the very sublime of faith, truth, and devotion: it is too much as if some spirit were near me

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Irelia20150604

Senior Member
Chinese
The quotation comes from Jane Eyre Chapter 25

Quotation: “Well,” he said, after some minutes’ silence, “it is strange; but that sentence has penetrated my breast painfully. Why? I think because you said it with such an earnest, religious energy, and because your upward gaze at me now is the very sublime of faith, truth, and devotion: it is too much as if some spirit were near me. Look wicked, Jane: as you know well how to look: coin one of your wild, shy, provoking smiles; tell me you hate me—tease me, vex me; do anything but move me: I would rather be incensed than saddened.”

Context: Mr. R said well when Jane repeated "I do (= love you), sir—I do, with my whole heart" as he ordered.
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Hi everyone! I don't quite understand the bold part. I try to interpret it as below. Is it correct?

sublime => 2.B.2 With the: The highest degree or point, summit, or acme of. Now rare. (OED)
1838 De Quincey Shaks. Wks. 1890 IV. 61 This is the very sublime of folly, beyond which human dotage cannot advance.

truth => genuineness (genuine love, devotion, faith, etc.)
devotion => earnest attachment to a cause, person, etc.
too much => (informal)Amusing; entertaining. (from too much - Wiktionary)

the sentence => your upward gaze at me now is the highest degree of faith, genuineness and earnest attachment (to me): It is amusing because it seems to me that it were a spirit (= supernatural being) rather than a human being near me.
 
  • I think you are basically right except that rather than 'amusing', I'd say 'disturbing.'

    the sentence => your upward gaze at me now is the highest degree of faith, genuineness and earnest attachment (to me): It is amusing because it seems to me that it were a spirit (= supernatural being) rather than a human being near me.
     

    Irelia20150604

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    :D Thank you for your correction. To be honest, I don't quite understand the phrase "too much". Would you like to give another example of "it's too much as if/that/etc."?
     
    Say that I have a brother (adult) X, who has a son, Y (also adult). My brother dies in an accident. Months later, Y comes to visit me and we sit side by side on the porch of my cottage by a lake, at sunset, just as my brother and I used to sit.

    I look over at Y and the setting sun catches his face at a particular angle. I say, "It's too much as if X were sitting here with me at sunset, as we used to, so often."
     
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