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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 29

Lamartine's Celebrated Characters

Lamartine's Celebrated Characters.

1.History is the religion of memory—as poetry is the religion of imagination. It exhibits Providence in retribution, and in the unfailing reward of good and evil. It developes conscience.
2.The inspiration of the genius of dramatic expression.
3.Lady Hamilton was an ideal and real statue of living nature. Their passion was instantaneously reciprocal. When the heart is affected the hand trembles. Absence added melancholy to his intoxication, by concentrating the image of this all-conquering beauty in his heart. A syren restrained him within the chain of her seductions.
4.Piety—the grandeur of humanity and the true basis of genuine heroism.
5.He was ever present to the eyes, ears, hearts of the women who had seen him, or had even heard his name pronounced.
6.Divided between love and fame. Love combated against his genius.
7.In momentous enterprises, no time must be given to men for reflection, and no opportunity for repentance.
8.Isolation or distant bearing is observable in superior men who page 13 overawe the minds of men. The man, who possesses what he loves, easily forgets glory.
9.A paradise, full of beauty and redolent of perfumes. The rose ceases not to bloom in its gardens. The air is sweet, the earth is painted with flowers.
10.The heart, eager for combat, flamed like a consuming fire.
11.All must pass through the gate which never re-opens to suffer their return.
12.A colossus of strength and a lion of courage and a generous and tender disposition.
13.Eyes overflowing with indignation and mouths quivering with curses.
14.Whatever is greater than degenerate man, is elevated into God.
15.Cicero's 12 orations called Philippics form the longest and most sublime declamation of anger that has ever resounded amongst men.
16.Coriolanus—who had formerly brought the Volscians to Rome, had done nothing more monstrous, and he had at least the excuse of vengeance upon those who had banished him from his own land. Cesar's only cause of vengeance was the honour and power he had received from Rome; yet history has stigmatised Coriolanus, and deified Cesar. Such is the justice of men without reflection, who judge of the morality of events by their success.

Shakespeare translates nature instead of following sacred legends. Christianity is the philosophy of grief. A true epic is not to be constructed from poetical machinery, but from natural sentiments. Providence provided, in the case of Milton, in the tenderness of woman a sweet and holy compensation for the neglect and ingratitude of the world. Imagination and piety, the two eternal springs of youth in man. As ages roll on, Milton will decline, and Shakespeare advance, because the former imitated, while the latter created. A single scene of Romeo and Juliet reveals more soul, and draws more tears, than the whole of Paradise Lost. If any future poet is seized with the ambition of writing an Epic poem, he must look for his subject in the recesses of the human heart. True poetry runs through the streets, but poets seek it in the clouds. Severe economy is the virtue and vice of those who enrich themselves by labour. Love and fame—the dream of youth.

The future only progresses by trampling underfoot the past. It is by treason that heroism, virtue, and genius are overcome. Cromwell was a fanatic—not a hypocrite. In the same voice we recognise Tiberius, Mahomet, a soldier, a tyrant, a patriot, a priest and a madman. A word uttered or repeated in any spot on the globe may enlighten or blast the universe.

It is the privilege of great minds to elevate others to their own standards, and to inspire as well as perform noble actions.

These two celebrated volumes are the sublime emanations of a truly celebrated man in heroical laudation of really celebrated personages. They warm the heart, energise the limbs, elevate the imagination, and breathe the flames of patriotism, ambition, devotion, truth and love.