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we can heal at present is our intellect; | is right he should be what he is. His we have no hold upon our feelings. innate imperfection is in order, like the But we have a right to conceive for constant abortion of a stamen in a others the hopes which we no longer plant, like the fundamental irregularity entertain for ourselves, and to prepare of four facets in a crystal. What we for our descendants the happiness took for a deformity, is a form; what which we shall never enjoy. Brought seemed to us a subversion of a law, is up in a mor: wholesome air, they will the accomplishment of a law. Human hive, mayha, a wholesomer heart. reason and virtue have for their founThe reformation of ideas ends by re- dation instincts and animal images, as forming the rest, and the light of the living forms have for their instruments mind produces serenity of heart. Hith physical laws, as organic matters have erto, in our judgments on men, we have for their elements mineral substances taken for our masters the oracles and What wonder if virtue or human rea. poets, and like them we have received son, like living form or organic matter, for undoubted truths the noble dreams sometimes fails or decomposes, since, of our imagination and the imperious like them, and like every superior and suggestions of our heart. We have complex existence, they have for supbound ourselves to the partiality of re- port and control inferior and simple ligious divinations, and the inexactness forces, which, according to circumof literary divinations, and we have stances, now maintain it by their har. shaped our doctrines according to our mony, now mar it by their discord ? instincts and our vexations. Science | What wonder if the elements of exist. at last approaches, and approaches ence, like those of quantity, receive, man; it has gone beyond the visible from their very nature, the immutable and palpable world of stars, stones, laws which constrain and reduce them plants, amongst which man disdain- to a certain species and order of forfully confined her. It reaches the mation ? Who will rise up against heart provided with exact and pene- geometry? Who, especially, will rise trating implements, whose justness has up against a living geometry? Who been proved, and their reach measured will not, on the contrary, feel moved by three hundred years of experience. with admiration at the sight of those Thought, with its development and grand powers which, situated at the rank, its structure and relations, its heart of things, incessantly urge the deep material roots, its infinite growth blood through the limbs of the old through history, its lofty bloom at the world, disperse it quickly in the infi summit of things, becomes the object of nite network of arteries, and spread science,
, -an object which, sixty years over the whole surface the eternal ago, it foresaw in Germany, and which, flower of youth and beauty? Who, slowly and surely probed, by the same finally, will not feel himself ennobled, methods as the physical world, will be when he finds that this pile of laws re transformed before our eyes, as the sults in a regular series of forms, that physical world has been transformed. matter has thought for its goal, that It is already being transformed, and nature ends in reason, and that this we have let behind us the light in ideal to which, amidst so many erwhich Byron and the French poets had rors, all the aspirations of men cling, considered it. No, man is not an is also the end to which aim, amidsi abor ion or a monster; no, the busi- so many obstacles, all the forces of the aess of poetry is not to disgust or de- universe ? In this employment of fa ne him. He is in his place, and science, and in this conception of completes a chain. Let us watch him things, there is a new art, a new mor. grow and increase, and we shall cease ality, a new polity, a new religion, and to rail at or curse him. He, like every it is in the present time our task to hing else, is a product, and as such it try and discover them.
Christianity, which o stained a hold on
them by the grea mess of its biblical The Past and the Prescut. tragedies and the troubled sadness of
its aspirations, dià not bring to them a $ 1.
Latin civilization: this remained out
side, hardly accepted by a few great I.
men, deformed, when it did enter, by
the difference between the Ronian and HAVING reached the limits of this long Şaxon genius—always altered and re. review, we can now survey as a whole duced; so much so, that for the men of the aggregate of English civilization: the Continent these islanders were but every thing is connected there : a few illiterate dullards, drunkards, and primitive powers and circumstances gluttons; at all events, savage and have produced the rest, and we have slow by mood and nature, rebel'ious only to pursue their continuous action against culture, and sluggish deve op in order to comprehend the nation and ment. its history, its past and its present. At The empire of this worl: belongs to the beginning and far away in the force. These people were conquered region of causes, comes the race. A forever and permanently,--conquered whole people, Angles and Saxons, de. by Normans, that is, by Frenchmen stroyed, drove away, or enslaved the more clever, more quickly cultivated old inhabitants, wiped out the Roman and organized than they. This is the culture, settled by themselves and un- great event which was to complete their mixed, and, amongst the later Danish character, decide their history, and pirates, only encountered a new rein- stamp upon character and history an forcement of the same blood. This is impress of the political and practical the primitive stock: from its substance spirit which separates them from other and innate properties is to spring almost German nations. Oppressed, enclosed the whole future growth. At this time in the unyielding meshes of Norman and as they then were, alone in their organization, they were not destroyed island, the Angles and Saxons attained although they were conquered, they a development such as it was, rough, were on their own soil, each with his brutal, and yet solid. They ate and friends and in his tithings; they formed drank, built and cleared the land, and, a body; they were yet twenty times in particular, multiplied: the scattered more numerous than their conquerors. tribes who crossed the sea in leather Their situation and their necessities boats, became a strong compact na- create their habits and their aptitudes. tion,--three hundred thousand fami- They endure, protest, struggle, resist lies, rich, with store of cattle, abun- together and unanimously; strive todantly provided with corporal subsist- day, to-morrow, daily, not to be slain or ence, partly at rest in the security of plundered, to restore their old laws, to social life, with a king, respected and obtain or extort guarantees; and they frequent assemblies, good judicial cus- gradually acquire patience, judgment, toms : here, amidst the fire and vehe all the faculties and inclinations by
of barbarian temperament, which liberties are maintained and the old Germanic fidelity held men to states are founded. By a singular good gether, whilst the old Germanic inde fortune, the Norman lords assist them pendence, held them upright. In all in this ; for the king, has secu:ed to else they barely advanced. A few himself so much, and is so formidable, fragmentary songs, an epic in which that, in order to repress the great still are to be found traces of the war. pillager, the lesser ones are forced to like excitement of ancient barbarism, make use of their Saxon subjects, to gloomy hymns, a harsh and fierce ally themselves with them, to give poetry, sometim:s sublime and always them a share in their charters, to ve rude,--this is all that remains of them. come their representatives, to admit In six centuries they had scarcely gone them into Parliarient, to leave them to one step beyond the manners and senti- labor freely, to grow rich, to acquire ments of their uncivilized Germany:1 pride, strength, auth-rity, to interfere
themselves in public affairs. possessions. Fancy a German from Thus, then, gradually the English na- Hamburg or Bremen confined for five tion, struck down by the Conquest to hundred years in the iron corslet of the ground, as if with a mace, extri- William the Conqueror : these two cates and raises itself ; five hundred natures, one innate, the other acquired, years and more being occupied in this constitute all the springs of his conre-elevation. But, during all this time, duct. So it was in other nations. Like leisure failed for refined and lofty cul. runners drawn up in line at the en. ture : it was needful to live and defend trance of the arena, we see at the themselves, lo dig the ground, spin epoch of the Renaissance the five great wool, practise the bow, attend public peoples of Europe start, though we are meetings, serve on juries, to contribute unable at first to foresee any thing of and argue for common interests : the their career. At first sight it seems as important and respected man is he who if accidents or circumstances will aluno knows how to fight well and to gain regulate their speed, their fall, and much money. It was the energetic and their success. It is not so: from them. warlike manners which were developed, selves alone their history depends : the active and positive spirit which each nation will be the artisan of its predominated; learning and elegance fortune; chance has no influence over were left to the Gallicized nobles of the events so vast; and it is national ten. court. When the valiant Saxon towns- dencies and faculties which, overturnfolk quitted bow and plough, it was to ing or raising obstacles, will lead them, feast copiously, or to sing the ballad of according to their fate, each one to its “Robin Hood.” They lived and acted; goal,- --some to the extreme of deca they did not reflect or write; their dence, others to the height of pros. national literature was reduced to frag- perity. After all, man is ever his own ments and rudiments, harpers' songs, master and his own slave. At the outtavern epics, a religious poem, a few set of every age he in a certain fashion books on religious reformation. Atis: his body, heart, mind have a disthe same time Norman literature faded; tinct structure and disposition: and separated from the stem, and on a from this lasting arrangement, which foreign soil, it languished in imitations; all preceding centuries have contributed only one great poet, almost French in to consolidate or to construct, spring mind, quite French in style, appeared, permanent desires or aptitudes, by and, after him, as before him, we find which he determines and acts. Thus helpless drivel. For the second time, is formed in him the ideal model, a civilization of five centuries became which, whether obscure or distinct, sterile in great ideas and works; this complete or rough-hewn, will hencestill more so than its neighbors, and for forth float before his eyes, rally all his a twofold reason,-because to the uni- aspirations, efforts, forces, and will versal impotence of the middle ages cause him to aim for centuries at onc was added the impoverishment of the effect, until at length, renewed by im. Conquest, and because of the two com- potence or success, he conceives a new ponent literatures, one, transplanted, goal, and assumes new energy. The became abortive, and the other, muti- Catholic and enthusiastic Spaniard lated, ceased to expand.
figures life like the Crusaders, lovers,
knights, and abandoning labor, liberty, II.
and science, casts himself, in the waks
of the inquisition and his king, into But amongst so many attempts and fanatical war, romanesque slothfulness, trials a character was formed, and the superstitious and impassioned obedi. rest was to spring from it. The bar- ence, voluntary and incurable igno barous age established on the soil a rance.* The theological and feudal German race, phlegmatic and grave, * See the Travels of Madame d'Aulnay in capable of spiritual emotions and moral Spain, at the end of the seventeenth century. discipline. The feudal age imposed on Nothing is more striking than this revolution this race habits of resistance and assonand the Catholic, namely, the reign of Henry
if we compare it with the times before Ferdi ciation, political and utilitarian pre- IV., the great power of the nobles, and the is
German settles in his district docilely what original conception is to fur.isha and faithfully under his petty chief, to this people its permanent and comi. through natural patience and hereditary nant poem? The harshest and most loyalty, engrossed by his wife and practical of all,--that of the Puritans, household, content to have conquered which, neglecting speculation, falls religious liberty, clogged by the dulness back upon action, encioses human life of his temperament in gross physical in a rigid discipline, imposes on the existence, and in sluggish respect for soul continuous efforts, prescribes to established order. The Italian, the society a cloistral austerity, forbids most richly gifted and precocious of pleasure, commands action, exacts all, but, of all, ihe most incapable of sacrifice, and forms a moralist, a yo'ıntary discipline and moral auster- laborer, a citizen. Thus is it implanted, ity, turns towards the fine arts and the great English ideaI mean the vo?uptuousness, declines, deteriorates conviction that man is before all a free deneath foreign rule, takes life at its and moral personage, and that, having easiest, forgetting to think, and satisfied conceived alone in his conscience and to enjoy. The sociable and levelling before God the rule of his conduct, he Frenchman rallies round his king, who must employ himself entirely in apply. secures for him public peace, external ing it within himself, beyond himself, glory, the splendid display of a sump- obstinately, inflexibly, by offering a tuous cuurt, a regular administration, a perpetual resistance to others, and im. uniform discipline, a predominating posing a perpetual restraint upon him. influence in Europe, and universal self. In vain will this idea at first literature. So, if we look at the Eng- bring discredit upon itself by its translishman in the sixteenth century, we ports and its tyranny; weakened by shall find in him the inclinations and practice, it will gradually accommodate the powers which for three centuries itself to humanity, and, carried from are to govern his culture and shape his Puritan fanaticism to laic morality, it constitution. In this European expan- will win all public sympathy, because it sion of natural existence and pagan answers to all the national instincts. literature we find at first in Shakspeare, In vain it will vanish from high society, Ben Jonson, and the tragic poets, in under the scorn of the Restoration, and Spenser, Sidney, and the lyric poets, the importation of French culture ; it the national features, all with incom- subsists underground. For French parable depth and splendor, and such culture did not come to a head in Eng; as race and history have impressed and land : on this too alien soil it produced implanted in them for a thousand only unhealthy, coarse, or imperfect years. Not in vain did invasion settle fruit
. Refined elegance became low here so serious a race, capable of re- debauchery ; hardly expressed doubt flection. Not in vain did the Conquest became brutal atheism; tragedy failed, turn this race toward warlike life and and was but declamation; comedy practical preoccupations. From the grew shameless, and was but a school first rise of original invention, its work of vice; of this literature, there redisplays the tragic energy, the intense mained only studies of close reasoning and disorderly passion, the disdain of and good style; it was driven from the regularity, the knowledge of the real, public stage, together with the Stuarts, the sentiment of inner things, the at the beginning of the eighteenth cen. natural melancholy, the anxious divina- tury, and liberal and moral maxims reion of the obscure beyond,--all the sumed the ascendency, which thøy will instincts which, forcing man upon him- pot again lose. For, with ideas, events self, and concentrating him within him- have followed their course : national self, prepare him for Protestantism and inclinations have done their work in combat.' What is this Protestantism society as in literature; and the Eng. which establishes itself? What is this lish instincts have transformed the ci ideal model which it presents; and stitution and politics at the same time
as the talents and minds. These rich dependence of the towns. Read about this nistory, Buckle's History of Civilisation, 1867, tithings, these valiant yeomen, boso i vols., ü. ch. viii.
rude, well-armed citizens, well fed, pro
tected by their juries, wont to reckon | to build, without impediment or do on themselves, obstinate, combative, struction, on the fi undation which they sensible, such as the English middle bad laid. ages bequeathed them to modern England, did not object if the king practised
III. his temporary tyranny on the classes above them, and oppressed the nobility Thus was the literature of the eigh. with a rigorous despotism which the teenth century born, altogether conserrecollection of the Civil Wars and the vative, useful, moral, and limited. Two danger of high treason justified. But powers direct it, one European, the oth Henry, VIII., and Elizabeth herself, er English: on one side a talent of ora were obliged to follow in great interests torical analysis and habits of literary the current of public opinion : if they dignity, which belong to a classical were strong, it was because they were age ; on the other, a taste for applica. popular; the people only supported tion and an energy of precise obser their designs, and authorized their vio- vation, which are peculiar to the na lences, because they found in them de- tional mind. Hence that excellence fenders of their religion, and the pro- and originality of political satire, par. tectors of their labor. * The people liamentary discourse, solid essays, mor. themselves became immersed in this al novels, and all kinds of literature religion, and, from under a State- which demand an attentive good sense, church, attained to personal belief. a correct good style, and a talent for They grew rich by toil, and under the advising, convincing, or wounding othfirst Stuart already occupied the high- ers. Hence that weakness or impotence est place in the nation. At this mo of speculative thought, of genuine ment every thing was decided : what- poetry, of original drama, and of all ever happened, they must one day be- the kinds which require a grand, free come masters. Social situations create curiosity, or a grand, disinterested imag: political situations; legal constitutions ination. The English did not attain always accommodate themselves to complete elegance, nor superior phi. real things; and acquired preponder- losophy; they dulled the French re ance infallibly results in written rights. finements which they copied, and were Men so numerous, so active, so reso terrified by the French boldness which lute, so capable of keeping themselves, they suggested; they remain half cockso disposed to educe their opinions neys and half barbarians; they only from their own reflection, and their invented insular ideas and English subsistence from their own efforts, will ameliorations, and were confirmed in under all circumstances seize the their respect for their constitution and guarantees which they need. At the their tradition. But, at the same time, first onset, and in the ardor of primi- they cultivated and reformed them. tive faith, they overturn the throne, and selves : their wealth and comfort inthe current which bears them is so creased enormously; literature and strong, that, in spite of their excess and opinion became severe and even intheir failure, the Revolution is accom- tolerant ; their long war against the plished by the abolition of feudal French Revolution caused their moral. benares, and the institution of Habeas ity to become strict and even immodCorpus under Charles II.; by the uni- crate ; whilst the invention of maversal upheaving of the liberal and chinery developed their comfort and Protestant spirit, under James II. , by prosperity a hundred-fold. A salutary the establishment of the constitution, and despótic code of approved maxims, the act of toleration, the freedom of the established proprieties, and unassailpress, under William III. From that able beliefs, which fortifies, strengthens, moment England had found her proper curbs, and employs man usefully and place; her two interior and hereditary painfully, without permitting him eve: forces-moral and religious instinct, to deviate or grow weak; a minute practical and political aptitude-had apparatus, and an admirable provisiou done their work, and were henceforth of commodious inventions, associations
• Buckle, History of Civilisation, i. ch. vii. institutions, mechanisms, implements