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of Miriam and Donatello, full explanation and satisfaction are made. Conscience keeps the moral accounts of the soul, and will present them sooner or later at the tribunal of justice. But conscience herself becomes morbid, and is often brought under bondage to superstition, while sin remains unpunished or unpardoned.
Kenyon, after leaving Miriam and Donatello again united, hastens to seek Hilda in Rome. He finds her at St. Peter's, in the moment when she has relieved her burdened mind at the confessional. He is greatly disturbed to find her so much under the influence of superstition, and still more distressed at her speedy disappearance. For the first time in years, the lamp goes out upon the virgin's shrine, for now prayer is interrupted. He seeks her everywhere in vain, and can obtain no information concerning her until he meets with Miriam, who assures him of her safety and approaching restoration. Miriam, when Kenyon first meets her, appears beautiful as ever, richly dressed as a nobleman's daughter with the bright gem (of forgiveness) shining on her breast. He meets her again with Donatello, who has also regained his former grace and beauty, upon the Campagna, where they are spending a few brief days of happiness before their final separation. The finding of the Venus, which is here narrated, what does it signify? "Beauty for ashes;" joy out of sorrow; love, which though mutilated and defaced with clinging earthliness still retains a divine purity and beauty; the only flower of Eden that has survived the fall, and still blossoms on its ruins.
Though manifesting a tender melancholy, both Miriam and Donatello seem now to have attained that state of elevated and tranquil enjoyment which lifts the pardoned soul above all earthly misfortune. For when the heart has gained that great bliss which springs from a sense of forgiveness, it grows so large, so rich, and so variously endowed, that it can bestow smiles on the joys of those around it, give tears to their woesyes, shed them for sorrows of its own, and still retain a sweet peace throughout all. Yet Donatello continued to wear the penitent's robe, and is determined to give himself up to justice;
for though the soul may obtain pardon, neither repentance nor reformation can save the body from suffering for sin, or remit its penalty, which is death. They cling most lovingly together at the last, knowing that their union must be short. And in the midst of the carnival,-for the world may all be merrymaking when our souls and bodies silently part, there was a little stir among one portion of the crowd, and they were separated; the one to be imprisoned in the dungeons of the tomb; the other to wander lonely, disembodied, we know not how long, but not without hope of a final reunion. "Hilda had a hopeful soul, and saw sunlight on the mountain-tops."
Kenyon finds Hilda, who is released when Donatello surrenders himself to justice, and happy in wedded love they return to their native land. For the land of art and beauty has grown dark to both, since they behold it in the shadow of a crime, and their souls yearn for the home of their childhood. Are not the higher powers of our nature heaven-born, and when united in harmony, and obedience to divine law, should they not tend thitherward?
In his conclusion, the author speaks of a strangely sad event, which has harrowed the feelings of many, with which Miriam was connected. If this be intended as a part of the allegory, we suppose it refers to the Fall of Man. We infer from his narration that the soul is forgiven, but we look in vain for any mention of the merits of an atoning Saviour. It cannot be that he deems remorse can cancel sin! Why then does he never shed the light of faith over his gloomy pictures of depair?
We hope that Hawthorne will soon give us the parable of the "seven-branched candlestick," for we love to study his riddles, and we are sure that, like the present work, it will be "full of poetry, of art, and of philosophy,” if not of religion; but we beg him not to dig it out of "seven sepulchres," and invest it with a "seven-fold sepulchural gloom."
We wish he would cultivate the simplicity and cheerfulness of Bunyan. The immortal allegory is easily understood, and no doubt one of its great charms, with the multitude, is that the Pilgrim gets safely by the lions, escapes from the Giant Despair, defeats Apolyon, and having left all his burden at the cross, passes hopefully over the river into light.
ARTICLE V.-GUIZOT'S GENERAL HISTORY OF CIVILIZATION.
Guizot's General History of Civilization. Translated by W. HAZLITT. Appleton's Edition.
In the number of this Journal for April last, we called the attention of our readers to the fact that Mr. Guizot has been led by his method to undervalue or leave out of sight the silent forces of Christianity in molding modern society, and by his position as a Frenchman, or by some other cause, to depreciate the German element in the civilization of Europe. Perhaps it is impossible for a Frenchman to estimate this last mentioned cause of modern progress with enough of impartiality and of breadth of view. He perceives that the Roman influence was exceedingly strong in the formation of the language, the laws, and the religion of his country, while he ascribes to the Germans that feudal system which he regards as an intolerable social curse, and those ages of anarchy and ignorance which Roman law and the revised study of the ancient classics brought to an end. He has, moreover, may we not say, a superficial view, at the best, of what civilization means; he measures it too much by its manifestations in manners, arts, luxuries, and the like, and too little by what springs from the deep principles of the soul. He is like a traveler of the twelfth century who should pass over some of the Mohammedan countries of the East, and after seeing their houses, adorned with shady courts and cooling fountains, their means of sensual enjoyment, their system of finance and of administration, and their improvements in science, should come home to Europe and lament over the barbarism, lawlessness, and ignorance of Christendom. One might say to such a traveler that in many respects, especially in external refinement, the
Orientals had the advantage, but that one institution in Christian lands, monogamy, and one feeling, that of the need of redemption, and one tendency, that of the towns to acquire commercial freedom, contained the germs of a progress which would carry Europe out of sight of Asia in a few centuries.
We are afraid, also, that a kind of national vanity makes the French feel almost instinctively that a claim on behalf of the Germanic race to have contributed much to the formation of modern society, abridges their own claim to stand at its head. But give them all they ask, they cannot claim originality nor depth. Their history shows that principles of civilization cannot have taken a very strong hold of France, even when in refinement they stood above all Europe, parts of Italy excepted. Will the massacre of St. Bartholomew, which we venture to say could have occurred nowhere else, which was planned by the heads of fashion and of government, will this be thought to indicate true refinement? No more than the graceful movements and beautiful spots of the leopard indicate that the beast is tame and mild.
But however this may be, many of the ablest French writers show a marked dislike to Germanic influences and ascribe to them the evils of the middle ages. Guizot, in this, is more moderate and candid than others, but a passage or two from a very learned work of one of his countrymen, Mr. Guerard, a member of the Institute, will show how a portion of them feel.
"If I distinguish here the Germans of Tacitus," says he, "from those who conquered Gaul, for all that have no very favorable opinion of the former, I am even persuaded that they were scarcely better than the Germans of Gregory of Tours. Both were ferocious people, and resembled little the actual Germans of the present. The cause which they sustained against the Romans and gained in the end, was, if I may dare to say so in the presence of the writers who belong to the historical and Germanic opposition, the cause of barbarism, the bad cause. Their victories are, in my view, the defeat of letters, arts, sciences, the ruin of civilization, the misfortune of mankind. Corrupt as were the Romans, I prefer them to their enemies; the government which the Romans brought with them was much better than that which they found established in the forests beyond the Rhine, and of which the Salic law, the chef-d'oeuvre of Germanic institutions can give us an idea. The dissension, the war and the continual removals of the Germans give a proof, even in Tacitus, of the miserable life which they led. It is for this that I do not doubt that if Rome had subjugated them, they would have been both better and happier."
"It is in vain that poetry and the spirit of system take upon them the task of exalting the Germans, of elevating and ennobling their character, and of painting them, as having by their mixture with the Romans remodeled the state of society. When we search with care for the obligations which civilization owes to the conquerors of the western empire, it is hard to find any good for which we can give them thanks. The most profound and the truest of the historians of our times has already disposed of the greater part of our pretended obligations towards them, and has stripped them of a great number of virtues which did not belong to them and with which they had been gratuitously adorned. Yet it seems to me that he has not degraded them sufficiently."*
He then goes on to show that Guizot, to whom he refers, is wrong in attributing to them even the single spirit "of individual liberty, the passion of independence or individuality."
Opinions like these, tinged by personal or national prejudice, are hard to be refuted, and perhaps not worthy to be regarded. We turn from them to the great facts of history. We find that the Roman government, far from sustaining itself even with the assistance of Christianity, was destroying the life of the cities in all parts of the empire; that a feeling of listlessness and despair was widespread; that the resisting force of the empire against outside aggression lay not in its own internal power, but in a soldiery drawn chiefly from the barbarians beyond its limits, who were in fact the main agents in its dissolution. A civilization which was thus running down is surely not the means by which national life is prolonged or resuscitated; and history shows us in many instances that revolutionary changes, the mingling up of different nationalities, must precede all higher progress. It might be enough, at this point, to say that any infusion of a barbarian element into the stagnant mass of dying Romanism could be a blessing for the world, but we have no doubt that there were in the Germanic race characteristics which contrasted them favorably with
Guérard, polyptique d'Irminon, Vol. I, 199-201. This is an edition of a register of the property belonging to the abbey of St. Germain-des-prés, made by its abbot, Irminon, in the ninth century under the reign of Charlemagne, and accompanied with a very extensive and equally learned introduction. We mention this, because we may have occasion to refer again to the work, which is of high interest in regard to the condition of the laboring class at that period.