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hateful. Moreover, knowledge is given to us not to destroy sentiment, but to inspire it."
Very good, said we; feeling is a very good thing; and Wolfgang, we perceive, is going to give us the plain, unvarnished tale of the sentiments awakened by man's fate and destiny in the mind of a man of talent and sensibility. Proceed—
History is man's life on earth confined to a few thousand years, and to one small planet. Beyond these limits, however, are spread immeasurable space and infinite time, and in them reigns an inexhaustible world-life. But in the same manner as our earth stands in close relationship to other heavenly bodies, it is probable.that our history is connected with the history of all beings; our life with that great world-life. We find it impossible either to restrain, or to satisfy the inclination to be informed on these points. It would appear that the mere anticipation of a higher existence is fitted to have an animating effect on our present life; whereas a clear vision of those loftier things would destroy our earthly illusions, and tear us away from the circle of existence in which we are placed. The explanation of the mode in which our earth is connected with the great world of stars, and how our temporal life is connected with the eternal life of the world, remains a problem, a riddle unsolved and unsolvable, and yet which must furnish us with employment." Why? we do not see the least necessity for troubling our heads about such unprofitable enquiries. We think, at the same time, we could suggest a book to our philosopher that would go Some way towards appeasing his curiosity. But we fear that a person who puzzles himself with finding out our connexion with the eternal life of the world, would not attach much weight to the volume we refer to.
blem; a Theological Problem; a Mythological Problem; a Genealogical Problem, and an Historical Problem. We shall give a short abstract of each, and as we have no intention of detracting in any way from the merits of Wolfgang Menzel, we shall at once allow that many beauties of expression are lost in our translation. We merely profess to give the meaning as closely and literally as the two tongues will permit, begging the reader not to impute to the original the stiffness or baldness he may discover in our version.
"Our earth is a planet, and belongs to the small family of planets, eleven in number, which circle round the sun, and receive from it their light, their daily and annual seasons, and all existence which depends on light. The astronomical relationship of the other planets to our earth, justifies us in the supposition, that they are inhabited by beings resembling man, and that these also are as near akin to each other as the planets themselves. If a decision on such points were allowable, we might conclude, that in the same way as our earth holds a middle rank among the other planets, in regard to distance from the sun, size, &c., so we men probably hold a middle station between the beings of the different planets, and are therefore a more complete representative of the whole species inhabiting our planetary system, than the inhabitants of Mercury or Uranus, who perhaps express the two extremes of the human system, as their planets express the two extremes of the planetary system. In the same manner, we cannot give up the notion that all the inhabitants of our planetary system, however much they may differ from each other, are still only one species of beings, with several subdivisions, perhaps, as we ourselves are divided into separate races. In that case it would be particularly interesting to discover what relation the inhabitants of the planets bear to those of the sun.. If there are other systems of planets which revolve round a sun of their own, the idea occurs directly, that they stand on a parallel step with our planetary system. however, appears to be one of the lowest in the great ladder of existence. The relation of the planets to the sun is that of slaves.
"On a higher step stand the double stars, of which many thousands are already discovered, two suns, both self-lighted, which move at no great distance round each other, and by this means express a relationship of freedom and equality, of friendship and voluntary connexion, which is of a far higher and nobler kind than the servile relation of the planets to the sun. Must not, therefore, the inhabitants of the double stars stand on a higher step than those of the planets? But we must now be allowed to assume, that these little planetary systems and double stars are again united to a loftier whole, to a great group of stars; and it is not improbable that the multitude of stars surrounding us are only a portion of the Milky Way to which we jointly and separately belong; and which again is separated, as one perfect whole, from other milky ways and groups of stars, still farther removed And as it is said in the Bible, In my father's house are many mansions;' and space is infinite; the fancy has ample room wherein to imagine the milky ways as numerous and as diversified as possible.
"That the mind might not grow giddy, some resting-place, some firm centre amidst the infinite has been sought; but this it is impossible to ima gine, without, at the same time, giving up the very idea of infinity. We have assumed a central sun, we have believed that the milky ways move in circles round each other, or that they touch, in parabolic paths, like a number of cones with united points, &c.; but all this can, at the utmost, make only one great starry configuration in the expanse of heaven, but cannot represent that whole expanse itself, which, being absolutely immeasurable, can have no figure. But to descend from this height to our little earth again-my intention in this exposition has been to show that, at all events, our earth is but a very subordinate heavenly body, and that what we call the history of the world is but a very small portion of universal existence.
Although the earth, attracted by the sun, revolves around it, yet she always turns her poles to the congenial quarters of the heaven; that is to say, her north pole, round which most land is collected, to the north side of the heavens, in which there are most stars;
and her south pole, where she is deficient in land, to the southern quarter, which is deficient in stars. In this, therefore, we recognise a law of the earth, consonant with the law of the whole visible starry world, and which must be older than the law which binds us to the sun; becauset he sun, with his equatorial tendency east and west, could only produce a preponderance of the equatorial force over the polar force, and a contrasting of east and west, but could not produce a preponderance of the north pole over the south pole, which are indeed equal, so far as concerns the sun, and are indebted for the difference that exists between them to some higher cause. But that this cause is the same which heaped the stars in greater number on the north side of the heavens is clear; and we must accordingly seek the point of gravity of our visible world in the direction of the north pole.
Over all ad
"With the exception of this direction of our earth's axis, and the correpondent collection of dry land on the north side, there remains little peculiar on the earth which does not appear either as a consequence of the influence of the sun, or as a reciprocating power with it. vances a victorious sun-god, who either chains up the old earth-gods as furious Titans, or rules the wife-like earth with the strong authority of a husband, and, as Eros, impregnates the maternal night with a beautiful world of light.
"All existence, therefore, upon earth depends upon the sun, and is its work. Even the metals, the embryo world in the deep womb of earth, bears the image of its golden sire; for the metallic veins run parallel with the equa tor, and not with the earth's axis, and the noblest are found in considerable quantity only beneath the equator itself. The same is the case with the botanic and the animal worlds, whose most perfect types are found under the equator. And as space is subject to the solar progress, so also are times and seasons; the growth of all organization; the period of existence. To this sun-service, man, the loftiest of terrestrial beings, forms a remarkable exception, and recurs to that primal earth-service, or rather star-service, which is older than the sun. Unlike the metals, plants, and animals, the human race follows not that confused
zodiacal circle which the sun has drawn around the earth, but follows rather the progress of the pole; and man, in his noblest development, is found on the north side of the earth, his head pointed, not towards the sun, but to that mysterious pole-star hidden in the darkness of old night. If he enters the region of the equator, he becomes brute-like, as have the Negroes, the Malays, and the West Indians; and as little is he the creature of the seasons, for in his principal intellectual and animal functions he is independent of the position of the sun. "All this proves that man, as the quintessence of the earth, has received of that oldest and star-like earth power which is independent of the sun, or indeed hostile to it. And hence the wonderful contrariety we find in men, and in their history, is the result of predisposing natural causes. "Whatever connexion may exist between the powers that operate on our planet; on the one hand, of the universal stellar and cosmal influenceson the other, of the individual solar influence; still our planet preserves its integrity in its isolation in the freedom of space, and has, as it were, emancipated itself. Never have the inhabitants of other heavenly bodies come down to earth, nor any of its inhabitants ascended. If higher powers operate in them, those powers have transmigrated here into an earthly nature; and though they may originally have been widely separated from each other, here they have both become earthly flesh-one child of two dissimilar parents. The earth-child of the star-night and of the sun-has her own physiognomy, her own life, and her own heart's pulse, and must be considered, along with mankind and his history, as one whole; nay, in some degree as a characteristic individuality, how strangely soever the double nature of the parents is changed in it.
"This earth-unity, this earth-character, this earth-principle, gives to all earthly nature its regulated order, and also to mankind and to their history. It is a particular seed from which this natural form and this historical sequence must necessarily spring. Another seed, in other heavenly bodies, produces a nature cognate perhaps with ours, but of a different organization, finer or coarser,
and a history richer or poorer than ours, as the beings inhabiting them may be higher or humbler than we.
"As nothing in our world seems grouped together without design, and as in the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms this grouping arises from relationship and family resemblance; so there seems a certain family connexion to exist between the earth and the other planets, which form between them but one individual system, whose limbs and existence are subjected to one law.
"This law of existence, which the planets have in common, is most observable in their regular revolutions round the sun, and must have had a fixed cause and origin. And perhaps, as being nearer to this beginning, the memory of this common connexion, i. e. of the earth and the other planets, was more vivid among the first generations of men ; nor is it unlikely that, towards the conclusion, it will again be more visible. In the legends and religious systems of the oldest nations, the stars and the harmony of the planets hold a prominent place, and the ancient notion that the life of all the planets began while they were in a certain position or constellation ; and that, after they shall have finished their assigned circuits, they will revert to that constellation again, is, in an astronomical sense, perfectly reasonable; and as, indeed, every thing finite must have a beginning and an end, the notion seems indubitable. But over the duration of this period, and over the connexion between the as
tronomical and the historical, between the alternation of stars and of events, human reason has often puzzled itself, and has never yet seen its way clearly, and will find it difficult to do so; for history, among its other good qualities, has this, that it never allows itself to be fixed beforehand, but, with its wondrous revelations, constantly strikes us with surprise."
And here ends the Astronomical Problem of a philosophical historian, of what Thomas Carlyle calls "this nineteenth century of time." our history is only a portion of the history of Georgium Sidus and Mars; that the earth was originally on more familiar terms with her neighbours, and probably will become intimate with them again; that people have never yet found out-either
in the plains of Chaldea or the tents of the Gypsies-the influence of the stars on human events; and that even Francis Moore, physician, will not easily do so, because history likes to astonish! All this is conveyed in the first department of this work, of which we have given a larger specimen than we shall do of the succeeding problems, as we wished the reader to see with his own eyes the struggle to be original and startling, which, as may naturally be expected, ends in being childish and absurd.
We were in hopes that in the next, or Theological Problem, we should have something more tangible than such vague wool-gathering among the stars; but when the fit comes on him, it is not so easy to bring such an ethereal voyager down to common sense and this plodding world. The third paragraph is somewhat odd. "There exists, however, an extraordinary resemblance between astronomy and theology.” Some "wicked allusion," we thought, to the Inquisition and Galileo. But such trivial matters never entered into the author's head. "As astronomy," he continues, "points out to us a tendency of the earthly to ascend beyond the solar circle into infinite space, so theology points out to us a tendency which leads beyond this narrow sphere of existence into infinite time, or eternity; and as that corporeal spacetendency was attached to the northsouth polarity of the earth's axis, which stands immovably firm in spite of the east-west action of the sun, so also we perceive that each individual's path intersects, in a perpendicular direction, the horizontal stream of earthly history, and seeks its goal upwards in the Deity.
History moves in an horizontal line, from Adam right onwards to the end of time. Each individual, however, only enters on this line to leave it immediately, and seek his loftier destiny in a higher existence.
"An irrepressible feeling tells us we struggle upwards from this paltry world into an immortality in the great eternal realm of spirits. But the connexion between that future life and our present state, is as much hidden from us as the connexion between the external firmament and this miserable planet. We must confine our efforts to the present life, and not interfere
with another. We are immortal, that we may see and learn more in the world to come; but here all we can see, and all we can learn, is of the earth, earthy. Much has been said about the connexion of this life with a future, and indeed with a past. The most ancient nations, as do still the people of Eastern Asia, imagined we were fallen angels,-beings condemn. ed for their crimes to inhabit this mortal body. Others imagined we were endowed with freedom of will; and by virtue or vice could choose between heaven and hell. This grand and happy view began, along with all spirited and chivalrous life, among the Persians, and attained its full triumph in Christianity. But in this faith there is nothing real except the effect it has on us, in so far as it inspires us to great deeds and with noble thoughts. Nothing is more foolish than from our earthly state, and with our proportionately contemptible intellects, to try to find out the depths of the divinity, and of the infinite realm of spirits. That depth is as immeasurable by our spiritual vision, as the starry heaven is to our bodily eyes. But the relation man bears to God, eternity, and a future life, has nearly the same weight and influence on his history, as the relation which the earth's axis bears to the heaven of stars, has upon terrestrial nature. If the magnetic attraction of the north pole of the heavens did not produce a counteraction to the solar influence, the whole earth would be nothing but the slave of the sun; if that spiritual attraction which conducts man into the lofty ideal did not exist, history would be nothing but the slave of sensual nature,-man would be nothing but an animal. Notwithstanding the interest we necessarily take in the concerns of the world, still there is always something apart from us, as it were, in all our temporal joys and sorrows; and a gentle monitor whispers to us of something higher. It is in this suggestion that Christianity finds its influence. It dashed to atoms the heathenism of old days, in which the sun drew his spiritual circle round the world; and clear, amid the darkness of night, rose up that star which was the handwriting of Heaven. Christianity has become crumpled; the star has been hidden in clouds, and so it seems impossible that there
ever should be fulfilled on this side of the grave a prophecy of rest and happiness, which is expressly limited to the other world. Yes, only in the other world! for it is vain to hope for the kingdom of a thousand years, the republic of virtues-Utopia! The struggle will still go on, and grow loftier as it continues; but in the struggle we shall succumb-our victory will not be here our triumph will be above. As death overcomes all physical existence here below, so will evil overcome all moral good. 'Tis only in the struggle that man ennobles himself, and his wondrous history is perfected. But the hostile principle conquers him at last, and therein alone lies the majestic beauty, the tragic charm of history. Without this appalling catastrophe history would be child's-play, a flat, unprofitable tale. No, there pervades her a deeper earnest; and as only the boldest and longest struggle is worthy of her, so also is only the end which the Apocalypse reveals. The earth will not go to sleep in peace and awake in heaven; she will be destroyed in glowing fire. Men will not be perfect in virtue, wisdom, and felicity, and be wafted, like Elijah, to heaven without knowing death; they will go on multiplying themselves without end; and all at once, insanely pouring out their strength in colossal depravity, they will expire amid the terrors of nature, in universal slaughter, when the last days shall come."
And this is the Theological Problem" of a learned inhabitant of Christendom, though we cannot call him a disciple of Christianity. But we will not waste another drop of our good black ink (blue we hold to be a humbug) on such drivelling. Proceed we to the Mythological Problem, and see if he makes any sense out of fable, now that he has made such miserable nonsense out of the truth. But, alas! alas! before we get many pages into his mythological lucubrations, we find them every whit as ludicrous as his theology.
"The small portion of the older legends which can be considered as really historical, must be tried by the universal laws of nature and reason before it obtains our belief. The most interesting to us are those of Paradise and the first human pair. According to the Indian legend, the earth was in
NO. CCXCII. VOL. XLVII.
the beginning covered with water till it gradually raised itself, and the summit of the mountain Meru (it retains the name still, and is the south-western point of the Himalaya range) first made its appearance. This was the Paradise where the first human pair were placed;-originally an island till the rest of the continent uprose, and then it sent forth the four rivers of Paradise, (the four well-known great rivers of Asia.)
"With this the Mosaic legend agrees, as do the Persian, Greek, and Scandinavian. The legends of all Western nations point towards the original sacred mountain in the East. The Chinese legend, in exact agreement with this, points to this mountain in the West, because the Himalaya lies westward from China. In short, this Indian legend of the elevation of the earth from the water, constantly recurs among most of the ancient nations.
"To this natural history has nothing to oppose. The form of the valleys over the whole earth, and petrified aquatic animals discovered on the loftiest mountains, are still proofs that the earth was originally covered by the waters. And as the Himalaya is really the highest mountain, and lies in the centre of the broadest and oldest continent; and as the plains beneath it are the home of all domestic animals necessary to man, and of all kinds of vegetable food, this oldest of all popular legends, when viewed in this light, derives additional confirmation.
"The mythos also of Paradise is still one and the same. Many of the ancient nations have, no doubt, treated it in a childish and almost ludicrous manner. Wherever polytheism was established, the first man is lost in a crowd of gods and deified animals, and is crushed by the weight of symbolical monsters.