Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

206

THE DOLOMITE MOUNTAINS.

From She Spectator. groups, each group consisting, as a rule, THE DOLOMITE MOUNTAINS.* of an upheaved granite nucleus, covered by Well known to Englishmen as are the more layers of schistous rock, and surrounded by accessible districts of the Tyrol, the southern beds of sedimentary formations, which iso portion of that interesting province, though late the group in question from its neighbors. even more attractive, is still comparatively But in the case of the Dolomitic groups, the untouched by the irrepressible British tour- granite nucleus is replaced by a cystalline ist. Messrs. Gilbert and Churchill, together rock, composed in varying proportions of carwith their wives, started in 1856 for a tour bonate of lime and carbonate of magnesia. in the Tyrol, and were attracted from the The rock, the origin of which forms the beaten route of tourists, by an announcement subject of the wildest theories, and the occain Murray’s “ Southern Germany" that from sion of the bitterest quarrels among geoloa certain point " the traveller obtains a view gists, was first recognized as a mineral of the Dolomite Mountains," " which im- possessing distinctive and important features part an air of novelty and sublime grandeur by M. Deodatus Guy Silvanus Tancred de to the scene, which can only be appreciated Gralet' de Dolomiew, a personage whose caby those who have viewed it.” There is a reer is as little familiar to people in generpeculiarly “guide-book” tone in the above al as the mountains bearing his name are to phraseology; but it nevertheless served to in- tourists. He was a Knight of St. John of duce an English party to deviate from their Malta, born in Dauphiné in 1750, and was original programme, and ultimately to explore only saved from a sentence of death, recorded thoroughly a most characteristic and little against him for fighting a duel, by the express known tract of Alpine scenery. On their pardon of the pope. After a short period of first cursory visit in 1856, the party spent service in the army, he devoted himself exeight weeks in travelling some two hundred clusively to the study of chemistry and geolmiles within the shade of the Dolomites, ogy, which he had always cultivated, and and met not one single specimen of the in 1778, he became a correspondent of the tourist proper, either English or foreign, Academy of Sciences. Fifteen years later, while in a large number of the villages visit- he commenced the observations which led ed, they were the first English ever seen by to his great discovery, the distinctive features the inhabitants.

of the rock forming the mountain ranges of But those of our readers who are neither South Tyrol. He was one of the band of conversant with Tyrol geography nor com- savans, whose presence in Egypt was the ocpetent to pass a strict examination in Mur- casion for Napoleon's celebrated order, and ray's handbooks, must already be wondering when afterwards captured by the Neapolitan what and where the Dolomites are, and why authorities, his release was made the subject one should desert the glories of the Rhine, of special negotiation after the battle of Maor the fashionable mountain-tops of Switzer-rengo. Dolomiew died in 1801, and though land, for a country where “other people” do the first application of the term is uncertain, not go, and which it is, consequently, in the it was not long before the mountains, which eyes of many, almost a social crime to visit. had formed the subject of his investigation, The Dolomites, then, are a group of moun- were known among English geologists as the tains of “peculiar geological formation, and “ Dolomitas," while Frenchmen mere eleganttherefore imparting a peculiar character to the ly gave to the district, the name of

La neighboring scenery, which extends through- Dolomié.” We do not intend to enter, for a out Carinthia, Carnia, and the district lying moment, into the merits of the bitter feuds immediately to the north of Venetia. Geolo- among geologists as to the origin of this gists are now pretty well agreed in regarding unique formation, and can only mention the the Alps as a system or zone of mountain theory, adopted by Mr. Churchill, to the ef*" The Dolomite Mountains." Excursions

fect that Dolomite is merely a coralline structthrough Tyrol, Carinthia, Carniola, and Friuli, in ure, in which the action of sea-water has 1861, 1862, and 1863. With a geological chapter, replaced a certain portion of carbonate of and pictorial illustrations, from original drawings on the spot. By Josiah Gilbert and G. C. Church- lime, by the deposition of carbonate of magill, F, G.S. London : Longmans, 1864,

nesia. Although actual observations as to the

[ocr errors]

on

[ocr errors]

formation of coral reefs are far from abso- in Tyrol. The parish priest is generally a lutely confirming this, they are also far from kindly, warm-hearted man, who mixes, to affording evidence for its overthrow, and it is the full, in his parishioners' daily life, plays quite possible for a traveller thoroughly to skittles with them at the village-inn, consuleg enjoy his visit to South Tyrol without dis- them in trouble, and,

except when

any

Protquieting himself as to the origin of the strange estant tendency in his flock calls up the and abnormal formation of the mountains demon of ecclesiastical intolerance, is a most around him. What concerns ordinary un- worthy and useful member of society. scientific but observant travellers most, is the Carinthia is not without historical and weird beauty of the scenery throughout “ La other associations of the greatest interest. Dolomié.” Our authors are, as might be Friesach, the capital, was the home of the supposed from their assiduous devotion to the daring race of Khevenhüller, one of whom tour of their adoption, most enthusiastic in routed the Turks so gallantly at Villach in speaking of the effect produced by the eter- 1492, while another of the same name was a nal gray peaks, rising one above another, in redoubtable general of Maria Theresa. Near every direction, now erect and needlelike, now Klagenfurt stood, till recently, one of the wreathed and twisted in fantastic contortion, most significant memorials of antiquity in utterly different from any mountain scenery Europe,--the stone “ Die Furstenstein, existing in the world. To heighten the unnat- which the Dukes of Carinthia received the first ural effect produced by the scenery, the ab- rites of investure as princes only. It is now sence of glaciers, and consequently of moun- removed to the museum at Klagenfurt, and tain streams, adds to other influences that of decided by the authorities to be the defaced an unbroken silence, strangely contrasting capital of a Roman column. Not far off, with the perpetual rushing of water in Switzer- stands the “Kärnthens Herzogstuhl,” a rude land. Of course the good Carinthians are ar- stone throne, in the centre of a wild common, dent patriots in the matter of the beauties of surrounded by an amphitheatre of Carinthian their country. They attribute distinct and hills, where the duke, sitting back to back living individuality to each Dolomite peak, and with the Count of Görz, received the oath of each village looks upon its own especial favor- fealty. No devotee of art either should ever ite, almost as the tutelary genius of the dis- forget that Cadore was the birthplace of Titiano trict.

Vecelli, and that his house may still be seen. With regard to the population of the A tablet in the side of the house records the provinces of Carinthia, Carniola, and Carnia, fact, and a fountain close by is surmounted wliich include the Dolomitic group, it may by a figure of St. Tiziano, the patron saint of be said, very briefly, that they pretty much the Vecelli family. The cottage is now ocresemble what the people of the more beaten cupied by an artisan. A curious effect of routes of the Tyrol were before English tour- Titian's early associations is brought out ists spoilt them. In Carinthia, or Kärnten, for the first time by Mr. Gilbert, who finds the traveller is still looked upon at the vil- unquestionable traces in the scenery of more lage-inn as a guest, and not as a victim. than one of his paintings, of the influences The French hotel, with extravagant prices, of the peculiar Dolomitic scenery. We and the typical“ garçon,” has not yet super- cannot but recommend any one really wishseded the indigenous “ Gast-haus," with ing for some deviation from the ordinary routhe respectful but courtesy-expecting “ Kell- tine of continental travel to take this volume

The people are, to the full, as with him,-it is a perfect guide, in the best honest, simple, pious, and perhaps even more sense of the word, to the whole district,superstitiously reverent, than their neighbors and start next autumn for “the Dolomites.”

[ocr errors]

nerin.”

From The Saturday Review. chose nous manque.” Humor may suit the A FRENCH VIEW OF MR. CARLYLE.* German races, but “nos nerfs le trouvent M. TAINE, whose essay on Mr. Mill as the trop âpre et trop amer. He illustrates the representative of English Positivism we lately meaning of this strange“ disposition d'esprit” noticed, has published a companion sketch, by various extracts, not particularly well in the shape of an essay on English Idealism chosen, and goes on to say that a man with as personified in Mr. Carlyle. Mr. Carlyle such wild tastes might be expected to be capaenjoys the distinction of having produced as able only of wandering and nonsense, but that much controversy in his own country as any this is not so. He has been kept in order by living writer, if not more, and it would be no two barriers “tout anglaises”_" le sentieasy matter to mention any living author ment du réel qui est l'esprit positif, et le who is better fitted to bewilder foreigners of sentiment du sublime qui fait l'esprit reliall kinds. Whatever else he is, he is before gieux.” Hence, instead of being a sickly visall other things national. Indeed, he is so ionary, he is a philosopher and an historian. radically national that he perceives, and al- The union of these two sentiments leads him ways recognizes, the fact that between an to respect facts, as being the only vehicle by Englishman and a Scotch Lowlander there is and through which it is possible for us, not no substantial difference. To this it must be indeed to understand, but at all events to added, that he belongs emphatically to the contemplate, the sublime and sometimes trehumorous and enthusiastic type of English- mendous mysteries from which facts derive. men; and if there is in all nature a being their significance and value. Hence comes, utterly unlike Frenchmen, and altogether on the one side, Mr. Carlyle's passion for the upintelligible to them, it is an Englishman investigation of details, even if they do not of this character. This gives special interest happen to be obviously important, so long as to the criticisms of M. Taine, who has tried they are true; and, on the other, his constant his very best to understand England in gen- habit of breaking out, as he would say, into eral and Mr. Carlyle in particular; and who the eternities and immensities. M. Taine certainly has studied his subject with great quotes, as an illustration, the well-known pasdiligence, and with as much intelligence as sage in “ Past and Present”about King John's consistent with an absolute want of sympathy visit to St. Edmondsbury in the Chronicle of with the object of his criticisms. He begins Jocelyn de Brakelond ; and he saye, with jusby observing that when Englishmen, espe- tice, that the whole account of Jocelyn and cially if they are under forty, are asked which the Abbot Sampson deserves to be considered of their countrymen think, they begin by as a wonderful feat of strength in this sort of naming Mr. Carlyle, “..but, at the same time, writing. they advise you not to read him, saying that Having thus described the general temper you will not understand a word of what he of Mr. Carlyle's mind, M. Taine goes on to says.” M. Taine, however, determined to discuss his doctrines. He is a philosopher try. At first he found himself im a sort of and an historian. His great work as a phinightmare. He did not know what to make losopher has been, according to his critic, to of a man who headed chapters in the history transplant German theories into England, and of the French Revolution with “ charades.” to throw them into an English shape. He traHe found, moreover, that these charades were ces this through “Sartor Resartus," - Past and at times altogether inconsistent with dignity Present," the lectures on “Hero Worship, and propriety. What are you to think of a and other works, and arrives at the conclusion grave historian who compares his country to that Mr. Carlyle gets out of his German an ostrich with its head in the sand, likely to studies a practical mysticism well suited for bo wakened " in a terrible à posteriorî man- English understandingą, because it combines

or a politician with a newspaper repu- the energetic pursuit of the common ohjects tation to a dead dog drifting up and down the of life with a belief in something lying beThames, and stinking as it drifts. At last yond sensible experience, which something is he finds out that " cette disposition d'esprit sought out, and valued when discovered, produit l'humeur ; mot intraduisible, car la because it affords a practical rule of conduct.

* "L'Idealisme Anglais. Etude sur Carlyle." M. Taine quotes (again with good judgment) Par H. Taine. Paris : 1864.

a well-known passage from “ Past and Pres

a

uer,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ent: "" All true work is religion, and what- | be in various respects the spiritual fathers of soever religion is not work may go and dwell the existing English nation. The religious among the Brahmins, Antinomians, spinning gloom and practical turn of the Puritans, the dervishes, or where it will; with me it shall capacity of getting into a desperate rage-a have no harbor."' M. Taine's own remark gift, by the way, of which the Parisian mob upon this is perhaps the most characteristic is not altogether devoid — seem to M. Taino sentence in his whole “ Etude:” Perhaps it to supply the governing principles of Mr. will not harbor with you ; but it will else-Carlyle's historical works. His view of life where. Here we come upon the narrow is solemn, pious, energetic, and exceedingly English side of this broad German conception. practical. For this reason he has failed to There are many religions which are not understand the French Revolution, which moral, and there are still more which are not was certainly neither solemn, pious, nor practical. Carlyle wishes to reduce the hu- practical, in the Puritan sense ; but lively, man heart to the English sentiment of duty, joyous, sentimental, and generously impaand the human imagination to the English tient of all existing facts and established insentiment of respect. Half of human poe- stitutions. On the whole, M. Carlyle aptry escapes his grasp. For if one part of us pears to his critic to be more or less of a raises us to self-denial and virtue, another demoniac, and too extravagant by half. The part draws us to pleasure and enjoyment. essay concludes as follows: “ There is, perMan is pagan as well as Christian. Nature haps, less genius in Macaulay than in Carlyle; has two sides ; many races-India, Greece, but after living for some time upon this exItaly–have comprehended one side only, aggerated and demoniac style, this extraorand have had no religions except the admira- dinary and unhealthy philosophy, this grimtion of monstrous force and the ecstasy of acing and prophetic history, these sinister wild imagination, or the admiration of har- and mad political theories, we return with monious forms and the worship of pleasure, pleasure to "-Lord Macaulay described in beauty, and enjoyment.”

complimentary amplifications. Mr. Carlyle’s criticism appears to M. Taine It is not easy to express in a few sentences to be animated by the same spirit as his phi- the impression made by M. Taine’s étude. losphy. It is, he says, harsh and vehement. It is so courteous and neatly balanced, it has He cannot understand French writers. Their obviously been written with so much trouble, merits appear to him faults. He cannot do and with such a wish to be just, that it justice to Voltaire. He says that “there would be wrong to speak harshly of it; but is not one great thought in all his thirty-six to most English readers who are already acquartos,” and much more of a blasphemous quainted with the writings of Mr. Carlyle, character : “ Voilà d'assez gros mots, nous it will convey no conclusion at all, except, n'en emploierons pas de pareils. Je dirai indeed, that between France and England seulement que si quelqu'un jugeait Carlyle en there is a great gulf fised, far wider and Français comme il juge Voltaire en Anglais, far deeper than the Channel, and infinitely ce quelqu'un ferait de Carlyle un portrait more difficult to cross. It is not easy to say différent de celui que j'essaye de tracer ici.” exactly why this is. Every one of M. Taine's

From considering Mr. Carlyle’s criticism criticisms is plausible, and in a sort of way M. Taine passes to his historical writings. true; but somehow, it does not satisfy the He observes, with much truth, that the English reader. When we have been told characteristic peculiarity of them is to be that this bit of a man's mind came from found in the importance which they attach Germany, and that from English newspapers ; to individuals, that is, to their hero-worship, that he is partly a Puritan and partly a Berand to the notion, of which they are full, serkir (which seems to be meant as a sort of that the hero expresses the highest concep-' compliment); that this is a strange thing tion of which the age in which he lives is which English people call humor, and that a capable. Cromwell, he says, is Mr. Carlyle's piece of bad manners which M. Taine will great and favorite hero. The other Puritans not condescend to imitate, a certain weariare his spiritual ancestors, --subject, however, ness steals over the mind. It is 80 (according to the rights of our old friends the Vikings to our experience, at least) with almost all and Berserkirs, whom M. Taine considers to French criticism. It would suit English

VOL. XXVI. 1213

THIRD SERIES.

LIVING AGE.

tastes far better if it were less descriptive, influence on the world. His rhetoric and less sympathetic, and less polite. It should humor upon very old themes, such as the be ruder and more controversial. We should virtue of truth, the relation between work like to see the picture which M. Taine's and worship, the identity of might and right, quelqu'un would have drawn of Mr. Carlyle and other topics of the same kind, have had if he had not been altogether too fine a gen- a great effect; and the amazing strength of tleman to use such gros mots as Mr. Carlyle bis imagination, and his extraordinary acapplied to Voltaire. What Mr. Carlyle curacy, diligence, and shrewdness in historithought of Voltaire no human creature can cal research, have given him nearly the first doubt. He says plainly what he likes and place amongst English historians. What what he dislikes, and why; but M. Taine appear to M. Taine his essential qualities does not behave in this way to Mr. Carlyle. are in reality accidental ones, and vice versa. He assigns him his place in the scale of crea- He has exercised hardly any perceptible intion with smiling courtesy, but with less fluence upon English philosophy. Politics, genuine heartiness than might be shown by morals, theology, metaphysics, political econvigorous fault-finding.

omy, jurisprudence, and many other subjects, The fundamental defect of the criticism have made great progress during the past appears to us to lie in its author's determi- generation ; but on no one of these matters nation to have a complete theory of Mr. Car- has Mr. Carlyle exercised much influence. lyle and his philosophy, and to show the In history, on the other hand, he has taught mutual connection and dependence of his much to his country, and has set an example various works. M. Taine altogether omits as to the way in which the imaginative and to notice the fact that the books which he and the mutual support and illustration

the prosaic qualities ought to be combined, criticises have been published at intervals which they are calculated to afford to each extending now over at least forty years, dur- other, which it is far easier to admire than ing which the position, the views, and even to imitate. The humor which M. Taine apthe style of their author have undergone a pears to consider as an incidental, occasional great alteration. Several of Mr. Carlyle's talent, is in reality one of his great qualifiworks were written originally as magazine cations for historical inquiry. The great articles, or as lectures delivered to a popular merit of humor is that it usually means audience; and it is clear enough, to any one

much more than it says. The mere turn of

a phrase enables a man possessed of this gift who reads them attentively, that they have to give a color to whole series of transactions, all the crudeness and harshness of early pro- and thus to hint a meaning which it would ductions written whilst the mind which pro- take many pages of explanation to assign duced them was in a state of fermentations. specifically. This is the characteristic peculHis really characteristic books are not his iarity of the “ History of the French Revospeculations, but his histories. The specula- izes M. Taine.

lution" which so much shocks and scandal

What he views as mere tions are in the nature of dyspeptic and tricks and charades are a set of devices which humorous pamphlets, poured forth, as the fit enable the author to point out easily and happened to take the writer, with surprising transiently the slightly absurd character of energy, and occasionally with wonderful fe- the whole proceeding. The delicate flavor of licity and vivacity, but with no real preten- contempt which pervades the whole book is ' sions to the establishment of a philosophy or that ingredient which delights almost all religion. Many of the books which m. Englishmen, and which Frenchmen appear Taine quotes—especially the “ Sartor Resar- themselves or others are its objects. To try

incapable of understanding, whether they tus”-are little else than moral common- to exhibit, in a connected, systematic form, places, thrown into strange forms and ex- the views of such a writer is altogether a pressed in a dialect in which German and broad mistake. He has shown us Cromwell and Scotch struggle for the mastery with alter- Frederick face to face ; he has given us, nate success. To take Mr. Carlyle as a great rather by insinuation and indirect allusion leader of English thought, to describe him than otherwise, a view of the French Revolaas the representative of a thing called Eng- but it is a mistake to suppose that he has

tion, and this is a considerable achievement ; lish Idealism, is to misunderstand him alto- materially influenced the main eurrent of gether. His thought—that is, his reflections thought in this country on important sub and his arguments-has had singularly little jects.

[ocr errors]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »