Elections are of such futile import it is best to ignore the sad results of the febrile combination of the illusions of a travelling show and a horserace, yet in this case the white smoke will pronounce Pope Donald the Golden, a man of such imperious awfulness that only a couple of reasons should give him the grass crown: he is not Hillary; and the establishment of dunces, including the ludicrous mass media who were so firmly in the bag for this scoundrel’s unbearable opponent, will hopefully implode in shock and awe.
For the rest of us, it not being a mushroom cloud, as would announce Hillary, must needs suffice.
Chesterton was pretty much a scoundrel himself, starting off as a foul republican, and with his cloying devotion to Rome ( and anti-Germanic French rascality ) which today is served by the most nuttily devout Catholic blogs; but he was a great poet, and still greater romantic. And to his death he moved, as did Shaw, somewhat nearer the truth of Royalism: had all these old chaps of that generation lived another 100 years, they might have approached the throne of Legitimatism they had rejected so vehemently in press and print their whole lives.
“Out of the mouth of the Mother of God, More than the doors of doom, I call the muster of Wessex men From grassy hamlet or ditch or den, To break and be broken, God knows when, But I have seen for whom.
“Out of the mouth of the Mother of God Like a little word come I; For I go gathering Christian men From sunken paving and ford and fen, To die in a battle, God knows when, By God, but I know why.
“And this is the word of Mary, The word of the world’s desire ‘No more of comfort shall ye get, Save that the sky grows darker yet And the sea rises higher.’”
Gilbert Keith Chesterton : The Ballad of the White Horse
Gensokyo’s Braes are bonnie, where early fa’s the dew And it’s there that Inubashiri Momiji gied me her promise true Gied me her promise true, which né’er forgot shall be And for bonnie Inubashiri Momiji I would lay me doun and dee.
A couple of years before the débâcle --- as implicit within --- Louis-Napoléon meditated, which is what he was best at, some wish-fulfilment . An accomplished author, his only known fiction had been, in hereditary fashion, official pronouncements.
'Plot of a Novel by the Emperor'
"M. Benoît, an honest grocer, residing tn the Rue de la Lune, left, in 1847, for America. After having travelled in the countries extending from Hudson's Bay to the Mississippi, he returned to France in April, 1868, having been nearly nineteen years out of the country. He had been only vaguely informed as to the events which had taken place in France since 1848. Some French refugees had told him that, if he visited France, he would find it crushed under a system of despotism, with poverty abounding everywhere; a France, in fact, very different from that he left flourishing under the reign of Louis Phillippe. Our friend Benoît arrives at Brest in a trans-Atlantic steamer, full of uncertainties, regrets, and apprehensions. 'What are those black-looking vessels, so ugly when compared with the beautiful sailing vessels that I have left behind me ?' he asks of the first sailor he meets. 'Why,' replies the sailor, 'they are iron-clad men-of-war, the Emperor's invention; covered in iron, they are impregnable; and this transformation has destroyed, to a certain extent, the supremacy of the English fleet on the seas.' 'That may be possible; but I am sorry for our old ships, with their poetical masts and sails.' [ On the margin, opposite the latter phrase, are written these words : "Passports suppressed." ] He sees the crowd rushing to the Court-house to record their votes. Astonishment at witnessing the existence of universal suffrage; astonishment at the railways which run throughout the whole of the country, and at the telegraph. Arrived in Paris; embellishments. The Octroi ( city dues ) carried to the fortifications. He wishes to make some purchases, which are cheaper, in consequence of the Treaty of Commerce; some half-price, &c. He fancies that there are a number of writers in prison. Error. No disturbances; no political prisoners; no exiles. No more preventative detentions; acceleration of trial; branding suppressed; civil death suppressed; Society for Assistance to the Aged; asylums at Vincennes; coalitions; Police de Roulage suppressed; military service shortened, pay increased, medal instituted, pension augmented, reserve increasing the regular force; funds for infirm priests; arrest for debt; brokers; a tradesman who sent his assistant to buy and sell goods was arrested; Councils-General."
The Secret Documents of the Second Empire. Pub. by the Commission of the Govt. of National Defence. L. 1871 Translated from the French by T. Curry.
Alphonse-Marie-Adolphe de Neuville --- Bivouac devant le Bourget
S. N. Behrman's magisterial life of Duveen is always a great comfort to the young, not merely from the felicity of his style.
The passion of these newly rich Americans for industrial merger yielded to an even more insistent passion for a merger of their newly acquired domains with more ancient ones; they wanted to veneer their arrivisme with the traditional. It would be gratifying to feel, as you drove up to your porte-cochere in Pittsburgh, that you were one with the jaded Renaissance Venetian who had just returned from a sitting for Titian; to feel, as you walked by the ranks of gleaming and authentic suits of armor in your mansion on Long Island—and passed the time of day with your private armorer—that it was only an accident of chronology that had put you in a counting house when you might have been jousting with other kings in the Tournament of Love; to push aside the heavy damask tablecloth on a magnificent Louis XIV dining-room table, making room for a green-shaded office lamp, beneath which you scanned the report of last month's profit from the Saginaw branch, and then, looking up, catch a glimpse of Mrs. Richard Brinsley Sheridan and flick the fantasy that presently you would be ordering your sedan chair, because the loveliest girl in London was expecting you for tea.
It was Frick's custom to have an organist in on Saturday afternoons to fill the gallery of his mansion at Seventieth Street and Fifth Avenue with the majestic strains of "The Rosary" and "Silver Threads Among the Gold" while he himself sat on a Renaissance throne, under a baldachino, and every now and then looked up from his Saturday Evening Post to contemplate the works of Van Dyck and Rembrandt, or, when he was enthroned in their special atelier, the more frolicsome improvisations of Fragonard and Boucher. Surely Frick must have felt, as he sat there, that only time separated him from Lorenzo and the other Medicis. Morgan commissioned the English art authority Dr. George C. Williamson to prepare catalogues of his vast collections. Williamson spent years travelling all over the world to check on the authenticity and the history of certain items and to supervise the work on the catalogues. The last one he completed for his patron was "The Morgan Book of Watches." For the illustrations, gold and silver leaf was used, laid on so thick that the engraved designs of the watches could be reproduced exactly. Morgan was in Rome when he received this catalogue, on Christmas Day, 1912, and he cabled Williamson, in New York, "IT IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK 1 HAVE EVER SEEN." It was lying by Morgan's bedside when he died in Rome, early in 1913.
Duveen boasted that he understood the psychology of his dozen biggest customers much better than his competitors did. In his peculiar semantics, "to understand psychology" meant to be able to guess how much the traffic would bear, and under that interpretation his boast was not an empty one. He always knew how to shift the interest of his customers—or, more accurately, his protégés—from their original fields of accumulation to his own, and to persuade them, moreover, that his was the more exalted. The truth was that after having spent a lifetime making money, Duveen's protégés were rich enough to go anywhere and do anything but didn't know where to go or what to do or even how to do nothing gracefully. After the Americans had splurged on yachts and horses and houses, they were stymied. There were no noble titles to be earned—or bought—and lived up to, as there were in Europe, and if they ever made an attempt to do nothing gracefully, they were hampered by the Puritanic and democratic tradition that held such a life sinful. Whenever they let themselves go, they had a feeling of guilt. Stotesbury, in a gray business suit and a high stiff collar, with a Panama hat clamped down on his head, stood in the blazing sunshine of the tremendous patio of El Mirasol, his Palm Beach home, and said to one of his architects, who had recently added a wing to it, "It cost too much for ninety days!" And when his wife spent two hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars on Wingwood House, their place at Bar Harbor, he said the same thing again. He felt the same way about Whitemarsh Hall and Winoga, his two places at Chestnut Hill. A European of comparable means who spent ninety days in one of his residences would very likely have felt that whatever he had spent on it was justified, on the principle that ninety days was a segment of time that was worth enjoying even if at the end of it he went somewhere else. When the American millionaires of the era said, "I don't care what it costs," as they often did, they were silently adding, "So long as I have something to show for it." And what they had to show for it had to be at once enviable and uplifting. Duveen was like an answer to a prayer.
As President Wiggum details yet another bombing of a muslim country for their own good --- I swear, part of America's current mission policy statement is to rain death from the clouds upon each and every country in the world, in turn and prolly ending up with themselves --- it can't hurt to visit one of my favourite passages, from Herbert Gorman's magnificent 1947 fictionalization of L'Affaire Boulanger, Brave General, painting the general's unfortunate -- in consequence --- visit to Prince Napoleon's Chateau at Prangins, in the canton of Vaud [ Obit ]. When did a Plon-Plon benefit anyone ? Suitable no doubt since Obama shares with Georges his amiable nullity, combined even yet with the fading aura of one also once claimed as messiah who brought death and dictatorial misery as travelling companions.
Yanks of a liberal disposition now try to disassociate themselves and Bush-Lite from any suspicion of Obamamania, claiming that it was their opponents who fastened the unreal expectations of a new dispensation upon the reputation of a remarkably shifty candidate and soon to be dilettante president, yet none who actually lived through November of '08 will forget the revolting genuflections and hosannas which accompanied that victory; like Boulanger, who twisted in turn to solicit support from correct legitimists and the slippery factions who composed the body politic of the corrupt Third Republic, orleanists, bonapartists, socialists, clericals etc. etc., all realising in turn that he lacked spirit to do good for any, and not even for himself, the president courted foolishly his alleged enemies for bi-partisan support without having much of a plan for even the semblance of victory. As to whether being a hollow man is better than being a criminal worshipped war-lord, I can't say; but trying to be both is a respectable recipe for disaster.
As Gorman includes: In Politics one insisted to the last that one's party was winning, and when one's party did not win one spent the the next week inventing extraneous excuses for the defeat. The simple fact that one's party had lost because it had not received as many votes as the other fellow's party was never a conclusive explanation in itself. Politics, it appeared, was a constant self-justification. If I had done that, if I had done this, if the question had been properly presented, if my agent in that particular place... if the funds had been distributed as... if... if... if... Ah, that was politics. It was an absurd game of chess with crazy moves and cheating antagonists who stole your pawns when you were not looking. There was more politics, she thought, in republics than there were in kingdoms or empires for the simple reason that in republics there was no definitive iron hoof to stamp it out. That was good. So everybody said. The People spoke. Sometimes they spoke in a dozen clashing voices and nothing was resolved, or, if was resolved, it took a long time and the resolution lost a part of its strength. Like the American Congress. A wilful minority in that Paradise of democracy could indefinitely obstruct the will of the majority. That was called rule by the people. It sounded more like rule by the sediment that was too clotted to go down the drain. It held back everything.
Twilight was falling
Twilight was falling when the Prince, looking very much like a blown-up caricature of his august uncle, waddled into the large library with the General at his heels. "If you enter politics," he was saying, "you will soon discover it to be a nasty and merciless business. Have you a fortune ?" "Not a sou, "replied the General. "Well," said the Prince, as he thrust his hand into the front of his waistcoat, "if you run aground you will never be a stranger here." Thiébaud, who was standing by one of the glass cases of relics with Berthet-Leleux, turned smilingly towards the two men. "I have been thrilled by some of the objects in this case, Your Imperial Highness," he declared. "Look here, my General. Here are some things that will stir your soldier's heart." Boulanger advanced towards the relics eagerly, and the Prince followed, his broad face wreathed with smiles. "Yes," he said, "I intended to show you some of these sacred souvenirs. Berthet-Leleux, hand me the keys." The four men gathered before the case, while the Prince awkwardly unlocked the glass-panelled door. "There are the spurs that He wore on the return from Italy," he explained. "And there is the cockade that was in His hat the day He made them eat grapeshot at the Church of Saint-Roch. There are two of His pistols and the sash He wrapped around His middle when He drove the recalcitrant Council of the Five Hundred out of the Orangerie. And here... here..." He reached into the case and withdrew an Egyptian sabre in a gold-plated and bejewelled sheath. He extended it towards the General. "This is the sword the First Consul carried at Marengo," he said solemnly. For an instant the magic of the Cult impregnated the still air in the library. Afterwards Thiébaud swore that he heard the distant grumble of grenadier drums as the General stretched forward a respectful hand and lightly touched the hilt of the glittering weapon. "Are you sure that this is the sabre of the First Consul ?" he demanded in a hushed voice. The Prince smiled. "Do you think that this is bric-à-brac I have collected in flea-markets ?" he asked proudly. "It is a beautiful souvenir," declared the General in a reverent tone. His hand again caressed the hilt of the sword as lightly, as tenderly as though it were the upturned face of a beloved woman. Thiébaud saw the grave melancholy visage of a professional soldier to whom warfare was a religion and in whose eyes the saints wore burnished epaulets. Like the Moor in the English play his profession was his life and without it he would have no life at all... nothing, indeed, but existence. What, then ? What, then ? The journalist closed his mind to the answer. The Prince, too, observed the General's emotion and instinctively understood it. After all, he was a Bonaparte. Turning, he carefully placed the sabre back on the velvet in the open case. "General," he said, "when you have returned Alsace and Lorraine back to France I will offer you this sword." Justin entered the shadowy library with a lighted candelabra.
As elsewhere, earlier in the book, eternal truth remains for some of us outside all such montebanks of apparent power...
It was after four o'clock in the morning when the Polish waiter, leaning like an old collapsed scarecrow against the corridor wall, saw the door open and the octet emerge in a compact group. They were no longer laughing. "Remember," said Laguerre. "My dinner is tonight. You are all invited. In the meantime..." "In the meantime we have accomplished nothing," snapped Clemenceau. "We are moving to an understanding," said the General mildly. Ignace observed how Clemenceau turned a brief sour glance at the handsome gentleman with the blond beard. "Whose understanding ?" demanded the Breton abruptly. Nobody answered. As they were going down the stairs Ignace turned to Monsieur Frédéric. "They all detest one another," he remarked in a surprised tone. Monsieur Frédéric, who had been a maître d'hôtel for thirty years, shrugged his shoulders. "After all," he replied, "we live under a Republic. They have the liberty to detest one another. As for me... I am a Royalist."
And superstitious dread came to the unsuperstitious Soames; he turned his eyes away lest he should stare the little house into real unreality. He walked on, past the barracks to the Park rails, still moving west, afraid of turning homewards till he was tired out. Past four o'clock, and still an empty town, empty of all that made it a living hive, and yet this very emptiness gave it intense meaning. He felt that he would always remember a town so different from that he saw every day; and himself he would remember --- walking thus, unseen and solitary with his desire.
He went past Prince's Gate and turned. After all he had his work --- ten-thirty at the office ! Road and Park and houses stared at him now in the full light of earliest morning. He turned from them into the Park and crossed to the Row side. Funny to see the Row with no horses tearing up and down, or trapesing past like cats on hot bricks, no stream of carriages, no rows of sitting people, nothing but trees and the tan track. The trees and grass, though no dew had fallen, breathed on him; and he stretched himself at full length along a bench, his hands behind his head, his hat crushed on his chest, his eyes fixed on the leaves patterned against the still brightening sky. The air stole faint and fresh about his cheeks and lips, and the backs of his hands. The first sunlight came stealing flat from trunk to trunk, birds did not sing but talked, a wood pigeon back among the trees was cooing. Soames closed his eyes, and instantly imagination began to paint, for the eyes deep down within him, pictures of her. Picture of her --- standing passive in her frock flounced to the gleaming floor, while he wrote his initials on her card. Picture of her adjusting with long gloved fingers a camellia come loose in her corsage; turning for him to put her cloak on --- pictures, countless pictures, and ever strange, of her face sparkling for moments, or brooding, or averse; of her cheek inclined for his kiss, of her lips turned from his lips, of her eyes looking at him with a question that seemed to have no answer; of her eyes, dark and soft over a grey cat purring in her arms; picture of her auburn hair flowing as he had not seen it yet. Ah ! but soon --- but soon ! And as if answering the call of his imagination a cry --- long, not shrill, not harsh exactly, but so poignant --- jerked the blood to his heart. From back over there it came trailing, again and again, passionate --- the lost soul's cry of peacock in early morning; and with it there uprose from the spaces of his inner being the vision that was for ever haunting there, of her with hair unbound, of her all white and lost, yielding to his arms. It seared him with delight, swooned in him, and was gone. He opened his eyes; an early water-cart was nearing down the Row.
Soames rose and walking fast beneath the trees sought sanity.
John Galsworthy : Cry of Peacock, 1883 from On Forsyte 'Change
But the truth is that the knowledge of external nature, and the sciences which that knowledge requires or includes, are not the great or the frequent business of the human mind. Whether we provide for action or conversation, whether we wish to be useful or pleasing, the first requisite is the religious and moral knowledge of right and wrong; the next is an acquaintance with the history of mankind, and with those examples which may be said to embody truth and prove by events the reasonableness of opinions. Prudence and Justice are virtues and excellences of all times and of all places; we are perpetually moralists, but we are geometricians only by chance. Our intercourse with intellectual nature is necessary; our speculations upon matter are voluntary and at leisure. Physiological learning is of such rare emergence that one man may know another half his life without being able to estimate his skill in hydrostaticks or astronomy, but his moral and prudential character immediately appears.
Milton when he undertook this answer was weak of body and dim of sight; but his will was forward, and what was wanting of health was supplied by zeal. He was rewarded with a thousand pounds, and his book was much read; for paradox, recommended by spirit and elegance, easily gains attention: and he who told every man that he was equal to his King could hardly want an audience.
His political notions were those of an acrimonious and surly republican, for which it is not known that he gave any better reason than that "a popular government was the most frugal; for the trappings of a monarchy would set up an ordinary commonwealth." It is surely very shallow policy, that supposes money to be the chief good; and even this without considering that the support and expence of a Court is for the most part only a particular kind of traffick, by which money is circulated without any national impoverishment.
It has been observed that they who most loudly clamour for liberty do not most liberally grant it. What we know of Milton's character in domestick relations is, that he was severe and arbitrary. His family consisted of women; and there appears in his books something like a Turkish contempt of females, as subordinate and inferior beings. That his own daughters might not break the ranks, he suffered them to be depressed by a mean and penurious education. He thought woman made only for obedience, and man only for rebellion.
The wisdom of the nation is very reasonably supposed to reside in the parliament. What can be concluded of the lower classes of the people, when in one of the parliaments, summoned by Cromwell, it was seriously proposed, that all the records in the Tower should be burnt, that all memory of things past should be effaced, and that the whole system of life should commence anew ?
Samuel Johnson : The Lives of the Poets --- Milton
I am always stupified by an aspect of militant atheism never remarked upon: these curious little chaps so outraged and so angry at a non-existent God they devote time to refuting Him and belief in Him --- for time is the one thing they cannot afford.
Let us suppose that God does not Exist. OK then, if not thrown by eventual nothingness --- which on the contrary they gleefully embrace --- there's very little to be said; and certainly nothing of eternal value: however one may as well live one's life out as pleasantly as possible according to one's own choices. It is tough to spend half of that time labouring at a job one detests, yet this too is not a problem for them, since they enjoy whatever weird stuff they do --- such as being a professor or economist; but time runs out no matter how one uses it. If mentally unstable they may substitute Humanity as their ersatz-religion of choice, chosen solely because they happen to be human, and insist on working for and lecturing to humanity, ( and if so inclined, working for the eradication of social elements opposed to their own social philosophy of choice for the betterment of all mankind [ except those elements eradicated ] ) despite the fact that all of humanity is destined for nothingness just as much as they when time runs out. And that nothing will be left of them, their acts and thoughts, nor those of any other, when time runs out.
So let us suppose one of these: he is say, 40, that gives him roughly 40 more years of existence until he is extinguished to the point that he will never know he was extinguished or was ever alive. Not to mention that the memory of him will be as vanished as most in 10,000 years. Allowing two-thirds of time for eating, sleeping, working, worrying about money or worrying about social stability etc., that leaves 13 years of possible enjoyment. Instead he uses up this time on earth self-righteously persuading others that they will go into nothingness and unimportance with no salvation, and arguing about a deity in whom he does not believe. All the time the clock clicks to his termination and his remaining time runs out, as in a death cell. This has to be a definition of insanity: to spend the sole amount of time you will ever have, not even in anger at not going on to an afterlife, but railing against a God one thinks non-existent, hating the idea that others believe they go on, and mocking those whose faith is sure.
Karl Marx was one such, and despite his seminal work as a social philosopher and economist, all for an aim he believed he could never be conscious to see and which would end in nothingness itself, was largely inspired by early nineteenth century romantic rebellion against the God he didn't believe Existed, and Whom rationally he should not have cared about in the least, as a magnificent essay by Murray N. Rothbard I have referenced elsewhere makes clear.
Here are lyrics to Mother Nothingness ( The Triumph Of Ubbo Sathla ) from The Vision Bleak, and some of Marx's poetry from that essay: try and guess first...
Worlds I would destroy forever, Since I can create no world; Since my call they notice never
I shall build my throne high overhead, Cold, tremendous shall its summit be. For its bulwark –-- superstitious dread. For its marshal –-- blackest agony.
I shall howl gigantic curses on mankind. Ha ! Eternity ! She is an eternal grief. Ourselves being clockwork, blindly mechanical, Made to be foul-calendars of Time and Space, Having no purpose save to happen, to be ruined, So that there shall be something to ruin If there is a Something which devours, I'll leap within it, though I bring the world to ruins --– The world which bulks between me and the Abyss I will smash to pieces with my enduring curses. I'll throw my arms around its harsh reality: Embracing me, the world will dumbly pass away, And then sink down to utter nothingness, Perished, with no existence – that would be really living !
In the steaming morass Of a newborn earth Lies the formless mass Which to all gave birth
In a sea of sludge Of immense extend Lies the thoughtless mass Which is source and end
We all must follow Into her void To her fetid womb We all return
Her voiceless howl Resounds through time From primal mud And fenses foul
A limbless thing Mindless and coarse This wretches guise Is end and source
We all must follow Into her void To her fetid womb We all return
Fall through the aeons Onward to the earth in it's prime Fall through the aeons Becoming the spawn Of the great old slime
…the leaden world holds us fast And we are chained, shattered, empty, frightened, Eternally chained to this marble block of Being, … and we – We are the apes of a cold God.
After dawdling around Monaco itself, we went round to the 'Jeux' --- a large gambling-house established on the shore near Monaco, upon the road to Mentone. There is a splendid hotel there, and the large house of sin, blazing with gas lamps by night. So we saw it from the road beneath Turbia our first night, flaming and shining by the shore like Pandemonium, or the habitation of some romantic witch. This place, in truth, resembles the gardens of Alcina, or any other magician's trap for catching souls which poets have devised. It lies close by the sea in a hollow of the sheltering hills. there winter cannot come --- the flowers bloom, the waves dance, and sunlight laughs all through the year. The air swoons with scent of lemon groves; tall palm trees wave their branches in the garden; music of the softest, loudest, most inebriating passion swells from the palace; rich meats and wines are served in a gorgeously painted hall; cool corridors and sunny seats stand ready for the noontide heat or evening calm; without are olive gardens, green and fresh and full of flowers. But the witch herself holds her high court and never-ending festival of sin in the hall of the green tables. There is a passion which subdues all others, making music, sweet scents and delicious food, the plash of melodious waves, the evening air and freedom of the everlasting hills subserve her own supremacy.
When the fiend of play has entered into a man, what does he care for the beauties of nature or even for the pleasure of the sense ? Yet in the moments of his trial he must drain the cup of passion, therefore let him have companions --- splendid women, with bold eyes and golden hair and marble columns of imperial throats, to laugh with him, to sing shrill songs, to drink, to tempt the glassy deep at midnight when the cold moon shines or all the headlands glitter with grey phosphorescence and the palace sends its flaring lights and sound of cymbals to the hills. And many, too, there are over whom love and wine hold empire hardly less than play. This is no vision; it is sober, sad reality. I have seen it to-day with my own eyes. I have been inside the palace and breathed its air. In no other place could this riotous daughter of hell have set her throne so seducingly. Here are the Sirens and Calypso and Dame Venus of Tannhäuser's dream. Almost every other scene of dissipation has disappointed me by its monotony and sordidness. But this inebriates; here nature is so lavish, so beautiful, so softly luxurious, that the harlot's cup is thrice more sweet to the taste, more stealing of the senses than elsewhere. I felt, while we listened to the music, strolled about the gardens and lounged in the play-rooms, as I have sometimes felt at the opera. All other pleasures, thoughts and interests of life seemed to be far off and trivial for the time. I was beclouded, carried off my balance, lapped in strange forebodings of things infinite outside me in the human heart. Yet all was unreal; for the touch of reason, like the hand of Galahad, caused the boiling of this impure fountain to cease --- the wizard's castle disappeared and, as I drove home to Mentone, the solemn hills and skies and seas remained and that house was, as it were, a mirage.
Frederick Schlegel ( and after him Coleridge ) aptly indicated a distinction, when he said that every man was born either a Platonist or an Aristotelian. This distinction is often expressed in the terms subjective and objective intellects. Perhaps we shall best define these by calling the objective intellect one that is eminently impersonal, and the subjective intellect one that is eminently personal; the former disengaging itself as much as possible from its own prepossessions, striving to see and represent objects as they exist; the other viewing all objects in the light of its own feelings and preconceptions. It is needless to add that no mind is exclusively objective or exclusively subjective, but every mind has a more or less dominant tendency in one or the other of these directions. We see the contrast in Philosophy, as in Art. The realist argues from Nature upwards, argues inductively, starting from reality, and never long losing sight of it; even in the adventurous flights of hypothesis and speculation, being desirous that his hypothesis shall correspond with realities. The idealist argues from an Idea downwards, starting from some conception, and seeking in realities only visible illustrations of a deeper existence. The achievements of modern Science, and the masterpieces of Art, prove that the grandest generalisations and the most elevated types can only be reached by the former method; and that what is called the "ideal school," so far from having the superiority which it claims, is only more lofty in its pretensions; the realist, with more modest pretensions, achieves loftier results. The Objective and Subjective, or as they are also called, the Real and the Ideal, are thus contrasted as the termini of two opposite lines of thought. In Philosophy, in Morals and in Art, we see a constant antagonism between these two principles. Thus in Morals the Platonists are those who seek the highest morality out of human nature, instead of in the healthy development of all human tendencies, and their due co-ordination; they hope, in the suppression of integral faculties, to attain some superhuman standard. They call that Ideal which no Reality can reach, but for which we should strive. They superpose ab extra, instead of trying to develop ab intra. They draw from their own minds, or from the dogmas handed to them by tradition, an arbitrary mould, into which they attempt to fuse the organic activity of Nature.
If this school had not in its favor the imperious instinct of Progress, and aspiration after a better, it would not hold its ground. But it satisfies that craving, and thus deludes many minds into acquiescence. The poetical and enthusiastic disposition most readily acquiesces : preferring to overlook what man is, in its delight of contemplating what the poet makes him. To such a mind all conceptions of Man must have a halo round them, --- half mist, half sunshine; the hero must be a Demigod, in whom no valet de chambre can find a failing ; the villain must be a Demon, for whom no charity can find an excuse.
Not to extend this to a dissertation, let me at once say that Goethe belonged to the objective class."'Everywhere in Goethe,"said Franz Horn, "you are on firm land or island ; nowhere the infinite sea.' A better characterization was never written in one sentence. In every page of his works may be read a strong feeling for the real, the concrete, the living; and a repugnance as strong for the vague, the abstract, or the supersensuous. His constant striving was to study Nature, so as to see her directly, and not through the mists of fancy, or through the distortions of prejudice, --- to look at men, and into them, --- to apprehend things as they were. In his conception of the universe he could not separate God from it, placing Him above it, beyond it, as the philosophers did who represented God whirling the universe round His finger, "seeing it go." Such a conception revolted him. He animated the universe with God ; he animated fact with divine life ; he saw in Reality the incarnation of the Ideal; he saw in Morality the high and harmonious action of all human tendencies ; he saw in Art the highest representation of Life.
George Henry Lewes : The Life & Works of Goethe
AoBlue --- Marisa Kirisame sleeping on the Air
Title from Third Rock From The Sun.
With His Peculiar Look And Emphasis
As an extra... Lewes in a footnote adds a personal note of the old loon Carlyle:
'I remember once, as we were walking along Piccadilly, talking about the infamous Büchlein von Goethe, Carlyle stopped suddenly, and with his peculiar look and emphasis, said, "Yes, it is the wild cry of amazement on the part of all spooneys that the Titan was not a spooney too ! Here is a god-like intellect, and yet you see he is not an idiot ! Not in the least a spooney !"
Readers not current in early 19th century England may note that 'Spooney' means soppy, soft, wet: sissies, but not necessarily including the present-day connotation of sexual maladaption.
About this time, as a relief from the graver matters which claimed his attention, Luther engaged in the occupation of turning. In a letter to Wenceslas Link, he begs his friend to purchase for him the necessary tools at Nuremburg... Luther returns his acknowledgements in a letter in which his characteristic gaiety of expression is apparent.
"We have received the turning tools, the quadrant, the cylinder, and the wooden clock. We greatly thank you for the trouble you have taken. One thing, however, you forgot: you did not mention how much more you expended, for the money I sent [ One guilder ] could not have been enough. For the present, we have got all we need, except you could send us some new machinery, which will turn by itself when Wolfgang is lazy or sleepy. The clock suits me perfectly, especially for showing the time to my drunken Saxons, who look more to the bottle than the hour, caring but little whether the sun, or the clock, or its hands show wrong."
Wolfgang had been for some years in Luther's service, and remained with him throughout his life. He was a worthy, honest fellow, devotedly attached to his master, and possessed but one failing, a frequent propensity to go to sleep over his work. This unconquerable drowsiness was often the subject of Luther's mock complaint. The master, with his own immense capacity for work without much interval for rest, was amused by the dull, heavy somnolence of his honest famulus. On one occasion, Wolfgang built a floor, and upon it fixed a contrivance for catching birds. Luther, whose nature was loving and feeling as that of a child, did not approve of this plan to entrap the feathered songsters, and drew out a Bird's Indictment against their foe. The birds besought Luther's protection against Wolfgang, whose sleepiness, they said, maliciously, everybody knew, as he never left his bed until eight o'clock in the morning; they required that every evening he should spread grain for their morning meal, as they rose up hours before him; and that his attention throughout the day should be devoted to catching frogs, snails, daws, mice and other pests, whereby he would be enabled to gratify his destructive instincts, without endeavouring to ensnare the poor birds, whose songs fully paid for the little grain they consumed. The Bird's Petition, brimful of soft pleadings on behalf of one of the Creator's sweetest gifts to charm the ears of that lordly creature, Man, concluded with a threat that if Wolfgang, their enemy, did not mend his ways, they ( the birds ) would pray to God to cause fleas and other insects to crawl about him at night, and torment him beyond endurance.
Luther took great delight in the simple happiness to be gained in his garden, cultivating the flowers, listening to the plashing of the waters of the fountain he had himself erected, to the singing of the birds, and to the gambols of the fish in a small pond. These small matters often took from his mind much of the trouble and anxiety inseparable from his position, and broke the hard intensity of intellectual and spiritual care.
...on the 3rd of April [ 1530 ], the Elector, unarmed and accompanied by one hundred and sixty horsemen, set out from Torgau on his way to meet the Emperor at Augsburg. Luther, Melanchthon, Jonas, Agricola, and Spalatin were with him. When they reached Coburg, the Elector directed Luther to remain there. The ban of the Empire prevented his appearance at the Diet. Without hesitation Luther obeyed the command of his prince. He proceeded to the fortress of Coburg, where he remained during the time of the proceedings at Augsburg. The elector with his followers reached Augsburg on the 2nd of May, and there awaited the arrival of the Emperor, which did not take place until the 15th of June. Luther, from the castle, wrote constantly to the Elector, to Spalatin, and to Melanchthon. The solitude and inaction to which he was constrained to submit were irksome and distressing. Writing to Melanchthon on the 22nd April he says: "I have arrived at my Sinai; but of this Sinai I will make a Sion: I will raise thereon three Tabernacles, one to the Psalmist, another to the Prophets, and lastly, one to Æsop..." He was at this time engaged in the translation of these fables.
Caspar Friedrich --- The Tree of Crows
* Colour alternates
"There is nothing here to prevent my solitude from being complete. I live in a vast abode which overlooks the castle; I have the keys of all its apartments. There are scarcely thirty persons within the fortress, of whom twelve are watchers by night, and two other sentinels, constantly posted on the castle heights."
On the 9th of May he wrote to Spalatin an amusing account of the rooks and jackdaws, the denizens of the wood beneath the elevated part of the castle in which he lived.
"I am here in the midst of another diet, in the presence of the magnanimous sovereigns, dukes, grandees, and nobles of a kind different to those at Augsburg. Mine confer together upon State affairs with all the gravity of demeanour; they fill the air with unceasing voice, promulgating their decrees and their preachings. They do not seat themselves shut up in those royal caverns, you call palaces, but they hold their councils in the light of the sun, having the heavens for a canopy, and, for a carpet, the rich and varied verdure of the trees, on which they are congregated in liberty; the only limits to their domains being the boundaries of the earth. The stupid display of silk and gold inspires them with horror. They are all alike, in colour as in countenance --- black. Nor is their note different one from the other; the only dissonance being the agreeable contrast between the voices of the young and the deeper tones of their parents. In no instance have I ever heard them speak of an Emperor; they disdain with sovereign contempt the horse which is so indispensible to our cavaliers; they have a far better means of mocking the fury of cannon. In so far as I have been able to comprehend their decrees, they have determined to wage an incessant war during the present year against barley, corn, and grain of all sorts; in short, against all that is most enticing and agreeable amongst the fruits and products of the earth. It is much to be feared that they may become conquerors wherever they direct their efforts; for they are a race of combatants, wily and adroit; equally successful in their attempts to plunder, by force or by surprise. As for me, I am an idle spectator, assisting willingly, and with much satisfaction at their consultations. But enough of jesting ! Jesting which is, however, sometimes necessary to dispel the gloomy thoughts which overwhelm me."
The clamour of the rooks and crows, by which, as in another letter he wrote, "they charitably intend to bring sleep gently to my eyelids," was not altogether successful in diverting his attention from the grave business of the diet.
John Rae : Martin Luther --- Student, Monk, Reformer
* Note that the More tag no longer works on this particular blog - it destroys the lay-out: for which lack we apologise...
Great was the excitement in Paris when it was announced the King of Prussia and the Tsar would arrive in close succession at the beginning of June . Although the latter was the real guest of honour ( high politics decreed it so ), it was King Wilhelm of Prussia and his massive Chancellor, Count von Bismarck, who attracted all eyes. On the train they passed positions the old King had occupied in 1814, when he had contributed to the downfall of his present host’s uncle. Though some Parisians detected a note of typical Teutonic tactlessness as the King complimented, ecstatically, on ‘what marvellous things you have done since I was last here !’, on the whole they thought his behaviour quite unexceptionable. In fact he stole many hearts by his kindly display of affection for the fragile Prince Impérial, then recovering from an illness. A comfortable figure projecting an image of some benevolent country squire, he set the nervous French at ease, and indeed seemed utterly at ease himself; as someone remarked uncharitably after the event, he explored Paris as if intending to come back there one day.
Even the terrible Bismarck, whose great stature made Wickham Hoffman of the U.S. Legation think of Agamemnon, positively glowed with goodwill. Beauties of Paris society surrounded him. admired his dazzling White Cuirassier unform and the enormous spread eagle upon his shining helmet, and attempted to provoke him; but in vain. In conversation with Louis-Napoleon, he dismissed last year’s Austro-Prussian war as belonging to another epoch, and added amiably ‘Thanks to you no permanent cause of rivalry exists between us and the Court at Vienna’. The festive atmosphere temporarily obscured the full menace of this remark.
On April 12th, the Emperor attended the première of one of the great entertainments to be produced in honour of his Royal guests: Offenbach’s La Grande Duchesse de Gérolstein…
…Now here was this new triumph about the amorous Grand Duchess of a joke German principality, embarking on a pointless war because its Chancellor, Baron Puck, needed a diversion. Its forces were led by a joke German general called Boum, as incapable as he was fearless, who invigorated himself with the smell of gunpowder by periodically firing off his pistol into the air. The farce, tallying so closely with Europe’s private view of the ridiculous Teutons, was too obvious to be missed. When the Tsar came to see it, his box was said to have rung with unroyal laughter. Between gusts of mirth, members of the French court peeped over at Bismarck’s expression, half in malice, half in apprehension, wondering if perhaps King Wilhelm’s lack of tact about his previous visit to Paris had not been revenged to excess. But nobody appeared to be showing more obvious and unrestrained pleasure than the Iron Chancellor himself; one might almost have suspected that the pleasure was enhanced by the enjoyment of some secret joke of his own.
Frederick now asked his father-in-law, as a parting gift to him, to grant liberty to one of the unhappy band of political prisoners whose lifelong detention in the Tower was a public scandal. His candidate was the least obnoxious possible. Lord Grey de Wilton, the young Puritan noble who had been condemned to death for participation in the Bye Plot, had been now immured for ten years, and his spirit was reported much broken. Frederick made his request, and caught a terrifying glimpse of a James Stuart hitherto unknown to him, not the Princess Elizabeth’s “dear dad”, learned, lax and loving, but the James Stuart of the Gowrie Conspiracy and Gunpowder Plot.
Carola Oman : Elizabeth of Bohemia.
And just to drive home a point with icy charm…
James’s eventual dismissal of Frederick’s suit was well calculated to crush a nervous youth. “Son, when I come into Germany I will promise you not to importune you for any of your prisoners””.
THY rest was deep at the slumberer's hour If thou didst not hear the blast Of the savage horn, from the mountain-tower, As the Wild Night-Huntsman pass'd, And the roar of the stormy chase went by, Through the dark unquiet sky !
The stag sprung up from his mossy bed When he caught the piercing sounds, And the oak-boughs crash'd to his antler'd head As he flew from the viewless hounds; And the falcon soar'd from her craggy height, Away through the rushing night !
The banner shook on its ancient hold, And the pine in its desert-place, As the cloud and tempest onward roll'd With the din of the trampling race; And the glens were fill'd with the laugh and shout, And the bugle, ringing out !
From the chieftain's hand the wine-cup fell, At the castle's festive board, And a sudden pause came o'er the swell Of the harp's triumphal chord; And the Minnesinger's thrilling lay In the hall died fast away.
The convent's chanted rite was stay'd, And the hermit dropp'd his beads, And a trembling ran through the forest-shade, At the neigh of the phantom steeds, And the church-bells peal'd to the rocking blast As the Wild Night-Huntsman pass'd.
The storm hath swept with the chase away, There is stillness in the sky, But the mother looks on her son to-day, With a troubled heart and eye, And the maiden's brow hath a shade of care Midst the gleam of her golden hair !
The Rhine flows bright, but its waves ere long Must hear a voice of war, And a clash of spears our hills among, And a trumpet from afar; And the brave on a bloody turf must lie, For the Huntsman hath gone by !
Felicia Hemans : The Wild Huntsman
It is a popular belief in the Odenwald, that the passing of the Wild Huntsman announces the approach of war. He is supposed to issue with his train from the ruined castle of Rodenstein, and traverse the air to the opposite castle of Schnellerts. It is confidently asserted that the sound of his phantom horses and hounds was heard by the Duke of Baden before the commencement of the last war in Germany.
If all these things aforesaid were indeed performed, as we haue shewed them in words, you should haue a perfect Orchard in nature and substance, begunne to your hand; And yet are all these things nothing, if you want that skill to keepe and dresse your trees. Such is the condition of all earthly things, whereby a man receiueth profit or pleasure, that they degenerate presently without good ordering. Man himselfe left to himselfe, growes from his heauenly and spirituall generation, and becommeth beastly, yea deuillish to his owne kind, vnlesse he be regenerate No maruell then, if Trees make their shootes, and put their spraies disorderly. And truly ( if I were worthy to iudge ) there is not a mischiefe that breedeth greater and more generall harme to all the Orchard ( especially if they be of any continuance ) that euer I saw, ( I will not except three ) then the want of the skilfull dressing of trees. It is a common and vnskilfull opinion, and saying. Let all grow, and they will beare more fruit: and if you lop away superfluous boughes, they say, what a pitty is this ? How many apples would these haue borne? not considering there may arise hurt to your Orchard, as well ( nay rather ) by abundance, as by want of wood. Sound and thriuing plants in a good soile, will euer yeeld too much wood, and disorderly, but neuer too little. So that a skilfull and painfull Arborist, need neuer want matter to effect a plentifull and well drest Orchard: for it is an easie matter to take away superfluous boughes ( if your Gardner haue skill to know them ) whereof your plants will yeeld abundance, and skill will leaue sufficient well ordered. All ages both by rule and experience doe consent to a pruining and lopping of trees: yet haue not any that I know described vnto vs ( except in darke and generall words ) what or which are those superfluous boughes, which we must take away, and that is the chiefe and most needfull point to be knowne in lopping. And we may well assure our selues, ( as in all other Arts, so in this ) there is a vantage and dexterity, by skill, and an habite by practise out of experience, in the performance hereof for the profit of mankind; yet doe I not know ( let me speake it with the patience of our cunning Arborists ) any thing within the compasse of humane affaires so necessary, and so little regarded, not onely in Orchards, but also in all other timber trees, where or whatsoeuer.
Of the right dressing of trees
William Lawson -- A New Orchard And Garden : Or, The best way for planting, grafting, and to make any ground good, for a Rich Orchard: Particularly in the North and generally for the whole kingdome of England, as in nature, reason, situation, and all probabilitie, may and doth appeare. 1631
Charles West Cope --- Attempted Arrest of Five Members of the House of Commons by Charles I
A. Al these squares must bee set with trees, the Gardens and other ornaments must stand in spaces betwixt the trees, & in the borders & fences.
B. Trees 20. yards asunder.
C. Garden Knots.
D. Kitchen garden.
H. Walkes set with great wood thicke.
I. Walkes set with great wood round about your Orchard.
K. The out fence.
L. The out fence set with stone-fruite.
M. Mount. To force earth for a mount, or such like set it round with quicke, and lay boughes of trees strangely intermingled tops inward, with the earth in the midle.
O. Good standing for Bees, if you haue an house.
P. If the riuer run by your doore, & vnder your mount, it will be pleasant.
"You shock me sometimes, Jean," he said, a statement which amused her.
"You're such a half‑and half man," she said with a note of contempt in her voice. "You were quite willing to benefit by Jim Meredith's death; you killed him as cold‑bloodedly as you killed poor little Bulford, and yet you must whine and snivel whenever your deeds are put into plain language. What does it matter if Lydia dies now or in fifty years, time ?" she asked. "It would be different if she were immortal. You people attach so much importance to human life --- the ancients, and the Japanese amongst the modern, are the only people who have the matter in true perspective. It is no more cruel to kill a human being than it is to cut the throat of a pig to provide you with bacon. There's hardly a dish at your table which doesn't represent wilful murder, and yet you never think of it, but because the man animal can talk and dresses himself or herself in queer animal and vegetable fabrics, and decorates the body with bits of metal and pieces of glittering quartz, you give its life a value which you deny to the cattle within your gates ! Killing is a matter of expediency. Permissable if you call it war, terrible if you call it murder. To me it is just killing. If you are caught in the act of killing they kill you, and people say it is right to do so. The sacredness of human life is a slogan invented by cowards who fear death --- as you do."
I have never attached another value to words than that of the expression of correct concepts, to theories never the value of deeds, and I have always regarded preconceived systems as the product of leisured heads or the outburst of emotional minds. Not in the struggle of society towards progress, but rather in progression towards the true goods: towards freedom as the inevitable yield of order; towards equality in its only applicable degree of that before the law; towards prosperity, inconceivable without the foundation of moral and material peace; towards credit, which can rest only on the basis of trust — in all that I have recognised the duty of government and the true salvation for the governed. I have looked upon despotism of every kind as a symptom of weakness. Where it appears, it is a self-punitive evil, most intolerable when it poses behind the mask of promoting the cause of freedom.
The concept of the balancing of powers ( proposed by Montesquieu ) has always appeared to me only as a conceptual error of the English constitution, impractical in its application, because the concept of such a balancing is rooted in the assumption of an eternal struggle, instead of in that of peace, the first necessity for the life and prosperity of states. The care for the inner life of states has always had for me the worth of the most important task for governments. As the foundations for politics I recognise the concepts of right and equity and not the sole calculations of use, whilst I look upon capricious politics as an ever self-punitive confusion of the spirit.
My conduct is a prosaic and not a poetical one. I am a man of right, and reject in all things appearance where it divides as such from truth, thereupon deprived as the foundation of right, where it must inevitably dissolve into error.
For me the word “freedom” has not the value of a starting-point, but rather that of an actual point of arrival. The word “order” denotes the starting-point. Only on the concept of order can that of freedom rest. Without the foundation of order, the call for freedom is nothing more than the striving of some party after an envisaged end. In its actual use, the call inevitably expresses itself as tyranny. Whilst I have at all times and in all situations ever been a man of order, my striving was addressed to true and not deceptive freedom. In my eyes, tyranny of any kind has only the value of absolute nonsense. As a means to an end, I mark it as the most vapid that time and circumstance is able to place at the disposal of rulers. The concept of order in view of legislation --- the foundation of order --- is, in consequence of the conditions under which states live, capable of the most varied application. Considered as constitution, it will prove itself best for any state that answers to the demands of both the material conditions and those moral conditions peculiar to the national character. There is no universal recipe for constitutions, just as little as there is some universal means for the boosting of health.
I did not govern the empire. Therein the powers at every level were not just strictly administered and directed to their competences, but rather in this regard were even relinquished to trepidation, which brought hesitancy to the course of affairs. The principle of government of the Emperor Francis was set forth in the motto “Justitia regnorum fundamentum”, not only as it lay in his spirit and character, but also as it served him as strict guide in all governmental affairs. He agreed with my observation that the axiom, correct in its point of origin, could be abrogated in the excessive practice of particular cases, but he usually added: “I was born and through my status appointed for the execution of justice; the inevitable hardness in particular cases is better than the slackening of rule through too many exceptions.” My motto is “Strength in Right”. Both sayings run together in meaning, except that the imperial motto has an abstractly judicial significance, whereas mine has a significance more grounded in state law. In this regard, the motto “Recta tueri”, suggested by me to Emperor Ferdinand upon his most supreme accession, bids a further nuance.
Excerpts from The Political Testament of Klemens Wenzel Nepomuk Lothar, Fürst von Metternich-Winneburg zu Beilstein, as translated by Deoholwulf, Keeper of The Joy of Curmudgeonry
Here by the moorway you returned, And saw the borough lights ahead That lit your face — all undiscerned To be in a week the face of the dead, And you told of the charm of that haloed view That never again would beam on you.
And on your left you passed the spot Where eight days later you were to lie, And be spoken of as one who was not; Beholding it with a heedless eye As alien from you, though under its tree You soon would halt everlastingly.
I drove not with you.… Yet had I sat At your side that eve I should not have seen That the countenance I was glancing at Had a last-time look in the flickering sheen, Nor have read the writing upon your face, “I go hence soon to my resting-place;
“You may miss me then. But I shall not know How many times you visit me there, Or what your thoughts are, or if you go There never at all. And I shall not care. Should you censure me I shall take no heed And even your praises no more shall need.”
True: never you’ll know. And you will not mind. But shall I then slight you because of such ? Dear ghost, in the past did you ever find The thought “What profit”, move me much ? Yet abides the fact, indeed, the same, — You are past love, praise, indifference, blame.
And in like manner, if cottages are ever to be wisely built again, the peasant must enjoy his cottage, and be himself its artist, as a bird is. Shall cock-robins and yellow-hammers have wit enough to make themselves comfortable, and bullfinches peck a gothic tracery out of dead clematis, — and your English yeoman be fitted by his landlord with four dead walls and a drainpipe ? That is the result of your spending 300,000l. a year at Kensington in science and art then ? You have made beautiful machines, too, wherewith you save the peasant the trouble of ploughing and reaping, and threshing; and after being saved all that time and toil, and getting, one would think, leisure enough for his education, you have to lodge him also, as you drop a puppet into a deal box, and you lose money in doing it ! and two hundred years ago, without steam, without electricity, almost without books, and altogether without help from “Cassell’s Educator” or the morning newspapers, the Swiss shepherd could build himself a châlet, daintily carved, and with flourished inscriptions, and with red and blue and white ηοικιλία ; and the burgess of Strasburg could build himself a house like this I showed you, and a spire such as all men know; and keep a precious book or two in his public library, and praise God for all: while we, — what are we good for, but to damage the spire, knock down half the houses, and burn the library, — and declare there is no God but Chemistry ?
What are we good for ? Are even our engines of destruction useful to us ? Do they give us real power ? Once, indeed, not like halcyons, but like sea-eagles, we had our homes upon the sea; fearless alike of storm or enemy, winged like the wave petrel; and as Arabs of an indeed pathless desert, we dwelt in the presence of all our brethren. Our pride is fallen; no reed shaken with the wind, near the little singing halcyon’s nest is more tremulous than we are now; though we have built iron nests on the sea, with walls impregnable. We have lost our pride — but have we gained peace ? Do we even care to seek it, how much less strive to make it ?
A herd of hawks hover in ten thousand li of high altitude A lonely horse is buried in Qin Sichuan's soil At this night, the cold wind is blowing the tears of the moon Wails to come at a distance, that is a cuckoo of the insomnia on the tree.