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tender Nisus, were all genuine friends and great heroes; but, alas! existent only in fable.
En vieux langage on voit sur la façade
Ces noms sont beaux; mais ils sont dans les fables. Friendship commands more than love and esteem. Love thy neighbour signifies assist thy neighbour, but not-enjoy his conversation with pleasure, if he be tiresome; confide to him thy secrets, if he be a tatler; or lend him thy money if he be a spendthrift.
Friendship is the marriage of the soul, and this marriage is liable to divorce. It is a tacit contract between two sensible and virtuous persons. I say sensible, for a monk or a hermit cannot be so, who lives without knowing friendship-I say virtuous, for the wicked have only accomplices, the voluptuous companions, the interested associates ; politicians assemble factions, the generality of idle men have connexions, princes courtiers-virtuous men alone possess
friends. Cethegus was the accomplice of Catiline, and Mæcenas the courtier of Octavius; but Cicero was the friend of Atticus.
What is caused by this contract between two tender honest minds? Its obligations are stronger or weaker according to the degrees of sensibility, and the number of services rendered.
The enthusiasm of friendship has been stronger among the Greeks and Arabs than among us. The tales that these people have imagined on the subject of friendship, are admirable: we have none to compare to them. We are rather dry and reserved in everything. I see no great trait of friendship either in our histories, romances, or theatre.
The only friendship spoken of among the Jews, was that which subsisted between Jonathan and David. It is said that David loved him with a love stronger than that of women; but it is also said that David, after the death of his friend, dispossessed Mephibosheth his son, and caused him to be put to death.
Friendship was a point of religion and legislation among the Greeks. The Thebans had a regiment of lovers--a fine regiment! some have taken it for a regiment of nonconformists. They are deceived: it is taking a shameful accident for a noble principle. Friendship, among the Greeks, was prescribed by the laws and religion. Manners countenanced abuses, but not the laws.
FRIVOLITY. What persuades me still more of the existence of providence, said the profound author of “Bacha Billeboquet,” is, that to console us for our innumerable miseries, nature has made us frivolous. We are sometimes ruminating oxen, overcome by the weight of our yoke; sometimes dispersed doves, tremblingly endeavouring to avoid the claws of the vulture, stained with the blood of our companions; foxes, pursued by dogs; and tigers, who devour one another. Then we suddenly become butterflies; and forget, in our volatile winnowings, all the horrors that we have experienced.
If we were not frivolous, what man without shuddering could live in a town in which the wife of a marshal of France, a lady of honour to the queen, was burnt, under the pretext that she had killed a white cock by moonlight; or in the same town in which marshal Marillac was assassinated according to form, pursuant to a sentence passed by juridical murderers appointed by a priest in his own country-house, in which he embraced Marion de Lorme whilst these robed wretches executed his sanguinary wishes ?
Could a man say to himself, without trembling in every nerve, and having his heart frozen with horror, Here I am, in the very place which, it is said, was strewed with the dead and dying bodies of two thousand young gentlemen, murdered near the faubourg St. Antoine, because one man in a red cassock displeased some others in black ones!
Who could pass the rue de la Féronerie without shedding tears and falling into paroxysms of rage
against the holy and abominable principles which plunged the sword into the heart of the best of men, and of the greatest of kings ?
We could not walk a step in the streets of Paris St. Bartholomew's day, without saying, It was here that one of my ancestors was murdered for the love of God: it was here that one of my mother's family was dragged bleeding and mangled : it was here that one half of my countrymen murdered the other.
Happily, men are so light, so frivolous, so struck with the present aud insensible to the past, that in ten thousand there are not above two or three who make these reflections.
How many boon companions have I seen, who, after the loss of children, wives, mistresses, fortune, and even health itself, have eagerly resorted to a party to retail a piece of scandal, or to a supper to tell humorous stories. Solidity consists chiefly in a uniformity of ideas. It has been said, that a man of sense should invariably think in the same way: reduced to such an alternative, it would be better not to have been born. The ancients never invented a finer fable than that which bestowed a cup of the water of Lethe on all who entered the Elysian fields.*
Would you tolerate life, mortals, forget yourselves, and enjoy it.
* Lord Byron, in the following passage from “ Don Juan,” calls this faculty mobility; and, contrary to Voltaire, seems to regard it as unenviable.
So well she acted all and every part
By turns-with that vivacious versatility,
They err—'tis merely what is called mobility,
Though seeming so, from its supposed facility ;
Heroes sometimes, though seldom-sages never;
Little that's great, but much of what is clever. His Lordship further observes, in a note :-“I am not sure that mobility is English ; but it is expressive of a quality which rather GALLANT. Tus word is derived from gal, the original signification of which was gaiety and rejoicing, as may be seen in Alain Chartier, and in Froissard; even in the Romance of the Rose we meet with the word galandé in the sense of ornamented, adorned.
La belle fût bien atornée
Et d'une filet d'or galandée. It is probable that the gala of the Italians, and the galan of the Spaniards, are derived from the word gal, which seems to be originally Celtic: hence, was insensibly formed gallant, which signifies a man forward, or eager to please. The term received an improved andmore noble signification in the times of chivalry, when the desire to please manifested itself in feats of arms, and personal conflict. To conduct himself gallantly, to extricate himself from an affair gallantly, implies, even at present, a man's conducting himself conformably to principle and honour. A gallant man, among the English, signifies a man of courage; in France it means more, a man of noble general de
A gallant, (un homme galant) is totally different from a galant man, (un galant homme); the latter means a man of respectable and honourable feeling, the former, something nearer the character of a petit maitre, a man successfully addicted to intrigue.
belongs to other climates, though it is sometimes seen in a great extent in our own. It may be defined as an excessive susceptibility of immediate impressions—at the same time without losing the past; and is, although sometimes apparently useful to the possessor, a most painful and unhappy attribute.
Don Juan, canto xvi. stanzas 97,98, and note. Mr. T. Moore, also:
For a beam on the face of the waters may glow,
Though the cold heart to ruin runs darkly the while.
may be suspected, however, that in respect to his own country, at least, Voltaire is more correct than the English poets ; although, it must be confessed, that he appears to illustrate from a more frivolous class of persons. T.
Being gallant, (être galant) in general implies an assiduity to please by studious attentions, and flattering deference. “ He was exceedingly gallant to those ladies," means merely, he behaved more than politely to them; but being the gallant of a lady, is an ex.. pression of stronger meaning, it signifies being her lover; the word is scarcely any longer in use in this sense, except in low or familiar poetry. A gallant is not merely a man devoted to and successful in intrigue, but the term implies, moreover, somewhat of impudence and effrontery, in which sense Fontaine uses it in the following verse,
Mais un galant, chercheur des pucelages. Thus are various meanings attached to the same word. The case is similar with the term gallantry, which sometimes signifies a disposition to coquetry, and a habit of flattery; sometimes a present of some elegant toy, or piece of jewelry; sometimes intrigue, with one woman or with many; and latterly, it has even been applied to signify ironically the favours of Venus: thus, to talk gallantries, to give gallantries, to have gallantries, to contract a gallantry, express very different meanings. Nearly all the terms which occur frequently in conversation acquire, in the same manner, various shades of meaning, which it is difficult to discriminate: the meaning of terms of art is more precise and less arbitrary.
GARAGANTUA. If ever a reputation was fixed on a solid basis, it is that of Garagantua. Yet in the present age of philosophy and criticism, some rash and daring
minds have started forward, who have ventured to deny the prodigies believed respecting this extraordinary man, persons who have carried their scepticism so far, as even to doubt his very existence.
How is it possible, they ask, that there should have existed in the sixteenth century a distinguished hero, never mentioned by a single contemporary, by St. Ignatius, Cardinal Capitan, Galileo, or Guicciardini,