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Aber ohne Leitband kann er keine Stunde gehen, ohne immer zu fallen. Herrschen wollt' ich nicht; lieber vor Langerweile gesichert sein, dies war das Ziel, wonach ich strebte. Meine Phantasie sagte mir: "Brinckens Herz mag da wohl noch inniger geschlagen haben! Und wenn ich Kettler nicht nehme, dann kommt Recke!
Ob ich mich nach dem Grafen sehne, oder die Verbindung mit ihm scheue? Noch waren keine vierzehn Tage verflossen, so war Kettler wieder da und bat meinen Vater im Namen seiner Mutter, wegen einer wirtschaftlichen Angelegenheit mit ihm in ein paar Tagen nach Essern zu reisen. Aber dem Grafen ging es mit der Landwirtschaft, wie mir mit dem Klavierspielen. Jeder Besuch von. Er kam wieder mit einer Menge Uhren an. Der Graf suchte sich zu entschuldigen, versprach Besserung. Antrag von meines Vaters Schwester. Einwilligung des alten Grafen. Beistand meiner Stiefmutter. Reise meines Vaters nach Essern.
Der junge Graf hofft, sich mir lieb zu machen, kommt wieder zu uns -- wird von mir ganz abgesagt. Dieser Brief meiner Tante gab mir. Mein Vater durchlas beide vom alten Grafen gerichtlich unterzeichnete Akten; alles, alles, was zur Sicherheit meines Vaters und zu meinem Vorteil gefordert war, hatte der Graf bewilliget. Als sie sich erholt hat, hat sie gleich. Als der junge Graf meinen Brief an seine Mutter gelesen hat, ist er ernst und nachdenklich geblieben, hat endlich ausgerufen: Sie liebt mich nicht! Doch mit Klavierspielen plagte er mich selbst da! Diese erwiderte: da habe sie noch nicht den zum ewigen Leitbande bestimmten Grafen gekannt.
Er habe bisher als Liebhaber einen ernsten Weg genommen, um als Gatte einst Liebhaber und Freund zu bleiben. Dies glaubte ich am Ende selbst und hing mit noch innigerer Liebe an ihr. Besuch von Recke. Reise nach Remten. Ich gebe meiner Stiefmutter das Versprechen, Recke zu heiraten.
Wir werden versprochen. Ich segnete den Augenblick, als ich in mein Zimmer trat und mich zu Bette legte. Dann sprach sie von den herrlichen Gegenden um Neuenburg, den seligen Tagen, die sie da gelebt habe. Dieser Neffe war sein Liebling,. Er liebt dich, du bist seine erste Liebe, wirst seine letzte Liebe sein! Aber vor dem zwanzigsten Jahre gebe sie mich durchaus nicht von sich. Unsere Reise nach Remten wurde angetreten, aber ehe wir abreisten, hatte Recke in der Zeit von sechs Tagen durch Boten zweimal an meine Eltern und mich geschrieben. Er schrieb sehr gut; seine Briefe waren voll leidenschaftlicher Liebe und voll.
Kaum waren wir in Remten, so war auch Recke mit seinem Freunde Lieven bei uns, denn nun zog er von Neuenburg auf sein Nebengut Georgenhof hin; dies lag nur eine Meile von Remten, und da kam er jagdweise oft zu uns. Auch sprach er nie mit mir, sah mich mit seinen. Weinend sagte ich: Ja, Mutterchen! Schnell fertigte meine Stiefmutter den Boten nach Georgenhof ab; ehe zwei Stunden verflossen, war Recke da. Unbekannt mit Welt und Menschen stelle ich meiner vertrautesten Freundin meine Gedanken und Empfindungen in diesen Briefen so treulich dar, wie meine Gestalt sich in einem treuen Spiegel abbildet.
Meine gute Stoltz liebte mich. Ewig, ewig wirst du es erfahren, wie ich dich liebte und dich ewig lieben werde! Nicht wahr, Sie sagten so: 'der Tod ist auch Leben? Auch nicht der kleinste Zettel, den ich der teuern Seligen geschrieben habe, ist von ihr vernichtet worden, und einige meiner Briefe an meine Eltern, an Lisette von Medem, an Doris von Lieven und an Pastor Martini fand ich in dieser Briefsammlung, die sich nach Tag und Jahren geordnet hatte.
So forderten wir beide im Herzen Dinge von einander, die wir nicht zu geben vermochten. Diesen Gedanken gab er mir sehr undelikat zu erkennen. Noch habe ich auch unter den Lebenden Freunde, die mich lieben, wie meine Verstorbenen mich liebten, und die ich liebe, wie ich die teueren Seligen liebte.
Diesem hatte ich nie mein Jawort gegeben, nur seine und meine Eltern standen unsertwegen in Heiratstraktaten. Bis dahin wurde ich vom Grafen als Kind behandelt. Wenn ich Reckes Frau werde, dann wird meine Tanzlust ganz vorbei sein. Ich hoffe, er wird vielleicht zufrieden sein, wenn die Hochzeit auch erst in meinem einundzwanzigsten Jahre ist. Mama will dies auch so. Aber liebe, liebste Freundin meiner Seele, jetzt steht in meinem Herzen noch eine Freundin neben dir.
Doch dich, meine Lisette, liebe ich noch mehr, du bist die erste Freundin meiner Jugend, die liebste Freundin meiner Seele. Meine Lisette! Glaube mir, Freundin! Bis dahin werde ich Herrn von der Recke mehr kennen lernen, und dann werde ich ihn auch mehr lieben. Dies zu tun, sobald die Hochzeit vorbei ist, habe ich fest in mir beschlossen. Alles, was die Zufriedenheit dieser guten Eltern vermehrt, dies zu tun gebietet mir mein Herz.
Hast du einen Widerwillen gegen Recke? Wir alle weinten herzlich. Abends gegen 6 Uhr. Mama liest, und ich bin allein. Abends nach Den Mama hat meine Hochzeit leider zum Ich werde Ihnen, meine Freundin, schon sagen warum! Ach Gott! Die Medem aus Behnen, die dich, liebste Freundin,. Glaube nur nicht, meine Liebste,.
Er kann beinahe gar nicht mit mir und meiner geliebten Stoltz sprechen, aber mit Mama und der Behnschen Frau spricht und lacht er recht viel. Er soll ein ganz vortrefflicher Mensch sein, das sagen beide. Der gute Brinck ist also schon tot! Ich werde mir es immer sagen,. Er sagte: 'Morgen wird es wieder gut sein. Noch, liebste Lisette, habe ich meine geliebten Eltern hier; ich sehe diese, ich sehe meinen lieben Mann froh, ich bin es also!
Ich hoffe immer, es wird anders werden, ich werde Sie und meine lieben Eltern nicht so sehr vermissen, aber mein Herze. Herr von Lieven, der Arzt und sein Kammerdiener waren dabei. Er nahm Hut und Stock und ging spazieren, die beiden Herren begleiteten ihn; ich warf mich auf meine Knie und flehte zu Gott um Geduld und Verstand. Liebes Stolzchen! Da blieb ich noch eine volle Stunde im offnen Fenster liegen, sah im hellen Schein des Mondes die kleinen Wellen des Flusses spielen, dachte -- ach!
Er kam erst zu Tisch nach Hause, aber er sprach gar nicht, und ich hatte auch nicht den Mut, ein Wort hervorzubringen. Gleich nach Tisch ritt er wieder aus, und so habe ich ihn heute fast gar nicht gesehen. Ich werde Ihren lieben Brief in einem meinen Eltern zeigbaren Briefe beantworten. Meine Mintusche ist unter meinem Fenster von Reckes Hunden zerrissen worden, und was mir am wehesten tut, Recke selbst hetzte dies arme Tier!
Die Erscheinung Ihres Boten, liebste Eltern! Ach Briefe! Briefe nur! Ich liebe meinen guten Mann, aber Sie, Sie vermisse ich mehr, als ich es sagen kann. Leben Sie wohl, ewig Geliebte! Dieser Brief, liebes Stolzchen, trifft Sie schon in Mitau; den Ich bliebe lieber zu Hause! Jetzt, meine Freundin, ist mein Herz leichter, da ich es Ihnen aufgeschlossen habe; vielleicht wird noch alles gut gehn! Meine Reichartin sitzt den ganzen Tag hinter ihrem Schirm und weint; ich kann auch mit keinem Menschen ein Wort reden!
Aber er ist nun einmal so! Lieber Gott, gib mir Verstand! Ich habe Ihnen, liebste Stoltzen, wieder so manches zu sagen, aber wo soll ich anfangen? Ach, liebe Teuere! Da legte ich mich ganz still zu Bette. Ich tat, als wenn ich schliefe, aber Recke weckte mich auf und sagte: "Was ist das? Noch habe ich ihn heute nicht wieder gesehen, mir ist auch bange vor dem Augenblick. Nun ich nicht mehr in Mitau bin, jetzt, liebe, liebste Lisette, bin ich ungleich heiterer! Als ich mich meinem lieben Manne vor dem Altare versprach -- da versprach ich es mir, mich ganz nach den Neigungen dessen zu richten, dem ich verbunden wurde, und diesen Vorsatz werde ich heilig halten.
Ach, Stolzchen! Und ich konnte doch keinem sagen, warum ich dem Willen derer ungehorsam war, denen zu folgen meine Pflicht ist. Sobald Lisettchen bei mir gewesen ist, so komme ich nach Altautz; dies hat mein lieber Mann mir auch schon erlaubt. Das ist doch sonderbar! Recke liebt diese Familie sehr, sie lebt auf einem Gute von Recke, eine halbe Meile von hier.
Ich will die Freundschaft dieser Menschen suchen, weil mein Mann sie liebt. Mir gefallen diese Menschen recht gut, und das Pastorat ist ganz nahe bei Neuenburg. Jetzt, liebes Stolzchen, bin ich durch den Besuch meiner lieben Lisette recht froh. Ich kann dir es gar nicht sagen, meine Liebe, wie mich die Verabschiedung der guten, alten Frau schmerzte!
Stolzchen, du hast die gute, alte Frau nicht gekannt! Recke sagte sehr bitter, die erste Pflicht eines Weibes sei die, nach dem Beifalle ihres Mannes zu streben. Leben Sie wohl, Liebe!
Geflügelte Worte, Georg Büchmann
Ein guter Mensch wird eine unschuldige Frau nie verleumden und dieser ein solches Bad bei ihren Verwandten zurichten! Gott kann, Gott wird alles zum Besten lenken! Vielleicht hat unser guter Gott mich zum Werkzeuge ausersehen, aus meinem Mann durch Sanftmut und Geduld einen bessern Menschen zu machen. Ich will den Mut nicht verlieren! Gestern ging mein Brief an Sie ab, und heute fange ich sogleich einen andern an! Aber das soll mit Gottes Hilfe schon anders werden. Ich will gar nicht herrschen! Nun wollte Taube,. Sie sagte schon so einen Tag zu meinem Manne: "Lottchen ist gar nicht wie aus unsrer Familie; sie karessiert den lieben Mann gar nicht.
Abends nach zehn. Heute war mein Mann recht freundlich, und er blieb es auch, als wir allein waren und auf unser Zimmer hinaufgingen. Gott, wie charakterisierte sie ihn in ihren Fantasien! Um einige Tage hat er mir versprochen, mit mir nach Altautz zu fahren. Sie werden es sehn, liebes Stolzchen, mein Mann wird mich am Ende noch recht lieb halten.
Kaum waren wir zum Tor hinaus, als Recke schon zu brummen anfing. Bei Gott! Hier habe ich von Recke noch kein freundliches Gesicht bekommen! Gegen 4 Uhr nachmittags. Mein guter Vater sprach immer von meinen Feldern, meinem Viehe, meiner Leinewand. Mein lieber Vater schilderte. Ich konnte kein Wort sprechen! Aber die Rede meines guten Vaters hatte mein Herz zerrissen! Mein Vater hatte auch das Wort "Pfand der Liebe" ausgesprochen.
Pfand der Liebe! Und dann, wenn in meiner Seele ein besseres Bild der seinigen ruht, dann, ja dann, dann will ich ihm und meinem Vater mit tausend Freuden unter den schwersten Mutterwehen Vaterfreuden bringen. Liebes Stolzchen, verbrennen Sie diesen Brief, mein Herz war mir so voll! Einige Tage der Freude waren mein! An diesen Tag, mein Stolzchen, will ich denken, wenn mein Mann wieder unfreundlich wird. Lisette sagte mir nachher, ich soll totenbleich, aber sehr interessant ausgesehen haben, weil meine Haut noch. Mein Haar war ganz zerstreut, und dies soll mir sehr wohl gelassen haben.
Er fragte mich mit einer sehr liebreichen Stimme, indem er die Hand nach mir ausstreckte: "Was ist dir, mein Weibchen, dein bleiches Gesicht wird mit einem Male blutrot? Mein Stolzchen! Gott, Gott! Kurz, Stolzchen! Wenn das noch lange so fortdauert, dann gehe ich ganz zugrunde! Auch ist mir ein solches Leben Last. Beste, innig geliebte Eltern! Den Briefwechsel mit meiner Jugendfreundin gebe ich auf, und nach Neuenburg soll sie nicht kommen. Keiner liebt Sie mehr als dero gehorsames Kind Lotte. Ach Stolzchen! Vervollkommnung meiner selbst, beste Mutter! Vielleicht hat ihm auch nur mein Onkel aus Creutzburg alle diese wunderlichen Grillen eingeblasen!
Liebes, bestes Stolzchen! Ich bin -- dem Himmel sei es gedankt -- nicht guter Hoffnung! Er behandelt mich recht, wie ein Kind behandelt wird. Mein Wort und die Pflicht, dir jedes Opfer zu bringen, das in meiner Gewalt steht, sind mir gleich heilig. Alle die Tage her war ich recht krank, heute ist mir etwas besser. Recke habe ich wenig gesehen und fast gar nicht gesprochen. Es wird schon wieder gut werden!
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Verzeihn Sie mir, liebste Stoltz, wenn. Ich hatte eine schlechte Nacht, und heute soll ich zum erstenmal zur Ader lassen. Unser Papa Lieb scheint sehr besorgt! Dezember: Mein Stolzchen, wie soll ich es Ihnen sagen? Ach, wie soll ich diesen Gedanken ertragen lernen? Nein, nein! Ich dachte, das Herz sollte in meiner Brust zerspringen! Und dann? Ruhe des Geistes -- und Mutter durch Recke?
Ich will nach Ruhe streben! Vernichten Sie diesen Brief, Freundin meines Herzens! Gott -- Gott erbarme sich meiner! Ich betrachte meinen Zustand nicht als trostlos, seit Sie mir ihn von so mannigfaltigen Seiten als hoffnungsvoll darstellten. Guter Gott! Dies nur machen Sie mir zur Pflicht, meine Gesundheit zu schonen und meinen Tod nicht. Aber die Hoffnungen der Teuren kann ich mit ihnen nicht teilen. Alles, was Gott gibt, ist gut. Vielleicht, teure Freundin meiner Seele, ist dies der letzte Brief, den ich Ihnen von hier aus schreibe, denn den 8.
Wenn ich krank werde, dann nehmen Sie, Liebe, meine Taschen zu sich; in diesen werden Sie zwei versiegelte Briefe finden, den einen an meine Eltern, den andern an meinen Mann. Erst den. Und nun, mein Stolzchen! Der sich nichts vorzuwerfen hat und der nach. Das Leben nicht als Plage, nur als Erziehung zu betrachten, dahin will ich streben! Arzt und Hebamme kosten schon Taler. Doch eine Freude habe ich heute gehabt. Leidenschaft, mein Stolzchen? So wunderlich, als seit der Geburt meiner Tochter, habe ich meinen Herrn nie gesehn.
Mama fordert Dinge von mir, die wider meinen Charakter sind. So weit, mein Stolzchen, hatte ich geschrieben, als Recke mir einen unerwarteten Gast in mein Zimmer brachte. Professor Hartmann ist gekommen. Sage mir, Liebe, wie Mama meinen Brief aufgenommen hat. Den 3. Februar gegen neun Uhr morgens. Friedrikchen streckte.
Stolzchen, diese Worte durchdrangen das Innere meines Herzens! Liebe Seele! Nachmittags um zwei. Ich habe mich weggestohlen, um wieder zu Ihnen zu sprechen. Hartmann hielt meine Hand immer fest und wandte sich zu Pastor Witt und sagte: "Sei du Priester der Freundschaft, der unsern Bund, der durch Tugend geheiliget ist, einsegnet. Darf ich Sie Freundin nennen? Den Abend las er uns einen neuen Roman vor, der jetzt viel Aufsehn macht. Hartmann sagt: Die Liebe, die. Den 4.
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Der Brief unsres vortrefflichen Pastor Martini ist mir unaussprechlich wert! Alles, was mir der Teure sagt, dringt tief in meine Seele. Abends nach zehn Uhr. Den 5. Dunkel schweben seine Ideen mir vor, und wenn er diese in Worte kleidet, so wird es in meiner Seele so hell! Den 6. Morgens nach zehn. Aber aus Barmherzigkeit, verlassen Sie mich jetzt!
Sie sollen, wenn Sie es fordern, nicht einmal Briefe von mir erhalten. Mit Menschen nicht, nur mit Gott will ich von Ihnen sprechen. Bin ich so Ihrer Freundschaft wert? Bestimmen Sie, wann und wie ich fahren soll. Leben Sie wohl! Verbrennen Sie diesen Brief! Er und mein Fritz sind fort! Nach der Tafel bat er mich, noch ein paar Worte mit ihm allein zu sprechen. Den 7. Nun, mein Stolzchen! Hartmann hat mich, wie ich es erwartete, noch nicht besucht. Sind Sie verliebt? Als ich meine Augen wieder aufschlug, da begegnete mir sein Blick.
Aber nein! Der liebe Mann erwiderte: "Ach! Aber ich werde mich gleich wieder hinwegbegeben. Endlich kam Dortchen Lieven, die freute sich gar sehr, Hartmann bei uns zu sehn, und da konnten wir sprechen. Man kann uns voneinander entfernen, aber trennen, mein Stolzchen, trennen kann man uns nicht! Mein Herr hat sich nun in seinem neuen Zimmer abgesondert.
Doch dem Himmel sei es gedankt, keiner nahm Schaden. Mein diesmaliger Aufenthalt in Mitau war mir peinlich! Seit ich mir in Neuenburg das Gesetz gab, Sie zu fliehen, lebte ich dennoch immer fort mit Ihnen. Der Edle sah mich mit einem Blick an, den ich nicht zu vergessen vermag, und sagte: "Edles, erhabenes Wesen! Mama hat also wieder mit Liebe meiner gedacht?
Ach, liebe Teure! Unser Hartmann ist wahrscheinlich noch in Altautz. Hier wollen wir streben, der Seligkeit, die unsrer wartet, wert zu sein! Fritzchen hat wirklich im Schwunge seines Geistes viel von Hartmann! Mein Schwager spielt um meine Winke, und mein Herr sagt halb mit Wohlgefallen, halb mit Spott, er glaube, sein Bruder sei sterblich verliebt in mich. Eben, liebes Stolzchen, brachte mir mein Schwager das aus Altautz an ihn adressierte Paket.
Mein Schwager und Landrat Taube. Was Sie mir von unserm Hartmann sagen, beunruhiget mich! Er scheint mich sehr zu lieben. Wird unser Hartmann genesen? Mit jedem Posttage erhalte ich schlimmre Nachrichten seines Befindens. Noch heute schreibt mein Herr mir im Ausdrucke des bittersten Schmerzes. Nun was ist? Liebe, Teure, schwer, schwer wird sich, wenn Hartmann stirbt, diese Wunde bis zur Narbe verheilen.
Warum bin ich kein Mann, oder er kein Weib? Vollkommneres Sein! Seit dem 5. November vermehrt unser Freund die Wonne seliger Geister! In der siebenten Morgenstunde ward er uns entrissen. Mir ist -- als liebte ich in diesem. Mein Kopf ist so schwer! Sie wissen es nicht, was wir -- was Sie verloren haben!
Ich liebte, ich ehrte ihn im Leben! Meine Doris kam hinzu,. Am letzten Abend seines Lebens, da ist sein Kopf ganz frei und er ist ganz heiter gewesen. Er hat mit Vietinghof viel von allen seinen Freunden und von mir gesprochen. Er hat sich nach der Mitternachtsstunde seine Schatulle geben lassen, aus dieser eine Menge von ihm geschriebener Briefe genommen und sie alle verbrannt. Er hat sich in der letzten Nacht meine Sterbelieder vorlesen lassen, und wenn er mit Vietinghof allein gewesen ist, dann hat er von Altautz gesprochen und den Wunsch, dort begraben zu werden, wiederholt.
So bin ich dem Grabe entkommen? Ja, ihr Teuren! Vom Fortgange meiner Gesundheit sollen Sie immer treue Rechenschaft haben. Meine gute Doris Lieven und ihre Familie fand ich hier. Diese Freude danke ich meinem Herrn, der Lievens Frauenzimmer gebeten hat, bis ich von meiner gelben Sucht genese, bei uns zu bleiben. Kein Wunder! Meine Friedrike kannte mich nicht mehr;. Er fragte uns scherzend, ob dieser Beweis der Sympathie, die unter uns herrscht, unsre Seelen nicht noch fester aneinander gekettet hat?
Auch Sie, mein Stolzchen, halten von Medem mehr, als er es verdient. Mein Herz wurde mir dabei zerrissen, aber ich durfte nichts sagen, ich schwieg, weil ich nicht zuviel sagen wollte. Mir war dabei so wohl und so wehe ums Herz. Sonntag war ich zur Kirche, Stolzchen! Du, mein Stolzchen, wirst es verstehn, wie mir da war! Wie sonderbar! Mein Gott! Ehe dies unter uns richtig ist, werde ich doch nicht recht ruhig sein.
Es ist sonderbar, liebe Seele! Eben erhalte ich deinen Brief, mein Stolzchen. Mein Brief an meinen Herrn ist fertig! Ich habe meinen Brief an meinen Herrn noch einmal gelesen -- ihn mit seinem Briefe und seinem ganzen Betragen gegen mich zusammengehalten, -- und Stolzchen, es entstehe daraus, was da wolle! Mein Herz ist nie so bewegt als heute gewesen! Der Schlaf ist mir ferne, mein Stolzchen -- und mein Herz wird von mannigfaltigen Empfindungen bewegt! Heute kam mein guter Vater! Der stille Schmerz dieses Teuren verwundet meine Seele tief!
Nach der ersten Bewegung meines Herzens wollte ich diesen Vorschlag mit Freuden annehmen; aber mit einem Male stellten sich alle seine Heucheleien meiner Seele dar, und ich sah in diesem Betragen nur ein Gewebe von List, durch welches er mich fangen wollte. Doch dabei bleibe ich: ehe er durch ein edles Betragen meine Hochachtung gewinnt, eher kann ich ihm nicht Gattin sein. Gott leite alles nach seiner bessern Weisheit!
Eben brachte mir Petkus die Briefe aus Altautz. Freilich wurde ich das nicht, wozu sie mich bilden wollte! Ich kenne dich, du Liebe, und in deiner Seele haben solche Gedanken keinen Raum! Ich erbrach den Brief sogleich, las ihn -- sagte aber weder Fritzchen noch Dortchen den Inhalt. Als wir auf dem Schlosse waren, bat ich beide und meine gute Lievensfamilie auf mein Zimmer, und da gab ich meinem redlichen Lieven den Befehl meines Herrn; er las ihn -- vermochte es aber nicht, ihn laut zu lesen, sobald er den Inhalt des Briefes ahnte.
Um dies zu hindern und die guten Leute zu beruhigen, sagte ich. Mama Lieven hofft wieder, Recke wird sich noch bis zum 3. Oktober bedenken. Den 2. Nach Mitternacht. Mein Bruder mag dir es sagen, wie mein heutiger Tag dahinfloh -- ich vermag es nicht! Perhaps it is not. What Eaut says is near enough to the truth to show that on the first blush of it we need not be repelled by the asser- tion of pleasure being the end of art.
Neither need any one be repelled if this doctrine of pleasure strike the key-note, and surest the title of the present work, in which an attempt will be made to show that a scieDce of criticism is possible, and that it must of necessity be the science of the laws of pleasure, the joy science, the Gay Science.
UT IB a science of criticism possible? It cannot well be answered in the alErmative, indeed, so long as criticism is un- defined. Criticism is a wide word that, accord- Cntidsm id ing to late usage, may comprehend almost any loue. It is literally the exercise of judgment, and logicians reduce every act of the mind into an act of judgment.
So it comes to pass that there is a criticism of history, of philo- sophy, of science, of politics and life, as well as of literature and art, which is criticism proper. Matthew Arnold has lately been using the word as a synonym not Emj on. It is needful, therefore, to explain at the outset that there is a narrower sense of the word criticism, and that there is a good reason why it should be specially applied to the criticism of literature and art. Kant called his leading work a critique, and he chose that title because his object was not to propound a philosophical system, but to ascertain the competence of reason to sound the depths of philosophy.
This, how- ever, as much belongs to philosophy as sounding the ocean belongs to ocean telegraphy, Locke had already done the same thing. He said, that before attempting to dive into philosophy, it would be wise to inquire whether the human mind. The criticism of the under- standing which he thus undertook is Locke's philosophy, just as Kant's critique of reason is the most important part of Kant's philosophy.
So in other lines of thought, criticism of philo- logy is a piece of philology, and criticism of history is a contribution to the lore of history. One of the most classical of all histories indeed, that of Julius Caesar, goes by the name of com- mentary. But criticism of poetry, it must be is criticism. The attempt has, no doubt, again and again been made, to elevate criticism into poetry. But criticism that would be poetry is like the cat that set up for a lady and could not forget the mice.
Whatever it may be as criticism, it falls short of art. And therefore it is that the name more especially belongs to all that lore which cannot well get beyond itself—rthe lore of art and literary form. To judge by the names be- stowed upon critics, indeed, one might infer that it has no chance at all. If poets and artists may be described as pillars of the house of fame, critics, wrote Scott, are the caterpillars.
It is a malignant deity, says Swift, cradled among the snows of Nova Zembla. Ten censure wrong, says Pope, for one who writes amiss. Gaffer critic, but fault. Thomas The pith Moore has a fable of which the point is that Moore'i from the moment when young Genius became subject to criticism his glory faded. Wordsworth describes criticism as an inglorious employ-. Nor is this merely the judgment of poets and what artists upon their tormentors.
One of the mildest statements which I can call to mind is that of Payne Knight, who opens an essay on the Greek alphabet with the assertion that what is usually consi- dered the higher sort of criticism has not the slightest value. It was but the other day that a distinguished living critic, Mr. Lewes, found occasion to write — " The good effected by criticism is small, the evil incalculable.
It is not easy to connect the pursuits of such men with the notion of science. The truth, how- ever, is that criticism, if it merit half the reproaches which have been cast upon it, is The doom of not fit to live. Hissing is the only sound in nature that wakes no echo; and if criti-. Take it in any of its forms, editorial, biographical, historical, or systematic, and see if this be not the case. Kditoriai Editorial criticism, whether it takes the course of revising, or of reviewing, or of expoimding the texts of individual authors, has, even in the hands of the ablest critics engaged upon the works of the greatest poets, yielded no large results.
It is very much to this kind of criti- cism, at least when it points out a beauty here and a blemish there, that Payne Knight refer- red, when he declared that it is of no use what- ever. A good editor of poetry is, indeed, one of the rarest of birds, as those who have paid any attention to certain recent issues must pain- fully know. The appearance of one edition after — 1 another of the same poets and the same drama- gaSTfeitory. Perhaps this last is the rarest of combinations. Why should a man, who is himself capable of producing a book, be con- tent with the more humble labour of fur- bishing up other men's productions?
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The modem author who has been most read An examjio and criticised is Shakespeare. There is a well- shake-. SSSl the four winds-fxom the two and thirty winds. After all, what is it? That which one critic says, the next gainsays, and the next con- founds. On reading a dozen sach pages, we close the volume in despair, and carry away but one poor idea, that Shakespearian criticism is like the occupation of the prisoner in the Bastile, who, to keep away madness, used daily to scatter a handfril of pins about his room, that he might find employment in picking them up again. Strangely enough, it is not the men of highest intellect that in this way have done the most for Shakespeare.
Charles Knight is correct in saying that the best of the old editors of Shakespeare is Theobald — " poor piddling Tibbald. Another ti. Witness the famous critics of the Bentley — 1 and Person mould. One is astonished in reading through his edition of Euripides, to see how he wrote note upon note, all about words, and less than words — syllables, letters, accents, pimctuation. The lad who hears enough of this wonderful dissertation from his tutors at last turns wistful eyes towards it, expecting to find some magical criticism on Greek tragedy.
Behold it is a treatise on cer- tain Greek metres. Many a youth of wild temperament wishes for something to break his mind on, like the study of Armenian, which Byron found useful in that way. Let him read Eimaiey. Elmslcy ou the Medea. If Porson was a kind of Baal, a lord of flies, Elmsley was a literary dustman.
The criticism of detail which both of them studied has an invariable tendency to stray further and further from science, and to become Rabbinical It ends in teaching Rabbis to count the letters of a sacred book backwards and forwards until they can find the middle one.
It ends, as in the last century, in teach- ing critics to reject false rhymes, and to allow false gods. The motes that people a sunbeam, and are beautiful there, come to eclipse the stars. Biogiaphi- Balked in the search for science amid the cri- ticism 01 detail, we next try cntics oi a higher order, who, not content to examine literary works in and by themselves, examine them in connection with the lives of the authors.
Johnson if — 1 I must not say Bayle may be taken as the father of the tribe, though he took to the method rather by chance than from choice, and was never fully alive to its value. It was a great thing, how- ever, to introduce into criticism the personality of an author, and to study his works in the light of his life. It immediately ensured the The advan- sympathy of the critics, for Johnson, with all his drawbacks, must be accepted as essentially kind, hearty, and just.
Since his time, other writers, in our own and other countries, have made the most of the new method. But, however enter- taining or however valuable this may be, it is not science. Not tliat parasitical criticism of this kind is altogether worthless. The latest doctrine of the naturalists is that jjearls are the product of a parasite. Still mankind liave a wholesome terror of paiasites, and usually regard a purely biographical criticism as tending too much to. They have too often been chroniclers rather than historians, bibliographers rather than critics, more bent on recording facts than on determining their value.
Even when they reach a higher excellence, and give us histories worthy of the name, their work, if we are to look for science in it, shows at once the fatal weakness of being much too narrow in design. The stream of political history has been traced from age to age, and from empire to empire. We can voyage back to Babylon; we can find on the walls of Luxor and Karnac the Hebrew. The neglect of it is in- lives and labours of others, de- justice to their class.
We take it in small reaches, and the first shallow we come to stops our course. It is needless to dwell on the fact that the history of a nation s poetry liJiH seldom been written with much reference to the national life from which it springs. It is the study of botany apart from geography. What is more remarkable than this, however, is that poetry has been studied and its history written in utter forgetfulness of the kindred arts — music, architecture, painting, sculpture. This is but an exaggerated instance of the separation of tlie arts, one from another, in the view of criticism.
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It is precisely as if in relation to the flora of a country, one set of men confined their attention to the monocotyledons, making that a special science, another to the dicotyledons, making that a special science, and a tliird to the flowerless plants, making that also a science by itself, while none of them gave any thought to any. It seems iMiimi Hoi a not yct to have been fully understood that the,. At present, so far from there being in exist- compara- ence anything which can bear the name ofdBm.
In like manner the historical criticism of works of art, with a glimmer of science in its method, is out of the question, until we can compare art with art, can see how the lise of one coincides with the setting of another, and can take note of the circum- stances under which two or more flourish to- gether. It was a theory of Leibnitz that the.
We know from Gibbon that in the darkness of the thirteenth century the orders of a Mogul Khan who reigned on the borders of China told on the price of herrings in the English market. And is it only of such remote influences as rule the price of a herring that we can take account? There is in all antiquity only one systematic work of criticism which is of much worth or of any authority, to.
They have studied figures of speech and varieties of metre, with little care for the weightier points of action, passion, manner, cha- racter, moral and intellectual aim. In simile and metaphor, in rhyme and rhythm, they have seen rules and measures, and they have reduced all the art of expression to a system as easy as grammar; but they have not sought to methodise the poet's dream, they have not cared in their analysis to grasp his higher thought.
The scope of such criticism will best Example of. Situation, incidents, characters, and aims, these are of small accoimt beside similes and metar phors. Johnson's project was conceived entirely in the spirit of systematic criticism, as it has been most approved in modern times. Its analysis of images and phrases is, if not perfect, yet very elaborate.
Its analysis of the substance which these images and phrases clothe, is, although not wholly neglected, yet very trivial. And the result is, that as a mere theory of language, as a. No one has more pungently and truthfully described the critical science of what may be termed the Renaissance than Mr.
Nearly the whole body of criticism comes firom the leaders of the Renaissance, who " discovered sud- denly," says Mr. Rusldn, " that the world for ten centuries had been living in an ungrammatical manner, and they made it forthwith the end of human existence to be grammatical. And it mattered thenceforth nothing what was said or what was done, so only that it was said with scholarship, and done with system.
Falsehood in a Ciceronian dialect had no opposers; truth in patois no listeners. A Roman phrase was thought worth any number of Gothic facts. We are anxious to learn what so fine a judge as Reynolds. If the criticism of the Renaissance is afflicted with a deficiency of thought, the new epoch of criticism, which the Germans attempted to inaugurate, is charged The defect with a superfecundity of thought tending to overlay the facts that engage it. Arnold complains of the want of idea in Enghsh criti- cism.
Observe how instinctiyely he goes to the grammar of Rubens's treatment. His first thought is for the white sheet. The greatest peculiarity of this composition is the contri- vance of the white sheet, on which the body of Jesus lies. This circumstance was probably what induced Rubens to adopt the composition. The hanging of the head on his shoulder, and the falling of the body on one side, give such an ap- pearance of the heaviness of death that nothing can exceed it.
As in Hegel. Germany is that of Hegel. To follow it, how- ever, with understanding, you have first to accept the Hegelian philosophy, of which it is a part. It begins by declaring art to be the manifesta- tion of the absolute idea, and when we ask what is the absolute idea, we are told that it is the abstraction of thought in which the identical is identical with the non-identical, and in which absolute being is resolved into absolute nothing. The German constructs art as he constructs the camel out of the depths of his moral consciousness.
Out of Germany it is impossible and useless to argue with these systems. We can only dismiss them with the assurance that if this be science, then. It has never been so noble in aim, so conscientious in labour, so large in view, and withal so modest in tone, as now. In point of fact, philosophy, baffled in its aims, has passed into criticism, and minds that a century back might have been lost in searching into the mystery of knowledge and the roots of being, turn their whole gaze on the products of human thought, and the history of human endeavour.
The deeper, therefore, their criticism delves, the more it becomes a laby- rinth of confusion. Fertile in suggestions, and rioting in results, it is a chaos in which the sug- gestions, though original, do not always connect themselves clearly with first principles, and in which the results, though valuable, are reft of half their importance by the lack of scientific arrangement.
A fair example oflfers itself in the criticism of Shakespeare. In England we are most struck with Shakespeare's knowledge of human nature, and power of embodying it in the characters of the drama. We rank this above all his gifts, even ubove his wondrous gift of speech. Pass over to Germany and note. Instead of the truth of the characters, what has he to show? He shows the doctrine of the Atonement preached in one play, the difference between equity and law set forth in another, and in all the plays a shower of pims that continually remind us of the Original Sin of our nature, the radical antithesis between thought and action, idea and reality, produced by the FaU.
He is, they declare, the creator of Lear,the creator of Hamlet, the creator of Othello. He has created none of these. Why this conflict of opinion where there ought to be no room for doubt? Why this Babel of voices where all are animated by a common aim? And where the good of criticism if it cannot prevent such misunder- standings? We can get prize oxen and prize pigs that come up to our expectations; but prize essays, prize poems, prize monuments, prize de- Prize de- signs of any kind, are notoriously poor in this fenT country, however high we bid.
On the other hand, when prizes were offered for the designs of a Foreign Office and an India Office, some admirable drawings were exhibited, but there followed this odd jarring of opinions, that the design to which the judges allotted the. Now, what is the meaning of this? Why are prize essays glittering on the surface, and worthlesB below it? Why is a prize play so notoriously Kul that mauacers have lontr ceased to offer ivwarxls tor the inevitable damnation?
Cor- inna, it will be remembered, won the prize for lyric verse from Pindar himself. Whether it be a fact or not about the poetical contest between Homer and Hesiod, and the prize of a tripod won by the latter, the tradition of such a contest is a voucher for the custom and for the honour in which it was held. To realize such a state of things in our time, we must imagine poete, painters, and musicians assembled on Epsom Downs to contend for the honours of the games with colts, the sons of Touchstone and Stockwell, and fillies, the descendants of Pocahontas and Beeswing.
Why should that be possible in Greece which is impossible now?
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Why do we draw the line between jockeys who ride racehorses, and poets who ride their Pegasus— offer prizes for the grosser animals and produce results that have made English horses the first in the world, while the most magnificent offers cannot get a fit monument for the greatest Englishman of the present century? If there were any doubtfulness about the test the owners of the best Horses would never allow their favourites to run.
But in any contest between painters or sculptors, poets or essayists, there is just that dubiety as to the standard of measure- ment which would prevent the best men from competing. It fireeoe. In Greek art, in Greek poems, in Greek prose, there is this uniformity, a uniformity that bespeaks, if not clear science, yet, at any rate, a system of. Not that these laws will ever enable an inferior artist to produce another Parthenon or another Venus to enchant the world, but that like the laws of harmony in music, they ought to keep the artist within the lines of beauty.
Whatever be the practical value of the rules, we see that to every work of Greek art they give the character of a school, iand the imity of aim and of habit produced by a school gives us a standard of measurement about iniiaeoce of which there need be little ambiguity. On a France! Frenchmen are surprised at the individuality of English art Every artist among us seems to be standing on his own dais, and working out of his own head. CHAPTER in a country where the influence of school is so —1 apparent, the prize system should be more suo- cessful than among us who assert the right of private judgment and our contempt of authority, in no mincing terms.
The nation that has three dozen religions and only one sauce, is not likely to have common standards in philosophy, in literature, or in art. Wanting these standards, what faith can we have in our judges? And what wonder that criticism, no matter how deep it goes, should be a byword? Matthew Arnold, who has come forward to denounce our criticism -as folly, and to call upon the critics to mend their ways. In many most important points it is impossible to agree with this delightful writer. Especially when he attempts to reason and to generalize, he rouses in his readers the instincts of war, and makes them wish to break a lance with him.
He is a suggestive writer, but not a convincing one. He starts many ideas, but does not carry out his conclusions. It would be unjust so to charac- terize his robust scholarship, and his keen bio- graphical insight. But when he comes to what is more especially called an idea, then his merits and his defects alike are those of youthfulness.
We learn as we read him to have so much sympathy with the fine purpose, the fine taste, the fine temper of his writing, that we forget, or we are loth to express, how much we diflfer with him whenever he attempts to generalize. In the next chapter I shall have occasion to mention some of his errors. Here the great point to be noticed is, that his outcry against English criticism for its want of science though that is not the phrase by which Tie would describe its deficiency has been received with the greatest favour. All alike fall short of science. Arnold would have been much nearer.
We may take it for a sure proof that the tide is on the turn, and that a change is working. Arnold is too sympathetic for a solitary thinker. When such a man complains of the lack of idea in English criti- cism, we may be satisfied that he is giving form to an opinion which, if it has not before been expressed with equal force, has been widely felt, and has often been at the point of utterance.
We may be satisfied also that things are mend- ing. There is not one of these lines of comparison which criticism can afford to neglect. It must. Accordingly that is the main course of inquiry which, in the present instal- ment of this work, an attempt will be made to follow. We want, first of all, to know what a watchmaker would call the movement in art — the movement of the mind, the movement of ideas.
Why does the mind move in that way? Some of these questions are among the most abstruse in philosophy, and so well known to be abstruse, that the mere suggestion of them may be a terror to many readers. I may seem to be calmly inviting them to cross with me the arid sands of a On thfi dui- Sahara, and to meet the hot blasts of a simoom. There is a curious picture in the Arabian Nights of a little turbaned fellow sitting cross- legged on the ground, with pistachio nuts and dates in his lap.
He cracks the nuts, munches the kernels and throws the shells to the left, while by a judicious alternation he sucks the delicate pulp of the dates and throws the stones to his right. The philosopher looks on with a mild interest and speculates on the moral that sometimes the insides of things are best and sometimes the outsides. Now, most of the dis- cussions on mind with which we are familiar are like the pistachio nuts of the gentleman of Bag- dad: the shell is uninviting, and the kernel, which is hard to get at, and most frequently is rotten, is the only part that is palatable.
That is quite fair and natural. The doubt is, whether the science be approachable by any son of man. It is a doubt that cleaves just now to any science which baa the mind and will of man for its theme. I therefore desire, in this chapter, to make a few. John Greorge. Kingsley, who has written one book to show that a science of history is impossible, has written another to show the great and religious advantage at water- ing-places of studying science in the works of God — that is, in sea-jellies and cockle-shells.
Tlie AftUthefcfa popular science of the day makes an antithesis worknof between God and man. Animals, vegetables, and minerals — these are the works of God. Kingsley, " one more thought of the divine mind from Hela and the realms of the unknown. Or if he goes to some quiet inland village, plucks flowers, dries them in blotting-paper, and writes a name of twenty syllables under each — that is studying the works of God. Or if he analyzes a quantity of earthy can tell what are its ingredients, whether it is better for turnips or for wheat, and whether it should be manured with lime or with guano — that is studying the works of God.
As though He, whose glory it is to conceal a thing, left finger-marks on his work, the exponents of popular science are always finding the fcager of God' and by so doing extol their favourite pursuit, while they tacitly rebut the maxim of Pope, that the proper study of The proper mankind is man.
Amid all this cant of finding God in the mate- rial and not in the moral world, and of thence. Mimn- This antithesis between the works of Gk d and. It was from Wordsworth's region of thought that the petty controversy arose, many years ago, as to the materials of poetry. We can trace this chapter misanthropy downwards to Mr. What more stimulating to curiosity than the researches of Goethe, Cuvier, and Owen? What more enticing to the adventurer than the geological prediction of the gold fields of Australia? In chemistry we have well-nigh.
Photography is a. In meteorology, the wind has been tracked, storms and tornados have been reduced to law. In electricity we seem to be hovering on the verge of some grand discovery, and already the electric spark has been trained to feats more marvellous than any recorded of Ariel or Puck. Optics now enables us to discover the composition of the sun, and to detect the presence of minerals to the millionth part of a grain. A thousand years hereafter poets and historians may write of our 'great en- gineers and scientific discoverers, as we now speak of Arthur and liis Paladins, Faust and the Devil, Cortes and Pizarro.
Why should not those who figure in " the fairy tales of science " obtain the renown which is rightfully theirs? The results they have achieved are all the more. None of the foimders of the Royal Society had then emerged from obscurity, and the Royal Society was a small club that met in secret and called itself the Invisible College. Two centuries have brought a marvellous change.
It has so commended itself by great achievements that at length eveiy one of the sciences has a society for itself, all the great cities of the United Kingdom have scientific societies, and there is such a rage for science throughout the country and in every class, that, not unlike the tailors of Laputa, who, abjuring tape, took altitudes and longitudes with a quadrant, the London tailors profess to cut. Philosophy, v. Let me say a few words upon each of these passages of despair.
Lewes has written a very clever and learned book on the history of philosophy, in which he always insists that the chief problems of metaphysics are insoluble. Does it follow that because meta- physical methods have failed, therefore scientific methods must 'fail also? Now the despair of a mental science which Mr. Lewes entertains he also entertains, as it would seem, for all the what Mr. We all find the greatest diflSculty.
Thev are afraid to be clear, lest thev be Jeemeil shallow; or thev love to think themselves protV-und, because they are unable to plimib their own ideas. Bridgemau's translation. If this is what Mr. Lewes condemns, who in this country will contradict him? In point of fact, the great fault of criticism is its ignorance The great — at least its disregard of psychology.
The most advanced of the sciences that relate specially to human conduct is the science of wealth, and political economy is but a century old. Sir Edward Lytton expresses despair of a The despair diflFerent kind. Hence, in one of his most lively. Here is a view of poetry that survives, and that derives importance from the great name of Plato. He condemns art as false, because when a painter paints a flower he takes a copy not of the thing itself. The flower is not the thing itself, but the earthly copy of the thing which, according to his system, exists as an idea in the Divine mind.
The picture of the flower, therefore, is the copy of a copy, and must be imtrue. Nobody would now accept this reasoning, but people accept the conclusion. So, again, art is bad because pleasure is its cliief end, and, as the gods feel neither pleasure nor pain, the end of art is not godlike. Here, again, nobody would accept the reasoning,. Contemplating such a result, the essayist is inclined to ask what is the good of system, and suggests that it may be enough to put forth oracles in disjointed utter- ance. It is good not to overrate system; it is good to see that its use is but temporary.
Still in our time, in which, through the extension of The forms. System is science. Science is impossible without the order and method of system. Yet these fragments would never have reached us if they had not at one time been built into a ship. When the voyager goes across the Atlan- tic he may be wrecked; he may get on shore only with a plank.
But he will never cross the Atlantic at all if he starts on a plank, or on a few planks tied together as a raft. There is a momentum in a system which does. Such men as Mr. Froude have so strong a sense of the freedom of the will, and of the incalculable waywardness with which it crosses and mars the best laid plans and the most symmetrical theories, that they will not hear of such a thing as a science of history.
Its general conclusion, however, must be firmly re- sisted by those who, admitting the freedom of the. If a system is not true, it will scarci'ly be con- vincing; and if it is not rea- soned, a man will bo little. An unresr soned philosophy, even though true, curries no guarantee of its truth. It may be true, but it cannot be certain. In point of fact, however, we can predict a good deal in human history, as, for example, by the aid of political economy, a science which is barely a century old; and Mr.
John Stuart Mill points out that though the science of human nature falls far short of the exactness of astronomy as now imderstood, yet there is no reason why it should not be as much a science as astronomy was, when its methods had mastered only the main phenomena, but not the perturbations. But art is crystalline in its forms, and the first, the deepest, the most constant impression which we derive from it is that of its oneness. I have already quoted the saying, that he who sees only one work of Greek art has seen none, and that he who sees all has seen but one.
Far apart from each other, the one at Delos, the other at Ephesus, carved half of a wooden statue of tlie Pythian Apollo, and when the two were brought together, they tallied as if they had been wrought in one piece by one. Chemistry, with all its exactitude, does not save its professors from making a wrong analysis. Why then should a critical science, if there is ever to be one, do more than all other sciences in leading its. If it be remembered that Euripides was Milton's favourite poet, the in- nocence of Scholefield's remark will appear all the more inimit- able. It is absurd, therefore, to suppose that any science can abolish all doubts and prevent all.
Few sayings about art are more memorable than that of Mozart, who declared that he composed as he did because he could not help it, and who added, " You will never do anything if you have to think how you are to do it. Neverthe- less, it comes according to laws which it is possible to note and which imperatively demand our study. It is not long since people regarded the weather as beyond the province of science, and treated the labours of Fitzroy either as useless, because they did not enable him to foretell but only to forecast, or as impious, because it was argued that if we can forecast the weather, it must be idle to pray for rain.
Criticism is nought, people think, because it does not make poets perfect, and judges infallible. So it has happened that chemistry was despised when it failed to turn lead into gold, that astronomy was neglected when it failed to prognosticate, that the Bible is said to be in danger because we do not find in it the last new theory of science.
Matthew Arnold, is also the most imperious in vaunting the office of the critic; and there is a danger lest from his unguarded expressions it should be supposed that criticism promises more than it can perform. What he means by this it is not easy to make out. Bn w:. Arnold can pebbly mean? Is it a proof of our Englii-h want of insight that with all the vivacity of his Mondav chats, we on this side of the water fail to see in M. Once more we return to another form of the chapter statement that the intellectual movement of our — 1. We Kve amid prescriptions and customs that have been crusted upon us from ages.
When we become alive to the fact that the forms and institutions of our daily life — the life individual and the life national, are prescribed to us not by reason but only by custom, that, says Mr. Arnold, is the awakening of the modem spirit. The truth is, however, that what he describes as the peculiar spirit of modem thought— that is, nineteenth-century thought — is the spirit of every reforming age.
It was, for example, the spirit of Christianity as it showed itself at first in the midst of surrounding Judaism. It was the spirit that actuated the protest against the mummeries of Eomanism in the sixteenth century. Prom these and other illustrations of what he The wrong understands by criticism, it would seem that whicTmay Mr. Arnold makes out his case or not. They will but carry away the general impression, that here is a man of genius and of strong conviction, who speaks of criti- cism as just now the greatest power upon earth.
They will, therefore, expect from it the mightiest eflFects; and grievous will be their disappointment at the modesty of its actual exploits. If men will criticise, it is desirable that their judgments should be based on scientific groimds. This is so obvious, that instead of dwelling on the worth of critical science in and for itself, I would here rather insist on its value from another On the in- point of vicw — as a historical instrument. They believe that the history of philosophy yields the phi- losophy of history.
They may be right, though it is awkward for the facts, or at least for our power of dealing with them, that the philosopher is ever represented as before his age. While he lives his thought is peculiar to himself, and his. There is this wide difference between philosophy and art, that whereas the former is the result of conscious effort, the latter comes unconsciously, and is the spontaneous growth of the time, ifow, supposing we had a critical science, and knew somewhat of the orbits and order of the arts, their times and seasons, we should have a guide to history so much safer than that fur- nished by the course of philosophy, as a spon- taneous growth is less likely to deviate from nature than any conscious effort.
In their shady retreate they reflect upon the world the light from on high, as I have seen an eclipse of the sun exquisitely pictured on the ground, while the crowds in Hyde Park were painfully looking for it in the heavens with darkened glasses. There were myriads of eclipses on the ground for the one that was passing in the sky.
But I can scarcely imagine that when putting in a word for a science of human nature, and for criticism as part of it, and when claiming for that science the place of honour, I am fairly open to the charge of jrielding to private partiality. At all events, in mitigation of such a charge, let it be remem- bered that man too has the credit of being a worm, and that he may be entitled to some of the regard of science, were it only as belonging to the subject of helminthology.
We may give up any claims which the science of hiunan nature has to precedence over all the other knowledges, if we can get it recognised in popular opinion as a science at all, were it but as a science of worms. And for criticism, as a part of the science of human nature, it may be remembered that Sir Walter Scott was pleased to describe the critics as caterpillars, and that, therefore, they suinnwiy may have a special claim to be regarded in this mont.
Or if. There are men like lago, who think that they are nothing if not critical, but the critic is nothing if not scientific. Of the following attempt I am not able toAimofUie think so bravely as to challenge for it the 5! Any one, indeed, who will read this volume through, will see that it is a fight for the first principles and grounds of the Not a. I have the greater confi- dence, however, in laying the present theory before the reader, inasmuch as gUmpses and.
HOUGH foundation stonee are laidc: with silver trowels and gilded plum- mets, amid miuic and banner, feast- 01 ing and holiday, in the present chapter, which to has to do with the basis of the Gay Science, there wiU be found nothing of a gala. It embodies the dull hard labour of laying down truisms — heavy blocks which are not to he handled in sport, but which it is essential that we should in the outset fix in their places.
What is here maintained to be the only safe foundation of the science of criti- cism, however obvious it may appear to be, has never yet been fully accepted as such, and has never yet been built npon. There are some. The donkey will not go round two sides of a field to get to his fodder if, peradventure, he can go in a straight line. The object of this chapter is to uphold the wisdom of the ass. No critical canon has a wider and more undoubting acceptance than that which jissumes the sisterhood of the arts.
The family. Terence, iu one of his prologues Phor- iiid j refers to the j cts as musicians. Christopher Tye, defined poetry as music in words, and music as poetry in sounds. Other writers dwell on the similarity of the poet and the Umner. Simonides, among the Greeks, is the author of the famous saying which comes down to us through Plutarch, that poetry is a speaking picture, and painting a mute poetry.
What is the bond of unity which knits poetry and the fine arts together? What is the com- mon ground upon which they rest? What are we to understand by the sisterhood of the muses? Whenever the philosopher has encountered these questions, as the first step to a science of criti-. All the accredited systems of criticism therefore take their rise either in theories of imitation or theories of the And both beautiful. It is not difficult, however, to show that both of the suppositions on which these. Poetry is an imitation, said the philosopher. Imitation is the grand achievement which gives to the arts their form and prescribes their law.
It is the mani- fold ways and means of imitation that we are to study, if we are to elevate criticism into a science. It was accepted in the last century with undoubting faith as an axiom, and the most astonishing conclusions were built upon it, as some divines draw the.
Hence the plcsiKure of verse, because it throws difficulties in the way of imitating speech. Milton is, in this rcsj oct, p:reater than Yirgil, says the sapient Titic, for whereas the Roman poet imitated llomiT directly, the English one has the gloiy not only of imitating him directly, but also of imitjiting him at second or even at third hand, through Virgil and othera. I do not give these illustrations of the theory of imitation as proofs of its fallacy. It would fare ill with most doctrines if they were to be j'udged by the manner in which the imwary have applied them.
It was a good thing of which the critics could not have How it. But it died hard, and held its ground so lustily, that, even in our own time, critics whom we should not reckon as belonging to the school of the Renaissance, but to the more original schools of Germany, have given their adhesion to it. Music, for example, is not imitative. When Haydn stole the melody to which he set the eighth commandment, the force of musical imitation could no further go.
As music is not imitative, so neither is narration. Words represent or stand for, but cannot be said to hiniiti of imitate ideas. Thus the foundation of critical science is laid in a definition which is not the peculiar property of art. He declared that the principle of imitation lies at the root not merely of the fine arts, but also of thought itself. In a word, it is not peculiar to art, and is incapable of supplying the defini- tion of it. For in truth, although imitation bulks so large in Aristotle's definition of poetry, it sinks into insignificance, and even passes out of sight, in the body of his work.
Notvrith- Btanding Richter's, notwithstanding Coleridge's adliesion to it, the theory of imitation is now utterly exploded. The Aristotelian theory ruled absolute in literature for two millenniums. No other theory was put forward to take its place, as TheoUicr thc fouiidatiou of critical science, till within wStii. There came a time, how- ever, when the need of a deeper criticism began to be felt. The old criticism that through the Renaissance traced a descent from Aristotle, dealt chiefly with the forms of art.
A new criticism. It is always an idea. As all nature's thousand changes But one changeless God proclaim. So in art's wide kingdom ranges One sole meaning still the same. In the meantimfe it may be enough to point out that whereas innumerable attempts have been made to analyze the grand idea of art which is generally supposed to be the idea of the beautiful, and out of this analysis to trace the laws and the development of arty it cannot be said that in following such a Kne.
It is for this very reason that the theory of the beautiful, as the common theme of art, subsists. If it were less vague, it would be more oppoeed. With all its vagueness, however, two facts may be discovered which are fatal to it as a founda-. Two faitH tion for the science of criticism. The first is the more fatal, namely, that it does not cover the whole ground of art. The worship and manifes- tation of the beautiful is not, for example, the province of comedy, and comedy is as much a part of art as tragedy. Moreover, on the other hand the second fact I have referred to , is it to be supposed that to display beauty is to produce II work of art?
La belle chme qile la philosophie 1 sjivs M. Horace, long ago, in a verse wliich lias become proverbial, expressed the truth about the position of beauty in art. TiiataiiiM Convinced that the idea of the beautiful is. Music is an art, but in what sense are we to say that its theme is eternal truth, or that Mendels- sohn's concerto in D minor is a reflex of the ab- solute idea? In what sense are the arabesques of the Alhambra eternal truths or reflections of the eternal essence?
The idea of the true is not the theme of all art, and it is not peculiar to works of art to take the true for a theme. Still the same objections apply to yet another defini- tion of the artistic theme. Ideas of power, ideas of truth, ideas of beauty — it will not do to bind art as a whole, or poetry as a part of it, to the. If the unity of the arts does not lie in the possession either of a common method which they pursue, or of a common theme which they set forth, wherein does it consist? Even if poetry and the arts could boast of a common method and a common theme, still every question of method and the choice of tlieme must be subordinate to the end in view.
The end determines the means, and must there- fore be the principal point of inquiry. If, then, we inquire what is the end of poetry and the poeticiil arts, we shall find among critics of all countries and all ages a singular unanimity of opinion — a unanimity which is all the more remarkable, when we discover that, admitting tlie fact with scarcely a dissentient voice, they have never turned it to account — they have.
It is admitted that the im- chapter mediate end of art is to give pleasure. The dreamer and the thinker, the singer and the sayer, at war on many another point, are here at one. Here, however, care must be taken that the some expia- reader is not misled by a word. There is in pleasure so little of conscious thought, and in pain so much, that it is natural for all who pride them- selves on the possession of thought to make light of pleasure. It is possible, however, in magnifying the worth of conscious thought, to underrate the worth of unconscious life.
We cannot say that it is ignorance, because tliat is a pure negation. But there is no objection to our saying — life ignorant of itself, unconscious life, pleasure. I do not give this explanation as sufficient — it is very insufficient — but as indicating a point of view from which it will be seen that the establisliment of pleasure as the end of art may involve larger issues, and convey a larger meaning than is commonly sup- see Chapter poscd.
What that larger meaning is may in due course lie shown. In the ninth chapter of this work I attempt to state it, and stating it to give a remodelled definition of art. In the mean- time, one fiiils to see how, bv anv of the new- fangled expressions of German philosophy, we. But if this be granted, and it is all but univer- sally granted, it entails the inevitable inference that criticism is the science of the laws andTheneoes- conditions under which pleasure is produced. Criticism, however, is built anywhere but upon the rock. Instead of taking a straight line, like the venerable ass which was praised by the Eleatic philosopher, they went off zigzag, to right, to left, in every One and aii.
So they bounced off to the left. So they bounced off to the right. Why does not the critic take the one plain path before him, proceeding instantly to inquire into the nature of pleasure, its laws, its conditions, its requirements, its causes, its effects, its whole history? Whenever I have insisted with my friends on this point, as to the necessity of recog- nising criticism as the science of pleasure, the invariable rejoinder has been that there is no use in attempting such a science, because the nature of pleasure eludes our scrutiny, and there is no accounting for tastes.
But the rejoinder is irre- levant. Chemistry was at one time a diCBcult study, and seemed to be a useless one. If art be the minister, criticism must be the science of pleasure, is so obvious a truth, that since in the history of literature and art the inference has never been drawn except once in a faint way, to be mentioned by and by , a doubt may arise in some minds as to the extent to which the production of pleasure has been admitted in criticism as the first principle of art. I proceed, accordingly, to take a rapid survey of the chief schools of criticism that have ruled in the repuUic of letters, with express reference to their opinion of pleasure and the end of art.
Speaking ronndly, there are but two "f great systems of criticism. But these divided systems may be subdivided, and perhaps the plainest method of arranging the critical opinions of paist ages is to take them by countries. It will be convenient to glance in succession at the critical schools of Greece,ltaly, Spain, France, Germany, and England. And from this survey,. In our old Anglo-Saxon poetry, the harp is de- scribed as " the wood of pleasure," and that is the universal conception of art.
Homer, Plato, and Aristotle are the leaders of Greek thought, and their word may be taken for what constitutes the Greek idea of the end of poetry. The uppermost thought in Homer's mind, when he speaks of Phemius and Demo- docus, is that their duty is to delight, to charm, to soothe. When the strain of the bard makes Ulysses weep, it is hushed, because its object is defeak'd, and it is desired that all should rejoice togotlier.
Wherever the minstrel is referred to, his chief business is described in the Greek verb to delight. What the great poet of Greece thus indicated, the great philosophers expressed in logical fonn. That pleasure is the end of poetry, is the pervading idea of Aristotle's treatise on the subject.
To Plato's view I have already more than once referred. He excluded the poets from his republic for tin's, as a cliief reason, that poetry has pleasure for its leading aim. In another of his works he defines the pleasure, which poetry aims at, to be that which a man of virtue. The argument is, that because pleasure is a be- coming — that is, a state not of being, but of going to be — it is unbecoming.
He starts with the Cyrenaic definition of pleasure as a state not of being, but of change, and he argues that the gods are unchangeable, therefore not capable of pleasure. Pleasure which is a becoming, is imbecoming to their nature; and man seeking pleasure seeks that which is unseemly and un- godlike. Think of this argument what we will, the very fact of its being urged against poetry in this way, brings into a very strong light the conviction of Plato as to the meaning of classical art.
And what was Plato's, what was Aristotle's view of the object of art, we find consistently maintained in Greek literature while it pre- served any vitality. Is it a tme or a faJ. But is it tnie? Is the pleasure which it affords, the pleasure of a truth or that of a lie? The question naturally arose from their critical jx int of view, which led them to look for tlie definition of art in its form.
They defined art as an imitation, which is hut a nar- rower name for fiction. It will he found, indeed, tliroughout the history of criticism, that so long as it started from the Greek point of view, followed tlu? Greek metliod, and accepted the Greek definition of art, that this question as to the truth of fiction was a constant trouble. And when th? Greek raised liis doubt as to the truth of art, let it be rememl ered that he had in his mind something very different from what we should now be thinking of were we to question the truthfulness of this or that particular work of art.
A work of art may be perfectly true in our sense of the word, that is to say, drawn to. The first suggestion of the Greek doubt, as to Treatment the reahty of the foundation of pleasure in art, question. It is said that when Thespis came to Athens with his strolling stage, and drew great crowds to his plays, Solon, then an old man, asked him if he was not ashamed to tell so many lies before the people, and striking his staff on the groimd, growled out that if lies are allowed to enter into a nation's pleasures, they will, ere long, enter into its business.
Gorgias said that tragedy is a cheat, in which he who does the cheat is more honest than he who does it not, and he who accepts the cheat is wiser than he who refuses it. Many of the Greeks accepted the cheat so simply that, for example, they accused Euripides of impiety for putting impiety into the mouth of one of his dramatic personages.
And not a few of their painters undertook to How the cheat with the utmost frankness. Apelles had to deceive. Zeuxis suffered a grievous disappointment when, having painted. CHAPTER a boy carrying grapes, the birds came to peck at —1 the fruit but were not alarmed at the apparition of the boy. There are other stories of the same kind, as that of the painted curtain, and yet again that of the sculptor Pygmalion, who became enamoured of the feminine statue chiselled by himself. Life is wanting to enable them to show their fury.
I might quote whole pages from Vasari to show how an artist and a critic of the Cinque Cento thought of art. He says tliat one of. He says that the instru- ments, in a picture of St. Cecilia, lie scattered around her, and do not seem to be painted, but to be the real objects. He says of Raphael's pictures generally that they are scarcely to be called pictures, but rather the reality, for the flesh trembles, the breathing is visible, the pulses beat, and life is in its utmost force through all his works.
In Italian art also it may be. Many another picture might be mentioned in which a similar treatment is adopted, and especially by the painters before Raphael, as Dominic Ghirlan- dajo, and men of that stamp. But everybody knows the crowning work of Raphael, and that, therefore, may serve best for an illustration. What are we to make of the two Dominicans? If, instead of the two bald-pated, black-robed monks, the artist had placed on the Mount of Transfiguration a couple of wild bulls feeding or fighting, they would puzzle one less than his two monks.. Why is their monastic garb in- truded among the majestic foldings of celestial.
And yet Raphael introduces on the scene two modem monks to share the vision! Not only is the Gospel narrative thus violated; there is a still stranger anomaly. The three disciples are lying down, blinded with the light and bewildered in their minds.