MoboReader> Literature > Life of Chopin

   Chapter 4 No.4

Life of Chopin By Franz Liszt Characters: 33400

Updated: 2017-11-29 00:05

Chopin's Mode of Playing-Concerts-The Elite-Fading Bouquets and Immortal Crowns-Hospitality-Heine-Meyerbeer-Adolphe Nourrit-Eugene Delacroix-Niemcevicz-Mickiewicz-George Sand.

AFTER having described the compositions palpitating with emotion in which genius struggles with grief, (grief, that terrible reality which Art must strive to reconcile with Heaven), confronting it sometimes as conqueror, sometimes as conquered; compositions in which all the memories of his youth, the affections of his heart, the mysteries of his desires, the secrets of his untold passions, are collected like tears in a lachrymatory; compositions in which, passing the limits of human sensations-too dull for his eager fancy, too obtuse for his keen perceptions-he makes incursions into the realms of Dryads, Oreads, and Oceanides;-we would naturally be expected to speak of his talent for execution. But this task we cannot assume. We cannot command the melancholy courage to exhume emotions linked with our fondest memories, our dearest personal recollections; we cannot force ourselves to make the mournful effort to color the gloomy shrouds, veiling the skill we once loved, with the brilliant hues they would exact at our hands. We feel our loss too bitterly to attempt such an analysis. And what result would it be possible to attain with all our efforts! We could not hope to convey to those who have never heard him, any just conception of that fascination so ineffably poetic, that charm subtle and penetrating as the delicate perfume of the vervain or the Ethiopian calla, which, shrinking and exclusive, refuses to diffuse its exquisite aroma in the noisome breath of crowds, whose heavy air can only retain the stronger odor of the tuberose, the incense of burning resin.

By the purity of its handling, by its relation with LA FEE AUX MIETTES and LES LUTINS D'ARGAIL, by its rencounters with the SERAPHINS and DIANES, who murmur in his ear their most confidential complaints, their most secret dreams, the style and the manner of conception of Chopin remind us of Nodier. He knew that he did not act upon the masses, that he could not warm the multitude, which is like a sea of lead, and as heavy to set in motion, and which, though its waves may be melted and rendered malleable by heat, requires the powerful arm of an athletic Cyclops to manipulate, fuse, and pour into moulds, where the dull metal, glowing and seething under the electric fire, becomes thought and feeling under the new form into which it has been forced. He knew he was only perfectly appreciated in those meetings, unfortunately too few, in which ALL his hearers were prepared to follow him into those spheres which the ancients imagined to be entered only through a gate of ivory, to be surrounded by pilasters of diamond, and surmounted by a dome arched with fawn-colored crystal, upon which played the various dyes of the prism; spheres, like the Mexican opal, whose kaleidoscopical foci are dimmed by olive-colored mists veiling and unveiling the inner glories; spheres, in which all is magical and supernatural, reminding us of the marvellous worlds of realized dreams. In such spheres Chopin delighted. He once remarked to a friend, an artist who has since been frequently heard: "I am not suited for concert giving; the public intimidate me; their looks, only stimulated by curiosity, paralyze me; their strange faces oppress me; their breath stifles me: but you-you are destined for it, for when you do not gain your public, you have the force to assault, to overwhelm, to control, to compel them."

Conscious of how much was necessary for the comprehension of his peculiar talent, he played but rarely in public. With the exception of some concerts given at his debut in 1831, in Vienna and Munich, he gave no more, except in Paris, being indeed not able to travel on account of his health, which was so precarious, that during entire months, he would appear to be in an almost dying state. During the only excursion which he made with a hope that the mildness of a Southern climate would be more conducive to his health, his condition was frequently so alarming, that more than once the hotel keepers demanded payment for the bed and mattress he occupied, in order to have them burned, deeming him already arrived at that stage of consumption in which it becomes so highly contagious We believe, however, if we may be permitted to say it, that his concerts were less fatiguing to his physical constitution, than to his artistic susceptibility. We think that his voluntary abnegation of popular applause veiled an internal wound. He was perfectly aware of his own superiority; perhaps it did not receive sufficient reverberation and echo from without to give him the tranquil assurance that he was perfectly appreciated. No doubt, in the absence of popular acclamation, he asked himself how far a chosen audience, through the enthusiasm of its applause, was able to replace the great public which he relinquished. Few understood him:-did those few indeed understand him aright? A gnawing feeling of discontent, of which he himself scarcely comprehended the cause, secretly undermined him. We have seen him almost shocked by eulogy. The praise to which he was justly entitled not reaching him EN MASSE, he looked upon isolated commendation as almost wounding. That he felt himself not only slightly, but badly applauded, was sufficiently evident by the polished phrases with which, like troublesome dust, he shook such praises off, making it quite evident that he preferred to be left undisturbed in the enjoyment of his solitary feelings to injudicious commendation.

Too fine a connoisseur in raillery, too ingenious satirist ever to expose himself to sarcasm, he never assumed the role of a "genius misunderstood." With a good grace and under an apparent satisfaction, he concealed so entirely the wound given to his just pride, that its very existence was scarcely suspected. But not without reason, might the gradually increasing rarity [Footnote: Sometimes he passed years without giving a single concert. We believe the one given by him in Pleyel's room, in 1844, was after an interval of nearly ten years] of his concerts be attributed rather to the wish he felt to avoid occasions which did not bring him the tribute he merited, than to physical debility. Indeed, he put his strength to rude proofs in the many lessons which he always gave, and the many hours he spent at his own Piano.

It is to be regretted that the indubitable advantage for the artist resulting from the cultivation of only a select audience, should be so sensibly diminished by the rare and cold expression of its sympathies. The GLACE which covers the grace of the ELITE, as it does the fruit of their desserts; the imperturbable calm of their most earnest enthusiasm, could not be satisfactory to Chopin. The poet, torn from his solitary inspiration, can only find it again in the interest, more than attentive, vivid and animated of his audience. He can never hope to regain it in the cold looks of an Areopagus assembled to judge him. He must FEEL that he moves, that he agitates those who hear him, that his emotions find in them the responsive sympathies of the same intuitions, that he draws them on with him in his flight towards the infinite: as when the leader of a winged train gives the signal of departure, he is immediately followed by the whole flock in search of milder shores.

But had it been otherwise-had Chopin everywhere received the exalted homage and admiration he so well deserved; had he been heard, as so many others, by all nations and in all climates; had ho obtained those brilliant ovations which make a Capitol every where, where the people salute merit or honor genius had he been known and recognized by thousands in place of the hundreds who acknowledged him-we would not pause in this part of his career to enumerate such triumphs.

What are the dying bouquets of an hour to those whose brows claim the laurel of immortality? Ephemeral sympathies, transitory praises, are not to be mentioned in the presence of the august Dead, crowned with higher glories. The joys, the consolations, the soothing emotions which the creations of true art awaken in the weary, suffering, thirsty, or persevering and believing hearts to whom they are dedicated, are destined to be borne into far countries and distant years, by the sacred works of Chopin. Thus an unbroken bond will be established between elevated natures, enabling them to understand and appreciate each other, in whatever part of the earth or period of time they may live. Such natures are generally badly divined by their contemporaries when they have been silent, often misunderstood when they have spoken the most eloquently!

"There are different crowns," says Goethe, "there are some which may be readily gathered during a walk." Such crowns charm for the moment through their balmy freshness, but who would think of comparing them with those so laboriously gained by Chopin by constant and exemplary effort, by an earnest love of art, and by his own mournful experience of the emotions which he has so truthfully depicted?

As he sought not with a mean avidity those crowns so easily won, of which more than one among ourselves has the modesty to be proud; as he was a pure, generous, good and compassionate man, filled with a single sentiment, and that one of the most noble of feelings, the love of country; as he moved among us like a spirit consecrated by all that Poland possesses of poetry; let us approach his sacred grave with due reverence! Let us adorn it with no artificial wreaths! Let us cast upon it no trivial crowns! Let us nobly elevate our thoughts before this consecrated shroud! Let us learn from him to repulse all but the highest ambition, let us try to concentrate our labor upon efforts which will leave more lasting effects than the vain leading of the fashions of the passing hour. Let us renounce the corrupt spirit of the times in which we live, with all that is not worthy of art, all that will not endure, all that does not contain in itself some spark of that eternal and immaterial beauty, which it is the task of art to reveal and unveil as the condition of its own glory! Let us remember the ancient prayer of the Dorians whose simple formula is so full of pious poetry, asking only of their gods: "To give them the Good, in return for the Beautiful!" In place of laboring so constantly to attract auditors, and striving to please them at whatever sacrifice, let us rather aim, like Chopin, to leave a celestial and immortal echo of what we have felt, loved, and suffered! Let us learn, from his revered memory, to demand from ourselves works which will entitle us to some true rank in the sacred city of art! Let us not exact from the present with out regard to the future, those light and vain wreath which are scarcely woven before they are faded and forgotten!...

In place of such crowns, the most glorious palms which it is possible for an artist to receive during his lifetime, have been placed in the hands of Chopin by ILLUSTRIOUS EQUALS. An enthusiastic admiration was given him by a public still more limited than the musical aristocracy which frequented his concerts. This public was formed of the most distinguished names of men, who bowed before him as the kings of different empires bend before a monarch whom they have assembled to honor. Such men rendered to him, individually, due homage. How could it have been otherwise in France, where the hospitality, so truly national, discerns with such perfect taste the rank and claims of the guests?

The most eminent minds in Paris frequently met in Chopin's saloon. Not in reunions of fantastic periodicity, such as the dull imaginations of ceremonious and tiresome circles have arranged, and which they have never succeeded in realizing in accordance with their wishes, for enjoyment, ease, enthusiasm, animation, never come at an hour fixed upon before hand. They can be commanded less by artists than by other men, for they are all more or less struck by some sacred malady whose paralyzing torpor they must shake off, whose benumbing pain they must forget, to be joyous and amused by those pyrotechnic fires which startle the bewildered guests, who see from time to time a Roman candle, a rose-colored Bengal light, a cascade whose waters are of fire, or a terrible, yet quite innocent dragon! Gayety and the strength necessary to be joyous, are, unfortunately things only accidentally to be encountered among poets and artists! It is true some of the more privileged among them have the happy gift of surmounting internal pain, so as to bear their burden always lightly, able to laugh with their companions over the toils of the way, or at least always able to preserve a gentle and calm serenity which, like a mute pledge of hope and consolation, animates, elevates, and encourages their associates, imparting to them, while they remain under the influence of this placid atmosphere, a freedom of spirit which appears so much the more vivid, the more strongly it contrasts with their habitual ennui, their abstraction, their natural gloom, their usual indifference.

Chopin did not belong to either of the above mentioned classes; he possessed the innate grace of a Polish welcome, by which the host is not only bound to fulfill the common laws and duties of hospitality, but is obliged to relinquish all thought of himself, to devote all his powers to promote the enjoyment of his guests. It was a pleasant thing to visit him; his visitors were always charmed; he knew how to put them at once at ease, making them masters of every thing, and placing every thing at their disposal. In doing the honors of his own cabin, even the simple laborer of Sclavic race never departs from this munificence; more joyously eager in his welcome than the Arab in his tent, he compensates for the splendor which may be wanting in his reception by an adage which he never fails to repeat, and which is also repealed by the grand seignior after the most luxurious repasts served under gilded canopies: CZYM BOHAT, TYM RAD-which is thus paraphrased for foreigners: "Deign graciously to pardon all that is unworthy of you, it is all my humble riches which I place at your feet." This formula [Footnote: All the Polish formulas of courtesy retain the strong impress of the hyperbolical expressions of the Eastern languages. The titles of "very powerful and very enlightened seigniors" are still obligatory. The Poles, in conversation, constantly name each other Benefactor (DOBRODZIJ). The common salutation between men, and of men to women, is PADAM DO NOG: "I fall at your feet." The greeting of the people possesses a character of ancient solemnity and simplicity: SLAWA BOHU: "Glory to God."] is still pronounced with a national grace and dignity by all masters of families who preserve the picturesque customs which distinguished the ancient manners of Poland.

Having thus described something of the habits of hospitality common in his country, the ease which presided over our reunions with Chopin will be readily understood. The flow of thought, the entire freedom from restraint, were of a character so pure that no insipidity or bitterness ever ensued, no ill humor was ever provoked. Though he avoided society, yet when his saloon was invaded, the kindness of his attention was delightful; without appearing to occupy himself with any one, he succeeded in finding for all that which was most agreeable; neglecting none, he extended to all the most graceful courtesy.

It was not without a struggle, without a repugnance slightly misanthropic, that Chopin could be induced to open his doors and piano, even to those whose friendship, as respectful as faithful, gave them a claim to urge such a request with eagerness. Without doubt more than one of us can still remember our first improvised evening with him, in spite of his refusal, when he lived at Chaussee d'Antin.

His apartment, invaded by surprise, was only lighted by some wax candles, grouped round one of Pleyel's pianos, which he particularly liked for their slightly veiled, yet silvery sonorousness, and easy touch, permitting him to elicit tones which one might think proceeded from one of those harmonicas of which romantic Germany has preserved the monopoly, and which were so ingeniously constructed by its ancient masters, by the union of crystal and water.

As the corners of the room were left in obscurity, all idea of limit was lost, so that there seemed no boundary save the darkness of space. Some tall piece of furniture, with its white cover, would r

eveal itself in the dim light; an indistinct form, raising itself like a spectre to listen to the sounds which had evoked it. The light, concentrated round the piano and falling on the floor, glided on like a spreading wave until it mingled with the broken flashes from the fire, from which orange colored plumes rose and fell, like fitful gnomes, attracted there by mystic incantations in their own tongue. A single portrait, that of a pianist, an admiring and sympathetic friend, seemed invited to be the constant auditor of the ebb and flow of tones, which sighed, moaned, murmured, broke and died upon the instrument near which it always hung. By a strange accident, the polished surface of the mirror only reflected so as to double it for our eyes, the beautiful oval with silky curls which so many pencils have copied, and which the engraver has just reproduced for all who are charmed by works of such peculiar eloquence.

Several men, of brilliant renown, were grouped in the luminous zone immediately around the piano: Heine, the saddest of humorists, listened with the interest of a fellow countryman to the narrations made him by Chopin of the mysterious country which haunted his ethereal fancy also, and of which he too had explored the beautiful shores. At a glance, a word, a tone, Chopin and Heine understood each other; the musician replied to the questions murmured in his ear by the poet, giving in tones the most surprising revelations from those unknown regions, about that "laughing nymph" [Footnote: Heine. SALOON-CHOPIN.] of whom he demanded news: "If she still continued to drape her silvery veil around the flowing locks of her green hair, with a coquetry so enticing?" Familiar with the tittle-tattle and love tales of those distant lands he asked: "If the old marine god, with the long white beard, still pursued this mischievous naiad with his ridiculous love?" Fully informed, too, about all the exquisite fairy scenes to be seen DOWN THERE-DOWN THERE, he asked "if the roses always glowed there with a flame so triumphant? if the trees at moonlight sang always so harmoniously?" When Chopin had answered, and they had for a long time conversed together about that aerial clime, they would remain in gloomy silence, seized with that mal du pays from which Heine suffered when he compared himself to that Dutch captain of the phantom ship, with his crew eternally driven about upon the chill waves, and "sighing in vain for the spices, the tulips, the hyacinths, the pipes of sea-foam, the porcelain cups of Holland... 'Amsterdam! Amsterdam! when shall we again see Amsterdam!' they cry from on board, while the tempest howls in the cordage, beating them forever about in their watery hell." Heine adds: "I fully understand the passion with which the unfortunate captain once exclaimed: 'Oh if I should EVER again see Amsterdam! I would rather be chained forever at the corner of one of its streets, than be forced to leave it again!' Poor Van der Decken!"

Heine well knew what poor Van der Decken had suffered in his terrible and eternal course upon the ocean, which had fastened its fangs in the wood of his incorruptible vessel, and by an invisible anchor, whose chain he could not break because it could never be found, held it firmly linked upon the waves of its restless bosom. He could describe to us when he chose, the hope, the despair, the torture of the miserable beings peopling this unfortunate ship, for he had mounted its accursed timbers, led on and guided by the hand of some enamored Undine, who, when the guest of her forest of coral and palace of pearl rose more morose, more satirical, more bitter than usual, offered for the amusement of his ill humor between the repasts, some spectacle worthy of a lover who could create more wonders in his dreams than her whole kingdom contained.

Heine had traveled round the poles of the earth in this imperishable vessel; he had seen the brilliant visitor of the long nights, the aurora borealis, mirror herself in the immense stalactites of eternal ice, rejoicing in the play of colors alternating with each other in the varying folds of her glowing scarf. He had visited the tropics, where the zodiacal triangle, with its celestial light, replaces, during the short nights, the burning rays of an oppressive sun. He had crossed the latitudes where life becomes pain, and advanced into those in which it is a living death, making himself familiar, on the long way, with the heavenly miracles in the wild path of sailors who make for no port! Seated on a poop without a helm, his eye had ranged from the two Bears majestically overhanging the North, to the brilliant Southern Cross, through the blank Antarctic deserts extending through the empty space of the heavens overhead, as well as over the dreary waves below, where the despairing eye finds nothing to contemplate in the sombre depths of a sky without a star, vainly arching over a shoreless and bottomless sea! He had long followed the glittering yet fleeting traces left by the meteors through the blue depths of space; he had tracked the mystic and incalculable orbits of the comets as they flash through their wandering paths, solitary and incomprehensible, everywhere dreaded for their ominous splendor, yet inoffensive and harmless. He had gazed upon the shining of that distant star, Aldebaran, which, like the glitter and sullen glow in the eye of a vengeful enemy, glares fiercely upon our globe, without daring to approach it. He had watched the radiant planets shedding upon the restless eye which seeks them a consoling and friendly light, like the weird cabala of an enigmatic yet hopeful promise.

Heine had seen all these things, under the varying appearances which they assume in different latitudes; he had seen much more also with which he would entertain us under strange similitudes. He had assisted at the furious cavalcade of "Herodiade;" he had also an entrance at the court of the king of "Aulnes" in the gardens of the "Hesperides"; and indeed into all those places inaccessible to mortals who have not had a fairy as godmother, who would take upon herself the task of counterbalancing all the evil experienced in life, by showering upon the adopted the whole store of fairy treasures.

Upon that evening which we are now describing, Meyerbeer was seated next to Heine;-Meyerbeer, for whom the whole catalogue of admiring interjections has long since been exhausted! Creator of Cyclopean harmonics as he was, he passed the time in delight when following the detailed arabesques, which, woven in transparent gauze, wound in filmy veils around the delicate conceptions of Chopin.

Adolphe Nourrit, a noble artist, at once ascetic and passionate, was also there. He was a sincere, almost a devout Catholic, dreaming of the future with the fervor of the Middle Ages, who, during the latter part of his life, refused the assistance of his talent to any scene of merely superficial sentiment. He served Art with a high and enthusiastic respect; he considered it, in all its divers manifestations, only a holy tabernacle, "the Beauty of which formed the splendor of the True." Already undermined by a melancholy passion for the Beautiful, his brow seemed to be turning into stone under the dominion of this haunting feeling: a feeling always explained by the outbreak of despair, too late for remedy from man-man, alas! so eager to explore the secrets of the heart-so dull to divine them!

Hiller, whose talent was allied to Chopin's, and who was one of his most intimate friends, was there also. In advance of the great compositions which he afterwards published, of which the first was his remarkable Oratorio, "The Destruction of Jerusalem," he wrote some pieces for the Piano. Among these, those known under the title of Etudes, (vigorous sketches of the most finished design), recall those studies of foliage, in which the landscape painter gives us an entire little poem of light and shade, with only one tree, one branch, a single "motif," happily and boldly handled.

In the presence of the spectres which filled the air, and whose rustling might almost be heard, Eugene Delacroix remained absorbed and silent. Was he considering what pallet, what brushes, what canvas he must use, to introduce them into visible life through his art? Did he task himself to discover canvas woven by Arachne, brushes made from the long eyelashes of the fairies, and a pallet covered with the vaporous tints of the rainbow, in order to make such a sketch possible? Did he then smile at these fancies, yet gladly yield to the impressions from which they sprung, because great talent is always attracted by that power in direct contrast to its own?

The aged Niemcevicz, who appeared to be the nearest to the grave among us, listened to the "Historic Songs" which Chopin translated into dramatic execution for this survivor of times long past. Under the fingers of the Polish artist, again were heard, side by side with the descriptions, so popular, of the Polish bard, the shock of arms, the songs of conquerors, the hymns of triumph, the complaints of illustrious prisoners, and the wail over dead heroes. They memorized together the long course of national glory, of victory, of kings, of queens, of warriors; and so much life had these phantoms, that the old man, deeming the present an illusion, believed the olden times fully resuscitated.

Dark and silent, apart from all others, fell the motionless profile of Mickiewicz: the Dante of the North, he seemed always to find "the salt of the stranger bitter, and his steps hard to mount."

Buried in a fauteuil, with her arms resting upon a table, sat Madame Sand, curiously attentive, gracefully subdued. Endowed with that rare faculty only given to a few elect, of recognizing the Beautiful under whatever form of nature or of art it may assume, she listened with the whole force of her ardent genius. The faculty of instantaneously recognizing Beauty may perhaps be the "second sight," of which all nations have acknowledged the existence in highly gifted women. It is a kind of magical gaze which causes the bark, the mask, the gross envelope of form, to fall off; so that the invisible essence, the soul which is incarnated within, may be clearly contemplated; so that the ideal which the poet or artist may have vivified under the torrent of notes, the passionate veil of coloring, the cold chiseling of marble, or the mysterious rhythms of strophes, may be fully discerned. This faculty is much rarer than is generally supposed. It is usually felt but vaguely, yet-in its highest manifestations, it reveals itself as a "divining oracle," knowing the Past and prophesying the Future. It is a power which exempts the blessed organization which it illumes, from the bearing of the heavy burden of technicalities, with which the merely scientific drag on toward that mystic region of inner life, which the gifted attain with a single bound. It is a faculty which springs less from an acquaintance with the sciences, than from a familiarity with nature.

The fascination and value of a country life consist in the long tete-a-tete with nature. The words of revelation hidden under the infinite harmonies of form, of sounds, of lights and shadows, of tones and warblings, of terror and delight, may best be caught in these long solitary interviews. Such infinite variety may appear crushing or distracting on a first view, but if faced with a courage that no mystery can appal, if sounded with a resolution that no length of time can abate, may give the clue to analogies, conformities, relations between our senses and our sentiments, and aid us in tracing the hidden links which bind apparent dissimilarities, identical oppositions and equivalent antitheses, and teach us the secrets of the chasms separating with narrow but impassable space, that which is destined to approach forever, yet never mingle; to resemble ever, yet never blend. To have awakened early, as did Madame Sand, to the dim whispering with which nature initiates her chosen to her mystic rites, is a necessary appanage of the poet. To have learned from her to penetrate the dreams of man when he, in his turn, creates, and uses in his works the tones, the warblings, the terrors, the delights, requires a still more subtle power; a power which Madame Sand possesses by a double right, by the intuitions of her heart, and the vigor of her genius. After having named Madame Sand, whose energetic personality and electric genius inspired the frail and delicate organization of Chopin with an intensity of admiration which consumed him, as a wine too spirituous shatters the fragile vase; we cannot now call up other names from the dim limbus of the past, in which so many indistinct images, such doubtful sympathies, such indefinite projects and uncertain beliefs, are forever surging and hurtling. Perhaps there is no one among us, who, in looking through the long vista, would not meet the ghost of some feeling whose shadowy form he would find impossible to pass! Among the varied interests, the burning desires, the restless tendencies surging through the epoch in which so many high hearts and brilliant intellects were fortuitously thrown together, how few of them, alas! possessed sufficient vitality to enable them to resist the numberless causes of death, surrounding every idea, every feeling, as well as every individual life, from the cradle to the grave! Even during the moments of the troubled existence of the emotions now past, how many of them escaped that saddest of all human judgments: "Happy, oh, happy were it dead! Far happier had it never been born!" Among the varied feelings with which so many noble hearts throbbed high, were there indeed many which never incurred this fearful malediction? Like the suicide lover in Mickiewicz's poem, who returns to life in the land of the Dead only to renew the dreadful suffering of his earth life, perhaps among all the emotions then so vividly felt there is not a single one which, could it again live, would reappear without the disfigurements, the brandings, the bruises, the mutilations, which were inflicted on its early beauty, which so deeply sullied its primal innocence! And if we should persist in recalling these melancholy ghosts of dead thoughts and buried feelings from the heavy folds of the shroud, would they not actually appal us, because so few of them possessed sufficient purity and celestial radiance to redeem them from the shame of being utterly disowned, entirely repudiated, by those whose bliss or torment they formed during the passionate hours of their absolute rule? In very pity ask us not to call from the Dead, ghosts whose resurrection would be so painful! Who could bear the sepulchral ghastly array? Who would willingly call them from their sheeted sleep? If our ideas, thoughts, and feelings were indeed to be suddenly aroused from the unquiet grave in which they lie buried, and an account demanded from them of the good and evil which they have severally produced in the hearts in which they found so generous an asylum, and which they have confused, overwhelmed, illumined, devastated, ruined, broken, as chance or destiny willed,-who could hope to endure the replies that would be made to questions so searching?

If among the group of which we have spoken, every member of which has won the attention of many human souls, and must, in consequence, bear in his conscience the sharp sting of multiplied responsibilities, there should be found ONE who has not suffered aught, that was pure in the natural attraction which bound them together in this chain of glittering links, to fall into dull forgetfulness; one who allowed no breath of the fermentation lingering even around the most delicate perfumes, to embitter his memories; one who has transfigured and left to the immortality of art, only the unblemished inheritance of all that was noblest in their enthusiasm, all that was purest and most lasting of their joys; let us bow before him as before one of the Elect! Let us regard him as one of those whom the belief of the people marks as "Good Genii!" The attribution of superior power to beings believed to be beneficent to man, has received a sublime conformation from a great Italian poet, who defines genius as a "stronger impress of Divinity!" Let us bow before all who are marked with this mystic seal; but let us venerate with the deepest, truest tenderness those who have only used their wondrous supremacy to give life and expression to the highest and most exquisite feelings! and among the pure and beneficent genii of earth must indubitably be ranked the artist Chopin!

Free to Download MoboReader
(← Keyboard shortcut) Previous Contents (Keyboard shortcut →)
 Novels To Read Online Free

Scan the QR code to download MoboReader app.

Back to Top