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every quality and every being must be reducible from some superior and anterior term. And it signifies, on the other hand, that the product is equiva
open compasses, which might be more axiom or causation would be falsified if or less extended; and the area of the they were absent. There are, then, in circle which they describe is not decomposable elements, from which natural. but artificial. It is so in two are derived more general laws; and ways, both externally and internally. from these, again, more special laws; For, when I consider an event, I isolate and from these the facts which we obit artificially from its natural surround- serve; just as in geometry there are ings, and I compose it artificially of two or three primitive notions, from elements which do not form a natural which are deduced the properties of group. When I see a falling stone, I lines, and from these the properties of separate the fall from the anterior cir- surfaces, solids, and the numberless cumstances which are really connected forms which nature can produce or the with it; and I put together the fall, the mind imagine. We can now compre form, the structure, the color, the hend the value and meaning of that sound, and wenty other circumstances axiom of causation which governs all which are really not connected with it. things, and which Mill has mutilated. A fact, then, is an arbitrary aggregate, There is an inner constraining force and at the same time an arbitrary which gives rise to every event, which severing; that is to say, a factitious unites every compound, which group, which separates things con- genders every actual fact. This signinected, and connects things that are fies, on the one hand, that there is a separate. Thus, so long as we only re-reason for every thing; that every fact gard nature by observation, we do not has its law; that every compound can see it as it is: we have only a pro- be reduced to simple elements that visional and illusory idea of it. Na-every product implies factors; that ture is, in reality, a tapestry, of which we only see the reverse; this is why we try to turn it. We strive to discover laws; that is, the natural groups which are really distinct from their surround-lent to the factors, that both are but the ings, and composed of elements really connected We discover couples; that is to say, real compounds and real connections. We pass from the accidental to the necessary, from the relative to the absolute, from the appearance to the reality; and having found these first couples, we practise upon them the same operation as we did upon facts, for, though in a less degree, they are of the same nature. Though more abstract, they are still complex. They may be decomposed and explained. There is some ulterior reason for their existence. There is some tause or other which constructs and nites them. In their case, as well as for facts, we can search for generating elements into which they may be resolved, and from which they may be deduced. And this operation may be continued until we have arrived at elements wholly simple; that is to say, such that their decomposition would involve a contradiction. Whether we can find thein or not, they exist; the * An eminent student of physical science said to me: A fact is a superposition of laws.”
same thing under different aspects; that the cause does not differ in nature from the effect; that the generating powers are but elementary properties; that the active force by which we represent Nature to our minds is but the logical necessity which mutually transforms the compound and the simple, the fact and the law. Thus we determine beforehand the limits of every science; and we possess the potent formula, which, establishing the invincible connection and the spontaneous production of existencies, places in Nature the moving spring of Nature, whilst it drives home and fixes in the heart of every living thing the iron fangs of ne cessity.
Can we arrive at a knowledge of these primary elements? For my part, I think we can; and the reason is, that, being abstractions, they are not beyond the region of facts, but are comprised in them, so that we have only to ex Besides, tract them from the facts. being the most abstract, that is, the
most general of all things, there are no facts which do not comprise them, and from which we cannot extract them. However limited our experience may be, we can arrive at these primary notions; and it is from this observation that the modern German metaphysicians have started in attempting their vast constructions. They understood that there are simple notions, that is to say, indecomposable abstract facts, that the combinations of these engender all others, and that the laws for their mutual union or contrarieties, are the primary laws of the universe. They tried to attain to these ideas, and to evolve by pure reason the world as observation shows it to us. They have partly failed; and their gigantic edifice, factitious and fragile, hangs in ruins, reminding one of those temporary scaffoldings which only serve to mark out the plan of a future building. The reason is, that with a high notion of our powers, they had no exact view of their limits. For we are outflanked on all sides by the infinity of time and space; we find ourselves thrown in the midst of this monstrous universe like a shell on the beach, or an ant at the foot of a steep slope. Here Mill is right. Chance is at the end of all our knowledge, as on the threshold of all our postulates: we vainly try to rise, and that by conjecture, to an initial state; but this state depends on the preceding one, which depends on another, and so on; and thus we are forced to accept it as a pure postulate, and to give up the hope of deducing it, though we know that it ought to be deduced. It is so in all sciences, in geology, natural history, physics, chemistry, psychology, history; and the primitive accidental fact extends its effects into all parts of the sphere in which it is comprised. If it had been otherwise, we should have neither the same planets, nor the same chemical compounds, nor the same vegetables, nor the same animals, nor the same races of men, nor, perhaps, any of these kinds of beings. If an ant were taken into another country,it would see neither the same trees, nor insects, nor dispositions of the soil, nor changes of the atmosphere, nor perhaps any of these forms of existence. There is, chen, in every fact and in every object,
an accidental and local part, a vast portion, which, like the rest, depends on primitive laws, but not directly, only through an infinite circuit of conse quences, in such a way that between it and the primitive laws there is an infinite hiatus, which can only be bridged! over by an infinite series of deductions
Such is the inexplicable part of phenomena, and this is what the Ger man metaphysicians tried to explain They wished to deduce from their ele mentary theorems the form of the planetary system, the various laws of physics and chemistry, the main types of life, the progress of human civilizations and thought. They contorted their universal formulæ with the view of deriving from them particular cases; they took indirect and remote consequences as direct and proximate ones; they omitted or suppressed the great work which is interposed between the first laws and the final consequences; they discarded Chance from their construction, as a basis unworthy of science; and the void so left, badly filled up by deceptive materials, caused the whole edifice to fall to ruins.
Does this amount to saying, that in the facts with which this little corner of the universe furnishes us, every thing is local? By no means. If an ant were capable of making experiments, it might attain to the idea of a physical law, a living form, a repre sentative sensation, an abstract thought; for a foot of ground, on which there is a thinking brain, includes all these. Therefore, however limited be the field of the mind, it contains general facts; that is, facts spread over very vast external territories, into which its limitation prevents it from penetrating. If the ant were capable of reasoning, it might construct arithmetic, algebra, geometry, mechanics; for a movement of half an inch contains in the abstract, time, space, number, and force, all the materials of mathematics: therefore however limited the field of a mind's researches be, it includes universal data; that is, facts spread over the whole region of time and space. Again, if the ant were a philosopher, it might evolve the ideas of existence, of nothingness, and all the materiais of metaphysics; for any phenomenon, in
terior or exterior, suffices to present these materials: therefore, however limited the field of a mind be, it contains absolute truths; that is, such that there is no object from which they I could be absent. And this must necessarily be so; for the more general a fact is, the fewer objects need we examine to meet with it. If it is universal, we meet with it everywhere; if it is absolute, we cannot escape meeting it. This is why, in spite of the narrowness of our experience, metaphysics, I mean the search for first causes, is possible, but on condition that we remain at a great height, that we do not descend into details, that we consider only the most simple elements of existence, and the most general tendencies of nature. If any one were to collect the three or four great ideas in which our sciences result, and the three or four kinds of existence which make up our universe; if he were to compare those two strange quantities which we call duration and extension, those principle forms or determinations of quantity which we call physical laws, chemical types, and living species, and that marvellous representative power, the Mind, which, without falling into quantity, reproduces the other two and itself; if he discovered among these three termsthe pure quantity, the determined quantity, and the suppressed quantity * -such an order that the first must require the second, and the second the third; if he thus established that the pure quantity is the necessary commencement of Nature, and that Thought is the extreme term at which Nature is wholly suspended; if, again, isolating the elements of these data, he showed that they must be combined just as they are combined, and not otherwise: If he proved, moreover, that there are no other elements, and that there can be no other, he would have sketched out a system of metaphysics without encroaching on the positive sciences, and have attained the source without being obliged to descend to trace the various streams.
In my opinion, these two great operations, Experience, as you have described it, and Abstraction, as I have tried to define it, comprise in them* Die aufgehobene Quantität.
selves all the resources of the hunian mind, the one in its practical, the other in its speculative direction. The first leads us to consider nature as an assemblage of facts, the second as a system of laws: the exclusive employment of the first is English; that of the second, German. If there is a place between these two nations, it is ours We have extended the English ideas ir the eighteenth century; and Low we can, in the nineteenth, add precision to German ideas. Our business is to re strain, to correct, to complete the two types of mind, one by the other, to combine them together, to express their ideas in a style generally under. stood, and thus to produce from them the universal mind.
We went out. As it ever happens in similar circumstances, each had caused the other to reflect, and neither had convinced the other. But our reflections were short: in the presence of a lovely August morning, all arguments fall to the ground. The old walls, the rain-worn stones, smiled in the rising sun. A fresh light rested on their embrasures, on the keystones of the cloisters, on the glossy ivy leaves. Roses and honeysuckles climbed the walls, and their flowers quivered and sparkled in the light breeze. The fountains murmured in the vast lonely courts. The beautiful town stood out from the morning's mist, as adorned and tranquil as a fairy palace, and its robe of soft rosy vapor was indented, as an embroidery of the Renaissance, by a border of towers, cloisters, and palaces, each enclosed in verdure and decked with flowers. The archite ture of all ages had mingled their ar hes, trefoils, statues, and columns; ime had softened their tints; the sun united them in its light, and the old city seemed a shrine to which every age and every genius had successively added a jewel. Beyond this, the river rolled its broad sheets of silver: the mowers stood up to the knee in the high grass of the meadows. Myriads of buttercups and meadow-sweets; grasses, bending under the weight of their gray heads, plants sated with the dew of the night
swarmed in the rich soil. Words can- | not express this freshness of tints, this luxuriance of vegetation. The more the long line of shade receded, the more brilliant, and full of life the flowers appeared. On seeing them, virgin and timid in their gilded veil, I hought of the blushing cheeks and fine modest eyes of a young girl who puts on for the first time her necklace of jewels. Around, as though to guard them, enormous trees, four centuries old, extended in regular lines; and I found in them a new trace of that practical good sense which has effected revolutions without committing ravages; which, while reforming in all directions, has destroyed nothing; wich has preserved both its trees and it constitution, which has lopped off the dead branches without levelling the trunk; which alone, in our days, among all nations, is in the enjoyment not only of the present, but of the past.
WHEN Tennyson published his first poems, the critics found fault with them. He held his peace; for ten years no one saw his name in a review, nor even in a publisher's catalogue. But when he appeared again before the public, his books had made their way alone and under the surface, and he passed at once for the greatest poet of his country and his time.
Men were surprised, and with a pleasing surprise. The potent generation of poets who had just died out, had passed like a whirlwind. Like their forerunners of the sixteenth century, they bad carried away and hurried every thing to its extreme. Some had culĺed gigantic legends, piled up dreams, ra isacked the East, Greece, Arabia, the middle ages, and overloaded the human imagination with hues and fancies from every clime. Others had buried themselves in metaphysics and moral philosophy, had mused indefatigably on the condition of man, and
spent their lives on the sublime and the monotonous. Others, making a medley of crime and heroism, had conducted, through darkness and flashes of lightning, a train of contorted and terrible figures, desperate with remorse, relieved by their grandeur. Men wanted to rest after so many efforts and so much excess. On the going out of the imaginative, sentimen. tal and Satanic school, Tennyson ap. peared exquisite. All the forms and ideas which had pleased them were found in him, but purified, modulated, set in a splendid style. He completed an age; he enjoyed that which had agitated others; his poetry was like the lovely evenings in summer: the outlines of the landscape are then the same as in the daytime; but the splen dor of the dazzling celestial arch is dulled; the re-invigorated flowers lift themselves up, and the calm, sun on the horixon, harmoniously cast a network of crimson rays over the woods and meadows which it just before burned by its brightness.
What first attracted people were Tennyson's portraits of women. line, Eleanore, Lilian, the May Queen, were keepsake characters, from, the hand of a lover and an artist. The keepsake is gilt-edged, embossed with flowers and decorations, richly got up, soft, full of delicate faces, always ele gant and always correct, which we might take to be sketched at random, and which are yet drawn carefully, on white vellum, slightly touched by their outline, all selected to rest and occupy the soft, white hands of a young bride or a girl. I have translated many ideas and many styles, but I shall not attempt to translate one of these por traits. Each word of them is like a tint, curiously deepened or shaded by the neighboring tint, with all the boldness and results of the happiest refine. ment. The least alteration would ob scure all. And there an art so just, so consummate, is neccessary to paint the charming prettinesses, the sudden hauteurs, the half blushes, the imperceptible and fleeting caprices of feminine beauty He opposes, harmonizes them, makes
of them, as it were, a gallery. Here is | drawing-room and in the rustic hedge.
the frolicsome child, the little fluttering fairy, who claps her tiny hands, who,
"So innocent-arch, so cunning-simple,
rows, the rare or wild flowers whose scent or beauty could charm or amuse him. Men entered into his pleasure; smelt the grateful bouquets which he knew so well how t put together; preferred those which he took from the country; found that his talent was no where more at ease. They admired
Then the pensive fair, who dreams, the minute observation and refined
with large open blue eyes:
"Whence that aery bloom of thine, Like a lily which the sun Looks thro' in his sad decline, And a rose-bush leans upon, Thou that faintly smilest still, As a Naiad in a well, Looking at the set of day." ↑ Anew "the ever varying Madeline, now smiling, then frowning, then joyful again, then angry, then uncertain beween the two:
"Frowns perfect-sweet along the brow Light-glooming over eyes divine, Like little clouds sun-fringed." The poet returned well pleased to all things, refined and exquisite. He caressed them so carefully, that his verses appeared at times far-fetched, affected, almost euphuistic. He gave them too much adornment and polishing; he seemed like an epicurean in style as well as in beauty. He looked for pretty rustic scenes, touching remembrances, curious or pure sentiments. He made them into elegies, pastorals, and idyls. He wrote in every accent, and delighted in entering into the feelings of all ages. He wrote of St. Agnes, St. Simeon Stylites, Ulysses, Enone, Sir Galahad, Lady Clare, Fatima, the Sleeping Beauty. imitated alternately Homer and Chaucer, Theocritus and Spenser, the old English poets and the old Arabian poets. He gave life successively to the little real events of English life, and great fantastic adventures of extinguished chivalry. He was like those musicians who use their bow in the service of all masters. He strayed through ature and history, with no foregone conclusions, without fierce passion, bent on feeling, relishing, culling from all parts, in the flower-stand of the
Poems by A. Tennyson, 7th ed. 1851; Lilian, 5. ↑ Ibid. Adeline, 33. 1 Ibid. Madeline, 15.
sentiment which knew how to grasp and interpret the fleeting aspects of things. In the Dying Swan they forgot that the subject was almost threadbare and the interest somewhat slight, that they might appreciate such verses as this:
"Some blue peaks in the distance rose, And white against the cold-white sky, Shone out their crowning snows.
One willow over the river wept, And shook the wave as the wind did sigh ; Above in the wind was the swallow, Chasing itself at its own wild will, And far thro' the marish green and still The tangled water-courses slept, Shot over with purple, and green, and yel low." *
But these melancholy pictures did not display him entirely; men accompanied him to the land of the sun, toward the soft voluptuousness of southern seas; fascination, to the verses in which he they returned, with an involuntary depicts the companions of Ulysses, who, slumbering in the land of the Lotos-eaters, happy dreamers like him self, forgot their country, a ad renounc ed action:
"A land of streams! some, like a downward smoke,
Slow-dropping veils of thinnest lawn, did go; And some thro' wavering lights and shadows broke,
Rolling a slumbrous sheet of foam below. They saw the gleaming river seaward flow From the inner land: far off, three mountain tops,
Three silent pinnacles of aged snow, Stood sun-set flush'd: and, dew'd with show ery drops,
Up-clomb the shadowy pine above the wover
There is sweet music here that softer falls
Here are cool mosses deep,
Ibid. The Dying Swan, 45.