« 上一頁繼續 »
sand persons, as worthy, go by it, to whom I give no regard. It is enough that these particulars speak to me. A few anecdotes, a few traits of character, manners, face, a few incidents, have an emphasis in your memory out of all proportion to their apparent significance, if you measure them by the ordinary standards. They relate to your gift. Let them have their weight, and do not reject them, and cast about for illustration and facts more usual in literature. Respect them, for they have their origin in deepest nature. What your heart thinks great, is great. The soul's emphasis is always right.
Over all things that are agreeable to his nature and genius the man has the highest right. Everywhere he may take what belongs to his spiritual estate, nor can he take any thing else, though all doors were open, nor can all the force of men hinder him from taking so much. It is vain to attempt to keep a secret from one who has a right to know it. It will tell itself. That mood into which a friend can bring us is his dominion over us. To the thoughts of that state of mind he has a right. All the secrets of that state of mind he can compel. This is a law which statesmen use in practice. All the terrors of the French Republic, which held Austria in awe, were unable to command her
diplomacy. But Napoleon sent to Vienna M. de Narbonne, one of the old noblesse, with the morals, manners, and name of that interest, saying that it was indispensable to send to the old aristocracy of Europe men of the same connexion, which, in fact, constitutes a sort of freemasonry. M. Narbonne in less than a fortnight penetrated all the secrets of the Imperial Cabinet.
A mutual understanding is ever the firmest chain. Nothing seems so easy as to speak and to be understood. Yet a man may come to find that the strongest of defences and of ties, - that he has been understood; and he who has received an opinion may come to find it the most inconvenient of bonds.
If a teacher have any opinion which he wishes to conceal, his pupils will become as fully indoctrinated into that as into any which he publishes. If you pour water into a vessel twisted into coils and angles, it is vain to say, I will pour it only into this or that;- it will find its own level in all. Men feel and act the consequences of your doctrine, without being able to shew how they follow. Shew us an arc of the curve, and a good mathematician will find out the whole figure. We are always reasoning from the seen to the unseen.
Hence the perfect intelligence that subsists between wise men of remote ages. A man cannot bury his meanings so deep in his book, but time and likeminded men will find them. Plato had a secret doctrine, had he? What secret can he conceal from the eyes of Bacon? of Montaigne ? of Kant? Therefore Aristotle said of his works, ' they are published and not published.
No man can learn what he has not preparation for learning, however near to his eyes is the object. A chemist may tell his most precious secrets to a carpenter, and he shall be never the wiser, — the secrets he would not utter to a chemist for an estate. God screens
God screens us evermore from premature ideas.
Our eyes are holden that we cannot see things that stare us in the face, until the hour arrives when the mind is ripened, — then we behold them, and the time when we saw them not is like a dream.
Not in nature but in man is all the beauty and worth he sees.
The world is very empty, and is indebted to this gilding, exalting soul for all its pride.
• Earth fills her lap with splendours' not her own. The vale of Tempe, Tivoli, and Rome, are earth and water, rocks and sky. There are as good earth and water in a thousand places, yet how unaffecting !
People are not the better for the sun and moon, the horizon and the trees; as it is not observed that the keepers of Roman galleries, or the valets of painters, have any elevation of thought, or that librarians are wiser men than others. There are graces in the demeanour of a polished and noble person, which are lost upon the eye of a churl. These are like the stars whose light has not yet reached us.
He may see what he maketh. Our dreams are the sequel of our waking knowledge. The visions of the night always bear some proportion to the visions of the day. Hideous dreams are only exaggerations of the sins of the day. We see our own evil affections embodied in bad physiognomies. On the Alps, the traveller sometimes sees his own shadow magnified to a giant, so that every gesture of his hand is terrific. “My children,” said an old man to his boys scared by a figure in the dark entry," my children, you will never see any thing worse than yourselves.” As in dreams, so in the scarcely less fluid events of the world, every man sees himself in colossal, without knowing that it is himself that he sees. The good which he sees, compared to the evil which he sees, is as his own good to his own evil. Every quality of his mind is magnified in some one acquaintance, and every emotion of
his heart in some one. He is like a quincunx of trees, which counts five, east, west, north, or south; or an initial, medial, and terminal acrostic. And why not? He cleaves to one person, and avoids another, according to their likeness or unlikeness to himself, truly seeking himself in his associates, and moreover in his trade, and habits, and gestures, and meats, and drinks; and comes at last to be faithfully represented by every view you take of his circumstances.
He may read what he writeth. What can we see or acquire, but what we are? You hare seen a skilful man reading Virgil. Well, that author is a thousand books to a thousand per
Take the book into your two hands, and read your eyes out, you will never find what I find. If any ingenious reader would have a monopoly of the wisdom or delight he gets, he is as secure now the book is Englished, as if it were imprisoned in the Pelews tongue. It is with a good book as it is with good company. Introduce a base person among gentlemen : it is all to no purpose: he is not their fellow. Every society protects itself. The company is perfectly safe, and he is not one of them, though his body is in the room.
What avails it to fight with the eternal laws of mind, which adjust the relation of all persons