birth of mind. As yet, hidden from eyes is the design: whether it be poetry, or painting, or music, or architecture, or whether it be a divine harmony of all, no manner of mind can tell; but that it is mighty, all manners of minds, moved to involuntary utterance, affirm.