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which Shakespeare maintained to be A sentence marked “Very good,” ju the reward of the careful explorer of the section ou " The Love of Scieuce human nature. He was optimistic in and Letters," deserves the praise given bis view of humau life and the human to it by Voltaire : “ Most men honor race, and if it be a failing to fix one's letters as they do religion and virtue, gaze and hope upon the brighter and that is to say, as a thing which they better side of existence, it is one which cannot know, practise, or love." is pardonable.
Love is a subject about which the I give here a few extracts from his French are foud of speaking and writwritings which are most striking and ing, and it has an interest for others characteristic. The copy of Vauve- also. Vauvenargues dealt with it iu a nargues' work which belonged to Vol-manner which is not conventional, and taire has been preserved, and the he made remarks concerning it which frequent annotations on the margiu are not commonplace. The paragraphs betoken with what attention it bad which he devoted to it are without been perused, as well as exhibit the annotations from Voltaire ; but they opinions which the illustrious reader were corrected by him. As he reformed and expressed.
frained from adverse criticism, he may Writing in the 16th section of the be held to have given a negative ap“Introduction to the Knowledge of the proval, and the paragraphs may be Human Mind," Vauvenargues says : read with the greater interest on that “Genius merely expresses the relation account: of certain qualities; » his commentator
In general there is much sympathy in adds: “Genius is the aptitude to excel love, that means an inclination of which in an art.” The 27th section, which is the senses form the knot ; yet, though they marked “ Excellent," is ou the “Love form the knot, they are not always the of Glory,” and as it is not long, the chief element, as it is not impossible for whole may be given :
love to be devoid of grossness.
The same passions may affect men differGlory exercises a natural authority over ently; the same object may attract them our hearts ; it affects us more than any from opposite sides. Should several men other of our sensations, and causes us to be attached to the same woman, some of forget our miseries more than vain dissipa-them may love her for her cleverness, tion; hence it is real in every sense. Those others for her virtue, others for her failwho speak of its inevitable nothingness ings, etc., and it is possible that they may would bear with difficulty the scorn of any all be in love with her for certain things in
The vacancy due to the absence of which she is deficient, as a volatile woman grand passions is filled by many minor may be loved under the impression that ones, and the contemners of glory plume she is sedate. This is immaterial, because themselves upon dancing well or something we cling to the idea which commends itself even more contemptible. They are so blind to us, and it is the idea which we love and as not to perceive that it is glory which not the volatile woman. Thus it is the they seek so strangely, and they are so vain object of our passions neither degrades nor that they dare to place it in the most frivo- ennobles them, but the manner in which lous things. They say that glory is neither we regard it. Now, I have stated that we virtue nor merit, and their reasoning is may seek for something purer in love than just, as it is but the reward of either ; yet the satisfaction of our senses.
The reason it incites us to labor and be virtuous, and why I think so is that I daily see in society often renders us estimable in order that we a man thrown among women to whom he may be esteemed.
has never spoken, as, for instance, at Virtue, glory, life are all very abject in divine service, fix his desires on one of men ; but the smallest things have their them who is neither the most beautiful, recognized proportions. An oak is a great nor appears so to him. What is the reason tree alongside a cherry-tree ; so it is with of this ? It is because each kind of beauty men compared to each other. What are expresses a particular character, and we the virtues and inclinations of those who prefer that which tallies with our own. despise glory? Have they merited it ? Therefore it is the character which often
decides our choice ; that which we seek is only are morbidly afraid of tripping and the soul, and this cannot be gainsaid. showing their defects ; they avoid occasions Hence, whatever is exhibited to our senses when they might stumble and be humilpleases us because it images what is con- iated ; they creep timidly along, never cealed ; thus we love what is visible only as leaving anything to chance, and die with
; the organs of our pleasure, and as subordi- all the weaknesses which they have been nate to the unseen qualities of which they unable to hide. are the expression, and hence it is at least true that what most affects us is the soul.
An ingenious section which is deNow, the soul is not pleasing to the senses
voted to “ The Incompetence of Readbut to the mind; the interest of the mind ers” I shall not translate in full, as it becomes supreme, and should that of the is too long. The gist of it is that readsenses be in opposition it must be sacrificed. ers are to be blamed if authors provide It is but necessary, then, to persuade us them with inferior books, that original that it is really opposed, that it is a blot works are neither readily welcomed nor upon the mind, and such is pure love.
understood, “the bad taste of readers True love, however, must not be con- and their relish for trifles leading to founded with friendship, because the mind the multiplication of vapid works and is the organ of sentiment in friendship, literary rubbish.” whereas in love the senses play that part. And, as the ideas which issue from the
Gray was of opinion that the man senses are infinitely more powerful than who wrote down whatever came before views which are the result of reflection, him could not help producing an interwhat they inspire is passion. Friendship esting volume. Vauvenargues put this does not extend so far.
thought in another
A man posMany speakers and writers have had sessing some common sense who should
enter in bis note-book all the falseto repel the charge of inconsistency, or hoods and absurdities which he heard to justify themselves. Charles James Fox insisted that his inconsistency was
during the day, would never go to bed
without having filled it.” equivalent to an admission that he
Three of the pieces in which typical had grown wiser through experience.
characters are described give a very When Vauvenargues was accused of
good idea both of the observation and this failing, he would reply: “If I am
the acuteness of Vauvenargues. He told that I contradict myself, I answer that I do not admit I am always in the he does so as one of themselves, but
depicts the great without flattery, and wrong because I have been so once or
with keeper eyes than his fellows. A several times."
few sentences will serve to show the The concluding sentences of the secGreatness of Mind” are very
manner in which he performs his task : good : " Those who desire that men The great scarcely remark the miseries, should be all good or bad, tall or short, the manners, the talents, the virtues, and do not understand nature. Everything the vices of other men, being too much in men is mixed; everything is lim- occupied with themselves. They do not ited, and even vice has its boundary."
even perceive what is before their eyes ; When Vauvenargues writes that
they do not extend their gaze beyond their « nobility is an inheritance like gold their flatterers, and their servants.
families, people in office, their hangers-on,
The and diamonds," Voltaire stamps the
human race is comprised for them within phrase as Good and new.” In “Re- the narrow circle of their dependants or of Hections on Various Subjects," Vauve- those who pay them court, the remainder vargues has a section on the “Necessity escaping their notice and not exciting their for Making Mistakes,” of which the esteem, their compassion, or their curiosity. opening sentences are styled “fine :
Those who belong to the bourgeoisie One should not be timid through fear of are as little to his taste as those of his committing blunders ; the greatest blunder
own class : of all is not to acquire experience. We may be quite certain that weak persons The nobles are self-conceited, the people
are coarse and the bourgeoisie borrows from 198. Fire, air, spirit, and light all exist by both. Notwithstanding what I have said motion ; hence the intercommunicaabout those in society, I am far from pre- tion and alliance of all beings, the ferring the middle class to them ; I prefer unity and harmony of the universe. an artless impudence and a boundless Yet we consider this fruitful law of frivolity to a clumsy and impertinent imita- Nature a vice in man, and because tion of these two vices. When I enter a he is forced to obey it, not being able middle-class house I find there a more ex- to live in idleness, we conclude that treme vanity and more affected folly, a he is out of his element. (Very fine.) more profound ignorance and a more tire- 204. There is no advantage in having a some conversation than in that of a noble ; lively mind if it be not accurate ; the the women there are either affected or silly, perfect clock does not go fast, but either gossips or fools ; the men are ill-bred, correctly. great talkers, heavy, and imitators.
264. It is easy enough to criticise an author;
the difficulty lies in appreciating him. His sympathies are for the lower 277. A liar is a man who does not underclass, or those who have come down in
stand how to deceive ; a flatterer is the world, and he expresses his pity
one who usually deceives fools ; while
; for them without secing his way to he who knows how to turn truth to raise them to a higher level and induce good account and is aware of its elothem to lead a worthier life.
quence, is alone entitled to plume I have said already that Vauvenargues
himself on his cleverness. (Fine.) is best known by the maxims, of which 289. There are no contradictions in Nature. he wrote nine hundred and forty-five. 347. It is worthy of note that, while nearly He suppressed two hundred and forty
all the poets have employed Racine's
expressions, Racine has never five at the suggestion of Voltaire. In
peated himself. making a selection out of the mass, I 400. A very new and original work would shall endeavor to give specimens which
be one which should inspire love for may fairly represent it.
The figure old truths. placed before each is its number in the 405. Politics is the grandest of all the original. The word at the end of some sciences. is Voltaire's.
409. It is often more difficult to rule a
single man than a great people. 5. Obscurity is the kingdom of error. 411. If the secret were discovered of ending 12. A distinctive mark of mediocrity is to
war, multiplying the human race, be always lukewarm in praise.
and insuring subsistence to all men, (Good.)
how barbarous and stupid would our 22. Servitude degrades men till they love best laws appear ! it. (Good.)
431. Interest is the measure of prudence. 25. Before attacking an abuse, see whether 482. There are men who live happily withits foundations cannot be under
out knowing it. mined.
521. All men are born sincere and die de26. Inevitable abuses are laws of Nature.
528. Self-interest is the soul of men of the 57. It is a mistake to say a man has made world.
his fortune if he does not know how 555. We rarely speak and write as we think. to enjoy it.
626. Those who always calumniate do little 83. Those who think themselves inde
harm; they intend more mischief pendent of others become intractable.
than they can achieve. (Good.)
650. We despise the myths of our country ; 127. Great thoughts spring from the heart.
we teach our children those of an(Very fine.)
tiquity. 133. Conscience is the most variable of 827. Pity is less tender than love. rules. (Good.)
Vauvenargues was a lukewarm mem142. To perform great deeds we must live
as if we should never die. (Very ber of the Roman Catholic Church, to good.)
which he belonged by birth, and from 159. The counsel of age enlightens without which he never severed himself. He
warming, like sunshine in winter. was far removed, however, from those
philosophers in his country who were filled Europe with his fame ; Vauvevirulently antagonistic to all creeds and nargues was known to a small circle churches, and Voltaire seemed to think only, and his death made no percepthat he believed too much rather than tible ripple on the surface of public too little. Whatsoever his opinions opinion. may have been on religious doctrines Both of these men longed for glory as a whole, many of his utterances are as the chief object of human endeavor. those of a man who had an earnest de- Frederick obtained enough of it in his sire to reconcile his beliefs as a child lifetime to satisfy any reasonable dewith his views and experience as a sire, yet he may have descended into
In his “Reflections and Max- his grave without all his lopes having ims” there is a passage which none of been gratified. Vauvenargues had a his free-thinking contemporaries would hard life ; Voltaire said that he died have penned :
like a hero and unknown. Yet the 386. My passions and thoughts die only lesser man, in the estimation of the to revive ; I die nightly in my bed only to world, has not lived in vain. His last rise with renewed strength and renewed biographer justly says that if Vauvefreshness. This experience of death re- nargues had not existed, the literary assures me in view of the decay and disso-tradition of France would have been lution of my body ; when I see that the lacking in an important characteristic, active force of my mind recalls to life its while the nobility of the French mind extinguished thoughts, I comprehend how would have had a quartering the he who made my body could, with still fewer. It is impossible to watch the better reason, restore life to it. I say to my wondering heart, What has become
struggles of Vauvenargues without of the fleeting objects which recently occu
sympathy ; it is impossible to read his
Those who pied my mind ? Return again, vanished writings without profit. objects." I speak and my mind awakes ;
now learn his story can feel a respect these mortal phantoms understand me, for the man which is as strong as their and the images of things which have passed admiration, and there are few of his away obey me and reappear. Eternal soul contemporaries of which this can be of the world ! it is thus that your saving affirmed.
W. FRASER RAE. voice will reclaim its works, and the earth, seized with trembling, will surrender its booty. Vauvenargues was one of two men
From Temple Bar. of great intellectual capacity who re
BY RIGHT OF WOMANHOOD. garded Voltaire as a divinity, who paid I AM one of the stout, ugly ones. their homage to him in writing, whose My figure is not worthy the name ; I flattery was as a sweet morsel to him, have not a single good feature in my and he condescended to become their face, and, moreover, no compensating friend. The first letter of the one was attractiveness of complexion or general addressed to Voltaire in 1736, that of expression, such as the novelists usuthe other in 1742. Both were then ally attribute to their plain girls. I young and aspiring, the one being feel my deficiencies and show that I twenty-eight, and the other twenty- do, if my glass tells me aright. An old four, and both were soldiers. But gentleman told me once that no woman their positions were as different as need look really ugly. He got that out their destinies. It was Frederick, of a book somewhere. I am afraid I prince of Prussia, who wrote to him in laughed in his face. He meant the 1736 ; and it was Vauvenargues, cap- remark to be consoling, I believe, for lain in the French King's Own Regi- we had been discussing feminine ment, who wrote in 1742. The first beauty, as I often like to do; but I lived fifty years after bis letter was laughed all the same, and he looked sent; the second, four only. Frederick sorry. I hate people to be sorry for became kuowu as "the Great," and 'me. I know that I am ugly, and am
too. sorry for myself to consider any I looked at them admiriugly and felt one else's pity more than mere waste, the tourist I was. I wished I could where so much is given already. Why only go hunting like that. It seemed should other people care about my ugli- so grand and noble, all sorts of covetness? It is almost a reproach to me ousness arose within me. to think I require consolation on that I asked a farmer leaning over a gate account, all the more humiliating be- where the meet was. He said at Bren. cause I know that I do. I prefer don Two Gates. And when we had to be regarded as irredeemably ugly walked on a little further I unfurled the and beyond the consideration due to map which Aunt Jane always insists on woman by right. Men are only polite my carrying in my pocket, for she preand considerate where beauty of face, fers to be independent of directions in or form, or character attract them ; dialect, and looked to see where Brenpowhere else, however chivalrous they don Two Gates was. It seemed a long may pretend to be.
way off, though nothing like the disAt least, I used to think so, but that tance it afterwards proved. A sudden was before I went to Porlock last sum- spirit of adventure seized me, and I mer, where something happened to me told Aunt Jane that I would leave her which altered my views considerably to botanize alone for once if she did not on this point, but, strange to say, left mind, and go to see what a meet was me as dissatisfied as ever; for I had a like. She assented at once, for she service done me perfectly, and that out always allows that I am as capable of of regard for my womanhood alone ; looking after myself as any one she and I am discontented because I know knows, though I am but twenty-three, tbat it could have been done for no and I think she was rather grateful on other reason. We are consistent in our the whole for the chance of getting riel inconsistencies. My consistency seems of me. For I like walking fast, and to be my discovtent that I am awkward cannot help showing my impatience and ugly. But since I have met a true over the botanical pottering at times. gentleman I would have others know So I hurried off, lest it should strike that I am aware of the fact, lest I her to ask for a look at the map before should appear altogether too pessi. I got out of range, and arrived at Culmistic.
bone Stables in a white heat ; for the It happened on this wise.
sun was very fierce, and the road enWe — that is, Bella my sister and tirely unprotected. her admirer (they have been married Thence I looked across the moor since), Aunt Jane, and myself — were southward, and as I looked, the sense staying last August at Porlock below of freedom and space and delight in Exmoor. Aunt Jane went botanizing, mere living to breathe such air, took and I went with her usually, while the possession of me, and I dashed down other two wandered in the neighboring the hill, the other side, in a state borwoods, aud came home to supper in a dering on frenzy. state of supreme happiness which daily I asked my way at a farm at the botexcited my envy. Aunt Jane and bot- tom, and pounded up the next hill any rather bored me, to tell the truth, without pausing another moment, and but I love Aunt Jane, and was as en-on and on across heather and grass and thusiastic as my nature admitted over seru, with Brendou Two Gates apparlier excursions and discoveries.
ently as far off as ever — at least I One day when we had set off early could not see them. I do not quite up the great hill towards Culbone Sta- know what I expected they would be bles to find white heather, leaving like, but I imagined they must be big Bella and John down below as usual, a landmarks of some sort that could not great many people passed us, on horse- fail to catch the eye within a few miles. back, evidently going to one of the big I began to feel rather tired and disapstag-hound meets in the neighborhood. 'pointed, and my ardor cooled as the sun