480: A Trust.

Society is to be regarded as a whole, as a sort of living organism, in which there are many parts, distinguishable but not separable one from another. All the parts are necessary, all should be knit together in a living union, and move on in concert as a living and reasonable being. The head is not to be valued without the body, nor the body without the members: yet the body should have a head, and the head should be regarded as the more noble part. The aristocracy are not to be separated from the body of the nation, are not to be regarded as existing apart and for themselves alone, but as existing for the nation, for the service of the people, and the common good of the whole. Nobility is not a personal right, it is a trust — a trust from God for the common good of the nation. “Let him that would be the greatest among you be your servant.” When the nobility forget this, — when they live only for themselves, regard their rank and privileges as their indefeasible property, and use their superiority only in reference to their own selfish ends, they lose their character of generosi, forget their nobility, sink to mere churls, and instead of serving the nation are served by it, and instead of guiding and leading society for the common good become an intolerable burden upon the people which they will be sure to attempt to shake off. Such become the old French noblesse under the reign of Louis the XV, the new nobility under the Emperor, the Orléanist noblesse, under “the citizen king,” and hence the revolutions of 1789, 1814, 1830, and 1848, which have threatened the very existence of European society, and which though checked for the moment by the coup d’etat of December, 1851, are not yet concluded. Such are rapidly becoming our own American nobility, or aristocracy. Our gentlemen are bankers, sharpers, brokers, stock-jobbers, traders, speculators, attorneys, pettifoggers, and in general worshipers of mammon. They have sometimes the manners, uniformly the sentiments, passions, and churlishness of the lowest of the people, and use the people instead of serving them. Hence the alarm which wise men fell for the safety of our republic, and the real prosperity of our people.

(Orestes Brownson, An Oration on Liberal Studies. Baltimore: Hedian & O’Brien, 1853, pp. 14–15).

480: A Trust.

478: A Great Smell of Thieves.

Since I came home I have been disturbed with a strange, foolish woman, that lives at the great corner house yonder; she is an attorney’s wife, and much given to her bottle. By the time she has finished that and daylight, she grows afraid of thieves, and makes the servants fire minute guns out of the garret windows. I remember persuading Mrs. Kerwood that there was a great smell of thieves, and this drunken dame seems literally to smell it. […] There are now three more guns gone off successively — she must be very drunk.

(Horace Walpole, The Letters of Horace Walpole, Fourth Earl of Orford, Vol. 2. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1903, p. 337–338).

478: A Great Smell of Thieves.

477: We Give the Thing a Name.

Style is indeed the product of the whole man. It must show the form of his soul, eagle-winged or serpent-winding. There will ring in it an echo of all his exultations, agonies, divinations, darings. It must betray the resources of his reason. What logic and lucidity he is possessed of will come out in the clear designs, the ordered architectural arrangement of his work, both in its entirety and in its clauses and sentences. It must exhibit his physical instincts in its sensuous reaching for concrete images, its organization of words into form and color and music. The reason we associate style with prose rather than with poetry is because verse is a balance of all these qualities. Without inspiration, without ordinance, without the vivid and sounding collocation of words, it falls to the ground and becomes nothing. It cannot sail on one wing or hop on one foot. Poetry is all style; whereas prose usually has one or another of the attributes of style missing or in excess, and our attention is thus arrested, and from its lack of balance we give the thing a name.

(Charles Leonard Moore, “On Style in Literature,” The Dial, Vol. XXXIX, No. 462, 1905, p. 157).

477: We Give the Thing a Name.

475: Natural Rivals.

There is a certain hardship in each age’s struggle to attain expression against the overwhelming mass of expression already in existence. In no other field of human effort does the practitioner have to contend with ghosts. A living general does not have to array his battalions against Caesar or Hannibal or Napoleon. A living athlete does not go up against Herakles or Milo. But a book or picture or musical composition has to fight not only against its natural rivals of the present, but against all that has been preserved from the past.

(Charles Leonard Moore, “Incense and Iconoclasm,” The Dial, Vol. LVII, No. 675, 1914, p. 67).

475: Natural Rivals.