« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
of life, his experience, his sorrows, his principles are all entrusted to his muse. Who has not beard of the vanity of pursuit, the certainty that hope will be disappointed, and that the restless activity and ambition of youth are after all to be followed only by the decrepitude and indolence of age ? Goethe repeats the same lesson, but it is in an allegory.
The ancient castle stands in its majesty ; the heroes, who have ruled in it, and returned to it in victory, are now but shadows; the last surviver of the house is just on the point of commencing in his turn the unsuccessful pursuit after glory and happiness.
THE SALUTATION OF A SPIRIT.
Haste, haste to cleave the seas. The moral of these lines is not disheartening. Though youth can promise itself no other happiness than that of constant exertion, and age can expect no other enjoyment than what attends on tranquillity and repose, the course of life must still be run fearlessly and in the spirit of trust.
In another poem, the vanity of pleasure is illustrated by comparing it to an insect of brilliant wings, shining splendidly so long as it can buzz and sparkle in the sun, but losing its lustre, when examined by the hand of impertinent curiosity.
Now red, now blue,
Could I behold her near!
And leaves a dark and cheerless blue.
This is thy fate, anatomist of thy joys. Among all the poems of Goethe there is but one regular fable.
The EAGLE AND THE Dove.
Reach'd the high bird ; his wing is maim'd.
Nature at length, whose balsam heals
And wide expands his wings. Alas!
Involved in inward misery
And a tear fills his haughty eye.
As gaily thus the pair advance,
They see the bird, that secret mourns;
And t'wards the bush that hid his deep distress,
O wisdom ! thou dost counsel as the dove. The truth of this conclusion most men can acknowledge. It is in vain to demonstrate to an ambitious man the folly of his ambition, or to make the artist and the poet, who are thirsting for praise, confess that men's opinions are worth nothing. Ambition continues in power; the passion for praise still excites and controls; men desire what they do not possess, what they do not need, and what they never can attain; and he, who feels himself to have been created for a high station, to which he has forfeited his claim, cannot but be dissatisfied with himself and with the world.
But the works of Goethe are not without lessons of practical morality. Though he makes no boasts of being himself a religious man, he acknowledges religion to be essentially the best foundation of a good character, and considers cooperation with others in works of practical utility, and in the execution of just and righteous designs, the safest and the happiest course. He has also drawn many exquisite and elevating pictures of female excellence, has illustrated the superiority of domestic life, and has given the noblest encomiums to that sex, which knows how to establish order and economy, to feel, and to endure. Ye call woman fickle,' says he, ye err; she but roams in search of a steadfast man. Though Goethe has so often delineated imaginary woes, and carried
his readers into a world of fiction, yet it is the tendency of his writings to promote a love for the arts, for activity, for truth. They do not merely teach us to be satisfied with the world, but to bear with it, by showing how rich it is in the means of acquiring virtues, and of performing just and benevolent deeds.
to sharks .dhanks, Art. IV.-The American Farmer, containing Original Essays
and Selections on Rural Economy and Internal Improvements ; with Illustrative Engravings and the Prices Current of Country Produce. John S. SKINNER, Editor. 5 vols. 4to. Baltimore. 1821-1824.
The wealth of a nation, and consequently the prosperity and happiness of the community, depend on three sources of industry, usually denominated agricultural, manufacturing, and commercial. The labored discussions into which political economists have entered, respecting the comparative importance of these modes, and the zeal with which each has been defended in preference to the other two, have been more frequently marked with local predilections and love of theory, than with consistency and broad views of the subject. In its general and abstract sense the topic cannot be discussed ; that is, it is wholly impossible to decide, upon any general principles, whether agriculture, manufacture, or commerce, affords the best field for hurnan industry. A union of the three is essential to the well being, nay to the existence of civilised society, and it depends wholly on the circumstances of any particular country, or district, whether one or the other ought to receive the greatest degree of attention. A good government will take care to encourage them all, and to strengthen each in proportion as the others may be gaining an undue ascendency; and the largest amount of public happiness will be enjoyed by that nation, in which these several branches of industry flourish together, and with nearly an equal degree of activity.
It was the theory of a class of French writers on political economy, of whom Quesnai was at the head, that the only productive labor was that bestowed in cultivating the earth.
Agriculture alone they deemed the source of the increase of value or capital, which they supposed to constitute wealth. They did not deny that the manufacturer, who fashioned materials into other forins, gave them an additional value, but they maintained that this amounted to no more, than the value of what he consumed during the operation; so that in reality nothing was added to the general stock of wealth. And as for merchandise, it was considered as a mere exchange, in which things of equal value were given for each other, and of course nothing was gained to the original mass. Till the time of Adam Smith this theory was supported with much pertinacity, and it was gravely and acutely argued, that whatever direction labor might take in accommodation to the order and progress of society, it actually produced nothing in the shape of wealth or capital, except when employed in the cultivation of the soil.
This theory is built on an unsound basis, a false notion of what constitutes wealth, and the value of effects produced by labor. What is the wealth of a community but the means of subsistence, comfort, happiness? That nation, which has the ability to enjoy all these in the greatest degree is the richest; and labor bestowed in any way to increase the comforts and conveniences of life, is at the same time enlarging the stock of national wealth in the same proportion. Agriculture contributes its due share in this work, but in no state of civilised society does it accomplish any more than a part. Agriculture alone would supply us with the necessities of life, the means of subsistence, and here its agency would stop. Shall we call this wealth, and the only valuable product of labor ? Do we not need raiment and shelter, and is there no value in these? But the moment we begin to fabricate garments and build houses, we become manufacturers. Indeed, the agriculturalist himself must first manufacture, or procure to be manufactured, his implements of husbandry, or his labor will produce nothing. We thus see in the first place, that the product of agriculture is in itself but a small part of national wealth, and in the second place, that this cannot be made to minister even to the common necessities, much less the comforts and enjoyments of life, without the aid of manufacture. The result is very plain, that the theory of the economists has no foundation.