IOLÄUS: AN ANTHOLOGY OF FRIENDSHIP (1908): The Renaissance
The full text of IOLÄUS is available.
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[Introduction: Edward Carpenter's Ioläus is
an attempt to provide a historical context for male friendship.
One should not be misled, however. Carpenter, one of the earliest
English homosexual activists, is writing about homosexual relationships
and trying to provide a historical grounding for them. As such
his work is of interest not only for its references, but also
as evidence of the strategies of the early gay movement .]
V: THE RENAISSANCE AND MODERN TIMES
 WITH the Renaissance, and the impetus it gave at that time
to the study of Greek and Roman models, the exclusive domination
of Christianity and the Church was broken. A literature of friendship
along classic lines began to spring up. Montaigne (b. 1533)
was saturated with classic learning. His essays were doubtless
largely formed upon the model of Plutarch. His friendship with
Stephen de la Boetie was evidently of a romantic and absorbing
character. It is referred to in the following passage by William
Hazlitt; and the description of it occupies a large part of Montaigne's Essay on Friendship.
" The most important event of his counsellor's life at Bordeaux
was the friendship which he there formed with Stephen de la Boetie,
an affection which makes a streak of light in modern biography
almost as beautiful as that left us by Lord Brook and Sir Philip
Sydney. Our essayist and his friend esteemed, before they saw,
each other. La Boetie had written a little work [" De la
Servitude Volontaire."] in which Montaigne recognized sentiments
congenial with his own, and which indeed bespeak a soul formed
in the mould of classic times. Of Montaigne, le Boetie had also
heard accounts, which made him eager to behold him, and at length
they met at a large entertainment given by one of the magistrates
of Bordeaux. They saw and loved, and were thenceforward all in
all to each other. The picture that Montaigne in his essays draws
of this friendship is in the highest degree beautiful and touching;
nor does la Boetie's idea of what is due to this sacred bond betwixt
soul and soul fall far short of the grand perception which filled
the exalted mind of his friend.... Montaigne married at the age
of 33, but as he informs us, not of his own wish or choice. '
Might I have had my wish,' says he, ' I would not have married
Wisdom herself if she would have had me."
Life of Montaigne, by Wm. Hazlitt.
The following is from Montaigne's Essay, bk. I, ch. XXVII
" As to marriage, besides that it is a covenant, the making of which is only free, but the continuance in it forced and compelled,
having another dependence than that of our own free will, and
a bargain moreover commonly contracted to other ends, there happen
a thousand intricacies in it to unravel, enough to break the thread,
and to divert the current, of a lively affection: whereas 
friendship has no manner of business or traffic with anything
but itself.... For the rest, what we commonly call friends and
friendships are nothing but an acquaintance and connection, contracted
either by accident or upon some design, by means of which there
happens some little intercourse betwixt our souls: but, in the
friendship I speak of, they mingle and melt into one piece, with
so universal a mixture that there is left no more sign of the
seam by which they were first conjoined. If any one should importune
me to give a reason why I loved him [Stephen de la Boetie] I feel
it could no otherwise be expressed than by making answer, 'Because
it was he; because it was I.' There is, beyond what I am able
to say, I know not what inexplicable and inevitable power that
brought on this union. We sought one another long before we met,
and from the characters we heard of one another, which wrought
more upon our affections than in reason mere reports should do,
and, as I think, by some secret appointment of heaven; we embraced
each other in our names, and at our first meeting, which was accidentally
at a great city entertainment, we found ourselves so mutually
pleased with one another-we became at once mutually so endeared-that
thenceforward nothing was so near to us as one another. "
Common friendships will admit of division, one may love the beauty
of this, the good humorof that person, the liberality of a third,
the  paternal affection of a fourth, the fraternal love of
a fifth, and so on. But this friendship that possesses the whole
soul, and there rules and sways with an absolute sovereignty,
can admit of no rival.... In good earnest, if I compare all the
rest of my life with the four years I had the happiness to enjoy
the sweet soclety of this excellent man, 'tis nothing but smoke,
but an obscure and tedious night. From the day that I lost him
I have only led a sorrowful and languishing life; and the very
pleasures that present themselves to me, instead of administering
anything of consolation, double my affliction for his loss. We
were halves throughout, and to that degree that, methinks, by
outliving him I defraud him of his part."
PHILIP SIDNEY, born 1554, was remarkable for his strong
personal attachments. Chief among his allies were his school-mate
and distant relative, Fulke Greville (born in the same
year as himself), and his college friend Edward Dyer (also about
his own age). He wrote youthful verses to both of them. The following,
according to the fashion of the age, are in the form of an invocation
to the pastoral god Pan-
" Only for my two loves' sake,
In whose love I pleasure take;
Only two do me delight
With their ever-pleasing sight;
 Of all men to thee retaining
Grant me with these two remaining."
An interesting friendship existed also between Sidney and the
well-known French Protestant, Hubert Languet-many years
his senior-whose conversation and correspondence helped much in
the formation of Sidney's character. These two had shared together
the perils of the massacre of S. Bartholomew, and had both escaped
from France across the Rhine to Germany, where they lived in close
intimacy at Frankfort for a length of time; and after this a warm
friendship and steady correspondence-varied by occasional meetings
-continued between the two until Languet's death. Languet had
been Professor of Civil Law at Padua, and from 1550 forwards was
recognized as one of the leading political agents of the Protestant
"The elder man immediately discerned in Sidney a youth of
no common quality, and the attachment he conceived for him savored
of romance. We possess a long series of Latin letters from Languet
to his friend, which breathe the tenderest spirit of affection,
mingled with wise counsel and ever watchful thought for the young
man's higher interests.... There must have been something inexplicably
attractive in his [Sidney's]  person and his genius at this
time; for the tone of Languet's correspondence can only be matched
by that of Shakespeare in the sonnets written for his unknown
Sir Philip Sidney, English Men of Letters Series, pp. 27,
Of this relation Fox Bourne says:
" No love-oppressed youth can write with more earnest passion
and more fond solicitude, or can be troubled with more frequent
fears and more causeless jealousies, than Languet, at this time
55 years old, shows in his letters to Sidney, now 19."
IT may be appropriate here to introduce two or three sonnets from
Michel Angelo (b. 1475). Michel Angelo, one of the greatest, perhaps
the greatest, artist of the Italian Renaissance, was deeply imbued
with the Greek spirit. His conception of Love was close along
the line of Plato's. For him the body was the symbol, the expression,
the dwelling place of some divine beauty. The body may be loved,
but it should only be loved as a symbol, not for itself. Diotima
in the Symposium has said that in our mortal loves we first
come to recognize (dimly) the divine form of beauty which is Eternal.
Maximus Tyrius ( Dissert. xxvi. 8) commenting on this, confirms
it, saying that nowhere else but in the human form, " the
 loveliest and most intelligent of body creatures,"
does the light of divine beauty shine so clear. Michel Angelo
carried on the conception, gave it noble expression, and held
to it firmly in the midst of a society which was certainly willing
enough to love the body (or try to love it) merely for its own
sake. And Giordano Bruno (b. 1550) as a later date wrote as follows:
" All the loves-if they be heroic and not purely animal,
or what is called natural, and slaves to generation as instruments
in some way of nature-have for object the divinity, and tend towards
divine beauty, which first is communicated to, and shines in,
souls, and from them or rather through them is communicated to
bodies; whence it is that well-ordered affection loves the body
or corporeal beauty, insomuch as it is an indication of beauty
Gli Eroici Furori (dial. iii. It), trans. L. Williams.
THE labors of Von Scheffler and others have now pretty conclusively
established that the love-poems of Michel Angelo were for the
most part written to male friends-though this fact was disguised
by the pious frauds of his nephew, who edited them in the first
instance. Following are three of his sonnets, translated by J.
A.  Symonds. It will be seen that the last line of the first
contains a play on the name of his friend:
To Tommaso de' Cavalieri:
A CHE PIU DEBB'IO
"Why should I seek to ease intense desire
With still more tears and windy words of grief,
When heaven, or late or soon, sends no relief
To souls whom love hath robed around with fire.
Why need my aching heart to death aspire
When all must die? Nay death beyond belief
Unto these eyes would be both sweet and brief,
Since in my sum of woes all joys expire !
Therefore because I cannot shun the blow
I rather seek, say who must rule my breast,
Gliding between her gladness and her woe ?
If only chains and bands can make me blest,
No marvel if alone and bare I go
An armed Knight's captive and slave confessed."
NON VIDER GLI OCCHI MIEI
" No mortal thing enthralled these longing eyes
When perfect peace in thy fair face I found
But far within, where all is holy ground
My soul felt Love, her comrade of the skies:
For she was born with God in Paradise;
Nor all the shows of beauty shed around
 This fair false world her wings to earth have bound;
Unto the Love of Loves aloft she flier
Nay, things that suffer death quench not the fire
Of deathless spirits; nor eternity
Serves sordid Time, that withers all things rare.
Not love but lawless impulse is desire:
That slays the soul; our love makes still more fair
Our friends on earth, fairer in death on high."
VEGGIO NEL TUO BEL VISO
" From thy fair face I learn, O my loved lord,
That which no mortal tongue can rightly say;
The soul imprisoned in her house of clay,
Holpen by thee to God hath often soared:
And tho' the vulgar, vain, malignant horde
Attribute what their grosser wills obey,
Yet shall this fervent homage that I pay,
This love, this faith. pure iovs for us afford.
Lo, all the lovely things we find on earth,
Resemble for the soul that rightly sees,
That source of bliss divine which gave us birth:
Nor have we first fruits or remembrances
Of heaven elsewhere. Thus, loving loyally,
I rise to God and make death sweet bythee."
RICHARD BARNFIELD, one of the Elizabethan singers (b. 1574)
wrote a long poem, dedicated to "The Ladie Penelope Rich
" and entitled " The Affectionate Shepheard," which
he describes as an imitation of Virgil in the 2nd Eclogue, of
Alexis." I quote the first two Stanzas:
" Scarce had the morning starre hid from the light
Heaven's crimson Canopie with stars bespangled,
But I began to rue th' unhappy sight
Of that fair boy that had my heart intangled;
Cursing the Time, the Place, the sense, the sin;
I came, I saw, I view d, I slipped in.
If it be sin to love a sweet-fac'd Boy,
(Whose amber locks trust up in golden tramels
Dangle adown his lovely cheeks with joye
When pearle and flowers his faire haire enamels)
If it be sin to love a lovely Lad,
Oh then sinne I, for whom my soule is sad "
These stanzas, and the following three sonnets (also by Barnfield)
from a series addressed to a youth, give a fair sample of a considerable
class of Elizabethan verses, in which classic conceits were mingled
with a certain amount of real feeling:
" Two stars there are in one fair firmament
(Of some intitled Ganymede's sweet face)
Which other stars in brightness do disgrace,
As much as Po in cleanness passeth Trent.
Nor are they common-natur'd stars; for why,
These stars when other shine vaile their pure light,
And when all other vanish out of sight
They add a glory to the world's great eie:
By these two stars my life is only led,
In them I place my joy, in them my pleasure!
Love's piercing darts and Nature s precious treasure,
With their sweet food my fainting soul is fed:
Then when my sunne is absent from my sight
How can it chuse (with me) but be darke night? "
" Not Megabetes, nor Cleonymus
(Of whom great Plutarch makes such mention,
Praysing their faire with rare invention),
As Ganymede were halfe so beauteous.
They onely pleased the eies of two great kings,
But all the world at my love stands amazed,
Nor one that on his angel's face hath gazed,
But (ravisht with delight) him presents bring:
 Some weaning lambs, and some a suckling kyd
Some nuts, and fil-beards, others peares and plums;
Another with a milk-white heyfar comes;
As lately AEgon's man (Damcetas) did
But neither he nor all the Nymphs beside,
Can win my Ganymede with them t' abide."
"Ah no; nor I my selfe: tho' my pure love
(Sweete Ganymede) to thee hath still been pure,
And ev n tlll my last gaspe shall aie endure,
Could ever thy obdurate beuty move:
Then cease, oh goddesse sonne ( for sure thou art
A Goddesse sonne that can resist desire),
Cease thy hard heart, and entertain love's fire
Within thy sacred breast: by Nature's art.
And as I love thee more than any Creature
(Love thee, because thy beautie is divine,
Love thee, because my selfe, my soule, is thine:
Wholie devoted to thy lovely feature),
Even so of all the vowels, I and U
Are dearest unto me, as doth ensue."
FRANCIS BACON'S essay Of Friendship is known to
everybody. Notwithstanding the somewhat cold and pragmatic style
and genius of the author, the subject seems to inspire him with
a certain enthusiasm; and some good things are said.
" But we may go farther and affirm most truly that it is
a mere and miserable solitude to want true friends, without which
the world is but a wilderness; and even in this scene also of
solitude, whosoever in the frame of his nature and affections
is unfit for friendship, he taketh it of the beast, and not from
humanity. A principal fruit of friendship is the ease and discharge
of the fulness of the heart, which passions of all kinds do cause
and induce. We know diseases of stoppings and suffocations are
the most dangerous in the body; and it is not much otherwise in
the mind: you may take sarza to open the liver, steel to open
the spleen, flower of sulphur for the lungs, castoreum for the
brain; but no receipt openeth the heart but a true friend, to
whom you may impart griefs, joys, fears, hopes, suspicions, counsels,
and whatsoever lieth upon the heart to oppress it, in a kind of
civil shrift or confession....
" Certainly if a man would give it a hard phrase, those that
want friends to open themselves unto, are cannibals of their own
hearts; but one thing is most admirable (wherewith I will conclude
this first fruit of friendship) which is, that this communicating
of a man's self to his friend worketh two contrary effects, for
it redoubleth joys, and cutteth griefs in halfs; for there is
no man that imparteth his joys to his friend, but he joyeth the
more, and no man that imparteth his griefs to his friend, but
he grieveth the less."
Essay 27, Of Friendship.
SHAKESPEARE'S sonnets have been much discussed, and surprise
and even doubt have been expressed as to their having been addressed
(the first 126 of them) to a man friend; but no one who reads
them with open mind can well doubt this conclusion; nor be surprised
at it, who knows anything of Elizabethan life and literature.
" Were it not for the fact," says F. T. Furnivall, "
that many critics really deserving the name of Shakespeare students,
and not Shakespeare fools, have held the Sonnets to be merely
dramatic, I could not have conceived that poems so intensely and
evidently autobiographic and self-revealing, poems so one with
the spirit and inner meaning of Shakespeare's growth and life,
could ever have been conceived to be other than what they arethe
records of his own loves and fears."
"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.
Some time too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course, un trimmed;
 But they eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest.
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee."
" A woman's face, with Nature's own hand painted,
Hast thou, the master-mistress of my passion;
A woman's gentle heart, but not acquainted
With shifting change, as is false women's fashion;
An eye more bright than theirs, less false in rolling,
Gilding the object whereupon it gazeth;
A man in hue, all hues in his controlling,
Which steals men's eyes, and women's souls amazeth;
And for a woman wert thou first created;
Till Nature, as she wrought thee, fell a-doting,
And by addition me of thee defeated,
By adding one thing to my purpose nothing.
But since she pricked thee out for women's pleasure,
Mine be thy love, and thy love's use their treasure
To me, fair friend, you never can be old,
For as you were when first your eye I eyed,
Such seems your beauty still. Three winters cold
Have from the forests shook three summers' pride,
Three beauteous springs to yellow autumn turn'd
In process of the seasons have I seen,
Three April perfumes in three hot Junes burn'd,
Since first I saw you fresh, which yet are green.
Ah! yet doth beauty, like a dial-hand,
Steal from his figure and no pace perceived;
So your sweet hue, which methinks still doth stand,
Hath motion and mine eye may be deceived:
For fear of which, hear this, thou age unbred;
Ere you were born was beauty's summer dead.
What's in the brain that ink may character
Which hath not figured to thee my true spirit?
What's new to speak, what new to register,
That may express my love or thy dear merit?
Nothing, sweet boy; but yet, like prayers divine,
I must, each day say o'er the very same,
Counting no old thing old, thou mine, I thine,
Even as when first I hallow'd thy fair name.
So that eternal love in love's fresh case
Weighs not the dust and injury of age,
Nor gives to necessary wrinkles place,
 But makes antiquity for aye his page,
Finding the first conceit of love there bred
Where time and outward form would show it dead.
That Shakespeare, when the drama needed it, could fully and warmly
enter into the devotion which one man may feel for another, as
well as into tragedy which such devotion may entail, is shown
in his Merchant of Venice by the figure of Antonio, over
whom from the first line of the play ("In sooth I know not
why I am so sad") there hangs a shadow of destiny.. The following
lines are from Act IV. Sc. 1
Antonio: Commend me to your honourable wife:
Tell her the process of Antonio's end;
Say how I loved you, speak me fair in death;
And, when the tale is told, bid her be judge
Whether Bassanio had not once a love.
Repent but you that you shall lose your friend,
And he repents not that he pays your debt;
For if the Jew do cut but deep enough,
I'll pay it presently with all my heart.
Bassanio: Antonio, I am married to a wife
Which is as dear to me as life itself;
But life itself, my wife, and all the world,
Are not with me esteem'd above thy life:
 I would lose all, ay, sacrifice them all
Here to this devil, to deliver you."
We may also, in this connection, quote his Henry the Fifth (act iv. scene 6) for the deaths of the Duke of York and the Earl
of Suffolk at the battle of Agincourt. Exeter, addressing Henry,
" Suffolk first died; and York, all haggled over,
Comes to him, where in gore he lay insteep'd,
And takes him by the beard, kisses the gashes
That bloodily did yawn upon his face;
He cries aloud,-' Tarry, dear cousin Suffolk!
My soul shall thine keep company to heaven:
Tarry, sweet soul, for mine; then fly abreast,
As in this glorious and well-foughten field
We kept together in our chivalry I '
Upon these words I came and cheered him up:
He smiled me in the face, raught me his hand,
And, with a feeble gripe, says, ' Dear my Lord,
Commend my service to my sovereign.'
So did he turn, and over Suffolk's neck
He threw his wounded arm, and kissed his lips;
And so, espoused to death, with blood he seal'd
A testament of noble-ending love."
Shakespeare, with his generous many-sided nature was, as the Sonnets
seem to show, and as we should expect, capable of friendship,
passionate friendship, towards both men and women. Perhaps this
marks the highest reach of temperament. That there are cases in
which devotion to a manfriend altogether replaces the love of
the opposite sex is curiously shown by the following extract from Sir Thomas Browne:
" I never yet cast a true affection on a woman; but I have
loved my friend as I do virtue, my soul, my God.... I love my
friend before myself, and yet methinks I do not love him enough:
some few months hence my multiplied affection will make me believe
I have not loved him at all. When I am from him, I am dead till
I be with him; when I am with him, I am not satisfied, but would
be still nearer him.... This noble affection falls not on vulgar
and common constitutions, but on such as are marked for virtue:
he that can love his friend with this noble ardor, will in a competent
degree affect all."
Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici, 1642.
BEAUMONT and Fletcher are two names which time and immortal
friendship have sealed in one. Francis Beaumont was son of a judge,
and John Fletcher, who was some four or five years the elder of
the two, son of a bishop. The one went to Oxford, the other to
Cambridge. Both took to writing at an early age; they  probably
met at the Mermaid Tavern, about the year 1604, and a friendship
sprang up between them of the closest character. " The intimacy
which now commenced was one of singular warmth even for that romantic
age." (Chambers' Biog. Dict.) For many years they lived in
the same house as bachelors, writing plays together, and sharing
everything in common. Then in 16I3 Beaumont married, but died
in 16I6. Fletcher lived on unmarried, till 1625, when he died
of the plague.
J. St. L. Strachey, in his introduction to the works of Beaumont
and Fletcher in the Mermaid Series, says:
" In the whole range of English literature, search it from
Chaucer till to-day, there is no figure more fascinating or more
worthy of attention than ' the mysterious double personality '
of Beaumont and Fletcher. Whether we bow to the sentiment of the
first Editor, who, though he knew the secret of the poets, yet
since never parted while they lived ' conceived it not equitable
to ' separate their ashes,' and so refuse to think of them apart;
whether we adopt the legendary union of the comrade-poets who
dwelt on the Bankside, who lived and worked together, their thoughts
no less in common than the cloak and bed o'er which tradition
has grown fond; whether  we think of them as two minds so
married that to divorce or disunite them were a sacrilegious deed;
or whether we yield to the subtler influences of the critical
fancy, and delight to discover and explore each from its source,
the twin fountains of inspiration that feed the majestic stream
of song that flows through ' The Lost Aspatia's ' tragedy, etc....
whether we treat the poets as a mystery to which love and sympathy
are the initiation, or as a problem for the tests and reagents
of critical analysis to solve, the double name of Beaumont and
Fletcher will ever strike the fancy and excite the imagination
as does no other name in the annals of English song."
George Varley, in his Introduction to the works of B. and F. (London,
E. Moxon, I839), says:
" The story of their common life, which scandalizes some
biographers, contains much that is agreeable to me, as offering
a picture of perfect union whose heartiness excuses its homeliness
. . . but when critics would explain away the community of cloak
and clothes by accident or slander, methinks their fastidiousness
exceeds their good feeling."
Beaumont was a man of great personal beauty and charm. Ben Jonson
was much attracted to him. Fletcher delighted to do him honor
and to put his name first on their title page; though it is 
probable that Beaumont's share in the plays was the lesser one.
See following verses by Sir Aston Cokaine in the 1st Collection
of their works, published in 1647:
" In the large book of playes you late did print,
In Beaumont and in Fletcher's name, why in't
Did you not justice? Give to each his due?
For Beaumont of those many writ in few,
And Massinger in other few- the main
Being sole issues of sweet Fletcher's brain
But how came I, you ask, so much to know?
Fletcher's chief bosome-friend inform'd me so."
The following lines were written by Fletcher on the death of Beaumont:
" Come, sorrow, come I bring all thy cries,
All thy laments, and all thy weeping eyes I
Burn out, you living monuments of woe I
Sad, sullen griefs, now rise and overflowl
Virtue is dead;
Oh! cruel fatel
All youth is fled
All our laments too late
Oh, noble youth, to thy ne'er dying name
Oh, happy youth, to thy still growing fame,
To thy long peace in earth, this sacred knell
Our last loves ring-farewell, farewell, farewell !
Go, happy soul, to thy eternal birthl
And press his body lightly, gentle Earth."
And among the poems attributed to Francis Beaumont is one generally
supposed to be addressed to Fletcher, and speaking of an alliance
hidden from the world-of which the last five lines run:
" If when I die, physicians doubt
What caused my death, and these to view
Of all their judgments, which was true,
Rip up my heart; O, then I fear
The world will see thy picture there."
-though it is perhaps more probable that it was addressed to Beaumont
by Fletcher, and has accidentally found place among the former's
In the Maid's Tragedy by B. and F. (Act I.
Scene i.), we have Melantius speaking about his companion Amintor,
a young nobleman:
"All joys upon him I for he is my friend.
Wonder not that I call a man so young my friend:
His worth is great; radiant he is, and temperate;
And one that never thinks his life his own,
If his friend need it."
THE devotion of Vauvenargues to his friend De Seytres is immortalized by the eloge he wrote on the occasion of the latter's
death. V., a youth of noble family, born in S. France in 1715,
entered military service and the regiment of the King at an early
age. He seems to have been a gentle, wise character, much beloved
by his comrades. During the French invasion of Bohemia, in 174I,
when he was about 26, he met Hippolyte de Seytres, who belonged
to the same regiment, and who was only 18 years of age. A warm
friendship sprang up between the two, but lasted for a brief time
only. DeSeytres died during the privations of the terrible Siege
of Prague in 1742. Vauvenargues escaped, but with the loss of
his health, as well as of his friend. He took to literature, and
wrote some philosophic works, and became correspondent and friend
of Voltaire, but died in 1747 at the early age of 32. In his eloge
he speaks of his friend as follows-
" By nature full of grace, his movements natural, his manners
frank, his features noble and grave, his expression sweet and
penetrating- one could not look upon him with indifference. From
the first his loveable exterior won all hearts in his favor, and
whoever was in the position to know his character could not but
admire the beauty of his disposition. Never did he despise or
envy or hate any one. He understood all the passions and opinions,
even the most singular, that the world blames. They did not surprise
him: he  penetrated their cause, and found in his own reflexions
the means of explaining them."
" And so Hippolyte," he continues, i' I was destined
to be the survivor in our friendship-just when I was hoping that
it would mitigate all the sufferings and ennui of my life even
to my latest breath. At the moment when my heart, full of security,
placed blind confidence in thy strength and youth, and abandoned
itself to gladnessO Miseryl in that moment a mighty hand was extinguishing
the sources of life in thy blood. Death was creeping into thy
heart, and harboring in thy bosom I . . . O pardon me once more;
for never canst thou have doubted the depth of my attachment.
I loved thee before I was able to know thee. I have never loved
but thee . . . I was ignorant of thy very name and life, but my
heart adored thee, spoke with thee, saw thee and sought thee in
solitude. Thou knewest me but for a moment; and when we did become
acquainted, already a thousand times had I paid homage in secret
to thy virtues.... Shade worthy of heaven, whither hast thou fled!
Do my sighs reach thee? I tremble-O abyss profound, O woe, O death,
O grave I Dark veil and viewless night, and mystery of Eternityl
(It is said that Vauvenargues thought more of this memorial inscription
to his friend than of any other of his works, and constantly worked
at and perfected it.)
WILLIAM PENN ( b. 1644 ) the founder of Pennsylvania, and
of Philadelphia, "The city of brotherly love " was a
great believer in friendship. He says in his Fruits of Solitude:
" A true friend unbosoms freely, advises justly, assists
readily, adventures boldly, takes all patiently, defends courageously,
and continues a friend unchangeably.... In short, choose a friend
as thou dost a wife, till death separate you. . . . Death cannot
kill what never dies. Nor can spirits ever be divided that love
and live in the same Divine Principle; the Root and Record of
their friendship.... This is the comfort of friends, that though
they may be said to die, yet their friendship and society are,
in the best sense, ever present, because immortal."
IT may be worth while here to insert two passages from Macaulay's History of England. The first deals with the remarkable
intimacy between the Young Prince William of Orange and
" a gentleman of his household " named Bentinck. William's
escape from a malignant attack of small-pox
" was attributed partly to his own singular equanimity, and
partly to the intrepid and indefatigable friendship of Bentinck.
From the hands of  Bentinck alone William took food and medicineby
Bentinck alone William was lifted from his bed and laid down in
it. ' Whether Bentinck slept or not while I was ill,' said William
to Temple with great tenderness, ' I know not. But this I know,
that through sixteen days and nights, I never once called for
anything but that Bentinck was instantly at my side.' Before the
faithful servant had entirely performed this task, he had himself
caught the contagion." ( But he recovered. )
History of England, ch. vii.
The second passage describes the devotion of the Princess Anne
(daughter of James II and afterwards Queen Anne) to Lady Churchill-a
devotion which had considerable influence on the political situation.
" It is a common observation that differences of taste, understanding,
and disposition are no impediments to friendship, and that the
closest intimacies often exist between minds, each of which supplies
what is wanting in the other. Lady Churchill was loved and even
worshipped by Anne. The princess could not live apart from the
object of her romantic fondness. She married, and was a faithful
and even an affectionate wife; but Prince George, a dull man,
whose chief pleasures were derived from his dinner and his bottle,
acquired over her no intluence comparable to that exercised by
her female friend, and soon gave him  self up with stupid
patience to the dominion of that vehement and commanding spirit
by which his wife was governed."
History of England, ch vii
THAT the tradition of Greek thought was not quite obliterated
in England by the Puritan movement is shown by the writings of
Archbishop Potter, who speaks with approval of friendship as followed
among the Greeks, " not only in private, but by the public
allowance and encouragement of their laws; for they thought there
could be no means more effectual to excite their youth to noble
undertakings, nor any greater security to their commonwealths,
than this generous passion." He then quotes Athenaeus, saying
that " free commonwealths and all those states that consulted
the advancement of their own honor, seem to have been unanimous
in establishing laws to encourage and reward it." John Potter, Antiquities of Greece, 1698.
HTML, Paul Halsall, some subtitles have been added [they were
supplied by page headings in the original]
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