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manifold appearances of contradiction, prevails in things without
• Denn alle Kraft dringt vorwärts in die Weite,
Zu leben und zu wirken hier und dort :
Der Strom der Welt und reisst uns mit sich fort.
Vernimmt der Mensch ein schwer verstanden Wort:
Befreit der Mensch sich, der sich überwindet.' Sobriety, watchfulness, discipline, above all a thorough understanding of ourselves, a knowledge of what we can do and wherein we must fall short of our aims, these are the true means of victory which Nature has placed within the reach of all. But few there are who learn to use them. Few are they who, like the candidates for knighthood of old, can endure the long hours of fasting and prayer within the nightly chapel, though morning is to welcome them to all the bright and joyous activity of their new vocation.
But this once achieved, the world is thine. Thine are all the blandishments of sense; for thou canst use without abusing them. Thine the gratifications of the intellect; for thou knowest the limits of its functions, and canst therefore enjoy its fullest exercise, without that blank disappointment which the sense of unsatisfied aims brings to less chastised minds. Thine the delights of sentiment, by whatever name it be called, - love, enthusiasm, generosity; nay, the sterner pleasures of asceticism and self-discipline; for thou canst separate the true from the seeming, the reality of the sentiment from the falsehood of the idolatry which underlies it, and canst savour the one without chewing the bitter ashes of the other. All that Pagan philosophies have imagined of their sages and adepts, all that esoteric Christian sects have held of the state of the spiritually emancipated, -all these things in their inmost sense are true of thee.
Thus fortified, life will be to thee one uninterrupted career of advance and of progressive happiness; and as for death, who must come at last
O selig der, dem Er im Siegesglanze
In eines Mädchen's Armen findet.' But happier than either, he who passes, fully prepared and fearless, into that state of existence, which, unless our deepest
sympathies deceive us, can but afford the wise a sphere for widening exertion, and more comprehensive enjoyment.
This, we are well aware, is a very imperfect exposition of the general tendency of Göthe's view of life; yet we think that most readers-most English readers at all events — will accept it as not an unjust one; and the more so in proportion to their familiarity with the author. And, if so, they will assuredly agree with us, that genius of the highest order was never employed in developing a system more seductive to human weakness, nor one which more forcibly reminds us of the ominous words with which Bunyan concludes his allegory ;-— Then * saw I that there is a way to Hell even from the gates of • Heaven, as well as from the City of Destruction.'
And its effects have been proportionally great. Considering the sphere of Göthe’s operations from a mere literary point of view, it can, indeed, scarcely be said that he has formed a school of imitators, like his predecessors Voltaire and Rousseau. As a poet his followers of note have not been numerous, nor (with the exception of Rückert and one or two more) very successful. His peculiar tone as a novelist seems, as we have already remarked, to have been chiefly caught by female writers; and we have no wish on the present occasion to break lances with the admirers of sundry countesses and citoyennes, who enjoy a very respectable amount of popularity. But in his more important functions as a moral philosopher there can be no doubt that his labours have fructified abundantly, and that his system, if so it may be called, is continuing to make its conquests at the expense of the mechanical Deism, and the unreal but generous Sentimentalism of a former generation.
That there has been a great reaction against it is also true; but the reaction of bitterness, of wild and impotent disappointment, not of sound faith or solid principle. The school of Börne is quite as destitute of either as that of Göthe himself. Nay, some of the latter's successors and antagonists have endeavoured to place humanity, if possible, on a still lower stage than he did. He only taught us, at the worst, to cherish and cultivate those middle impulses of our nature which seem to occupy a doubtful place between the divine and the bestial ; some of these seem bent on persuading us that our grossest animal appetites are equally sacred with any other portions of our deified selves.
From such a chaos as this — the hitherto final result from a century's labour of those great sovereigns who have thus successively reigned in moral philosophy and literature the mind turns anxiously towards a future which must assuredly arrive, although as yet there are no signs of its approach. The pride of false system must be thoroughly mortified, ingenious sophistry must have exhausted its last shifts, disappointed aspirations after super-human greatness must have ended in utter self-abasement, before men will deign to retrace their steps, and submit to the humiliating but inevitable palinode, 'Incende quod adorasti, adora quod incen
disti. Many a revolution, social and political, must first pass over the European world. In religion, in ethics, in mental science, men's minds must long continue to oscillate, as they do now, between the most abject superstitions and the wildest infidelities, and find scanty resting-place in the intervals. So it must be, until some voice of one speaking with authority shall rouse them once more, by collecting all that is true in modern moral philosophy, and incorporating it with the one leading principle of man's relation to God- not as a portion to a whole, a fraction of spirit to some great Anima Mundi in which it originates, but as creature to Creator, subject to Sovereign, responsible agent to his Master, weak and imperfect nature to Him who can purify and exalt it. But the hour is not yet come, nor the man.
ART. VII. — 1. Pourquoi la Révolution d'Angleterre a-t-elle
réussi ? Discours sur l'Histoire de la Révolution d'Angleterre.
Par M. GUIZOT. Paris : 1850. 2. On the Causes of the Success of the English Revolution of
1640–1688. By M. Guizot. London : 1850. A SUBSTANTIAL part of our duty has been saved by the delay
which has accidentally attended our notice of the publication before us.
Three months' circulation of such writings as those of M. Guizot is sufficient to familiarise the great body of English readers with the thoughts and words of the author; nor need we preface our intended remarks with any introduction of the subject immediately under review. Indeed, the character of M. Guizot's Essay is so peculiar, that its matter calls less for notice than its object. Proceeding from an ordinary pen, or published at an ordinary season, a Discourse upon the History of the English Revolution would not be likely to command, either by its novelty or its disclosures, the interest of a critical public. Even M. Guizot's own views of the subject have long been common property. His history of our civil wars, his conceptions of our cavaliers and republicans, and his estimate of our political decisions, have been known to England and Europe for nearly a
quarter of a century. A résumé of such topics from his mouth, arranged with that perspicuity which he can so effectually communicate, and imbued with that spirit of philosophy so distinctive of his conclusions, might indeed contribute to the gratification of a learned audience, but would scarcely supply more occasion for public comment than a lecture on the Middle Ages by Mr. Hallam. M. Guizot's impressions of the scenes in question have undergone no material change. He thinks as he used to think of Charles and Cromwell, of Fairfax and Laud; and though he has now extended his review to a later period, in order to complete the outline of his panorama, the supplementary sketch is necessarily too light and cursory to be treated as a piece of independent history. To say that the Discourse' is admirably composed would be no more than announcing a fact which all readers would be prepared to anticipate, and which most have already ascertained for themselves. For an instructive topic we must proceed somewhat farther. M. Guizot had a purpose in delivering and publishing the discourse before us, and in this purpose resides the especial interest attaching to the production.
England and France have undergone their respective revolutions, and, as we need scarcely observe, with certain analogies of incident almost unparalleled in the curiosities of History. In each kingdom a government of great renown and antiquity was violently overthrown, the reigning sovereign brought to the block, and a Republic constructed upon the ruins of the Statefabric. In each kingdom the Republic was superseded first by the dictatorship of a successful soldier, and ultimately by the restoration of the proscribed dynasty. These perhaps may be considered as too commonly or naturally the incidents of a revolutionary drama, to excite any particular surprise ; but the parallel may be extended further still. In each kingdom the restored family committed itself, after a short interval, to a renewal of the contest with its subjects ; in each it was again dethroned, and in each a 'constitutional monarchy' was established by the free action of popular will in favour of a younger branch of the stem-royal. This parallel might be rendered niore striking if our immediate purpose permitted such digression into details. Though the civil wars of the 17th century form rather a popular chapter of English History, yet there may perhaps be some readers unaware of the close resemblance borne by the French Revolution to its prototype, even in many of those particulars which we are accustomed to think peculiarly Parisian. The tumultuous attroupemens of the populace, the clamorous deputations, the admission of infuriated mobs to parliamentary debates, the inflammatory placards in denunciation of aristocrats and royalists, the violent outcry against the Queen, the coarse and brutal conduct of State-Trials, the rumours of plots, especially as hatched in the royal army, the wholesale manufacture and administration of oaths, and the yearning for unity and indivisibility, are all symptoms discoverable in one convulsion as well as the other. These resemblances, however, were only superficial, while, on the other hand, the points of difference are essential. We need mention but two— the overpowering influence of religious spirit in one case, and its total absence in the other, together with the omnipotence of street mobs in France, while in England the actual instrumentality of changes devolved ultimately upon classes removed from the temptations incident to ignorance and want. As more directly to our purpose we may add, that — whereas the restoration of the dethroned line in England was effected after a short interval of eleven years, by a consent as unanimous as in so vast a constituency could ever be conceived possible, and in absolute default of any other pretenders either to the Crown or to the Government, the like result was only effected in France by the arms of coalized Europe, to the prejudice of claims which had gained every thing but legitimacy from a generation of conquests and glories. The essential difference, indeed, of the two histories has just received a conclusive exemplification. Up to the point above mentioned the parallel held good; but it has now been abruptly terminated. England, after her career of change and confusion acquiesced in a constitutional monarchy, as in the form of polity to which ber Revolution tended. France, after eighteen years' experience of a similar government, has destroyed even this consummation of its revolutionary work, and has renewed its political experiments with a purpose which it would be somewhat presumptuous to define, and with a success which it would be certainly premature to characterise. M. Guizot presumes, however, as will be seen, that a constitutional monarchy' was the proper scope of both Revolutions; and inasmuch as this settlement has endured in England while it has been overthrown in France, he considers one experiment to have borne its fruit, and the other to have proved barren. Judiciously abstaining from the more delicate topic of discussion, M. Guizot avails himself of the opportunities presented by its counterpart; and inquires in the Essay before us, not why the French Revolution has failed, but why the English Revolution has succeeded.