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much irony and satire that Swift would have understood perfectly.

The misanthropist of the Rousseauistic or Byronic type has a resource that was denied to Swift. Having failed to find companionship among men he can flee to nature. Rousseau relates how when he had taken refuge on St. Peter's Island he "exclaimed at times with deep emotion: Oh nature, oh my mother, here I am under protection alone. Here is no adroit and rascally man to interpose between you and me.” 1 Few aspects of romanticism are more important than this attempt to find companionship and consolation in nature.

1 Confessions, Livre xu (1765).

your 1 Cf. Th. Gomperz, Greek Thinkers, 1, 402.

CHAPTER VIII

ROMANTICISM AND NATURE

ONE of the most disquieting features of the modern move ment is the vagueness and ambiguity of its use of the word nature and the innumerable sophistries that have resulted. One can sympathize at times with Sir Leslie Stephen's wish that the word might be suppressed entirely. This looseness of definition may be said to begin with the very rise of naturalism in the Renaissance, and indeed to go back to the naturalists of Greek and Roman antiquity.' Even writers like Rabelais and Molière are not free from the suspicion of juggling dangerously on occasion with the different meanings of the word nature. But the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were not merely naturalistic, they were also humanistic, and what they usually meant by nature, as I have pointed out, was the conception of normal, representative human nature that they had worked out with the aid of the ancients. There is undeniably an element of narrowness and artificiality in this conception of nature, and a resulting unfriendliness, as appears in Pope's definition of wit, towards originality and invention. In his “Art of Poetry” Boileau says, “Let nature be your sole study.” What he means by nature appears a few lines later: “Study the court and become familiar with the town." To this somewhat conventionalized human nature the original genius opposed, as we have seen, the cult of primitive nature. A whole revolution is implied in Byron's line:

I love not man the less, but nature more.

Any study of this topic must evidently turn on the question how far at different times and by different schools of thought the realm of man and the realm of nature (as Byron uses the word) have been separated and in what way, and also how far they, have been run together and in what way. For there may be different ways of running together man and nature. Ruskin's phrase the “pathetic fallacy” is unsatisfactory because it fails to recognize this fact. The man who is guilty of the pathetic fallacy sees in nature emotions that are not really there but only in himself. Extreme examples of this confusion abound in Ruskin's own writings. Now the ancients also ran man and nature together, but in an entirely different way. The Greek we are told never saw the oak tree without at the same time seeing the dryad. There is in this and similar associations a sort of overflow of the human realm upon the forms of outer nature; whereas the Rousseauist instead of bestowing imaginatively upon the oak tree a conscious life and an image akin to his own and so lifting it up to his level, would, if he could, become an oak tree and so enjoy its unconscious and vegetative felicity. The Greek, one may say, humanized nature; the Rousseauist naturalizes man. Rousseau's great discovery was revery; and revery is just this imaginative melting of man into outer nature. If the ancients failed to develop in a marked degree this art of revery, it was not because they lacked naturalists. Both Stoics and Epicureans, the two main varieties of naturalists with which classical antiquity was familiar, inclined to affirm the ultimate identity of the human and the natural order. But both Stoics and Epicureans would have found it hard to understand the indifference to the intellect and its activities that Rousseauistic revery implies. The Stoics to be sure employed the intellect on an impossible and disheartening task

that of founding on the natural order virtues that the natural order does not give. The Epicureans remind one rather in much of their intellectual activity of the modern man of science. But the Epicurean was less prone than the man of science to look on man as the mere passive creature of environment. The views of the man of science about the springs of conduct often seem to coincide rather closely with those of Rousseau about "sensitive morality.” Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire says that when reclining on the banks of the Nile he felt awakening within himself the instincts of the crocodile. The point of view is Rousseauistic perhaps rather than genuinely scientific. An Epicurus or a Lucretius would, we are probably safe in assuming, have been disquieted by any such surrender to the sub-rational, by any such encroachment of the powers of the unconscious upon conscious control.

It is hard as a matter of fact to find in the ancients anything resembling Rousseauistic revery, even when they yield to the pastoral mood. Nature interests them as a rule less for its own sake than as a background for human action; and when they are concerned primarily with nature, it is a nature that has been acted upon by man. They have a positive shrinking from wild and uncultivated nature. “The green pastures and golden slopes of England,” says Lowell, “are sweeter both to the outward and to the inward eye that the hand of man has immemorially cared for and caressed them.” This is an attitude towards nature that an ancient would have understood perfectly. One may indeed call it the Virgilian attitude from the ancient who has perhaps expressed it most happily. The man who lives in the grand manner may indeed wish to impose on nature some of the fine proportion and symmetry of which he is conscious in himself and he may then from our modern point of view carry the humanizing of nature too far. “Let us sing of woods," says Virgil, “but let the woods be worthy of a consul.” This line has sometimes been taken to be a prophecy of the Park of Versailles. We may sympathize up to a certain point with the desire to introduce a human

a symmetry into nature (such as appears, for instance, in the Italian garden), but the peril is even greater here than elsewhere of confounding the requirements of a real with those of an artificial decorum. I have already mentioned the neo-classicist who complained that the stars in heaven were not arranged in sufficiently symmetrical patterns.

What has been said should make clear that though both humanist and Rousseauist associate man with nature it is in very different ways, and that there is therefore an ambiguity in the expression “pathetic fallacy.” It remains to show that men may not only associate themselves with nature in different ways but that they may likewise differ in their ways of asserting man's separate ness from nature. The chief distinction to be made here is that between the humanist and the supernaturalist. Some sense of the gap between man and the “outworld” is almost inevitable and forces itself at times even upon those most naturalistically inclined:

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