Зображення сторінки




our Christianity; yet, so far as the spirit of Chris. It is observable that, while among all nations the tianity is concerned, we are immeasurably behind omni-color, white, has been received as an emblem the ancients. Mottoes and proverbs are the indices of the Pure, the no-color, black, has by no means of national character; and the Anglo-Saxons are been generally admitted as sufficiently typical of disgraced in having no proverbial equivalent to the Impurity. There are blue devils as well as black; " De mortuis nil nisi bonum.” Moreover-where, and when we think very ill of a woman, and wish to in all statutary Christendom, shall we find a law so blacken her character, we merely call her "a blue Christian as the “ Defuncti injuriâ ne afficiantur" stocking' and advise her to read, in Rabelais' "Gar- of the Twelve Tables ? gantua,” the chapter “de ce qui est signifié par les The simple negative injunction of the Latin law couleurs blanc et bleu.There is far more difference and proverb—the injunction not to do ill to the dead between these “couleurs," in fact, than that which seems at a first glance, scarcely susceptible of im. exists between simple black and white. Your “blue," provement in the delicate respect of its terms. I when we come to talk of stockings, is black in issimo cannot help thinking, however, that the sentiment, if

-"nigrum nigrius nigro"-like the matter from not the idea intended, is more forcibly conveyed in which Raymond Lully first manufactured his alcohol. an apopthegm by one of the old English moralists, 2.

James Puckle. By an ingenious figure of speech he Mr. -, I perceive, has been appointed Librarian contrives to imbue the negation of the Roman comto the new - Athenæum. To him, the appoint- mand with a spirit of active and positive beneficence. ment is advantageous in many respects. Especially: “When speaking of the dead,” he says, in his -"Mon cousin, voici une belle occasion pour ap- “Grey Cap for a Green Head,” “ so fold up your prendre à lire!"

discourse that their virtues may be outwardly shown, 3.

while their vices are wrapped up in silence." As far as I can understand the “loving our

10. enemies," it implies the hating our friends.

I have no doubt that the Fourierites honestly fancy 4.

“a nasty poet fit for nothing" to be the true transIn commencing our dinners with gravy soup, no lation of “poeta nascitur non fit.doubt we have taken a hint from Horace. Da, he says, si grare non est,

There surely cannot be “more things in Heaven Quæ prima iratum ventrem placaverit isca. and Earth than are dreamt of” (oh, Andrew Jackson 5.

Davis !)“ in your philosophy.” Of much of our cottage architecture we may safely

12. say, I think, (admitting the good intention) that it "It is only as the Bird of Paradise quits us in would have been Gothic if it had not felt it its duty taking wing," observes, or should observe, some to be Dutch.

poet, "That we obtain a full view of the beauty of 6.

its plumage;" and it is only as the politician is abu ut James's multitudinous novels seem to be written being “ turned out” that—like the snake of the Irish upon the plan of “the songs of the Bard of Schiraz,"' Chronicle when touched by St. Patrick-he “a wakens in which, we are assured by Fadladeen, “the same to a sense of his situation." beauvisul thought occurs again and again in every

13. possible variety of phrase.”

Newspaper editors seem to have constitutions 7.

closely similar to those of the Deities in “ Walhalla," Some of our foreign lions resemble the human who cut each other 10 pieces every day, and yet got brain in one very striking particular. They are up perfectly sound and fresh every morning. without any sense themselves and yet are the centres

14. of sensation.

As far as I can comprehend the modern cant in 8.

favor of “unadulterated Saxon,” it is fast leading us Mirabeau, 1 fancy, acquired his wonderful tact at to the language of that region where, as Addison has foreseeing and meeting contingencies, during his it, “they sell the best fish and speak the plainest residence in the stronghold of If.

English.” 9.

15. Coutle's “Reminiscences of Coleridge” is just The frightfully long money.pouches—like the such a book as damns its perpetrator forever in the Cucumber called the Gigantic”—which have come opinion of every gentleman who reads it. More and in vogue among our belles—are not of Parisian more every day do we moderns pavoneggiarsi about origin, as many suppose, but are strictly indigenous



here. The fact is, such a fashion would be quite out | vivid perception of Right-of justice—of proportion of place in Paris, where it is money only that women -in a word, of to xanov. But one thing is clearkeep in a purse. The purse of an American lady, that the man who is not "irritable,” (10 the ordinary however, must be large enough to carry both her apprehension,) is no poet. money and the soul of its owner.

23. 16.

Let a man succeed ever so evidently-ever so I can see no objection to gentlemen "standing for demonstrably—in many different displays of genius, Congress"--provided they stand on one side-nor to the envy of criticism will agree with the popular their “ running for Congress"—if they are in a very voice in denying him more than talent in any. Thus great hurry to get there—but it would be a blessing a poet who has achieved a great (by which I mean if some of them could be persuaded into sitting still, an effective) poem, should be cautious not to disfor Congress, after they arrive.

tinguish himself in any other walk of Letters. In 17.

especial-let him make no effort in Science-unless If Envy, as Cyprian has it, be “the moth of the anonymously, or with the view of waiting patiently soul,” whether shall we regard Content as its Scoich the judgment of posterity. Because universal or snuff or its camphor ?

even versatile geniuses have rarely or never been 18.

known, therefore, thinks the world, none such can M-, having been “used up” in the Re-ever be. A “therefore" of this kind is, with the view,” goes about town lauding his critic-as an world, conclusive. But what is the fact, as taught epicure lauds the best London mustard-with the us by analysis of mental power? Simply, that the tears in his eyes.

highest genius—that the genius which all men in19.

stantaneously acknowledge as such-which acts “ Con tal que las costumbres de un autor sean upon individuals, as well as upon the mass, by a puras y castas," says the Catholic Don Tomas de species of magnetism incomprehensible but irrelas Torres, in the Preface to his “ Amatory Poems," sistible and never resisted—that this genius which importo muy poco qui no sean igualmente severas demonstrates itself in the simplest gesture—or even sus obras :" meaning, in plain English, that, pro- by the absence of all-this genius which speaks vided the personal morals of an author are pure, it without a voice and flashes from the unopened eyematters little what those of his books are.

is but the result of generally large mental power For so unprincipled an idea, Don Tomas, no doubt, existing in a state of absolute proportion-so that no is still having a hard time of it in Purgatory; and, one faculty has undue predominance. That facti. by way of most pointedly manifesting their disgust rious "genius”-that “genius” in the popular sense at his philosophy on the topic in question, many which is but the manifestation of the abnormal modern theologians and divines are now busily predominance of some one faculty over all the others squaring their conduct by his proposition exactly -and, of course, at the expense and to the detriconversed.

ment, of all the others—is a result of mental disease or 20.

rather, of organic malformation of mind:-it is this Children are never 100 tender to be whipped :- and nothing more. Not only will such "genius" like tough beefsteaks, the more you beat them the fail, if turned aside from the path indicated by its more tender they become.

predominant faculty; but, even when pursuing this 21.

path-when producing those works in which, cerLucian, in describing the statue “with its surface tainly, it is best calculated 10 succeed-will give unof Parian marble and its interior filled with rags,” mistakeable indications of unsoundness, in respect must have been looking with a prophetic eye at to general intellect. Hence, indeed, arises the just some of our great “moneyed institutions."

idea that 22.

“Great wit to madness nearly is allied." That poets (using the word comprehensively, as I say "just idea ;" for by “great wit,” in this case, including artists in general) are a genus irritabile, is the poet intends precisely the pseudo-genius to which well understood; but the why, seems not to be com- I refer. The true genius, on the other hand, is monly seen. An artist is an artist only by dint of his necessarily, if not universal in its manifestations, at exquisite sense of Beauty—a sense affording him least capable of universality; and if, attempting all rapturous enjoyment, but at the same time implying, things, it succeeds in one rather better than in anor involving, an equally exquisite sense of Deformity other, this is merely on account of a certain bias by of disproportion. Thus a wrong-an injustice-done which Taste leads it with more earnestness in the a poet who is really a poet, excites him to a degree one direction than in the other. With equal zeal, it which, to ordinary apprehension, appears dispropor- would succeed equally in all. tionate with the wrong. Poets see injustice-never To sum up our results in respect to this very where it does not exist—but very often where the simple, but much vexata questio :unpoetical see no injustice whatever. Thus the What the world calls "genius" is the state of poetical irritability has 10 reference to “temper” in mental disease arising from the undue predominance the vulgar sense, but merely to a more than usual clear- of some one of the faculties. The works of such sightedness in respect to Wrong:-this clear-sighted-genius are never sound in themselves and, in especial, ness being nothing more than a corollary from the always betray the general mental insanity.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

The proportion of the mental faculties, in a case reply is, that the “absolute proportion” spoken of, where the general mental power is not inordinate, when applied to inordinate mental power, gives, as a gives that result which we distinguish as talent :- result, the appreciation of Beauty and horror of Deand the talent is greater or less, first, as the general formity which we call sensibility, together with that mental power is greater or less; and, secondly, as intense vitality, which is implied when we speak of the proportion of the faculties is more or less ab- “Energy” or “Passion.” solute.

24. The proportion of the faculties, in a case where " And Beauty draws us by a single hair."-Capilthe mental power is inordinately great, gives that lary attraction, of course. result which is the true genius (but which, on account

25. of the proportion and seeming simplicity of its works, It is by no means clear, as regards the present reis seldom acknowledged to be so;) and the genius is volutionary spirit of Europe, that it is a spirit which greater or less, first, as the general mental power is “moveth altogether if it move at all.” In Great more or less inordinately great; and, secondly, as Britain it may be kept quiet for half a century yet, by the proportion of the faculties is more or less absolute. placing at the head of affairs an experienced medical

An objection will be made :-hat the greatest man. He should. keep his forefinger constantly on excess of mental power, however proportionate, does the pulse of the patient, and exhibit panem in gentle not seem to satisfy our idea of genius, unless we doses, with as much circenses as the stomach can be have, in addition, sensibility, passion, energy. The I made to retain.

[Conclusion in our next.




(Concluded from page 266.)

WHEN Parisian society had passed the dread ordeal, vaded all society. High and low, aristocrats and which bears the name of the Reign of Terror, through people, antiques and moderns all danced. The continual scenes of blood and tears, it seemed by a chapel of the old Carmelite conveni became a ballstrange and almost unaccountable impulse to be im- room, and the Jesuits' college a place of festivity, as pelled to mirth and festivity. On the day after the dis- did also the convents of Saint-Sulpice of the Filles appearance of the guillotine French frivolity resumed de Saint-Marie. In the guinguettes and in the its sway with a thousand whims and vagaries, 10 most elegant society all danced. “ If the traces of which the stern muse of history would pay no atten- crime and degradation were seen every where else,” tion, but to which, in this sketch of the follies of says a writer of that age, "a man of taste had at humanity, we may aptly attend. One of the whim- least the consolation to find in these brilliant assemsicalities peculiar to the day is that in memory of blages society not unlike that which made Paris once the sad toilette of the guillotine, when the hair was the wonder of the world. The winter-balls are the cropped by the shears of the executioner, a similar asylum of good taste, elegance and propriety. In coiffure was the mode. Women laid aside their them a young man may purify himself by the specluxuriant locks for a coiffure à la victime, and tacle of triumphant VIRTUE." Yet the only requisite wore a band of blood-red velvet around the neck, as 10 admission to these balls was a subscription of 96 if in derision of the fall of the axe. This fashion, francs, (about $19 20.) A cotemporary thus deemanating in France, where recklessness had been scribes one of the most celebrated of these reunions, produced by the constant presence of danger, went that at the Hotel Richelieu, in a manner to make us the round of the world, and the coiffure à la victime skeptical about the virtue. “It is,” says he, was worn by both sexes in quiet neighborhoods, arch of transparent robes of lace, head-dresses of which had learned only by report of the fearful atro- gold and diamonds. A subscription is required, and cities committed in the capital of civilization. Balls the visiter is ushered into the society of perfumed à la victime also became the vogue, and none were goddesses, crowned with flowers, who float about in at first admitted to them except those who had lost Athenian robes, and receive the lisping flattery of relations on the scaffold. To some of these balls it the incroyables, who prate of their parole d'honwas requisite not to have lost collaterals only, but neur.” It need not be said this is a mere phase of a parent, or brother, sister, husband or wife. There Parisian society, fortunately not reflected by the rest were exclusives even there, and a new nobility of of the world. the scaffold was created. This was the era of cor- The ball of the Opera was revived, and to it we sets à la justice and bonnets à la humanité. must look for the most striking specimens of cos

Away with care! Bring in the violin and min- tume. The plain black domino exclusively worn at strels! was the cry. A mania for the dance per- such places during the monarchy had disappeared,



and was replaced by a similar garment of the most that the late or present French Revolution is not yet striking colors. Turks, Chinese and the old tradi- over, is the fact that as yet public amusements do tional characters were exiled to the places of popular not thrive, and that the people look elsewhere for amusement, and the great room of the Opera was excitement than to the stage and concert. The most filled with Caius Marius, Dentatus, Cicero, Mutius curious of all spectacles is the stormy deliberation of Scævola, Pericles, Lycurgus, Cymon and Herodotus. the Assembly, and the artistes of the Executive The charm, however, was gone; the new society power the most attractive of all performers. had no traditions; the people composing it were Gradually a disposition to make a figure inocualmost ignorant of each other, and the playful badi- lated society. As the Revolution became distant nage of which the old balls had been the scene was luxury increased. Yet it was not the faste of old lost forever. The Jeunesse Dorée, as the courtiers monarchy, but a new splendor, which the persons of the Directory and Consulate were called, fre left on the surface of society by the bouleversement quented these balls most faithfully, but the old pres of all orders threw around them. The women in the tige was destroyed, and families were not seen as lowness of the bosoms of their dresses descended they had been in the days of old.

below even the modesty required by the Regency, It is strange with what rapidity from the epoch of and the incroyables became more fantastic than the the Directory a laste for luxury and pleasure sprung marquis. The following was the costume they up in the minds of the people. Music again resumed adopted, and a more tasteless one can scarcely be its sway, and a hundred places of public amusement conceived: were opened. One of the most significant evidences


They were not so richly dressed as their prede- this recklessness may we attribute the fact of the cessors, nor were they so elegant and graceful, but great increase of the expense of dress in every grade their manners were quite as affected. Then came of society over all the civilized world. again the taste for gallant acrostics and love songs, The mode of wearing the hair for men had long which caused the poetry of the Cheniers to be for become fixed; it was cropped and au naturel, and gotten for fantasies addressed to the popular ac- has thus remained 10 our own day. The male costresses. This prodigality was the more criminal be. tume became every day more and more inelegant. cause it had a contrast in alarming want. The Revo- Frocks were worn short, loose and broad; pantalution did not make France more rich, nor did the loons loose as a sailor's lasted to a late day of the emhecatombs slain in defence of the liberty of the coun- pire. This costume had but one merit, simplicity, try make the cornfields and vineyards more fruitful. a quality inspection of the following engraving will French prodigality was imitated everywhere, and to 'show it to have possessed in a great degree.


All embroidery was abandoned. In 1803 the coat This brings us to the end of our subject. From the had taken its definite form, where there is every doublet of Louis XIV. costume has been traced 10 prospect that it will remain permanent. It had an our time, and an impartial observer will be satisfied immense collar and was very short before, but it we have lost nothing by the change ; for none who was yet a coat. Pantaloons were by no means what compare the garments of the schneiders of our own they are now, yet still the garment is unchanged. era with those of the Latours or Justins of old, will The hat had become round, and the cravat was think good taste has retrograded, or dream of comstationary.

paring the bucket-like things which once were worn

« НазадПродовжити »