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innate imperfection is in order, like the constant abortion of a stamen in a plant, like the fundamental irregularity of four facets in a crystal. What we took for a deformity, is a form; what seemed to us a subversion of a law, is the accomplishment of a law. Human reason and virtue have for their foun dation instincts and animal images, as living forms have for their instruments
we can heal at present is our intellect; | is right he should be what he is. we have no hold upon our feelings. But we have a right to conceive for others the hopes which we no longer entertain for ourselves, and to prepare for our descendants the happiness which we shall never enjoy. Brought up in a more wholesome air, they will have, mayhap, a wholesomer heart. The reformation of ideas ends by reforming the rest, and the light of the mind pi duces serenity of heart. Hith-physical laws, as organic matters have erto, in our judgments on men, we have taken for our masters the oracles and poets, and like them we have received for undoubted truths the noble dreams of our imagination and the imperious suggestions of our heart. We have bound ourselves to the partiality of religious divinations, and the inexactness of literary divinations, and we have shaped our doctrines according to our instincts and our vexations. Science at last approaches, and approaches man; it has gone beyond the visible and palpable world of stars, stones, plants, amongst which man disdainfully confined her. It reaches the heart provided with exact and penetrating implements, whose justness has been proved, and their reach measured by three hundred years of experience. Thought, with its development and rank, its structure and relations, its `deep material roots, its infinite growth through history, its lofty bloom at the summit of things, becomes the object of science, an object which, sixty years ago, it foresaw in Germany, and which, slowly and surely probed, by the same methods as the physical world, will be transformed before our eyes, as the physical world has been transformed. It is already being transformed, and we have lef behind us the light in which Byron and the French poets had considered it. No, man is not an abortion or a monster; no, the business of poetry is not to disgust or defa ne him. He is in his place, and completes a chain. Let us watch him grow and increase, and we shall cease to rai' at or curse him. He, like every 'hing else, is a product, and as such ít
for their elements mineral substances What wonder if virtue or human reason, like living form or organic matter, sometimes fails or decomposes, since, like them, and like every superior and complex existence, they have for support and control inferior and simple forces, which, according to circumstances, now maintain it by their har mony, now mar it by their discord? What wonder if the elements of existence, like those of quantity, receive, from their very nature, the immutable laws which constrain and reduce them to a certain species and order of formation? Who will rise up against geometry? Who, especially, will rise up against a living geometry? Who will not, on the contrary, feel moved with admiration at the sight of those grand powers which, situated at the heart of things, incessantly urge the blood through the limbs of the old world, disperse it quickly in the infi nite network of arteries, and spread over the whole surface the eternal flower of youth and beauty? Who, finally, will not feel himself ennobled, when he finds that this pile of laws results in a regular series of forms, that matter has thought for its goal, that nature ends in reason, and that this ideal to which, amidst so many errors, all the aspirations of men cling, is also the end to which aim, amidst so many obstacles, all the forces of the universe? In this employment of science, and in this conception of things, there is a new art, a new mor ality, a new polity, a new religion, and it is in the present time our task to try and discover them.
The Past and the Present.
Christianity, which o stained a hold on them by the greatness of its biblical tragedies and the troubled sadness of its aspirations, did not bring to them a Latin civilization: this remained out side, hardly accepted by a few great men, deformed, when it did enter, by the difference between the Roman and Saxon genius-always altered and reduced; so much so, that for the men of the Continent these islanders were but illiterate dullards, drunkards, and gluttons; at all events, savage and slow by mood and nature, rebellious against culture, and sluggish develop ment.
HAVING reached the limits of this long review, we can now survey as a whole the aggregate of English civilization: every thing is connected there: a few primitive powers and circumstances have produced the rest, and we have only to pursue their continuous action in order to comprehend the nation and 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 mence 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 secured 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, sometimes sublime and always them a share in their charters, to berude, this is all that remains of them. come their representatives, to admit In six centuries they had scarcely gone them into Parliament, to leave them to one step beyond the manners and senti- labor freely, to grow rich, to acquire ments of their uncivilized Germany: | 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 enture it was needful to live and defend trance of the arena, we see at the themselves, to 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 alone 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 themwarlike 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 tencourt. 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, tavern epics, a religious poem, a few books on religious reformation. At the same time Norman literature faded; separated from the stem, and on a foreign soil, it languished in imitations; only one great poet, almost French in mind, quite French in style, appeared, and, after him, as before him, we find helpless drivel. For the second time, a civilization of five centuries became sterile in great ideas and works; this still more so than its neighbors, and for a twofold reason,-because to the universal impotence of the middle ages was added the impoverishment of the Conquest, and because of the two component literatures, one, transplanted, became abortive, and the other, mutilated, ceased to expand.
master and his own slave. At the outset of every age he in a certain fashion is: his body, heart, mind have a distinct structure and disposition: and from this lasting arrangement, which all preceding centuries have contributed to consolidate or to construct, spring permanent desires or aptitudes, by which he determines and acts. Thus is formed in him the ideal model, which, whether obscure or distinct, complete or rough-hewn, will henceforth float before his eyes, rally all his aspirations, efforts, forces, and will cause him to aim for centuries at one effect, until at length, renewed by im. potence or success, he conceives a new goal, and assumes new energy. The Catholic and enthusiastic Spaniard figures life like the Crusaders, lovers knights, and abandoning labor, liberty, 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 obedirest was to spring from it. The bar-ence, voluntary and incurable igno barous age established on the soil a German race, phlegmatic and grave, capable of spiritual emotions and moral discipline. The feudal age imposed on this race habits of resistance and association, political and utilitarian pre
rance.* The theological and feudal
See the Travels of Madame d'Aulnay in Spain, at the end of the seventeenth century. Nothing is more striking than this revolution nand the Catholic, namely, the reign of Henry if we compare it with the times before Ferdi IV., the great power of the nobles, and the in
German settles in his district docilely and faithfully under his petty chief, through natural patience and hereditary loyalty, engrossed by his wife and household, content to have conquered religious liberty, clogged by the dulness of his temperament in gross physical existence, and in sluggish respect for established order. The Italian, the most richly gifted and precocious of all, but, of all, he most incapable of volantary discipline and moral austerity, turns towards the fine arts and voluptuousness, declines, deteriorates Deneath foreign rule, takes life at its easiest, forgetting to think, and satisfied to enjoy. The sociable and levelling Frenchman rallies round his king, who secures for him public peace, external glory, the splendid display of a sumptuous court, a regular administration, a uniform discipline, a predominating influence in Europe, and universal literature. So, if we look at the Englishman in the sixteenth century, we shall find in him the inclinations and the powers which for three centuries are to govern his culture and shape his constitution. In this European expansion of natural existence and pagan literature we find at first in Shakspeare, Ben Jonson, and the tragic poets, in Spenser, Sidney, and the lyric poets, the national features, all with incomparable depth and splendor, and such as race and history have impressed and implanted in them for a thousand years. Not in vain did invasion settle here so serious a race, capable of reflection. Not in vain did the Conquest turn this race toward warlike life and practical preoccupations. From the first rise of original invention, its work displays the tragic energy, the intense and disorderly passion, the disdain of regularity, the knowledge of the real, the sentiment of inner things, the natural melancholy, the anxious divination of the obscure beyond,-all the instincts which, forcing man upon himself, and concentrating him within himself, prepare him for Protestantism and combat. What is this Protestantism which establishes itself? What is this ideal model which it presents; and dependence of the towns. Read about this history, Buckle's History of Civilisation, 1867, vols., ii. ch. viii.
what original conception is to furish to this people its permanent and cominant poem? The harshest and most practical of all,—that of the Puritans, which, neglecting speculation, falls back upon action, encloses human life in a rigid discipline, imposes on the soul continuous efforts, prescribes to society a cloistral austerity, forbids pleasure, commands action, exacts sacrifice, and forms a moralist, a laborer, a citizen. Thus is it implanted, the great English idea-I mean the conviction that man is before all a free and moral personage, and that, having conceived alone in his conscience and before God the rule of his conduct, he must employ himself entirely in apply. ing it within himself, beyond himself, obstinately, inflexibly, by offering a perpetual resistance to others, and imposing a perpetual restraint upon himself. In vain will this idea at first bring discredit upon itself by its transports and its tyranny; weakened by practice, it will gradually accommodate itself to humanity, and, carried from Puritan fanaticism to laic morality, it will win all public sympathy, because it answers to all the national instincts. In vain it will vanish from high society, under the scorn of the Restoration, and the importation of French culture; it subsists underground. For French culture did not come to a head in England: on this too alien soil it produced only unhealthy, coarse, or imperfect fruit. Refined elegance became low debauchery; hardly expressed doubt became brutal atheism; tragedy failed, and was but declamation; comedy grew shameless, and was but a school of vice; of this literature, there remained only studies of close reasoning and good style; it was driven from the public stage, together with the Stuarts, at the beginning of the eighteenth century, and liberal and moral maxims resumed the ascendency, which they will not again lose. For, with ideas, events have followed their course: national inclinations have done their work in society as in literature; and the Eng. lish instincts have transformed the ca stitution and politics at the same time as the talents and minds. These rich tithings, these valiant yeomen, hese rude, well-armed citizens, well fed
poetry, of original drama, and of all the kinds which require a grand, free curiosity, or a grand, disinterested imag ination. The English did not attain complete elegance, nor superior phi
tected by their juries, wont to reckon | to build, without impediment or do on themselves, obstinate, combative, struction, on the foundation which they sensible, such as the English middle had laid. ages bequeathed them to modern England, did not object if the king practised 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 conser recollection 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, partectors of their labor. The people liamentary discourse, solid essays, morthemselves 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: whatever happened, they must one day become masters. Social situations create political situations; legal constitutions always accommodate themselves to 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 themtive 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 moraltenares, and the institution of Habeas ity to become strict and even immoaCorpus under Charles II.; by the uni- erate; whilst the invention of ma versal 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 despotic 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 provision done their work, and were henceforth of commodious inventions, associations * Buckle, History of Civilisation, i. ch. vii. institutions, mechanisms, implements