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Title: Cobwebs of Thought
Author: Arachne
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Cobwebs of Thought" ***

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COBWEBS OF THOUGHT

by

"ARACHNE"

London



CONTENTS.


CHAPTER

  I. OUR IGNORANCE OF OURSELVES

 II. CONTRASTS

III. MAETERLINCK ON HAMLET

 IV. AN IMPOSSIBLE PHILOSOPHY

  V. IMPRESSIONS OF GEORGE SAND



MOTTO.


"The first philosophers, whether Chaldeans or Egyptians, said there
must be something within us which produces our thought. That something
must be very subtle: it is breath; it is fire, it is ether; it is a
quintessence; it is a slender likeness; it is an intelechia; it is a
number; it is harmony; lastly, according to the divine Plato, it is a
compound of the _same_ and the _other_! It is atoms which think in us,
said Epicurus after Democritus. But, my friend, how does an atom
think? Acknowledge that thou knowest nothing of the matter."
                                                           --VOLTAIRE.



I.



OUR IGNORANCE OF OURSELVES.


Self-Analysis, apart from its scientific uses, has seldom rewarded
those who have practised it. To probe into the inner world of motive
and desire has proved of small benefit to any one, whether hermit,
monk or nun, indeed it has been altogether mischievous in result,
unless the mind that probed, was especially healthy. Bitter has been
the dissatisfaction, both with the process, and with what came of it,
for being miserably superficial it could lead to no real knowledge of
self, but simply centred self on self, producing instead of
self-knowledge, self-consciousness, and often the beginnings of mental
disease.

For fruitful self analysis it is apparently necessary then to have a
clear, definite aim outside self--such as achieving the gain of some
special piece of knowledge, and we find such definite aims in
psychology, and certain systems of philosophy--Greek, English, and
German, in Plato Locke, Kant, and in the meditations of Descartes, and
many others. Self-analysis is the basis of psychological knowledge,
but the science has been chiefly used to explain the methods by which
we obtain knowledge of the outer world in relation to ourselves. When
a philosopher centres self on self, in order to know self as a result
of introspection, the results have been disastrous, and have
contributed nothing to knowledge, properly so-called. If religious
self-examination has its dangers, so also has philosophical
self-analysis for its own sake. It is a fascinating study for those
who care for thought for thought's sake--the so-called Hamlets of the
world, who are for ever revolving round the axes of their own ideas
and dreams, and who never progress towards any clear issue. Amiel's
"Vie Intime" is a study of this kind. It adds nothing to any clear
knowledge of self, absorbing and interesting as the record is. It is
suggestive to a great degree, and in that lies its value, but it is as
vague, as it is sad. It appeals deeply to those who live apart in a
world of their own, in thoughtful imaginative reverie, but its effects
on the mind were deplored even by Amiel himself in words which are
acutely pathetic. The pain which consumed him arose from the
concentration of self on self. Self was monopolised by self,
self-consciousness was produced, though without a touch of selfish
egoism.

Out of this self-conscious introspection, grew that sterility of soul
and mind, that dwindling of capacity, and individuality, which Amiel
felt was taking place within him. A constant, aimless, inevitable
habit of self-introspection was killing his mental life, before the
end came physically.

Another philosophical victim to the same habit was John Stuart Mill,
at one time of his life. His father analysed almost everything, except
himself, and John Stuart Mill had grown up in this logical atmosphere
of analysis, and to much profit as his works show. But when he turned
the microscope on his own states of feeling, and on the aims of his
life, the result was melancholia--almost disease of mind. His grandly
developed faculty of analysis when devoted to definite knowledge
outside himself, produced splendid results, as in his Logic, and his
Essays, but when he analysed himself, he gained no additional
knowledge, but a strange morbid horror that all possible musical
changes might be exhausted, and that there might be no means of
creating fresh ones. He also feared that should all the reforms he,
and others, worked for, be accomplished, the lives of the reformers
would become meaningless and blank, since they were working for means,
not ends in themselves. Out of this hopeless mental condition there
was only one outlet possible, and that was to leave self-analysis of
this sort alone for ever, and to throw himself into its direct
contrary, the unconscious life of the emotions. John Stuart Mill did
this, and it saved him. In Wordsworth's poetry he found sanity and
healing. Happily for him that was not the age of Browning's "Fifine at
the Fair." Had he fallen in with dialectical analysis in the garb of
poetry, it must have killed him!

And yet "Know thyself" has always been considered supremely excellent
advice, as true for our time, as for the age of Socrates. It certainly
is disregarded by most of us, as fully as it was by many of the
Greeks, whom Socrates interrogated so ruthlessly. Is there then a sort
of self-analysis, which can be carried out for its own sake, and which
can be, at the same time, of vital use? Is all self-analysis when
practised for its own sake necessarily harmful, and unprofitable? It
is time to ask these questions if we are ever to know how to analyse
ourselves with profit, if we are ever to know ourselves. And we none
of us do. As students, we are content with every other knowledge but
this. After all the self probing of the religious and philosophical,
during long centuries, what have we learned? Truly to ourselves, we
are enigmas. To know everything else except the self that knows, what
a strange position! But it is our condition. The one thing that we do
not know--that we feel as if we never could know is the Self in us.
Our characters, our powers, our natures, our being--what are they? Our
faculties--what can we do? And what can we not do? What is the reason
of this faculty, or that want of faculty? We have never reached an
understanding of ourselves, which makes us not only know, but perceive
what we are capable of knowing; which makes us aware, not only that we
can do something, but why we can do it. We are an unknown quantity to
ourselves. We can calculate on a given action in a machine, but we
cannot calculate on our own, much less on our moods. If we would but
take half the trouble to understand ourselves that we take to study a
science or art--if we could learn to depend on the sequence of our own
thoughts as an engineer can on the sequence of movements in his steam
engine--if we could dig, and penetrate into the depths of our own
being, as a miner penetrates into a seam of coal--we might then
cultivate with some profit our own special lines of thought, our own
gifts, that portion of individuality, which we each possess. But it is
so difficult to get to know it--we are always on the surface of
ourselves. What power will unearth our self and make us really know
what we are and what we can do? It is because we do not know
ourselves, that we fail so hopelessly to give the things which are of
incalculably real worth to the world, such as fresh individuality, and
reality of character. Among millions of beings how few exist who
possess strong original minds! We are _not_ individual for the most
part, and we are _not_ real. Our lives _are_ buried lives; we are
unconscious absorbers, and reproducers, under other words of that
which we have imbibed elsewhere. We need not only fresh expressions of
old statements, but actually new ideas, and new conceptions. (The
fresh _subjects_ people talk about, are really fresh _conceptions_ of
subjects.) We shall never get this bloom of freshness, and this sense
of reality and individuality of view unless we cultivate their
soil--to have fresh ideas, we must encourage the right atmosphere in
which alone they can live. We must not let our own personality,
however slight, be suppressed, or be discouraged, or interfered with
by a more powerful, or a more excellent personality.

Individuality is so weak and pliable a thing in most of us that it is
very easily checked--it requires watchfulness and care, and not to be
overborne, for the smallest individual thought of a mind of any
originality, is more worth to the world than any re-expression of the
thought of some other mind, however great.

Even the "best hundred books" may have a disastrous effect upon us.
They may kill some aspirations, if they kindle others. Persons of
mature age may surely at some time have made the discovery that much
has been lost through the dominating influence of a superior mind.
Many persons, for instance, have felt the great influence of Carlyle,
and Ruskin, in their youth. Carlyle could do incalculable good to some
minds by his ethics of work, but irremediable harm to others; minds
have actually become stunted and sterile through that part of his
teaching, which was unsuited to them. Carlyle's temperament checked
their proper development. Youth has a beautiful capacity for trust and
belief, and it accepts everything as equal in goodness and truth from
an author it reverences. The young do not know enough of themselves,
and they do not trust enough to their own instincts to discriminate.
They are dominated and unconsciously suppressed. Ruskin, in his
ethical views of art, and strange doctrines about some old masters,
has done nearly as much harm to susceptible minds as Carlyle. Ruskin
restricted and perverted their art ideals on certain lines as Carlyle
crushed ethical discrimination. Mind have been kept imprisoned for
years, and their development on the lines nature intended them to
take, has been arrested, by the want of belief in their own
initiative. What was inevitable for Ruskin's unique mind was yet wrong
for readers, who agreed to all his theories under the influence of his
fascinating personality, and through the power of his individuality.
In life, we sometimes find we have made a series of mistakes of this
sort, before at last we get glimmerings of what we were intended to
be, and we learn at last the need of having known ourselves, and the
vital necessity of cultivating the atmosphere and colour of that mind
of ours, which has been used merely as a tool to know everything else.

Spiritualists and Theosophists talk of a Dominant Self, and an Astral
body, and of gleams of heavensent insight. Gleams of insight and
dreams do come to us, and teach us truths, which "never can be
proved," and without some such intuitions the soul of man would indeed
be poor,

  The soul that rises with us, our life's star,
  Hath had elsewhere its setting,
  And cometh from afar.

But the value of the intuitions is relative to the soul which has
them; they cannot be conveyed to any one else, or demonstrated; they
can never become Truths valid to all minds. And these last are the
truths we want if we would make some orderly progress towards a given
issue. And so we resort after all, to science, to see if it can solve
the intellectual riddle of our being. What can it do for us? If we
would really know ourselves, we want a depth of self-analysis; not a
pitiful search for motives, not the superficial probings of a
moralist, not the boundless, limitless, self-absorbed speculations on
the nature of self of the philosopher, not the sympathetic noting of
each emotion that crosses the horizon of the soul--the introspection
of the Poet; these will never teach us the reason why we think and
feel on certain lines, and not on others--these will never explain to
us what the mind is, that is in us--what that strange thing is, which
we have tried so vainly to understand. And without this knowledge how
worthless is the work of the moralist; of what practical use is it for
him to endeavour to alter a man's character, when he does not even
know the ingredients that constitute character, still less the cause
why character is good or bad. Mr. Robert Buchanan said in one of his
essays: "I can advance no scientific knowledge for seeing a great
genius in Robert Browning, or a fine painstaking talent in George
Eliot, for thinking George Meredith almost alone in his power of
expressing personal passion, and Walt Whitman supreme in his power of
conveying moral stimulation. I can take a skeleton to pieces
scientifically, but not a living soul. I am helpless before Mr.
Swinburne, or any authentic poet, but quite at my ease before Macaulay
or Professor Aytoun." Mr. Buchanan could presumably take the last two
to pieces and analyse them as if they were skeletons; but before
Swinburne, "the living soul," he is helpless. Now we want a scientific
reason for all this; we want to analyse, not the skeleton, that has
been done often enough, but "the living soul." We want to know the
ingredients of character that constituted Mr. Buchanan's preferences.
What composition gave him his special temper and character? Why did
his mind tend towards Robert Browning, and away from George Eliot? Why
in short did his mind work in the way it did? The more original the
mind, the more its investigation would repay us. But it must be
self-investigation; what we want are facts of mind, mental data and in
order to get them, we must investigate the living mind All the usual
explanations of Temperament, Nature, Heredity, Education are the same
difficulties, expressed in different words. Heredity is a
circumstance, which has to be reckoned with, but we have to
investigate, not circumstances, but results. Here is a living complex
mind, no matter how I inherit it, here it is; now then, how does it
work, what can I do with it? And then comes the further inevitable
question--What is it? What is this thing, this me, which tends to feel
and act in a certain direction--to admire spontaneously, this, and to
despise with as perfect ease, that. What we need for scientific
investigation into the ME is "to utilise minds so as to form a living
laboratory" _Mind_ vivisection without torture, cruelty or the knife.
What we want to know definitely from science is: How does this thing
which I call my mind work? Science regards mind as the sum of
sensations, which are the necessary results of antecedent causes. It
endeavours to know how and in what way these sensations can be trained
and perfected. Nearly twenty years ago, a writer in the Psychological
Journal "Mind"[1] Mr. J. Jacobs, attempted to form a Society for the
purpose of experimental psychology. Thinkers and scientific men have
carried out this work, but the general public has not been greatly
interested or interested for any length of time. No such society
exists among the English public. The greater number of enthusiastic
students is to be found in Italy and America. But Germany has
furnished great individual workers, such as Fechner, Helmholtz, and
Wundt. Collective investigation was necessary to separate individual
peculiarities from general laws. Science of course aims at changing
the study of individual minds/into "a valid science of mind." Mr. J.
Jacobs wished a Society to be organised for the purpose of measuring
mind, measuring our senses, and for testing our mental powers as
accurately as weight and height are tested now, and also for
experimenting on will practice. He believed it possible to train the
will on one thing until we got it perfectly under control, and in so
doing we should modify character immensely. If this proved possible,
we ought to persevere until conduct becomes an art, education a
principle, and mind is known as a science is known. Mr. Jacobs wanted
systematic enquiries to be made into powers of attention, such as "Can
we listen and read at the same time, and reproduce what we have read
and heard." And into the faculties of observation and memory, with
after images, and the capacity for following trains of reasoning,
&c., &c., "When we read a novel, do we actually have pictures of the
scenes before our minds?" Mr. Jacobs wished for enquiries into every
kind of intelligence ordinary and extraordinary; out of all
ingredients of character, out of early impressions, out of classified
emotions to build up an answer to the question: "Is there a science
of mind?" Since he wrote, much has been done in experiment by the
scientific. Children's minds are constantly being investigated, and
the results given to the public. Mr. Galton has to some extent
popularised this sort of investigation. But it is still generally
unpopular. Novelists, and artists, leisured people, women, everyone
could be of use, if they would investigate themselves, or offer their
minds for investigation. But after all that the scientific French,
German, American, Italian, and English workers have done, we are as
yet only on the threshold of mind knowledge--of what we might know--if
we had ardour enough to push self-analysis in to the remotest corner
of the brain, noting down, comparing, tabulating the most involuntary
and ethereal sublimities that appear to flit through the mind, the
most subtle emotion that hardly finds expression in language. We must
push on and on till we arrive at the knowledge of a mind science. Our
scientific enquirers want, as we all do, more ardour, they are dulled
by a cold, uninterested public. Psychologists now seem to despair of
obtaining any large results from the science. Mr. E.W. Scripture in
"The New Psychology" says, in 1897, "It cannot dissect the mind with a
scalpel, it cannot hope to find a startling principle of mental life."
If psychological experiment could be presented somewhat apart from its
technicalities, and if minds could play freely round its discoveries,
how much more interesting it would be felt to be by the general
public! The great experimental worker, Mr. J. Mck Cattell has given[2]
some clear idea of the results he obtained by analysing and measuring
sensations. The physical processes, which accompany sensations of
sound and light for instance, unlike as they must be to sensations,
being facts of matter in motion, yet share with them this
characteristic, that sensations also have each an _order in time_, the
mental processes can be measured, equally with the physical. Of course
measuring sensations is only measuring "the outside of the mind"--but
it produces among others one very suggestive result: "that as time is
relative, if all things moved much more slowly or quickly than at
present, we should not feel any change at all. But if our objective
measures of time moved twice as fast, whilst physiological movements
and mental processes went on at the same rate as now, the days of our
years would be seven score, instead of three score years and ten, yet
we should not be any the older, or live any the longer. If on the
other hand the rate of our physiological and mental motions was
doubled and we lived exactly as many years as before, we should feel
as if we lived twice as long and were twice as old as now." This is a
suggestion for Mr. Well's "Anticipations" Is evolution leading us in
this direction or the other? Is it retarding or "quickening the
molecular arrangements of the nervous system?" Are we becoming "more
delicately balanced so that physical changes proceed more quickly as
thoughts become more comprehensive, feelings more intense, and will,
stronger." Does the time it needs to think, feel, and will become
less? And we may add are the physical and mental processes of the
intelligent brain, quicker, or slower than the unintelligent? For if
it is the sensitive quick witted organisation, which is destined to
live twice as long as it does now, how will it bear the burden of such
added years? Leaving aside inquiries into Time, and Space Sense--(and
what enormous faculty our minds must have that can supply these)--let
us go on to Mr. J. McKeen Cattell's analysis of memory--which is
perhaps the most interesting of all to the student of mind--the
analysis of memory, attention and association of ideas. Just as the
eye can only see (attend to) a certain number of vibrations, for if
the requisite amount is added to, the result is blankness, darkness,
so the mind can only attend to a certain amount of complexity--add to
the complexity and attention ceases, but, a certain degree of
complexity is necessary to produce any conscious attention at all. In
experiments with a Metronome and the ticking of a watch, it is found
the attention at certain intervals gets weaker--from 2 to 3 seconds.
The impression produced by the ticking of the watch is less distinct,
it seems to disappear and then is heard again. "This is not from
fatigue in the sense organ," but apparently represents "a natural
rhythm in consciousness or attention," which interferes with the
accuracy of attention. What a suggestive fact this is! Have we not all
at times, felt an inexplicable difficulty in listening and attending
to certain speakers, which may perhaps be explained by a difference
between the rhythm of our own consciousness, and that of the voice of
the speaker. In Association of Ideas the time that it takes for one
idea to suggest another has been determined, but of course, it must be
the average time, for people differ enormously in the speed in which
ideas occur to them. It is impossible to allude here to more points,
but in the same interesting article Mr. Mck Cattell considers it
proved that "experimental methods can be applied to the study of mind,
and that the positive results are significant," and he hopes, "one
day, we shall have as accurate and complete a knowledge of mind as we
have of the physical world." Beyond this knowledge of mind as a
machine, the Psychologist goeth not. He ends, and what do we know more
as to what mind is? Philosophy properly so-called, begins here or
ought to begin. In science we experiment widely and constantly with
mind and arrive at some knowledge of its workings and capacities; we
learn occupation with the mind itself as a subject for observation,
and we practise a self-analysis, which adds to the sum of general
knowledge. Through this study we know more about our senses and their
faculties, more of our own tendencies and idiosyncrasies, and in what
direction they tend. We are on the way to solve some such problems as:
"the influences of early impressions, the ingredients of character,
the varying susceptibility to mental anguish, the conquest of the
will," and many another. These are beginnings--there is much more to
attain to, if we would know mind even scientifically, for we have only
attacked its breast works, but we are on the right road, as we
believe, towards this most interesting of all sciences--Mind Science.
From Philosophy we do not as yet know definitely that mind _is_, or
what it is, or why it is. The psychologist accepts the word mind, but
it is not accepted as a _philosophical_ term; it is called
Consciousness, Being, Ego, and anything else but mind. Notwithstanding,
we all feel what we mean by the word. Though the senses divide the
non-ego, the world outside us, into five separate parcels, things
seen, things heard, things smelt, things touched, things tasted,
there is a faculty of unifying, a sensation of unity in us, which
makes us conscious of all these separate sensations as forming a
whole in any object which comes into our consciousness. Kant has
given this unifying faculty, or sensation, a long name, which does
not make it any clearer. What is this inner power, which unifies
sensations and how does it come? In some way the mind supplies it to
its mental states or consciousness. And _within_ us this unifying
faculty, which we call Mind, is felt through the infinite number of
modifications of sensations or mental states, for we are aware that
what we call a mind exists in us. It is this consciousness of unity in
complexity, which makes memory and identity possible. The exploded
idea of mental substance and its attributes, held by the School men,
was probably suggested to them by the consciousness of this mental
unity. In our mentality there is something which makes each one say
"My mind," not "My minds." Now it is this unity of sensations, which
is lost, and the mind with it, if the ego is divided as Professor W.
James divides it into many egos such as--the inner self--the complex
self--the social self--the intellectual self--and so on. For how does
that help us? It is the same unknown quantity in different
circumstances. The self that ponders in thought, knows itself as the
same that talks in society. The strange power of being able to analyse
ourselves at all is one of the strangest things about us. What a world
of difference lies between the unconscious self of the animal and this
conscious self of man! Professor James' brilliantly written chapter of
investigation into the self leaves us amused rather than enlightened.
Against all arguments to the contrary, we should refuse to give up the
word mind, whether it is considered vague or defective in any or every
way. Mind in all its complexity, is what we have to investigate
scientifically. Mind in all its complexity is what the philosopher has
to explain, not mind, analysed into simple acts of consciousness. The
hypnotist talks of double, treble and quadruple personalities with
totally different characteristics "under suggestion," but it helps us
little for we have not yet defined mind on its sane and normal sides.
Considering the acuteness and the sanity of the French mind, it is
somewhat strange that the French psychologists should devote
themselves chiefly to the study of the insane and hysterical.
Philosophy, though it gives us soaring thoughts, grand speculations,
and metaphysical schemes, from Spinoza, Kant, Hegel, and Schopenhauer,
to Herbert Spencer, and Mr. Mallock, cannot give us any knowledge in
which they mutually agree. Mr. Mallock sums up philosophy as a
necessity to the mind. We _must_ believe in some theory of mind, some
religion, some philosophy, else life is dreary and unlivable. This
appears to be the result of his book "The Veil of the Temple," and
this is simply the doctrine of utility. But no philosopher, can tell
us why mind works on certain lines and not on others, because they
cannot tell us definitely that they _know_ what mind is. Mind is a
function of _Matter: Matter_ is a function of thought: Mind is
Noumenon the unseen and unknown, as contrasted with Phenomena the seen
and known; the universe, the creation of the mind; the mind, the
product of the universe. All these ideas and many others so widely
differing can none of them receive a demonstrable proof;--these
contrary statements show how far we are from possessing any real
knowledge of what mind is. After all that has been written, elaborated
and imagined, do we actually _know_ more than Omar Khayam knew?

  "There was the door to which I found no key;
  There was the veil through which I could not see;
  Some little talk awhile of Me and Thee
  There was--and then no more of Thee and Me."

Philosophy is still powerless to tell us what mind is; the self, the
ego always vanishes as we seem to be nearing it, it always eludes our
deepest probings--we only demonstrate our failure in regard to our
knowledge of it. All this is true, but should we therefore despair? If
we are born with the record on the brain of the inexorable desire to
_know_, the very failure should stimulate us to further, and greater,
and more fruitful questionings.



II.



CONTRASTS.


CARLYLE, GEORGE ELIOT, MAZZINI, BROWNING,

All contrasts drawn between writers, and thinkers should have for aim
the setting forth of some striking and fundamental difference in
thought, and it would be hard to find anywhere a greater and a more
vivid contrast than that between Carlyle and George Eliot. For George
Eliot's philosophy was centred in the well-being of the Race.

Carlyle's was summed up in the worth of the Individual.

George Eliot teaches in prose and still more in poetry that
Personality, with its hopes, loves, faiths, aspirations, must all be
relinquished, and its agonies and pains endured, should Humanity gain
by the sacrifice and the endurance.

She considers the Individual as part of collective humanity, and that
he does not live for himself, he has no continuance of personal life,
he has no permanence, except as a living influence on the Race. This
is the Positivist creed, the Racial Creed.

Beyond the influence that it exerts, spiritual personality is doomed.
It is not humanity in God but humanity in itself which is to exist
from age to age, solely in the memory of succeeding generations.

  "Oh may I join the Choir Invisible
  Of those immortal dead, who live again
  In minds made better by their presence."

Permanence and continuance and immortality are in the race alone.
George Eliot's strong accentuation of the race is the Gospel of
annihilation to the individual. Yet the most personal and imaginative
of poets has treated this lofty altruism in his strange, sad,
beautiful poem of "The Pilgrims," with a fervour greater even than
that of George Eliot.

Here are two stanzas:

  "And ye shall die before your thrones be won.
  Yea, and the changed world and the liberal sun
  Shall move and shine without us and we lie
  Dead; but if she too move on earth and live,
  But if the old world with the old irons rent,
  Laugh and give thanks, shall we not be content?
  Nay we shall rather live, we shall not die,
  Life being so little and Death so good to give."

  "Pass on then and pass by us, and let us be.
  For what life think ye after life to see?
  And if the world fare better will ye know?
  And if men triumph, who shall seek you and say?"

  "Enough of light is this for one life's span.
  That all men born are mortal, but not Man:
  And we men bring death lives by night to sow,
  That man may reap and eat and live by day."
                                              --SWINBURNE.

Turning from the moral grandeur of self-abnegation that fills the
philosophy of humanity, we feel the contrast of strong human
personality, which animates us with an inspiring sensation as we
listen to the prophet of individualism.

Few can have read Carlyle's writings in their youth, without having
experienced an indescribable and irresistible stimulation, to
accomplish some real work, to make some strenuous endeavour "before
the night cometh." Carlyle's contempt for sloth, stings; his bitter
words are a tonic, they scourge, encourage, and at times plead with
poetic fervour. "Think of living. Thy life wert thou the pitifullest
of all the sons of earth is no idle dream, but a solemn reality. _It
is thy own; it is all thou hast to front Eternity with._ Work then
like a star unhasting and unresting."

The man's soul, naked through sloth, or clothed through works, has to
meet its doom, and to bear it as it best can. For Carlyle ignored the
collective view of mankind, the single soul had to prostrate itself
before the Supreme Power. This Supreme Power was almost as vague (to
him) as George Eliot's Permanent Influence is to us. For Carlyle did
not believe "that the Soul could enter into any relations with God,
and in the sight of God it was nothing." There is nothing singular in
this. The religious, but independent-minded Joubert thought "it was
not hard to know God, provided one did not force oneself to define
Him," and deprecated "bringing into the domain of reason, that which
belongs to our innermost feeling."

This very well represented Carlyle's view, but it occupies but a small
place in his writings. All his books, his letters, pamphlets,
histories, essays show his profound living belief in the worth of
individual men, as the salt of the earth, and the young are always
greatly influenced by strong personalities. But the mature mind that
struggles after catholicity of taste, and wide admiration, receives
some rude shocks from Carlyle's treatment of humanity, as Dr. Garnett
has well shown in his excellent biography of Carlyle; indeed it has
led with some to the parting of the ways. For the hopes and
inspirations of poet, reformer, teacher, became in great part to him
as "the idle chatter of apes" and "the talk of Fools."

Mazzini's world-wide sympathies, his life of many deaths for his
country, were unintelligible to Carlyle, who also described, as "a
sawdust kind of talk," John Stuart Mill's expression of belief and
interest in reforming and raising the whole social mass of toiling
millions.

Bracing and stimulating, as is Carlyle's strong, stern doctrine of
independence, of work, and of adherence to Truth for its own sake, we
feel the loss his character sustained, through the contempt that grew
upon him for the greater part of humanity. The Nemesis of contempt was
shown in his inability at last to see even in individuals, the
greatest things. Physical force came to be admired by him for itself.
From hero-worship, he passed "to strong rulers, and saviours of
society."

The worth of the individual, withered and changed, and Carlyle's hopes
rested finally on strength alone, just as George Eliot's thoughts
centred on the influence human beings exercised on each other, and
there is extraordinary beauty in this idea. How striking is her
conception of the good we all receive from even the simplest lives, if
they have been true lives. "The growing good of the world is partly
dependent upon unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with
you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who
lived faithfully a hidden life and rest in unvisited tombs." But some
who read her books feel an underlying tone of sadness--a melancholy
whisper as of a finality, an inevitable end to all future development,
even of the greatest personalities. Many other writers have believed
that men live in the world's memory only by what they have done in the
world, but George Eliot is definite that this memory is all, that
personality has no other chance of surviving. Her hopes rested on
being:

  "The sweet presence of a good diffused,
  And in diffusion ever more intense,
  So shall I join the Choir Invisible
  Whose music is the gladness of the world."

Both George Eliot and Carlyle over accentuated one the race, the other
the individual.

Mazzini's place in thought was exactly between the two.

He believed in God _and_ Collective Humanity. Humanity in God. He
said: "We cannot relate ourselves to the Divine, but through
collective humanity. Mr. Carlyle comprehends only the individual; the
true sense of the unity of the race escapes him. He sympathises with
men, but it is with the separate life of each man, and not their
collective life."[3]

Collective labour, according to an educational plan, designed by
Providence, was, Mazzini believed, the only possible development of
Humanity.

He could never have trusted in any good and effective development from
Humanity alone.

Nationality, he reverenced, and widened the idea, until it embraced
the whole world. He said it was the mission, the special vocation of
all who felt the mutual responsibility of men. But nationality of
Italy meant to Carlyle, only "the glory of having produced Dante and
Columbus," and he cared for them not for the national thought they
interpreted, but as gigantic men. Mazzini cared for "the progressive
history of mankind," Carlyle for "the Biography of great men."

Carlyle's sadness "unending sadness," came, Mazzini thought from
looking at human life only from the individual point of view. And a
poem by Browning, "Cleon" would have afforded him another example of
"the disenchantment and discouragement of life," from individualism.

Browning was as great an individualist as Carlyle; he stood as far
apart from belief in Collective Humanity, and Democracy as Carlyle
did, though in Italy, he felt the thrill of its nationality, as
Carlyle did not. But Mazzini might have said also truly of Browning,
that, with the exception of Italy, "he sympathised with the separate
life of each man and not with their collective life." The sadness
Mazzini attributed to Carlyle's strong individualistic point of view,
ought logically then to have been the heritage of Browning also. _If_
Mazzini's explanation was the true one, it is another proof of the
difficulty of tabulating humanity, or of making a science of human
nature. For the Individualist Browning, far from being remarkable for
sadness, was the greatest of optimists amongst English poets. He had a
far wider range of sympathies, than Carlyle, for failure attracted
him, as much as victory, the Conquered equally with the Conqueror,
indeed every shade of character interested him. Perhaps he expresses
through "Cleon" some of his own strongest feelings, his insistence on
the worth of individuality, his craving for deeper joy, fuller life
than this world gives, and his horror of the destruction of
personality. Cleon, the Greek Artist, is indeed "the other side" to
the poetic altruism of "The Pilgrims" and "The Choir Invisible." Never
was the yearning for Personal Continuance more vividly and more
humanly presented. The Greek Artist, without any knowledge of, or
belief in Immortality, hungers after it. Browning represents him as
writing to and arguing with the King, who has said:

  "My life......
  Dies altogether with my brain, and arm,......
  ....triumph Thou, who dost _not_ go."

And Cleon says if Sappho and Æschylus survive because we sing her
songs, and read his plays, let them come, "drink from thy cup, speak
in my place."

Instead of rejoicing in his works surviving he feels the horror of the
contrast, the life within his works, the decay within his heart. He
compares his sense of joy growing more acute and his soul's power and
insight more enlarged and keen, while his bodily powers decay. His
hairs fall more and more, his hand shakes, and the heavy years
increase.

He realises:--

  "The horror quickening....
  The consummation coming past escape,
  When I shall know most, and yet least enjoy--
  When all my works wherein I prove my worth,
  Being present still to mock me in men's mouths,
  Alive still, in the phrase of such as thou,
  I, I, the feeling, thinking, acting man,
  The man who loved his life so over much,
  Shall sleep in my Urn. . . It is so horrible."

He imagines in his need some future state may be revealed by Zeus.

  "Unlimited in capability
  For joy, as this is in desire for joy,
  To seek which the joy hunger forces us:"

He speculates that this life may have been made straight, "to make
sweet the life at large."

And that we are: "freed by the throbbing impulse we call Death." But
he ends by fearing that were it possible Zeus must have revealed it.

This passionate pathetic longing for joy, and life beyond death finds
an echo in many hearts, which yet can admire the grand altruism of
"The Pilgrims" and the selfless spirit of the Impersonal Martyr. After
considering all this clash of thought, it seems as if it all resolved
itself into the individual temperament which settles and modifies and
adapts to itself the forms of our philosophies and religions, our
Hopes and Faiths, and Despairs.

For from whence comes the real power thinkers possess over us? It is
not in their forms of thought, as Matthew Arnold said most truly, but
in the tendencies, in the spirit which led them to adopt those
formulas. Every thinker has some secret, an exact object at which he
aims, which is "the cause of all his work, and the reason of his
attraction" to some readers, and his repulsion to others.

What was the secret aim then in George Eliot which made her believe so
firmly in the permanent influence of Humanity, and in the annihilation
of personal existence? Was the tendency of temperament developed by
her life and circumstances?

What was it that developed so strong an Individualism in Carlyle and
Browning and awoke in Browning such unlimited hope, and in Carlyle
such "unending sadness?"

Why did the darkness and the storm of his life give Mazzini so
passionate a belief in Humanity, and such an intimate faith in God?
These and such-like are the problems we should have in our minds as we
study the works of Great Writers, if we would penetrate into the
innermost core of their nature, in short, if we would really
understand them.



III.



MAETERLINCK ON HAMLET.


Maeterlinck, in his first essay, "The Treasure of the Humble," is,
undoubtedly, mystical. He does not argue, or define, or explain, he
asserts, but even in that book and far more so in his second, "Wisdom
and Destiny," it is real life which absorbs him as Alfred de Sutro his
translator points out. In this book "he endeavours in all simplicity
to tell what he sees." He is a Seer.

Maeterlinck's aim is to show that contrary to the usual idea, what we
call Fate, Destiny, is not something apart from ourselves, which
exercises power over us, but is the product of our own souls.

He takes many examples to prove this, of which Hamlet is one. Man,
said Maeterlinck, is his own Fate in an inner sense; he is superior to
all circumstances, when he refuses to be conquered by them. When his
soul is wise and has initiative power, it cannot be conquered by
external events, and happiness is inevitable to such a soul.
Maeterlinck asks: Where do we find the fatality in Hamlet? Would the
evil of Claudius and Queen Gertrude have spread its influence if a
wise man had been in the Palace? If a dominant, all powerful soul--a
Jesus--had been in Hamlet's palace at Elsinore, would the tragedy of
four deaths have happened? Can you conceive any wise man living in the
unnatural gloom that overhung Elsinore? Is not every action of Hamlet
induced by a fanatical impulse, which tells him that duty consists in
revenge alone? And revenge never can be a duty. Hamlet thinks much,
continues Maeterlinck, but is by no means wise. Destiny can withstand
lofty thoughts but not simple, good, tender and loyal thoughts. We
only triumph over destiny by doing the reverse of the evil she would
have us commit. _No tragedy is inevitable_. But at Elsinore no one had
vision--no one saw--hence the catastrophe. The soul that saw would
have made others see. Because of Hamlet's pitiful blindness, Laertes,
Ophelia, the King, Queen, and Hamlet die. Was his blindness
inevitable? A single thought had sufficed to arrest all the forces of
murder. Hamlet's ignorance puts the seal on his unhappiness, and his
shadow lay on Horatio, who lacked the courage to shake himself free.
Had there been one brave soul to cry out the truth, the history of
Elsinore had not been shrouded in horror. All depended not on destiny,
but on the wisdom of the wisest, and this Hamlet was; therefore he was
the centre of the drama of Elsinore, for he had no one wiser than
himself on whom to depend.

Maeterlinck's doctrine of the soul and its power over Destiny is very
captivating, but it is doubtful if he was fortunate in his choice of
Hamlet as an example of ignorance and blindness, and of failure to
conquer fate, through lack of soul-power.

How Hamlet should have acted is not told us, but that it was his duty
to have given up revenge is clearly suggested. We might, perhaps, sum
up Hamlet's right course, from the hints Maeterlinck has given us, in
a sentence. Had he relinquished all idea of revenge and forgiven his
uncle and mother, he would have ennobled his soul, gained inward
happiness, spread a gracious calm around and have so deeply influenced
his wicked relations, that they would have become repentant and
reformed. Thus his evil Destiny would have been averted and we should
have had no tragedy of Hamlet. This explanation sounds rather
conventional and tract-like put into ordinary language, but, indeed,
Maeterlinck's doctrine might be compressed into a syllogism:--

  All the wise are serene,
    Hamlet was not serene,
    Hamlet was not wise.

That is the simple syllogism by which Maeterlinck tests human nature.
But Hamlet's nature cannot be packed into a syllogism. A Theorist, who
tries to fit into his theory a peculiar nature cannot always afford to
understand that nature. The external event that froze Hamlet's soul
with horror, and deprived it of "transforming power" was a
supernatural event, not "disease, accident, or sudden death!" The
mandate laid on his soul was a supernatural mandate, and as Judge Webb
said in a suggestive and interesting paper: "The Genuine text of
Shakespeare," October number of the "National Review, 1903," "it was
utterly impossible for that soul to perform it," or it might be added,
to cast it aside. He was betrayed by the apparition "into consequences
as deep as those into which Macbeth was betrayed by the instruments of
darkness--the witches." We cannot reason about Maeterlinck's thought
that if expressed "would have arrested all the forces of murder"
because we do not know what the thought was, nor can any one gauge or
estimate rightly the power of Hamlet's soul to conquer external
events, without taking into careful account that the Vision from
another world came to Hamlet, when he was outraged at the re-marriage
of his mother and full of emotion that the sudden death of his father
called forth in his meditative mind.[4] But Maeterlinck never refers
to anything of this sort. He does not seem to realise what the effects
of the vision must have been on a complicated character--on "a great
gentleman in whom the courtier's, scholar's eye, tongue, sword, were
all united." Hamlet was _not_ an example of the normal type of the
irresolute man--but the mandate laid upon his nature, it could not
perform. The vision was his destiny--for Destiny lay in the nature of
the mandate, as well as the nature of the man, and unhappiness was
inevitable; yet Maeterlinck says, "No tragedy is inevitable, the wise
man can be superior to all circumstances by the initiative of the
soul. To be able to curb the blind force of instinct is to be able to
curb external destiny." Did not Hamlet curb his instincts of love for
Ophelia, and love for books and philosophy, under pressure of the
great commandment laid upon him? He could not curb the power of his
intellect--it was too subtle and supreme, but he concealed all else.
Yet Hamlet could not escape his Destiny, by curbing his instincts. The
initiative of his soul worked against the duty he had to perform. And
it was through his "simple, tender, good," thoughts of, and love for
his father that he kept to his task, and could not "withstand his
complicated destiny." Maeterlinck is surely wrong, too, in saying
Hamlet was moved by a fanatical impulse to revenge for he spent his
life in weighing _pros_, and _cons_, and in combating the idea that he
must fulfil the duty laid upon him. So unfanatical was he that he even
doubted at times whether the apparition was his father's spirit. But
supposing there had been "one brave soul to cry out the truth"
(Maeterlinck does not say what the truth was); we will suppose that
Hamlet had resolved to forgive fully and generously, would he, then,
have gained the fortitude and serenity, which Maeterlinck evidently
means by inner happiness? Not if he kept a shred of his inner nature.
Hamlet "saw no course clear enough to satisfy his understanding."
Could such a nature be serene? But was it unwise? Judicious, wise, and
witty when at ease; he could not escape the dark moods that made him
indifferent to the visible world.

"If OEdipus had had the inner refuge of a Marcus Aurelius, what could
Destiny have done to him?" asks Maeterlinck. Fate we suppose would
have had no power over him, if he had calmly reasoned over the
terrible circumstances in which he found himself involved, and if he
preserved his equanimity to the end, as M. Aurelius would have done.
Does this prove more than that the two men may have had very different
temperaments? But, individuality cannot be made to agree with theory,
and can be tabulated in no _science_ book of humanity. When
Maeterlinck says, "Hamlet's ignorance puts the seal on his
unhappiness," we may well ask ignorance of what? Was it ignorance of
the power of will? Certainly his intellect was greater than his will.
"He would have been greater had he been less great." The
"concentration of all the interests that belong to humanity" was in
Hamlet. Except the gifts of serenity and calmness, what did he lack?
And because he was not inwardly serene, Maeterlinck considers him
blind and ignorant. It is strange to connect blindness and ignorance
with a wit of intellectual keenness, an imagination of a poet, and the
unflinching questioning of the philosopher. Maeterlinck says: "Hamlet
thinks much but is by no means wise." How does Hamlet show he had not
the wisdom of life? Maeterlinck, no doubt, would dwell on his varying
moods, his subtle melancholy, his nature baffled by a supernatural
command. If he was not wise how strange he should have said so many
words of truest wisdom both of Life and Death, "If it be now, 'tis not
to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet
it will come; the readiness is all." We feel that Hamlet was "a being
with springs of thought and feeling and action deeper than we can
search." But the elements in his nature could not resolve themselves
into an inner life of calm. Therefore, according to Maeterlinck, he
was not wise, for he could not conquer his inner fatality--destiny in
himself. Maeterlinck's ideas are very beautiful, and he writes
delightfully, but his test of wisdom is questionable, for Hamlet's
thoughts have captured and invaded and influenced the best minds and
experiences of thinkers for centuries, How many a Shakespearean reader
has _felt_ that Hamlet is one of the very wisest of men as well as one
of the most lovable and attractive! Not his ignorance, but his wisdom
has borne the test of study and time. He did not bear the tragedy of
life when the supernatural entered it, with an unshaken soul, but
ourselves and the realities of life become clearer to us, the more we
read his thoughts. If "it is _we_ who are Hamlet," as Hazlitt said, it
is a great tribute to his universality--but a greater one to
ourselves. Indeed, we learn wisdom, not only from the lucubrations of
the serene and calm, or from Hamlet, magnificent in thought, acute and
playful, but also from Hamlet in his mortal struggles, in his deep
questionings, and his melancholy.

  For wisdom "dwells not in the light alone
    But in the darkness and the cloud."



IV.



AN IMPOSSIBLE PHILOSOPHY.


Philosophers talk of a philosophy of art, ancient and modern. But this
is unnecessary. Art is always art, or never art, as the case may be;
whether it is art in the days of Pheidias and Praxitiles, of Rafael,
or of Turner, or whether it is not art as in the days of its
degeneration in Greece and Italy. The outward expression of course,
changes, but it changes through individual and national aptitudes, not
from Chronology. That indispensable and indescribable thing which is
of the essence of art, is the same in all times and countries; for art
is ever young, there is no old, no new, and here is its essential
difference from science. In its essence, art is neither ancient or
modern, because it is incapable of progress, it is the expression of
an illimitable idea. We find before the Christian Era more beautiful
sculpture than after it. "Ah!" Victor Hugo says in his "William
Shakespeare," "You call yourself Dante, well! But that one calls
himself Homer. The beauty of art consists in not being susceptible of
improvement. A _chef d'oeuvre_ exists once and for ever. The first
Poet who arrives, arrives at the summit. From Pheidias to Rembrandt
there is no onward movement. A Savant may out-lustre a Savant, a Poet
never throws a Poet into the shade. Hippocrates is outrun, Archimides,
Paracelsus, Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, La Place, Pindar not;
Pheidias not. Pascal, the Savant, is out-run, Pascal, the Writer, not.
There is movement in art, but not progress. The Frescoes of the
Sistine Chapel are absolutely nothing to the Metopes of the Parthenon.
Retrace your steps as much as you like from the Palace of Versailles
to the Castle of Heidelberg. From the Castle of Heidelberg to the
Notre Dame of Paris. From the Notre Dame to the Alhambra. From the
Alhambra to St. Sophia. From St. Sophia to the Coliseum. From the
Coliseum to the Propyleans. You may recede with ages, you do not
recede in art. The Pyramids and the Iliad stand on a fore plan.
Masterpieces have the same level--the Absolute. Once the Absolute is
reached, all is reached." And Schopenhauer says, "Only true works of
art have eternal youth and enduring power like nature and life
themselves. For they belong to no age, but to humanity--they cannot
grow old, but appear to us ever fresh and new, down to the latest
ages." Let us disclaim then any such word as Modern in relation to
art, particularly in relation to a philosophy which has to do with the
principle and essence of art. Is a Philosophy of Art possible? There
must be some who will think it is impossible. Have we a philosophy
that explains such an apparently simple thing as how one knows
anything--or of simple consciousness? Every philosopher that has
attempted to explain consciousness or how we know, takes refuge in
assumptions. At any Philosophical Society, if you ask for the
explanation of simple Consciousness, the avalanche of answers, each
differing from the other, will bewilder you. We know the outward
appearance of an object, of which we say that we know it, but what is
it _in itself_? Of that we are as much in the dark as we are of the
mind that knows. We say, each of us--I know, but in philosophy we are
not clear whether there is a thing that knows. We know we are
conscious, but we know nothing but that bare fact. We do not know how
an object swims into our consciousness. We do not know in the
scientific meaning of knowledge, how we come to know any object. Our
abysmal ignorance is this, that, of the thing known, and of that which
knows, and of the process of knowing, we know nothing. Who can tell us
how the movement of matter in the brain causes what we call thought.
Is it a cause, or merely a concurrence? When we can know this much,
then art may have a philosophy in which we can all agree. But, what
signs are there of even the beginnings of agreement? Certainly art is
not known as we know a science--perhaps we do not wish it ever to be
so. And the process of art is as indescribable as the process of
knowing. The advance we have made in philosophy seems to be this, that
whereas one philosopher after another according to his temperament has
thought he knew and has supplied us with hypotheses, and with
successive clues to the mystery of Being, and with many systems of
thought, we know now that none of them were adequate to supply even
initial steps, and so, for the most part, we fall back on the
knowledge that comes to us from living, from being, from knowing
appearances, from action, and from feeling; on that position in short
which Schopenhauer thought so despicable in a human being, _i.e._,
Refuge in the common sense attitude, and practically the giving up of
philosophy. The outcome of all the brain work on philosophy, since the
time of the Greeks, is that despair has entered into our minds of ever
achieving any knowledge of the _Real_, beneath and beyond Phenomena,
of a knowledge which _commands_ assent. Can even a Hegel write a
convincing Philosophy of Art--which implies a philosophy of complex
knowing and feeling; the feeling or emotion, or sensation, which
vibrates in music and colour and poetry. Could Hegel himself answer
this objection: that poetry eludes all tests--that that which you can
thoroughly explain in any way is not poetry, as Swinburne has said? It
is the inexplicable, then, which lies at the essence of art and it is
this, which if there is to be a Philosophy of Art must be its object.
The Inexplicable must be the object for the thinker with his orderly
sequences, his logical search for causes and results. It is not that
artistic feeling is too subtle as a subject; it is that we cannot get
hold of it at all. It is where? Here, in our emotion, our feeling, our
imagination; it flies from us and it comes again.

We do not ask for a philosophy of artistic _creations_ (whatever they
may be, in music, painting, or poetry), for a Philosophy of Art must
be a philosophy of the artistic _faculty_ that creates, and that
admires and understands and is absorbed in the creations. Philosophy
of Art is the philosophy of the creative--receptive qualities. We feel
these qualities, but we are not able to explain them, we cannot even
help another to feel them. The capacity comes from within. In
ourselves is a nameless response to Beauty. All art is an expression
of the artist thrown out towards a reproduction of some intuitive Idea
within, and what artist has ever satisfied his inward aspiration? Why
tell us that harmonies of art may be traced down to the simplest
lines, and, that at the root, lies an aim of edification? Simplify the
lines, as we will, let the basis of edification lie at the root of all
beauty, still the initial question remains unanswered. Why do certain
lines in a poem, curves of beauty in a statue, colour in a picture,
produce in us the feelings of beauty and delight? Why does
edification, if it is such, produce in me, the sense of a nameless
beauty?

There is that in us which we call the sense or Idea of beauty, and we
recognise it in works of art. What causes it in us? It is a sentiment,
but it is more than a sentiment. It is indissolubly connected with
expression, but it is more than expression. It raises all kinds of
associations, but it is more than associations. It thrills the nerves,
it stimulates the intellect, but it is more than a thrill, and other
than the intellect; it is treatment, but who can give laws for it? The
answer which explained the sense of beauty that we feel in works of
art would go straight to the revelation of the essence of beauty. All
that æsthetic teachers tell us is, that certain lines and colours and
arrangements are harmonious, and the philosopher fails in telling us
why they are harmonious. Does Hegel? Even if we are told there is an
Idea in us which is also an Idea in Nature, and, therefore, we can
understand the Idea, because We are It, does that throw light on what
the Idea really is? We are the human side of nature, and have the same
human difficulty as before in interpreting the Idea. Yet there is one
philosopher, as many readers must have felt, who has brought us nearer
to the interpretation of the artistic attitude, than any other, and
this is Schopenhauer on what we may call his mystical side in his book
of "Will and Idea." Perhaps most philosophers have erred in too rigid
an exclusion of feeling and imagination. It is impossible to help
feeling that his philosophy is largely moulded and created by his
feeling for art--and by his oriental mysticism. He can be curiously
prosaic at the same time, and this is another proof of the infinite
complexity of the mind:--he can be inartistic and unpoetic so that he
almost staggers us, as in his unillumining remarks on Landscape Art.
Vegetation, according to Schopenhauer's theory, is on a lower grade of
Will Objectification or Manifestation, than men and animals are, and
landscape painting is, therefore, altogether on a different plane.
Through his theories he loses the power of seeing that art is
concerned with treatment, with conception and expression, that beauty
depends not on the object, but on the treatment of the object.

But if we turn to his mystical theory of the Unconscious, we do get a
beautiful description of the absorption, that is, of the essence of
the artistic nature. He shows how the artist loses his own personality
in the object of contemplation, so completely that he identifies
himself mentally with it. Schopenhauer describes the artistic mind
when it is affected by the beautiful and the sublime. By losing all
sense of individuality and personality the artist is so possessed by
his object of thought and vision that he is absorbed in it and feels
the Idea, which it represents. This theory put into ordinary language,
is that the artist has in him the sense of a great Idea, such as
Beauty, and in his power of vision into objects of beauty he lives in
the sense of Beauty, which they represent. They represent to him the
Idea of Beauty itself. He lives in the Idea, is isolated in it,
absorbed in it, and by the privilege of genius can keep the sense of
the inner world of beauty and can produce beautiful works of art.

With joy and innocence, his whole soul absorbed in the beautiful forms
which he creates, he represents the ideas within him, and he loses the
sense of life and consciousness and Will, which, according to
Schopenhauer, is to be freed from constant demands, and strivings. He
is no longer bound to the wheel of desire--he has no personal
interests--no subjectivity.

He is a "pure will-less, time-less subject of knowledge" of "pure
knowing," which means complete absorption. He excites and suggests in
others the knowledge of the Ideas, which, beautiful objects represent.
Thus, through the works of Genius, others may reach an exalted frame
of mind, for, indeed, if we had not some artistic capacity for seeing
and feeling the Ideas which works of art represent, we should be
incapable of feeling or enjoying them. Perhaps, to make this abstract
thought clearer, it would be well to endeavour to find some examples
which will illustrate Schopenhauer's meaning. And Shakespeare offers
us incomparable examples. In his great tragedies--such as Othello, for
instance--we feel the knowledge or Idea of Life, in all its varied
human manifestations. Life, manifold, diverse, and abundant--and all
felt intuitively from within. Into his creations, Shakespeare pours
wide and overflowing knowledge of life; there is nothing narrow or
shut in, in his conceptions, but every character is alive in the great
sense, illustrating no narrow precept or trite morality, no cut and
dried scheme of a petty out-look on life, but the great morals of life
itself, as varied, as intangible and as inexplicable. He represents
this sense of varied life as manifested or objectified in his
creations, _i.e._, his characters. In _Othello_, for instance, we have
suggestions of love and jealousy that go down to the very depth of the
heart, through imaginative insight. And what we are brought close to,
is the vivid intense life of feeling that Shakespeare's creations
hold, and that we, ourselves, are capable of holding in our own
hearts. In this presentation, Shakespeare flashes the sense of life
with all its complexities of heart and brain into us. He does not
stand, as it were aside, as a commentator on the faults or weaknesses
of his characters, but he wafts us out of our circumscribed lives, out
of our limitation of thought, we know not how, into an atmosphere
quivering with passion, and felt by us all the keener, because we
recognise that the Poet never thought about _us_ at all. He excites
our sympathies by his own intuitions into the clashing ideas, which he
represents in the tragedy of a passionately loving and a jealous
nature. We learn truths, not of fact, but of life, focussed and
arranged as an artist arranges them, and permeated with that strange
sense of wonder which only Life can give. We feel the suggestion of an
inevitable dim something beyond, to explain the unexplainable, the
tragedy of character, and the tragedy of circumstance.

These make the great crises which break up lives. But the play goes on
with all the wild force of life itself. We feel the Idea of jealousv
forming itself in the noble nature of Othello, and bringing with it
anguish, the bitterer throes of life, those intense and hopeless
moments when struggle only makes the coil close tighter round the
victim. And after we have felt these, no nature remains quite the same
as before. There has entered into us a power of imaginative sympathy
which Art alone can inspire and only when it most inwardly reveals
Life itself. Of all things, the "Too late" and the "Might have been"
are the most sorrowful, and the divine possibility, cruelly realised
too late, gives the sharpest edge to Othello's mental agony, when the
whole truth of Desdemona's life--an "objectification" of loyalty,
love, and purity--is only revealed to him as she lies there dead
before him, killed by his own hand. All that it means rushes then like
a torrent on his soul; when Othello falls on the bed, by Desdemona's
body, the remorse and love that rend him with their talons are beyond
even Shakespeare's power of expression.

With groans scarcely uttered, Othello gives the only outlet possible
to the blinding, scathing storm of passions within him. There is one
touch, and only the intuitive artist of humanity and of life could
have known it, and given it--only one touch of consolation that could
be left him, and it comes to Othello as he is dying! "I kiss'd thee,
'ere I kill'd thee."

He fastens on this as a starving man fastens on a crumb of bread.

Why is this so true as to be almost intolerable--and yet so beautiful?
The characters have art necessities. Schiller said Art has its
categorical Imperatives--its _must_, and Shakespeare's characters
fulfil them. We feel how inevitable is their fate. They make their own
tragedy. The Poet compresses a Life Tragedy into a few pages of
manuscript. He, with the great sense and Idea of Human Life in him,
has to choose what he will portray, and the greater an artist the more
unerring is his selection. Then begins his own absorption in the
characters. Conception and expression come to him and come nobly and
spontaneously--and so spontaneous is his touch--so completely is he
absorbed in, and one with his characters--that it makes our rush of
sympathy as spontaneous as his own.

We feel the Identification of Shakespeare with Othello--with
Iago--with Desdemona He _is_ them _all_. _He_, William Shakespeare, is
"the will-less--time-less--subject of knowledge," living in "pure
knowing" and absorbed in the creations that represent his varied and
his intuitive knowledge of the great Idea of Life. And he excites and
suggests in us the same absorption in his creations--that is, if we
have the capacity to feel it.

It is a land of marvel and of mystery when all personal interests and
all consciousness of individual temperaments are lost, fall off from
us, and nothing remains, nothing exists to us but the love, the
betrayal, the agony, and the struggles of the noble nature, that "dies
upon a kiss." We are so much part of it, we become so possessed by it,
that we do not even know or feel that we are knowing or feeling.
Shakespeare _is_ Othello--and so are we, for the time being.
Shakespeare had the insight and power of genius, and so could retain
and reproduce his vision into the inner life. We alas! often cannot;
when the play is over we become again, a link in the chain that binds
us to the ordinary world of consciousness; the veil of illusion has
fallen again between us and real vision, we are again among the
shadows, with some general impressions more or less blurred, but the
vivid vision of the Poet which made us feel in the manifestations he
created, the very Idea of Life itself--has faded from us, we are no
longer in the Ideal world which is the real world.

We will take one other example, not of a play, but of a picture. The
Ascending Christ for instance at the Pitti Palace, Florence, by Fra
Bartolomeo.

It is well enough known, with the rapt faces of the four evangelists,
two on either side, gazing at their Master, with more of love for Him
than of understanding even then, in their expression. And the two
lovely little angels beneath, oblivious of everything but the
medallion they are holding, as is the way with old Masters. It is the
Christ alone that rivets our attention. The majestic, noble form, and
the sad, grave, beautiful eyes, revealing the Victor over Life and
Death, as He leaves the earth, triumphant indeed, but with the
solitariness of triumph of the Divine Man, Who knows now the awful
sorrow of humanity. It is Life human and divine in the Artist's
Conception or Idea. How absorbed must he have been in his
representation of this idea since he could suggest, and that
spontaneously, such problems of unutterable thoughts in those divine
eyes. The whole vision of humanity, as it might be in the mind of
Christ, and as it was felt in the artist's vision, is flashed into our
own minds--it is an artistic inspiration. Art suggests, it does not
explain. A picture focusses into a few inches of space a whole drama
of life and thought. We read it there, we feel it, and with no
conscious effort, for this is the gift of Genius.

And our absorption in a work of genius is untouched even by
consideration of technique. The methods of conveying the impression
may be noted afterwards, and we may delight in form and colour, and
light and shade. But it is the _result_ of all these that the art
lover feels so spontaneously and unconsciously. Learned art critics
and dealers will study the size of ears, the length of noses, the
breadth of thumbs, the manner of curving the little finger in order to
make sure of the authenticity of the artist. It is more important to
them than the enjoyment of the work of art itself. The lover of art
has a receptive nature, so that he does not concern himself much, with
these considerations, he does not even compare pictures. All _that_
may come afterwards, if he is a student, as well as a lover. But, at
all events, at first, he will find a response simply in his own soul
to the picture, which represents to him an idea. His own personality
and individuality leave him; unconsciously he is possessed. Instead of
getting to understand it, and attacking a work of art as if it were a
mathematical problem, he discovers that the picture is possessing him,
and that is what Schopenhauer means. Art has dæmonic power, it takes
hold of us wholly, and in proportion to our faculty of receptiveness
we understand it more or less fully. Architecture can hold us in this
way, sculpture can, a great city can with its architecture and
associations combined. Rome _does_. The very essence of the artistic
quality hangs round the old walls of Rome. Rome itself can teach us,
enter into us, possess us in a way of its own. The great bond of
similarity between all the arts is their having this _possessing_
power, this revelation of ideas, in whatever form they are expressed.
Rafael in the exquisite outline of the peasant girl's face, saw
without conscious effort the vision of maternity, as the perfect
form of the Madonna della Seggiola rose before him. This is
idealism--seeing the idea in the object of contemplation. And the
spectator, gazing at the picture, also without consciousness of
effort, is moved into "a passionate tenderness, which he knows not
whether he has given to heavenly beauty or earthly charm"; he feels
motherhood, and to quote again Mr. Henry James in "The Madonna of the
Future," he is intoxicated with the fragrance of the "tenderest
blossom of maternity that ever bloomed on earth." Critics may question
its manner, method and style; but the art lover feels its "graceful
humanity," he does not "praise, or qualify, or measure or explain, or
account for"--he is one with its loveliness--one with the purity and
the truth of the ideal which it represents.

This may explain something of the attitude towards art in
Schopenhauer's philosophy, though to reproduce and exemplify thought
is always difficult, and abstract philosophical thought is especially
so. The real comprehension of a philosopher's mind depends mainly on
how far we are able to get into the atmosphere of his thought; it
depends upon affinity in fact, and this is why philosophy must be the
study, mainly, of the lonely thinker. Explainers and lecturers
necessarily intrude their own individualities into their explanations,
which have to be discounted. Yet when discounted, certain
individualities do help us in philosophy, and even in poetry. Some
minds may be more akin with the philosopher's or poet's than are our
own, and a thought will become more vivid and clear to us, and a poem
more lovely, when we understand it or view it, through a mind to which
it appeals _directly_, and to us through that other. And now, after
endeavouring to grapple with Schopenhauer's theory of art, what does
it come to at last? Is it more than this that the philosopher explains
it as unconscious absorption in the manifestation of an Idea, and that
it is a refuge from life and its woes _We_ may have _felt_ all that he
has described, and, for a philosopher, Schopenhauer has a great gift
of expression, indeed the love of art and literature glows on almost
every page of his book. But his theory is surely scarcely more than a
re-statement of what we _feel_, and if we ask whence comes the
artistic quality--from the heart or the nerves--or the brain;--what is
the philosophical definition of the _compulsion_ in art; how does
philosophy account for its strange compelling, unique, possessing,
power--we get no answer at all, it eludes all tests. We get no
explanation of what the strange insight is which we find in the man of
Genius, or of the faculty that gives the capacity for absorption and
that excites it in us. The genesis of this wonderful faculty remains
unknown to us, undefined. Unconsciousness is a necessary ingredient in
it, according to Schopenhauer, and this helps us to realise the
difficulty of expressing it. What thinker will reduce the quality to
intellectual symbols? Until that is done, however, Philosophy of Art
must remain a philosophy of the Undefined, and the Undefinable!



V.



IMPRESSIONS OF GEORGE SAND.


Perhaps the keynote to the charm of George Sand's art is given in her
preface to her exquisite novel "La Derniere Aldini." Here is none of
the accuracy and patience of the scientific enquirer into the
"mysterious mixture" man, which we find in George Eliot's preface to
"Middlemarch." Indeed these prefaces sum up the remarkably differing
characteristics of the two writers. George Eliot is occupied with "the
function of knowledge" in regard to the "ardently willing soul." She
explains in her preface that the aim of her book is to trace the fate
of the Saint. Theresas of a past age, in the ordinary environment and
circumstances of our time. The problem was, how were detachment of
mind and spiritual longing and love to find their developments in a
modern prosaic setting. George Eliot brought to bear on this enquiry
all her great powers of observation, discrimination and thought. Each
page of the novel reveals the conscious endeavour of the born thinker
to express in artistic form some conception that would help to clear
the outlook on which the answer to the problem depended. George Sand,
who had also her philosophising, and her analysing moods, was yet
capable of feeling that novels may be romances. She could write under
the sway of pure emotion and apart from theory. George Eliot never
regarded her novels as mere romances. "Romances," said George Sand in
_her_ preface, "are always 'fantasies,' and these fantasies of the
imagination are like the clouds which pass. Whence come the clouds and
whither do they go? In wandering about the Forest of Fontainebleau
tête à tête with my son I have dreamed of everything else but this
book. This book which I wrote that evening in the little inn, and
which I forgot the next morning, that I might occupy myself only with
the flowers and the butterflies. I could tell you exactly every
expedition we made, each amusement we had, but I can not tell you why
my spirit went that evening to Venice. I could easily find a good
reason, but it will be more sincere to confess that I do not remember
it."

The mind of George Sand, instead of being engaged with a problem, was
like an Æolian harp breathed upon "by every azure breath,

  "That under heaven is blown
  To harmonies and hues beneath,
  As tender as its own."

So responsive was she that she gave back in wealth of sentiment and
idea, the beauty wafted to her by the forest winds. So instinct with
emotion, so alive and receptive and creative that a passing impulse
resulted in a work of art of the touching beauty of "La Derniere
Aldini." So unanalytic of self, that she could not remember the
driving impulse that caused her to write the novel. Impulses like
clouds come and go, and the artist soul is the sure recipient of them.
It sees and "follows the gleam"--it feels the mystic influences. This
is the foundation of that inexplicable thing inspiration, genius. This
receptive-creative faculty is the gift George Sand received, and this
preface is the keynote to it.

It is this gift, which is power, and in George Sand it is a liberating
power; it freed her own soul, and it freed the souls of others. She
herself felt--and she made readers feel, as in "Lelia," that outward
limitations and hindering circumstances were as nothing compared to
the great fact of freedom within, freedom of heart and soul and mind
from "the enthralment of the actual." We are _free_;--it is a great
thing to be as sure and as proud of it as St. Paul was of having been
"Free born." Some of us achieve freedom with sorrow and with bitter
tears and with great effort--sometimes with spasmodic effort, and
George Sand obtained inward freedom in that way.

But however obtained, the first time a mind feels conscious of it, it
is a revelation, and it may come as an influence from an artist soul.
George Sand had "l'esprit _libre_ et varié." George Eliot "l'esprit
fort et pesant." George Sand was widely, wisely, and eminently human.
She felt deep down in her heart all the social troubles and problems
of her day--and created some herself! But she was true to the artist
soul in her--to the belief in an ideal. Art was dormant when she wrote
disquisitions, and sometimes her social disquisitions are very long
treatises. But her art was not dormant when from her inmost soul she
sketched the fate of the Berri peasant whom she loved so well. In the
introduction to that simple delightful Idyll "La Mare au Diable,"
which should be read by all social reformers and by all who really
care for the poor and the causes of poverty, she conveys her
conceptions of the mission of art towards the oppressed unhappy
labourer; oppressed and unhappy, because with form robust and
muscular, with eyes to see, and thoughts that might be cultivated to
understand the beauty and harmony of colour and sounds, delicacy of
tone and grace of outline, in a word, the mysterious beauty of the
world, he, the peasant of Berri, has never under stood the mystery of
the beautiful and his child will never understand it; the result of
excessive toil, and extreme poverty. Imperfect and condemned to
eternal childhood, George Sand recounts his life, touching gently his
errors, and with deep sympathy entering into his trials and griefs.
And a deeper ignorance, she adds, is one that is born of knowledge
which has stifled the sense of beauty. The Berri peasant has no
monopoly in ignorance of beauty, and intimate knowledge of toil and
extreme poverty, but not many of us feel with the peasant's fate, as
George Sand felt it. She never ceased to care for the cause of social
progress, just as she was always heart and soul an artist. George
Eliot has written words "to the reader" about the ruined villages on
the Rhone. In "The Mill on the Floss," she writes, and again the
remarkable difference between the two writers appears as forcibly as
in the two prefaces. "These dead tinted, hollow-eyed skeletons of
villages on the Rhone, oppress me with the feeling that human
life--very much of it--is a narrow ugly grovelling existence, which
even calamity does not elevate, but rather tends to exhibit in all its
bare vulgarity of conception, and I have a cruel conviction that the
lives, of which these ruins are the traces were part of a gross sum of
obscure vitality that will be swept into the same oblivion with the
generations of ants and beavers." George Eliot saw in imagination
these unhappy and oppressed peasants with clear, unsparing eyes. She
was right in calling her conviction "Cruel," for she saw merely the
outside of the sordid lives of oppressive narrowness, which seemed to
irritate her, these lives of dull men and women out of keeping with
the earth on which they lived. She never alluded to any possible
explanatory causes, such as excessive toil and extreme poverty, which
if she had realised, as George Sand realised them, would have brought
the tender touch of sympathy with individual lives and griefs that we
find so often in George Eliot's novels. But George Sand could _never_
have written of any peasants as "part of a gross sum of obscure
vitality," because she could never have felt towards them in that way.
She was too imaginative and tender. She did not look at the peasantry
"en masse"--but individually, and loved the Berri peasants
individually, as they loved and adored her. Her artistic sense and her
humanity illumined her view of them, and she saw their latent
possibilities, and knew why they were only latent. She knew indeed,
many--if not all kinds of humanity. Once it is recorded she said to
Pere Lacordaire, "You have lived with Saints and Angels. I have lived
with men and women, and I could tell you (and we may well think she
could) some things you do not know." She had indeed run through the
gamut of feeling, and it was in one of those moments when her
experiences of life were overwhelming her--that she exclaimed "J'ai
trop bu la vie." But her gift of genius kept her always vivifying. She
never depresses. From her first years at Nohant to the end of her long
life, she was always _alive_. In the political troubles of 1848, when
she wrote of herself as "navré jusqu 'au fond de l'ame par les orages
exterieurs," and as trying to find in solitude if not calm and
philosophy, at least a faith in ideas, her soul shrank from blood shed
on both sides. "It needed a Dante," she thought, "with his nerves, and
temper, and tears to write a drama full of groans and tortures. It
needed a soul tempered with iron, and with fire, to linger in the
imagination over horrors of a symbolic Hell, when before one's very
eyes is the purgatory of desolation on the earth." But "as a weaker
and gentler artist," George Sand saw what her mission was in those
evil times;--it was to distract the imagination from them, towards
"tenderer sentiments of confidence, of friendship, and of kindness."
Her political and social hopes and aims were always dear to her, but
to interpret nature, to live the quiet life of the affections were the
phases of her middle life. And so she wrote a "sweet song" in prose,
one of the most delightful of her Bergeries, "La Petite Fadette." It
was her contribution to the hatreds and agitations of the time--she
gave a refuge to the souls that could accept it--an "Ideal of calmness
and innocence and reverie." "La Petite Fadette" and "Le Meunier
d'Angibault" reveal her fascinating intelligence and her idyllic
imagination. "Le Meunier d'Angibault," she tells us, was the result of
a walk, a meeting, a day of leisure, an hour of _far niente_, followed
by Reverie, that play of the imagination which, clothes with beauty
and perfects, and interprets, the isolated and small events and facts
of life. There are books of hers in early life that are simply
self-revelations--outpourings of her indignations. She is not at her
best in these. "Indiana," written in her age of revolt, is too
obviously a pamphlet to reveal her passionate hatred of marriage. In
it she looked on marriage as "un malheur insupportable." But
"Consuelo," "La Comtesse de Rudolstadt," "Lettres d'un voyageur,"
Lelia, Spiridion, Valvédre, Valentine, "History of her Life and
letters," and many other books reveal her agonies and agitations, her
hope and power, her love of beauty both outward and inward as
represented in Consuelo herself, who is contrasted with the mere
beautiful "animal" Anzoleto, the artist in his lowest form. He cared
only for physical loveliness, he was a great child, who needed nothing
but amusement, emotion and beauty. But George Sand herself felt the
delight of existence. She says of Joy "It is the great uplifter of
men, the great upholder. For life to be fruitful, life must be felt as
a blessing." In all she wrote we feel the rare charm of perfect ease
and naturalness, combined with the cadences of beauty. We never feel
that she is "posing." And yet the author of the bitter attack "Lui et
elle," accused her of continual "posing." Edonard de Musset wrote with
an envenomed pen, (but we must remember he was defending a brother),
in that strange literary duel between him and George Sand. Alfred de
Musset had accused her of assuming the maternal "pose" towards poets
and musicians who adored her, whilst she absorbed their loves and
lives and then deserted them. It is certainly very striking how her
strong vitality seemed to sway and overpower some of those with whom
she came in contact. She was the oak, and the others were the ivy.
When they were torn apart, the oak was scarred but not irreparably
injured, it was the ivy that was destroyed. In, "Elle et Lui," George
Sand claims that hers was a protecting love for the wayward, gifted
child of art, the poet whose ingratitude she bore with, whose nerves
she soothed, and whom she cared for and nursed in illness. Kindly time
throws a softening veil over the acutest differences, and the clash of
temperaments, even where they remain inexplicable. But the answer to
Alfred de Musset's reproaches must be looked for not in one book, but
in the whole tenor of her life. Does this show that her maternal
attitude was a "pose." It is often said that women are born wives or
born mothers. George Sand was undeniably a born _mother_. Mrs.
Oliphant resembled her in this respect. They both show the deep
passion of maternity in books and autobiographies and letters. Both
were devoted to their children, there was no company they cared for in
comparison, and they spared neither trouble or time in their
interests. But George Sand cared much, not only for her children but
for the peasants--for the poor and oppressed. Yes, and for the poets,
the painters--the singers and the musicians, with their temperaments
of genius, their loves, jealousies, and their shattered nerves. For
upwards of six years she treated Chopin with a mother's care; she had
the passion of maternity in her towards them all, with whatever
feelings it may have been complicated in her life of manifold
experiences and with her artist temperament. She may have leant
heavily on it at times, it may have served as a weapon of defence when
she was attacked, and used thus it may well have suggested a "pose."
But however used, whatever the purpose--that the maternal instinct was
strong in her there is no denying. To explain definitely her social
and personal moral standards requires a biography that has not yet
been written. Socially she had a hatred of feudalism, of religious and
military despotism. She sympathised with and helped the aspirations
towards a wider, a more humane view of a social system, and fraternal
equality and social liberty were to her holy doctrines. Perhaps fully
to understand George Sand from within may require the genius of a
French mind and one of her own generation; for the French of the
present day neither study her, or appear to care much for her books.
Her letters should aid in giving a discriminating record of her
intense and intricate life as viewed from within, and the ideas on
which that life was lived. What then were the leading principles, and
what was the force in George Sand, which while conquering life and
harmonising it enabled her to realise herself? If heredity influences
moral standards the mystery certainly is whence George Eliot derived
not her morality, but her "fire of insurgency." It is not difficult to
account for it in George Sand when we remember her mother's life and
temperament, and her own early years. Her father was a good soldier,
but had also many literary gifts. George Sand herself said: "Character
is hereditary, if my readers wish to know me, they must know my
father." George Eliot's creed and pervading view of life was the
supreme responsibility of it, and the inevitableness of the struggles
of the spirit warring against the senses. Her ideal is attainment
through great trial. George Sand, the born hater of conventions,
developed life into a harmony. We feel ultimately in her, a sense of
peculiar serenity and peace, of self realisation, more akin perhaps to
Plato's ideal of a character in harmony with itself, whose various
impulses are so attuned that they form practically a single desire and
this desire satisfies all the forces of the nature. What was this
desire that was involved in the whole aim or system of George Sand's
life? The ethical poet who affirmed emphatically that "conduct was
three-fourths of life," expressed the highest admiration of George
Sand's aims and ethics, and according to Matthew Arnold, her ruling
idea was, that this ordinary human life of love and suffering was
destined to be raised, into an ideal life, and _that_ ideal life is
our real life. Matthew Arnold has written one of his most beautiful
and eloquent and touching essays in this record of his impressions and
estimate of George Sand. Well does he say that "her passions and her
errors have been abundantly talked of." She left them behind her, and
men's memory of them will leave them behind also.

There will remain the sense of benefit and stimulus from that large
and frank nature, that large and pure utterance. Matthew Arnold gives
three principal elements in her strain. Instead of the hopeless echo
of unrealised ideas we hear from her the evolution of character: "1,
Through agony, and revolt; 2, Through consolation from nature and
beauty; 3, Through sense of the Divine ('Je fus toujours tourmenté des
choses divines') and social renewal, she passes into the great life
motif of her existence;" that the sentiment of the ideal life is none
other than man's normal life as we shall one day know it. Matthew
Arnold saw George Sand in his enthusiastic youth when she was in the
serenity and dignity of middle age at Nohant.

Browning came across her in her journalistic career in Paris, and he
was not touched with the same admiration.

Mr. Chesterton suggests in his biography of the poet that Browning was
conventional by nature--and through the greatness of his brain he
developed. He certainly developed on many sides, but his development
did not include admiration for George Sand and her circle. It was
social tone, his biographer believes, more than _opinions_, which
created this strong aversion in the author of "The Statue and the
Bust."

But Mrs. Browning, though her life had been mainly one long seclusion
on her sofa, was unhampered by these conventional barriers. What she
felt was the attraction of the massive and fascinating brain and heart
of the great French woman, what she heard was "that eloquent voice,"
what she saw was "that noble, that speaking head." She had warm, quick
sympathies and intuitional appreciations of genius. In regard to so
wide and so complicated a character as George Sand's, we cannot be
astonished at finding very different judgments and impressions; indeed
we are prepared to feel in all of them some note of inadequacy and of
incompleteness. But in our relation to her as a Great Writer, of this,
as readers, we are assured, we _know_ that it is no common matter to
have come into contact with so gifted and great a nature, with a
genius that possessed "a current of true and living ideas," and which
produced "amid the inspiration of them."



NOTES:



[1: 1886. "Mind" Vol. 11. "The need of a Society for experimental
Psychology."]

[2: 1888. "Mind" Vol. 13. "The Psychological Laboratory at Leipsic."]

[3: Essays. On the genius and tendency of the writings of Thomas
Carlyle. "The Camelot Series."]

[4: See supplementary notice of "Hamlet" in Charles Knight's Pictorial
Edition of Shakespeare.]





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Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



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