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man is presunied to be “honest until he is proved to be a rogue,"— or, that a drunken doctor is held to be a skilful one, “if you can only catch him sober " - even if that time never comes. The truth is, there never was a more absurd idea than that same one about reticence. Horne Tooke says that the use of words is to “communicate ideas.” Talleyrand says their use is to “corceal thoughts.” Now, it is our belief that ninety-nine out of every hundred of these reticent men do not "communicate their ideas” simply because they have rone to “ communicate ; ” and that they do not “ conceal their thoughts” (a la Talleyrand) because they have none to “conceal.” Is this a dilemma or not? If it is, what number of horns has the animal? and who is the more likely to be gored thereby — the reticent man, or the writer ?
Is there such a thing as literary kleptomania? We mean a case in which a writer, whose provision of original ideas is ample for all his needs — perhaps even opulent - can not now and then resist the insane temptation to pocket something that belongs to another? Only on such a plea can we excuse Alfred de Musset, who certainly was not a “barren Labeo," * for the following bit of assimilation.
In De Quincey's Confessions of an Opium-Eater we find the following passage:
“Many years ago, when I was looking over Piranesi's Antiquities of Rome, Mr. "Coleridge, who was standing by, described to me a set of plates by that artist called his Dreams, and which record the scenery of his own visions during the delirium of a fever. Some of them (I describe only from memory of Mr. Coleridge's account) represented vast Gothic balls, on the floor of which stood all sorts of engines and machinery, wbeels, cables, pulleys, levers, catapults, etc., expressive of enormous power put forth and resisiance overcome. Creeping along the sides of the walls, you perceived a staircase, and upon it, groping his way upward, was Piranesi himself. Follow the stairs a little further, and you perceive it to come to a sudden abrupt termination, without any balustrade, and allowing no step onwards to him who had reached the extremity, except into the depths below. Whatever is to become of poor Piranesi, you suppose at least that his labors must in some way terminate here. But raise your eyes and behold a second flight of stairs still higher, on which again Piranesi is perceivel, by this time standing on the very brink of the abyss. Again elevate your eye, and a still more aerial flight of stairs is perceived, and again is poor Piranesi busy on his aspiring labors, and so on, until the unfinished stair and Piranesi both are lost in the upper gloom of the hall.”
In De Musset's La llouche, 111. (1853) we find him illustrating the perplexities of a young stranger wandering in the labyrinthine palace of Versailles, in this fashion :
"Dans Les Antiquités de Rome, de Piranesi, il y a une série de gravures que l'artiste appelle • ses rêves,' et qui sont un souvenir de ses propres visions durant le délire d' fièvre. Ces gravures représentent de vastes salles gothiques : sur le pavé sont toutes sortes d'engins et de machines, roues, câbles, poulies, leviers, catapultes, etc., etc., expression d'énorme puissance mise en action, et de résistance formidable. Le long des murs vous apercevez un escalier, et sur cet escalier, grimpant, non sans peine, Piranési lui-même. Suivez les marches un peu plus haut, elles s'arretent tout à coup devant un abîme. Quoi qu'il soit advenu du pauvre Piranési, vous le croyez du moins au bout de son travail, car il ne peut faire un pas de plus sans tomber; mais levez les yeux, et vous voyez un second escalier
"All other trades demand; verse-makers beg:
A dedication is a wooden leg;
qui s'élève en l'air, et sur cet escalier encore Piranési sur le bord d'un autre précipice. Regardez encore plus haut, et un escalier encore plus aérien se dresse devant vous, et encore le pauvre Piranési continuant son ascension, et ainsi de suite, jusqu'à ce que l'eternel escalier et Piranesi disparaissent ensemble dans les nues, c'est-a-dire dans le bord de la gravure.”
Upon her lap a volume lies;
Her pet white bird for one caress
Oh tell me, May! what girlish dream
E. F. C.
The two great aims of the present generation in some sections of our country would seem to be place and money. The means, however discreditable, used for attaining these, are taken unfavorable note of by the world only in case of failure. Here, as in military matters, merit is measured by the final result, and many an infamous act is condoned if it but lead in the end to success. Moreover, such is the existing moral obliquity — to call it by no harsher name — that if either one of these aims be attained, however corruptly, the other is within easy reach, by similar means. The first step of the aspiring business-man is to make money enough -- with little scruple about the mode - to buy place. The first step of the grasping politician is to intrigue himself into place, that he may steal money. And henceforth both these wealthy nabobs, despite the pauperism and general rottenness of the inner man, become by tacit consent - or, at most, only a sickly protest is entered, that dies and leaves no sign - exemplars for the rising generation in their morbid aspiration after wealth, and (God save the mark!) honor too. And the last feature is by far the most melancholy one of the whole melancholy picture.
UNSEEN LANDS. The lands that I shall never see, how beautiful they are ! How softly sleep their twilight vales beneath the Evening Star ! What strange wild perfumes breathe around from rich and unknown flowers, Intoxicating with their sweets the lingering summer hours.
The palms toss high their plumy crests, the trailers clasp them round,
How thrills and palpitates the air through all the fervid noon !
The grassy slopes are filled with grazing deer in dappled herds;
The giant mountains stand around with many a wooded crest,
No foot of man has trod the grass · Earth keeps her secret well ;
What a vast amount of inconsistency has been revealed by the temper in which the world received Darwin's man-an-ape theory. Many'a man who had vaunted obtrusively his utter indifference as to the quality and condition of his ancestry — his favorite motto being, “Every tub should stand on its own bottom” - vented his indignation profusely when told by Darwin that his remote ancestor was a quadrumane. If the practice of such a man accords with his lifelong preaching, the assertion, even in his presence, that his grandfather, or even his father, was a great liar, or a gigantic swindler provided this assertion be true should not move him either to shame or to anger. Yet when he sees, written in a book, by a man living thousands of miles away, that his progenitor, countless ages back, was some honest ape who was guiltless alike of lying and swindling -- the fact that there was then no language to lie with, and no money to steal, don't alter the case, as every one, even a poor ape, is presumed to be innocent until the contrary is proven -- he bristles all over like “the fretful porcupine," and empties' his vial of wrath upon the eccentric philospher. Could inconsistency further go? The truth is, only those who believe in "blood” have a right to take exception to Darwin's absurd and disgusting theory: for what can it matter to one who has no sense of ancestral worth, whether he is descended from a man, a monkey, a serpent -- or even from the very old Harry himself?
He who would venture, however modestly, to criticise unfavorably the works of “the Old Masters” would at once be " written down an ass," accounted an “outside barbarian.” Thus are we bullied, dragooned into a non-reasoning, pseudo-ästhetic and extravagant approval of many works of painting, sculpture, architecture, which, doubtless, were condemned as bad even in the day and generation that gave them birth, but in which the keeneyed critics of to-day are able to discover a wondrous and constant accretion of beauties, keeping pace with the deepening accumulations of dust, as their origin becomes more and more enveloped in the misty haloes of the past. To the bad with such stuff! Not even wine, if it be not good, is bettered by age alone; yet must we, perforce, continue forever and a day to smack the lips with sham gusto over antediluvian vinegar, stultifying ourselves lest we incur the imputation of a lack of taste.
“What ails me?” Why, I'm angry with somebody - perhaps myself because I can't see by what right the ancient architecis --- classic infallibles
- backed by Mr. Ruskin “and sich,” have driven the world to declare that the architrave of the entablature should cover only three-fourths, or at most four-fiths, of the top of the capital - leaving the remainder sticking out in the cold — (no allusion here to de Staël's remark that “architecture reminded her of frozen music”) – until some ästhetic marten or swallow proffers the artist a lesson in his art by building its mud nest thereon.
Enters my friend Agricola, lately returned from what he calls his “bridal tower” to Washington city. He says he saint much on pictcher-paintin', but is considered a good judge of lorse-flesh,” and he wants to know why the horses in the pictures on the Capitol walis, excepting one (probably the “ Discovery of the Mississippi?) have all got bags of bran for heads, bunches of woinen's curls for tails and manes, and bed-posts or big bologna sausages for legs ?”
"My inquiring friend,” said I, “some hundreds of years ago the men who invenied painting either could not, or would not, paint horses in any other way, giving all thought and care to the human form divine. Our • rockyhorse for children is an accurate copy, in wood, of the eq21115 nobilissimus of those Old Masters ;,' and to this day many (fortunately not all) modern artists stick to the antique (called classic) type and model, for fear men should say they did not study in Rome. If their pictures are not like horses, so much the worse for the horses! Are you answered ?"
PART I.- GOLDIE.- (Continued.) 66
S quiet as a mouse!” exclaimed Goldie, entering the
rectory parlor. It was a bright morning in the early spring, all windy and sunshine. “I thought you had forgotten me, old book-worm!” And she quietly closed Horace's big book, her little cousin making no resistance. “You're nice! Promise to go walking with me, and then want to be a lazy little dog and curl up in a chair the whole morning!”
“You'll wear out your natural history,” said Horace, slowly stretching his slender little body. “ I'm a mouse, and a dog, and a bookworm. Presently I'll be a monkey, or a little cat, or a goose, or a ‘queer fish.'"
“Or an old sloth. Come! stir up!”
" Here's your cap," said Goldie, delivering it. "Put it on. Who could ever deposit a boy's cap in the right place but himself? Where's your tippet?”
"Oh nonsense, Cousin Goldie; I found three violets yesterday.” “Yes, and you gave me one, amiable creature! What did you do with the others?"
“I sent one to Papa in a letter · Papa makes me write to him once a week — and I gave one to Grandpa; but he didn't want it, and I gave it to Martha." She wanted it, I know; she loves flowers, blessed old creature !”