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hasten into corruption. Cultivation is a plant of slow growth, only brought to maturity by a favourable sky, many cares, and a long series of springs. And why this difference? Because States are upheld by Passion, which finds a spark to fire it in every human breast; Cultivation by Understanding, which is only developed by extraneous assistance, and fortunate discoveries, which time and accident slowly bring about. How frequently will the one plant bloom and wither, before the other once ripens! How difficult it thus becomes, for States to wait for Cultivation, that tardy Reason may meet with early-blooming Freedom ! Once only in the whole history of the world, has Providence laid down to herself this problem, and we have seen how she has solved it. Through the long strife of the middle ages, she kept the political life of Europe fresh and vigorous, until at last the materials were brought together, for carrying the moral life to its full development.*
Europe alone possesses States which are at once enlightened, civilized, and unsubdued; everywhere else, barbarism dwells with freedom, and slavery with cultivation. But Europe too has alone struggled through ten warlike centuries, and it was only the devastation of the fifth and sixth centuries that could bring about this belligerent period. It is not the blood of their ancestors, nor the qualities of their race, that has preserved our forefathers from the yoke of bondage, for their equally freeborn brethren the Turcomans and the Mantschouans have bent their necks under despotism. It is not the European soil or sky which has saved them from this fate, for on the same soil, and under the same sky, Gaul and Briton, Etrurian and Lusitanian, have borne the chains of Rome. The sword of the Vandals and Huns, that without forbearance mowed down the nations of the West, and the powerful race of men which re-filled the well-cleared stage, and came out unsubdued from a struggle of ten centuries, these are the creators of our present happiness; and thus we recognise again the Spirit of Order in the two most terrible phenomena which history exhibits.
* Freedom and Culture, although so inseparably united in their highest fulfilment, and only through such union capable of perfection, are yet as difficult to combine in their progressive stages. Peace is the condition of Culture, but there is nothing more dangerous to freedom than Peace. All the polished nations of Antiquity purchased the bloom of their improvement at the price of their freedom, because they owed their peace to oppression. And therefore their improvement itself led to their ruin, for out of the corruptible had it arisen. If the new race was to be spared this sacrifice, i.e. if Freedom and Culture were to unite together under its auspices, it was necessary that it should obtain its peace in a quite different way than through despotism. No other way was possible but that of Law, for man while still free can create that for himself. But he can only be determined to that course through insight and experience either of the use of Law, or of the evil consequences of its opposite. The first, however, pre-supposes that which is now for the first time to occur and be maintained, so that it is only through the evil consequences of lawlessness, that he can be determined to the formation of Law. Lawlessness, however, is only of very short duration, and passes with rapid transition into arbitrary power. Before Reason could have discovered Law, Anarchy would long have ended in Despotism. In order therefore that Reason may find time to create Laws for itself, Anarchy must be prolonged ;—which has happened in the Middle Ages.
We offer no excuse for this long digression. The great epochs of history connect themselves too closely together, to make it possible to explain one without the others, and the event of the Crusades was only the beginning of the solution of a problem which the migration of nations presents to the philosopher of history
It is in the thirteenth century that the genius of the world, assiduously labouring in darkness, draws aside the curtain to reveal a part of his work. The dark cloud-curtain which for a thousand years hung over the horizon of Europe now divides, and a brighter sky looks through. The combined evils of Spiritual uniformity, and political division, the hierarchy and the feudal system, completed and perfected in the course of the eleventh century, must even in their monstrous birth prepare a termination for themselves in the mad intoxication of the Holy Wars.
A fanatical zeal breaks out anew in the imprisoned West, and the adult son steps forth from his paternal house. Astonished, he contemplates himself among new nations; by the Thracian Bosphorus he rejoices in his freedom and courage; at Byzantium blushes for his uncultivated taste, his ignorance, his barbarism ; and in Asia is horror-struck at his poverty. What he took from thence and brought home with him, the annals of Europe testify; what he took there and left behind him, the history of the East, if we had one, would show us. But does it not seem as if the heroic spirit of the Franks had breathed a transient life into expiring Byzantium ? Unexpectedly she revives with her Comnenas, and re-invigorated by the short visit of the Germans, proceeds henceforth with a more dignified step towards her dissolution.
Behind the Crusader, the merchant builds his bridges, and the re-discovered bond between the East and West, feebly supported amid the whirl of warfare, is strengthened and perpetuated by the more powerful tie of commerce. The Levantine ship salutes her well-known waters again, and her rich cargo rouses longing Europe to industry. Soon will she throw aside the uncertain guidance of Arcturus, and with a sure rule within herself, venture with confidence over unvisited seas.
The wants of Asia follow the European to his home ;-but here his forests no longer acknowledge him for their lord, and other banners float above his castles. Impoverished at home, that he might glitter on the shores of the Euphrates, he at last gives up his adored idol of independence, and his evil sovereignty, and permits his bondsmen to recover the rights of nature by purchase. He now willingly presents his arm to the chain, which adorns him indeed, but at the same time tames the hitherto untameable. The majesty of kings is established, while the serfs of the soil grow into men; and from out the sea of desolation, a new fruitful land rises up triumphant over misery —the Community of Citizenship.
He alone, who had been the soul of the whole undertaking, and who had caused all Christendom to labour for his aggrandizement, the Roman hierarch, saw his expectations baffled. The pursuit of a phantom in the East caused him to lose a real crown in the West. His strength lay in the impotence of kings; -anarchy and civil war were the inexhaustible armoury from which he drew his thunder. Even now he hurls it forth, but he is met by the increased power of royalty. No Anathema, no heaven-closing Interdict, no absolution from sacred obligations, will now dissolve the salutary bonds which knit the subject to his lawful ruler. In vain does his impotent fury war against Time, which first raised up his throne, and now drags him from it. From superstition was this bugbear of the middle ages produced, through discord it became great ; so feeble were its roots; so rapidly and frightfully had it grown in the eleventh century, no age of the world has seen its like. Who could conceive that the enemy of the holiest freedom, would become an instrument in aiding the cause of liberty? As the quarrel between the kings and nobles becomes inflamed, he throws himself between the unequal combatants, and holds back the perilous decision, until in the Third Estate, a better combatant grows up to supply the place of the creature of the moment. Nourished on confusion, he now pines away amid order; product of darkness, he vanishes from the light. But did the dictator disappear who sped to the aid of fallen Rome against Pompey? Or Pisistratus who separated the factions of Athens ? Rome and Athens passed out of civil war into slavery, modern Europe into freedom. Why was Europe the more fortunate ? Because here that was accomplished by a fleeting phantom, which there was done by an abiding power, because here alone an arm was found, powerful enough to hinder oppression in others, but too weak to practise it itself.
How differently does man sow, from the manner in which fortune permits him to reap!—In order to chain Asia to the footstool of his throne, the Holy Father delivers a million of his heroic children to the sword of the Saracens, but with them he deprives the Papal chair in Europe of its strongest supports. The noble dreams of new acquisitions, and of gaining new Crowns, and his dutiful spirit brings him back to the feet of his prince. The pious pilgrim to the holy sepulchre seeks pardon for sin, and the joys of paradise, and to him alone more is given than had been promised. In Asia he regains his manhood, and with it, he brings back from that continent the seeds of Freedom to his European brethren, an infinitely more important acquisition than the keys of Jerusalem, or the nails from the cross of the Redeemer.
ART. III.-ON SOME OF THE CHARACTERISTICS
SHELLEY's mind was one of the most extraordinary which appeared above our literary horizon at a time when we were remarkably rich in the number of our gifted men, both in the high pitch and in the diversity of their powers. Whilst most of these have had assigned to them their appropriate place in the temple of literature, Shelley's still remains uncertain, hovering between the unattainable heights of perfection which his greatest admirers claim for him, and the low and misty regions of wildness, error, mysticism, unmeaningness, down even to the vacuity of nonsense, to which his depreciators, or those who cannot comprehend his character, would degrade him. It is only within the last few years that his writings have been studied with any view towards discovering in what estimation they are to be held as works of literature, or obtaining a clear insight into his character, in its moral and poetical capacities; and though he has often been reviewed, and much said about him, there has not yet been any attempt made towards obtaining a full exposition of his character, nor has that degree of study and diligent examination ever been given which is necessary to the due estimation of such a mind as his. It is true that we find much exaggerated praise given him, much extolling to the skies, without that exact appreciation, which as it is more difficult to adjust, and more demonstrative therefore of a due sense of the worth of that to which it is given, is far more flattering. Such vague admiration is injurious when applied to men of real genius, as it delays that diligent examination into their merits which is often much required.
Every one on first reading Shelley must be struck with his wonderful luxuriance of imagery, his vast flow of ideas and of language, and the beauty of expression with which he clothes every delineation of natural or spiritual qualities. He differs from most other poets not merely in the nature but the use of his imagery. He seldom employs it merely as a means of illustration. It seems to be the natural path of his mind to describe by allegory, and whilst other writers employ their talents for metaphor as a means of explaining and enforcing their subject, he seems to take his subject as an apology for inundating the minds of his readers with a profusion of beautiful images. This, it has been truly said, is one of the causes of that difficulty of comprehension which is often complained of in