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under the cover of a superficial and transitory show, where it would be ruinous to produce the plan, 'I have always avoided falling into this inconvenience. Simpliciora militares decent.' But as he appears, after all, to have had no military weapon with which to sustain that straight-forwardness of speech which is becoming in a military power, and no dagger to pursue his points with, some artifice, though he professes not to like it, may be necessary, and the rule which he here specifies is, on the whole, perhaps, not altogether amiss. “'Tis enough that I have promised to myself never to take upon me to speak in a place where I owe respect; for as to that sort of speaking where a man reads his speech, besides that it is very absurd, it is a mighty disadvantage to those who naturally could give it a grace by action, and to rely upon the mercy of the readiness of my invention, I will much less do it; 'tis heavy and perplexed, and such as would never furnish me in sudden and important necessities.'
Speaking,' he says in another place, hurts and discomposes me, - my voice is loud and high, so that when I have gone to whisper some great person about an affair of consequence, they have often had to moderate my voice. This story deserves a place here.
• Some one in a certain Greek school was speaking loud as I do. The master of the ceremonies sent to him to speak lower. • Tell him then, he must send me,' replied the other, the tone he would have me speak in.' To which the other replied,
that he should take the tone from the ear of him to whom he spake. It was well said, if it be understood. Speak according to the affair you are speaking about to the auditor, (speak according to the business you have in hand, to the purpose you have to accomplish)—for if it mean, it is sufficient that he hears you, I do not find it reason. It is a more artistic use of speech that he is proposing in his new science of it, for as Lord Bacon has it, who writes as we shall see on this same subject, 'the proofs and persuasions of rhetoric ought to differ according to the auditors,' and the Arts of Rhetoric have for their legitimate end, 'not merely PROOF, but much more,
IMPRESSION.' 'For many forms are equal in signification which are differing in impression, as the difference is great in the piercing of that which is sharp, and that which is flat, though the strength of the percussion be the same; for instance, there is no man but will be a little more raised, by hearing it said, • Your enemies will be glad of this,' than by hearing it said only, ' This is evil for you. But it is thus that our Gascon proceeds, whose comment on his Greek story we have interrupted. • There is a voice to flatier, there is a voice to instruct, and a voice to reprehend. I would not only have my voice to reach my hearer, but peradventure that it strike and pierce him. When I rate my footman in a sharp and bitter tone, it would be very fine for him to say, 'Pray master, speak lower, for I hear you very well.' Speaking is half his that speaks, and half his that hears; the last ought to prepare himself to receive it, according to its motion, as with tennis players; he that receives the ball, shifts, draws back, and prepares himself to receive it, according as he sees him move, who strikes the stroke, and according to the stroke itself.' It is not, therefore, because this author has failed to furnish the rules of interpretation necessary for penetrating to the ultimate intention of this new kind of speaking, if all this affectation of simplicity, and all these absurd contradictory statements of his, have been suffered hitherto to pass unchallenged. It is the public mind he has to deal with. That which he adores in kings is the throng of their adorers. If he should take the public at once into his confidence, and tell them beforehand precisely what his own opinions were of things in general, if he should set before them in the outset the conclusions to which he proposed to drive them, he might indeed stand some chance to have his arguments interrupted, or changed with a magisterial authority; he would indeed find it necessary to pursue his philosophical points with a dagger in his hand.
And besides, this dogmatical mode of teaching does not appear to him to secure the ends of teaching. He wishes to rouse the human mind to activity, to compel it to think for
itself, and put it on the inevitable road to his conclusions. He wishes the reader to strike out those conclusions for him. self, and fancy himself the discoverer if he will. So far from being simple and straightforward, his style is in the profoundest degree artistic, for the soul of all our modern art inspired it. He thinks it does no good for scholars to call out to the active world from the platform of their last conclusions. The truths which men receive from those didactic heights remain foreign to them. We want medicines to arouse the sense,' says Lord Bacon, who proposed exactly the method of teaching which this philosopher had, as it would seem, already adopted. 'I bring a trumpet to awake his ear, to set his sense on the attentive bent, and then to speak,' says that poet who best put this art in practice.
But here it is the prose philosopher who would meet this dull, stupid, custom-bound public on its own ground. He would assume all its absurdities and contradictions in his own person, and permit men to despise, and marvel, and laugh at them in him without displeasure. For whoever will notice carefully, will perceive that the use of the personal pronoun here, is not the limited one of our ordinary speech. Such an one will find that this philosophical I is very broad; that it covers too much to be taken in its literal acceptation. Under this term, the term by which each man names himself, the common term of the individual humanity, he finds it convenient to say many things. They that will fight custom with grammar,' he says, “are fools. When another tells me, or when I say to myself, This is a word of Gascon growth; this a dangerous phrase; this is an ignorant discourse; thou art too full of figures; this is a paradoxical saying; this is a foolish expression: thou makest thyself merry sometimes, and men will think thou sayest a thing in good earnest, which thou only speakest in jest. Yes, say I; but I correct the faults of inadvertence, not those of custom. I have done what I designed,' he says, in triumph. ‘All the world knows me in my book, and my book in ME.'
And thus, by describing human nature under that term, or
by repeating and stating the common opinions as his own, he is enabled to create an opposition which could not exist, so long as they remain unconsciously operative, or infolded in the separate individuality, as a part of its own particular form.
My errors are sometimes natural and incorrigible,' he says; 'but the good which virtuous men do to the public in making themselves imitated, 1, perhaps, may do in making my manners avoided. While I publish and accuse my own imperfections, somebody will learn to be afraid of them. The parts that I most esteem in myself, are more honoured in decrying than in commending my own manners. Pausanias tells us of an ancient player upon the lyre, who used to make his scholars go to hear one that lived over against him, and played very ill, that they might learn to hate his discords and false
The present time is fitting to reform us backward, more by dissenting than agreeing ; by differing than consenting? That is his application of his previous confession. And it is this present time that he impersonates, holding the mirror up to nature, and provoking opposition and criticism for that which was before buried in the unconsciousness of a common absurdity, or a common wrong. "Profiting little by good examples, I endeavour to render myself as agreeable as I see others offensive; as constant as I see others fickle; as good as I see others evil.'
* There is no fancy so frivolous and extravagant that does not seem to me a suitable product of the human mind. All such whimsies as are in use amongst us, deserve at least to be hearkened to; for my part, they only with me import inanity, but they import that. Moreover, vulgar and casual opinions are something more than nothing in nature.
• If I converse with a man of mind, and no flincher, who presses hard upon me, right and left, his imagination raises up mine. The contradictons of judgments do neither offend nor alter, they only rouse and exercise me. I could suffer myself to be rudely handled by my friends. • Thou art a fool; thou knowest not what thou art talking about.' When any one
contradicts me, he raises my attention, not my anger. I advance towards him that contradicts, as to one that instructs
I embrace and caress truth, in what hand soever I find it, and cheerfully surrender myself, and extend to it my conquered arms ; and take a pleasure in being reproved, and accommodate myself to my accusers [aside] (very often more by reason of civility than amendment); loving to gratify the liberty of admonition, by my facility of submitting to it, at my own expense. Nevertheless, it is hard to bring the men of my time to it. They have not the courage to correct, because they have not the courage to be corrected, and speak always with dissimulation in the presence of one another. I take so great pleasure in being judged and known, that it is almost indifferent to me in which of THE TWO FORMS I am so. My imagination does so often contradict and condemn itself, that it is all one to me if another do it. The study of books is a languishing, feeble motion, that heats not, whereas conversation teaches and exercises at once. But what if a book could be constructed on a new principle, so as to produce the effect of conference - of the noblest kind of conference - so as to rouse the stupid, lethargic mind to a truly human activity — so as to bring out the common, human form, in all its latent actuality, from the eccentricities of the individual varieties? Something of that kind appears to be attempted here.
He cannot too often charge the attentive reader, however, that his arguments require examination. In conferences,' he says, “it is a rule that every word that seems to be good, is not immediately to be accepted. One must try it on all points, to see how it is lodged in the author: [perhaps he is not in earnest] for one must not always presently yield what truth or beauty soever seem to be in the argument.' A little delay, and opposition, the necessity of hunting, or fighting, for it, will only make it the more esteemed in the end. In such a style, • either the author must stoutly oppose it (that is, whatsoever beauty or truth is to be the end of the argument in order to challenge the reader] or draw back, under colour of not understanding it, (and so piquing the reader into a pursuit of