S. Austin Allibone, comp. Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay. 1880.
England, after Germany, is in literature the only nation whose genius comes from the north without having passed through Greece or Rome. She has the superiority of originality. This originality has been a little discoloured by the Bible in Milton and by the Latinity of Horace in Pope, the English Horace. But her veritable giant, Shakspeare, was born, like Antæus, from himself and from the soil. He has impregnated the Anglo-Saxon literary genius with a northern sap, savage, potent, which it can never lose. The free institutions of this nation and her compulsorily naval situation have given to her incontestable genius the multiple character of her aptitudes. He has need to compensate the pettiness of her territory by an immense and strong personality. The citizen of Great Britain is a patriarch in his home, a poet in his forests, an orator in his public places, a merchant at his counter, a hero in his navy, a cosmopolite on the soil of his colonies, but a cosmopolite carrying with him to every continent his indelible individuality. In the ancient races there are none to resemble him. One cannot define him, in politics or in literature, but by his namethe Englishman is an Englishman.
The loss of a mother is always severely felt: even though her health may incapacitate her from taking any active part in the care of her family, still she is a sweet rallying-point, around which affection and obedience, and a thousand tender endeavours to please, concentrate; and dreary is the blank when such a point is withdrawn! It is like that lonely star before us: neither its heat nor light are anything to us in themselves; yet the shepherd would feel his heart sad if he missed it, when he lifts his eye to the brow of the mountain over which it rises when the sun descends.
Such was the end of the Restorationthe most difficult government among all those which history records for mens instruction, and which, with the best intentions, leads to the most inevitable faults; because those things which revolution had abolished, and which are identified with the exiled dynasty, naturally struggle to come back with that dynasty, and give umbrage to new things; and because kings and people, who mutually regret each other, and would fain be reconciled, are constantly irritated by their recollections and by old parties, who seek to recover their dogmas and privileges at the expense of both king and people. New monarchies are demolished by their enemies; restored ones by their friends. Nothing survives but the Divine power, which manifests itself in the sovereignty of the people, and which liberty renders legitimate.
Alphonse Lamartine: Hist, of the Restor. of Monarchy in France, vol. iv., book 50, xxviii.
Italy is still the privileged land of nature and humanity; and the manly pith of its great ages is neither degenerated nor dried up. Involved, by the irresistible fall of the old world, in the decay of the universal empire she had founded, no nation upon earth has withstood so long a deposition without debasement and dissolution. Her glory, her religion, her genius, her name, her language, her monuments and her arts, have continued to reign after the fall of her fortune. She alone has not had an age of civil darkness after her age of military dominion. She has subjected the barbarians who conquered her, to her worship, her laws, and her civilization. While profaning, they submitted to her: though conquerors, they humbly besought her for laws, manners, and religion. Nearly the whole continent is nothing but an intellectual, moral, and religious colony of this mother country of Europe, Asia, and Africa. The middle ages parcelled her out without dissolving her: her fragments, cut up into little principalities or small republics, still preserved the palpitations, the vigour, the movement, and the energy of great nationalities. She had anarchies, convulsions, virtues, crimes, and heroisms, mighty as her ruins. Her regeneration under the Popes, under the Medici, under her house of Ferrara, under her Venetian aristocracies, under her democracies of Genoa, under her theocracies of Rome, under her commercial principality of Florence, and under Paladins of Naples and Sicily, was the regeneration of Europe. In rekindling herself she lit up the whole world. War, policy, literature, commerce, arts, navigation, manufactures, diplomacy, all emanated from Italy. Her names resemble those eternal dynasties on which the supremacy, in every region of the human mind, has been devolved by nature, and of which such men as Sixtus V., Leo X., Cosmo, Tasso, Dante, Machiavel, Michael Angelo, Raphael, Petrarch, Galileo, Doria, and Christopher Columbus, transmit to each other, even at this day, the sceptre that no other nation could snatch from their privileged race.
Alphonse Lamartine: Hist. of the Rest. of Monarchy in France, vol. iii., book 38, xxiv.
This is the last sun I shall ever see, comrade, said [Marshal Ney], approaching M. de V. This world is at an end for me. This evening I shall lie in another bivouac. I am no woman, but I believe in God, and in another life, and I feel that I have an immortal soul: they spoke to me of preparation for death, of the consolations of religion, of conferring with a pious priest. Is that the death of a soldier? Let me hear what you would do in my place. Were I in your place, I should allow the curate of St. Sulpice to enter, and I should prepare my soul for every event. I believe you are right, replied the marshal with a friendly smile. Well, then, let the priest come in.
Alphonse Lamartine: Hist. of the Restor. of Monarchy in France, vol. iii. book 34, xxiii.
Parties have no other prudence than factious qualifications, and no other moral principle than their passions. Peoples, like kings, have their moments of delirium, in which every ray of conscience is obscured by the bubbling of their anger.
Alphonse Lamartine: Hist. of the Restor. of Monarchy in France, vol. iv. book 46, xvii.
If cruelty has its expiations and its remorses, generosity has its chances and its turns of good fortune; as if Providence reserved them for fitting occasions, that noble hearts may not be discouraged.
Alphonse Lamartine: History of the Restoration in France, vol. iii. book 34, xviii.