La confiança en sí mateix. L'amistat/L'amistat

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L'AMISTAT

Una gota vermella de mascle sang
té més força que l mar abraonat.
El món mudable va i ve,
l'amant està ferm i s'arrela.
Jo creia que havia fugit,
i, després de molts anys,
brillà de nou afecte inextingible
com l'auba de cada dia.
Mon cor, ansiós, fou lliure altra vegada;
oh amic!, mon pit va dir,
tu sol me fas del cel una volta,
tu dónes a la rosa l seu carmí,
pel teu entremig tot pren formes més nobles
i mira més enllà de la terra;
el vogit feixu del nostre destí
apar en tes virtuts l'orbita d'un sol.
A mi també ta noblesa m'ha ensenyat
a dominar ma desesperació;
les fonts de ma vida oculta
són belles per ta amistat.


L

a nostra amabilitat es molt més gran de lo que mai no s diu. Malgrat tot l'egoisme que com vent llevant glaça la terra, un element d'amor com eter finissim banya tota l'humana familia. Quantes persones no trobem per les cases am qui escassament parlem, i que tant mateix honorem i que ns honoren! Quantes no n veiem pel carrer, o seuen am nosaltres a l'iglesia, am qui, si bé en silenci, ens alegrem d'estar! Llegiu el llenguatge d'eixos esguards errants. El cor coneix.

L'efecte que produeix aquesta afecció humana es una certa exultació cordial. En poesia i en llenguatge comú, les emocions de benevolença i de complacencia que sentim envers els altres se comparen als efectes materials del foc; tant rapides, o molt més rapides, més actives, més excitants són aquestes belles radiacions interiors. Desde l més alt grau d'amor passional fins al més petit de bona voluntat, elles són la dolçor de la vida.

Les nostres potencies intellectuals i actives augmenten am la nostra afecció. El lletrat se posa a escriure, i tots els seus anys de meditació no són prou pera inspirar-li un bon pensament o una expressió feliç; però que hagi d'escriure una carta a un amic i al moment estols de gentils pensaments li venen, revestits arreu d'escullides paraules. Observeu, en una casa que habiten la virtut i la dignitat, quina palpitació no hi produeix la vinguda d'un foraster. Un foraster encomanat i esperat s'anuncia, i una inquietut entre goig i pena invadeix tots els cors de la casa. La seva arribada gaire bé produeix por als bons cors que desitgen saludar-lo. La casa es espolçada, cada cosa vola al seu lloc, el vestit vell se muda pel nou, i un dinar s'imposa per poc que s pugui. D'un foraster encomanat, no més que les bones veus se diuen i s'escolten. Ell es pera nosaltres l'humanitat. Es lo que desitgem. Havent-lo així imaginat i revestit, ens preguntem quines relacions de paraula i de fet hem de servar amb aital home, i ens sentim tots neguitosos. La mateixa idea exalta la nostra conversa amb ell. Parlem mellor que de costum. La nostra imaginació es lo més viva, la memoria riquissima, i el nostre diable mut ha pres comiat per una estona. Per llargues hores podem continuar una serie de comunicacions sinceres, gracioses i riques, tretes de l'experiencia més vella i més secreta; de tal modo que ls parents i coneguts que ns escolten queden vivament sorpresos de les nostres extraordinaries facultats. Més tantost el foraster comença a introduir en la conversa ses parcialitats, ses definicions, sos defectes, tot es acabat. Ell ha sentit lo primer, lo darrer i lo mellor de la que jamai sentirà de nosaltres. Ja no es ara un foraster. Vulgaritat, ignorancia, error, són velles coneixences. Ara, quan torni, podrà trobar aquella condicia, el bell vestit, el bon dinar,—però ls glatits del cor i les comunicacions de l'ànima, mai més.

Qué hi ha tant agradable com aquests dolls d'afecció que m tornen el món jove altra volta? Qué tant deliciós com un just i ferm encontre de dos en un pensament o un sentiment? Que hermoses, a l'acostar-se a aquest cor bategant, les passes i les formes dels agraciats i del fidels! Al moment que ns entreguem a les nostres afeccions, la terra s metamorfosseja; ja no hi ha hivern ni nit; tota tragedia, tot enuig s'esvaeix,—fins els devers i tot. Res pot omplir l'eternitat insondable sinó les formes totes radiants de sers aimats. Que tingui l'ànima la certitut de reunir-se al seu amic en algun punt de l'univers, i, contenta i gojosa, esperarà sola mil anys.

Aquest matí m'he despertat am devot agraiment als meus amics, els vells i els nous. Com puc no nomenar a Déu l'Hermós, si diariament així sem manifesta en sos dons? Me barallo am la societat, abraço la solitut, i tant mateix no sóc tant ingrat que no vegi ls savis, els amables i els de noble pensa quan de temps en temps passen per ma porta. El qui m sent, el qui m'entén, devé meu,—una possessió per sempre. Ni es tant pobra la Natura que no m dongui aquest goig varies vegades; i així tots teixim am nostres propis fils socials una nova tela de relacions; i com que molts pensaments successius arriben a materialisar-se, nosaltres ens trobem poc a poc en un nou món de la nostra propria creació, i no més forasters i pelegrins en un món tradicional. Els meus amics m'han arribat sens jo cercar-los. El gran Déu mels va donar. Pel dret més antic, per l'afinitat divina de la virtut am sí mateixa, jo ls trobo, o, mellor, no jo, sinó la Deitat en mi i en ells, que burla i anula ls murs espessos del caracter individual, relacions, edat, sexe i circumstancies, que usualment comporta, i ara de molts ne fa un sol. Grans mercès vos dec, excellents aimadors, que m desplegueu el món a noves i nobles fondaries, i amplieu el sentit de tots mos pensaments. Són nova poesia det primer Bard,—poesia sense pausa,—himne, oda, epopeia, poesia que sempre brolla, Apol i les Muses que encara canten. Se separaran també aquests, o algú d'aquests, altre cop de mi? No ho sé pas, però no ho temo; car ma relació amb ells es tant pura, que ns tenim per simple afinitat, i el Geni de ma vida, essent talment social, la mateixa afinitat exercirà sa energia en qualsevol que sigui tant noble com aquests homes i dònes, sigui jo on sigui.

Jo m confesso, en aquest punt, d'un temperament molt delicat. Es quasi perillós pera mi «destruir el dolç verí del licor abusiu» de les afeccions. Una nova coneixença es pera mi un gran deveniment i em priva de la sòn. He tingut sovint belles fantasies sobre persones que m'han fet passar hores delicioses; més el goig acaba amb el dia; no dóna fruit. El pensament no hi neix; la meva acció es molt poc modificada. Jo tinc de sentir orgull en les obres del meu amic com si fossin meves,—i una proprietat en ses virtuts. Sento tant de goig quan ell es alabat, com l'aimador quan sent aplaudir la seva promesa. Valorem amb excés la conciencia del nostre amic. Sa bondat sembla mellor que la nostra, sa naturalesa més fina, ses temptacions més petites. Tot lo que es seu,—son nom, sa figura, son vestit, llibres, instruments,—l'imaginació ho sublima. La nostra propria pensa sona nova i més ampla de sa boca.

Am tot, la sístole i diàstole del cor no deixa de mostrar analogia amb el fluix i refluix de l'amor. L'amistat, com l'immortalitat de l'ànima, es cosa massa bona pera esser creguda. L'aimador, al contemplar sa estimada, mig-coneix que no es ella realment lo que ell adora; i en les hores daurades de l'amistat ens sorprenen ombres de sospita i d'incredulitat. Dubtem de si tal volta concedim al nostre heroe les virtuts am les que brilla, i adorem després la figura a qui hem atribuida aquesta habitació divina. En rigor, l'ànima no respecta pas als homes com se respecta a sí mateixa. En veritat extricta, tots els homes viuen baix la mateixa condició d'un allunyament infinit. Tindrem por de refredar el nostre amor, si minem pera trobar els fonaments metafisics d'aquest temple elisià? No seré jo pas tant real com les coses que veig? Si ho sóc, no haig de témer de coneixer-les per lo que són. La llur essencia, ancque necessiti orguens més fins de percepció, no es pas menys més bella que la llur apariencia. L'arrel de la planta no es pas lletja pera la ciencia, ancque pera toies i garlandes tallem la tija arran. I en mig d'aquestes plaents fantasies, jo dec aventurar la presentació del fet pelat, per més que tingui de resultar una momia egipcia en nostre banquet. L'home que està unit am la seva pensa té un concepte superior de sí mateix. Es conscient d'un succés universal, per més que comprat am constants fallides particulars. No hi ha aventatge, ni poder, ni or, ni força, que puguin contrastar-lo. Jo no puc sinó confiar més en ma pobresa que en la vostra riquesa. No puc fer la vostra conciencia equivalent a la meva. No més l'estel enlluerna; el raig del planet es palid com clar de lluna. Jo bé sento lo que diuen de les admirables qualitats i excellent caracter de la persona alabada, més jo sé prou que am totes ses capes de porpra no m'ha de plaure sinó es pas un pobre grec com jo. No ho puc pas negar, oh amic! que la vasta ombra de lo Fenomenal a tu també t'enclou dins sa pintada i virolada immensitat,—a tu, també, comparat am qui tot lo demés es ombra. Tu no ets pas Ser, com es la Veritat, com es la Justicia; tu no ets pas la meva ànima, sinó una pintura, una imatge d'ella. Tot just ets arribat, i ja estas prenent el barret i la capa. Es que l'ànima no desclou amics com l'arbre que brosta i tot-d'una, am la germinació de nous botons, espolsa la fulla seca? La llei de la natura es alternació per sempre més. Cada estat electric sobre-indueix l'oposat. L'ànima s'environa d'amics, pera poder entrar en un més gran coneixement de sí mateixa o solitut; i resta sola per un temps pera poder enlairar la seva conversació o societat. Aquest procés se revela per tota l'historia de les nostres relacions personals. L'instint d'afecció ns revifa l'esperança d'unió amb els nostres companys, i l'instint d'isolament, al retornar, ens aparta d'aquella cacera. Així tots els homes passen la vida en persecució de l'amistat, i, si un hom expressés son veritable sentiment, a cada nou candidat pel seu amor podria escriure una lletra com aquesta:

«Car amic: Si jo estigués segur de tu, segur de ta capacitat, segur d'aparellar el meu humor amb el teu, ja mai més pensaria en futeses respecte a tes anades i vingudes. Jo no sóc pas gaire savi; el meu humor es facilment assequible; i jo respecto l teu geni, que es pera mi encara gaire bé insondat; am tot, jo no goso presumir en tu una perfeta intelligencia de mi, i així tu ets pera mi un torment deliciós. Teu sempre o mai.»

Emperò aquests plaers inquiets i aquests torments delicats són fets pera curiositat, no pera la vida. No ns hi devem entregar. Això es teixir trenyina, i no tela. Les nostres amistats se precipiten a curtes i pobres conclusions, perquè les fem d'un teixit de vi i de somnis, en lloc de la solida fibra del cor humà. Les lleis de l'amistat són austeres i eternes, d'una sola peça am les lleis naturals i morals. Més nosaltres aspirem a un profit rapit i mesquí, pera xuclar-hi una dolçor sobtada. Peguem urpada al fruit més tardà de tot el jardi de Déu, que necessita molts estius i molts hiverns pera madurar. No cerquem pas al nostre amic religiosament, sinó am una passió adulterada que sel voldria fer nostre. Es en va. Estem tots armats amb antagonismes subtils, que, tantost ens trobem, se posen en joc, i tradueixen tota poesia en prosa rancia. Quasi tots devallen pera reunir-se. Tota associació ha d'esser un compromís, i, lo que es pitjor, la mateixa flor i aroma de la flor de cada un dels bells caracters desapareix quan s'acosten. Quin perdurable desengany no es la societat actual, adhuc la dels virtuosos i dotats! Després que am llarga previsió s'han combinat entrevistes, ara, en plena festa de l'amistat i de la pensa, hem d'esser atormentats per cops traidors, per sobtades, intempestives apaties, per epilepsies d'enginy i d'esperit animal. Les nostres facultats no ns juguen net, i amdós companys troben alivi en la solitut.

Jo tindria d'esser igual a cada una de mes relacions. Res hi fa l nombre d'amics que jo tingui, i el goig que trobi en conversar amb ells, si n'hi ha un a qui jo no sigui igual. Si jo he reculat en una lluita, tota la joia que trobo en les demés devé miserable i covard. Jo m tindria d'avorrir, si aleshores fes dels altres amics mon asil.

 «El valent guerrer famós en la batalla,
després de cent victories, no més un cop retut,
es esborrat del llibre de l'honor,
i tots els seus serveys són oblidats.»

Així la nostra impaciencia es asprament castigada. La vergonya i l'apatia són la dura closca que protegeix de madurar abans d'hora a un organisme delicat. Aquest se perdria, si s conegués a sí mateix, abans de que alguna ànima superior fos prou madura pera coneixe-l i posseir-lo. Respecteu la naturlangsamkeit[1] que endureix el rubí en un milió d'anys, i treballa a tant llarga durada, que dins d'ella els Alps i els Andes se fan i s fonen com arcs de Sant Martí. El bon esperit de la nostra vida no té cap cel pera premi de la precipitació. Amor, que es l'essencia de Déu, no està pas per lleugereses, sinó pel valor sencer de l'home. No tinguem pas aquest afany pueril en les nostres afeccions, sinó la dignitat més austera; acostem-nos al nostre amic amb una fe audaç en la veritat del seu cor i en l'amplaria incommovible dels seus fonaments.

Les atraccions d'aquesta materia són irresistibles, i deixaré per una estona tota consideració del benefici social subordinat, pera parlar d'aquesta relació selecta i sagrada, que es una mena de relació absoluta, i que fins al llenguatge d'amor deixa sospitós i vulgar, tant es aquesta més pura, i res del món tant diví.

No vull tractar les meves amistats am delicadesa, sinó amb el més aspre coratge. Quan són reals, no són pas fil de vidre ni dibuix de gebre, sinó la cosa més forta que coneguem. Car després de tantes edats d'experiencia, què coneixem avui de la natura o de nosaltres mateixos? Ni un sol pas ha avançat l'home vers la solució del problema del seu destí. En una general condemnació de follia està tot l'univers dels homes. Més la dolça sinceritat de joia i pau que m dona aquesta aliança am l'ànima del meu germà, es el pinyó mateix, del qual tota natura i tota pensa no són més que la closca i clofolla. Benhaurada la casa que acull a un amic! Prou podria edificar-se, com una arcada o glorieta festiva, pera hostatjar-lo un sol dia. Més feliç encara si ell coneix la solemnitat d'aquesta relació i honora sa llei. El qui s presenta candidat per aquest pacte arriba, com un olimpià, als grans jocs, aon són competidors els primogenits del món. Se proposa lluitar en una justa en quals llistes figuren el Temps, la Miseria i el Perill, i aon sol es vencedor aquell qui tingui en sí prou veritat pera preservar la flor de sa bellesa del desgast i la destrucció de tots aquells. Els dons de la fortuna poden ser-hi o no ser-hi, però tota la rapidesa en aquest cors depèn de la noblesa intrinseca i del menyspreu de futeses.

Dos elements entren en la composició de l'amistat, cascú tant sobirà, que en cap d'ells puc descobrir superioritat, ni raó pera nomenar l'un abans que l'altre. L'un es Veritat. Un amic es una persona am la qual jo puc esser sincer. Davant d'ell puc pensar en veu alta. A la fi he arribat a la presencia d'un home tant real i tant igual, que m puc despullar d'aquelles robes més interiors de dissimulació, cortesia i segona intenció, que ls homes mai no abandonen,i puc tractar amb ell amb aquella simplicitat i integritat am que un atom se junta amb un altre. La sinceritat, com les diademes i l'autoritat, es un luxe sols permès a la jerarquia més alta, la que té llicencia pera dir la veritat, per no tenir res superior que cortejar o acatar. Cada home sol es sincer. A l'entrar una altra persona comença l'hipocresia. Ens guardem i defensem de l'aproximació del nostre company am compliments, xerrades, diversions i quefers. Li cobrim am cent vels la nostra pensa. Jo coneixia un home que, mogut d'una mania religiosa, va llençar aquests volquers i, prescindint de tot compliment i lloc comú, parlava a la conciencia de cada persona que trobava, i això am gran penetració i bellesa. De primer el resistien, i tot-hom convenia en que era boig. Més, persistint per un temps, com no podia menys de fer, en aquesta via, ell va conseguir l'aventatge de fer entrar a totes ses coneixences en relacions de veritat amb ell. Ningú pensava en parlar amb ell falsament, ni en treure-sel de sobre amb una xerrada dels mercats o ls salons de lectura. Sa gran sinceritat obligava a tot-hom al mateix tracte senzill, i tot-hom li mostrava am certesa quin amor a la natura, quina poesia, quin simbol de veritat tenia. Més a la majoria de nosaltres la societat no ns mostra pas la cara ni ls ulls, sinó l costat i l'esquena. L'estar en relacions veritables amb els homes en una epoca falsa bé mereix un accés de follia, no es així? Poc sovint podem anar drets. Quasi bé tota persona que trobem demana algun compliment, vol que l'afalaguin; té una fama, un talent, una quimera religiosa o filantropica ficada al cap, que són inqüestionables, i que espatllen tota conversa amb ella. Més un amic es un home sà que no exercita l meu enginy, sinó a mi mateix. El meu amic me dóna entreteniment sense exigir de cap estipulació de part meva. Un amic es, per tant, una sort de paradoxa en la natura. Jo, l'unic que sóc, jo, que res veig en la natura qual existencia pugui afirmar amb igual evidencia que la meva, contemplo ara la semblança del meu ser, en tota sa elevació, varietat i raresa, repetida en forma extrangera. Talment pot ben dir-se que un amic es l'obra mestra de la natura.

L'altre element de l'amistat es Tendresa. Estem units als homes per tota mena de llaços, per la sang, l'orgull, el temor, l'esperança, el lucre, el desig, l'odi, l'admiració, per tota mena de circumstancies, divises i futeses, però dificilment podem creure que existeixi en un altre tanta virtut que ns captivi d'amor. Es possible que un altre sigui tant benaurat, i jo tant pur, que li pugui oferir tendresa? Quan un home se m fa car he tocat la meta de la fortuna. Poca cosa trobo en els llibres que vagi dret al cor de la qüestió. Am tot, tinc un text que no puc passar en silenci. Diu el meu autor: «M'ofereixo esquerpament als qui de fet me posseeixen, i em dono menys a qui més venero». Voldria que, tant com ulls i eloqüencia, l'amistat tingués peus. Primer té d'arrelar-se en la terra, abans no s vincli sobre la lluna. Jo la desitjaria quelcom de burgès, abans d'esser tot un querubí. Censurem al burgès perquè fa de l'amor una comoditat. Es un cambi de dons, de prestacions utils; es bon veinatge; fa la vetlla al malalt; sosté la glaça a l'enterro; i perd totalment de vista les finures i la noblesa de la relació. Més si no podem reconèixer al déu sota aquesta disfreça de marxant, per altra part tampoc podem perdonar al poeta si fila massa prim, i no concreta l seu somni am les virtuts municipals de la justicia, puntualitat, fidelitat i pietat. Abomino la prostitució del nom d'amistat pera significar aliances a la moda i mundanals. M'estimo molt més la companyia dels rustics i dels innocents que l'amistat sedosa i perfumada que celebra ls dies de reunió am pompes frèvoles, passejades en cotxe i dinars en els mellors hostals. El fi de l'amistat es un comerç el més estricte i casolà que pugui establir-se,—més estricte que cap altre de que tinguem experiencia. Es feta pera ajuda i conhort en totes les relacions i circumstancies de la vida i de la mort. Es propria de jorns serens, i de dons graciosos, i excursions campestres, més també d'aspres camins i forts treballs, naufragi, pobresa i persecució. Guarda companyia am les agudeses d'esperit i amb els extasis religiosos. Tenim de dignificar-nos mutualment les necessitats i funcions jornaleres de la vida humana, i embellir-la am coratge, saviesa i unitat. Mai no hauria de caure en res d'habitual i establert, sinó que hauria d'esser alerta i inventiva, i afegir poesia i raó a lo que era un vil ofici.

L'amistat, podem dir, necessita naturaleses tant rares i preuables, cada una tant ben temperada i tant feliçment adaptada, i am tot tant circumstanciada (car adhuc en aquest punt, diu el poeta, l'amor vol que les parts siguin del tot aparellades), que la seva satisfacció pot molt rarament assegurar-se. No pot existir en sa perfecció entre més de dos, diuen alguns dels savis en aquesta ciencia ardent del cor. Jo no sóc tant estricte en els meus termes, tal volta perquè no he conegut mai una amistat tant elevada com altres. La meva imaginació s complau més en un cercle d'homes i dònes divins, variadament relacionats uns amb altres, i entre ls quals existeix una sublim intelligencia. Però trobo aquesta llei d'un amb un peremptoria en la conversa, que es la pràctica i consumació de l'amistat. No barregeu massa les aigües. La mescla dels bons es tant dolenta com la dels bons amb els dolents. Tindreu converses molt profitoses i animades en temps diferents am dos homes diferents, més reuniu-vos tots tres i no tindreu una sola paraula nova ni coral. Dos poden parlar i un pot escoltar, però tres no poden pas pendre part en una conversa de la sort més sincera i recercant. En bona companyia, mai hi ha entre dues persones, a travers de la taula, tal conversa com té lloc quan les deixeu soles. En bona companyia, els individus acoten llurs egotismes dins una ànima social exactament al nivell de totes les conciencies presents. Cap parcialitat d'amic a amic, cap indulgencia de germà am germana, de muller am marit, no es allí escaient, sinó impertinent. Tant sols aquell pot enraonar que, no limitant-se pobrement a la seva pensa, s'aventura a navegar solcant la pensa general de la reunió. Ara bé: aquesta convenció, que l bon sentit demana, destrueix la gran llibertat de la conversa elevada, que requereix una coincidencia absoluta de dos ànimes en una.

No hi ha pas dos homes que, deixats sols, no entrin en relacions més simples. Però es l'afinitat que determina quins dos han de conversar. Quan entre dos no hi ha parentiu, no troben goig l'un en l'altre; no sospitaran mai els poders latents de cadascú. Parlem devegades d'un gran talent pera la conversa, com si fos una proprietat permanent en certs individus. La conversa es una relació volandera,—i res més. Un home de reputat talent i eloqüencia es incapaç, am tot això, de dir una paraula al seu cosí o al seu oncle. I ells acusen son silenci am tanta raó com ne tindrien pera censurar l'insignificança d'un rellotge de sol posat a l'ombra. Poseu-lo al sol, i marcarà l'hora. Entre ls qui tenen gust en sa pensa, aquell recobrarà sa llengua.

L'amistat demana aquell rar terme mig entre semblança i dessemblança, que s pica am la presencia de força o consentiment en l'amic. Primer estar-me sol fins a la fi del món, que no que l meu amic traspassi amb una paraula o una mirada sa simparia real. Tant m'enutja l'antagonisme com la condescendencia. Que l meu amic no deixi un sol instant d'esser ell mateix. L'unic goig que tinc en que ell sigui meu està en que lo no meu es meu. M'irrita sols trobar una concessió insipida allí aon cercava una mascle ajuda, o al menys una mascle resistencia. Val més esser una ortiga en el còs del vostre amic que l seu eco. La condició que l'alta amistat demana es poder prescindir d'ella. Aquesta alta funció requereix personatges grans i sublims. Cal que siguin realment dos, abans d'esser realment un. Sigui l'amistat una aliança de dues naturaleses grans i formidables, mutualment observades, mutualment temudes, abans no reconeguin la pregona identitat que per dessota aquestes divergencies les uneix.

Sols qui es magnanim es apte pera aquesta societat; qui està segur de que grandesa i bondat són sempre economia; qui no s daleix pera intervindre en sos atzars. Que no intervingui en aquest. Deixa al diamant ses edats pera formar-se; ni esperis accelerar les naixences de lo etern. L'amistat vol un tractament religiós. Parlem d'escullir els nostres amics, però ls amics se trien sols. La reverencia es una gran part de l'amistat. Tracta l teu amic com un espectacle. Pla que ell té merits que no són pas teus, i que tu no pots honorar, si t'obstines en tenir-lo massa a la vora. Aparta-t; dóna espai an aquests merits; deixa que pugin i s'extenguin. Per ventura ets l'amic dels seus botons o de sa pensa? Amb un cor gran ell restarà extranger en mil particularitats, pera poder acostar-s'hi en el terrer més sant. Deixa-ho pera les noies i pels nois el mirar un amic com una proprietat, i xuclar-hi un plaer breu de confusió, en lloc del més noble benefici.

Deixeu-nos comprar amb una llarga prova la nostra entrada en aquest gremi. Per què hem de profanar ànimes nobles i belles am la nostra intrusió? Per què insistir en brusques relacions personals amb el vostre amic? Per què anar a casa seva i conèixer sa mare i son germà i ses germanes? Per què les visites d'ell a la vostra? Són essencials aquestes coses al nostre pacte? Deixeu aquest tocar i grapejar. Sigui ell pera mi un esperit. Un missatge, un pensament, una franquesa, un esguard d'ell me calen, més no noves ni dinars. Política, xerrades i acomodos veinals, de companys més vulgars puc procurar-mels. La societat del meu amic no hauria d'esser pera mi poetica, pura, universal i gran com la mateixa natura? I no deuria jo sentir que l nostre llaç es profà en vista aquella barra de nuvols que dorm l'horitzó, o aquell tou d'herba onejant que desparteix el rieró? No l'envilim, ans alcem-lo a aquest nivell. Aquells grans ulls que t desafien, la despreciativa bellesa del seu posat i gestes no t moguin pas a humiliar-los, sinó, al contrari, fortifica-ls i enlaira-ls. Venera ses superioritats; desitja-se-les, no tant sols en pensament, sinó replegant-les, dient-se-les totes. Guarda-l com la teva contrapart. Sigui ell sempre pera tu com un bell enemic, indomptable, devotament reverenciat, i no una conveniencia trivial destinada a envellir prest i ser llençada. Els cambiants de l'opal, les llums del diamant, no s poden veure si l'ull es massa aprop. Jo escric al meu amic una lletra, i d'ell ne rebo una altra. Això us semblarà poc. A mi m basta. Es un dò espiritual digne d'ell de donar, i de mi de rebre. No profana a ningú. En aquestes ratlles calides el cor s'hi fia com no s fiarà en la llengua, i hi vessa la profecia d'una existencia més divina que totes les que jamai els anals de l'heroisme han consagrat.

Sigui tant gran el vostre respecte per les santes lleis d'aquesta cofradia, que no perjudiqui sa flor perfecta la vostra impaciencia d'obrir-la. Devem esser ben nostres abans no poguem esser d'un altre. El crim dóna al menys aquesta satisfacció, segons el proverbi llatí: pots parlar d'igual a igual amb el teu complice. (Crimen quos inquinat, æquat.) Amb aquells a qui admirem i estimem, al principi no podem fer-ho. I, am tot, el més petit defecte de propria possessió vicía, al meu judici, la relació sencera. Mai podrà haver-hi fonda pau entre dos esperits, mai respecte mutual, fins que, en llur dialec, cascú representi el món enter.

Ço que es tant gran com l'amistat tractem-ho am tanta grandesa d'ànima com puguem. Guardem silenci, i podrem oir el murmuri dels déus. No intervinguem. Qui us ha ficat a rumiar lo que direu a l'ànima escullida, o com li direu? No importa quant enginyós, quant graciós i quant tendre sigui. Hi ha graus innombrables de follia i de saviesa, i pera vós el dir quelcom es ser frèvol. Espereu, i el cor parlarà. Espereu fins que lo necessari i lo etern us subjuguin, fins que l dia i la nit se valguin dels vostres llavis. El sol premi de la virtut es la virtut; la sola via de tenir un amic es ser-ne un. No us apropareu pas més d'un home entrant a casa seva. Si es diferent, la seva ànima us fuig tant més depressa, i no rebreu mai dels seus ulls un esguard veritable. Veiem als nobles de lluny, ens hi acostem, i ens repelleixen. A què ve aquesta intrussió? Tard, molt tard, ens adonem de que cap combinació, cap presentació, cap costum o habit de societat ens pot servir de res pera posar-nos amb ells en la relació que desitjem,—sinó sols l'elevació de la naturalesa en nosaltres a la mateixa altura a que està en ells. Aleshores ens juntarem com aigua amb aigua; i si no ns juntem, ja no ns caldran, car llavores nosaltres ja som ells. En darrer analisi, l'amor es sols un reflexe, procedent d'un altre, de nostre propri merit. Hi ha hagut homes que han cambiat noms am llurs amics, com si amb això vulguessin dir que en un amic cadascú amava sa propria ànima.

Quan més alt es l'estil d'amistat que volem, més dificil ens es, naturalment, d'establir-lo en carn i sang. Anem sols pel món. Amics com els que desitjem són somnis i faules. Però un cor fidel mai abandona la sublim esperança de que arreu, en altres regions del poder universal, hi ha actualment ànimes treballant, patint i lluitant, que poden estimar-nos, i a les quals podem estimar. Ens podem felicitar de que la nostra joventut, de follies, disbarats i vergonyes, sigui passada en la solitut, i quan serem homes fets encaixarem mans heroiques am mans heroiques. Unicament serveixi-ns d'avís ço que veiem, pera no firmar lligues am persones barates, aon cap amistat pot haver-hi. La nostra impaciencia ens precipita a folles aliances, que cap déu ampara. Si persisteixes en ton camí, ancque perdis lo petit, guanyes lo gran. Tu t demostres i confirmes, de manera que t poses fòra tret de les falses relacions, i atreus vers tu als primogenits del món,—aquells rars pelegrins dels quals sols un o dos erren a un temps per la natura, i davant dels quals els grans homes vulgars no són més que espectres i ombres.

Es foll tenir por de fer nostres llaços massa espirituals, com si amb això poguessim perdre cap amor veritable. En qualsevulga correcció que per intuició poguem fer de les nostres opinions populars, no dubtem que la natura ns treurà del pas, i, ancque sembli robar-nos qualque goig, ens recompensarà amb un de més gran. Senti l'home, si vol, son absolut isolament. Estem segurs de que tot ho tenim dins de nosaltres. Anem a Europa, o perseguim persones, o llegim llibres, am la fe instintiva de que aquests ens ho treuran i ens revelaran a nosaltres mateixos. Tots són captaires. Les persones són igual que nosaltres; l'Europa, vestits vells i arnats, persones difuntes; els llibres, llurs espectres. Foragitem aquesta idolatria. Abandonem aquesta mendicitat. Diguem adéu als amics més estimats, i desafiem-los, dient: «Qui ets tu? Amolla la mà: jo no vull esser més dependent. Ah! No veus, germà, que així ns separarem no més que pera retrobar-nos en un replà més alt, i pera esser encara més l'un de l'altre, perquè cascú serà més de sí mateix?» Un amic té l rostre de Janus: mira al passat i al pervindre. Es el fill de mes hores passades, el profeta de les devenidores, i el missatger d'un amic més gran.

Faig, doncs, amb els meus amics com amb els meus llibres: m'agrada tenir-los a mà, però rarament els uso. Hem de tenir la societat sotmesa a la nostra llei, i devem admetre-la o rebutjar-la amb el més lleuger pretext. M'es impossible parlar molt am mon amic. Si ell es gran, me fa a mi tant gran que no puc davallar a conversar. En els grans jorns voleien pressentiments davant meu pel firmament. Llavores tinc de dedicar-me a ells. Vaig i vinc pera agafar-los. No més tinc por de perdre-ls, de veure-ls enfonsar-se dins del cel, aon no són més que una clapa de llum més clara. Aleshores, per més que estimi els meus amics, no m'puc estar de no parlar amb ells i de no estudiar llurs visions, per por de no perdre les meves. Tindria, verament, un cert goig casolà en deixar aquest enlairat cercar, aquesta astronomia espiritual, o pesca d'estrelles, i devallar am vós a ardents simparies; però llavors jo sé prou que m doldrà per sempre l'esvaiment dels meus déus poderosos. Bé es veritat que la setmana vinenta m vindran humors languids, quan tindré llibertat d'ocupar-me en objectes forasters. Llavors ploraré la perduda literatura de la vostra pensa, i us desitjaré altra cop al meu costat. Però si veniu, potser no fareu més que omplir-me l cap am noves visions, no am vós mateix, sinó am vostres talents, i m serà tant impossible com ara de conversar am vós. Essent així, no vull oferir als meus amics aquestes relacions fugitives. Vull rebre d'ells, no lo que ells tenen, sinó lo que ells són. Ells m'han de dar lo que propriament no m poden dar, però que emana d'ells. Més no han de lligar-me am cap mena de relacions menys subtils ni menys pures. Hem de trobar-nos com si no ns trobessim, i hem de partir-nos com si no ns partissim.

Ultimament m'ha semblat més possible que no m figurava, el dur una amistat am grandesa d'una part, sense la deguda correspondencia de l'altra. Per què torbar-me am condols per l'incapacitat del receptor? El sol mai s'amoina perquè molts dels seus raigs se perdin en va per l'espai ingrat, i sols una petita part caigui en el planet reflector. Que la vostra grandesa eduqui a l'agre i fret company. Si ell es inferior, passarà tot-d'una; més tu quedes engrandit per ta propria claror, i, cessant d'esser company de cucs i granots, t'enlaires i t'inflames amb els déus de l'Empiri. Amar sense recompensa s té per desgracia. Però ls grans veuran que amor veritable es sempre recompensat. Amor veritable traspassa l'objecte indigne i habita i cova lo etern, i quan la pobra màscara interposada s'esmicola, no s'entristeix, ans se sent deslliurat de tanta més terra, i tant més segur de sa independencia. Més aquestes coses am prou feines poden dir-se sense una mena de traidoria a la relació. L'essencia de l'amistat es integritat, una magnanimitat absoluta i confiança. No deu suposar ni curar de flaqueses. Tracta l seu objecte com un déu, a fi de que amdós se deifiquin.

  1. Lentitut de la natura.
A ruddy drop of manly blood
The surging sea outweighs,
The world uncertain comes and goes,
The lover rooted stays.
I fancied he was fled,
And, after many a year,
Glowed unexhausted kindliness
Like daily sunrise there.
My careful heart was free again, —
O friend, my bosom said,
Through thee alone the sky is arched,
Through thee the rose is red,
All things through thee take nobler form,
And look beyond the earth,
And is the mill-round of our fate
A sun-path in thy worth.
Me too thy nobleness has taught
To master my despair;
The fountains of my hidden life
Are through thy friendship fair.

ESSAY VI: Friendship

We have a great deal more kindness than is ever spoken. Maugre all the selfishness that chills like east winds the world, the whole human family is bathed with an element of love like a fine ether. How many persons we meet in houses, whom we scarcely speak to, whom yet we honor, and who honor us! How many we see in the street, or sit with in church, whom, though silently, we warmly rejoice to be with! Read the language of these wandering eye-beams. The heart knoweth.

The effect of the indulgence of this human affection is a certain cordial exhilaration. In poetry, and in common speech, the emotions of benevolence and complacency which are felt towards others are likened to the material effects of fire; so swift, or much more swift, more active, more cheering, are these fine inward irradiations. From the highest degree of passionate love, to the lowest degree of good-will, they make the sweetness of life.

Our intellectual and active powers increase with our affection. The scholar sits down to write, and all his years of meditation do not furnish him with one good thought or happy expression; but it is necessary to write a letter to a friend, — and, forthwith, troops of gentle thoughts invest themselves, on every hand, with chosen words. See, in any house where virtue and self-respect abide, the palpitation which the approach of a stranger causes. A commended stranger is expected and announced, and an uneasiness betwixt pleasure and pain invades all the hearts of a household. His arrival almost brings fear to the good hearts that would welcome him. The house is dusted, all things fly into their places, the old coat is exchanged for the new, and they must get up a dinner if they can. Of a commended stranger, only the good report is told by others, only the good and new is heard by us. He stands to us for humanity. He is what we wish. Having imagined and invested him, we ask how we should stand related in conversation and action with such a man, and are uneasy with fear. The same idea exalts conversation with him. We talk better than we are wont. We have the nimblest fancy, a richer memory, and our dumb devil has taken leave for the time. For long hours we can continue a series of sincere, graceful, rich communications, drawn from the oldest, secretest experience, so that they who sit by, of our own kinsfolk and acquaintance, shall feel a lively surprise at our unusual powers. But as soon as the stranger begins to intrude his partialities, his definitions, his defects, into the conversation, it is all over. He has heard the first, the last and best he will ever hear from us. He is no stranger now. Vulgarity, ignorance, misapprehension are old acquaintances. Now, when he comes, he may get the order, the dress, and the dinner, — but the throbbing of the heart, and the communications of the soul, no more.

What is so pleasant as these jets of affection which make a young world for me again? What so delicious as a just and firm encounter of two, in a thought, in a feeling? How beautiful, on their approach to this beating heart, the steps and forms of the gifted and the true! The moment we indulge our affections, the earth is metamorphosed; there is no winter, and no night; all tragedies, all ennuis, vanish, — all duties even; nothing fills the proceeding eternity but the forms all radiant of beloved persons. Let the soul be assured that somewhere in the universe it should rejoin its friend, and it would be content and cheerful alone for a thousand years.

I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new. Shall I not call God the Beautiful, who daily showeth himself so to me in his gifts? I chide society, I embrace solitude, and yet I am not so ungrateful as not to see the wise, the lovely, and the noble-minded, as from time to time they pass my gate. Who hears me, who understands me, becomes mine, — a possession for all time. Nor is nature so poor but she gives me this joy several times, and thus we weave social threads of our own, a new web of relations; and, as many thoughts in succession substantiate themselves, we shall by and by stand in a new world of our own creation, and no longer strangers and pilgrims in a traditionary globe. My friends have come to me unsought. The great God gave them to me. By oldest right, by the divine affinity of virtue with itself, I find them, or rather not I, but the Deity in me and in them derides and cancels the thick walls of individual character, relation, age, sex, circumstance, at which he usually connives, and now makes many one. High thanks I owe you, excellent lovers, who carry out the world for me to new and noble depths, and enlarge the meaning of all my thoughts. These are new poetry of the first Bard, — poetry without stop, — hymn, ode, and epic, poetry still flowing, Apollo and the Muses chanting still. Will these, too, separate themselves from me again, or some of them? I know not, but I fear it not; for my relation to them is so pure, that we hold by simple affinity, and the Genius of my life being thus social, the same affinity will exert its energy on whomsoever is as noble as these men and women, wherever I may be.

I confess to an extreme tenderness of nature on this point. It is almost dangerous to me to "crush the sweet poison of misused wine" of the affections. A new person is to me a great event, and hinders me from sleep. I have often had fine fancies about persons which have given me delicious hours; but the joy ends in the day; it yields no fruit. Thought is not born of it; my action is very little modified. I must feel pride in my friend's accomplishments as if they were mine, — and a property in his virtues. I feel as warmly when he is praised, as the lover when he hears applause of his engaged maiden. We over-estimate the conscience of our friend. His goodness seems better than our goodness, his nature finer, his temptations less. Every thing that is his, — his name, his form, his dress, books, and instruments, — fancy enhances. Our own thought sounds new and larger from his mouth.

Yet the systole and diastole of the heart are not without their analogy in the ebb and flow of love. Friendship, like the immortality of the soul, is too good to be believed. The lover, beholding his maiden, half knows that she is not verily that which he worships; and in the golden hour of friendship, we are surprised with shades of suspicion and unbelief. We doubt that we bestow on our hero the virtues in which he shines, and afterwards worship the form to which we have ascribed this divine inhabitation. In strictness, the soul does not respect men as it respects itself. In strict science all persons underlie the same condition of an infinite remoteness. Shall we fear to cool our love by mining for the metaphysical foundation of this Elysian temple? Shall I not be as real as the things I see? If I am, I shall not fear to know them for what they are. Their essence is not less beautiful than their appearance, though it needs finer organs for its apprehension. The root of the plant is not unsightly to science, though for chaplets and festoons we cut the stem short. And I must hazard the production of the bald fact amidst these pleasing reveries, though it should prove an Egyptian skull at our banquet. A man who stands united with his thought conceives magnificently of himself. He is conscious of a universal success, even though bought by uniform particular failures. No advantages, no powers, no gold or force, can be any match for him. I cannot choose but rely on my own poverty more than on your wealth. I cannot make your consciousness tantamount to mine. Only the star dazzles; the planet has a faint, moon-like ray. I hear what you say of the admirable parts and tried temper of the party you praise, but I see well that for all his purple cloaks I shall not like him, unless he is at last a poor Greek like me. I cannot deny it, O friend, that the vast shadow of the Phenomenal includes thee also in its pied and painted immensity, — thee, also, compared with whom all else is shadow. Thou art not Being, as Truth is, as Justice is, — thou art not my soul, but a picture and effigy of that. Thou hast come to me lately, and already thou art seizing thy hat and cloak. Is it not that the soul puts forth friends as the tree puts forth leaves, and presently, by the germination of new buds, extrudes the old leaf? The law of nature is alternation for evermore. Each electrical state superinduces the opposite. The soul environs itself with friends, that it may enter into a grander self-acquaintance or solitude; and it goes alone for a season, that it may exalt its conversation or society. This method betrays itself along the whole history of our personal relations. The instinct of affection revives the hope of union with our mates, and the returning sense of insulation recalls us from the chase. Thus every man passes his life in the search after friendship, and if he should record his true sentiment, he might write a letter like this to each new candidate for his love.

DEAR FRIEND: —

If I was sure of thee, sure of thy capacity, sure to match my mood with thine, I should never think again of trifles in relation to thy comings and goings. I am not very wise; my moods are quite attainable; and I respect thy genius; it is to me as yet unfathomed; yet dare I not presume in thee a perfect intelligence of me, and so thou art to me a delicious torment. Thine ever, or never.

Yet these uneasy pleasures and fine pains are for curiosity, and not for life. They are not to be indulged. This is to weave cobweb, and not cloth. Our friendships hurry to short and poor conclusions, because we have made them a texture of wine and dreams, instead of the tough fibre of the human heart. The laws of friendship are austere and eternal, of one web with the laws of nature and of morals. But we have aimed at a swift and petty benefit, to suck a sudden sweetness. We snatch at the slowest fruit in the whole garden of God, which many summers and many winters must ripen. We seek our friend not sacredly, but with an adulterate passion which would appropriate him to ourselves. In vain. We are armed all over with subtle antagonisms, which, as soon as we meet, begin to play, and translate all poetry into stale prose. Almost all people descend to meet. All association must be a compromise, and, what is worst, the very flower and aroma of the flower of each of the beautiful natures disappears as they approach each other. What a perpetual disappointment is actual society, even of the virtuous and gifted! After interviews have been compassed with long foresight, we must be tormented presently by baffled blows, by sudden, unseasonable apathies, by epilepsies of wit and of animal spirits, in the heyday of friendship and thought. Our faculties do not play us true, and both parties are relieved by solitude.

I ought to be equal to every relation. It makes no difference how many friends I have, and what content I can find in conversing with each, if there be one to whom I am not equal. If I have shrunk unequal from one contest, the joy I find in all the rest becomes mean and cowardly. I should hate myself, if then I made my other friends my asylum.

"The valiant warrior famoused for fight,
After a hundred victories, once foiled,
Is from the book of honor razed quite,
And all the rest forgot for which he toiled."

Our impatience is thus sharply rebuked. Bashfulness and apathy are a tough husk, in which a delicate organization is protected from premature ripening. It would be lost if it knew itself before any of the best souls were yet ripe enough to know and own it. Respect the naturlangsamkeit which hardens the ruby in a million years, and works in duration, in which Alps and Andes come and go as rainbows. The good spirit of our life has no heaven which is the price of rashness. Love, which is the essence of God, is not for levity, but for the total worth of man. Let us not have this childish luxury in our regards, but the austerest worth; let us approach our friend with an audacious trust in the truth of his heart, in the breadth, impossible to be overturned, of his foundations.

The attractions of this subject are not to be resisted, and I leave, for the time, all account of subordinate social benefit, to speak of that select and sacred relation which is a kind of absolute, and which even leaves the language of love suspicious and common, so much is this purer, and nothing is so much divine.

I do not wish to treat friendships daintily, but with roughest courage. When they are real, they are not glass threads or frostwork, but the solidest thing we know. For now, after so many ages of experience, what do we know of nature, or of ourselves? Not one step has man taken toward the solution of the problem of his destiny. In one condemnation of folly stand the whole universe of men. But the sweet sincerity of joy and peace, which I draw from this alliance with my brother's soul, is the nut itself, whereof all nature and all thought is but the husk and shell. Happy is the house that shelters a friend! It might well be built, like a festal bower or arch, to entertain him a single day. Happier, if he know the solemnity of that relation, and honor its law! He who offers himself a candidate for that covenant comes up, like an Olympian, to the great games, where the first-born of the world are the competitors. He proposes himself for contests where Time, Want, Danger, are in the lists, and he alone is victor who has truth enough in his constitution to preserve the delicacy of his beauty from the wear and tear of all these. The gifts of fortune may be present or absent, but all the speed in that contest depends on intrinsic nobleness, and the contempt of trifles. There are two elements that go to the composition of friendship, each so sovereign that I can detect no superiority in either, no reason why either should be first named. One is Truth. A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him I may think aloud. I am arrived at last in the presence of a man so real and equal, that I may drop even those undermost garments of dissimulation, courtesy, and second thought, which men never put off, and may deal with him with the simplicity and wholeness with which one chemical atom meets another. Sincerity is the luxury allowed, like diadems and authority, only to the highest rank, that being permitted to speak truth, as having none above it to court or conform unto. Every man alone is sincere. At the entrance of a second person, hypocrisy begins. We parry and fend the approach of our fellow-man by compliments, by gossip, by amusements, by affairs. We cover up our thought from him under a hundred folds. I knew a man, who, under a certain religious frenzy, cast off this drapery, and, omitting all compliment and commonplace, spoke to the conscience of every person he encountered, and that with great insight and beauty. At first he was resisted, and all men agreed he was mad. But persisting, as indeed he could not help doing, for some time in this course, he attained to the advantage of bringing every man of his acquaintance into true relations with him. No man would think of speaking falsely with him, or of putting him off with any chat of markets or reading-rooms. But every man was constrained by so much sincerity to the like plaindealing, and what love of nature, what poetry, what symbol of truth he had, he did certainly show him. But to most of us society shows not its face and eye, but its side and its back. To stand in true relations with men in a false age is worth a fit of insanity, is it not? We can seldom go erect. Almost every man we meet requires some civility, — requires to be humored; he has some fame, some talent, some whim of religion or philanthropy in his head that is not to be questioned, and which spoils all conversation with him. But a friend is a sane man who exercises not my ingenuity, but me. My friend gives me entertainment without requiring any stipulation on my part. A friend, therefore, is a sort of paradox in nature. I who alone am, I who see nothing in nature whose existence I can affirm with equal evidence to my own, behold now the semblance of my being, in all its height, variety, and curiosity, reiterated in a foreign form; so that a friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature.

The other element of friendship is tenderness. We are holden to men by every sort of tie, by blood, by pride, by fear, by hope, by lucre, by lust, by hate, by admiration, by every circumstance and badge and trifle, but we can scarce believe that so much character can subsist in another as to draw us by love. Can another be so blessed, and we so pure, that we can offer him tenderness? When a man becomes dear to me, I have touched the goal of fortune. I find very little written directly to the heart of this matter in books. And yet I have one text which I cannot choose but remember. My author says, — "I offer myself faintly and bluntly to those whose I effectually am, and tender myself least to him to whom I am the most devoted." I wish that friendship should have feet, as well as eyes and eloquence. It must plant itself on the ground, before it vaults over the moon. I wish it to be a little of a citizen, before it is quite a cherub. We chide the citizen because he makes love a commodity. It is an exchange of gifts, of useful loans; it is good neighbourhood; it watches with the sick; it holds the pall at the funeral; and quite loses sight of the delicacies and nobility of the relation. But though we cannot find the god under this disguise of a sutler, yet, on the other hand, we cannot forgive the poet if he spins his thread too fine, and does not substantiate his romance by the municipal virtues of justice, punctuality, fidelity, and pity. I hate the prostitution of the name of friendship to signify modish and worldly alliances. I much prefer the company of ploughboys and tin-peddlers, to the silken and perfumed amity which celebrates its days of encounter by a frivolous display, by rides in a curricle, and dinners at the best taverns. The end of friendship is a commerce the most strict and homely that can be joined; more strict than any of which we have experience. It is for aid and comfort through all the relations and passages of life and death. It is fit for serene days, and graceful gifts, and country rambles, but also for rough roads and hard fare, shipwreck, poverty, and persecution. It keeps company with the sallies of the wit and the trances of religion. We are to dignify to each other the daily needs and offices of man's life, and embellish it by courage, wisdom, and unity. It should never fall into something usual and settled, but should be alert and inventive, and add rhyme and reason to what was drudgery.

Friendship may be said to require natures so rare and costly, each so well tempered and so happily adapted, and withal so circumstanced, (for even in that particular, a poet says, love demands that the parties be altogether paired,) that its satisfaction can very seldom be assured. It cannot subsist in its perfection, say some of those who are learned in this warm lore of the heart, betwixt more than two. I am not quite so strict in my terms, perhaps because I have never known so high a fellowship as others. I please my imagination more with a circle of godlike men and women variously related to each other, and between whom subsists a lofty intelligence. But I find this law of one to one peremptory for conversation, which is the practice and consummation of friendship. Do not mix waters too much. The best mix as ill as good and bad. You shall have very useful and cheering discourse at several times with two several men, but let all three of you come together, and you shall not have one new and hearty word. Two may talk and one may hear, but three cannot take part in a conversation of the most sincere and searching sort. In good company there is never such discourse between two, across the table, as takes place when you leave them alone. In good company, the individuals merge their egotism into a social soul exactly co-extensive with the several consciousnesses there present. No partialities of friend to friend, no fondnesses of brother to sister, of wife to husband, are there pertinent, but quite otherwise. Only he may then speak who can sail on the common thought of the party, and not poorly limited to his own. Now this convention, which good sense demands, destroys the high freedom of great conversation, which requires an absolute running of two souls into one.

No two men but, being left alone with each other, enter into simpler relations. Yet it is affinity that determines which two shall converse. Unrelated men give little joy to each other; will never suspect the latent powers of each. We talk sometimes of a great talent for conversation, as if it were a permanent property in some individuals. Conversation is an evanescent relation, — no more. A man is reputed to have thought and eloquence; he cannot, for all that, say a word to his cousin or his uncle. They accuse his silence with as much reason as they would blame the insignificance of a dial in the shade. In the sun it will mark the hour. Among those who enjoy his thought, he will regain his tongue.

Friendship requires that rare mean betwixt likeness and unlikeness, that piques each with the presence of power and of consent in the other party. Let me be alone to the end of the world, rather than that my friend should overstep, by a word or a look, his real sympathy. I am equally balked by antagonism and by compliance. Let him not cease an instant to be himself. The only joy I have in his being mine, is that the not mine is mine. I hate, where I looked for a manly furtherance, or at least a manly resistance, to find a mush of concession. Better be a nettle in the side of your friend than his echo. The condition which high friendship demands is ability to do without it. That high office requires great and sublime parts. There must be very two, before there can be very one. Let it be an alliance of two large, formidable natures, mutually beheld, mutually feared, before yet they recognize the deep identity which beneath these disparities unites them.

He only is fit for this society who is magnanimous; who is sure that greatness and goodness are always economy; who is not swift to intermeddle with his fortunes. Let him not intermeddle with this. Leave to the diamond its ages to grow, nor expect to accelerate the births of the eternal. Friendship demands a religious treatment. We talk of choosing our friends, but friends are self-elected. Reverence is a great part of it. Treat your friend as a spectacle. Of course he has merits that are not yours, and that you cannot honor, if you must needs hold him close to your person. Stand aside; give those merits room; let them mount and expand. Are you the friend of your friend's buttons, or of his thought? To a great heart he will still be a stranger in a thousand particulars, that he may come near in the holiest ground. Leave it to girls and boys to regard a friend as property, and to suck a short and all-confounding pleasure, instead of the noblest benefit.

Let us buy our entrance to this guild by a long probation. Why should we desecrate noble and beautiful souls by intruding on them? Why insist on rash personal relations with your friend? Why go to his house, or know his mother and brother and sisters? Why be visited by him at your own? Are these things material to our covenant? Leave this touching and clawing. Let him be to me a spirit. A message, a thought, a sincerity, a glance from him, I want, but not news, nor pottage. I can get politics, and chat, and neighbourly conveniences from cheaper companions. Should not the society of my friend be to me poetic, pure, universal, and great as nature itself? Ought I to feel that our tie is profane in comparison with yonder bar of cloud that sleeps on the horizon, or that clump of waving grass that divides the brook? Let us not vilify, but raise it to that standard. That great, defying eye, that scornful beauty of his mien and action, do not pique yourself on reducing, but rather fortify and enhance. Worship his superiorities; wish him not less by a thought, but hoard and tell them all. Guard him as thy counterpart. Let him be to thee for ever a sort of beautiful enemy, untamable, devoutly revered, and not a trivial conveniency to be soon outgrown and cast aside. The hues of the opal, the light of the diamond, are not to be seen, if the eye is too near. To my friend I write a letter, and from him I receive a letter. That seems to you a little. It suffices me. It is a spiritual gift worthy of him to give, and of me to receive. It profanes nobody. In these warm lines the heart will trust itself, as it will not to the tongue, and pour out the prophecy of a godlier existence than all the annals of heroism have yet made good.

Respect so far the holy laws of this fellowship as not to prejudice its perfect flower by your impatience for its opening. We must be our own before we can be another's. There is at least this satisfaction in crime, according to the Latin proverb; — you can speak to your accomplice on even terms. Crimen quos inquinat, aequat. To those whom we admire and love, at first we cannot. Yet the least defect of self-possession vitiates, in my judgment, the entire relation. There can never be deep peace between two spirits, never mutual respect, until, in their dialogue, each stands for the whole world.

What is so great as friendship, let us carry with what grandeur of spirit we can. Let us be silent, — so we may hear the whisper of the gods. Let us not interfere. Who set you to cast about what you should say to the select souls, or how to say any thing to such? No matter how ingenious, no matter how graceful and bland. There are innumerable degrees of folly and wisdom, and for you to say aught is to be frivolous. Wait, and thy heart shall speak. Wait until the necessary and everlasting overpowers you, until day and night avail themselves of your lips. The only reward of virtue is virtue; the only way to have a friend is to be one. You shall not come nearer a man by getting into his house. If unlike, his soul only flees the faster from you, and you shall never catch a true glance of his eye. We see the noble afar off, and they repel us; why should we intrude? Late, — very late, — we perceive that no arrangements, no introductions, no consuetudes or habits of society, would be of any avail to establish us in such relations with them as we desire, — but solely the uprise of nature in us to the same degree it is in them; then shall we meet as water with water; and if we should not meet them then, we shall not want them, for we are already they. In the last analysis, love is only the reflection of a man's own worthiness from other men. Men have sometimes exchanged names with their friends, as if they would signify that in their friend each loved his own soul.

The higher the style we demand of friendship, of course the less easy to establish it with flesh and blood. We walk alone in the world. Friends, such as we desire, are dreams and fables. But a sublime hope cheers ever the faithful heart, that elsewhere, in other regions of the universal power, souls are now acting, enduring, and daring, which can love us, and which we can love. We may congratulate ourselves that the period of nonage, of follies, of blunders, and of shame, is passed in solitude, and when we are finished men, we shall grasp heroic hands in heroic hands. Only be admonished by what you already see, not to strike leagues of friendship with cheap persons, where no friendship can be. Our impatience betrays us into rash and foolish alliances which no God attends. By persisting in your path, though you forfeit the little you gain the great. You demonstrate yourself, so as to put yourself out of the reach of false relations, and you draw to you the first-born of the world, — those rare pilgrims whereof only one or two wander in nature at once, and before whom the vulgar great show as spectres and shadows merely.

It is foolish to be afraid of making our ties too spiritual, as if so we could lose any genuine love. Whatever correction of our popular views we make from insight, nature will be sure to bear us out in, and though it seem to rob us of some joy, will repay us with a greater. Let us feel, if we will, the absolute insulation of man. We are sure that we have all in us. We go to Europe, or we pursue persons, or we read books, in the instinctive faith that these will call it out and reveal us to ourselves. Beggars all. The persons are such as we; the Europe an old faded garment of dead persons; the books their ghosts. Let us drop this idolatry. Let us give over this mendicancy. Let us even bid our dearest friends farewell, and defy them, saying, 'Who are you? Unhand me: I will be dependent no more.' Ah! seest thou not, O brother, that thus we part only to meet again on a higher platform, and only be more each other's, because we are more our own? A friend is Janus-faced: he looks to the past and the future. He is the child of all my foregoing hours, the prophet of those to come, and the harbinger of a greater friend.

I do then with my friends as I do with my books. I would have them where I can find them, but I seldom use them. We must have society on our own terms, and admit or exclude it on the slightest cause. I cannot afford to speak much with my friend. If he is great, he makes me so great that I cannot descend to converse. In the great days, presentiments hover before me in the firmament. I ought then to dedicate myself to them. I go in that I may seize them, I go out that I may seize them. I fear only that I may lose them receding into the sky in which now they are only a patch of brighter light. Then, though I prize my friends, I cannot afford to talk with them and study their visions, lest I lose my own. It would indeed give me a certain household joy to quit this lofty seeking, this spiritual astronomy, or search of stars, and come down to warm sympathies with you; but then I know well I shall mourn always the vanishing of my mighty gods. It is true, next week I shall have languid moods, when I can well afford to occupy myself with foreign objects; then I shall regret the lost literature of your mind, and wish you were by my side again. But if you come, perhaps you will fill my mind only with new visions, not with yourself but with your lustres, and I shall not be able any more than now to converse with you. So I will owe to my friends this evanescent intercourse. I will receive from them, not what they have, but what they are. They shall give me that which properly they cannot give, but which emanates from them. But they shall not hold me by any relations less subtile and pure. We will meet as though we met not, and part as though we parted not.

It has seemed to me lately more possible than I knew, to carry a friendship greatly, on one side, without due correspondence on the other. Why should I cumber myself with regrets that the receiver is not capacious? It never troubles the sun that some of his rays fall wide and vain into ungrateful space, and only a small part on the reflecting planet. Let your greatness educate the crude and cold companion. If he is unequal, he will presently pass away; but thou art enlarged by thy own shining, and, no longer a mate for frogs and worms, dost soar and burn with the gods of the empyrean. It is thought a disgrace to love unrequited. But the great will see that true love cannot be unrequited. True love transcends the unworthy object, and dwells and broods on the eternal, and when the poor interposed mask crumbles, it is not sad, but feels rid of so much earth, and feels its independency the surer. Yet these things may hardly be said without a sort of treachery to the relation. The essence of friendship is entireness, a total magnanimity and trust. It must not surmise or provide for infirmity. It treats its object as a god, that it may deify both.