Page:Margaret Fuller by Howe, Julia Ward, Ed. (1883).djvu/88

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suggested themselves to her mind in rapid succession. “The sweep of her speech became grand," says Mr. Channing. Her eloquence was direct and vigorous. Her wide range of reading supplied her with ready and copious illustrations. The common-place became original from her way of treating it. She had power to analyze, power'to sum up. Her use of language had a rhythmic charm. She was sometimes grandiloquent, sometimes excessive in her denunciation of popular evils and abuses, but her sincerity of purpose, her grasp of thought and keenness of apprehension, were felt throughout.

The source of these and similar sibylline manifestations is a subtle one. Such a speaker, consciously or unconsciously, draws much of her inspiration from the minds of those around her. Each of these in a measure affects her, while she still remains mistress of herself. Her thought is held by the general sympathy, which she suddenly lifts to a height undreamed of before. She divines what each most purely wishes, most deeply lopes; and so her words reveal to those present not only their own unuttered, thoughts, but also the higher significance and completeness which she is able to give to these thoughts under the seal of her own conviction. These fleeting utterances, alas ! are lost, like the leaves swept of old from the sibyl's cave. But as souls are, after all, the most permanent facts that we know of, who shall say that one breath of them is wasted.

Young hearts to-lay, separated from the time we speak of by two or three generations, may still keep the generous thrill which Margaret awakened in the bosom of a grandmother, herself then in the bloom of youth. Books, indeed, are laid away and forgotten,