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observations which stand out from the page and leave a clear and vivid impression. Herder is much less of a writer ; his ideas are entangled in his style, and he has no brilliant condensations, no jewels, no crystals. While he proceeds by streams and sheets of thought which have no definite or in al outline, Schopenhauer breaks the current of his speculation with islands, striking, original, and picturesque, which engrave themselves in the memory. It is the same difference as there is between Nicole and Pascal, between Bayle and Saint-Simon.
What is the faculty which gives relief, brilliancy, and incisiveness to thought ? Imagination. Under its influence expression becomes concentrated, coloured, and strengthened, and by the power it has of individualising all it touches, it gives life and permanence to the material on which it works. A writer of genius changes sand into glass and glass into crystal, ore into iron and iron into steel; he marks with his own stamp every idea he gets hold of. He borrows much from the common stock, and gives back nothing; but even his robberies are willingly reckoned to him as private property. He has, as it were, carte blanche, and public opinion allows him to take what he will.
31st August 1869. I have finished Schopenhauer. My mind has been a tumult of opposing systems — Stoicism, Quietism, Buddhism, Christianity. Shall I never be at peace with myself ? If impersonality is a good, why am I not consistent in the pursuit of it ? and if it is temptation, why return to it, after having judged and conquered it?
Is happiness anything more than a conventional fiction ? The deepest reason for my state of doubt is that the supreme end and aim of life seems to me a mere lure and deception. The individual is an eternal dupe, who never obtains what he seeks, and who is for ever deceived by hope. My instinct is in harmony with the pessimism of Buddha and of Schopenhauer. It is a doubt which never leaves me even in my moments of religious fervour. Nature is indeed for me a Maïa ; and I look at her, as it were, with the eyes of an artist. My intelligence remains sceptical. What, then, do I believe in ? I do not know. And what is it I hope for? It would be difficult to say. — Folly ! I believe in goodness, and I hope that good will prevail. Deep within this ironical and disappointed being of mine there is a child hidden - a frank, sad, simple creature, who believes in the ideal, in love, in holiness, and all heavenly superstitions. A whole millennium of idylls sleeps in my heart; I am a pseudo-sceptic, a pseudo-scoffer. • Borné dans sa nature, infini dans ses vœux, L'homme est un dieu tombé qui se souvient
14th October 1869. — Yesterday, Wednesday, death of Sainte-Beuve. What a loss !
16th October 1869. – Laboremus seems to have been the motto of Sainte-Beuve, as it was that of Septimius Severus. He died in harness, and up to the evening before his last day he still wrote, overcoming the sufferings of the body by the energy of the mind. To-day, at this very moment, they are laying him in the bosom of Mother Earth. He refused the sacraments of the Church; he never belonged to any confession ; he was one of the great diocese' that of the independent seekers of truth, and he allowed himself no final moment of hypocrisy. He would have nothing to do with any one except God only — or rather the mysterious Isis beyond the veil. Being unmarried, he died in the arms of his secretary. He was sixty-five years old. His
power of work and of memory was immense and intact. What is Scherer thinking about this life and this death ?
19th October 1869. — An admirable article by Edmond Scherer on Sainte-Beuve in the Temps. He makes him the prince of French critics and the last representative of the epoch of literary taste, the future belonging to the bookmakers and the chatterers, to mediocrity and to violence. The article breathes a certain manly melancholy, befitting a funeral oration over one who was a master in the things of the mind. — The fact is, that Sainte-Beuve leaves a greater void behind him than either Béranger or Lamartine; their greatness was already distant, historical ; he was still helping us to think. The true critic acts as a fulcrum for all the world. He represents the public judgment, that is to say the public reason, the touchstone, the scales, the refining rod, which tests the value of every one and the inerit of every work. Infallibility of judgment is perhaps rarer than anything else, so fine a balance of qualities does it demand
qualities both natural and acquired, qualities of mind and heart. What years of labour, what study and comparison, are needed to bring the critical judgment to maturity! Like Plato's sage, it is only at fifty that the critic rises to the true height of his literary priesthood, or, to put it less pompously, of his social function. By then only can he hope for insight into all the modes of being, and for mastery of all possible shades of appreciation. And SainteBeuve joined to this infinitely refined culture a prodigious memory, and an incredible multitude of facts and anecdotes stored up for the service of his thought.
8th December 1869. — Everything has chilled me this morning: the cold of the season, the physical immobility around me, but, above all, Hartmann's Philosophy of the Unconscious. This book lays down the terrible thesis that creation is a mistake ; being, such as it is, is not as good as nonbeing, and death is better than life.
I felt the same mournful impression that Obermann left upon me in my youth. The black melancholy of Buddhism encompassed and overshadowed me. If, in fact, it is only illusion which hides from us the horror of existence and makes life tolerable to us, then existence is a snare and life an evil. Like the Greek Annikeris, we