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of success, than the reflection of having attained a poble end by noble means.
But who shall value the soothing powers of that cordial, which conscious integrity pours into the wounds of defeat.
How heavenly soft must the memory of its motives rest upon that generous spirit, that has nobly struggled to maintain the cause of truth and gone down beneath the reproaches of evil times and evil men.
One such spirit, I fancy, even in the solitude of its fall, shed, more luster upon human nature, more reflects the native dignity of man, than all the congregated sycophants and parasites, that have basked in the popular favor and sunk somewhere between a gibbet and a throne from Adam down.
Here then, is the model of the great character, based upon the everlasting principles: knowledge, truth and courage.
Such a character will not only perceive the path of duty plajnly for himself; but will be able to point it out to others by every cogent reason and delightful attraction.
It is not denied that one differently constituted may attain to temporary success; but it is believed, that nothing else will bear the touch of time.
It is in view of these grand and interesting features of personal character, that the great English dramatist puts into the mouth of Norfolk in Richard II. the following sentiment:
*A jewel in a ten time; b?rred up chest
Is a bold spirit in a loyal breast.' Boldness of spirit and honesty of purpose are twin stars of the same constellation.
Revolving in that orbit, for which they were intended by Heaven, they sail on in bright and glorious unison, reflecting the light of each others beams and giving beauty, stability and worth to the intelligent mind.
Separate them, and unlike the Pleiades, they are lost forever. The one falls at once from its shining sphere into an abyss of impenetrable darkness. The other with a wild irregular flight rushes headlong to its ruin and often leaves ruin behind it.
Mere boldness of spirit when it constitutes the leading feature of the character, forms the most despicable of beings. The man is the constant victim of his passions. He is grasping, insidious, revengeful. In whatever sphere he may move; he will be found sacriticing justice to expediency. In private life, a dangerous friend, an ungenerous enemy. In public a soulless tyrant or insinuating demagogue, as circumstances may advise.
If unfortunately for mankind genius should lend the impetuosity of its fires to a soul thus eminently endowed, we might expect to find him tortured with a restless, a consuming ambition, and did occasion offer, seeking to play the 'game of empire:' and
whether in peace or war sustaining about the same relation to society, that a volcano does to the surrounding country, whose importance is derived only from its power to terrify or destroy, and whose light is emitted only to exhibit its desolatious.
During the glorious reign of Napoleon, the French occupied themselves chiefly with conquests and victories: on that account letters were but slightly cultivated, and those who acquired any fame by their literary works, distinguished themselves without the influence of the sovereign.—At the head of these names, must be placed those of Chateaubriand and Madame de Stael, one of the most wonderful women that ever lived.
D. LEVI, (ALVARES.)
INFLUENCE OF ENTHUSIASM ON HAPPINESS.
From the French of Madame De Stael.
By Bernard A. Pralte, Esq.
It is time to speak of happiness ! I have guarded this word with extreme care, because since almost a century, it has been especially placed in pleasures so gross, in a life so egoistical, in calculations so contracted, that even its image is protaned. But it can be said however, with confidence, that of all sentiments, the one which procures most happiness, is enthusiasm; the only one which gives us satisfaction, the only one which teaches us how to support human destiny in all the situations in which our lo: may
be cast. It is in vain that we endeavor to content ourselves with material enjoyments alone; the soul will return from all sides ; pride, ambition, self-love, all that, it is still the soul although mingled with a poisoned breath. What a miserable existence is it, however to see men almost as artful towards themselves, as towards others, and crushing the generous emotions which spring from the heart, as a malady of the imagination, which the open air must dissipate!
-What a poor existence also is that of many men who are satisfied with not doing any evil, and consider the source of noble actions and great thoughts as a species of folly!—They confine themselves through vanity, to a tenacious mediocrity, which they could have rendered accessible to the lights without, they condemn themselves to that monotony of ideas, to that coldness of sentiment, which
permits the days to pass by without reaping from them either fruits, or progress, or recollections; and if time did not furrow their features, what traces would they have of its passage? Were we not to grow old, and die, what serious reflection would ever enter into their heads? Some reasoners pretend that enthusiasm disgusts one with ordinary life, and that, being unable to remain in that disposition, it is better never to have experienced it: and why then have they consented to be young, even to live, since these do not always last? Why then have they loved, if such fortune has ever happened to them, since death could sever them from the objects of their affection? What a sad economy is that of the soul! it has been given to us, to be developed, p riected, lavished even for a noble end. The more life is stupified, the nearer do we approach material existence, and the more, it will be said, do we diminish the power of suffering. This argument seduces many men ; it consists in endeavoring to exist as little as possible. However, in degradation, there is always a pang which we cannot account for, which pursues us incessantly in secret: ennui, shame and the fatigue which it causes, are invested by vanity with the form of impertinence and disdain; but it is very seldom that we settle down peaceably into that kind of dry and limited being, which, when external prosperity abandons us, leaves us without any resources in ourselves. Man has a conscience for the beautiful as well as for the good, and the privation cf the one makes him feel the void, just as the deviation from the other, remorse.
Enthusiasm is accused of being fleeting; it would be too happy an existence, could we retain such beautiful emotions; but it is because these are easily dissipated, that we ought to busy ourselves to preserve then. Poetry and the fine arts serve to develop in us that happiness of illustrious origin, which buoys up the dejected hearts, and substitutes for that uneasy satiety of life, the habitual sentiment of the divine harmony of which nature and ourselves form a part. There is no duty, no pleasure, no sentiment, which does not borrow from enthusiasm I know not what prestiges agreeing with the pure charm of truth.
All men rush to the rescue of their country, when circumstances require it; but if they be inspired by the enthusiasm of their country, by what beautiful emotions are they actuated! The land which gave them birth, the land of their forefathers, the sea which bathes the rocks,*) old associations, cherished hope, everything rises up before them as a call to the field, every pulsation of their heart is a thought of love and pride. That land is the gift of God to men who can defend it, and to women who for it, are ready to surrender to danger their brothers, their husbands and their sons. At the approach of the perils which menace it, a fever without chill or delirium, quickens the course of the blood in the veins; every effort in such a contest springs from the most profound internal devotion. On the visage of those generous citizers nothing is seen at first but the greatest calm; there is too much dignity in their emotions for outward demonstrations, but the moment the signal is hcard, the national flag floating in the air, you will see those looks which were formerly so sweet, and ready to become so at the view of misfortune, all of a sudden animated by a holy and terrible will! Wounds and blood even will no longer cause any shuddering; it is no longer a pang, it is no longer death, it is an offering to the God of armies; no regret, no uncertainty, mingle themselves then with the most desperate resolutions. And when the heart is alsorbed in its object, we experience the highest enjoyment of existence. When man divides his devotions, he feels life only as an affliction; and if, of all sentiments, enthusiasm produces the most happiness, it is because it unites more than any other all the forces of the soul in one common focus.
*) It is easy to perceive that I intend, by this phrago or by those which follow to designate England; in fact I never could speak of war with enthusiasm, with.. out representing it as that of a free nation fighting for its independence. Dé Stael.
The labcrs of the mind seem to many writers an occupation almost entirely mechanical, and which fills up their lives as any other business; it is still something to prefer that one; but do such men have an idea of the sublime bliss of thought, when it is animated by enthusiasm? Do they know to what degree we are penetrated with hope, when we believe that by the gift of eloquence we are manifesting a profound truth, a truth which forms a generous bond of union between us and all the souls sympathizing with ours? Writers without enthusiasm, know nothing about a literary career, except of critics, rivalries, jealousies and all that which menaces tranquility, when we mingle with the passions of men; those attacks and those acts of injustice sometimes do harm; but can the true, the real enjoyment of talent be altered? When a book appears, what happy moments has it not already procured to the one who wrote it from his heart, and as an act of his worship! How many tears full of mildness has he not, in his sclitude, shed over the mysteries of life, of love, of glory and of religion! Finally, in his reveries, has he not enjoyed the air, like a bird; the waters, like a thirsty hunter; the flowers, like a lover who fancies he is still breathing the perfumes which surround his mistress? In the world one feels oppressed by his faculties, and often suffers on account of being the only one of his nature, in the midst of so many beings who live at so little cost; but the creative talent satisfies, for some time at least, all our desires; it has its riches and its crowns, it offers to our view the luminous and pure images of an ideal world, and its power extends sometimes even to make us hear in our hearts the voice of a cherished object.
Do those not possessed of an enthusiastic imagination believe that they know the world, do they believe they have ever traveled? Do their hearts beat responsive to the echoes of the mountains ? Have they felt themselves imbued with the gentle languor of the southern air? Do they understand the diversity of countries, the accent and the character of foreign idioms? Do they perceive in the popular songs and national dances the manners and the genius of a country? Is one single sensation enough to awaken within them a train of associations ?
Can nature be felt by men without enthusiasm? Can they commune with her about their cold interests, their miserable desires ? What do the sea and the stars answer to the narrow vanities of each man during each day? But if our soul is moved, if it looks for a God in the universe, if even it wishes for more glory and love, there are clouds which speak to it, torrents which may be questioned, and the wind in the heath seems to deign to tell us something of that which we love.
Men without' enthusiasm think they have a taste to enjoy the fine arts; they love the elegance of luxury, they wish to be judges of music and painting, so as to speak with grace, and even with that tone of superiority which belongs to a man of the world, whether the subject under discussion be of imagination or nature; but all their dry pleasures, what are they in comparison with those of genuine enthusiasm ? What emotion arises within one's bosom while contemplating the look of Niobé, of that calm and terrible grief which seems to accuse the gods of having been jealous of the happiness of a mother! What a consolation the appearance of beauty occasions! For beauty belongs also to the soul, and the admiration which it inspires is noble and pure. To admire the Apollo, is it not necessary to feel in one's self a kind of pride which tramples under foot all the serpents of earth? Is it not necessary to be a Christian in order to appreciate the expression of the Madonnas of Raphael and of the Saint Jerome of Dominichino? to re-discover the same expression in the enchanting grace and in the dejected countenance, in the brilliant youth, and in the disfigured features; the same expression which emanates from the soul and shoots, like a celestial ray, athwart the aurora of life or the shadows of advanced age.
Is there any music for those who are incapable of enthusiasm ? A certain habit renders harmonious sounds necessary for them, they enjoy them as they do the flavor of fruits, the variety of colors; but does their entire frame tremble like a lyre, when the silence of midnight is suddenly agitated by songs or by those instruments which resemble the human voice? Have they then felt the mystery of existence, in that tender spell which reunites our two natures, and blends the sensations and the soul in one common rapture ? Have the palpitations of their hearts moved in unison with the rhythm of the music? Has an emotion overwhelmingly charming brought to their eyes those tears, which have nothing personal, those tears which ask for no pity, but which free us from a suffering inquietude, excited by the necessity of admiring and of loving?
The taste for the drama is universal, for the majority of men