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takes his insatiableness to be the badge of his spiritual distinction. To submit to any circumscribing of one's de sires is to show that one has no sense of infinitude and so to sink to the level of the philistine.

But does one become happy by being nostalgic and hyperæsthetic, by burning with infinite indeterminate desire? We have here perhaps the chief irony and contradiction in the whole movement. The Rousseauist seeks happiness and yet on his own showing, his mode of seeking it results, not in happiness but in wretchedness. One finds indeed figures in the nineteenth century, a Browning, for example, who see in life first of all an emotional adventure and then carry this adventure through to the end with an apparently unflagging gusto. One may affirm nevertheless that a movement which began by asserting the goodness of man and the loveliness of nature ended by producing the greatest literature of despair the world has ever seen. No movement has perhaps been so prolific of melancholy as emotional romanticism. To follow it from Rousseau down to the present day is to run through the whole gamut of gloom.

Infections of unutterable sadness,
Infections of incalculable madness,

Infections of incurable despair.

According to a somewhat doubtful authority, Ninon de Lenclos, "the joy of the spirit measures its force." When the romanticist on the other hand discovers that his ideal of happiness works out into actual unhappiness he does not blame his ideal. He simply assumes that the world is unworthy of a being so exquisitely organized as himself, and so shrinks back from it and enfolds himself in his sorrow as he would in a mantle. Since the superlative bliss that he craves eludes him he will at least be superlative in woe. So far from being a mark of failure this woe measures his spiritual grandeur. “A great soul,” as René says, “must contain more grief than a small one.” The romantic poets enter into a veritable compe tition with one another as to who shall be accounted the most forlorn. The victor in this competition is awarded the palm not merely for poetry but for wisdom. In the words of Arnold:

1 In his Mal romantique (1908) E. Seillière labels the generations that bave elapsed since the rise of Rousseauism as follows:

1. Sensibility (Nouvelle Héloïse, 1761).
2. Weltschmerz (Schiller's Æsthetic Letters, 1795).
3. Mal du siècle (Hugo's Hernani, 1830).
4. Pessimism (vogue of Schopenhauer and Stendhal, 1865).
5. Neurasthenia (culmination of fin de siècle movement, 1900).

Amongst us one
Who most has suffered, takes dejectedly
His seat upon the intellectual throne;
And all his store of sad experience he

Lays bare of wretched days.
Tells us his misery's birth and growth and signs,

And how the dying spark of hope was fed,

And how the breast was soothed, and how the head,
And all his hourly varied anodynes.

This for our wisest! and we others pine,
And wish the long unhappy dream would end,

And waive all claim to bliss, and try to bear;
With close-lipped patience for our only friend,

Sad patience, too near neighbor to despair..

Though Arnold may in this poem, as some one has complained, reduce the muse to the rôle of hospital nurse, he is, like his master Senancour, free from the taint of theatricality. He does not as he said of Byron make "a pageant of his bleeding heart”; and the Byronic pose has a close parallel in the pose of Chateaubriand. An Irish girl at London once told Chateaubriand that “he [' carried his heart in a sling.” He himself said that he had a soul of the kind "the ancients called a sacred malady.

a Chateaubriand, to be sure, had his cheerful moments and many of them. His sorrows he bestowed upon the public. Herein he was a true child of Jean-Jacques. We are told by eye-witnesses how heartily Rousseau enjoyed many aspects of his life at Motiers-Travers. On his own showing, he was plunged during this period in almost unalloyed misery. Froude writes of Carlyle: “It was his peculiarity that if matters were well with himself, it never occurred to him that they could be going ill with any one else; and, on the other hand, if he was uncomfortable, he required everybody to be uncomfortable along with him.” We can follow clear down to Gissing the assumption in some form or other that “art must be the mouthpiece of misery.” This whole question as to the proper function of art goes to the root of the debate between the classicist and the Rousseauist. “All these poets,” Goethe complains to Eckermann of the romanticists of 1830, "write as though they were ill, and as though the whole world were a hospital. ... Every one of them in writing tries to be more desolate than all the others. This is really an abuse of poetry which has been given to make man satisfied with the world and with his lot. But the present generation is afraid of all solid energy; its mind is at ease and sees poetry only in weakness. I have found a good expression to vex these gentlemen. I am going to call their poetry hospital poetry.”

1 Eckermann, September 24, 1827.

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Now Goethe is here, like Chateaubriand, mocking to some degree his own followers. When he suffered from a spiritual ailment of any kind he got rid of it by inoculating others with it; and it was in this way, as we learn from his Autobiography, that he got relief from the Weltschmerz of “Werther." But later in life Goethe was classical not merely in precept like Chateaubriand, but to some extent in practice. The best of the poetry of his maturity tends like that of the ancients to elevate and console.

The contrast between classic and romantic poetry in this matter of melancholy is closely bound up with the larger contrast between imitation and spontaneity. Homer is the greatest of poets, according to Aristotle, because he does not entertain us with his own person but is more than any other poet an imitator. The romantic poet writes, on the other hand, as Lamartine says he wrote, solely for the “relief of his heart." He pours forth himself - his most intimate and private self; above all, his anguish and his tears. In his relation to his reader, as Musset tells us in a celebrated image,' he is like the peli

a can who rends and lacerates his own flesh to provide nourishment for his young (Pour toute nourriture il apporte son cour):

Les plus désespérés sont les chants les plus beaut,

Et j'en sais d'immortels qui sont de purs sanglots. To make of poetry a spontaneous overflow of powerful emotion, usually of sorrowful emotion, is what the French understand by lyricism (le lyrisme); and it may be ob1 See La Nuit de Mai.

These lines are inscribed on the statue of Musset in front of the Théâtre Français. Cf. Shelley:

Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.


jected that it is not fair to compare an epic poet like Homer with a lyricist like Musset. Let us then take for our comparison the poet whom the ancients themselves looked upon as the supreme type of the lyricist - Pindar. He is superbly imaginative, “sailing," as Gray tells us, “with supreme dominion through the azure deep of air,” but his imagination is not like that of Musset in the service of sensibility. He does not bestow his own emotions upon us but is rather in the Aristotelian sense an imitator. He is indeed at the very opposite pole from Rousseau and the “apostles of affliction." "Let a man,” he says, "not darken delight in his life.” “Disclose not to strangers our burden of care; this at least shall I advise thee. Therefore is it fitting to show openly to all the folk the fair and pleasant things allotted us; but if any baneful misfortune sent of heaven befalleth man, it is seemly to shroud this in darkness."1 And one should also note Pindar's hostility towards that other great source of romantic lyricism nostalgia (“The desire of the moth for the star”), and the closely allied pursuit of the strange and the exotic. He tells of the condign punishment visited by Apollo upon the girl Coronis who became enamoured of “a strange man from Arcadia,” and adds:"She was in love with things remote - that passion which many ere now have felt. For among men, there is a foolish company of those who, putting shame on what they have at home, cast their glances afar, and pursue idle dreams in hopes that shall not be fulfilled.” 2

We are not to suppose that Pindar was that most tiresome and superficial of all types the professional opti

1 Translation by J. E. Sandys of fragment cited in Stobæus, Flor. CIX, I.

* Pythian Odes, 111, 20 ff.


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