« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
in his breath, with fixed gaze, beholds :evealed beneath them, and that is a the universe vanishing like a smoke in soul. An inner man is concealed be the universal void of Being into which neath the outer man; the second does he hupes to be absorbed. To this end but reveal the first. You look at his a voyage to India would be the best house, furniture, dress; and that in instructor; or for want of better, the order to discover in them the marks of accounts of travellers, books of ge- his habits and tastes, the degree of his ography, botany, ethnology, will serve refinement or rusticity, his extravagance their turn. In each case the search or his economy, his stupidity or his must be the same. Language, legisla- acuteness. You listen to his convertion, creeds, are only abstract things: sation, and you note the inflexions of his che complete thing is the ran who acts, voice, the changes in nis attitudes; and che man corporeal and visible, who that in order to judge of his vivacity, eats, walks, fights, labors. Leave aside his self-forgetfulness or his gayety, his the theory and the mechanism of con- energy or his constraint. You consider stitutions, religions and their systems, his writings, his artistic productions, and try to see men in their workshops, his business transactions or political in their offices, in their fields, with their ventures; and that in order to measure sky and soil, their houses, their dress, the scope and limits of his intelligence, cultivations, meals, as you do when, his inventiveness, his coolness, to find Janding in England or Italy, you look out the order, the character, the general at faces and motions, roads and inns, force of his ideas, the mode in which a citizen taking his walk, a workman he thinks and resolves. All these exdrinking. Our great care should be to ternals are but avenues converging tosupply as much as possible the want wards a centre ; you enter them simply of present, personal, direct, and sen- in order to reach that centre; and that sible observation which we can no centre is the genuine man, I mean that longer practise ; for it is the only mass of faculties and feelings which means of knowing men. Let us make are the inner man. We have reached the past present: in order to judge of a new world, which is infinite, because a thing, it must be before us ; there is every action which we see involves an no experience in respect of what is ab infinite association of reasonings, emosent. Doubtless this reconstruction is tions, sensations new and old, which always incomplete ; it can produce only have served to bring it to light, and incomplete judgments; but that we which, like great rocks deep-seated in cannot help. It is better to have an the ground, find in it their end and imperfect knowledge than none at all; their level. This underworld is a new and there is no other means of ac- subject matter, proper to the historian. quainting ourselves approximately with If his critical education is sufficient, he the events of other days, than to see ap- can lay bare, under every detail of proximately the men of other days. architecture, every stroke in a picture,
This is the first step in history; it every phrase in a writing, the special was made in Europe at the revival of sensation whence detail, stroke, or imagination, toward the close of the phrase had issue ; he is present at the last century, by Lessing and Walter drama which was enacted in the soul Scott; a little later in France, by of artist or writer; the choice of a Chateaubriand, Augustin Thierry, word, the brevity or length of a sen. Michelet, and others. And now for the tence, the nature of a metaphor, the second step.
accent of a verse, the development of II.
an argument-every thing is a symbol
to him ; while his eyes read the text, When you consider with your eyes his soul and mind pursue the continuthe visible man, what do you look for? ous development and the everchanging The man invisible. The words which succession of the emotions and con enter your ears, the gestures, the mo- ceptions out of which the text has tions of his head, the clothes he wears, sprung: in short, he works out its psy visible acts and deeds of every kind, chology. If you would observe this are expressions merely ; somewhat is operation, consider the originator and
model of all grand contemporary cul- , with about a hundred meagre letters ture, Goethe, who, before writing Iphi- and a score of mutilated speeches, we genia, employed day after day in mak. may follow him from his farm and ing drawings of the most finished stat team, to the general's tent and to the ues, and who at last, his eyes filled with Protector's throne, in his transmutation the noble forms of ancient scenery, his and development, in his pricks of conmind penetrated by the harmonious science and his political sagacity, until loveliness of antique life, succeeded in the machinery of his mind and actions reproducing so exactly in himself the becomes visible, and the inner tragedy habi':s and peculiarities of the Greek | ever changing and renewed, which ex imagination, that he gives us almost the ercised this great, darkling soul, passes, twin sister of the Antigone of Sopho, like one of Shakspeare's, through the lies, and the goddesses of Phidias soul of the looker-on. He wil see (in This precise and proved interpretation the other case) how, behind the squabof past sensations has given to history, bles of the monastery, or the contuma. in our days, a second birth ; hardly i cies of nuns, he may find a great provany thing of the sort was known to the ince of human psychology; how about preceding century. They thought men fifty characters, that' nad been buried of every race and century were all but under the uniformity of a circumspect identical ; the Greek, the barbarian, narrative, reappear in the light of day. the Hindoo, the man of the Renais. cach with its own specialty and its sance, and the man of the eighteenth countless diversities; how, beneath century, as if they had been turned out theological disquisitions and monotoof a common mould ; and all in con- nous sermons, we can unearth the beat formity to a certain abstract concep- ings of living hearts, the convulsions tion, which served for the whole human and apathies of monastic life, the un. race.. They knew man, but not men; foreseen reassertions and wavy turthey had not penetrated to the soul ; moil of nature, the inroads of surthey had not seen the infinite diversity rounding worldliness, the intermittent and marvellous complexity of souls'; victories of grace, with such a variety they did not know that the moral con- of lights and shades, that the most ex. stitution of a people or an age is as haustive description and the most elas. particular and distinct as the physical tic style can hardly gather the inexstructure of a family of plants or an haustible harvest, which the critic has order of animals. Now-a-days, history, caused to spring up on this abandoned like zoology, has found its anatomy; field. And so it is throughout. Ger. and whatever the branch of history to many, with its genius so pliant, so comwhich you devote yourself, philology, prehensive, so apt for transformation, linguistic lore, mythology, it is by these so well calculated to reproduce the means you must strive to produce new most remote and anomalous conditions fruit. Amid so many writers who, since of human thought; England, with its the time of Herder, Ottfried Müller, and intellect so precise, so well calculated Goethe, have continued and still im to grapple closely with moral questions, prove this great method, let the read. to render them exact by figures, weights er consider only two historians and and measures, geography, statistics, by Wo works, Carlyle's Cromwell, and quotation and by common sense ; Sainte - Beuve's Port-Royal : he will | France, with her Parisian culture, see with what fairness, exactness, depth with her drawing-room manners, with af insight, a man may discover a soul her untiring analysis of characters and beneath its actions and its works; how actions, her irony so ready to hit upon behind the old general, in place of a a weakness, her finesse so practised vulgar hypocritical schemer, we re in the discrimination of shades of cover a man troubled with the obscure thought ;-all have worked the same reveries of a melancholic imagination soil, and we begin to understand that but with practical instincts and facul there is no region of history where it is ties, English to the core, strange and not imperative to till this deep level, incomprehensible to one who has no if we would see a serviceable harvesi studied the climate and the race; how rise between the furrows.
This is the second step; we are in a cause, the idea of ruman conduct ir fair way to its completion. It is the | all its comprehensiveness, internal and at work of the contemporary critic. external, prayers, actions, duties o! No one has done it so justly and grand- every kind which man owes to God, iy as Sainte-Beuve : in this respect we it is this which has enthroned the doc. are all his pupils; his method has trine of grace, lowered the status of revolutionized, in our days, in books, the clergy, transformed the sacraments, and even in newspapers, every kind of suppressed various practices, and iiterary, of philosophical and religious changed religion from a discipline to criticism. From it we must set out in morality. This second idea in its order to begin the further develop turn depends upon a third still more ment. I have more than once endea general, that of moral perfection, such vored to indicate this development; as is met with in the perfect God, the there 's here, in my mind, a new path unerring judge, the stern watcher of open to history, and I will try to de- souls, before whom every soul is sin, scribe it more in detail.
ful, worthy of punishment, incapable of
virtue or salvation, except by the pow. III.
er of conscience which He calls forth,
and the renewal of heart which He When you have observed and noted produces. That is the master idea, in man one, two, three, then a multi- which consists in erecting duty into an tude of sensations, does this suffice, or absolute king of human life, and in doe your knowledge appear com- prostrating all ideal models before a plete ? Is Psychology only a series of moral model. Here we track the root observations?
here else- of man; for to explain this conception where we must search out the causes it is necessary to consider the race itafter we have collected the facts. No self, the German and Northman, the matter if the facts be physical or mor- structure of his character and mind, al, they all have their causes; there is his general processes of thought and a causé for ambition, for courage, for feeling, the sluggishness and coldness truth, as there is for digestion, for mus- of sensation which prevent his falling cular movement, for animal heat. Vice easily and headlong under the sway of and virtue are products, like vitriol pleasure, the bluntness of his taste, the and sugar; and every complex phenom- irregularity and revolutions of his conenon arises from other more simple ception, which arrest in him the birth phenomena on which it hangs. Let of fair dispositions and harmonious us then seek the simple phenomena for forms, the disdain of appearances, the moral qualities, as we seek them for desire for truth, the attachment to bare physical qualities; and let us take the and abstract ideas, which develop in first fact that presents itself: for ex- him conscience, at the expense of all ample, religious music, that of a Pro- else. There the search is at an end; testant Church. There is an inner we have arrived at a primitive disposi cause which has turned the spirit of tion; at a feature peculiar to all the the faithful toward these grave and sensations, and to all the conceptions monotonous melodies, a cause broader of a century or a race, at a particular. than its effect; I mean the general ity inseparable from all the motions of idea of the true, external worship his intellect and his heart, Here lic which man owes to God. It is this the grand causes, for they are the uniwhich has modelled the architecture of versal and permanent causes, present Protestant places of worship, thrown at every moment and in every case, down the statues, removed the pictures, everywhere and always acting, indedestroyed the ornaments, curtailed the structible, and finally infallibly supreme, ceremonies, shut up the worshippers since the accidents which thwart them, in high pews which prevent them from being limited and partial, end by yield. Beeing any thing, and regulated the ing to the dull and incessant repetition thousand details of decoration, posture, of their efforts ; in such a inanner that and general externals. This again the general structure of things, ar.d comes from another more general the grand features of er ents, are the in
work; and religions, philosophies, in the results. According as the rep poetries, industries, the framework of resentation is clear and as it were Bociety and of families, are in fact only punched out or confused and faintly the imprints stamped by their seal. defined, according as it embraces a
great or small number of the charac IV.
teristics of the object, according as it
is violent and accompanied by im. There is, then, a system in human pulses, or quiet and surrounded by sentiments and ideas : and this system calm, all the operations and processes has for its motive power certain gener- of the human machine are transformed al traits, certain characteristics of the So, again, according as the ulterior deintellect and the heart conmon to men velopment of the representation varies, of one race, age, or country. , As in the whole human development varies. mineralogy the crystals, however di- If the general conception in which it verse, spring from certain simple phys- results is a mere dry rictation (in ical forms, so in history, civilizations, Chinese fashion), language becomes however diverse, are derived from cer- sort of algebra, religion and poetry tain simple spiritual forms. The one dwindle, philosophy is reduced to a are expiained by a primitive geometri- kind of moral and practical common cal element, as the others are by a sense, science to a collection of utilitaprimitive psychological element. In rian formulas, classifications, mnemonorder to master the classification of ics, and the whole intellect takes a mineralogical systems, we must first positive bent. If, on the contrary, the consider a regular and general solid, general representation in which the its sides and angles, and observe in conception results is a poetical and this the numberless transformations of figurative creation, a living symbol, as vhich it is capable. So, if you would among the Aryan races, language realize the system of historical varie- becomes a sort of delicately-shaded ties, consider first a human soul gen- and colored epic poem, in which every erally, with its two or three fundamen- word is a person, poetry and religion tal faculties, and in this compendium assume a magnificent and inexhaustible you will perceive the principal forms grandeur, metaphysics are widely and which it can present. "After all, this subtly developed, without regard to kind of ideal picture, geometrical as positive applications; the whole inwell as psychological, is not very com- tellect, in spite of the inevitable deviaplex, and we speedily see the limits of tions and shortcomings of its effort, is the outline in which civilizations, like smitten with the beautiful and the crystals, are constrained to exist. sublime, and conceives an ideal capa
What is really the mental structure ble by its nobleness and its harmony of man? Images or representations of of rallying round it the tenderness and things, which float within him, exist for enthusiasm of the human race. If, a time, are effaced, and return again, again, the general conception in which after he has been looking upon a tree, an the representation results is poetical animal, any visible object. This is the but not graduated; if man arrives at subject-matter, the development where it not by an uninterrupted gradation. of is double, either speculative or prac- but by a quick intuition; if the originals tical, according as the representations operation is not a regular development, resolve themselves into a general con- but a violent explosion,—then, as with ception or an active resolution. Here the Semitic races, metaphysics are we have the whole of man in an absent, religion conceives God only abridgment; and in this limited circle as a king solitary and devouring, human diversities meet, sometimes in science cannot grow, the intellect is too the womb of the primordial matter, rigid and unbending to reproduce the sometimes in the twofold primorcial delicate operations of nature, poetry development. However minute in can give birth only to vehement and their elements, they are enormous in grandiose exclamations, language can. the aggregate, and the least alteration not unfold the web of argument and of in the factors produces vast alteration | eloquence, man is reduced to a lyric en
thusiasnı, an unchecked passion, a unique direction the whole mora. and fanatical ard limited action. In this social constitution. In each case the interval between the particular repre- mechanism of human history is tho sentation and the universal conception same We continually find, as the are found the germs of the greatest original mainspring, some very general numan differences. Some races, as disposition of mind and sou., innate the classical, pass from the first to the and appended by nature to the race, or second by a graduated scale of ideas, acquited and produced by some circumregularly arranged, and general by stance acting upon the race. These degrees; others, as the Germanic, mainsprings, once admitted, produce traverse the same ground by leaps, their effect gradually: I mean tha: without uniformity, after vague and after some centuries they bring the prolonged groping. Some, like the nation into a new condition, religious, Romans and English, halt at the first literary, social, economic; a steps; others, like the Hindoos and condition which, combined with their Germans, mount to the last. If, again, renewed effort, produces another conafter considering the passage from the dition, sometimes good, sometimes bad, representation to the idea, we consider sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly, that from the representation to the res- and so forth; so that we may regard olution, we find elementary differences the whole progress of each distinct of the like importance and the like civilization as the effect of a permaorder, according as the impression is nent force which, at every stage, varies sharp, as in southern climates, or dull, its operation by modifying the circum. as in northern; according as it results stances of its action. in instant action, as among barbarians, or slowly, as in civilized nations; as it
V. is capable or not of growth, inequality, persistence, and relations. The whole Three different sources contribute to network of human passions, the chances produce this elementary moral stateof peace and public security, the sources race, surroundings, and epoch. What of labor and action, spring from hence. we call the race are the innate and Such is the case with all primordial hereditary, dispositions which differences: their issues embrace an brings with him into the world, and entire civilization; and we may com- which, as a rule, are united with the pare them to those algebraical formu- marked differences in the temperament las which, in a narrow limit, contain in and structure of the body. They vary advance the whole curve of which they with various peoples. There is a nat. form the law. Not that this law is ural variety of men, as of oxen and always developed to its issue ; there horses, some brave and intelligent, some are perturbing forces; but when it is timid and dependent, some capable of so, it is not that the law was false, but superior conceptions and creations, that it was not single. New elements some reduced to rudimentary ideas and become mingled with the old; great inventions, some more specially fitted forces from without counteract the to special works, and gifted more richly primitive. The race emigra es, like with particular instincts, as we meet wit' the Aryan, and the change of climate species of dogs better favored thar has altes ed in its case the whole econo- others,—these for coursing, those for my, intelligence, and organization of fighting, those for hunting, these again Bociety. The people has een con- for house dogs or shepherds' dogs. quered, like the Saxon nation, and a We have here a distinct force, --so disnew political structure has imposed on tinct, that amidst the vast deviations it customs, capacities, and inclinations which the other two motive forces prowhich it had not. The nation has in- duce in him, one can recognize it still stalled itself in the midst of a conquer- and a race, like the old Aryans, scated people, downtrodden and threat- tered from the Ganges as far as the ening, like the ancient Spartans; and Hebrides, settled in every clime, and the necessity of living like troops in every stage of civilization, transformed the field has violently distorted in an by thirty centuries of revolutions, never