« AnteriorContinuar »
h is thrown in the way of every dislished man in France, that of establishimself in the capital. He has resisted Lh a constancy worthy of the highest e. The inducements must have been \g. In Paris, he would have lived in : literary circles in which his talents J have been fully appreciated; but e same time, he would have experi1 the envy of rival authors. At Agen, ie contrary, he lives quietly and ad1 by all his countrymen. We find ig his poems, an epistle addressed to i fanner of the neighborhood of Tou. who had strenuously urged his go\> the metropolis to make his fortune, e is in this piece of poetry an energy i vivacity of expression, which must been anything but agreeable to the, •n to whom it was addressed. "And too, sir," he says, "do not fear to He the peace of my days and nights, rcite to me to carry my guitar and i lo the great city of kings! There, ■ay, my poetic vein and the verses by b I am already known, would cause sam of dollars to flow into my shop, might, sir, during a whole month, sing »aises of this golden rain—you might Dc that fame is but smoke! glory ht but glory, but that money is money! aid not even thank you. Money! Is if anything to a man who feels burn> his breast the flame of poetry? I appy and poor with my loaf of rye,"
he water from my fountain I
r everything. Nothing makes me sigh. it cried long enough; I mean to make ids for it. Wiser than in the days of with, I begin to feel in this world,
which we must all leave so soon, that which passes riches."
The muse of Jasmin is generally of a serious turn, but there are, nevertheless, two humorous pieces in the collection before us, which are very excellent. The one is a description of a journey which the poet once took,and in which his travelling companions were quietly discussing the merits of Jasmin, without being at all aware that he was sitting by their side. The reader can easily imagine to what amusing scenes such a mistake might give rise. The other, entitled Le Chalibari, is a mock heroic poem, like Boileau's Lutrin, and Pope's Rape of the Lock, and which, had it been written at an earlier period, might have claimed a place by the side of those two capital poems. The nineteenth century is not exactly the best period for writing a parody of a style of composition, which is now— and we trust ever will be—out of fashion. A satire on the manners and customs of the Middle Ages would be almost as well adapted to our times. There are many other poems in the works of Jasmin which are well worthy of notice, but we have neither the leisure nor the desire to write out an index of the two octavo volumes before us; we therefore dismiss the subject, sincerely wishing that no person who admires true poetry, will take our word for the beauties contained in the poems of Jasmin, but that they will judge for themselves. We are much mistaken, or he will feel something of the pleasure we have ourselves experienced in perusing them, and, we may add, in endeavoring to make them known.
All created life exists under two aspects, and includes in itself what may be denominated a two-fold form of being. In one view, it is something individual and single, the particular revelation as such, by which, in any given case, it makes itself known in the actual world. In another view, it is a general, universal force, which lies back of all such revelation, and communicates to this its true significance and power. In this form, it is an idea; not an abstraction or notion simply, fabricated by the understanding, to represent its own sense of a certain common character, belonging to a multitude of individual objects; but the inmost substantial nature of these objects themselves, which goes before them, in the order of existence, at least, if not in time, and finds its perpetual manifestation through their endlessly diversified forms. All life is at once ideal and actual, and in this respect, at once single and universal. It belongs to the very nature of the idea, (as a true subsistence and not a mere notion,) to be without parts and without limits. It includes in itself the possibility, indeed, of distinction and self-limitation; but this possibility made real, is nothing more nor less than the transition of the idea over into the sphere of actual life. In itself, it is boundless, universal, and always identical. It belongs to the very conception of the actual world, on the other hand, that it should exist by manifold distinction, and the resolution of the infinite and universal into the particular and finite. All life, we say then, is at one and the same time, as actual and ideal, individual also, and general; something strictly single, and yet something absolutely universal.
These two forms of existence are opposite, but not, of course, contradictory; their opposition involves, on the contrary, the most intimate and necessary union. The ideal is not the actual, and the actual is not, as such, the ideal; separately considered, each is the full negation of what is affirmed in the other; and still they
cannot be held for one moment a«us The ideal can have no reality, excep the form of the actual; and the ae can have no truth, save as it is filled i the presence of the ideal. Each sab only by inseparable union with its oi site; each is indispensable to the othe the complement of an existence, that p otherwise have no force. The bond T unites them, accordingly, is not med cal and outward merely. The life in % they meet, is not to be regarded a*, ia sense, two lives. The two forms of e ence which it includes, are at the • time the power of a single fact, in T constitution they are perfectly ]•• together, in an inward way. The; and the actual, the general and the ps ular, are both present in all life, no juxtaposition or succession, but in m way as to include each other at e point. The very same life is both g& and particular, at the same time—tho i in the actual, and the actual in the id and each is what it is always, on!' having in itself the presence of the oi as that which it is not.
Take, for instance, the life of a par lar plant or tree. Immediately considi it is something single, answerable t' outward phenomenal form under whi is exhibited to the senses. But ii: the same time, more also than thi-. becomes a particular plant or tree, in only as it is felt to be the revelation life more comprehensive than its ei life that appears in all plants and t and yet is not to be regarded as sprin from them, or as measured by the! any respect. The general vegetable i not simply the sum of the actual ve. tion that is going forward in the * It is before this in order of being, ane never be fully represented by its gro' for in its nature it has no bounds, •■ this last is always necessarily finite. I up of a definite number of individual e ences. Still it is nothing apart from t existences, which serve to unfold its p*
and power; and which, in doing so, inly in doing so, come also to be what are in truth. The life of each parir tree is thus at once the universal able life, in which all trees stand, and ingle manifestation to which this life )me in that particular case. Abstract
it the invisible, ideal, universal force ct, which as a mere particular tree it t. but which belongs to it only in ion with other trees, and you reduce ristence at once to a sheer nullity: sject absolutely single in the world, never be anything more than aspecirodigy for the senses. So also, if it tempted to sunder the particular from general. Vegetable life can have no y, save as it shows itself through parr plants and trees. The claims of articular here, are just as valid and is the claims of the general. We no right to push either aside, in order ike room for the other. The ideal or ral cannot subsist without the actual wticular; and it is equally impossible Ms last to subsist without the first.
can subsist both, only in and by each '; and it is this mutual comprehension inbeing of the two precisely, which
life its proper realness and truth, rea/ is not the actual as such, nor the
as such, but the actual and ideal ctly blended together, as the presence ie same fact.
ie same order holds in the sphere of inity. Every man comprehends in elf a life, which is at once both single general, the life of his own person, ratcly considered, and the life at the i time of the race to which he belongs. s a man; the universal conception of anity enters into him, as it enters also all other men; while he is, besides, this bat man, as distinguished from all rs by his particular position in the *n world. Here again, too, as before, relation between the general and the icular or single, is not one of outward nnction simply; as though the man ;. in the first place, complete in and of i«lf, and were then brought to stand in •in connections with other men, previy complete in the same way. His ipleteness as an individual involves of If his comprehension in a life more geni than his own. The first can have no
place apart from the second. The two forms of existence are not the same in themselves, but they are indissolubly joined together, as constituent elements of one and the same living fact, in the person of every man.
All this belongs to our constitution, considered simply as a part of the general system of nature. But man is more than nature, though organically one with it as the basis of his being. His life roots itself in this sphere, only to ascend by means of it into one that is higher. It becomes complete at last, in the form of self-conscious, selfactive spirit. The general law of its existence, as regards the point here under consideration, remains the same; but with this vast difference, that what was mere blind necessity before, ruled by a force beyond itself, is now required to become the subject of free intelligence and will, in such way as to be its own law. It is as though the constitution of the world were made to wake within itself to a clear apprehension of its own nature, and had power at the same time to act forth its meaning by a purely spontaneous motion. Reason and will are concerned in the movement of the planet through its appointed orbit, in the growth of the plant, and in the activity of the animal; but in all these cases, they are exerted from abroad, and not from within the objects themselves. The planet obeys a law, which acts upon it irrespectively of all consent on its own part. So in the case of the plant: it grows by a life which is comprehended in' itself, but in the midst of all, it remains as dark as the stone that lies motionless by its side; its life is the power still of a foreign force, which it can neither apprehend nor control. The animal can feel, and is able also to move itself from place to place; yet in all this, the darkness of nature continues unsurmounted as before. The intelligence which rules the animal is not its own; and it cannot be said to have any inward possession whatever of the contents of its own life. This consummation of the world's meaning is reached at last, only in the mind of man, which becomes thus, for this very reason, the microcosm or mirror, that reflects back upon the whole inferior creation its true, intelligible image. Here life is no longer blind and unfrce. The reason and will, by which it is actuated, are required to enter into it fully, and to become, by means of it, in such separate form, self-conscious and self-possessed. This is the idea of personality, as distinguished from the conception of a simply individual existence in the form of nature. Man finds his proper being at last, only in such life of the spirit.
Personality, however, in this case, does not supersede the idea of individual natural existence. On the contrary, it requires this as its necessary ground and support. The natural is the perpetual basis still of the intellectual and moral. The general character of life, therefore, in the view of it which is before us at this time, is not overthrown by this exaltation, as has been already intimated, but is only advanced by it into higher and more significant force. It still continues to revolve as before, between the two opposite poles, which we have found to enter into it from the start, and exhibits still to our contemplation the same dualistic aspect, resulting from the action of these forces, whose inseparable conjunction at the same time forms its only true and proper unity. It is still at once actual and ideal, singular and universal; only now the union of these two forms of existence is brought to be more perfect and intimate than before, by the intense spiritual fusion to which all is subjected in the great fact of consciousness.
Consciousness is itself emphatically the apprehension of the particular and single, in the presence of the universal. The two forms of life flow together, in every act of thought or will. Personality is, by its very conception, the power of a strictly universal life, revealing itself through an individual existence as its necessary medium. The universal is not simply in the individual here blindly, as in the case of the lower world, but knows itself, also, and has possession of itself, in this form; so far, at least, as the man has come to be actually what he is required to be by his own constitution. The perfection of his nature is found just in this, that as an individual, inseparably linked in this respect to the world of nature, from whose bosom ho springs, he shall yet recognize in himself the authority of reason, in its true universal character, and yield himself to it spontaneously as the proper form of his own being. Such clear recognition of the
universal reason in himself, accompli with such spontaneous assent to its vtk ity, is that precisely, in the ca« * I human individual, which makes him m at once rational and free. The perw necessarily individual; but in beeoa personal, the individual life is itself M to transcend its own limits, and maisa its separate reality, only by merging m completely in the universal life whiefiii called to represent.
Personality and moral freedom I properly speaking, the same. Byitel we are to understand simply, the n<a form of our general human life itself, such, it is nothing more nor less thai full combmation of its opposite poles. I free way. In the sphere of nature 1 union is necessary and inevitable; a human spirit, it can be accomplished! by intelligent, spontaneous action, oo 1 part of the spirit itself. The iixMl life in this form, with a full sense di own individual nature, and with full pet to cleave to this as a separate, indepesi interest, must yet, with clear cowa* ness and full choice, receive into its«f 1 general life to which it of right l^k«( so as to be filled with it and ruled br t every point. Then we have a proper! man existence.
Moral freedom then, the onlv iihfl that is truly entitled to the name, indd in itself two elements or factors, *S need to be rightly understood, fir?!. their separate character, and then hi A relation to each other, in order thai tl idea itself may be rightly apprehend^ is the tingle will moving with Kw scious free activity in the orbit of' general will. The constituent powesl which it comes to exist, are the sen* self on the one hand, and the senw 4 moral universe on the other, the swisel independence, and the sense of nutbon or law. It is the perfect union of lb? i gle and the universal, the subject!" * the objective, joined together as mutTM necessary, though opposite, polar f<*» in the clear consciousness of the spirii.
Let us direct our attention now, W moment, separately to each of these P* constituents of freedom.
Freedom supposes, in the first pi* entire Independence on the part "f' subject
can have no place accordingly, as we already seen, in the sphere of mere naGod is free in upholding and carrying rd the world, in this form, according appointed laws ; but the world itself t free. Its activity is for itself altor blind and necessary, accompanied no self-apprehension, and including elf no self-motion. It is actuated ghout by a foreign force, with no >k alternative but to obey ; while yet cdience carries in itself no light or no intelligence or will. Nature is in slavish bondage to its own law, lower impressed upon it perpetually abroad, and in no sense the product separate life. The earth rolls round in, the sap mounts upward in the the dog pursues its game, with like dination to a force by which they mtinually mastered, without the least rto master in return. Animal inland instinct are no better here, than lastic power that fashions the growth ! plant. There is individual existence :h case, included in the bosom of a al ideal life, and comprising action (fully turned in upon itself; but there independence: the subject of the i hangs always, with helpless neceson the action itself, and is borne fely along upon the vast objective n of the world's life, without concur or resistance of its own. » only in the sphere of self-conscious i then, that individual independence nes possible. Hence it involves two s, the light of intelligence and the r of choice. Both of these, in their nature, refer to an individual centre, If, from which their activity is made iiate, and towards which, again, it is I continually to return. All knowlbegins and stands perpetually in the wosness of self ; and every act of the may be denominated, at the same an act of self-apprehension, belongs to the conception of indid life universally, that it should be in a centre of the manifold activities by h it makes itself known. In the re of nature, this relation holds in the only of a blind plastic law, or at least »e form of an equally blind instinct, ■he sphere of consciousness, which is re nature, it is no longer blind, but
clear. The subject is not simply an individual centre, but knows and seeks itself under this character. In such form first, it attains to what we call subjective independence.
By means of intelligence, the individual self emerges out of the night of nature into the clear vision of its own existence, and is thus prepared to embrace itself as a separate living centre. It is no longer an object merely as before, acted upon from abroad, but is constituted a subject, in the strict sense of this term, having possession of itself, and capable of self-action.
Mere intelligence, however, is not of itself independence. If a planet were endowed with the power of perceiving its own existence, without the least ability to modify it in the way of self-control, it is plain that it would be just as little independent as it is in its present state. Con*sciousness in absolute subjection to nature, would be, indeed, a species of bondage, that might be said to be even worse than that of nature itself. And so if the intelligence were ruled and actuated, not by nature, but by some other intelligence in the like irresistible way, the result would be the same. No matter what the actuating force might be, if it were even the Divine will itself, which were thus introduced into the conscious life of the individual, so as to carry this along with overwhelming necessity in its own direction, the subject thus wrought upon from abroad, without the power of self-impulse, could not be regarded as having the least independence. The case calls for something more than mere intelligence. To this must be joined also the power of choice.
The supposition, indeed, which has just been made, is in its own nature impossible. Reason and will necessarily involve each other; and the light of intelligence, therefore, can never be sundered in fact, (but only hypothetically,) from the motion of choice. Self-consciousness is itself always self-action.
Individual independence, we say, requires the power of choice; that the selfconscious subject shall not be moved simply from abroad, but have the capacity of moving itself, as though it were the original fountain of its own action. If the will be itself bound by a force which is foreign