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The spectators fled with one accord. Allingham and Gregg doubled up in hot pursuit. Arthur Withers, who had mustered the wit to fall down rather than to be knocked down, picked himself up quickly and joined them.It is only in this higher region that perfect virtue can be realised. The maintenance of a settled balance between rival solicitations, or between the excess and defect of those impulses which lead us to seek pleasure and avoid pain, is good indeed, but neither the only nor the chief good. The law of moderation does not extend to that supremely happy life which is related to our emotional existence as the aether to the terrestrial elements, as soul to body, as reason to sense, as science to opinion. Here it is the steady subordination of means to ends which imitates the insphering of the heavenly orbs, the hierarchy of psychic faculties, and the chain of syllogistic arguments. Of theoretic activity we cannot have too much, and all other activities, whether public or private, should be regarded as so much machinery for ensuring its peaceful prosecution. Wisdom and temperance had been absolutely identified by Socrates; they are as absolutely held apart by Aristotle. And what we have had occasion to observe in the other departments of thought is verified here once more. The method of analysis and opposition, apparently so prudent, proved, in the end, unfruitful. Notwithstanding his paradoxes, Socrates was substantially right. The moral regeneration of the world was destined to be brought about, not by Dorian discipline, but by free Athenian thought, working on practical conceptionsby the discovery of new moral truth, or rather by the dialectic development of old truth. And, conversely, the highest development of theoretic activity was not attained by isolating it in egoistic self-contemplation from the world of human needs, but by consecrating it to their service, informing it with their vitality, and subjecting it, in common with them, to that law of moderation from which no energy, however godlike, is exempt.
"The behaviour of the soldiers during the night, with very few exceptions, makes a scandalous impression.The puzzled and slightly dissatisfied audience poured out of the inquest hall with a feeling that they had been defrauded. There was no chance of a verdict of murder against Bruce after the last two bits of startling and quite unexpected evidence. Two credible witnesses had proved that one of the people who had called Bruce to the corner house had remained after he had left. The case was just as fascinating, and at the same time as puzzling as ever. The real culprit as yet might have to be found, but there was no getting away from these facts about the stolen banknotes. Still, the coroner's jury were not called to try that question, and at the suggestion of Prout the matter was adjourned for a month.
It appears, then, that the popular identification of an Epicurean with a sensualist has something to say in its favour. Nevertheless, we have no reason to think that Epicurus was anything but perfectly sincere when he repudiated the charge of being a mere sensualist.132 But the impulse which lifted him above sensualism was not derived from his own original philosophy. It was due to the inspiration of Plato; and nothing testifies more to Platos moral greatness than that the64 doctrine most opposed to his own idealism should have been raised from the dust by the example of its flight. We proceed to show how the peculiar form assumed by Epicureanism was determined by the pressure brought to bear on its original germ two generations before.
84"I shall not listen to a word of it," the Countess cried. "The mere suggestion is revolting to one's common sense. Fancy you committing a vulgar crime like that! Jump in, and let us get away from this awful crowd. Where shall I drive you?"
That I was "wanted" is proved by the fact that two persons have had the greatest trouble because they were mistaken for the Mokveld-Correspondent of De Tijd. My colleague Kemper passed a fortnight in prison in Brussels, accused of having written various articles in De Tijd, which were written by me, and I relate, in the chapter "Round about Bilsen," what Mr. Van Wersch, another Netherlander, suffered for the same reason.For a moment he gave way to emotion. He hesitated for a few seconds, and I saw tears in his eyes. He then went on with a trembling voice:
It was natural that one who united a great intellect to a glowing temperament should turn his thoughts to poetry. Plato wrote a quantity of versesverse-making had become fashionable just thenbut wisely committed them to the flames on making the acquaintance of Socrates. It may well be doubted whether the author of the Phaedrus and the Symposium would ever have attained eminence in metrical composition, even had he lived in an age far more favourable to poetic inspiration than that which came after the flowering time of Attic art. It seems as if Plato, with all his fervour, fancy, and dramatic skill, lacked the most essential quality of a singer; his finest passages are on a level with the highest poetry, and yet they are separated from it by a chasm more easily felt than described. Aristotle, whom we think of as hard and dry and cold, sometimes comes much nearer to the true lyric cry. And, as if to mark out Platos style still more distinctly from every other, it is also deficient in oratorical power. The philosopher evidently thought that he could beat the rhetoricians on their own ground; if the Menexenus be genuine, he tried to do so and failed; and even without its191 testimony we are entitled to say as much on the strength of shorter attempts. We must even take leave to doubt whether dialogue, properly so called, was Platos forte. Where one speaker is placed at such a height above the others as Socrates, or the Eleatic Stranger, or the Athenian in the Laws, there cannot be any real conversation. The other interlocutors are good listeners, and serve to break the monotony of a continuous exposition by their expressions of assent or even by their occasional inability to follow the argument, but give no real help or stimulus. And when allowed to offer an opinion of their own, they, too, lapse into a monologue, addressed, as our silent trains of thought habitually are, to an imaginary auditor whose sympathy and support are necessary but are also secure. Yet if Platos style is neither exactly poetical, nor oratorical, nor conversational, it has affinities with each of these three varieties; it represents the common root from which they spring, and brings us, better than any other species of composition, into immediate contact with the mind of the writer. The Platonic Socrates has eyes like those of a portrait which follow us wherever we turn, and through which we can read his inmost soul, which is no other than the universal reason of humanity in the delighted surprise of its first awakening to self-conscious activity. The poet thinks and feels for us; the orator makes our thoughts and feelings his own, and then restores them to us in a concentrated form, receiving in vapour what he gives back in a flood. Plato removes every obstacle to the free development of our faculties; he teaches us by his own example how to think and to feel for ourselves. If Socrates personified philosophy, Plato has reproduced the personification in artistic form with such masterly effect that its influence has been extended through all ages and over the whole civilised world. This portrait stands as an intermediary between its original and the far-reaching effects indirectly due to his dialectic inspiration, like that universal soul which Plato himself has placed between192 the supreme artificer and the material world, that it might bring the fleeting contents of space and time into harmony with uncreated and everlasting ideas.