Изображения страниц
[ocr errors]

natural wo'ld, and brings before our | ly, like a man who has horribly feared eyes on its fairy.wings the genius which the day of judgment, and who yet has created it. Look now. Do you hoped to be saved with a shaking of ali not see ühe poet behind the crowd of his bones.” Again, when he saw Romo his creations? They have heralded his for the first time, he prostrated himself, approach. They have all shown some saying, “I salute thee, holy Re.ie .. what of him. Ready, impetuous, im- bathed in the blood of so many marpassioned, delicate, his genius is pure tyrs.” Imagine, if you may, the effect magination, touched more vividly and which the shameless paganism of the py slighter hings than ours. Hence Italian Renaissance had upon such a his style, blooming with exuberant mind, so loyal, so Christian. The 'mages loaded with exaggerated meta- beauty of art, the charm of a refined phors, whose strangeness is like inco- and sensuous existence, had taken no herence, whose wealth is superabun- hold upon him; he judged morals, and dant, the work of a mind, which, at the he judged them with his conscience .east incitement, produces too much only. He regarded this southern civiliand takes too wide leaps. Hence this zation with the eyes of a man of the involuntary psychology, and this terri- north, and understood its vices only, ble penetration, which instantaneously like Ascham, who said he had seen in perceiving all the effects of a situation, Venice “more libertie to sinne in ix and all the details of a character, con- dayes than ever I heard tell of in our centrates them in every response, and noble Citie of London in Ix yeare.” gives to a figure a relief and a coloring Like Arnold and Channing in the which create illusion. Hence our emo- present day, like all the men of Gertion and tenderness. We say to him, manic † race and education, he was as Desdemona to Othello : “ ['love thee horrified at this voluptuous life, now for the battles, sieges, fortunes thou reckless and now licentious, but always wast passed, and for the distressful | void of moral principles, given up to icroke that thy youth suffered." passions, enlivened by irony, caring

only for the present, destitute of belief in the infinite, with no other worship than that of visible beauty, no other object than the search after pleasure,

no other religion than the terrors of CHAPTER V.

imagination and the idolatry of the

eyes. The Christian Renaissance. “I would not,” said Luther after

wards, "for a hundred thousand florins I.

have gone without seeing Rome; I

should always have doubted whether I 'I would have my reader fully under- was not doing injustice to the Pope. stand,” says Luther in the preface to The crimes of Rome are incredible; no his complete works," that I have been one will credit so great a perversity a monk and a bigoted Papist, so intoxi- who has not the witness of his eyes, cated, or rather so swallowed up in ears, personal knowledge. .:: There papistical doctrines, that I was quite reigned all the villanies and infamies ready, if I had been able, to kill or pro all the atrocious crimes, in particulas cure the death of those who should blind, greed, contempt of God, perju have rejected : bedience to the Pope ries, sodomy. ... We Germans swill by so much as a syllable. I was not liquor enough to split us, whilst the all cold or all ice in the Pope's defence, Italians are sober. But they are the like Eckius and his like, who veritably most impious of men; they make a seemed to me to constitute themselves mock of true religion, they scorn the his defenders rather for their belly's rest of us Christians, because we be sake than because they looked at the matter seriously. More, to this day ed. Arber, 1870, first book, p. 83.

Roger Ascham, The Scholemaster (15702 they seem to mock at him, like Epicu

See in Corinne, Lord Nevil's judgment I for my part proceeded frank-rn the Italians.


[ocr errors]


eve everything in Scripture. come together freely, like us Germans There is a saying in Italy which they they do not allow strangers to speak make use of when they go to church: publicly with their wives: compared

Come and let us conform to the pop- with the Germans, they are altogether ular error.' 'If we were obliged,' they men of the cloister.” These hard say again, 'to believe in every word of words are weak compared with the God, we should be the most wretched facts.* Treasons, assassinations, tor. of men, and we should never be able to tures, open debauchery, the practice of have a moment's cheerfulness; we poisoning, the worst and most shameless must put a good face on it, and not be- outrages, are unblushingly and publicly licve every thing. This is what Leo tolerated in the open light of heaven. X. did, who, hearing a discussion as to In 1490, the Pope's vicar having forbid the immortality or mortality of the den clerics and laics to keep concubines, Boul, took the latter side. 'For,' said the Pope revoked the decree, “saying he, it would be terrible to believe in that that was not forbidden, because the a future state. Conscience is an evil life of priests and ecclesiastics was such beast, who arms man against himself.' that hardly one was to be found who did

The Italians are either epicure- not keep a concubine, or at least who ans or superstitious. The people fear had not a courtesan.” Cæsar Borgia St. Anthony and St. Sebastian more at the capture of Capua “chose forty than Christ, because of the plagues of the most beautiful women, whom he they send. This is why, when they kept for himself; and a pretty large want to prevent the Italians from com- number of captives were sold at a low mitting a nuisance anywhere, they price at Rome.” Under Alexander paint up St. Anthony with his fiery VI., "all ecclesiastics, from the great

Thus do they live in extreme est to the least, have concubines in the superstition, ignorant of God's word, place of wives, and that publicly. If not believing the resurrection of the God hinder it not,” adds the historian, Jesh, nor life everlasting, and fearing this corruption will pass to the monks only temporal evils. Their blasphemy and religious orders, although, to con. also is frightful, and the cruelty fess the truth, almost all the monaste: of their revenge is atrocious. When ries of the town have become bawdthey cannot get rid of their enemies houses, without anyone to speak in

ary other way, they lay ambush for against it.” With respect to Alexanthem in the churches, so that one man der VI., who loved his daughter cleft his enemy's head before the al- Lucretia, the reader may find in Burtar. ... There are often murders chard the description of the marvellous at funerals on account of inheritances. orgies in which he joined with Lucretia ... They celebrate the Carnival with ex- and Cæsar, and the enumeration of the treme impropriety and folly for several prizes which he distributed. Let the weeks, and they have made a custom of reader also read for himself the story various sins and extravagances at it, of the bestiality of Pietro Luigi Farnese, for they are men without conscience, the Pope's son, how the young and who live in open sin, and make light of upright Bishop of Fano died from his the marriage tie. We Germans, outrage, and how the Pope, speaking and other simple nations, are like a bare of this crime as “a youthful levity, clout; but the Italians are painted gave him in this secret bull " the fullest and speckled with all sorts of false absolution from all the penalties which spinions, and disposed still to embrace he might have incurred by human inmany worse. . Their fasts are more continence, in whatever shape or with splendid than our most sumptuous whatever cause. As to civil security, feasts. They dress extravagantly; Bentivoglio caused all the Marescotti where we spend a florin on our clothes, to be put to death; Hippolyto d'Este they put down ten florins to have a silk coat. When they (the Italians) See Corpus historicorum medii avi, G. are chaste, it is sodomy with them. Eccard, vol. ii.; Joh. Burchardi, high cham

berlain' to Alexander VI., Diarium, p. 2134 There is no society amongst them. Guicciardini, Del istoria l'Italia, p. 211, od No one trusts another; they do not | Panthéop Littéraire.




had his brother's eyes put out in his the Cicisbei, dense ignorance, and open presence; Cæsar Borgia killed his knavery, the shamelessness and the brother; murder is consonant with smartness of harlequins and rascals, their public manners, and excites no misery and vermin,-such is the issue wonder. A fisherman was asked why of the Italian Renaissance. Like the he had not informed the governor of old civilizations of Greece and Rome, * the town that he had seen a body like the modern civilizations of Prov. thrown into the water ; "he replied ence and Spain, like all southern civil that he had seen about a hundred izations, it hears in its bosom an irre bodies thrown into the water during mediable vice, a bad and false concep his lifei.ime in the same place, and that tion of man. The Germans of the no one had ever troubled himself about sixteenth century, like the Germans of

“ In our town," says an old his- the fourth century, have rightly judged torian,“ much murder and pillage was it; with their simple common sense, done by day and night, and hardly a with their fundamer tal honesty, they day passed but some one was killed.” have put their fingers on the secret Cæsar Borgia one day killed Peroso plague-spot. A society cannot be the Pope's favorite, between his arms founded only on the pursuit of pleas and under his cloak, so that the blood ure and power; a society can only be spurted up to the Pope's face. He founded on the respect for liberty and caused his sister's husband to be stab-justice. In order that the great human bed and then strangled in open day, on renovation which in the sixteenth centhe steps of the palace ; count, if you tury raised the whole of Europe might can, his assassinations. Certainly he and be perfected and endure, it was neceshis father, by their character, morals, sary that, meeting with another race, it complete, open and systematic wicked should develop another culture, and ness, have presented to Europe the two that from a more wholesome concep most successful images of the devil. To tion of existence it might educe a bet sum up in a word, it was on the model ter form of civilization. of this society, and for this society, that Machiavelli wrote his Prince. The

II. complete developrent of all the facul. ties and all the lusts of man, the com- sance, was born the Reformation. !!

Thus, side by side with the Renais plete destruction of all the restraints also was in fact a new birth, one in and all the shame of man, are the two harmony with the genius of the Gerdistinguishing marks of this grand and

manic peoples. The distinction be perverse culture.

To make man strong being, endowed with genius, al principles. Grosser and heavier

tween this genius and others is its not audacity, presence of mind, astute poli- more given to gluttony and drunken cy, dissimulation, patience, and to turn ness,t these nations are at the same all this power to the acquisition of every kind of pleasure, pleasures of the Scipione Rossi, on the convents of Tuscany at

of this degradation. See also the Mémoires of bcdy, of luxury, arts, literature, author. the close of the eighteenth century. ity; that is, to form and to set free an * From Homer to Constantine, the ancient admirable and formidable animal, very was the conquest and destruction of other f:eo

city was an association of freemen, whose aiz lustful and well armed, such was his object; and the effect, after a hundred Mémoires de la Margrave de Baireuta, gears, is visible. They tore one an- See also Misson, Voyage en Italie, 1700. other to pieces like beautiful lions and Compare the manners of the students at the

present day. “The Germans are, as you know, superb panthers. In this society, which wonderful drinkers: no people in the world was turned into an arena, amid so are more flattering, more civil, more officious ; many hatreds, and when exhaustion was but yet they have terrible customs in the matsetting in, the foreigner appeared : all done drinking they drink , doing every

ter of drinking. With them every thing is bent beneath his lash; they were thing. There was not time during a visit to caged, and thus they pine away, in dull say three words, before you were astonished to pleasures, with low vices, bowing their see

the collation arrive, or at least a few jugs backs.* Despotism, the Inquisition, bread, dished up with pepper and salt; a fatal

of wine, accompanied by a plate of crus's of Sec, in Casanova's Mémoires, the picture preparation for bad drinkers. Then you must




[ocr errors]

time more ur der the influence of con- | honored by others, honored by him science, firmer in the observance of self; and if so be that he needs assist their word, more disposed to self-de- ance, he knows that at the first appeal nial and sacrifice. Such their climate he will see his neighbors stand faith has made them, and such they have fully and bravely by his side. The continueu, from Tacitus to Luther, reader need only compare the pum trem Knox to Gustavus Adolphus and traits of the time, those of Italy ar.g Kant. In the course of time, and be Germany; he will comprehend at å neath the incessant action of the ages, glance the two races and the two civ the phlegmatic body, fed on coarse ilizations, the Renaissance and this food and strong drink, had become Reformation : on one side a half-nakei rusty, the nerves less excitable, the condottiere in Roman costume, a car muscles less strung, the desires less dinal in his robes, amply draped, ir seconded by action, the life more dull a rich arm-chair, carved and adorn and slow, the soul more hardened and ed with heads of lions, foliage, dancing indifferent to the shocks of the body: fauns, he himself full of irony, and vo mud, rain, snow, a profusion of un- luptuous, with the shrewd and dan pleasing and gloomy sights, the want gerous look of a politician and man of of lively and delicate excitements of the world, craftily poised and on his the senses, keep man in a militant atti- guard ; on the other side, some honest tude. Heroes in the barbarous ages, doctor, a theologian, a simple man, with workers to-day, they endure weariness badly combed locks, stiff as a post, in now as they courted wounds then; his simple gown of coarse black serge, now, as then, nobility of soul appeals with big books of dogma ponderously to them; thrown back upon the enjoy- clasped, a conscientious worker, an ex. ments of the soul, they find in these a emplary father of a family. See now world, the world of moral beauty. For the great artist of the age, a laborious them the ideal is displaced; it is no and conscientious workman, a follower longer amidst forms, made up of force of Luther's, a true Northman-Albert and joy, but it is transferred to senti. Durer.* He also, like Raphael and ments, made up of truth, uprightness, Titian, has his ideal of man, an inexattachment to duty, observance of or- haustible ideal, whence spring by hunder. What matters it if the storm dreds living figures and the representarages and if it snows, if the wind blus- tions of manners, but how national and ters in the black pine-forests or on the original! He cares not for expansive wan sea-surges where the sea-gulls and happy beauty: to him nude bodies scream, if a man, stiff and blue with are but bodies undressed: narrow shoui. cold, shutting himself up in his cottage, ders, prominent stomachs, thin legs, feet have but a dish of sourkrout or a piece weighed down by shoes, his neighbor the of salt beef, under his smoky light and carpenter's, or his gossip the sausage. beside his fire of turf; another king. seller's. The heads stand out in his dom opens to reward him, the king- etchingș, remorselessly scraped ani dom of inward contentment: his wife scooped away, savage or commonplace, loves him and is faithful; his children often wrinkled by the fatigues of trade, round his hearth spell out the old fam- generally sad, anxious, and patient, py Bible; he is the master in his harshly and wretchedly transformed by kome, the protector, the benefactor, the necessities of realistic life. Where

is the vista out of this minute copy oj xcome acquainted with the laws which are ugly truth? 10 what land will the afterwards observed, sacred and inviolable laws. You must never drink without drinking lofty and melancholy imagination be to some one's health ; also, after drinking, you take itself ? The land of dreams must offer the wine to him whose health you strange dreams swarming with deep have drunk. You must never refuse the glass thoughts, sad contemplation of human which is offered to you, and you must naturally drain it to its last drop. Reflect a little, I be destiny, a vague notion of the great Beech you, on these customs, and see how it is enigma, groping reflection, which in the possible to cease drinking ; accordingly, they dimness of the rough wood-cuts, amidst dever cease. In Germany it is a perpetuai drinking boat ; tr drink in Germany is to drink * See his letters, and the sympathy expressed

for Luther.



obscure emblen's and fantastic figures, under the lash the breast of a hill, and tries to seize upon truth and justice. they are hurled from the crest at the There was no need to search so far ; lance's point into the abyss ; he e and Durer had grasped them at the first there roll heads, lifeless bodies; and effort. If there is any decency in the by the side of those who are teing world, it is in the Madonnas which are decapitated, the swollen corpses, im. constantly springing to life under his paled, await the croaking ravene All pencil. He did not begin, like Raphael, these sufferings must be undergone for by making them nude ; the most licen- the confession of faith and the establish. tious hand would not venture to dis- ment of justice. But above there is a turb one stiff fold of their robes ; with guardian, 'an avenger, an all-powerful an infant in their arms, they think but Judge, whose day shall come. This of him, and will never think of anybody day has come, and the piercing rays of else but him; not only are they inno- the last sun already flash, like ; handcent, but they are virtuous. The good ful of darts, across the darkness of the German housewife, forever shut up, age. High up in the heavens appears voluntarily and naturally, within her the angel in his shining robe, leading the domestic duties and contentment, ungovernable hc:semen, the flashing breathes out in all the fundamental swords, the inevitable arrows of the sincerity, the seriousness, the unassaila. avengers, who are to trample upon and ble loyalty of their attitudes and looks. punish the earth; mankind falls down He has done more; with this peaceful beneath their charge, and already the virtue he has painted a militant virtue. jaw of the infernal monster grinds the There at last is the genuine Christ, the head of the wicked prelates This is man crucified, lean and fleshless through the popular poem of consc ence, and his agony, whose blood tri-kles minute from the days of the apostles, man has by minute, in rarer drops, as the fee- not had a more sublime and complete bler and feebler pulsations give warır | conception.* ing of the last throe of a dying life For conscience, like other things, has We do not find here, as in the Italian | its poem ; by a natural invasion the masters, a sight to charm the eyes, all-powerful idea of justice overflows a mere fow of drapery, a disposition from the soul, covers heaven, and of groups.

The heart, the very heart enthrones there a new deity. A formiis wounded by this sight: it is the dable deity, who is scarcely like the just man oppressed who is dying be- calm intelligence which serves philoso cause the world hates justice. The phers to explain the order of things ; mighty, the men of the age, are there, nor to that tolerant deity, a kind of indifferent, full of irony : a plumed constitutional king, whom Voltaire disknight, a big-bellied burgomaster, who covered at the end of a chain of arguwith hands folded behind his back, ment, whom Béranger sings of as of a looks on, kills an hour. But the rest comrade, and whom he salutes weep; above the fainting women, an- lui demander rien.” It is the just gels full of anguish catch in their ves- Judge, sinless and stern, who demands sels the holy blood as it trickles down, of man a strict account of his visible and the stars of heaven veil their actions and of all his invisible feelings, face not to behold so tremendous an who tolerates no forgetfulness, no de. outrage. Other outrages will also be jection, no failing, before whom every represented ; tortures manifold, and approach to weakness or error is an the true martyrs beside the true Christ, outrage and a treason. What is our resigned, silent, with the sweet expres- justice before this strict justice ? L'eo. sion of the earliest believers. They are ple lived in peace in the times of ignobound to an old tree, and the execu- rance ; at most, when they felt them. tioner tears them with his iron pointed selves guilty, they went for absolution lash. A bishop with clasped hands is to a priest; all was ended by their praying, lying down, whilst an auger is buying a big indulgence; there was a being screwed into his eye. Above

[ocr errors]


* See a collection of Albert Durer's wood amid the interlacing trees and gr arled

carvings. Remar) the resemblance of his roots. a hand of men and women. climb | 4 tera puse in Limited Table Talk


« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »