« السابقةمتابعة »
but manifested as the paltriest scandal and tea-table backbiting, other than inversely or directly, a heartfelt indestructible sympathy of man with man? Hatred itself is but an inverse love. The philosopher's wife complained to the philosopher that certain two-legged animals without feathers spake evil of bim, spitefully criticised his goings out and comings in; wherein she too failed not of her share: “Light of my life,” answered the philosopher," it is their love of us, unknown to themselves, and taking a foolish shape; thank them for it, and do thou love them more wisely. Were we mere steam-engines working here under this rooftree, they would scorn to speak of us once in a twelve-month." The last stage of human perversion, it has been said, is when sympathy corrupts itself into envy; and the indestructible interest we take in men's doings has become a joy over their faults and misfortunes: this is the last and lowest stage; lower than this we cannot go : the absolute petrefaction of indifference is not attainable on this side total death.
* And now,' continues the Professor, ‘rising from these lowest teatable regions of human communion into the higher and highest, is there not still in the world's demeanour towards Great Men, enongh to make the old practice of Hero-worship intelligible, nay significant? Simpleton! I tell thee Hero-worship still continues; it is the only creed which never and nowhere grows or can grow obsolete. For always and everywhere this remains a true saying: Il y a dans le caur humain un fibre religieux. Man always worships something; always he sees the Infinite shadowed forth in something finite; and indeed can and must so see it in any finite thing, once tempt him well to fix his eyes thereon. Yes, in practice, be it in theory or not, we are all Supernaturalists; and have an infinite happiness or an infinite woe not only waiting us hereafter, but looking out on us through any pitifullest present good or evil;—as, for example, on a high poetic Byron through his lameness; as on all young souls through their first lovesuit; as on older souls, still more foolishly, through many a lawsuit, paper-battle, political horse-race or ass-race. Atheism, it has been said, is impossible; and truly, if we will consider it, no Atheist denies a Divinity, but only some NAME (Nomen, Numen) of a Divinity: the God is still present there, working in that benighted heart, were it only as a god of darkness. Thousands of stern Sansculottes, to seek no other instance, go chaunting martyr hymns to their guillotine: these spurn at the name of a God; yet worship one (as bapless“ Proselytes without the Gate,") under the new pseudonym of Freedom. What indeed is all this that is called political fanaticism, revolutionary madness, force of hatred, force of love, and so forth; but merely under new designations, that same wondrous, wonder-working reflex from the Infinite, which in all times has given the Finite its empyrean or tartarean hue, thereby its blessedness or cursedness, its marketable worth or unworth?
• Remark, however, as illustrative of several things, and more to the purpose here, that man does in strict speech always remain the clearest symbol of the Divinity to man. Friend Novalis, the devoutest heart I knew, and of purest depth, has not scrupled to call man what the Divine Man is called in Scripture, a 'Revelation in the Flesh.' "There is but one temple in the world,' says he, “and that is the body of man.. Bending before men is a reverence done to this revelation in the flesh. We touch heaven when we lay our hand on a human body.' In which notable words, a reader that meditates them, may find such meaning and scientific accuracy as will surprise bim.
* The ages of superstition, it appears to be sufficiently known, are behind us.
To no man, were he never so heroic, are shrines any more built, and vows offered as to one having supernatural power. The sphere of the TRANSCENDENTAL cannot now, by that avenue of heroic worth, of eloquent wisdom, or by any other avenue, be so easily reached. The worth that in these days could transcend all estimate or survey, and lead men willingly captive into infinite admiration, into worship, is still waited for (with little hope) from the unseen Time. All that can be said to offer itself in that kind, at present, is some slight household devotion (Haus-Andacht), whereby this or the other enthusiast, privately in all quietness, can love bis hero or sage without measure, and idealize, and, so in a sense, idolize him ;—which practice, as man is by necessity an idol-worshipper (no offence in him so long as idol means accurately vision, clear symbol), and all wicked idolatry is but a more idolatrous worship, may be excusable, in certain cases, praiseworthy. Be this as it will, let the curious eye gratify itself in observing how the old antediluvian feeling still, though now struggling out so imperfectly, and forced into unexpected shapes, asserts its existence in the newest man; and the Chaldeans or old Persians, with their Zerdusht, differ only in vesture and dialect from the French, with their Voltaire étouffé sous des roses.*
This, doubtless, is a wonderful phraseology, but referable, as the Professor urges, to that capacious reservoir and convenience, " the nature of the time:” “A time,” says he, “ when, as in some Destruction of a Roman Empire, wrecks of old things are every where confusedly jumbled with rudiments of new; so that, till once the mixture and amalgamation be complete, and even have long continued complete and universally apparent, no grammatical langue d'oc or langue d'oui can establish itself, but only some barbarous mixed lingua rustica, more like a jargon than a language, must prevail; and thus the deepest matters be either barbarously spoken of, or wholly omitted and lost sight of, which were still worse. But to let the Homily proceed:
Consider at any rate, continues he elsewhere, 'under how many categories, down to the most impertinent, the world inquires concerning Great Men, and never wearies striving to represent to itself their whole structure, aspect, procedure, outward and inward! Blame not the world for such minutest curiosity about its great ones: this comes of the world's old-established necessity to worship: and, indeed, whom but its great ones, that “ like celestial fire-pillars go before it on the march,”
• Die Kleider: ihr werden und Wirken. Von D. TEUFELSVRECK. Weissuichtwo. Stillschweign'sche Buchhandlung, 1830.
ought it to worship? Blame not even that mistaken worship of sbam great ones, that are not celestial fire-pillars, but terrestrial glasslanterns with wick and tallow, under no guidance but a stupid fatuous one; of which worship the litanies and gossip-homilies are, in some quarters of the globe, so inexpressibly uninteresting. Blame it not ; pity it rather, with a certain loving respect.
* Man is never, let me assure thee, altogether a clothes-horse; under the clothes there is always a body and a soul. The Count von Bügeleisen, so idolized by our fashionable classes, is not, as the English Swift asserts, created wholly by the Tailor; but partially, also, by the supernatural Powers. His beautifully cut apparel, and graceful expensive tackle and environment of all kinds, are but the symbols of a beauty and gracefulness, supposed to be inherent in the Count himself; under wbich predicament come also our reverence for his counthood, and in good part that other notable phenomenon of his being worshipped, because he is worshipped, of one idolater, sheep-like, running after bim, because
many have already run. Nay, on what other principle but this latter hast thou, O reader (if thou be not one of a thousand), read, for example, thy Homer, and found some real joy therein? All these things, I say, the apparel, the counthood, the existing popularity, and whatever else can combine there, are symbols ;-bank notes, which, whether there be gold behind them, or only bankruptcy and empty drawers, pass current for gold. But how, now, could they so pass, if gold itself were not prized, and believed and known to be somewhere extant? Produce the actual gold visibly, and mark how, in these distrustful days, your most accredited bank-paper stagnates in the market! No Holy Alliance, though plush and gilding and genealogical parchment, to the utmost that the time yields, be bung round it, can gain for itself a dominion in the heart of any man; some thirty or forty millions of men's hearts being, on the other hand, subdued into loyal reverence by a Corsican Lieutenant of Artillery. Such is the difference between God-creation and Tailor-creation. Great is the Tailor, but not the greatest. So, too, in matters spiritual, what avails it that a man be Doctor of the Sorbonne, Doctor of Laws, of Both Laws, and can cover half a square foot in pica-type with the list of his fellowships, arranged as equilateral triangle, at the vertex an '&c.' over and above, and with the parchment of his diplomas could thatch the whole street he lives in : What avails it? The man is but an owl; of prepossessing gravity indeed; much respected by simple neighbours; but to whose sorrowful hootings no creature hastens, eager to listen. While, again, let but some riding gauger arrive under cloud of night at a Scottish inn, and word he whispered that it is Robert Burns; in few instants all beds and truckle-beds, from garret to cellar, are left vacant, and gentle and simple, with open eyes and erect ears, are gathered together.'
Whereby, at least, from amid this questionable lingua, more like a jargon than a language," so much may have become apparent: What unspeakable importance the world attaches, has ever attached (expressing the same by all possible methods), and will
ever attach, to its great men. Deep and venerable, whether looked at in the Teufelsdreck manner or otherwise is this love of men for great men, this their exclusive admiration of great men; a quality of vast significance, if we consider it well; for, as in its origin it reaches up into the highest and even holiest provinces of man's nature, so, in his practical history it will be found to play the most surprising part. Does not, for one example, the fact of such a temper indestructibly existing in all men, point out man as an essentially governable and teachable creature, and for ever refute that calumny of his being by nature insubordinate, prone to rebellion ? Men seldom, or rather never for a length of time and deliberately, rebel against anything that does not deserve rebelling against. Ready, ever zealous is the obedience and devotedness they show to the great, to the really high; prostrating their whole possession and self, body, heart, soul and spirit, under the feet of whatsoever is authentically above them. Nay, in most times, it is rather a slavish devotedness to those who only seem and pretend to be above them that constitutes their fault.
But why seek special instances? Is not Love, from of old, known to be the beginning of all things? And what is admiration of the great but love of the truly loveable? The first product of love is imitation, that all-important peculiar gift of man, whereby Mankind is not only held socially together in the present time, but connected in like union with the past and the future; so that the attainment of the innumerable Departed can be conveyed down to the Living, and transmitted with increase to the Unborn. Now great men, in particular spiritually great men (for all men have a spirit to guide, though all have not kingdoms to govern and battles to tight), are the men universally imitated and learned of, the glass in which whole generations survey and shape themselves.
Thus is the Great Man of an age, beyond comparison, the most important phenomenon therein; all other phenomena, were they Waterloo Victories, Constitutions of the year One, glorious revolutions, new births of the golden age in what sort you will, are small and trivial. Alas, all these pass away, and are left extinct behind, like the tar-barrels they were celebrated with, and the new-born golden age proves always to be still-born: neither is there, was there, or will there be any other golden age possible, save only in this : in new increase of worth and wisdom ; that is to say, therefore, in the new arrival among us of wise and worthy men. Such arrivals are the great occurrences, though unnoticed ones; all else that can occur, in what kind soever, is but the road, up hill or down hill, rougher or smoother; nowise the power that will nerve us for travelling forward thereon. So little comparatively can forethought or the cuvningest mechanical precontrivance do for a nation, for a world! Ever must we wait on the bounty of Time, and see what leader shall be born for us, and whither he will lead. Thus too, in defect of great men, noted men become important: the Noted Man of an age is the emblem and living summary of the Ideal' which that age has fashioned for itself: show me the noted man of an age, you show me the age that produced him. Such figures walk in the van, for great good, or for great evil; if not leading, then driven and still farther misleading. The apotheosis of Beau Brummel has marred many a pretty youth; landed bim not at any goal where oak garlands, earned by faithful labour and valour, carry men to the immortal gods; but, by a fatal inversion, at the King's Bench gaol, where he that has never sowed shall not any longer reap, still less any longer burn his barn, but scrape himself with potsherds among the ashes thereof, and consider with all deliberation “ what he wanted, and what he wants.”
To enlighten this principle of reverence for the great, to teach us reverence, and whom we are to revere and admire, should ever be a chief aim of Education (indeed it is herein that instruction properly both begins and ends); and in these late ages, perhaps more than ever, so indispensable is now our need of clear reverence, so inexpressibly poor our supply. “Clear reverence!" it was once responded to a seeker of light: “all want it, perhaps thou thyself.” What wretched idols, of Leeds cloth, stuffed out with bran of one kind or other, do inen either worship, or being tired of worshipping (so expensively without fruit), rend in pieces and kick out of doors, amid loud shouting and crowing, what they call “tremendous cheers," as if the feat were miraculous ! In private life, as in public, delusion in this sort does its work; the blind leading the blind, both fall into the ditch.
*For alas!' cries Teufelsdreck on this occasion, though in susceptive hearts it is felt that a great man is unspeakably great, the specific marks of him are mournfully mistaken: thus must inuumerable pilgrims journey, in toil and hope, to sbrines where there is no healing. On the fairer balf of the creation, above all, such error presses hard. Women are born worshippers; in their good little hearts lies the most craving relish for greatness: it is even said, each chooses her husband on the hypothesis of his being a great man-in his way. The good creatures, yet the foolish! For their choices, no insight, or next to none, being vouchsafed them, are unutterable. Yet how touching also to see, for example, Parisian ladies of quality, all rustling in silks and laces, visit the condemned-cell of a fierce Cartouche, and in silver accents, and wit
the looks of angels, beg locks of hair from him; as from the greatest, were it only in the profession of highwayman! Still more fatal is that other mistake, the commonest of all, whereby the devotional