The Papacy and the dominions of the Church are creations of so peculiar a kind that we have hitherto, in determining the general characteristics of Italian States, referred to them only occasionally. And what fiery trials did this State undergo in the fourteenth and the beginning of the fifteenth century, when the Papacy was led captive to Avignon!
When we contemplate the ravages of this element, which has consumed so many noble libraries, destroying not only printed books of priceless value, but often precious manuscripts which are unique and irreplaceable, a lively sense of regret comes over us that these creations of the intellect, which should be imperishable, are even yet at the mercy of an accident in all the libraries of the world save a very few.
During the night the image of the murdered man would drive sleep from her couch, and the Furies, the Dirx, as the Roman Antony called them, who pursue murderers with the serpent scourge, were no idle creations of poetic fancy, but fully symbolized the restlessness of the criminal, driven to and fro by the pangs of conscience.
Minna's imagination seconded this illusion, under the dominion of which all persons would assuredly have fallen, an illusion which gave to Seraphitus the appearance of a vision dreamed of in happy sleep. No known type conveys an image of that form so majestically made to Minna, but which to the eyes of a man would have eclipsed in womanly grace the fairest of Raphael's creations.
He was sketching his design of a Galatea and Polyphemus on the wall; for the wall was only whitewashed, and covered already with the multiform vagaries whether of master or pupils, caricatures and demigods, hands and feet, torsos and monsters, and Venuses. The rude creations, all mutilated, jarring, and mingled, gave a cynical, mocking, devil-may-care kind of aspect to the sanctum of art.
As a drop of water which is clear and unoccupied to the eye, when viewed through the microscope is found to be peopled with living creations, so the worlds that overspread the heavens are peopled in every part that the eye can cover. Man is indeed nothing; and yet he is the whole a mere speck, a point, and yet God himself in the aggregate.
These are the elements, thus of necessity then subsisting, which the creator of the fairest and best of created things associated with himself, when he made the self-sufficing and most perfect God, using the necessary causes as his ministers in the accomplishment of his work, but himself contriving the good in all his creations.
"For confiscation, for expulsion from the country, they came to substitute the punishment of burning," writes Mollien in his Memoirs; "and the reading of the correspondence of commerce might have convinced Napoleon what complaint the bankers and maritime speculators were making against a policy which, in the most industrious century, was destroying by fire the creations of industry.
Whether he will so far control this following as to decide the nature of the novel with us remains to be seen. Will the reader be content to accept a novel which is an analytic study rather than a story, which is apt to leave him arbiter of the destiny of the author's creations? Will he find his account in the unflagging interest of their development? Mr.
Nor can the error of creation be corrected violently by a second arbitrary act, such as suicide, or the annihilation of the universe by some ultimate general collapse. If such events happen, they still leave the door open to new creations and fresh errors. Such is the only possible salvation.