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Walter Horatio Pater - Giordano Bruno, Paris, 1586 (1889)

Walter Horatio Pater - Giordano Bruno, Paris, 1586 (1889)

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The Project Gutenberg Etext of Giordano Bruno, by Walter Pater #14 in our series by Walter PaterCoyright la!s are changing all o"er the !orld Be sure to chec$ the coyright la!s for your country before distributing this or any other Project Gutenberg fileWe encourage you to $ee this file, exactly as it is, on your o!n dis$, thereby $eeing an electronic ath oen for future readers Please do not re%o"e thisThis header should be the first thing seen !hen anyone starts to "ie! the etext &o not change or edit it !ithout !ritten er%ission The !ords are carefully chosen to ro"ide users !ith the infor%ation they need to understand !hat they %ay and %ay not do !ith the etextTitle' Giordano Bruno, (uthor' Walter Pater, )elease &ate' *uly, +- .Etext# 4++/0, Edition' 1, anguage' English
by Walter Horatio Pater
Pater2s article aeared in The 3ortnightly )e"ie!, 1// ater it !as %uch re"ised and included as Chater 566 of the unfinished no"el, Gaston de atour
[e!t "ayo#t by $a%&a Na%'yal ( No)e%ber *++-
 Pater, Walter - Giordano Bruno, Paris 1586 
7*et8o, da ich ausge!achsen, 5iel gelesen, "iel gereist, 9ch!illt %ein :er8, und gan8 "on :er8en, Glaub2 ich an den :eilgen Geist7;
.+-40 6T !as on the afternoon of the 3east of Pentecost that ne!s of the death of Charles the <inth !ent abroad ro%tly To his successor the day beca%e a s!eet one, to be noted un%ista$ably by "arious ious and other obser"ances= and it !as on a Whit;9unday afternoon that curious Parisians had the oortunity of listening to one !ho, as if !ith so%e intentional ne! "ersion of the sacred e"ent then co%%e%orated, had a great deal to say concerning the 9irit= abo"e all, of the freedo%, the indeendence of its oeration The sea$er, though understood to be a brother of the >rder of 9t &o%inic, had not been resent at the %ass;;the usual uni"ersity %ass, &e 9iritu 9ancto, said to;day according to the natural course of the season in the chael of the 9orbonne, by the 6talian Bisho of Paris 6t !as the reign of the 6talians just then, a doubly refined, so%e!hat %orbid, so%e!hat ash;coloured, 6taly in 3rance, %ore 6talian still ?en of 6talian birth, 7to the great susicion of si%le eole,7 s!ar%ed in Paris, already 7flightier, less constant, than the girouettes on its steeles,7 and it !as lo"e for 6talian fashions that had brought $ing and courtiers here to;day, !ith great eclat, as they said, fri88ed and starched, in the beautiful, %inutely considered dress of the %o%ent, ressing the uni"ersity into a erhas not un%erited bac$ground= for the ro%ised sea$er, about !ho% tongues had been busy, not only in the atin @uarter, had co%e fro% 6taly 6n an age in !hich all things about !hich Parisians %uch cared %ust be 6talian there %ight be a hearing for 6talian hilosohy Courtiers at least !ould understand 6talian, and this sea$er !as ru%oured to ossess in erfection all the curious arts of his nati"e language (nd of all the $ingly @ualities of :enry2s youth, the single one that had held by hi% !as that gift of elo@uence, !hich he !as able also to "alue in others;;inherited erhas= for in all the conte%orary and subse@uent historic gossi about his %other, the t!o things certain are, that the hands credited !ith so %uch %ysterious ill;doing !ere fine ones, and that she !as an ad%irable sea$erBruno hi%self tells us, long after he had !ithdra!n hi%self fro% it, that the %onastic life ro%otes the freedo% of the intellect by its .+-A0 silence and self;concentration The rosect of such freedo% sufficiently exlains !hy a young %an !ho, ho!e"er !ell found in !orldly and ersonal ad"antages, !as conscious abo"e all of great intellectual ossessions, and of fastidious sirit also, !ith a re%ar$able distaste for the "ulgar, should ha"e esoused o"erty, chastity, obedience, in a &o%inican cloister What liberty of %ind %ay really co%e to in such laces, !hat daring ne! deartures it %ay suggest to the strictly %onastic te%er, is exe%lified by the dubious and dangerous %ysticis% of %en li$e *ohn of Par%a and *oachi% of 3lora, reuted author of the ne! 7E"erlasting Gosel,7 strange drea%ers, in a !orld of sanctified rhetoric, of that later disensation of the sirit, in !hich all la! %ust ha"e assed a!ay= or again by a recognised tendency in the great ri"al >rder of 9t 3rancis, in the so;called 7siritual7 3ranciscans, to understand the dog%atic !ords of faith !ith a differenceThe three con"ents in !hich Bruno li"ed successi"ely, at <ales, at Citta di Ca%agna, and finally the ?iner"a at )o%e, de"eloed freely, !e %ay suose, all the %ystic @ualities of a genius in !hich, fro% the first, a heady southern i%agination too$ the lead But it !as fro% beyond con"entional bounds he !ould loo$ for the sustenance, the fuel, of an ardour born or bred !ithin the% (%id such artificial religious stillness the air itself beco%es generous in undertones The "ain young %on$ "ain of courseD !ould feed his "anity by u88ling the good, sleey heads of the a"erage sons of &o%inic !ith his neology, utting ne! !ine into old bottles, teaching the% their o!n business;;the ne!, higher, truer sense of the %ost fa%iliar ter%s, the chaters they read, the hy%ns they sang, abo"e all, as it haened, e"ery !ord that referred to the 9irit, the reign of the 9irit, its excellent freedo% :e !ould soon ass beyond the ut%ost li%its of his brethren2s sy%athy, beyond the largest and freest interretation those !ords !ould bear, to thoughts and !ords on an altogether different lane, of !hich the full scoe !as only to be felt in certain old agan !riters, though aroached, erhas, at first, as ha"ing a $ind of natural, rearatory $inshi !ith 9criture itself The &o%inicans !ould see% to ha"e had !ell; stoc$ed, liberally;selected, libraries= and this curious youth, in that age of restored letters, read eagerly, easily, and "ery soon ca%e to the $ernel of a difficult old author;;Plotinus or Plato= to the urose of thin$ers older still, sur"i"ing by gli%ses only in the boo$s of others;;E%edocles, Pythagoras, !ho had enjoyed the original di"ine sense of things, abo"e all, Par%enides, that %ost ancient assertor of God2s identity !ith the !orld The affinities, the unity, of the "isible and the in"isible, of earth and hea"en, of all things !hate"er, !ith each
13ro% :eine2s (us der :ar8reise, 7Bergidylle +7' 7Tannenbau%, %it grunen 3ingern,7 9tan8a 1
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 Pater, Walter - Giordano Bruno, Paris 1586 
other, through the consciousness, the erson, of God the 9irit, !ho !as at e"ery %o%ent of infinite ti%e, in e"ery ato% of %atter, at e"ery .+-0 oint of infinite sace, ay !as e"erything in turn' that doctrine;;l2antica filosofia 6taliana;; !as in all its "igour there, a hardy gro!th out of the "ery heart of nature, interreting itself to congenial %inds !ith all the fulness of ri%iti"e utterance ( big thought yet suggesting, erhas, fro% the first, in still, s%all, i%%ediately ractical, "oice, so%e ossible %odification of, a freer !ay of ta$ing, certain %oral recets' say a ri%iti"e %orality, congruous !ith those larger ri%iti"e ideas, the larger sur"ey, the earlier, %ore liberal air)eturning to this ancient 7antheis%,7 after so long a reign of a see%ingly oosite faith, Bruno unfalteringly asserts 7the "ision of all things in God7 to be the ai% of all %etahysical seculation, as of all in@uiry into nature' the 9irit of God, in countless "ariety of for%s, neither abo"e, nor, in any !ay, !ithout, but inti%ately !ithin, all things;;really resent, !ith e@ual integrity, in the sunbea% ninety %illions of %iles long, and the !andering dro of !ater as it e"aorates thereinThe di"ine consciousness !ould ha"e the sa%e relation to the roduction of things, as the hu%an intelligence to the roduction of true thoughts concerning the% <ay those thoughts are the%sel"es God in %an' a loan, there, too, of his assisting 9irit, !ho, in truth, creates all things in and by his o!n conte%lation of the% 3or :i%, as for %an in roortion as %an thin$s truly, thought and, being are identical, and things existent only in so far as they are $no!n &elighting in itself, in the sense of its o!n energy, this sleeless, caacious, fiery intelligence, e"o$es all the orders of nature, all the re"olutions of history, cycle uon cycle, in e"er ne! tyes (nd God the 9irit, the soul of the !orld, being really identical !ith his o!n soul, Bruno, as the uni"erse shaes itself to his reason, his i%agination, e"er %ore and %ore articulately, shares also the di"ine joy in that rocess of the for%ation of true ideas, !hich is really arallel to the rocess of creation, to the e"olution of things 6n a certain %ystic sense, !hich so%e in e"ery age of the !orld ha"e understood, he, too, is creator, hi%self actually a articiator in the creati"e function (nd by such a hilosohy, he assures us, it !as his exerience that the soul is greatly exanded' con @uesta filosofia l2ani%a, %i s2aggrandisce' %i se %agnifica l2intelletto3or, !ith characteristic largeness of %ind, Bruno acceted this theory in the !hole range of its conse@uences 6ts %ore i%%ediate corollary !as the fa%ous axio% of 7indifference,7 of 7the coincidence of contraries7 To the eye of God, to the hilosohic "ision through !hich God sees in %an, nothing is really alien fro% :i% The differences of things, and abo"e all, those distinctions !hich school%en and riests, old or ne!, )o%an or )efor%ed, had in"ented for the%sel"es, !ould be lost in the length and breadth of the hilosohic sur"ey= nothing, in itself, either great or s%all= and %atter, .+-F0 certainly, in all its "arious for%s, not e"il but di"ine Could one choose or reject this or that 6f God the 9irit had %ade, nay !as, all things indifferently, then, %atter and sirit, the sirit and the flesh, hea"en and earth, freedo% and necessity, the first and the last, good and e"il, !ould be suerficial rather than substantial differences >nly, !ere joy and sorro! also to be added to the list of heno%ena really coincident or indifferent, as so%e intellectual $ins%en of Bruno ha"e clai%ed they shouldThe &o%inican brother !as at no distant day to brea$ far enough a!ay fro% the election, the see%ing 7"ocation7 of his youth, yet !ould re%ain al!ays, and under all circu%stances, un%ista$ably a %on$ in so%e redo%inant @ualities of te%er (t first it only by !ay of thought that he asserted his liberty;;delightful, late;found ri"ilege;;tra"ersing, in %ental journeys, that sacious circuit, as it bro$e a!ay before hi% at e"ery %o%ent into e"er;ne! hori8ons Hindling thought and i%agination at once, the rosect dra!s fro% hi% cries of joy, a $ind of religious joy, as in so%e ne! 7canticle of the creatures,7 a ne! %on$ish hy%nal or antihonary 7<ature7 beco%es for hi% a sacred ter% 7Confor% thyself to <ature7;;!ith !hat sincerity, !hat enthusias%, !hat religious fer"our, he enounces the recet to others, to hi%self )eco"ering as he fancies, a certain ri%e"al sense of &eity broadcast on things, in !hich Pythagoras and other insired theorists of early Greece had abounded, in his hands hilosohy beco%es a oe%, a sacred oe%, as it had been !ith the% That Bruno hi%self, in 7the enthusias% of the idea,7 dre! fro% his axio% of the 7indifference of contraries7 the ractical conse@uence !hich is in "ery deed latent there, that he !as ready to sacrifice to the antino%ianis%, !hich is certainly a art of its rigid logic, the urities of his youth for instance, there is no roof The ser"ice, the sacrifice, he is ready to bring to the great light that has da!ned for hi%, !hich occuies his entire conscience !ith the sense of his resonsibilities to it, is that of days and nights sent in eager study, of a lenary, disinterested utterance of the thoughts that arise in hi%, at any ha8ard, at the rice, say of %artyrdo% The !or$ of the di"ine 9irit, as he concei"es it, exalts, inebriates hi%, till the scientific arehension see%s to ta$e the lace of rayer, sacrifice, co%%union 6t !ould be a %ista$e, he holds, to attribute to the hu%an soul caacities %erely assi"e or receti"e 9he, too, ossesses, not less than the soul of the !orld, initiatory o!er, resonding !ith the free gift of a light and heat that see% her o!nIet a nature so oulently endo!ed can hardly ha"e been lac$ing in urely hysical ardours :is antheistic belief that the 9irit of God !as in all things, !as not inconsistent !ith, %ight encourage, a $een and restless eye for the dra%atic
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