Sturm und Drang / José Antonio Ramos Sucre

Sturm und Drang

Carlyle elevates Cromwell with his austere and funereal entourage above the turbulent regicides of ninety-three. Taine wisely objects to him that the purpose of the latter contrasts with philanthropy, with the nearly egotistical motive of the Puritan. New ideals had ennobled the impassioned desire for reform throughout the XVIII century.
     The generous effort of the Revolution occasions the very useful and abundant assertion that disinterested politics is the singular honor of France with the same title and in the same proportion as discursive, regular and consequential talent. This is to declare as the tenacious virtue of a people what is barely the merit and exclusive character of a certain unprecedented era. In the sentimental Europe of that century learned people concerned themselves with the fate of man, abstract and universal, as though they all practiced and honored reason, a faculty tending to omit the particular and the individuating. In Germany, at the time a seedbed for distracted and perplexed philosophers, there was a natural abundance of Weltbürgers or citizens of the world. The ones in England cheered in the face of a reprobate government the victories of Washington. It was fashionable to abstain from patriotism, considered small-minded, and to oscillate between Montesquieu’s constitutional monarchy and Rousseau’s democratic republic.
     Two poets, Schiller and Shelley, at a mutual distance of thirty years, accommodate and portray the humanitarian feeling of those passionate days. Both of them dissatisfied, nebulous and oratorical. Intrepid heralds, irritated seers, beneath the stormy and enigmatic sky they sustain and vibrate a beam of rays in their right hands.

La torre de Timón (1925)

{ José Antonio Ramos Sucre, Obra completa, Caracas: Biblioteca Ayacucho, 1989 }

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