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be proud. And the town thus immortalized is Phalsbourg, which henceforth is to be German. But we hope our readers will go to the books themselves: their appearance marks an era in novel-writing; it has done much more, for they are all novels with a purpose, and have been very powerful in pulling down the Napoleonic idol, in hastening the decay of the imperial idea.
The idol is overthrown; what will be reared in its place is doubtful. Political wisdom is not to be learned in six months, no matter how sternly its lessons may be enforced. The France which accepted Louis Napoleon, which gloried in the absurd boast, "When France is satisfied the world is at rest," which suffered itself to be kept in leading-strings for twenty years, giving full control over its wealth, its resources, its foreign and domestic policy, to an unscrupulous adventurer and his stock-jobbing associates, is not likely to rise at once to the dignity of a free people. "Unstable as water" has hitherto been the curse of France's efforts at free government. The mission she has chosen has been to teach ideas to others, not to work them out practically for herself. When we read in old files of the approving Times of the revels at Compiegne, the luxury, the extravagance, we are reminded of the answer made to the first Napoleon, when he asked, "Have I not got back the old system in totol" "Yes, but you forget that two million Frenchmen died to root out that old system; and you can't bring them to life again."
Why is France, as & whole, sick of "ideas" ? Why, although they could dance round the statue of Strasburg when they ought to have been making peace and husbanding their strength for by-and-by, were the besieged Parisians incapable of any serious effort? Why was Trochu paralyzed by the fear of Blanqui? And why should Bourbaki's wretched army have behaved so differently from that of Hoche, which was equally shoeless, and almost as much in want of everything, and which its enthusiastic leader kept at fighting point by allowing no tents during the bitterest winter that had been known for years? Man for man, Germans have always been superior to the French; to succeed, these last must move in masses welded together by one overmastering idea. They had no idea, no union, last
yew. Will this terrible lesson give them that unity of sentiment which Germany, since 1808, has been gradually feeling after, and has only just attained? Let us hope that sad experience may, at any rate, teach them the insufficiency of the very grandest of all merely human ideals. The noble thoughts of the "Marseillaise "—
"Nous entrerons dans la carriere quand nous aines
ne seront plus, Nous y trouverous leur poussiere et la trace de
led to the brutal Carmagnole and the sickening excesses of the Terror, because, though noble, they were not sanctified. The sickness that comes from aiming at too much brought on a reaction which has lasted ever since; and the fact that Romanism is the hereditary religion of the French masses increases the difficulty of hearty national union. No earnest political reformer can ever look on the priests as more than temporary allies; no ultramontane can ever be an honest Republican.
What may come if Rome changes in the direction indicated by the Abbe (so he styled himself) and now lately by Pere Hyacinthe, we cannot say; anyhow, such changes must be slow. At present the French priesthood must be reckoned among the bitter opponents of all free constitutional development.
The next few months will better enable us to determine whether Paris will still hold its own against France, or whether M. Leclercq's hope will be realized.* We may be quite sure that thousands of Frenchmen feel what he so well expresses —that it is Paris which made Louis Napoleon possible, even as it was Paris which enabled his uncle to be what he was. They both, indeed, used "France" against Paris; but it was Paris which gave them a status at the outset. Those who think thus will feel that in the changed character of the capital is the best safeguard for the good government as well as for the moral regeneration of France; and if this change of character seems hopeless, the dangerous experiment must
* Of the sad civil war in the capital we would only say that it is partly due to the want of a proper Poor Law, partly to the justly bitter feeling caused by the hard terms of peace—terms so different from those of 1815, which secured fifty years of peace, and eventually made France and England friends.
be tried of moving the Legislature out of such an unhealthy atmosphere.
We have thus striven to trace the growth and decay of Imperialism—which in its re-establishment was the practical expression of the Napoleonic idea—and to contrast it indirectly with the old regime, and with the sad delusion which, beginning so nobly in 1789, too soon ended in perhaps the bloodiest tyranny that modem Europe has ever seen. We decline to draw any horoscope of the future; such prophesying is always useless. Let us hope that God, who "fulfills Himself in many ways," will comfort the faith which this cruel satire on modern progress has so rudely shaken, by showing plainly that good has come out of all the evil. We cannot hope that nations will yet recog
nize the truth that war is organized crime; but we may hope that for a long time Imperialism, based, as we have shown it to be, on lawlessness and on the glorification of the individual, will be impossible.
That the beaten nation always deserves to suffer is a maxim which nothing but a distorted view of Scripture will propound. Berlin is not many degrees above Paris in morality; and France, despite the character given of her in her filthy novels, is certainly not without home life and deep pure home affections.
All that we can say is that we, believing in God's providence, are very sure that, however strangely things may seem to turn out, the course of this world is ordered by Him.
Macmillan's Magazine; THE STUDY OF PLATO.
The appearance of Professor Jowett's Plato forms an epoch in the history of English literature. Deep learning and accomplished scholarship have found their most fitting field in the task of presenting to English readers the complete works of the great Greek philosopher. While the admirable translation puts within our reach all but the very words of Plato, all that is needed to elucidate them is supplied by the Introductions, which have succeeded in combining ease and clearness with original thought and concise statements of the latest results of philosophy. Such a work, coming as it does from one who is not a scholar merely, but acquainted with all the forms of modern opinion, is an indication of the revived popularity of classical learning, and of the spread of the "historical spirit."
In a certain sense it may be said that the classics have never before, in modern England, been so popular; in former times they have been the teachers of a few and the playthings of many; have been regarded by the scholar as admirable, and by the man of the world as elegant, but not by either quite believed in. But now there is spread abroad a larger spirit of criticism, which measures the past by its own standard, and is able to find in what is obsolete the germ of that which has succeeded it; and, under the guidance of such a spirit, even those who have but slight ac
quaintance with the classics begin to treat them, not as curious or beautiful relics only, nor indeed only as witnesses of what has been, but as containing, though in a form not ours, truths that are permanently valuable, as steps towards the achievement of that "unceasing purpose 'that' runs through the ages." Looked at thus intelligently, the great writers of Greece and Rome are precious even in translations, since their value is found, not only in their form, but still more in their matter. And so while day by day they are losing thendominion in our schools, as means of education, they are gaining ground no less rapidly among men and women as objects of study.
Not only are very many of the more cultivated readers awakening to perception of their beauty, and even finding in them much that may be accepted as right and true for ever; but among our artists and poets too a few are recurring, in so far as they are able, to the tone and spirit which these writings breathe; deliberately preferring the Greek view of life to our own, and seeking refuge from religions and from conventionality in an unsuccessful attempt to be pagans. They would reject the vexing problems which different creeds and opposing systems of morality set before them, to return, if it were possible, to that half animal life which the Greeks, as is supposed, used to lead; in which bodily health and acuteness of the senses were so developed that men might perceive beauty to the uttermost, while the mind looked forward only so far as to lament the shortness of the days that might be given to enjoyment Now, pitiable as this deliberate preference of darkness is, yet still it proves how deeply the classical spirit, or what is thought to be such, is affecting the modern mind; and its existence is an additional reason for desiring some acquaintance with those writers in whom the spirit is represented.
But when the classics generally are gaining our attention, the philosophers among them have surely a special claim to be studied. In the field of philosophy, more than in that of poetry, or any other kind of literature, the former age is parent of the next; it is here, if anywhere, that an increasing growth may be perceived.
It is even true that in philosophy there is nothing new, that the systems of to-day are only reproductions, in a form adapted to our habits of thought, of the same systems which long ago engaged the attention of mankind. The same wars are waged,' the same scenes of alternate victory and defeat presented. So that on this ground even, it would be clear that writers on philosophy, beyond all others, can never lose their interest. But there is much more than this. For while it is true in one sense that the present of philosophy is only the past repeated, it is true still more emphatically that the present is the sum of all the past. We can see, indeed, that the same principles underlie the controversies of to day, as stirred men's minds of old in Athens or Miletus; it is still a warfare between the world of sense and that which is invisible; but in the form which each side takes now, in the armor and arrangement and tactics of each army, we see the development of thoughts which then existed only in embryo. What then can be more instructive or more delightful, than to trace in ancient philosophies the elements of systems which flourish now, or to observe how the war-cries of the present are only the old re-echoed? If such inquiries cannot fail to be useful as well as the present; then, among all the writers of Greece and Rome, the English reader ought to turn with special interest to the philosophers.
Put philosophy is a dull subject It is hard reading even in our native tongue, and when expressed in forms of thought
to which we are accustomed. Men do not even now, admire the classics only for their matter; some attractions of form and language are expected, and a poet or an orator may be read with pleasure by those who could not understand a philosopher. This is true enough, and if all Greek philosophers were dull, we could not hope or wish to see them read. But all such objections are dispelled at once by the very name of Plato. All that could delight us in the poet or interest us in the historian, all grace of style and brilliancy of wit, every charm that comes from vivid description or dramatic power, in Plato are combined. He is in these respects pre-eminently a classic, while at the same time all philosophic systems, that had preceded his, are in his works described or developed. If, then, we read any classics, we ought to read Plato.
And so people seem to think. For some time he has had much greater weight than heretofore in the Universities; and the popularity of such works as Messrs. Davies and Vaughan's Republic, and now of Professor Jowett'sgreat work, show how widely the interest has extended. And this extended interest is more important than the remarks yet made would show it to be, and is based upon a cause far more deep-seated.
There reigns in England now a system of philosophy which may be summed up, without implying any reproach by the title, under the word Materialism. It reigns not only among men of science, whose pursuit inclines them unavoidably to respect that only which the senses show, and to doubt or ignore all that goes beyond them; nor only among logicians, who have learnt that, for purposes of mere arrangement, it is not inconvenient to regard all truths as isolated facts, learnt through the senses, and grouped artificially by the mind of man—this mind itself being only a name for the supposed recipient of such impressions: it is not only professed philosophers who are materialists; but, much more widely, in the popular thought the tendency is traceable. Our standards of belief, which make the senses ultimately the test of truth; our notions of the spiritual world, which make the word "spiritual" mean either "unreal" or "unintelligible;" the growing contempt for abstract notions, such as of duty, glory, or the like, tending to value these only as they can be expressed in terms of utility, or pounds per annum ; all these are signs of the wide spread of unconscious materialism. It has penetrated our thought so deeply that we hardly perceive it as remarkable when it is pointed out It hardly seems, for instance, a fact to notice, that most men regard "beauty" as a vague word, by which to sum up the definite qualities of certain definite things, and "the good" as a term which comes home to them much less than " this good thing or that;" and we forget that there have been men tp whom it was as natural to believe that "thegood" and "beauty" were real things existing by themselves, as it is to us to regard them only as convenient expressions for certain similar qualities which different things exhibit. Now, Plato's philosophy is concerned with maintaining the reality of these abstractions, or, as he calls them, ideas, and in proving what is closely connected in his mind with it, the existence of a spiritual world, and the divine value of the soul of man. It is fitted to be an antidote to this one-sided habit of thought which prevails among us. And as such, though not perhaps with this conscious aim, it is being studied more than formerly, just at the very time when that one-sidedness is reaching a dangerous degree. Throughout the ages which intervened between Plato and the beginning of modern science, the ideal or spiritual habit of thought prevailed, embodied in the logic of Aristotle, and the words derived therefrom—for to that logic all modern languages are in a great measure indebted. So long, then, as Aristotle's system, which in its essence was almost as spiritual as Plato's, reigned undisputed, Plato himself was often disregarded as a dreamer, and admired without being respected; but, as the march of natural science has made those schemes popular which account for mind and life and morality by physical theories; meanwhile, by a simple reaction, increased attention has been directed, first by philosophers, then in universities, and now throughout the country, to those great ideal systems by which the unseen and immaterial is treated as all-important, and whatever the senses can perceive, as merely transitory and imperfect. In short, Plato is called up by the occasion to be a champion, to help us, whether we know it or not, against materialism. If this be so, it gives a new value to the study of his
works; since, while they charm us by their literary value, they may tend to correct insensibly a too uniform habit of attending to one aspect of the world—an aspect which, just as it is in itself, becomes an unjust one when it is presented to us too exclusively.
Now, when so many considerations indicate the value of the study of Plato, it may be useful to point out some of the various directions in which his artistic excellence is to be looked for, and briefly to show in what way the knowledge of his philosophy may be useful. And though it may seem at first sight that only another Plato should presume to attempt the task, yet on second thoughts it may appear that, for the uninitiate—and for those alone this is written—it may be performed still better by one who loves rather than understands : just as, if a peasant were standing at the door of some great cathedral, though one who had lived within the precincts might know it best, or an architect, capable himself of building such a temple, would alone appreciate its perfection, yet a child's look of awe, and his faltering enthusiasm, might better serve to awaken in the peasant's mind a desire to look within, and some dim notion of the beauties to be found there.
And, indeed, it is difficult not to be childishly enthusiastic when Plato is the theme, and especially in speaking of his style—for on this we must say a word, though on such a subject it is never easy to be definite. His merits in this respect can, of course, be fully apprehended only in the original language, whose unrivalled capacities he developed to the utmost. There only can be enjoyed the euphonious fulness of the stream of words, its endless variety of rushing flow or sparkling brilliance, its melody and rhythm. And even the most accomplished scholar now cannot perceive the whole of this beauty, because he knows so little of the true Greek tone and accent and pronunciation. But the more important elements of style can be enjoyed to some extent even in a good translation, such as Professor Jowetf s. The reader who has been wearied by those short, disjointed utterances, which constitute half our English writing, or the ingenious complexity of elaborate structure into which those who aim at a periodic style are apt to fall, will find a wonderful charm in the easy eloquence of sentences which seem capable of being indefinitely extended without becoming loose, and in which the words follow one another in their natural order, just as the thoughts they represent arise in the mind, and yet never appear to have been displaced from their ordinary grammatical position. The nearest approach, perhaps, among ourselves to such a style, is to be found in the writings of Mr. Ruskin, who resembles Plato also in his chastened earnestness and enthusiasm, as well as in his power of passing from high flights of poetry or intense invective to the graceful shghtness of a playful mood, or the pithy strength of homely expressions. One instance from Jowetr/s Plato we must give, choosing it not so much for its perfectness, where nearly all is perfect, as for the noble sentiment which it conveys. Socrates is considering what kind of music may be admitted into the perfect commonwealth :—
Of the harmonies I know nothing; but I want to have one evenlike, which will sound the word or note which a brave man utters in the hour of danger and stern resolve, or when his cause is failing and he is going to wounds or death, or is overtaken by some other evil, and at every such crisis meets fortune with calmness and endurance; and another, which may be used by him in times of peace and freedom of action, when there is no pressure of necessity, expressive of entreaty or persuasion, of prayer to God, or instruction to man; or again, of willingness to listen to persuasion, or entreaty, or advice, and which represents him when he has accomplished his aim, not carried away by success, but acting moderately and wisely, and acquiescing in the event. These two harmonies I ask you to leave ; the strain of necessity and the strain of freedom, the strain of the unfortunate and the strain of the fortunate, the strain of courage and the strain of temperance; these, I say, leave.
Plato is the first, in Europe at least, both in time and in excellence of the prose-poets; he even anticipated, in some degree, that impassioned prose, of the dearth of which De Quincey complained so strongly. His writings teem with poetical expression, with metaphors, allusions, and comparisons. He is fond of quoting the poets, and always sets in some new light the passage which he quotes. Proverbs, anecdotes, historical events, though apparently utterly remote from the subject, are made without effort to serve in the work of illustration. His wit, in short, is boundless; it never rests,
and yet is never restless; we are pleased without knowing why; we seldom laugh, but never lose a smile. His humor is of that noble kind which is best shown in earnest or pathetic passages; the humor which is a form of irony. Throughout the Defence of Socrates, its grand spirit of unflinching defiance is only half concealed by tones the most tender, most considerate, most modest; and a playful lightness disguises from scornful ears the majesty of its solemn faith. Even in that part of the Phfedo in which the death of Socrates is represented, we see the great master "smile while all around him weep." But often Plato's humor is genuinely playful; as when Socrates is drawing out, with solemn gravity and politeness, the pompous folly of Euthyphro (though even here we feel sadly that the same folly is shared by the Athenian people, and will procure the teacher's death); or in those descriptions in the Republic of the several characters in men, which correspond to the several kinds of political constitution. Still more open fun is to be found in the Symposium, as, for instance, in that unrivalled speech in which Aristophanes describes the Origin of Man. The same dialogue contains a very celebrated passage in which wit and humor are combined in their highest forms: wit, in the felicity of the comparison; humor, in the contrast between the playful words and the deep sad truth which they convey.
"I shall praise Socrates," says Alcibiades, "in a figure which will appear to him to be a caricature, and yet I do not mean to laugh at him, but only to speak the truth. I say then, that he is exactly like the masks of Silenus, which may be seen sitting in the statuaries' shops, having pipes and flutes in their mouths; and they are made to open in the middle, and
there are images of gods inside
Mankind are nothing to him; all his life is spent in mocking and flouting at them. But when I opened him, and looked within at his serious purpose, I saw in him divine and golden images of fascinating beauty."
A similar combination of wit and humor with earnest and high meaning was found in Addison, and in him it was perfect as far as it went, but on a smaller scale than Plato's. Plato is stronger and bolder. However, in the vision of Mirza, and other papers like it, Addison is not unlike the Greek.