Page images

then we submit freely to the needful discipline. The 27. When all things move similarly, nothing disease itself is the cause of this. We feel then no moves apparently--as on board a ship. When all longer the eager thirst for amusements and visiting, things glide similarly to disorder, nothing seems to which originates in health, and which is quite in- be going wrong. He who stops, considers the rapid compatible with a state of sickness. Nature, then, recession of others, an immoveable point. gives inclinations and desires conformed to our 28. Philosophers boast of having arranged a! present state. It is only the fears that originate moral duties in a certain classification. But why with ourselves, and not with nature, that trouble us; divide them into four, rather than into six divisions. for they associate with the state in which we then Why make four sorts of virtues rather than ten. are, the feelings of a state in which we are not. Why range them under the general heads of ab

20. Injunctions to humility, are sources of humi- stine and sustine, than any others. But then, say liation to the humble; but of pride, to the proud. you, here they are all reduced to a single word. So also the language of Pyrrhonism and doubt is | Well, but that is quite useless without explanation ; matter of confirmation to those who believe. Few and as soon as you begin to explain, and you demen speak humbly of humility, or chastely of chas- velop the general precept which contains all the tity-few of skepticism with real doubtfulness of others, they issue in the same confusion that at first mind. We are nothing but falsehood, duplicity, you wished to avoid, and thus, in reducing them to and contradiction. We hide and disguise ourselves one, you hide and nullify them; and to be made from ourselves.

known, they must still come forth in their native 21. Concealed good actions are the most estima- confusion. Nature has given each an independent ble of all. When I discover such in history, they subsistence; and though you may thus arrange the delight me much. Yet even these cannot have been one within the other, they must subsist independaltogether hidden, because they have been so re-ently of each other. So that these divisions and corded; and even the degree in which they have technical terms have little use, but to assist the mecome to light, detracts from their merit, for their mory, and to serve as guides to the several duties finest trait is the wish to conceal them.

which they include. 22. Your sayer of smart things, has a bad heart. 29. To administer reproof with profit, and to

23. This I is hateful; and those who do not re- show another that he deceives himself, we should nounce it, who seek no further than to cover it, are notice on what side he really has considered the always hateful also. Not at all, say you, for if we thing—for on that side he generally has a right imact obligingly to all men, they have no reason to pression--and admit there the accuracy of his views. hate us.

That is true, if there were nothing hate- This will please him, for he then perceives that as ful in that I, but the inconvenience which it admi- far as he did see, he was not in error, but that he nisters. But if I hate it, because it is essentially failed only in not observing the matter on all sides. unjust, because it makes itself the centre of every Now, a man is not ashamed of not perceiving every thing, I shall hate it always. In fact, this I has two thing; but he does not like to blunder. And perbad qualities. It is essentially unjust, because it haps this arises from the fact, that naturally the will be the centre of all things; it is an annoyance mind cannot be deceived on the side on which it to others, because it will serve itself by them; for looks at things, any more than the senses can give each individual I is the enemy, and would be the a false report. tyrant of all the others. Now you may remove the 30. A man's virtue should not be measured by annoyance, but not the radical injustice, and hence his occasional exertions, but by his ordinary doyou cannot make it acceptable to those who abhor ings. its injustice; you may make it pleasing to the un- 31. The great and the little are subject to the just, who no longer discover their enemy, but you same accidents, vexations, and passions; but the remain unjust yourself, and cannot be pleasing one class are at the end of the spoke of the wheel, therefore but to similar persons.

and the other near the centre; and consequently, 24. I cannot admire the man who possesses one they are differently agitated by the same impulses. virtue in high perfection, if he does not, at the 32. Though men have no interest in what they same time possess the opposite virtue in an equal are saying, it will not do to infer from that absolutedegrce; as in the case of Epaminondas, who united ly, that they are not guilty of falsehood; for there the extremes of valor and of meekness; without are some who lie, simply for lying sake. this, it is not an elevated, but a fallen character. 33. The example of chastiiy in Alexander, has Greatness does not consisi in being at one extreme, not availed to the same degree to make men chaste, but in reaching both extremes at once, and occ'ipy- as his drunkenness has to make them intemperate. ing all the intermediate space. Perhaps this is in Men are not ashamed not to be so virtuous as he; no case more than a sudden movement of the soul, and it seems excusable not to be more vicious. A from one extreme to the other, and, like a burning man thinks that he is not altogether sunk in the brand, whirled quickly round in a circle, it is never vices of the crowd, when he follows the vicious but in one point of its course at a time. Still this example of great men; but he forgets that in this indicates the energy of the soul, if not its expan- respect they are associated with the multitude.sion.

He is linked with such men at the same point, at 25. If our condition were really happy, there which they are linked with the people. However were no need to divert us from thinking of it. great they may be, they are associated at some point

26. I have spent much time in the study of the with the mass of mankind. They are not altogether abstract sciences; but the paucity of persons with suspended in mid air, and insulated from society. whom you can communicate on such subjects, dis- If they are greater than we, it is only that their gusted me with them. When I began to study man, heads are higher; but their feet are as low as ours. I saw that these abstract sciences are not suited to They are all on the same level—they tread the same him, and that in diving into them, I wandered fur- earth; and, at this end, they are brought equally ther from my real object, than those who knew low with ourselves, with infants, and with the them not, and I forgave them for not having attend- brutes that perish. ed to these things. I expected then, however, that 34. It is the contest that delights us, not the vicI should find some companions in the study of man, tory. We are pleased with the combat of animals, since it was so specifically a duty. I was in error. but not with the victor tearing the vanquished. There are fewer students of man, than of geome- What is sought for but the crisis of victory? and try.

the instant it comes, it brings satiety. It is the same

in play, and the same in the search for truth. We sion, or rather so few men are there of resolute and love to watch in arguments the conflict of opinions; independent mind. but as for the discovered truth, we do not care to 43. Montaigne is right. Custom should be fchlook at that. To see it with pleasure, we must see lowed because it is custom, and because it is found it gradually emerging from ihe disputation. It is established, without inquiring whether it is reasonthe same with the passions; the struggle of two con- able or not; understanding of course those matters tending passions has great interest; but the domi- which are not contrary to natural or divine right. It nion of one is mere brutality: We do not seek for is true that the people follow custom for this oply things themselves, but for the search after them. reason, that they believe it to be just; without So on the stage, scenes without anxiety, miseries which, they would follow it no longer, for no one without hope, and merely brutal indulgences, are would be subjected to any thing but reason and accounted vapid and uninteresting.

justice. Custom without this would be accounted 35. Men are not taught to be honest, but they are tyranny; but the dominion of reason and justice is taught every thing else; and yet they pique them- no more tyrannous than that of pleasure. selves on this, above all things. They boast then 44. The knowledge of external things will not only of knowing the only thing which they do not console us in the days of affliction, for the ignorance learn.

of moral science: but attainments in moral science, 36. How weak was Montaigne's plan for exhi- will console us under the ignorance of external biting himself! and that not incidently and contra-things. ry to his avowed maxims, as most men contrive to

45. Time deadens our afflictions and our strifes, betray themselves; but in accordance with his rule, because we change and become almost as it were and as his first and principal design. For to speak other persons. Neither the offending nor the offendfooleries accidentally, and as a matter of weakness, ed party remain the same. Like a people that have is every one's lot; but to do so designedly, and 10 been irritated, and then revisited iwo generations speak such as he did, is beyond all bounds.

after. They are yet the French nation, but not 37. Pity for the unfortunate is no proof of virtue;

what they were. on the contrary, it is found desirable to make this

46. What is the condition of man? Instability, demonstration of humanity, and to acquire, at no

dissatisfaction, distress. He who would thoroughexpense, the reputation of lenderness. Pity'there- ly know the vanity of man, has only to consider the fore is little worth.

causes and the effects of love. The cause is a je ne 38. Would he who could boast the friendship of sais quoi, an indefinable trifle; the effects are monthe Kings of England, and of Poland, and the strous. Yet this indiscribable something sets the Queen of Sweden, have believed that he might look whole earth-princes, armies, multitudes, in mothrough the world in vain for a home and a shel- tion. If the nose of Cleopatra had been a little ter ?*

shorter, it would have changed the history of the

world. 39. Things have various qualities, and the mind various inclinations; for nothing presents itself

47. Cæsar appears to me too old to have amussimply to the mind, neither does the mind apply it- ed himself with the conquest of the world. Such self simply to any subject. Hence, the same thing sport might do for Alexander, an ardent youth, will at different times produce tears or laughter.

whom it was difficult to curb; but Cæsar's day had 40. There are men of different classes, the powerful, the elegant, the kind, the pious, of which each the fallaciousness ot' present pleasures, and in the

48. Fickleness has its rise in the experience of one may reign in his own sphere, but not elsewhere. ignorance of the vanily of absent pleasures.

They come sometimes inio collision, and contend
who shall have the dominion; and most unwisely, for sometimes. They cannot be always upon their

49. Princes and kings must play themselves
their mastery is in different matters. They do not thrones. They become weary. Greatness to be
understand one another. They err in seeking an realized, must be occasionally abandoned.
universal dominion. But nothing can accomplish 50. My humor depends but little on the wea.
this, not even force. Force can do nothing in the ther. I have my cloud and my sunshine within
realms of science; it has no power but over external

Even prosperity or failure in my affairs af

fects me little. I sometimes rise spontaneously su41. Ferox gens nullam esse vitam sine armis putat. perior to misfortune; and from the mere joy of They preser death to peace: others prefer death to superiority, I get the better of it nobly. Whilst at war. Every variety of opinion may be preferred to other times, in the very tide of good fortune, I am that life-the love of which appears so strong and heartless and fretful. so natural. 42. How difficult is it to propose a matter to an- thought, it escapes me.

51. Sometimes in the very writing down my

But this teaches me my other man's judgment, without corrupting his judg- weakness, which I am ever forgetting. And this ment by the manner in which it is proposed. If we instructs me therefore as much as my forgotten say, “I like this,” or, “I think this obscure,” we ei thoughts would have done; for what I ought alther entice the imagination that way, or produce ir- ways to be learning, is my own nothingness. ritation and opposition. It is more correct to say 52. It is a curious fact, that there are men in the nothing, and then he will judge as the matter real world who, having renounced all the laws of God ly is; that is, as it is then, and according as the and man, have made laws for themselves, which other circumstances over which we have no con- they strictly obey; as robbers, &c. trol, may bias him; if even our very silence has not

53. “This is my dog," say the children; "that its eifect, according to the aspect of the whole, and sunny seat is mine." There is the beginning and the interpretation which the man's present humor the exemplification of the usurpation of the whole may put upon it, or according to the conjecture he earth. may form from the expression of my countenance, 54. You have a bad manner: excuse me if you and the tone of my voice; so easy is it to bias the please. Without the apology I should not have judgment from its natural and unfettered conclu- known that there was any harm done. Begging

your pardon, the “excuse me,” is all the mischief. * The reference is to the cotemporary sovereigns, 55. We scarcely ever think of Plato and Aristo Charles I. of England, John Casimir of Poland, and tle, but as grave and serious looking men, dressed Christina, Queen of Sweden.

in long robes. They were good honest sellows, who

gone by.


[ocr errors][merged small]

laughed with their friends as others do; and when certain greatness of soul to attain to this, as it does they made their laws and their treatises on politics, to attain to that which is good. it was to play and divert themselves. It was proba- 65. The ties which link the mutual respects of bly the least philosophical and serious part of their one to another, in general, are the bonds of necessilives. The most philosophical was the living simply ty. And there must be different degrees of them, and tranquilly:

since all men seek to have dominion; and all can56. Man delights in malice; but it is not against not, though some can attain to it. But the bonds the unfortunate, it is against the prosperous proud; which secure our respect to this or that individual and we deceive ourselves if we think otherwise.- in particular, are the bonds of the imagination. Martial's epigram on the blind, is utterly worthless, 66. We are so un happy, that we cannot take for it does not comfort them; it only adds another pleasure in any pursuit, but under the condition of spark to the glory of the author: all that makes experiencing distress, if it does not succeed, which only for the author, is worthless. Ambitiosa reciiet may happen with a thousand things, and does hapornamenta. He should write to please men of a pen every hour. He who shall find the secret of entender and humane spirit, and not your barbarous joying the good, without verging to the opposite inbuman souls.

evil, has hit the mark for happiness. 57. These compliments do not please me: “I have given you much trouble.” “I fear to weary you.” “I fear that this is too long." Things either

CHAPTER XXVIII. hurry me away, or irritate me.

THOUGHTS ON PHILOSOPHICAL AND LITERARY SUBJECTS. 58. A true friend is such a blessing, even to great The more enlarged is our own mind, the greater men, in order that he may speak well of them, and number we discover of men of originality. Your defend them in their absence, that they should common-place people see no difference between leave no stone unturned to get one. But they one man and another. should choose warily; for if they lavish all their 2. A man may be possessed of sound sense, yet efforts on a fool, whatever good he says of them not be able to apply it equally to all subjects; for will go for nothing; and in fact he will not speak there are evidently men who are highly judicious in well of them, if he feels his comparative weak- certain lines of thought, but who fail in others. The ness; for he has not any authority, and consequent- one class of men are adapted to draw conclusions ly he will slander for company's sake.

from a few principles; the other to draw conclu59. Do you wish men to speak well of you ?- sions in cases which involve a great variety of prinThen never speak well of yourself.

ciples. For instance, the one understands well the 60. Do not laugh at the men who seek respect phenomena of water; with reference to which, the through their duties and official stations; for we principles are few, but the results of which are so regard no man but for his acquired qualities. All extremely delicate, that none but a peculiarly acute men hate one another naturally. I hold it a fact, intellect can trace them; and most probably, these that if men knew exactly what one says of the men never would have been great geometricians, other, there would not be four friends in the world. because geometry involves a great many princiThis appears from the quarrels to which occasional ples; and that the nature of a mind may be such, indiscreet reports give rise.

that it can trace a few principles up to their ex61. Death is more easy to endure without think-treme results; yet noi adequately comprehend those ing about it, than the thoughts of death without the things in which a multitude of principles are comrisk of it.

bined. 62. It is wonderful indeed, that a thing so visible There are then two sorts of minds, the one faas the atter vanity of this world, should be so little thoms rapidly and deeply the principles of things, known, and that it should be so uncommon and sur- and this is the spirit of accurate discrimination; the prising to hear any one condemn as folly, the search other comprehends a great many principles without after its honors.

confusing them, and this is the spirit of mathemaHe who does not see the vanity of this world, is tics. The one is energy and clearness of mind; vain indeed. For, in fact, who does not see it, but the other is expansion of mind. Now, the one may those young persons who are hurried along in the exist without the other. The mind may be powerbustle and din of its amusements, without a thought tul, but narrow; or, it may be expanded and feeble. of the future? But take away those diversions, and There is much difference between the geometriyou will see them wither with ennui. They are cal mind, and the acute mind. The principles of ihen feeling their emptiness without really know the one are clear and palpable, but removed from ing it: for surely it is a very wretched state, to sink common usages; so that, for want of the habit, it is into unbearable sadness, as soon as we cease to be difficult to bring the attention down to such things; diverted, and are left free to think.

but as far as the attention is given to them, the prin63. Almost every thing is partly true and partly ciples of those things are plainly seen, and would false: not so with essential truth. It is perfectly need a mind altogether in error, to reason falsely pure and true. This admixture in the world, dis- on such common-place matters; so that, it is almost honors and annihilates truth. There is nothing impossible that the principles of such things should true, if we mean pure essential truth. We may not be ascertained. say that homicide is bad, because that which is evil But in the case of the acute mind, ine principles and false is well understood by us. But what can in which it is conversant are found in common we say is good ? Celibacy? I say no! for the world / usage, and before the eyes of all men. You have would terminate. Marriage ? No; for continency but to turn your head without effort, and they are is better. Not to kill ? No; for disorders would in- before you. The only essential point is a right per: crease, and the wicked would murder the good.-ception ; for the principles are so interwoven and To kill ? No; for that destroys nature. We have so numerous, that it is almost impossible but that nothing true or good, but what is only partially so, some should be lost sight of. Now, the omission of and mixed with evil and untruth.

one principle leads to error; hence it needs a very 64. Evil is easily discovered; there is an infinite accurate perception to ascertain all the principles, variety. Good is almost unique. But some kinds and then a sound judgment not to reason falsely on of evil are almost as difficult to discover, as that known principles. which we call good; and often particular evil of All the geometricians would be acute men, ir this elass passes for good. Nay, it needs even a they possessed this keenness of perception, for the

Number 19.

cannot reason falsely on the principles which they that it is difficult to distinguish between these conperceive; and the men of acute mind would be trarieties. One man says that my feeling is a mere geometricians, if they could but turn their attention fancy, and that his fancy is a real feeling; and I to the less prominent principles of geometry. say the same of hin. We need then a criterion:

The reason then why some men of acute intellect reason offers itself; but it may be biassed to either are not geometers is, that they cannot turn their at- side, and hence there is no fixed rule. tention io the principles o geometry; but the rea- 5. They who judge of a work by rule, are, with son why geometers have not this acuteness is, that respect to those who do ne!, as those who possess a they do not perceive what is before their eyes, and watch, with respect to those who do not. One says, thai being accustomed to the plain and palpable We have been here now two hours. Another says, principles of geometry, and never reasoning till It is but three quarters of an hour. I look at my they have well ascertained and handled their prin- watch, and say to one, You grow weary; and to ciples, they are lost in these matters of more acute the other, Time flies fast with you, for it is just an perception, where the principles cannot be so easily hour and a half; and I smile at those who tell me, ascerlained. They are seen with difficulty--they that time lingers with me, and that I judge by imaare felt rather than seen. It is scarcely possible to gination. T'hey know not that I judge by my make them evident to those who do not feel them watch. of themselves. They are so delicate and so multitu- 6. There are men who speak well, but who do dinous, that it requires a very keen and ready intel- not write well. The place, the circumstances, &c. lect to feel them; and that generally, without being excite them, and elicit from their mind, more than at all able to demonstrate them in order, as in geo- they would find in it without that extraordinary metry; because these principles cannot be so gather- stimulus. ed, and it were an endless labor to underiake it. 7. That which is good in Montaigne, can only The thing must be seen at once, at a glance, and be acquired with difficulty: that which is evil, (I not by a process of reasoning; at least, io a certain except his morals,) might be corrected in a modegree. "And hence it is rarely the case, that geo- ment, if we consider that he tells loo many stories, meters are aciite men, or acute men geometers; be- and speaks too much of himself. cause geomcters will treat these nicer matters geo- 8. It is a serious fault, to follow the exception inmetrically, and thus make themselves ridiculous; stead of the rule. We ought to be rigidly opposed they will begin with definitions, and then go to to the exception. Yet since it is certain that there are principles-a mode that will not answer in this sort exceptions to the rule, we should judge rigidly, but of reasoning: It is not that the mind does not take justly. this method, but it does so silently, naturally, with- 9. There are men who would have an author out the forms of art-for all men are capable of the never speak of the things of which others have expression of it; but this feeling of it is the talent spoken; and if he does, they accuse him of saying of few.

nothing new. But if the subjects are not new, the And the acnte mind, on the contrary, accustomed disposition of them may be. When we play at tento judge at a glance, is so astonished when they pre- nis, both play with the same ball, but one may play it sent to it a series of propositions, where it under- better than the other. They might just as well acstands bit liitle, and when to enier into them, it is cuse us of using old words, as if the same thoughts necessary to go previously through a host of defini- differently arranged, would not form a different distions and dry principles, that not having been ac- course; just as the same words differently arranged customed thus to examine in detail, it tums away would express different thonghts. in disgust. There are, however, many weaker 10. We are more forcibly persuaded in general, minds, which are neither acute nor geometrical. by the reasons which we ourselves search out, than

Geomelers, then, who are exclusively geometers, by those which are the suggestion of the minds of possess a sound judginent, provided only that the others. matter be properly explained to them by definitions 11. The mind makes progress naturally, and the and principles; otherwise they go wrong altogether, will naturally clings to objects; so that in default for they only judge rightly upon principles which of right objects, it will attach itself to wrong ones, are clearly laid down for them; and your acute 12. Those great efforts of mind to which the soul men, who are exclusively so, have no patience to occasionally reaches, are such as it cannot habitugo down into first principles, in matters of specula- ally maintain. It reaches them by a sudden bound, tion and imagination, which they have never seen but only to fall again. in use in the world.

13. Man is neither an angel nor a brute; and the 3. It often happens, that to prove certain things, mischief is, they who would play the angel, often men adduce such examples, that they might actu- play the brute. ally take the things themselves to prove the exam- 14. Only discover a man's ruling passion, and ples; which does not fail of producing an effect; you are sure of pleasing him; and yet each one for as they believe always that the difficulty lies has in the very notion that he has formed of good, in the thing to be proved, the example, of course, some phantasies which are opposed to his real inteappears more intelligible. Thus, when they wish rest; and this is a strange incongruity, which often to illustrate a general principle, they exhibit the disconcerts those who would gain his affection. rule of a particular case. But if they wish to illus- 15. A horse does not seek to be admired by its trate a particular case, they begin with the general companion. There is to be sure, a sort of emularule. They alwavs find i he thing to be proved ob- tion in the course, but this leads to nothing; for in scure, but ihe medium of pron. clear and intelli- the stable, the clumsiest and worst made, will not gible; for when it is purposed to prove a point, the on that account give up his corn to the others. It is mind pre-occupies itself

with the thought, that it is not so among men. Their virtue is not satisfied obscure and difficult. Whilst, on the contrary, it with itself; and they are not satisfied, unless they assumes that the mode by which it is to be proved Obtain it by some advantage over others. will be clear, and consequently, under that impres - 16. We injure the mind and the moral sentision, comprehends it easily.

ments in i he same way. The mind and the moral 4. All our reasonings are compelled to vicd 10 sentiments are formed by conversation. The good feeling A mere imagination, however, is both or the evil improve or injure them respectively. It similar and contrary to feeling. Sindar, berause it is of importance then, to know how to choose well

, does not reason--contrary, because it is false ; 80 80 as to benefit, and not injure them. But we are unable to make this choice, unless the mind is al- / those who are not skilled in these matters, might ready formed, and not injured. There, then, is a admire her in this dress; and there are plenty of circle, from which happy are they who escape! villages where they would take her for the queen;

17. When among those things in nature, the and hence there are some who call sonnets, made knowledge of which is not absolutely necessary, after such a model, village queens. there are some,

the truth of which we do not know, 26. When a discourse paints a passion or an ef. ll is perhaps not to be lamented, that frequently one fect naturally, we find in ourselves the truth of commun error obtains, which fixes most minds.-- | what we hear--and which was there without our As for example, the moon, to which we attribute the knowing it;-and we feel induced to love him who change of weather, and the fluctuations of disease, causes us to discover it, for he does not show us his &c. For one of man's greatest evils is a restless good, but our own; and hence, this benefit confercuriosity after the things which he cannot know; red, makes us love him. Besides, that this commuand I know not whether it is not a less evil to be in nity of intellectual enjoyment that we have with error on such subjects, than to be indulging an idle him, necessarily inclines the heart to love him. curiosity.

27. There should be in eloquence that which is 18. If the lightning had fallen upon low places, pleasing, and that which is real; but that which is the poets and other men who reason only from such pleasing, should itself be real. analogies, would have failed of their best proofs.

28. When we meet with the natural style, we 19. Mind has its own order of proceeding, which another. We do not prove that we ought to be lov- of good taste who look into a book, in the hope of is by principles and demonstrations; the heart has are surprised and delighted, for we expected to find

an author, and we have found a man. Whilst those ed, by setting forth systematically the causes of finding a man, are altogether surprised to find an love; that would be ridiculous.

Jesus Corist and St. Paul have rather followed author : plus poetice quam humane locutus est. They this way of the heart, which is the way of charity, that she can speak best on all subjects, even theo

confer the greatest honor on nature, who teach her than that of the intellect; for their chief end was

logy. not merely to instruct, but to animate and warm.

29. The last thing that we discover in writing a St. Augustine does the same. This mode consists has a relation to the end, so as to aim at that end from one thing to another, except to prevent weari. chiefly in a digression to each several point, which book, is to know what to put at the beginning.

30. In a discourse it is wrong to divert the mind always.

20. There are men who put an artificial covering ness; and that only in the time when it is really on all nature. There is no king with them, but an suitable, and not otherwise; for he who wishes to august monarch: no Paris, but the capital of the amuse inappropriately wearies-men will turn empire. There are places where we must call away their attention altogether. So difficult is it to Paris, Paris; and others where we must call it the obtain any thing from man but by pleasure-the capital of the empire.

current coin for which we are willing to give every 21. When in a composition we find a word occur

thing. ring more than once, and on an attempt to alter it,

31. What a vanity is painting which attracts adit is found so suitable that a change would weaken miration, by the resemblances of things, that in the the sense; it shouid be left. To remove it, is the original we do not at all admire! work of a blind envy, which cannot discern that

32. The same sense is materially affected by the this repetition is not, in this case, a fault; for there words that convey it. The sense receives its digis no absolute general rule.

nity from the words, instead of imparting it to 22. Those who make antitheses by forcing the

them. sense, are like men who make false windows for

33. Those who are accustomed to judge by feel. the sake of symmetry. Their rule is not to speak ing, understand but little in matters of reasoning; justly, but to make accurate figures.

for they, at once, penetrate the subject with one 23. 'One language is with respect to another a view, and are not accustomed to search for princicypher, in which words stand for words, and not ples. Others, on the contrary, who are accustomed letters for letters; and hence an unknown language to reason from principles, comprehend little in matcannot be decyphered.

ters of feeling; searching for principles, and not 24. There is a standard of taste and beauty which being able to discover them. consists in a certain accordant relation between our

34. True eloquence despises eloquence. True nature-it may be weak or strong, but such as it is

, morality despises morality; that is to say, the mo-and the thing that pleases us.

All that is formed rality of the understanding, sets light by the moraliby this standard delights us: houses, songs, writ- | ty of the fancy, which knows no rule. ings, verse, prose, women, birds, rivers, trees,

35. All the false beauties that we condemn in rooms, and dresses. All that is not formed by this Cicero, have their admirers in crowds. standard, disgusts a man of good taste.

36. To set light by philosophy, is the true philo25. As we say, poetic beauty, so also we should sophy. say geometrical beauty, and medicinal beauty. Yet 37. Many persons understand a sermon as they we do not say so, and the reason of this is, that we understand vespers. know distinctly the object of geometry, and the ob- 38. Rivers are roads which move forward, and ject of medicine; but we do not know so precisely carry us to our destination. in what consists that delight, which is the object of 39. Two faces which resemble each other, nei. poetry. We do not rightly know what is that na- ther of whic: 18 adicrous alone, excite a smile iural' model which we ought to imitate; and, for from their resemblance, when seen together. want of this knowledge, we invent extravagant 40. Astrologers and Alchymists have some sound terms, as, golden age, paragon of our days, fatal principles, but they abuse them. Now, the abuse lurel, bright star, &c. and we call this jargon poet- of truth ought to be as much punished as the inical beauty. But he who should imagine to him- vention of falsehood. self a lady dressed by such a model, would see a 41. I cannot forgive Descartes. He would wilbeautiful woman covered with mirrors and chains lingly, in all his philosophy, have done without God of brass, and could not refrain from laughing; be- if he could; but he could not get on without letting cause we understand better that which pleases in a him give the world a filip to set it a going; after woman, than that which pleases in poetry. But that, he has nothing more to do with him.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »